Lo, the Order changeth, yet somehow stayeth the same…by Shawn S.
For 37 years, in a row, there has been a fixed point in life. Impervious to even the illusion of change, it has been there, a beacon of stationary comfort in a tumultuous world. As we belong to a tribe obsessed with first appearances, let’s take a look back at November of 1982 and the debut of the Graham Crackers Winter Sale.
Since life is basically punctuated by moments of malicious whimsy, we’ll begin with the fact that the Midwest is in the throes of a record cold snap in ’82. The thermometer dives to a mere thirteen degrees on Nov. 15th, the U.S. economy is on the cusp of recession, and the Time Magazine Man of the Year is…the computer. The times sure are a changin’.
The sale itself has always revolved around back issues, even at its inception. 50% off of things that they don’t make any more is a deal. It was even a big deal when a gallon of gas cost ninety one cents. Of course, the sale didn’t apply to the new comics even then. Sorry, no discount on that Wolverine #4 by Claremont and Miller. If you pulled a Legion of Super Heroes #292 off the rack, you’d still be paying full price to read part three of the Great Darkness Saga. Kristoff Vernard, heir of Doctor Doom debuts in F.F. #247 and it’s going to cost you the whole sixty cents.
Sadly, those key first appearances on the wall are rarely subject to a discount. For instance, the 1982 you will have to pay the full $13,500 for that copy of Action #1. That Detective #27 is pretty much a bargain at the price of $7,500 though.
You might however, be lucky enough to get that copy of Incredible Hulk #181 out of one of the boxes. After all, that issue was only sixteen bucks at the time. Perhaps you saved enough dough at that first sale to go to a movie. Luckily, there is a comic movie in the theatres in 1982. For about three bucks (you easily saved that at the sale), you can catch a showing of Annie. Future you would probably tell 1982 you to go see Star Trek Wrath of Khan instead, though. 25% off of everything else wasn’t that big of a deal. Sure there were probably a couple of “reprint collections” laying around. Maybe a discount on crazy foam would trip your trigger. It certainly meant less than it does in the ephemera filled emporiums of today.
Well, 1982 is past just like last week. The chain collectively started out with approximately with 799,500 back issues. I’m sure it’s a smaller number this week. If you didn’t make it to the sale don’t worry, it’ll come around again, just like it has again for the last 37 years. Who knew that commerce could be so comforting?