June, 1965

To this day, I do not own a copy of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25. Here’s why…

A week or so prior to this story, my friend Israel Litwack had picked up a small stack of Steve Ditko-era SPIDER-MAN issues at Bush’s Hobbies for what was then (and still would be) an extraordinarily fair price. He’d inherited a large run of AMAZING from a relative, so he was closing in on completing the run.

So a week later, he and I took a trip down to Bush’s. And there in the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN section, I found a copy of #25, similarly priced. I don’t know if Israel had missed it during his first visit, or if Bush’s owner had only just put it out. But it was quite a find. And Israel wasn’t too happy.

Tallying up my books of the day, I found that I was a quarter short. And Israel refused to loan me one, since he felt that I was swiping the book out from under him. As we argued, he swore to buy any of the other books in my stack that I might put back, as a sort of retribution. But he offered to loan me even more cash if I would buy something else, and leave the SPIDEY #25 to him.

In the end, being too cowardly to try to haggle with the cashier over the missing quarter, I gave in to Israel’s demands, buying WHAT IF…#1 instead. (Frighteningly, it cost a dollar more than that copy of SPIDER-MAN #25!)

This is what a life of hard-bitten comic collecting can do to two friends…

2014 Note: Today, I own a copy of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25.

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