Jarred Bloom, “Dollar Bin”

Marvel Comics have been at the forefront of conversation for the past several years, and with Marvel’s Avengers: End Game becoming the highest-grossing film of all time in the box office, fictional names like Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are now said in the households of almost every American family. This rapid succession of success for Marvel Studios makes me think of a time before they were bought by the Disney company for almost four and a half billion dollars. It makes me think of a time when the only time I could see characters like Tony Stark or Steve Rogers was on a cheap, one-dollar comic book.

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In the early years of my childhood, like most comic book fanatics, the only ones that I would be able to get my eager hands on were those that my parents would buy for me. This meant that I wouldn’t get the big-time expensive comic books, like Infinity War or Secret Wars, but rather the cheap Marvel comics that no adult fans wanted. The misfits of Marvel comics. The comics that are the equivalent of the embarrassing baby photos your mother always takes out at the worst times. The comics that were sold by shop owners in cardboard boxes in the back of the shop. Marked with a piece of loose leaf paper that simply read “$1”. Despite this, these comic books were some of my most prized ones, even now as I can afford to buy more expensive comics. This is because it was these cheap comics that got me into being such a passionate fan. Some of the best memories of my childhood were when my mother would drive me to the comic book store on a boring Saturday.

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These “$1” comics were typically quite old, and were created in mass numbers due to how cheaply they were produced. Because every week there was a new comic that hit the shelves, many of these stories were rushed, resulting in a sometimes comical outcome. Covers that all look similar–laughable dialogue, ridiculous sound effects, and interchangeable heroes/villains–result in a cliché genre that is unknown by a majority of people that follow the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe).

This is why I am making Dollar Bin: it is to show the public the true nature of the Marvel comic books. It is not all highly produced and beautiful-looking, but rather many years of forceful story making. It is a testament for the fans that truly do read the books and view these characters beyond the movie screen. And most importantly it is a testament of my childhood.

To make Dollar Bin, I started off by visiting my local comic book store on Long Island. I was disappointed by the fact that I was the only patron in the store for the hour that I was there. This was likely due to the comic book community having access to all comics digitally on their computers. I bought a little over 30 different one-dollar Marvel Comics. Then, I also purchased a book binding kit and thick construction paper from the craft store. I selected the brown construction paper to resemble the cardboard boxes that most of these comics are purchased with. From there I began to collage together all of these comic books to find the commonality they all possessed. I believe that Dollar Bin was constructed in such a way that it will make any true comic book fan delighted as well as bring them back to a time when they read comics that possessed similar traits as I intend to convey.

To view the digital content of “Dollar Bin,” click on this hyperlink.