After decades of searching and collecting, my mate Kyle is ridiculously close to getting a complete set of the original X-Men comic - all 500+ issues - and it's all my fault.
He was way more of a Thor boy when we first met, right in the middle of the eighties, although we first bonded over a full and honest shared appreciation for Charley's War and Judge Dredd. I had been reading X-Men comics on and off for years, but after I convinced Kyle to try some X-Factor, he was off and racing, and has never looked back.
He started getting Uncanny X-Men just as I got distracted by other comics and just kept on going, all through the years. He never stopped getting the regular monthly issues in all the years since, and has got almost every issue of the 200+ that came out before that.
Getting a full set of X-Men comics is a huge accomplishment, especially in this part of the world. Comics are scarce and expensive on the arse end of the world, and I was genuinely impressed when he finally got all the issues that numbered in the 200s, a decade or so ago. And then about five years ago he got everything from Giant Sized #1 on, and now, incredibly, he's almost got all the Silver Age X-Men issues.
I never had that kind of dedication to one single title, and that kind of drive. I've been trying to complete a set of all 2000ad comics since I was five, and I'm still miles away, picking up vital back issues on an incredibly irregular basis.
But my pal doesn't have that kind of patience and has befriended a wide circle of comic nerds all over the world through his cheerful YouTube videos. He now deals with dudes in the States and the UK and Australia and all over the show, all with the ultimate goal of getting all that X.
He'll do it soon. He's almost paid off his house and will soon be able to put aside a few grand for the crucial last issues he needs, and I remain as impressed now as much as I ever was.
I have no idea what he'll do after that. Maybe he'll go back to the Thor....