Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Comics and literacy

Comic books taught me how to read. They inspired an interest with a compelling story and character. My dad used to read comics to me. I had a spinner rack close by at an early age to look at what ever I wanted.

Teachers used to commandeer comics for being a distractions in class. So why not have some cooperation with providers of education materials to have Reed Richards teach math? Spider-man for some science. Ant-man for some entomology? You get the idea. Why not use these great characters to set the stage for learning past reading? I use the Marvel one because that's what I'm most familiar with. If DC or Dark Horse figure it out there is a tremendous opportunity for whom ever gets there and makes it work first.

I guess the 1st challenge is to get comic publishers to see the benefits of reaching an audience while they are young. This is a great opportunity to bring in new readers... not just the boys but GIRLS too

Check this write up about a movie that explores the topic. I cant wait to see it on Netflix when its available.

I hope publishers can rise to the challenge to take advantage of the opportunity to find new enthusiasts and give a shot in the arm to beleaguered school systems. Another opportunity to take bold action.

If this is going on and you know more than I do please share!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to grade comics

I got no stone tablets from the mountain to impart absolute wisdom to you on this topic. Nor does anyone else; or they are selling you something. (see my CGC rant)

Comic grading is a learned art. Its a highly subjective skill that's a perpetually moving target. Ultimately, its in the eye of the beholder. There are plenty of online resources to help identify a given books grade. Here is one I found doing a quick google search. There many others, from ebay, and various comic sellers. They are all pretty close.. There are even inconsistencies within CGC.

Corner here, spine nic there, someone is fishing for a deal. And why shouldn't they? It is just a comic after all. It cant take you to a store, keep you warm and dry or stop your stomach from rumbling when its empty or tell you it loves you when you skin your knee - It isn't one of life's necessities is the point. Its just another commodity.

Don't believe me, take your favorite books in their best grade from your collection and try to sell them. Someone is going to try and beat you up over grade to get a better deal on price point. Nature of the beast. Retailers know what its worth, what they can get for it, and what price range they need to buy it at to make money to flip it. The history and sentiment are stripped away.

Grading is the great equalizer to make everything "more negotiable".

I am of the belief there is no "true" Mint condition. Only shades of grey as to what you will accept for your collection.

To me it boils down to: "What kind of condition issues are present and the number of defects you can live with versus the asking price."

For my personal tastes - I hate date stamps. That always knocks them down a few notches in my book.  However, I can live with a subscription crease. For key books, I can live with more condition issues. I'm OK with restored books, UK copies, some tape here and there - IF it gets a book at a price point I can afford. I recently bought a JIM 83. A book I've always wanted from my bucket list. Its not perfect. It has flaws, but it was affordable enough given the going rate for this book. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position to pay a used car price for something I cannot drive. Its is after all just paper.

So to me, its a matter of taste and allowable budget. 

Wouldn't ya know it, I have more thoughts on how to buy within a budget.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Confessions of a Comic Book Junkie Part II

Fast forward thru several years of general childhood contentment to when My folks get divorced. 

I became interested in comics again with a new fervor. Hero type stuff. I learned that My Dad had collected when he was a boy and one of our routines to spend time together took us by the local comic shop. I developed an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the 1st issues, 1st appearances, guest artists (you name it!) for the things that interested me.

At the time X-men was a HUGE deal. As was the New teen Titans. Both were like gateway drugs into other comics.

I wind up at a new school trying to blend in and find my way. A guy in homeroom had some books he was going to sell to another guy that I only knew a little bit. I had always been aware of him thru a common friend but never hung out with him much. So I made the guy in homeroom a better offer. The only book I remember in the lot was an X-men 102.

So this "other guy" finds me and chat me up. He wasn't happy I broke up his deal but it was friendly and we started talking. And kept talking. It turned out that he had a Hulk 181. I wanted it. I recognized it as a key immediately. To him it was just another book. (To be fair at THAT time the book was a 20 - 25 dollar book or thereabouts) We made a trade. I have no idea what it was I gave up but it made him happy THAT day. I felt like I made out like a bandit. My encyclopedic knowledge paid off.

About a week later he realized the significance of the book. And he found another copy in BETTER condition than the we traded for.

One thing you should know about this guy, I'll call him BA -short for "Belly Aching".  His mother is a lovely petite Southern Baptist woman. She was a book-keeper by tade. And apparently a damned fine one as she worked for a group of Jewish business folks. 

Let me say that again for the proper effect: The Southern Baptist woman worked for the Jews as a book keeper.. I don't mean to pander to stereotypes. I am only trying to emphasize the fact that this woman was GOOD at what she did, and its relevant here only because cuz in the case of this son, the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree. 

BA was a shrewd negotiator and had to win the transaction.
In short, a really really good guy to pair with a guy who had an encyclopedic knowledge of the subject.

It was the start of a beautiful friendship that lasts to this day. 
Comics not only is a hobby I enjoy, it gave me my best friend as well. Ain't I the lucky one?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My personal approach to buying Comics

I figure that I'm probably pretty much like you. I don't have unlimited resources to devote to my collection. I collect on a budget. Between the mortgage, food, utilities, insurance and whatever crisis du jour my kids present, I do what can within my means. I doubt most of you are much different. 

ON the off chance you ARE unlike me and have lots of extra money, I'll forward you my fantasy draft comic want list. Just drop me a line. I connect with you, I promise....

For me, its more than simply finding a book I want.  I have to find the book I want at the price I want it at.  That "Thrill of the Hunt" is part of the kick for me. It HAS to be.

One of the areas of focus for my collection has been the Incredible Hulk. I have assembled a contiguous run of Tales To Astonish from 59 to 101 and then Hulk 102... until whenever they cancelled the run after Joe Casey left. A massive undertaking for me that's taken years to complete.

I already had a copy of #181 and decided to put together the run since I had the BIG Bronze age key already. If I had access to a bottomless checkbook it wouldn't have been nearly to complete or been nearly as much fun working to completing the run. I set a mental guideline of a max cap to spend per issue and stuck to it, unless it was a Key issue or very close to my limit.

I could have done it a hell of a lot faster just buying books and throwing money at it, but I would have missed out on the "Thrill of the Hunt". That part matters to me. 

When at a Con or a shop (assuming you are talking to someone in charge) Dealers will generally negotiate if you have cash in hand. I keep waiting for that miracle Estate sale/yard sale where some goodies just drop into my lap. I'll let you know if it ever happens. I've even posted on craigslist as a buyer trying to encourage scorned/jealous/angry wives and girlfriends to exact revenge and sell me their husbands/BF's comics on the cheap. No takers, dang it...

I use ebay and have had some good luck in the past on their site. Picked up some real gems at a relative bargain. When using ebay, I'll watch several items. Typically I filter out the "Buy it now" items and just look for actual auctions. Some dealers / individuals will tack on an exorbitant shipping and handling fee to make up on the back end. I factor these costs in on high to go. Rarely do these books fall to me. And that's OK. After reading the item description and viewing the available pics, I establish a mental range of what I'm willing to pay for it, very rarely do I exceed it.

Then over the course of the week - I'll see how they are progressing and check if their price is over my price tolerance threshold. If an item has had a slow but steady trickle of bidders pushing the bid ever upward, I know its unlikely to fall to me. That item is likely being watched by a lot of folks and they are probing trying to figure out where the high water mark is at the current moment.

I like the auctions that look like there is no movement. Perhaps I searched on a vague description, or found it mis-categorized and the book is missing potential customers. These I watch like a hawk. Most of the times I lose because I am a low-baller. (I had a question exchange where a seller told me no to low-ball him... I replied "Why the hell shouldn't I?" I'm not in the habit of giving money away after all.) 

BUT using this strategy I have secured some real gems for my collection.

If I miss on an item in an auction, or a dealer says "Yeah I had (whatever I happen to be asking about) but I sold it last week... I don't get bent out of shape... another one will be along shortly, just like a bus. 

After doing this for over 30 yrs, I'm not in a rush. 

Just be patient and don't fall prey to the "heat of the moment". 
Buy it cheap and stay on budget. Don't cave on your principles.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Comic paper stock

This seems like a no brainer to keeping costs in check. I don't understand the drive to have everything on high quality paper. I don't think you can even find newsprint anymore in comics if you tried..

I was at HerosCon and kinda had this same conversation with Neal Adam. I was getting nostalgic and told him that I missed the smell of news print... "We called that stuff toilet paper..." I went on to tell him that I grew up in Durham, then a cigarette making titan... the smell of tobacco curing in the Summer... It has a sticky, sweet, musky scent that clings to the humidity so you breathe it in and it becomes a part of you" Adams went on to say  "Ah no wonder, you cant smell anything any way.." Both smell take me back to my youth.

Not everything needs to be on cover stock quality. Its OK to cheap out once in a while.

Monday, July 18, 2011

On-line comics?...

Well... I'm not sure what to think of this new development....

Its great for reading and buying direct from the Publisher or even individual artist.... This could very well change the publishing dynamic and eliminate all of hands in the distribution pie. (Paging Steve Geppi) As far as manufacturing the end product, the overhead for paper and inks fall thru the floor by removing the physical element of printing the product.

I can see why the publishers would HAVE to consider this route... If they can sell this they would rake it in..

But what does the collector get out of this? A full hard drive?
I cant put it in a bag... I cant smell it - cant trade it...
There's no "Thrill of the Hunt"  - WFT do I do with it?

Other than the reading element (which should be your Top choice, in a purchase decision, really)- None of the OTHER kicks I associate to comic collecting as fun and enjoyable in the tangible world are present. 

Am I missing something? Please,  clue me in!

Stupid chase covers.. AND the re-numbering you rode in on..

I'm not really a fan of all these variant, incentive or gimmick covers to get retailers to order more books. The reason is really quite simple. 

My brain is too-small to follow all of the moving parts from version to version of alternate covers of the same book. It confuses the royal snot out of me I cant remember if I have all the SEQUENTIAL issues for the STORY. It throws off my mental check list.

Also highly annoying adding to my frustration level and general lethargy are the series re-numberings. I don't want to bother with expending the effort to follow this anymore. I know that low numbers sell more and that a long running series might be overly intimidating for new readers to jump in at issue #786. But really...

The SEQUENCE is part of the point to collecting. Otherwise why bother with individual comics? You may as well just make everything a Trade Paper Back focused on the title of the story arc du jour if the numbering doesn't make a damn. 

And to that end? Are comics the comics themselves essentially just a loss leader to keep the character property viable in games, tv, film, pajamas, toys and other licensed bits? Is that what it has come down to?

Well OK, we've heard all this before but it bitching about it doesn't change anything.

Flip the script.
It strikes me however, that the variants could be a lot of fun and imminently more useful if they were drawing NEW people into the hobby. As is it, selling variant covers to OCD collectors is preaching to the converted.

IF the variants were cross marketed with business partners and advertisers to create some buzz and put a interesting if not somewhat desirable comic in the hands of folks who wouldn't ordinarily consider stopping in at a comic shop, how could that NOT be a win?

I think some of you will recall the promotions that Image and Valiant ran a few years back with coupons redeemable for a "Special Issue" of some book. 

Why not extent that to Advertisers? Test drive a Jeep Liberty or Dodge Neon, or Kia Cube. Get a coupon to mail in for special promo issue. The got milks ads? Buy 8 milks and with proof of purchase get some limited edition whatever it is. Buy 2 new x-box games same premise. SOMETHING. People love the value add freebie. 

Now will all the people who test drive cars, drink milk and play games care, no. Will some of them care, sure. Will comic buyers rush out and soak them up. I expect some of them will try. But not everyone will have the time or money do EVERYTHING to get every cross promotion premium book. I expect that these will wind up in more than a few consumers hands. They will save them for their kids, give it to a friend or find a comic shop to sell it to.. 

Remember NFL Superpro? What if in conjunction with the Yankees Marvel did a Story with Spider-man to Find Derek Jeeter. He is missing or his 3k hit ball is stolen and has to be solved. Give that away or postcard to redeem for that issue.. So if the seating capacity of Yankee stadium is 57545 the for the 14 home games July alone would be: 805630. That's not counting the Met's or the cubs... you get the idea.

I don't know if any of these things is the right thing.... but something IS better than nothing. 

Give people a reason to think about and re-consider/ rekindle their interest in comics. 

I think the industry could do more instead of escalating prices to the captive audience they currently have.  C'mon guys take a risk; be bold.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Nice Saturday.

So this am, I did a little work on the deck. Then I dropped the top and took off for a ride to go go scrounging for comics. 

My favorite pastime. I went to the Raleigh Flea Market. I generally have decent luck there tho its hit or miss.

Lots of people and lots of vendors! One guy I saw named "Rick" was there. I've dealt with him before on a few things. He treats his regulars pretty well. Generally his mdse is Mid to low grade - usually fairly priced to turn it over quickly. I got a JIM  #108 and Witching Hour #1 from him. Along with a beater copy of  Tales of Suspense 72 for 2 bucks. He can work a deal on most things if you buy in volume. I once got a TOD # 10 in F+  from him for 5 bucks.

Then I stopped by to see my man Howard. 
Howard is a kind soul. A gentle bear of a man. He is gracious to me and my boys when they are with me and occasionally gives them some type of freebie. I don't like to take advantage of his generous nature, (and I want my boys to learn not to expect handouts at ever turn.) He is good with his prices and treats people (his regulars) fairly. 

He has some of the most obscure stuff. Check his site. Generally I haggle, wheel and deal and stretch a penny into copper wire before I pull the trigger on a deal, but not with Howard. I give him what he says he wants when I Do buy from him. I say he's a 4 star recommended dealer.

Like take these 3 Wonder Women. Tho they are marked 8 per; I got them for 20. At a Show in this grade, I couldn't buy 1 of these books for less than 20, much less 3. What is there to haggle over?... either you want these books or you don't. I had these already, but they were significantly upgraded copies over what I had at a good price, so I snatched them.

If there is a negative to dealing with Howard would have to be his organization or lack thereof. If you were to ask him: "Do you have x, y and z?" point blank; he would have difficulty saying Yes or No... It'll be something like "check back"... Small price to pay.. Also, A fair chunk (maybe 20-25%) of his mdse does have some type of water damage. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

How I became addicted to newsprint or Confessions of a Comic Book Junkie - Part 1

Hello, my name is Will and I'm a newsprint junkie.
The other day one of my friends from work dropped by my office. I gave him a high level tour of the CSS Blog you are reading. He asked genuinely (as opposed to condescendingly) How did I get started and whats the kick? He had had a few as a kid but it was a phase that had a beginning, middle and end for him. He moved on..

I told him that I had been to the HerosCon in Charlotte earlier this year, and I had a chance to get my Green Lantern #76 autographed by the Artist Neal Adams (as if you didnt know). Explained that the book was key issue. That it was the 1st comic with a social conscience and that many consider this book tied with House of Secrets #92 as the start of the Bronze age. I like the history (niche' as it may be). I like the smell of newsprint and the texture. I like that it is a "right sized" distraction. After work and getting the kids fed and in bed, a comic is a great way to find a calm place for me and unwind. I like something to hold in my hand. As an older reader, I've been around the block a few times and I've seen cycles of similar stories advance and retreat. I try to imagine what I would do if I were writing and the changes I would make. That seemed to abate his question. He was satisfied.

But it got me thinking, where DID it all start....

I cant really remember a time before comics. When I was very young like 3 or 5, a friend of my Mom's whose name was Ray? gave me stack of comics as he was headed off to the Navy. I remember my Dad reading them to me... One, I think, was some flavor of  X-men #2 where Iceman makes a bowl of ice-cream. I remember THAT distinctly. Could have been some flavor of reprint or the genuine book who knows.. I remember Spider-man fighting Doc Ock in some warehouse. I remember Spider-man fighting some girl with red hair that could grapple. most likely the Inhumans Medusa. I remember my Dad reading about the orange "Rock-man" to me. I wish  I could say these were lost to time - but I know exactly what happened to them. I burned them. If they were simply "lost" I may have forgotten them. But NO, I torched them in the fireplace one winter cuz I like the way the newspaper burned. Pyro-boy strikes! I abused them. I immediately felt bad knew I had done something wrong and had remorse. It was under supervision, but I the same I wish my folks had just stopped me and put them to the side. Lets call this Tip for the Comic Collecting novice#2: Fire is bad for your comics.

My parents owned and operated a store. An honest to God Mom and Pop convenience shop. It had a comic spinner. I could always grab one and read. I remember Cain and Abel. DC horror comics REALLY creep-ed me out. So much so that I bypassed heroes and fled to the peaceful oblivion of Riverdale and Richie Rich's where I hid for years.

Ultimately, the folks got rid of the spinner in their store. I remember going somewhere with my Dad to meet one of his colleagues, another store owner, and whining when he wouldn't buy me a comic as we were leaving. It was a Giant Size X-men 1. Yeah that one... on a spinner. I remember it!

Well by now I had about 7 milk crates FULL of comics.  That was my starter set.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Books I'll ALWAYS buy out of the dollar bin.

I don't know if you think like I do. And I hope for your sake you don't or at the very least you do so in moderation. 

Every bargain bin or dollar box I pass, if there is a decent copy of New Teen Titians #39 or Tales of the Titians #44. I am compelled, compelled I tell you to pick it up. 

If its in decent shape I have to buy it. I cannot resist the last Dick Grayson/Robin and Wally West/Kid Flash. 

In ish #39. A seminal character to the DCU walks away from his Golden Age identity. No more "Batman AND Robin". Grayson says "Ef it, I wanna go in a different direction." Robin had outgrown Batman. A pivotal moment in time.

In ish #44 he re-emerges to claim a new identity. He becomes "Nightwing". Hes not too far off maintaining being Nightwing for 30 yrs. Hard to believe its been that long. 

Seems like a MAJOR change that has flown under he radar. I must have 7 or 8 copies of each book.

While not a dollar book per se'  i'm always on the look out for this item as well.
An under-valued Copper Key.

Narrowminded thoughts on B&W art...

I know I'm in the minority here. I know lots of folks love B&W art. And I'm not saying they are wrong to like it and I'm not bad mouthing any particular artists... specifically... but I cant stand it. Back in the day I practically devoured MAD. It helped flesh out my sense of humor. I loved that stuff. 

So I'm not sure you can say I've never been exposed to it enough to appreciate it.

But by and large if they don't care enough to color it, why should I care enough to buy it? It ain't like its cheaper or anything.. I fully realize I'm shutting myself off to some fantastic stuff from some dynamite people, but generally, I can live w/o it if the book is not containing pigment.

However nothing is absolute. There are 2 notable exceptions to my being a neanderthal on this subject.

Sin City (or FM B&W's) - 
His art has a positive/negative space dynamic that makes it hard to tell if you are being pushed or pulled to something. The net effect is something beautiful that I don't think you can really reproduce in color. Its unique.
While not lush, it has unmistakable texture. ANY color use is minimized and well intended for effect.

The Walking Dead -
I think if this book had color it would veer irredeemably to the gross out shock value factor and lose its way or its readers. I love the juxtaposition of who is more horrific? The remaining humans or the "monsters"... at least the monsters are defined and predicable. Color would be a gratuitous distraction from the story, which is like "Comicbook-Crack" for me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dont wipe that on your sleeve... or how to store your comics.

Tip for the Comic Collecting novice#1
Nothing can make an old book look better than putting it in a new bag and board.

I have gone thru and completed re-bagging, boarded and boxed about 90% of my collection. The older stuff mainly. The cheap polybags start to look dingy after a few years, and if not stored in a consistent climate they turn yellow fast. All of my existing ones were different sizes (heights and widths) from a variety of manufacturer's and that annoyed my overly anal self. I just wanted consistency and uniformity;not irregularity in the box. Plus, they just looked funny to me.

So after checking and conferring around I made the leap to Mylar storage
I haven't looked back. 

My preference is to use the silver/golden age size (775M2) because it will fit anything I'm likely to encounter. Doing that gives me the clean uniformity I like in my short boxes. This stuff ain't cheap. 

Combine it with the acid free board (so the book doesn't digest itself in the bag) plus the acid free box (overkill, but it fits the bag and boards stunningly well). 

These will be last bags and boards I ever need to buy. No more switching them out ever so often because these wont degrade. Here is a nice little guide to help you decide which size(s) are best for your collection.

My initial rule of thumb was to use it for any book worth over 20 bucks.. this worked nicely with random key issues... but not so hot for a run of modern books. Luckily for me, most of my contiguous my runs ARE Silver and Bronze age comics, so for the most part I can adhere to the 20 dollar rule of thumb pretty easily. 

My one notable exception to this rule in my collection is: 
Walt Simonsons' run of Thor that Starts at issue 337 and ends at 477(?) 

I bought these when they came off the rack as I was working my 1st job in High School at a comic shop. Simonsons Thor; THIS is a prime example of the reason to collect comics in the 1st place. I bagged those in Mylar out of Sheer sentiment. 

The size of my collection has ebbed and flowed over the years. I even sold some x-men while in college to fund a spring break trip. But I always held onto those Thor's.

I spend so much time hunting for treasure, that it just doesn't make sense not to preserve it when I find it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boo Hiss ...

There is a worrisome trend in comics over the past few years that I think is to the detriment of the Hobby. Its not good for the collector and its not good for the comics themselves. This trend is CGC

What CGC does.
They are an "independent" comic grading service. They take submissions from dealers and individuals and have a process and criteria to access a numeric grade for 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. The rise in popularity of this service was borne out of unscrupulous e-bay vendors taking advantage of the purchaser having to take a leap of faith in making a purchase. A CGC book has been "Big Mac-itized" so that an 8 is an 8 across the board, thus giving the buyer peace of mind. Sounds good in theory so far, right?

That peace of mind comes at a tremendous cost. To have a book graded is approximately 20 dollars. If it was simply a 20 dollar net increase to a books cost, then for certain books, it might be worth while for that peace of mind depending on the book.. but that has not been my experience.  Books at the higher end of of the numeric grading scale demand a premium. It has always been that way.  Robert Overstreet has published a yearly guide of comic price values for 40+ years. His book is the gold standard despite what anyone else may try to tell you.

However, CGC gives a certain additional presumed rarity and therefore a graded book commands (falsely) a higher premium outside of the Overstreet pricing guide. I disagree with this. If anything, it should cost only 20 dollars over the Overstreet. Greed has overtaken this notion. Books are falsely inflated. CGC doesn't make a book more rare or any more in demand just because it has been graded. 

Now this greed thing isn't necessarily CGC's fault, not directly anyway. And I cant fault capitalism and dealers trying to get what they can for their wares.. However, I can blame dumb-asses that are willing to overpay and drive the market up because they don't know any better. They don't trust themselves to grade or they don't know anything about comics and have been seduced into thinking whatever they just bought is the next Amazing Fantasy 15. Its getting harder and harder to find nice material that isn't graded sadly. OR the price is 3x's what it should be with some clown telling ME to get it graded.... 

Then there is this notion of "independent grading". As with any customer relationship, you tend to take better care of the customers that take care of you. I have heard that smaller dealers that send less volume to CGC tend to get grades back that are LOWER on their books than the grades given to to HIGH volume dealers that send more items to be graded for seemingly equivalent books. Could be carping, but I'm inclined to believe it.

Then there's the OTHER little problem. When CGC completes grading, they slab it and encase it in a plastic tomb. You can no longer read it or smell it... it just sits there. I'm not sure what plastic compound they use, but I'm pretty sure its not Mylar. If Mylar is good enough for the the National Archives, its good enough for me. So far no one has been able to tell me that the comics are very well protected. I'm not sure these "slabs" are not doing more harm than good to the books in the long run.

I was in attendance at the Chicago Comic Con. I stopped by the CGC booth and tried to talk to one of the staffers on site. I asked a young lady (Once I got her attention) "if their cases were better than Mylar?" She replied that they were "because they were bigger and offer more protection."  

While I'm not detective or anything, I quickly deduced that Ms Obvious was not the right person to sell me on their seeming polypropylene product vs mylar.

I am still left unsatisfied on this point. Overall my opinion has not changed.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Interesting reading

A friend and colleague from work gave me this book to me to read titled: The Double Eagle. Its about the history of an ultra rare 1933 gold piece. 

Now I'm not a coin guy - even tho I like money as much as the next guy (or gal). This book is about the history of the coins. How the coins came into being. The political and economic factors that started the design process, the Presidents role in them, the US Mints role in the design and manufacture, the artists role, and the politicking and bickering and infighting of all parties along the way. Add in the intrigue of a few corrupt low level Mint personnel, a Middle-Eastern Prince and you have a real mystery to sort out. It becomes less about the coins and more about how things played out.

Jim Shooters blog is much the same; its lends its insights directly from the guiding force responsible for making Marvel Comics a juggernaut in Comics Publishing. Its a peek behind the curtain at Marvel. It looks at a broad range of topics: the publishing industry, how comics are made, how creative types interact and disagree. At times it offers "How to" information for the budding writer and artist - to take direction and criticism for the goal of telling a story.

Not selling a comic, but telling a story...

As an added bonus, I enjoy the comments from informed readers. Jim is generous guy with his time - he interacts and responds to comments and questions daily.. sometimes hourly - even.

And that's what this blog does. In a non-linear format it tells a story.

If you like comics only a little, and appreciate a good read, you should give this a look.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Restored Comics...

Does anyone have an opinion on this? Has anyone done it?

I have a real nice Avengers 4, but, (there's always a but) it looks like the "Dreaded Tape Monster" lifted off a couple of color sections off of the cover. 

Its not torn and doesn't have hole... but the paper is THINNER in those spots... It bugs the snot out of me. Some flaws I can live with, but my eye is drawn there EVERY single time.

I'd like a nicer copy but don't have the cash. It strikes me that I can get a lesser copy, have some restoration done so that it looks great and come out cheaper than if I had bought a restored copy or clean original. The intent is not for personal gain, but the pleasure of having a really fricken nice looking book.

I don't see any problem with restoring a car or a house... why NOT a comic?

Just in time for the movie Cowboys and... err sorry Captain America

I do love me some Cap. I've got lots of doubles here that need to find good homes where they can be appreciated. There is a LARGE lot that spans the 60's 70's and 80's.

We'll start with Tales of Suspense 58 - the 1st Captain America appearance in the title that ultimately becomes Captain America - 103, 105, 106, 107, 111(2), 112(2), 114, 120, 124, 126, 127, 128, 129, 131, 132, 133, 134, 142, 144, 148, 149, 150, 184, 190, 216, 217, 219, 220, 222, 227, 229, 230, 231, 233, 239, 242, 243, 244, 245, 247, 248, 256, 257, 259, 260, 261, 262, 264, 265, 266, 268(2), 269, 272, 273, 274, 275, 278, 319, 333, 413, 418, 43 (Brubaker), 601, Truth: 1, 2, 4, KS1, Annual 8 (with Wolverine)

Wonder Woman returns...

As I'm sure most of you Friday Night Lights fans are aware by now... that Tara, that shapely little minx with the Cindy Crawford-esque mole (Adrienne Palicki) is cast in Linda Carters role for a new TV version of Wonder Woman. 

Here are a few issues to sell or trade to whet your appetite for the show.
The hover around a VG to F grade range for the lot. The issues are: 181, 182(2), 183, 184(2), 185(2), 186, 189, 190, 192, 194, 197, 199, 200. Some of the hardest to locate issues of DC's big 3.

Is it Dared evil or Daredevil..

Yeah, I know what it is and so do you since you are still reading.
I have a nice chunk of some Frank Miller Marvel goodness from the early 80's that could help fill some holes in a collection.

In this lot are issues 172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177(2), 179, 180, 186, 187, 188, 190, 192, 198, 240, 246, 248, 325, 109 (Brubaker) and KS 1. The Miller issues are F+ to VF in grade. The commons hover around VG+ to F with the KS Taped together by some enterprising restorer years before I got it.

The Unexpected.

I have a few really nice issues of "The Unexpected" to trade
This lot consists of issues 105, 109, 111, 112, 114,and 125. The grade on these  are between a F and F+

105 is when the title switches over to a Horror format. The Series is a lesser companion to House of Secrets and House of Mystery.

I'd sell these outright or trade for equivalent Silver/Bronze age books.