If you're a collector, you'll know the thrill of finding that elusive issue (or issues) to complete a run of comics. I've been doing that very thing recently, tracking down missing numbers years after the fact, and what adds an extra sense of satisfaction for me is completing a series in the very house I started it. You see, after living in my present abode for eleven years back in the '70s and early '80s, my family relocated to a new house in another area for just over four years, before moving back again to our previous home. I've now been back here for 31 years, and today I received the 1979 WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN Holiday Special, which completed the set of eight Specials issued between 1975 to '82.
The first and only one I bought at the time was the one for 1976, but around ten years later, BOB PAYNTER, Youth Group editor of the IPC mags, gave me another four from the shelves in his office on the 20th floor of KING'S REACH TOWER in Stamford Street in London. These were the 1977, '78, '80 and '81 issues, though I think I was living in the afore-mentioned other house when I got them. In the last few months I was able to acquire the '75 and '82 issues, and the '79 edition that arrived this morning completes the set. That means I got four of them in this house and four of them in the other, so it's an equal split - though the quartet that Bob gave me have been in my present residence for 31 years. What's significant to me is that I started and finished the collection in this house.
I found a replacement for the 1976 Frankie Annual I used to have a good many years back, but only recently (a couple or so months ago) managed to find two copies of the '77 Annual, though they weren't in great condition. (I don't recall ever having this book back in the '70s.) Just in the last week, however, I managed to get superior condition copies of both Annuals, so I'm now the proud owner of every Frankie Stein-titled publication from the '70s and '80s. Of course, the definitive version of Frankie was by KEN REID back in the '60s, but the character enjoyed even greater popularity under the hand of ROBERT NIXON in the '70s, perhaps the only artist who could do any kind of visual justice to Frankie in Ken's wake (as testified to by his cover of the 1976 SHIVER & SHAKE Annual). Interestingly, I think it was Nixon who took up the reins on Reid's RODGER The DODGER strip when he left DCT to go to ODHAMS in the '60s, so there was already a precedent for Bob stepping into Ken's shoes.
Another milestone (for me) was when I finally managed to track down LEO BAXENDALE's third WILLY The KID book a few years back, over 30 years after buying the first two back in 1976 and '77. Again, started in this house, completed in this house. Then there are the missing issues from my collection of X-MEN and FANTASTIC FOUR Pocket Books from the early '80s, which were lacking two numbers and four numbers respectively. I managed to obtain them around a year or so ago, so that was another sense of accomplishment for me. Anyway, there are loads of comics and books that fall under this label, so I won't labour the point. Of course, it's good to fill a gap in a run regardless of where you live, but it gives an added thrill of accomplishment when you do it decades later in the same house where you started (especially if there was a break in tenancy), don't you think? It somehow makes the past seem less distant - for a short while at least, but I'll take what's going.
What's the longest period of time it's taken you to complete a comics collection, Criv-ites? Do tell!