Anyone who has been watching the incredible increases in prices for Original Art and High Grade Vintage comic books can't help but ask themselves if this can keep on going. Is the bubble about to burst? What is going on?
Back in the late 60's there really wasn't anyway to connect with you favorite comic book creators. The only glimpses you got were Stan Lee's Soapbox and you would perhaps glean something from the letters pages.
I can't remember which book it was, I am sure one of you will tell me, these pics appeared. Suddenly there were actual faces behind the people who created these stories that transported me to other realms. Grainy faces...but they were faces.
Barry Smith is a rarity in comic book artists. His first work was X-Men # 53 and was very much like many artists who came into comics at that time, a student of Jack Kirby. This issue in and of itself is really remembered because it was Barry Smith's first work , not because of the Blastaar story it contained. He did a few short stories in Marvels' horror comics, Tower of Shadows, Chamber of Darkness, a three issue stint on Daredevil(#50 -52) and then came Kazar and ...Conan.
So how do we make wise decisions as collectors and as businessmen or women? I really don't have a magical answer to that question. I have both bought and sold books, and afterward wondered why I did either, but invariably a lot of it comes down to money. Moulaaah, cash flow! Even if I have a great copy of an issue, when I see one that is a little bit nicer I can justify buying it with no problem whatsoever.
As so happens when comic book fans of the over 40 crowd get together, we lament the good old days of the Silver Age. This conversation however leapfrogged over to the 80's , and John Byrnes' fabulous run on the Fantastic Four.
My real love for adventure stories started for me when I was 10 years old, and my Grade 5 teacher, Mrs. Nethercott was responsible. She read a chapter or at least several pages a day, in the afternoon, and from…
That was the "Marvel Method". Where DC worked from full scripts and with a very rigid house style, Marvel was having their artists basically run wild with nothing more than a vague plot. The artist's job was to pace the story and often Stan Lee, and later on Roy Thomas, would be introduced to strange and wonderful ideas they never thought of but were responsible for dialoguing. Most of the time it worked marvellously( no pun intended!).
One of the most interesting things about walking away from this great hobby of ours, which is what I did between 1992 and 2002, is finding out what you missed when you return. Both positive and negative.
All that talk last week in Undervalued Spotlight about Amazing Spider-Man #37 and the importance of how it fits into the history of Spider-Man got me thinking and asking the question. Why isn't the Spectacular Spider-Man #2 magazine more in demand.
Last weekend was the Toronto ComiCon. Now I realize this site is read by people from all over the world, and if you have been following the posts here the last few days, a lot has been said about it already. So I will leave it at that except to say I was there looking for raw comics in particular but I was looking for one CGC graded book as well.
The thought of Restored Grade , also known as the dreaded "Purple Label", has been known to make an avid comic collector or two, shudder, when they receive the assigned grade on a CGC submission. Nothing makes you want to raise your fist to the heavens , and scream NOOOO!!! like getting a great grade only to have the dreaded purple label.
I guess my dislike for Signature Series books would go all the way back ,to when 10 year old me stupidly signed my name to the top right hand corner of Silver Surfer # 1,2,3, and yes, number 4, only to realize as I became more knowledgeable in the collecting world, that this was a great way to make my books very unattractive to sell or trade. As well as devalue them.
This is always a hot topic among collectors and dealers alike. Now, I have resisted writing this column because of the heat that goes along with the debate. Nowadays it seems very difficult to have a serious debate about anything, because of the highly charged state of political correctness. But what the heck, here goes.
I was having a conversation with some friends the other day and we were discussing, of all things, Golden Age Romance comics. The ones that were created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Leonard Starr and Matt Baker. Titles like Young Love and My Date and Young Romance. These were huge in their day and were showcases for some of the best sequential storytelling to grace the pages of four colour comics!
In 1971, Marvel decided to venture into a more adult oriented market. They saw the success that Warren Magazines were having with Eerie, Creepy, Vampirella.This was a market that allowed some of the greatest sequential storytellers to let loose without the restrictions placed on the industry by the comics code.
Marvels' first foray into this market was a title called Savage Tales.
One of the most exciting things for me in my collecting adventures has been the discovery of the original art market. Now we all collect comics for different reasons. For some it is the stories, for others it is the art, and then others collect runs or story arcs because of the creative team. Byrne/Claremont on X-men, Adams/O'Neil on Batman etc.
For me it was always the art first then the story. When I was rebuilding my collection I discovered original art for sale. One of the reasons we collect comics is the rarity of the issue. With original art, it is the ONE and ONLY kind of rare.
In the mid '70's I was part of an advanced art class in Valley Heights Secondary School. My art teacher was Ross Bateman, younger brother of the famous Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman. He made it possible for those who were seriously considering a career in art to have 2 periods per day where we could work on whatever field we intended to go into. You guessed it: for me that was drawing comics.
I was sitting in The Comicdenn looking at the Fantastic Four story arc from issue #84 to 87.The issues featured a great Dr. Doom story by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, with great Joe Sinnott inks. What a great story to relaunch the Fantastic Four on the Big screen!