Are We Missing Something

This week Chris and Walt continue to explore the appeal of comics with partial or no covers. How do the boys feel about books like these? Tune in and find out.

We’d love to know what you thought of the show: please leave us a comment in the comments field provided below. All we ask is that you keep things civil.

Do you own any coverless comics or comics with most of the cover missing?

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1688

9 Comments

  1. Chris, once again your wisdom is strong; the better looking the buyer, the better looking the book needs to be!

    Someone like you or I: we’re not happy unless condition is a 9+…

    Someone like Walt….well, the entire top half can be vacant, wrinkles and small tears everywhere, floppy spine with lack of structural strength and a back end that I can’t even begin to describe…could all be consider acceptable in his case!!!!

  2. ouch I think grading and wives should not be spoken in the same conversation but then I probably have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to some books I own and and exactly why they are worth so much now,
    Walt : Don’t slab books like those you describe. Sell it to the buyer, apply your wisdom as an advisor to educate them and grow a new reader/collector.
    If I happen to outbid them and they wish to find another copy as a result. a new (Canadian) comic collector is possibly born.

  3. Spider! Clearly you have seen Walt’s collection. Ol’ floppy spine Walt.
    Activejim you are so correct. Grading and wives should never be in the same conversation. Actually, it’s more like grading and husbands. I hate to see what grade I would get.

  4. Yes, yes- I know…you’ve all been waiting on the edge of your seats for LIVE FROG to make his appearance and start ranting about coverless/incomplete comics. But soft, what day is this?- I will speak gently for a change & spare your eyes a barrage of bitterness! My views on incomplete books should be well known by now & this show seems to sum up how I feel about them quite adequately! I could never invest in such a thing & would only pick one up as a space filler/reading copy only if it was cheap, real cheap!
    A serious collector who has been ‘in the game’ for a very long time can not fail to pick up a few books like this in his travels. Most of my incomplete books came in ‘group lots’ where I had no choice but to buy the whole lot or walk away. I have only picked out a handful of such books intentionally in my lifetime, such as Our Army at War #81 or Boy Comics #6, but these guys were almost free at the time & I got them as filler/reading copies [ thus preserving my complete copy of Boy Comics #6 from needless handling]. I personally can not see the point of ‘investing’ in such items, but recognize that they have their place, especially as complete copies of some of these older books are hitting the stratosphere. To whit:

    A coverless [ & missing the first two wraps ] Marvel Comics #1 just sold at Heritage for $22,800.00 USD. I could never pay this kind of money for such a cadaver, and would sooner go without owning a copy than have an incomplete corpse in my collection. Not to say that I have the money for a complete example, even in Fair condition…..

    Your comment about the acceptance or non-acceptance of coverless/incomplete comics being ‘a generational thing’ could be true, as I believe that I am from a generation that valued completeness, & I have trouble seeing incomplete things as having any real value. To me, they will always remain a ‘space filler & nothing more.

    Another problem that I have with books like your Funny Picture Stories #1 is that it is a remaindered copy that should have been destroyed. The title was returned to the distributor for credit & the guts were reported as being destroyed. Technically, these things should have no value & it was a crime to re-sell such items. Read the fine print in many books, paperbacks & magazines about the resale of ‘mutilated copies’ being a crime, & this will make you think. Many similarly mutilated comics, pulps & magazines have survived and are beginning gain acceptance in the collecting community. Collectors do not seem to care where there artifacts came from or how they got there & just pay up. It also bothers me that so much Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko & others original art was stolen, yet continues to sell on the auction scene at record prices! These artists were not compensated for the loss of their art, and the ‘fans’ don’t care. It speaks volumes about the collecting society!
    Chuck Rozanski bought a collection of books 1.6 million copies deep back in the 1980’s. It was called ‘The Second Mile High Collection’ and is not a pedigree collection. It was a warehouse of remaindered/uncirculated copies that had effectively been stolen from the various publishers, such as Marvel, from the late 1950’s to about 1979. Read his blog for details- it is fascinating! The books were not mutilated, but uncirculated. It is possible that many of them never even hit a newsstand! Chuck had to approach Marvel before making his purchase & they gave him their blessing! The market has been thus infused with these ‘stolen’ books ever since. Chuck had lots of duplication in this hoard, with one particular SA Marvel comic yielding 14,000 copies, all in NM condition [ so he says ]. He declines to say which issue. It bothers me to think that our hobby is tainted by stolen comics & stolen art, yet what do we do??- do we destroy your copy of Funny Picture Stories #1 ??? Nope, such an act is now pointless as the distributors & publishers of this comic are all dead & the act would be meaningless. Ho hum.

    Yep, Funny Picture Stories #1 is rare & historic & even in this state, will find a buyer. I will pay $20.00 for it tops, no more. That is all it is worth to me. Stolen goods, right ??

  5. I was working in a comic book store back in the early 1990’s. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon & the store was bustling. A guy showed up to sell me a comic book. His entire family came with him, wife & two kids. The book was Detective Comics #38 and it was in Fine condition….except…it had a problem.

    A six inch square was cut out VERY NEATLY from the centre of the cover, with only Batman & Robin’s legs being visible. I held the book aloft & THE ENTIRE STORE FELL SILENT…a deathly hush…EVERYONE knew what the book was in spite of it missing the most important part of it’s cover! This is the only copy of Detective #38 that I have ever held in my hands.

    I spent about ten minutes explaining to the family how important this book was [ they had no clue! ] & what was wrong with it & how it affects the value. I showed them the listing in the current Overstreet guide & they went pale! We discussed restoration & the associated costs & they thanked me for my honesty. I did not buy the book, but made a decent offer in case they went somewhere else & were low-balled by some piece of filth. Our hobby has too many sharks & they prey ceaselessly on the minnows. I do not know what happened to the book- I am sure that that family had a very interesting discussion at their dinner table that night!

    We did not see too many books like Detective #38 coming in ‘off the street’, but two weeks after I began working for that store…a little old lady came in to sell me a comic. She was on her way to the Silver Snail, but they had been SO RUDE to her on the phone, she decided to come to us instead. The book was Detective comics #35 and it was again, in about Fine condition EXCEPT that the original owner had CLEANLY placed a strip of tape along the front cover edge & the spine ‘for it’s protection’! I bought the book & re-sold it days later to a guy who now has EVERY SINGLE BATMAN COMIC BOOK in his collection. Must be nice ! [ We also sold him a Detective #11, but I forget how we got that copy- we were doing so much trading at shows back then!!! ]

    Things coming in ‘off the street’-

    I have had, physically in my hands, both the October & November 1939 copies of Marvel Comics #1 in my hands while working for that store. They were not for sale. They were heavily restored & the customer had brought them in to let me see them. Like WOW!!! Yes, they were poorly produced, very sloppy work .Way to go Marvel on your very first comic book ! What do you want for a dime, kid???!!! Perfection??? Just read the damn thing & make sure you buy the next issue!! Hot Damn!!

    I own a Detective Comics #21 that has ONE OR TWO PANELS CUT OUT OF EVERY STORY rendering it impossible to read!! I paid $5.00 for this thing back in the 1990’s and it drives me nuts!!! Just like the Detective #38, it probably became part of some kid’s school project and was thus mutilated ! I hope the kid got good marks for his/her efforts!!
    I will gladly sell this book to you for $1000.00 ! [cheap!!] All I have to do is find it in my basement. Let me know & I will bring it to Big ‘B’ comics. Thansk you.

  6. Hey guys! A She Hulk #1 CGC 9.8 sold at Heritage on Oct 17/2022 for $1560.00 USD. A week later, on Oct 24/2022- another CGC 9.8 copy sold for $504.00 USD !! What is going on !! Prices on CGC 9.8 copies of this book have been all over the map lately !! What is happening ???

    I have a long box of these things in my basement! Should I get them all slabbed ??? Let me know!!!

  7. I actually have one coverless comic in my collection and I am the guy who took the cover off! “Horrors,” you say, but it’s true. I have had to sell many of my books over the years for frivolous things like food and rent, and often regret the fact that I will never be able to afford to replace many of them. But, one day, I came upon a copy of Darredevil #53 with his origin retold, with stunning art by Gene Colan. The cover looked like it had been used as a dinner plate! But, the interior was pristine! It was cheap, so I bought it anyway and removed the disgusting mess of a cover. So, now, the first impression of this book is the lovely Gene Colan splash page of Daredevil sitting on a snowy rooftop contemplating his future. As cool as the original origin by Bill Everett was, Colan just blows this one right out of the water with those dynamic layouts. I could probably replace this book with a complete copy and still not break the bank, but I’m just happy to have the story, cover or no cover, so why bother?

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