This interview series is another seller that I met from one of the many various Facebook groups. I've bought from him several times and he not only is he a great packer but also a great guy to talk comics about. He runs MAFO Collectibles and offers great comics at great prices, check him out!
What got you into comics?
- Truthfully, there are two vastly different stories here. The first is how I found comics as a little boy. The second would happen years later as a grown man and how coming back to comics effectively saved my life. So, I guess we'll start where all stories should... In the beginning. Initially, like so many others, I was a child of the 80's. Our Saturday mornings were filled with reruns of "The Superfriends", "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends", "GI Joe", "He-Man", and "Transformers". We all grew up with a sense of excitement and adventure. With both of my parents being in the military, we moved a lot, and this led to never having many friends. My mother was highly educated and encouraged us to start reading at a very young age. While my older brother loved animals and the outdoors, magazines such as "Boy's Life" were always his favorite. For me, however, your average magazine just didn't hold my interest. Then one day, while following my parents through the grocery store, my older brother accidently knocked several books off of a magazine rack and my dad told me to help him clean up his mess. That's when it happened. As we were cleaning up the mess, I picked up a copy of "Marvel Comics Presents". I don't really remember the issue number, but I vividly remember looking down and seeing this guy with huge claws springing from his hands. Now, I thought this was pretty cool, so I decided to have a seat right there on the floor of the grocery store and inspect it a little better. That did it! I was hooked! I walked out of the store that day with two books. Marvel comics Presents and Moon Knight!
- As the years went on, I got a little older and my attention was drawn away from comics as I became active in sports and chasing girls. By the time I graduated High School, I had passed my collection to my younger brother, (an aspiring and very talented artist), and his best friend that suffered from Cerebral Palsy, and I moved off to Texas. Now, fast forward to 2005. A decade later. I had let my life go totally off the rails. I worked four nights a week as a bouncer in a heavy metal club in Dallas and had gotten deep into... Party Favors. I was in and out of jail for fighting and one point, found myself homeless and living in my car until it was repossessed. I had finally hit rock bottom and given up. I called my younger brother and he and his best friend jumped in a truck that night and drove the 600 miles from Mississippi to Dallas to come get me.
- When I got home, I fell into a deep depression and basically locked myself in my childhood bedroom. Lonely, depressed, bored, I found my old comic books and started reading again. I had forgotten how much I loved it! I slowly started getting out more and more and then I started hanging out with my brother. (Although, I really think my parents had him do this to keep an eye on me.) I started hanging out with his Best friend and he gave me the first three issues of Ed Brubaker's Captain America: the Winter Soldier run. And, there it was again! That love I had as a boy! I had never read such a well thought out story! To this day, when people ask about that run, I simply say... "It saved my life.
Favorite childhood memory about comics?
- Sitting on that grocery store floor and reading my first comic!
What got you into selling comics?
- Around 2010, once my life was back on track, I was working for a Korean company as a production manager and "fixer". When they would open a new facility, I would go in and set up the machinery and train the staff and then move to the next facility. This eventually landed me in Allentown, PA. It was the first time in my life that I was exposed to "real" comic shops and I became a regular at The Encounter. I befriended the owner, Oliver Hochron, and his staff. One of his employees was a very intelligent young man named Michael Caffrey. Mike became my best friend and when the company tried to relocate me to North Carolina, I was looking for a way out. In the last quarter of 2013, Mike opened his own shop, Tales of Adventure Comics and Games, and asked if I wanted to be a part of it. I agreed, and that was that... I had finally found an occupation I adored! I was the Comic Book Guy!
Biggest mistake you made when you started selling?
- I sold my Avengers run (2-502) for $1500 to a friend. Ooooff!
What’s your favorite character or title to collect?
- I have always been a major fan of Hawkeye, Captain America, and Hawkman/Hawkgirl.
Next big thing for your personal collection? Your grail? Next Big thing?
- Flash Comics 37 My Grail? All-Star Comics 3/Flash Comics 1/ All-American Comics 68/ All-Winners 7/ Captain America Comics 3
Most unique or favorite thing in your collection?
- All-Star Comics 5 (1st Female Super-Hero, Hawkgirl) or a Russian Tales of Suspense 57 (1st Hawkeye)
Raw or Graded? Why?
- Golden Age - Raw Everything Else - Graded. Why? The Golden age is part of American History and I love reading 80 year old stories. It is the heart of what makes this hobby we love. Everything Else - Graded because of preservation.
Best find or score?
- I bought a collection from a house flipper that was trying to hide the sale from the estate sellers. It included almost every DC book from 1975-1984. While none of them were bagged or boarded, they were all in magnificent condition. I paid $2500.
Advice to new sellers or collectors.
- Be patient. Be Diligent. Learn how to grade. Grade Hard (if you legit think a book is a 5.0 - grade it as a 4.0). Read...Read...Read! And listen to people that have been doing it longer than you. Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you do not! Be Humble, and never give up! I wake up every morning with the same mantra. "Rise & Shine, Hustle & Grind!" This isn't easy.
Thanks to Joe for an awesome interview as we're glad you found comics again as well! Drop a comment on who you'd like us to interview next below.