As I mentioned in my last blog about GoCollect's new Collectible Price Index (CPI), comic books aren't stocks. The CPI is useful for investment purposes, but it can't capture sentimental value that isn't captured by the market. When I sell shares of SPY (an ETF that mirrors the S&P500), I don't get sentimental about it. On the other hand, there are certain comic books that I would have a hard time parting with even if I had economic reasons for doing so (such as a high ROI).

We all have books that we own that are virtually worthless to the broader market, but maintain a lot of personal value for sentimental reasons. Uncanny X-Men #215 is one of those books for me.

Uncanny X-Men #215 was the first comic book I ever read; I was instantly hooked.

Published on March 10, 1987, this is a book that the overall market clearly doesn't care an iota about. High grade raw copies typically sell on eBay for a few dollars. Sure, I suppose it does contain the first appearances of Crimson Commando, Stonewall, and Super Sabre (basically three senior citizens who were war heroes during WWII), but I doubt any collector would describe this issue as even a minor key.

But every time I see a copy in a dollar bin at my LCS or convention, it always tugs at my heartstrings and takes me back to middle school. X-Men #215 was the first comic book that I ever read. It came in the mail, wrapped in a plain brown wrapper without a backboard, as a part of an annual subscription that I received as a part of a fundraising drive for some nonprofit whose name I have since forgotten.

Uncanny X-Men #215 begins in the wake of the Mutant Massacre. The issue opens with Scalphunter and Arclight, two of the Marauders, hunting Madelyn Pryor, their motivations still unknown. We then join the X-Men who are ready to depart to Muir Island; we learn that several members of the team, including Colossus, Shadowcat and Nightcrawler, had sustained grievous injuries defending the Morlocks from the Marauders. Clearly, these superheroes, whom I was meeting for the very first time, had met their match. Later in the issue, Storm and Wolverine are shocked to learn that someone named "Jean Grey" was still alive. She had apparently died years ago for reasons that were still unknown to me.

I was instantly hooked. I read this issue so many times, the cover became detached (I had no idea that comic books could be valuable back then). Not only was I excited for each issue to arrive in the mail each month, but I had a burning curiosity to learn what happened to the X-Men during the so-called "Mutant Massacre" but also who this Jean Grey was, how she died, and why Wolverine and Storm cared so much about her. With a little help from my parents, I bought a trade paperback that contained the entire Dark Phoenix Saga and also several back issues including Uncanny X-Men #210 through #213 which introduced the Marauders and Wolverine's first two epic battles with a villain named Sabretooth. He was just as fearsome as Wolverine. I couldn't wait for their rematch in Uncanny X-Men #222 (another personal favorite of mine with an epic cover).

X-Men #215 sparked a life long love of reading; I even became an English teacher because of it.

This may sound like hyperbole, but reading this issue changed my life. I developed a lifelong habit of reading (I soon started reading fantasy books like the Dragon Lance Saga), majored in English in college, and even became high school English teacher for several years. Maybe that all would've happened anyway even if I hadn't read X-Men #215, but I believe that issue was the catalyst. This is why I still collect comics today decades later; it's personal to me.

What was the first comic book you ever read? Were you instantly hooked and why?

Does collecting comics go beyond ROI for you as well? Please share any stories that you may have in the comments section below! We'd love to hear the reasons why you collect that go beyond mere investment purposes.