Monday, September 10, 2012

What to do with a Modern Comic Collection?

The only reason to collect ANYTHING is because you enjoy it.

It could be Hummel figurines, guns, cars, coins, watches or finger and toenail clippings. To expect any of this stuff to fund your retirement or pay for your kids college education is a pipe dream. Sure certain "items" could do those things and if you are lucky enough to have or find a few great! But with RARE exception are any of these "money" items new modern items.

Buy the stuff you enjoy but don't expect it to be worth anything!
My take on Modern Comics  - anything produced since 1980.

I found a fellow collector on Craigslist wanting to get rid of his modern collection. Tired of them, sick family member, needs cash ..... who knows why he would sell them; could be any reason, really.

I sent him the following note..

Hi Fellow collector.
Saw your post on Craigslist. Looks like you have a lot of modern stuff. I'm really after Bronze and Silver age books. Doesn't seem like that was your area of focus for the collection. So I'm not the man to buy your stuff.

The reason I'm writing is because I know how hard it is to get rid of modern books. Everyone that wants them seemingly has them... OR they aren't willing to give much for them. A dealer would barely give 15 to 20 cents a book for the inventory and to have it eat up the floor space. Finding an individual that's wants them on Craigslist is a great option. However, in case that doesn't work out for you - here's an idea for your consideration that I have used in the past.

Depending on how you do your taxes; Give them to Goodwill. I know it sounds weird, but hear me out... I've donated comics and picked up  donation claim forms to give to my accountant and get value back that way. In the past, I've claimed full cover price, (since many books were bought at a discount from comic shops that is better than it sounds)+ bags + boards and boxes.

This can add up quickly.

It kind of bruises the soul to GIVE them away... but you could possibility come out OK depending on IF it makes sense for the way you do your taxes. And if you can wait and do NOT need the cash in hand immediately, picking up value thru the tax man - you could do worse.

Good Luck!

I had expected that to be the end of it.
Maybe its my generally poor presentation skills, but folks typically don't respond well to unsolicited advice, especially mine. Imagine my delight to the reply below...

Yes, most of my stuff is modern. I started collecting in the mid to late 80's. I have a fair amount of bronze age stuff in my Marvel comics. My Bronze Age stuff is mostly Uncanny X-Men, Daredevil, and some of the old horrorish titles like Tomb of Dracula, Ghost Rider, and Werewolf by Night.

That is an awesome suggestion!

In fact, that suggestion might be enough to save the portion of my collection that would really crush me to sell off. We've donated to Goodwill in the past and I was always surprised by how much credit is given for clothes, toys and such. There were times that I almost felt bad about taking that much of a tax write off for used stuff, but I didn't make the rules. If the IRS is fine with it, then I'm not one to argue.

I never thought of doing that with comics. I have boxes of stuff that I've picked up from other people that I picked up for pennies. Getting cover price for those in a tax write off would be much better than selling them even for a quarter a piece.

Thanks again for the suggestion. It is greatly appreciated.

"Name withheld"

So... The takeaway here is that it CAN make sense to give away certain low value items that would otherwise be hard to sell in the proper way. No collector wants to sell their hard work piecemeal and have their collection cherry-picked by strangers.  That's a painful process for not much money.

The donation option eases the pain of separation and increases turnaround time to unload them in one fell swoop. AND you may be throwing a kid a lifeline to encourage reading and overall interest in the comic hobby.

Enjoy what you collect

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thoughts on Collection Intervention

So I finished up my half hour on the exercise bike and was too awake for bed. I decided to check out the new "Collection Intervention" show on SyFy-Lysis.

Elyse Luray is the host and quite frankly her cred from the History Detectives on PBS is why I decided to watch this show. That and she is easy on the eyes. Elyse welds those eyebrows the way Indiana Jones works a whip.

To be brutally honest, I was kinda leery of this show. I was afraid it would be a combination "Hoarders / Comicbook men" that would hit me squarely between the eyes and sting as I am a collector and accumulator of "Stuff" (Your stuff is crap; My crap is "Stuff"). If not done with some care and understanding, it could hit a little too close for comfort.

I have Silver and Bronze age comics, *some* Vintage Star Wars and Beatles items. But its not in every room of my home, or stuffed into a garage. I know what I have, where I got it, and have a good idea what I paid for it.

(I happen to have an actual car in my garage.)

The cute Pixie Star wars girl was out of control. It might be good for her to get professional counseling. At the auction when she was clearing stuff out... I couldn't help but wonder "What did you spend on that stuff?... are you breaking even or taking a bath on those items?.. It would be interesting know - THAT she was able to part with something wasn't quite enough for me.

Catnip-boy was.. well, just odd. I can imagine how much ridicule he endure as a youth collecting the "girl" stuff. That explains why he felt he had to hide it. However, hes another therapy candidate. he landed a cute girl, get her a cat-woman costume for the bedroom and call it a day, hes a winner in the game of life.

I have my collections. But I can walk in my house. I pay my bills. My wife kids aren't wanting for necessities. I guess that's why I'm not a candidate for the show. No "intervention" is really necessary.

I get how Elyse with her knowledge and network of contacts can help assess a collection and get folks to part with their treasures for a nicer than average price for television. That's good, its a start - but its only one part of a "true" intervention.

It would be nice to have the perspective of a normal collector, talk about proper storage materials and conditions. Feature some collectors with a balanced life to show that every collector isn't bat-guano crazy. It could set a bad stereotype if the other-side isn't shown.

I'll have to give it a couple of more episodes before I fully make my mind up on this show. Evey show deserves some time to find its "legs". In large part due to the Host, the show is handled with a certain sensitivity toward the "participants" - guests? - I'm not sure what to call them, exactly. I think it could go a bit further to really help these folks. They are seemingly out of balance and I'm not sure selling their stuff is the entire solution for them - or that could just be the "television" of it.

I call Jerry Springer "Genius TV" cuz I feel so much smarter than those SOB's on the show. Maybe that IS the point and is exactly what this show is supposed to do. To make average collectors feel better about what they do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

OK, I'm dropping Thor.

Before I explain why...

I remember waaaaay back when when Daredevil was written by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. One issue had a backup story of what a planning session between the two is like. Gene asked Stan to come up with the plot this time. Stan talks about what a genius he is for a few panels (to stall for time) then starts his plot idea.

Stan: OK, DD is stranded on top of the tallest mountain in Tibet.

Gene: How did he get up there?

Stan: You can figure that one out. Anyway, he gets in a fight with Baron Zemo...

Gene: But Zemo's dead! How do we bring him back to life?

Stan: Don't worry, you can figure that one out.

The rest of the story goes on like this, until the last panel when the men with white coats and butterfly nets came up behind them to take them away. After reading Thor lately, I'm convinced that story was true and not a parody.

How else to explain the way they rush disconnected ideas together, amass logical paradoxes, and spoo themselves out of continuity?

Thor sacrifices himself. He goes to the afterlife (not Valhalla) which is actually a kind of limbo where forgotten gods go to waste away for eternity. He becomes a kid and forgets who he is. The other gods tell him they can't leave because a big monster won't let them. Thor gets so emotional over this, he gets his memory back, and convinces the others to help him fight the big monster. They defeat the big monster and come back to life.


Somehow, when Thor died, everybody in Asgard forgot who he was. Everybody except for Karnilla and Ulik the troll. Ulik dresses up like Thor and takes his place. Even though everybody forgot who Thor was, there's supposed to be a Thunder god, so apparently any goob can dress up like a Thunder god and claim he's him.

While this diarrhea is spraying everywhere, Karnilla masquerades as one of the Fates. You know, the three Norns who CAN TELL THE FUTURE. Somehow, she could fake being one of them even though THEY CAN TELL THE FUTURE and would see her coming before she thought of doing it. Through this, she formulated plans to have Ulik take Thor's place, then does the villain laugh and kills the young maiden Fate. You know, the Fates who CAN TELL THE FUTURE and somehow didn't see this coming.

Why did she do this? So the trolls could sneak into Asgard and take it over while the Asgardians were too confused to figure out what was going on. Thor comes back just in time to save everybody. Karnilla then reveals she's one of the 3 Mothers who now rule Asgard. And, just so we the readers won't think the 3 Mothers are completely useless, one of them draws out her sword and defeats Karnilla in a couple of panels. Just like that.

Which of the three mothers did this? I forgot. It wasn't the one who always holds the baby, unless she handed the tyke off beforehand. It doesn't matter to Marvel anyway.

They cram all this into a four-issue story arc. MAYBE they could have pulled this off if they had stretched it out over a year and paced things slower. For instance, after Thor's gone, have a scene where Asgardians are defending the realm against some invading army that's pouring over their walls. There's several pages of battle, the invaders are winning, and the Asgardians are losing hope.

Right in the nick of time however, a familiar heroic silhouette with a winged helmet and a big hammer appears and saves the day. The Asgardians rejoice that the Thunder god saved them and he comes forth to claim his accolades, and the last panel of the story reveals that it's Ulik! Wait, the reader wonders, how did this happen? It's a great hook for the next issue, which the reader eagerly anticipates, right?

To quote John Belushi, "But NOOOOOO!" Instead of doing this, they cram it all together on one page, by saying the Asgardians now know the Thundergod as Tanarus instead of Thor. They show Tanarus striking a heroic pose, then continue on with life as usual. Absolutely no sense of mystery, intrigue or buildup. It's just a laundry list of events mashed together and printed in glorious color.

Seems like they're counting on the popularity of the movies to keep sales going and doing fuck-all for story development. Didn't they go bankrupt when they did something similar in the nineties? They thought everybody would just buy their crap because it was supposed to be popular. Doesn't always work. At least not with me any more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thoughts on Comic Book Men

I was never really "chomping at the bit" to see this show. I've seen "Pawn Stars" and "Storage Wars" and have been WAITING for those shows to show a nice cache of cool vintage comics. Hoping for those to appear.

Full disclosure:
I won a e-bay auction a few months back. Turns out the "Jay and Bob's Stash" was the seller. I won a nice lot of mid-grade Captain Americas issue range between 130 and 150. They gave me great service at a great price. Was very happy with the transaction. I'd deal with them again no sweat!

So why cant I get amped for a show about comics? I'm not sure.
After 2 episodes the show is still finding its legs but the characters fall a bit flat for me so far.

 Walt - is a hustler - he buys and sells, knows the material. Maybe its his accent but I expect him to pull out a pint at anytime. This guy would be the same if he were working a dock or running a fruit stand.

Mike - not sure what he adds just yet.. He seems intent to learn and is content to be along for the ride. I dont have a feel what hes about yet.

Ming - Seems to be the butt of a lot of jokes. He must be the newest fish in the fish tank while every body finds a pecking order.

Bryan - Is that gruff SOB that most comic shops seem to have. He feeds off the weak to fuel his self esteem. His main meal seems to be Chicken a al Ming.

Kevin - He shows up and MC's the table to facilitate discussions.. He missed the Bat-Mobile and the nutty folks that come in. There is a goofy scene with Hockey that was was odd. I'm not a hockey "guy" but other than that I could be Kevin Smith. Well a version of him without fame, wealth and talent. I've worn a beard for years (till recently), I'm funny, I still hang out with some of my old friends from HS and comics rule.. Tell me we aren't virtual twins with a straight face....

I've got the T-shirt..
I guess that's the crux of the biscuit for me. I could be on that show and not miss a beat. I have too much in common with those guys. A shared experience of comics, we've lived thru the same cultural events, of a similar age. I have a "there's a nothing new under the sun" outlook for this show after 2 mere episodes. They aren't taking me anywhere new. They aren't taking me on a journey of discovery. At least not yet....

If I were whispering into someones ear on how to add some juciy bits to the show:

1) Bring a comic creator to the round table, Stan the Man, Neal Adams or Shooter.

2) Feature an under-rated comic with some price increase potential Like this one! A pick of the week. Engage folks to find go into their local comic shop and buy something.

3) Try to engage younger readers and bring them in the store. Show other retailers how you do it. 

4) Talk about digital publishing and why it useless or advantageous.

5) Do something with free comic book day to bring in new readers. 

6) Encourage comics being given away for Halloween instead of candy.

7) Talk about CGC and what they have done for comics.

8) Discuss restored comics.

9) Give storage tips and discuss grading.

10) Talk about things publishers do that bug you or that you love.

Ultimately, I think this show is preaching to the converted at the moment. They have a GREAT slot after the Walking Dead and a platform to bring in new readers should they chose to use it that way.

Bottom line - I'd just like a little more from it.

Its a good show. Its on my DVR list. But I'm not convinced its of "Must-watch" status yet. Its early tho and I am hopeful.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bronze Beauties

No, this post isnt about girls in bathing suits...
I almost wish it was, my blog might get some comments if I pandered and went all sensationalistic and stuff..

Here are some nice books I've picked up from my Man Rick!

Rick is a dude who usually has a booth at the local Flea Market in Raleigh. He does horse trading and swapping and generally has a real nice assortment of comics at reasonable prices.

Over the past 2 yrs or so I have bought a ton of stuff from him. I bought this  Journey into Mystery 95, and a Tomb of Dracula 10 (1st appearnce of Blade)

I've taken him some stuff to buy from me and he deal very fairly. He keeps the material moving and isnt looking to retire off of any one book. So you can ballpark what hes going to pay based off how he sells his stock. I applaud his approach.

War! Who doesn't love a good war book?

How can you NOT love some low number Luke Cages? If its good enough for Nick Cage its good enough for me.

An don't forget Monsters. I think Marvel was trying bring back the classic Universal monsters all by themselves for a while..

And then a hole filler for a "cant refuse it price"

Sometimes craigslist CAN work out

Yes I admit it.
I regularly check craigslist to see if I can find some type of deal to be had on comics. Someone clearing out Dear Old departed Grandmothers' attic...

Personally, I'm holding out hope for the scorned lover getting revenge for not getting a big enough ring for Valentines Day. Or the lady trying to finance a divorve or get payback somehow by partting out her significant others collection out of spite.

I always seem to miss these opportunities... I am ever hopeful, however..

Recently, I have found a few folks that have some trading inclanation.
Here are some recent Daredevils I have managed to run up on...10, 22, 29, 47, 61, 68, 71, 78, 81, 90, 98, 100, 112, 118, 131, 141, 142, 143, 144. Below are a few random pics..

I had to part with some Bronze age Superman/Action/Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsens to aquire them.

Not too shabby....
There is also another fellow I am attempting to make a large trade with on some other DD books.

Stay tuned.. I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Publishing oddities

Every once in a while, I'll run across a book with something I cant quite explain on it.. does anyone know what these little actually oddities mean or are indicative of?
This "bluing" of the back cover is ink. I'm not sure if was added at the Publisher level or Distribution level. 

Most typically the ink runs along the edge. (but that's kind of hard to depict in a scan) In this example we have some ink overage that splashes well in to the back cover. 

Luckily the front is unaffected.

This next book has an odd mark instead of a price, or at least it seems to be indicative of a price. Not being familiar with foreign concurrency, I don't understand the syntax of the "1/-" notation. 
My best guess is that this is for either Canada or the European market at large.. maybe Australian..

This is a bit of an odd mark. Perhaps it was sent to someone in Military Service as part of a subscription or picked up at the corner drugstore from their base. 

I am curious where such a book was intended to be (Geography wise) and can only guess how it left that county and made its way to the States.

Psst. that opaque blemish is tape on the Mylar bag. I was too lazy to remove it for the scan.

Now THIS little gem seems specific to the UK. 

You kind of have to wonder though.... shouldn't there be fewer books with this mark since? Wouldn't this make the book more rare? 

Probably so, but it doesn't seem to matter to US collectors. The cents copies currently rule.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Things I'm not proud of..

Have you ever done the right thing for the wrong reason? I suppose the end justifies the means, to a certain extent. But when I look at my collection and notice the holes, the books that are missing from it.. I cant help but wish I had done something a bit differently.

I must have been maybe 15 years old or.. close to THIRTY freaking years ago. I went to the local flea market with my best friend. We rode with his mom since we both were too young to have a license. This one vendor had a copy of Hulk 1 and DC showcase 22. 

I talked, weaseled, pleaded and practically begged him to sell me these books at a price I could afford. This is back when the Hulk 1 was going for about $600 according to Overstreet. Not sure what the 1st Silver Age Green Lantern was going for then (but I knew what it was and that I wanted it) but it was prolly in the same ballpark. He wanted $150 apiece. (I'd give him that all day long NOW..)

Well after my failed negotiation talks; he asks me to watch his booth so he can go to the restroom and get a cup of coffee. I said sure. I had ample opportunity to snatch and dash with those books. I wanted them oh so badly. I was more afraid of being caught, and having to face my friends mom and then ultimately MY folks. Fear kept me at bay. I suppose a little fear is a healthy thing. But man, I really wanted those books!

And while we are on the subject of theft and temptation as a youth..
I remember when a comic shop opened in my hometown. About the same time frame as the story above. They sold comics new and old along with Harlequin romances, assorted text books, coffee table books and vinyl records. Maybe not a true comic shop but close enough for me in those days. They were just opening up, hadn't been in business very long. Mere DAYS. I remember this dude had the owner by the curb trying to sell him a trunk-load of stuff.

I meandered into the store to look around Boxes of stuff. Still moving in and getting set up. Nothing was in order or had a permanent place to live. I noticed a short box. It had the first 30 or so Conan's. I knew it was out of my price range so I passed it over and continued milling around to get the lay of the land. Well this other dude had wandered in doing the same thing I was just looking around. I didn't see anything that struck my fancy that day and split.

So next time I see the owner hes pretty gruff. He moves his location finds some new business partners and he has things going great guns. Bully for them. I always got lousy service from them even tho I became a regular customer.

All I can figure is that other dude stole something and the owner thought I did it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Get off my lawn

Did I wake up in a time warp?
I feel like Rip Van Winkle who has just woke up and just noticed that comics are priced thru the roof!!
I cant find any DEALS to be had to save my butt!

What I'm about to say will be very unpopular. If you have books to sell, or mind-numbing sums of money you don't want to admit tied up in your comics this is NOT going to make your day.

Someone needs to become Francisco d'Anconia and flatten out the comic values. I mean really... We are talking about paper. Not Gold not Silver;  50 to 60 year old pieces of paper. The destroyer needs to wreak havok on a market out of balance.

Gold is currently priced at $1721.51 per Oz. Silver is priced at $33.54 per Oz. There are more folks that have an interest in precious metals and real commodities than old news print.

Whats the avg weight of a comic? 
I weighed a few for a highly unscientific baseline just to satisfy my own morbid sense of curiosity

   Journey into Mystery #95               1.7 ozs
   Daredevil #156                             1.5 ozs
   Nick Fury Agent of Shield #10         1.7ozs
   Dazzler #1                                   1.5 ozs
       So we can average 1.6 ounces..

An ounce and a half of Gold is = 2582.27
An ounce and a half of Silver = 50.31

I have only a handful of comics that have a value approaching 1k or more
I have boatloads that are the equivalent of silver or significantly better

Housing, energy, manufacturing bubbles have burst. 
How do we deflate the comics market so I can buy some more? 
They cost too damn much!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Christmas 2011

I love my wife. I love my wife. I love my wife. I love my wife. I love my wife. I love my wife.

For 20 years she has asked me the same question  - and - I have given her the same answer.
        Her: "What do you want for Christmas?"
        Me:  "Comics." I want some GD comics under the friggen tree"

20 yrs we've had this lil dance. No comics under the tree. This year. I found me a bundle of "Unexpected" on ebay and gift wrapped them to myself. No keys, nothing special, just hole fillers.

Is that Bad?
Anyone else had to stoop to such measures for some Holiday Joy?

Blogs need love too..

Hi funny-book fans.

I apologize. To all of you. I've been a wee bit lax in posting regularly as of late. I'll try to fixy that right up. Between the holidays, Scout stuff with my boys, work and reading, reading, reading. I haven't been posting. 

Heck, I'm lucky the bills are being paid on time.

As such I havent had much time for scavenging funny books, swapping, wrighting or wronging.