Birth of a collector by Earl G.
My sister and I found our first comic on a bus, and we were off and running. We did get some new comics, but often raided the corner stores that had comics for a nickel. I got Flash #11 and #112 there, as well as Strange Tales with Fin Fan Foom and Amazing Adventures with Robot X.
But in early Silver Age issue numbers were meaningless, with very little continuity between issues.
All that changed when I bought Amazing Spider-Man #7 at a drug store. Not that issue itself. I was knocked out by the character and dialogue, and while they did mention the Vultures first appearance in ASM #2, it wasn’t such that I felt a new to look for it. But the issue set up Peter Parker’s world, including J Jonah Jameson and Peter’s rivalry with Flash Thompson.
The next issue I bought was ASM #9 (first Electro). But the stunner was when Flash mentioned the fight he and Parker had in issue #8! First I went through all my stacks of comics hoping I had somehow bought the issue and never read it. Ridiculous, but, a kid…
At a friends house I found he has Amazing Spider-man #5 and #10, as well as Tales of Suspense #48 and #49. I had to have them, and offered him fifty cents for the four. I think his mother called my mother to make sure her son wasn’t taking advantage of me.
I got them home ad pored over them. ASM #10 especially, with the ground-breaking three panels (even promoted on the cover) explaining why J Jonah Jameson really hate Spider-Man. Believe me, there was nothing like that in DC comics.
I finally got #8 (and #6) at a grocery store which had five cent comics in a rack on the wall. Glorious day Wish I had days like that now. Go buy the new MMW of ASM and see the fight that was but wasn’t, but it was totally satisfying.
I missed #11. With the numbers of that issue that turned up in 2 for fifteen packs I think the distributors just didn’t get it out. I got #14 before I got #13, both at regular drug stores. But by this time I was checking multiple stores so I wouldn’t miss any issues. I started grabbing used back issues of the Marvel books, for a nickel, and then seven cents (INFLATION)! Back then there were precious few reprints, and the only way to read the books was to get the originals. Thankfully my parents accepted my collecting and I was able to hold on, until I was out of work and my family need money. I figured I’d buy them back later. How much more expensive could they get?