I already have most comics that I truly, SPECIFICALLY want. A lot of my bargain-bin finds and such are things that I’ve been aware of, had some interest in, and are cool to GET, but not typically specific, "key" issues that I’ve specifically sought.
As I fill in general holes in my collection with various series, I’m certainly going to get down to where there will be just a few one-off issues here and there that I’m after.
Having recently acquired Spider-Man vs. Wolverine, and the first chapter of Batman: Year Two it got me thinking. My next "grail" issue has got to be Uncanny X-Men #266–the first (full?) appearance of Gambit. I don’t seek it BECAUSE it’s his first appearance…it’s just that because it IS his first appearance, it has never been something tossed into a bargain bin and so has never randomly entered my collection that way.
But not having this issue is a singular hole preventing me from having a run from Inferno through well past #400, and my eventual aim is to fill in to have a complete run from Inferno to 544 or whatever the final issue was before the Schism relaunch alongside Wolverine and the X-Men. All of the other issues are simply a matter of the odds of finding the issue, given the time periods and quantities.
I have no intention of getting #266 to flip or make any profit on. And where a lot of things I’d be content with a reprint, the only reprint in single-issue format that I’m aware MIGHT exist would be one of those black-border issues that used to be packed into the original Marvel Legends action figures. And I truly don’t want a reprint, simply because ALL my other issues in the run are standard/first print issues, to my knowledge (if there are any second prints, they’re the kind that don’t have any cover variation).
As such, even though I do really specifically want the issue, I’m not willing to pay Big Money for it. In 27 years, I have NEVER paid more than $10 for a single-issue comic book. However, I do have to be reasonable: for any kind of halfway-decent copy of this–even "just" a "reader copy" condition WOULD pretty well be a "steal" for $10 or under. I feel (personally) that $20 would be quite reasonable and "fair" for a decent-condition/reader-copy of the issue. The more I pay, the better I’ll expect the condition to be. But I’m by no means looking for a "near-mint," "mint," or high-grade slabbed edition.
I just want it for my collection, as the only hole in an otherwise 150+ issue run, toward a nearly 300 issue run.
And given that this is a KEY "key book," first appearance of Gambit, and the maybe/maybe-not pending Channing Tatum Gambit film looming and such…this would be a worthy issue to be an exception to or break down my $10 "limit" that I’ll spend on single-issues.