Just got in a package containing several back issues of Rocket's Blast Comicollector, a comic book fan magazine I had ordered on a whim. As I've mentioned before, RBCC was the magazine that first turned me on to the greater world of comic book collecting. In the pre-RBCC days, I was limited to buying back issues from friends, used bookstores, and Marvel Comics (in those days, Marvel actually had a back issue department, and I ordered several books from them).
When I ordered my first issue of RBCC in response to an ad that publisher Gordon Love ran in the pages of Marvel Comics, I wasn't sure what to expect. The idea of a fanzine was foreign to me; I had never conceived of fans writing their own magazines about comics. The concept of an adzine was also unfamiliar; I had never thought of finding other fans (and a few professional comic book dealers) who'd sell me the back issues I needed.
RBCC #53 was one of my particular favorites; the eye-catching John G. Fantucchio cover featuring the Shadow in both his pulp and superhero guises caught my attention immediately. Fantucchio was a fan artist who really should have been pro (and eventually he was, albeit for only a short period--he did a couple of stories for Warren Magazines in the early 1970s). His work was bold, stylish, and distinctive--and in an era when most fanzine artists were little better than I was, Fantucchio stood head and shoulders above the others.
This issue is also one that I actually ordered from.. and a few that I wish I could have afforded. Robert Bell had a complete set of Flash #105 up for $35; a complete set of Brave and Bold for $45; a complete set of Green Lantern for $20; and a complete set of Justice League (in mint condition!) for #30. Fantastic Four #1 could be had for only $14; Spider-Man #1 for $7; Daredevil #1 for $3.
However, I had a complete collection of Marvel superhero comics at this time, so my interest was focused on DC back issues (and alas, I couldn't afford those high prices for complete series). So, from advertiser Edward Gee, I actually did order and receive Aquaman #s 3, 4, & 5 for 40¢ each, Showcase #34 (first Atom) for $1.25, and Detective #275 for 75¢. I think I ordered a few other books as well, because I remember the total cost of the order being over $10, which was a substantial amount at the time. Shipping was 25¢ for orders under $5, but my massive $10+ order qualified for free shipping.
I also ordered at least four different fanzines from this issue: Comic Showcase, Fandomonium, On the Drawing Board, and Star Studded Comics. These weren't just fanzines about comics; most of them featured original comics produced by fans like me! My inspiration for fanzine publishing came from those early issues of RBCC--and from that, my involvement in science fiction fandom, my owning a comic shop, and the launch of Comic Shop News--in addition to my meeting the girl who would eventually become my wife!
Great stuff here--and while I can't order any of the books from these more-than-four-decades-old advertisements, I can still vividly remember poring over every page, marking the books I hoped to buy in colored pencil. And I still can feel the excitement and exhilaration that accompanied my discovery of the world of fandom...