Mark Hamill: Confessions of a comic book junkie

Mark Hamill, best known as Luke Skywalker or the Joker in "Batman: The Animated Series," is also co-writer of Dark Horse Comic' "Black Pearl" series and a big comic book fan going back to his childhood.

He told us back in July about a dinner he had in the mid-1980s with comic book legends Bob Kane ("Batman" creator), Jerry Siegel ("Superman" co-creator) and Jack Kirby (original artist for "Fantastic Four," "X-Men" and more).

“We [Hamill's fellow dinner guests, actors Bill Mumy and Miguel Ferrer] were just so happy to tell these guys how much they meant to us," he said. "When they were actually working, comic books were not something you bragged about being involved in.”

(In fact, Hamill said that, even when pressed by strangers during the 1950s on what he did for a living, Siegel would not admit anything more than being a "commercial artist." Hamill said, "People looked at comics as almost a step above pornography.")

“I love the history of comics, I really do," he went on to say. "I gave them up when I was a young teenager thinking, 'I’ve gotta outgrow these things.' I made it through high school but when I got into college, I would visit old bookstores and see these boxes of old books."

Hamill found himself getting back into the hobby, but today, like some of the longtime or even curmudgeonly comic book fans, he longs for the old days of comic book collecting.

“I’ve come full circle now, because with a family, your priorities change and I just lost my enthusiasm for it," he said. "With the [comic book] price guide, it’s just gotten to be so cut and dry, and there’s no thrill of bartering or anything. The hobby of collecting has really changed, I sort of let it go by the wayside. I don’t do that anymore."

Hamill – who can next be seen in the movie "Sushi Girl" – joked, "When you get to the point when your accountant is saying, 'Do you have your “Avengers #4” in a safety deposit box?’ you don’t want that. It’s just changed."

That's not to say that the convention veteran (going back to San Diego Comic-Con's earliest days as he told us) doesn't love going to Cons to this day. He even finds the fact that he doesn't usually venture out onto the convention floor something of a blessing in disguise.

“When you look at people involved in other hobbies, you see how similar the motivations are," he said. "You see so many things you want [on convention floors]. I’m sure I save a fortune by avoiding that!"

Hamill can't tear himself away from the Con circuit. His next appearance, announced on Monday, will be at New York Comic-Con, happening October 13th through 16th. He'll be signing autographs on the "NEW-GEN" graphic novel on Friday and Sunday there - perhaps you should get in line now.