Chasing Geese

A few years ago I made a mistake, in hindsight, when I started my Covered 365 posts. I picked only one cover for the matching day. As the year went on I modified it to pick a “cover of the day” while also adding some honourable mentions; it made for much more interesting posts and debates.

With that lesson in mind, I’m starting my 2022 mission to find interesting things during my weekly selection of comics for our eBay auctions by not limiting it to one interesting tidbit: I’m leaving it open-ended and will include multiple interesting observations. Somehow I’m reminded of the Beatles Magical Mystery Tour where they toured around England and filmed all the interesting things that happened; the problem was that nothing very interesting actually did happen. Let’s hope we can avoid such a fate.

I went on my first goose chase of the year thanks to Li’l Kids #1. As I inspected the book I noticed the first story featured Li’l Willie: of course, my mind went right to all the possible Li’l Willie jokes I could write but after I settled down I started to wonder what happened to Li’l Willie, Li’l Aspirin, Li’l Lizzie et al. Turns out these are reprints from late 1940s Timely Comics. There is no mention that these are reprints in the Overstreet Price Guide. If anyone knows an Overstreet advisor perhaps you should ask him to add that detail.

Bud Plant once left a comment about great old house ads and I knew I found a winner while I leafing through a copy of E.C’s Panic #4. What an amazing Jack Davis drawn ad for the E.C. Fan-Addict Club. It looks like an original piece drawn just for the ad; great stuff.

And finally, I learned something new this week. I’ve gone about all my comic business thinking that Hulk Annual #5 contained the first reprinting of the first appearance of Groot, from Tales to Astonish #13. As soon as I saw the splash page it was obvious it was no reprint; turns out it is the second appearance of Groot. The whole thing is kind of embarrassing.

I can see this year-long exercise uncovering a few undervalued comics. I’d like to submit Hulk Annual #5 as the first undervalued book uncovered. Groot is a very big deal and his second appearance is sitting here in relative obscurity in Hulk Annual #5. Last year a CGC 9.8 sold for $750; sounds like a bargain to me.

Lets round this week off with a quick recap of our weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange eBay auctions that ended last night. So that story I wrote a few weeks ago right here in this part of the post about the second printing of Amazing Spider-Man #361, the one where my buddy bought it by accident off ComicLink for $122 ish and then listed it on our auction and actually got about $5 more, well that was a non-paying bidder. Fast forward to tonight and the second printings are obviously heating up, same said book just finished at $160. I told my pal not to worry if payment doesn’t come through, we’ll just keep listing it until it hits $1,000.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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Bud Plant
2 years ago

I never knew the Li’l Kids were reprint books, and neither did I know Groot’s second appearance. You’re batting well for me. I might have to pick up that Groot. I sold my first appearance when the price skyrocketed, figured I’d rather spend that money on a couple killer early DCs or Centaurs that one TTA issue. I flipped my Black Knight #1 for the same reason. We can’t keep it all, can we? Not with my expensive habits of Golden Age acquisitions.

Yeah, that EC fan club ad, what a winner. I only wish I was around then to have gotten an EC fan kit.

Fanboy Dave Gibson reprinted the color membership certificate (and maybe the rest, I don’t remember now) in the early 70s, and did a rather nice job. We pulled a prank on Bart Bush once, Terry Stroud “fell” and tore Bart’s original membership certificate at a 1970s show. Cruel, cruel boys. Bart actually nearly fainted before we quickly explained we’d switched it with the reprint.

Bart went on to revive the Oklahoma City OAF-Con (favorite by far of any shows I do now, including Comic-Con) but sadly, he passed away suddenly a couple years ago. We took him to New York Comic Art con with us in 1973. I crashed my van in Houston, the nite after the show there, and had to buy a new one in Dallas one week later, on the Sunday the show closed there. We had to keep going on our 3-show journey: Houston, Dallas and SeulingCon. Nothing stopped us. Bart flew home to Oklahoma while we drove back to California.

My MMMS kit has been in my collection since I joined…my name was in Fantastic Four #40, very last name on the list of 40 members they ran throughout all the titles. Some cold winter’s nite, someone could go over all those names and ID all the future writers, artists, famous fan and dealers who joined the MMMS in the mid-1960s. Maybe someone has.

I always look at letters pages in ACGs, Marvels, DC, even 1940s letters pages (found a budding artist or two in Famous Funnies, one of the titles who would publish fan cartoon contributions), but I have to admit I haven’t been going over the MMMS names asI thumb through those sixties Marvels.

Chris Meli
2 years ago

Love the kid in the bowler hat on Li’l Kids. I wonder what the editors were thinking eight-year-olds would make of a kid in a bowler hat. I think it never actually crossed their minds. To me as a kid it was like a code for “this kid is like Spanky from the Little Rascals”, because in real life I had never seen anybody wearing a bowler.

Yes embarrassing on Groot – I don’t think many other people thought this was a reprint. The story is actually a lot more meaningful in a couple of other obscure directions, and points to two better Spotlights (in my opinion). First, this isn’t really the second appearance of Groot, as he and the other monsters are illusions created by Xemnu. In this sense it is like the “second appearance” of Brainiac in Lois Lane #17, where Brainiac appears in a flashback. I like that book as a “second appearance” because it is a lot scarcer, a really key villain, and a fun cover. More importantly, Hulk Annual #5 is a key point in the long Xemnu/Hulk rivalry, which of course is very one-sided, and got a lot of attention recently in Immortal Hulk (with some really beautiful and fun covers). Xemnu was the Hulk before the Hulk, and he’s never gotten over it – a great easter egg on the cover of #32 referencing this. So the real spotlight out of this is Journey Into Mystery #62, first Xenu – first Hulk! I don’t know why this book hasn’t gotten much more love in the past. Say what you will about prototypes, but this is too close to be ignored.

Talking my own book with these admittedly, but I love both of these picks.

2 years ago

awesome stories Bud, I love being a spectator as you journey back through your memories and take us all with you. Thank you sir!!!

Chris Meli
2 years ago
Bud Plant
2 years ago

Chris, thanks very much for the link. That’s fun, I like the call-out comments. I wish someone would do them all. Also those are good notes from Mark Evanier & others, absolutely true. Stan and his soapbox did make us all feel like family, like insiders on a grand little Marvel Universe, hanging with our fellow fans, even if only in words on a page. That was a big deal for geeky teenagers, I sure fell in love with it when I was reading these as a 13-year-old with maybe less than five friends who also read comics, until I discoverered fandom and fellow collectors in late 1965. With no comic shops, our comics world was pretty darned small.

And yeah, I was one of those fans sho thought Marvel Pop-Art Productions was pretty stupid. I think I wrote them a letter about it. I had several letters published (Daredevil #16 is my best, I think) but I don’t think that one made it into print.

Stan had solicited comments on cross-overs of the superheroes with the western titles, all three were still running in 1964-65 (Two-Gun Kid, Rawhide Kid and Kid Colt). I had a letter published in one of those, I sound like an idiot, “No, not, don’t take The FF and others back to the age of the westerns.” And Stan used mine as if it was out of the blue, saying something like “ok, ok, Bud, don’t you worry about it!” He might have forgotten about his soapbox comment by then. And cheeze, what was I thinking? A crossover issue in the sixties would sure be collectible and fun today. I suppose they finally did a bunch of them, but that was after I was reading Marvels.

Somewhere I have the postcard(s) from Marvel, most likely penned by Flo Steinberg. I met several times at the Seuling Cons and she was a delightful, charming lady—a pure died in the wool New York Girl. She published Big Apple Comics with Wally Wood and Marvel and DC artists, an underground comic circa the early 1970s. I handled it direct from Flo and it’s easy to find these days.

Anyway, Marvel would send these postcards out telling you your letter would be published in such-and-such an issue. I never won a no-prize, though, which was also just a postcard.

Walter, indeed the EC Fan Addict kits pop up, but clearly not often. But the reprints are cheap and plentiful, I used to sell the reprint seet in my catalogs and a comic shows in the 70s. Here’s what Heritage has auctioned off thus far, originals and reprint sets. The reprint set will do by me.

Someone should collect the best material from the early EC fanzines, say pre 1960. I have Fred Von Bernewitz’s Complete EC Index from 1963, but he also did earlier editions in 1956 and 1958, probably in tiny, badly printed editions. Again, here’s Heritage with Fred’s three editions. He was the first to compile the EC data,including artist credits, which was pretty cool, long before Overstreet would come along.

2 years ago