Comic book auctions are the hunting grounds of treasure seekers. Experts out to harvest a key issue to complete a set or sieve out a rare gem, but that misses the most essential thing about comic books: reading them. Comic book auctions can be a museum of marvelous history you won’t find anywhere else.

The high points of the golden age have been collected, and the craziness of the silver age is discussed online to loving detail, but those still focus on a few famous incidents. Decades of comics have given us forests of stories we might never see again. No hard cover collections for these adventures, no trade paperbacks to cash in on movie reboots which will never happen. Characters so obscure they could only dream of a cameo in Brave and the Bold. The sort of unknown you wouldn’t even see in an alternate timeline universal-nexus crowd scene.

These forgotten heroes gift you the true taste of an age. Silver Age Superman’s insanity is supremely silly, and early X-Men adventures exemplify the super-powered bickering which would define the series (often without bothering to use their superpowers), but they’re still measured against modern sensibilities. The original, obsolete heroes can give you the true unfiltered feel of an age. Comic book auctions are an excellent way to pick up entire collections of unsold, under-price, unfamous faces, and spend some time excavating the treasures of old.

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