I was 8 years old when my mom walked into the apartment with a large box of comics that she had found in the garage of the apartment we had just moved into. She was always buying me books to get me interested in reading. I had an encyclopedia and several other books that I'd read, but these comic books mesmerized me from day 1!. I sat down and there were these people with awesome powers and the artwork was great and I also dug the ads in the comics as well. The ads that said I could lift a couch if I ordered the product which was no doubt steroids or something.
I'd buy comic books from liqour stores and bookstores with my allowance, when I turned 10 I found this wonderful store that sold nothing but comic books called Galaxy Comics in Redondo Beach. Every week I would go with my allowance and buy some comics, ride my bike home and read every single one of them. Justice League, Superman, Batman, Shazam and most DC Comics were my early interests. Once in awhile they'd have specials where you could buy 10 comics for $1. So my comic collection grew steadily from an early time.
When I was 12 we moved from Redondo Beach to Artesia and there weren't any comic book stores in the area. The only place I could buy any comics was from 7-11 and usually they would be in bad shape from people mishandling them on the racks, so my comic collecting curtailed for a few years until we moved to Chino. Chino had a few comic book stores in the area and I started back up with my collecting and at this point I started in with more Marvel titles as well such as Punisher, X-Men, Avengers etc. as well as the DC's I collected before. Once again the collection grew some more.
Then with some friends we discovered this awesome place in City of Industry called Frank and Son's which is a collectors dream. If you collect it they have it. Comics, cars, sports cards...anything. There were vendors who would sell comics 5 for a $1 or ahave other bargains and deals. My collection grew even more!! In January 1994 I enlisted in the Army reserves and went off to South Carolina and then I went to Virginia for AIT. I remember getting into a cab to go into town and asked the driver if there were any comic book stores around, he said yes and dropped me and a buddy off at one. While in AIT I bought enough comics to fill a suitcase!!
When I came home my comic book store in Chino had changed owners and had become really shady and eventually it closed down due to them selling drugs and teens doing other things there as well. That left me with Frank and Son's as my only source for comics. Before that there were several stores in close proximity. One in old town Pomona, Paper Hero Comics in Chino and then one on Mountain and Philadelphia ran by 2 old ladies who would smoke inside the store!
Eventually we lost our house in Chino and I moved around for a bit before winding up in Claremont and I found a store located inside the old school house ran by Chris Peterson who like me was and is an avid collector. So I began going to him for my comics as well as Frank and Son's once in awhile. I remember making the comment its funny that he is in an old classroom in the original Claremont High School when kids probably used to get in trouble for reading comics in class. He ran his store "Comic Bookie" there and in another location in an industrial park for well over 20 years so when he made the announcement he was going out of business I was like damn...now who is going to be my guy?? lol Luckily by now I had a car and Chris told me about his friend in Cucamonga named Chris Brady who had a store, so when I went over there I was really happy to see that it was a great store ran by great people. Once again my comic collection grew. Now comic book stores thanks to the resurgence of comic based movies have made a comeback in the IE.
For anybody that knows me and is interested...I have well over 2,000 comic books and it is still growing, not as much as it once did due to comics being like $2.99 each now, but it is still growing.