Collecting Titles

This week Chris and Walt talk about the futility of collecting titles through the ages.

We’d love to hear what you thought of the show, please let us know in the comments field below and please keep it civil.

Do you collect the whole title? Through all the eras?

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1580

30 Comments

  1. Interesting discussion, very enjoyable this week! As a long standing collector since the 80s, it always seemed like a grand romantic idea to dedicate your collecting life to try to amass a complete collection of say FF, Batman, or Spidey, but I agree that I don’t think that’s even on the radar of many collectors these days – it’s just not possible from a time, space or expense point of view to be a completist for all but the most obsessive of folks. I’ve started trying to put a few big runs together in the past and just ran out of steam and patience once the keys have been safely gathered. I did also toy with the idea of going for Cerebus 1-300..
    I definitely think that where I am at the moment as a collector is to go for eras or specific numbers, so some runs I’ve gathered in this vein are 2000AD 1-250, X-Men 94-300 (to be honest that run could have stopped at 142 but force of habit led me to keep buying far too long), and the original DC Vertigo Sandman 1-75
    Some runs are small enough to be attractive and are still attainable, i.e. original Marvel Star Wars 1-107, Rom 1-75, Hulk 1-6 even (although 1 is getting way out of reach…).
    Maybe good advice for a new collector then is to keep your want list trim and specific – don’t try to bite off more than you can chew, or you end up with so much stuff you’ve just grabbed for the sake of grabbing it, or lose interest completely as you feel you are getting nowhere..

  2. Great discussion! When I was young I was all into the runs until particular series just didn’t di it for me anymore. Probably the longest run I have is FF… 6- possibly 146… then skipped ahead to the Byrne run. The issues in between seemed like the proverbial beating if the dead horse. Similar with Spidey… there are storyline runs I liked but I just wasn’t motivated to get every issue. I guess I am more leaning to Walt’s perspective on collecting and agree there are books like FF #1 I would only open to make sure all the pages were intact rather the actually read ( as if I didn’t know the story already)! I do occasionally open a silver age Marvel to read a letters column or Bullpen news as they were fascinating to me then as they are an interesting historic window to me now. I don’t have a trade of the Daredevil Miller run… but it is on my bucket list to read my run sometime… and I do love the FF run from the 60’s but would like ti read it as an Essential volume rather then cracking my covers these days!

  3. Hey Mark, I like your self reflection re the X-Men run, #94-142 / 300 run and you hit on something Chris and I didn’t in that chasing down 95 issues of nothing books can grow old fast and is not for everyone. Thanks for adding to the show.

    Gerald, sounds like you collected the title as long as it gave back to you, once it did not you dropped it, that’s good collecting as far as I’m concerned.

  4. I find that a few Neal Adams Brave and the Bold are more interesting than Batman or Detective from 1960 to 1969. The creepy, not cute, Spider-Man by Ditko, McFarlane and Larsen are more interesting than ASM 39-200. If you follow artists, not titles, you win every time.

    And as for Hulk 181 by Wein & Trimpe – is there a duller story wrapped around even more boring art?

  5. Great point Timothy about following artists (I would also add writers, since that has been my personal contribution to comics). You just can’t lose that way and you don’t have to worry about putting together whole runs of long-standing titles. My Fantastic Four collection is all over the run, but includes the likes of Kirby, Bryan Hitch, Mike Weiringo, Steve Epting and Leonard Kirk among a few others (No Byrne!). I gave up on ever completing a Daredevil run so have only the Bendis and Maleev/ Brubaker and Lark run, which to me is the absolute cream of the crop. I’m also partial to this run since it includes, Bendis, Mack, Brubaker and Lark, all Caliber Comics alumni like myself (except they got famous!).

    There are also some great short runs of titles that come to mind. A full run of Planetary, for example, at only 27 issues, is very doable, and you get to watch John Cassaday’s art evolve before your very eyes. Alan Moore’s Promethea is only 32 issues long and features the stunning art of J.H. Williams III! Two great tie-ins to the F.F. mythos are the 2015 Secret Wars (only 9 issues) with amazing art by Esad Ribic, and The Infamous Iron Man (at only 12 issues), another Bendis and Maleev collaboration. These are all wonderful short runs that anyone can put together without breaking the bank.

  6. I agree there are short runs that won’t break the bank even amongst Golden age comics as well! I have a beautiful run if EC’s Valor with outstanding art and far less sought after then the horror and Sci-fi issues… all 5 in upper midgrade for less the $100! I also put together the complete run of Bobby Benson and the Bar-B-Bar Riders… with the most expensive being the Frazetta covers but at a fraction of any of his other golden age work!

  7. You may be interested to know, Gerald, that Don Knotts’ Wikipedia entry has no mention of his role as the voice of Windy Wales in the Bobby Benson and the Bar-B-Riders radio show. Sorry. Just had to get that off my chest. And! Valor, has some of the very best art in the entire E.C. canon, and, sadly, garners very little respect. Another stupendous short run from the E.C. era is Extra! Just priceless realism! Makes me think of newspaper strips by the likes of Stan Drake and Alex Kotsky.

  8. As an Old Time Radio lover that is a tidbit I didn’t know! Thanks! I have never heard a single episode off the Bobby Benson series either! The New Direction comics had great art but I think E.C. already had a bad rap by then and some of the subject matter was a bit esoteric for the public! I am not sure Psychoanalysis would even fly today!

  9. Walt, your take on collecting, is lacking. Comic shop owner shoots self in foot. Your very business existence supports Chris’s argument. Collecting is the love of discovering and acquiring ,completing a subject matter that matters to you. Don’t discourage it.
    I use to think Rom or Ms Marvel were crap tittles. They seem interesting to me now, years later.
    As for Daredevil….There the Cap DD #43cover, The Dr Doom Covers, the Barry Smith issues, the Black Panther appearances, the Black Widow delightful good girl covers with the 3d borders. There are many reason to collect them . Just because its not to your tastes, doesn’t make you right.
    I recall arguing with you Walt 12 years ago , when you were thinking of eliminating Old classic books,runs and keys from your shop. I think we are both glad you didn’t do that.
    Any how, Nice show Chris and Walt.

  10. Hey Dave
    If you like Daredevil #43, how about the cover of #44, one of very few inking jobs on somebody else’s pencils Jim Steranko ever undertook, and one of the most beautiful covers in the whole Colan run, although I am also partial to those Doctor Doom covers. And, speaking of “not to your tastes” I am largely alone in my dislike for Romita Spider-man, Miller Daredevil or Byrne Fantastic Four (although I have been a huge F.F. fan for the last 60 of my 67 years). The beauty about comic books is that there is enough variation to suit everybody’s taste!

  11. Hi Mel. I didn’t know that about DD#44. I love Steranko. Thank you Mel. I liked Romita at the time. But I prefer Kane and Ditko now .. Macfarlene was great as an artist until he began writing Spiderman. Couldn’t read his Spiderman run. Funny how we can change. I too disliked Byrne on FF and the Thing. But I like his Namor. . And yes, something for every body, I think Ill go look at my Daredevil#44 now 🙂

  12. So true about McFarlane! Unreadable. I would even add my doubts about Jack Kirby’s writing talents. Great conceptualist, but his skills as a wordsmith were sadly lacking. The whole Fourth World concept was brilliant, but it read like a poorly educated teenager had written it. But!!! In the world of great comic art, Kirby is a god (see F.F. Volume 3 #511 if you don’t believe me). I am also thrilled to know that there is at least one other person on the planet who doesn’t like John Byrne!!! And, though my Spider-man artist was always and only Ditko, I’m glad you also mentioned Gil Kane, a much underappreciated artist! Also on the subject of Ditko, I always thought he was the only guy who could draw Doctor Strange, until I saw what Bill Everet could do…and then Marie Severin…and then Dan Adkins…and then the great Gene Colan!!! Now, after you have had a long, adoring look at that Daredevil #44, dive into the Bendis and Maleev run! You won’t regret it. Hell, how could you? You, sir, are a comic fan! Stand proud and spread the word, True Believer!

    mel taylor R.F.O., K.O.F.

  13. Love the discussion everyone. I think that there is no problem with trying to complete a run if you want. If I could afford to hunt down a whole ASM run, I would. I think the notion of spending for investing needs to be curbed a little. There is no reason to not buy a run of a title if you want it. But at the same time, you can buy individual issues of a title too. if you want too. I bought an issue of Alpha Flight #3. Gorgeous Byrne black and white, crazy design. Love it. And I know that there are people that would say “why would you buy that?” There are no first appearances, no major character changes, etc. But I liked the cool cover. The lack of investment opportunity shouldn’t determine whether you buy a book or not.

  14. Well spoke, Chris. I think most of us are in this hobby because we love the medium in all its many variations (and variants). Buy what you like and you’ll never be disappointed! Often said and oh so true. I didn’t start collecting when I was a kid because I thought I would make a mint one day when I sold everything. It didn’t even occur to me that they might be any kind of investment. My only investment was in the enjoyment. Those stories got me through some rough days of childhood and I can still say the same today, whether because of having a bully ten years older than me for a brother or just taking a well-earned rest from the day to day trauma of caring for a wife with Alzheimer’s. I still look forward to every Wednesday as much as I did years ago, and I know that, once a week, my super power will kick in when I turn into a giddy six year old again. There’s just nothing like a great comic to take you away from it all!

    mel taylor R.F.O., K.O.F.

  15. I think the notion of spending for the accumulation of commercial goods as a way to feel warm inside needs to be curbed a little. There is no problem with not wanting to collect any more and break a lifelong habit… if you want.

  16. So great to have Mel Taylor back in the comments! Although I think it just cost me $56 for a copy of that Daredevil #44!

    Lovely to read that I am not alone in my feelings for McFarlane’s ASM run; I have been reading it recently and the overwhelming emotion at the end of each issue is ‘that was truly awful, I’ll sell that tomorrow’ – they are incredibly liquid asset and are snapped up almost instantly on facebook!

    Whilst I enjoy Byrne and therefore cannot join your club I would just like to say that Dave Cockrum’s initial X-Men run is the gold standard for me (I’m currently reading #94-279 after completing the run this year). Would happily just hunt down Cockrum art and covers as a collecting thread!

    Maleev & Bendis: It was Walter and his undervalued spotlight on issue Daredevil #26 that got me going and I’m so glad he did, it’s fantastic – the only drawback is that each issue can be digested within minutes; a reader has to take a conscious decision to slow down and take in the artwork otherwise 5 minutes and it’s all over.

    Speaking of Claremont & Byrne; I’ve been compiling an Iron Fist run, started off pretty average but issues 3-6 really bed down and John’s art takes a big step up and I’m enjoying it now; these little 5 to 18 issue runs like Black Goliath, Hero For Hire, Infantino’s Spider-Woman are very enjoyable

  17. If I read between the lines Spider… your saying Bendis isn’t so much a writer as he is a plotter? I did enjoy the run of Daredevil… but agree it was all about the art!

  18. Thanks Spider! Of course, I had to attend a Belligerence Management Program before I could be welcomed back into the fold. Just kidding! Really. I’m kidding.

    I do so love listening to people talk about the books they love, rather than the markups they are anticipating when they resell. It’s all about enjoyment, and I’ve been enjoying this medium since I was six. I learned how to write and how to draw from comic books and have spent a lifetime passing my passion on to anyone who shows the slightest interest. Practically daily in our apartment building I leave comics down in the lobby for anybody to pick up and enjoy. I actually have more fun giving the things away than looking for the best resale value. A few years ago now, when I turned 60, my old man asked if I was going to finally stop reading comic books. You may well imagine my answer: Not bloody likely!

    cheers, mel

  19. Hey Mel, 2 questions:

    What new books are you reading these days?
    Where can we see some of your art?

    I follow your… is it your brother, Rick on IG and I always enjoy looking through his posts… of northern Ontario in particular.

  20. Hey Charlie
    Well, first, thanks for even asking! My art is largely confined to my old mini-comics from the ’90s (Bootleg Comics and Stories), and whatever freelance gigs I have picked up over the years, from spot illustrations in magazines to theatre posters to placemats, all the way back to the early ’70s. For the sweet and lowdown, check out Bob MacMillan’s online Encyclopedia of Canadian Animation, Cartooning and Illustration (canadianaci.ca).

    My writing has usually been backed up by my cousin Rick (R.G.) in such titles as Peter Hsu’s Quadrant, Caliber Presents and Negative Burn, as well as the anthology Growing Up With Comics. For my 65th birthday a couple of years ago I had my friend Alfonso Espinos of Studiocomix Press reprint some of my favourite stories in two standard-sized comics and one mini-sized collection of the best of the minis, as well as a facsimile reprint of Bootleg Comics and Stories #1 from 1993. You can order any of the reprint stuff from the kind folks at Studiocomix Press. Oh! And you can check out the recent (last Friday) promo for my latest gig (thanks largely to Alfonso and Stephie who did all of the real work), a very limited (only10) edition of Mel Taylor’s Bootleg Mystery Box, each of which includes all four of the reprint books, an Eddie the Fly T-shirt, button and sticker, a promotional poster from one of my signings, a set of four Canadian Golden Age comic cards scanned from my personal collection, and an original piece of art in every box! Or! You can just order any of the books individually, or your Eddie the Fly T-shirts, from the Studiocomix Press online store!!!

    Enough already with the shameless promotion! Oy vey!

    New books? I just waited eight months for the latest issue of my favourite “quarterly,” Lazarus Risen. I am happy to say it was worth the wait. Rucka’s plotting and scripting are stunning and Michael Lark is this generation’s Al Williamson. Just beautiful! Despite the musical chairs on the Fantastic Four art team, I’m still really enjoying this particular take on the characters. Very family oriented, and they are, after all, Marvel’s “First Family,” I’m most looking forward to my friend Jim Williams’ Echolands coming this month. The artwork is as beautiful as Promethea and Sandman: Overture combined. Really.
    The plague has also given me time to go back to runs like Promethea, Lazarus, Planetary, The Infamous Iron Man , Secret Wars 2015, 1985, Velvet. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Batman: Year One, and Cages, among so many others.

    AND! During this most auspicious of month’s! I will be taking out my pooched old beaters of Fantastic Four 1 to 10, and holding them in my hands!!! NO tweezers! NO cotton gloves! AND! Since they’re not CGC graded! I well read them!!!

    Face Front True Believer!

    mel taylor R.F.O., K.O.F.

  21. Sounds like you were quite the journey man:

    http://canadianaci.ca/Encyclopedia/taylor-mel/

    But no links to any of your pics online?

    I once tried reading an early copy of Young Men from when Marvel was Atlas. The cover was kinda brittle… I guess I was a little careless and half way though, the cover cracked along the spine and started to come apart at the top staple. In that moment, it went from a mid grade to a low grade, costing me a couple of hundred bucks in value at least. If you want to read in relative comfort, I highly recommend a cheap bottle of red wine, Celine Dion music the background… and a beat up reprint copy that you can hold any which way you want in the comfort of you easy chair. Otherwise, put the wine away, and be gentle with those pages.

  22. Actually, Charlie, I am just an opportunist who will try most anything to make a living. I do like the sound of “journey man” though. Kind of catchy. I’m afraid I don’t really have much of an online presence since I don’t use Facebook, My Space, Twitter or any of the usual antisocial media sites. I just use My Twit Face. That is to say, I turn off my compuker, get off my butt, and go out and talk to real people. Works like a charm! You can always order the mini comic Bootleg Red: Best of the Mini Comics for a mere three bucks from Studiocomix Press. Most of the rest of the reprint books have R.G.Taylor art with my words. Rick draws realism, while my stuff is largely what I would call cartooning, which is not really suited to my slice-of-life stories.

    And! I’ll be reading my FF beaters with a glass of Te Bheag in hand, and Thelonius Monk on the turntable! Celine Dion?! Heaven help us!

    cheers, mel

  23. Celine Dion only pairs with the incredibly thin modern comics I believe…..

  24. Charlie, my friend, I have to tell you, honestly…you’re wrong. Hey, you told me to tell you, and I am.That was painful. I only played a few seconds of the video because there was no indication what it might be, and I trusted you! Henceforth, I shall always be more vigilant when I see A3QAqZQYLIQ. It is burned into my memory like an embarrassing tattoo! Now…butter tarts!!! There’s a Canadian icon!!!

  25. Well, it’s now clear we have seriously divergent tastes in music! I’ll stick with whisky and jazz for my comic reading marathons. And, by the way, just so folks know this is still a comic book related site, I just finished rereading, again, the 2015 Secret Wars by Hickman and Ribic, still one of the best short runs out there. Keep the faith, True Believers!

  26. Divergent tastes? So, you mean… people are different? No wonder Marvel feels the need to diversify.

    Speaking of Secret Wars, recent rumours suggests that Disney has been quietly locking up licensing rights to make that film. This seems inevitable to me since it was a major/iconic event in comic book history, so similar to Civil War, the Secret Wars title or concept is worth big bucks. However, with several volumes or iterations… which one? Due to the introduction of the multiverse, many speculate it may be loosely based on the 2015 Hickman series.

    Remember what I said about being patient and looking several years out? Here’s another opportunity… to load up on these by plucking them out of the cheapie bins and storing them away. With phase 4 having barely begun, and with Kang and the next Dr. Strange set to introduce the multiverse in a more significant way… time is on your side. Currently, the FCBD #0 issue is whats being recommended, but there’s an abundance of FCBD copies. If #0 is what you wanna bank on, go seek out the 9.8’s. For anything lower than a 9.8, I would collect the whole set for under $20, then flip for $40 or more as a VF set. Perhaps they may reach as high as $100 during peak cycle. We’ve got the play book and the patience, so all we need to do collect, wait and leverage the news.

    “$20 to $100 is chump change and not worth my time”. This is true. So we use the power of multiplication, diversification and repetition to pay for that trip to Maui. To quote an older, wiser man with great tastes… “I am just an opportunist who will try most anything to make a living”. As belligerent as that may sound, I’m down with that!

  27. Speaking of making a living, I have also been a book dealer, college instructor (Journalism and Effective Technical Communication) and a shopping mall Santa Claus, in addition to jumping on most any other bandwagon for a buck. My old man (who made shoes his entire life) once looked at my resume and said, “That’s not a career! That’s a bucket list!” Wow! And some people think I’m belligerent!

  28. Chris O, I love Alpha Flight #3 (and it’s older cousin Spectacular Spider-Man #101)…and we are not alone…apparently it was Byrne’s favorite work too!

    I started an IG account to diarise and show what I’m reading (too much of IG is guys trying to show how wealthy they are by their books, which I find both hilarious and very sad) and that good, inexpensive books are evident and AF#3 was the first issue I shared..the art in there is every bit Byrne at his prime IMHO and as you said, it’s not investment, just pure enjoyment

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