News>Through Airmen's Eyes: Airman amasses huge comic book collection
Airman 1st Class Jeremy Evans, 375th Communication Squadron, sorts through his comic book collection Monday in his dorm room at Scott Air Force Base. Evans has an extensive collection of more than 1,000 comic books. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt)
Airman 1st Class Jeremy Evans displays his favorite comic book. The hero-craze started when he was a just a child of seven growing up in the south side of Chicago. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt)
by Airman 1st Class Jake Eckhardt
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
2/7/2013 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)
Super-speed, excessive strength, X-ray vision--realistically, no human can obtain these skills naturally, but comic books provide a way to vicariously live through the lives of fictional characters who do have these abilities.
And for Airman 1st Class Jeremy Evans, 375th Communication Squadron, the excitement of a getting a new comic book shows that you're never too old for super-heroes.
"My father kind of handed down the comic tradition to me," he said. "He was into Richie Rich. That's where it started, I suppose. He always supported me in my comics."
The hero-craze started when he was a just a child growing up in the south side of Chicago. Due to the high rate of crime, he wasn't allowed to leave his home very often.
"My neighborhood was pretty rough," he said. "I wasn't even allowed to be in my front lawn. There was just a lot of gang activity."
Growing up, he was the only child on his block to have a father living with them.
His father would come home from the barber shop he owned and take his two siblings and him to Walgreens to spend their $10 allowance.
"Of course you can save your money if you wanted," he said. "I always went to the candy aisle. They always had comic books at the end. I used to collect 'The Amazing Spider-Man series.'"
The series had begun its publication in 1963, so the young comic enthusiast had started his journey in the middle of the storyline.
"I had no clue where the story was going, but I was seven years old, it's Spider-Man and I wanted it," he said.
He expanded his collection as he delved more into the universe of the two biggest names in comics, Marvel and DC.
"The big fight in comics is the companies. It's always DC vs. Marvel," he said. "I am a big DC fan now."
He couldn't narrow his favorite super-hero down to just one person. His top two favorite characters are the Green Lantern and Booster Gold.
"I'm huge on Green Lantern because there are so many of them," he said. "There is Hal Jordan, or you could go into Green Lantern Core, which is all of the team. You could also go into the newer series with the Red Lantern.
"Booster Gold is kind of a more underground super-hero. No one really knows of him. He's a newer character who goes back in time to fight alongside the classics."
The comic-fanatic has collected more than 1,000 comics and completed many comic series' such as "Superman: The Last Son of Krypton," "Superman: New Krypton," and has kept up with one of the newer DC comics, "The New 52," up until he had to leave for basic training.
"I've probably spent enough money to buy a new 2012 Camaro," he said. "I go to comic conventions to find the comics that I don't have. I'll find stuff like issue 17 of Spider-Man for something like $300, and I'll spend that money knowing I'm never going to open it."
Back when he used to work at Barnes and Nobles, he would spend most of his paychecks on his obsession.
"I got paid weekly back then, so my paychecks were about $120," he said. "I spent about $100 every paycheck. I could barely afford gas, so I just stayed inside and read comics.
"Everybody wants to be a super-hero in a way," he said. "Everyone wants to be an astronaut or something, but at one point in your life you say to yourself 'why not fight crime' or 'I want superpowers.'"
Evans said he wants to continue to increase his collection and read new comics as much as he can because, "Reading about these characters isn't just a hobby--it's life."
3/6/2013 11:05:14 AM ET I'm trying to figure out how this is even a story
Peter Parker, NY
2/25/2013 11:48:35 AM ET Shhhhh. Do not tell anyone but I have a collection of comics also from my youth. I do not actively collect but I can relate to the A1C's passion. If this is his worst vice I will take this airman over many others I have come in contact with.
Chief, Somewhere Out There
2/22/2013 11:00:04 AM ET Pretty cool. I am a huge comic book fan and grew up in Baltimore under similar circumstances as A1C Evans. It is nice to know that for many of us there are positive escapes from neighborhood violence. While I am now in my 40s and older than A1C Evans' I definately can relate and tell you that for many of us that love of comic books does not go away.
Kal-El, Scott AFB originally Krypton
2/20/2013 3:10:27 PM ET There's nothing wrong with having a hobby. I just think he needs some financial education to better prepare him for his later years. If he starts now he could retire with well more than 1 million. He will be sadly mistaken if he considers these comic books an investment.Meanwhile does this Airman save into the Thrift Savings Plan or an IRA Spending 300 on something that he's never going to open is not likely to provide him a secure retirement. I would venture to guess this valuable collection is also not insured. If he thinks reading comic books is life he really hasn't lived life yet at all. Someone in his unit needs to mentor him.
Steve Johnson, Anchorage AK
2/11/2013 12:27:36 PM ET I understand the need for comics. Being a collecter myself I have amassed over 2000. However I do not buy as many now days as I used to in the past. It is a good way to invest as well. Some of my high value comics now go for several thousand dollars such as Fantastic Four number 4 and X-men number 1. I am still on the look out for Amazing spiderman number 168.....