MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A Mesa man, who has dedicated his life to collecting X-Men superhero comics in mint condition, was forced to send them to an auction house after a devastating diagnosis.

“I used them to learn how to read,” said Robert Letscher. “They started actually calling me ‘Comic Book Guy.’”

He’s now 55 years old.

“Next thing you know you have over 600,” he said.

[WATCH: Comic book collection to be sold for medical bills]

Letscher has not only built a hobby, but he’s also made a lifelong career selling comics. But his X-Men collection is his passion.

“I kind of always envisioned me having them because I’ve been improving the collection all my life,” he said.

Letscher’s plan was to save his collection for years, and eventually auction it off for retirement money, but then things took a turn.

“I’ve been in bed almost the entire day until you got here,” he said to us during the interview.

In 2018, the kid at heart was left with a body that couldn’t keep up.

“What? What do you mean? You think there’s a chance I might get it? And she goes, ‘No, we already believe you have full-blown cancer running throughout your body,’” he said.

Letscher was diagnosed with lymphoma all through his body, then diagnosed with esophageal cancer shortly after.

“Pump in a few bottles of this a day,” he showed us, as he took in nutrition through a feeding tube.

He can’t eat food, and he can’t lay down or else he’ll suffocate because he no longer has a working throat.

“Um, there are miracles, but statistically they’ve said about 25% of the people live another five years,” he said.

With medical bills piling up, and a family to support, he knew it was time to sell his life’s work.

“This is it. All I have is my X-Men,” he said. “It was gut-wrenching. I had to do the right thing and liquidate my assets for the sake of my family.”

So now he’s left with his favorite duplicates, after sending over 600 comics to an auction house in New York, where they believe his collection will sell for over $500,000.

While he may not be able to save his own life, he’ll be able to save his family with his X-Men.

So I guess that makes him a superhero too.

The auction begins on Monday on ComicConnect.com, and goes through Sept. 13.

You can also find Letchers’s online store on eBay called “Key Comics.”

 


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