The first comic book I remember owning was Incredible Hulk #165 (July 1973). There may have been others that I had read or seen but Hulk #165 was the first that was mine. As I remember it, we were on a family trip and we stopped at a convenience store and I got it. I don't remember picking it out but I do remember sitting in the car reading it. It is one of my earliest memories. My second comic memory is of me being with my grandmother and her buying me Amazing Adventures #21 (Nov. 1973) starring Killraven in the War of the Worlds. I still remember the life and death struggles that played out in these comics.
By the time I had bought Fantastic Four #143 in 1974, I had begun to understand the concept of collecting. Each month the new issues would appear at the El Rancho or Tick Tock markets. I would spend my $1 allowance and buy a couple .20 cent comics. This actual issue of FF #143 is the one I have had since childhood. As you can tell I was rough on my early comics and a lot of them are missing pages and covers.
With Avengers #118, I really began to see the depth of the Marvel Universe. In addition to all the lead characters, there were all these other characters running around and each of them had powers and histories that could only be explored by buying more comics. Spider-Man #129 was also significant to me. Even as a child of 9, I understood that it was new and unusual to have someone trying to kill Spider-Man with a rifle. I still marvel at the intensity of this cover.
The final event in my childhood collecting was the arrival of the X-Men. I was introduced to them in Captain America #173. But it was X-Men #97 that reintroduced them to me as the All New, All Different X-Men. I am sure my experience of discovering this comic was similar to kids seeing Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four for the first time. I quickly went on to trade with friends at school to get Giant Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #94-96. By this time I was buying all the new issues and collecting the old ones by going to local comic conventions. Later I would collect the toys of my childhood, Krazy Kids Food stuff and theme park items but it all began with comic books.