Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all. I hope 2023 brings everyone health, happiness and fulfilment and wealth, but let’s not wait for the year to bring these things to us. Let’s go out and get them ourselves.

OK, so let me tell you about the last four days. One kid took his car down to the USA to go to school, the other kid took my truck up north to go skiing, and the missus’ car is still in the shop! No Car! The good news is I cycled to work on Friday, the bad news is I could not on Saturday and Sunday and am again behind a couple of days on my eBay pile of comics for this coming week’s auction postings. I’ll get back to the weekly rhythm of highlighting some of my “finds” next week.

What I do want to discuss this week is a subtle but potentially troubling change in the data that is instantly available to us via GPAnalysis. I know that the GPA site is not the only graded comic value tracking site but it is the one I use and the one almost everyone I know uses. Though some of these people may also use some of the other sites it is likely that it will be the GPA site that will carry the most weight when weighing buying and selling decisions, especially for Silver and Bronze Age comics. I am emphasizing the significance of GPA as this is important for my message.

On January 1st GPA’s columns shifted by a year: if you look at the pic above you’ll see that there are 5 columns to read data from. At the very right there is the Last Sale column, very useful data but sometimes outlier results can make assessments difficult. Just to the left is the 90 Day Average, this is a good tool to use in conjuncture with Last Sale to the right and the 12 Month Average to the left. With good sales volume one could make some educated assumptions on price movements. To the left again we have the middle column highlighting the 12 Month Average. One more to the left shows us the 2022 Average so while at the beginning of the year the 12 Month Average and the 2022 Average will be very similar if not identical, this will grow out as we get deeper into 2023 and as more and more sales of 2023 are factored into this 12 Month Average. Finally, at the very left we have the 2021 Average and this is where the trouble could start.

As recently as last week we all enjoyed the summarized averages of 2020 occupying the very left column. From here on in we lose a very valuable quick snapshot that gave us a reference to values that while not totally devoid of the influence of the pandemic price bubble it was at least very tempered and it allowed a quick view of the stark increases the books enjoyed from 2020 to 2021. The 2020 data is still there and available, as is data from 2019 and all the years prior, you just have to go deeper into the site. What we’ve lost is that quick visual reference that warns us of what happened in 2021 and much of 2022. An untrained eye could easily assume historic trends based on the 5 column snapshot above.

What I’m telling you is that you now have to do some extra work to arm yourself with the information you’ll need to make better buying and selling decisions.

A few weeks back I mentioned that I saw many books losing value and slowing down when they were nearing the 2020 averages. Obviously, this was a very macro observation as there are many books that are doing well in keeping most of their gains but it was enough to warn me at a glance how much further a book might give back as I read the tea leaves before I made an offer. Books trending back toward their pre-pandemic spike values kind of make sense when you think about it. Losing that left column has taken away that visual shock I needed to remind myself to be weary, I now have to commit to doing quite a bit more work. On a good note, the extra work does give me even more data, it also takes me into snapshots of the years past and it gives me the annual high and low price for that book in that grade.

As I said above, perhaps it’s for the best. I think heading into 2023 we should all be doing a bit more homework, and a bit more data analysis, especially if we want to keep investing in comic books.

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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Chris Elliott
Chris Elliott
8 months ago

Walter !
Happy New
Year to you . while i’m sure that a lot of people reading this site will appreciate all of the above cogent thoughts , it doesn’t apply to me . after reading last weeks column , i have over 360 long boxes of comics . i’m one of those dying breeds that wants to collect almost everything . that means a run collector . i do this for the love of comic books . a couple of weeks back , i won from you that Big Town 1 cgc 6.0 . i cracked open the case to read the darn thing . i am not in this hobby for the money , but , it IS nice to know that my collection is worth millions . maybe one day i’ll sell . on my dying bed , lol.

there is nothing like the chase of finding that elusive issue to finish the run . like i’m down to 3 issues of Big Town . 1 issue of Gang Busters . 4 issues of Mr. District Attorney . 11 issues of Western Comics . you get the idea . any books that i have yet to read , i put on the tape an s/r , still to read . when i retire in 5 years , guess what i’ll be doing in retirement ?

always love your site , a reader for the past 8 years or so . Happy New Year to all of my fellow readers !

Bud Plant
8 months ago

Interesting column, Walter. I just subscribed to GPA a couple months ago and I didn’t know you could go back to prior years until reading this. I consign a lot of my better stuff to MyComicShop. I’m working my way through one consigned collection from my longtime friend Ken Sanders, aka Cosmic Aeroplane, though he has almost none of those Cosmic Aeroplane pedigree left; these comics were all collected later on. And I;m processing two collections I bought outright from folks that passed away.

MCS gives me GPA data but ONLY for the one issue I am currently pricing. With GPA’s site I can look at the issue before or after, if I have little or no data to work on for my particular issue, which happens every so often on obscure Golden Age. I wish GPA included cover scans as a double check that you have the correct book; they seem pretty minimal on their bells and whistles. Adding another column of data, such as the 2020 we just lost, what would it cost them to do that? As a power user of theirs, you might make that suggestion….

Hey, I have to tell you, I’m feeling just a bit guilty. I scored your coverless Tailspin Tommy Air Adventures 1937 (#2) last night. I already have #1 which is far more common, and it cost me $200+ In fairly low grade. For you guys reading, this is a “hybrid” pulp with a comic book-like cover AND one page of color art inside, all by artist Fred Meagher.

Fred also drew the entire Straight Arrow series (50+ issues), the 12 issues of Tom Mix Ralston Comics (which are GREAT), and the Wings Winfair feature in in Gulf Funny Weekly (a gas station giveaway from the 1930s)…and all of this is wonderful work by a vastly under-rated artist.

Anyway, no one else bid. I scored it for $9.99! Thanks, my friend, I hope that doesn’t hurt to badly. I won’t rub it in telling you what my esnipe bid was….

Another hybrid pulp is Flash Gordon Strange Adventure Magazine from 1936, which lasted just one issue, from the same publisher as Tommy and also illustrated inside, this time with full page black and white illos, again all by Fred Meagher.

For whatever reason, bad circulation or lack of a painted cover or something else, the depression, lots of competition from more interesting pulps…these didn’t continue. Turns out the publisher only did two other titles, including Dan Dunn (just 2 issues), which was yet another early comic strip hero. Obviously they were trying to take comic strip characters (Flash, Tailspin and Dan) and introduce them to the pulp world. Read on below, if you want, for a lot more about this unique little effort!

Walter, do you have a few or a lot more of those coverless books coming? I’m watching your site now on a regular basis. Man you folks do a lot of listings! Maybe you’ll turn up some Golden Age with a cover for me one of these days….I scored your coverless More Fun #23 a couple weeks ago, with two stories each by Siegel & Shuster (including Doctor Occult) and the GREAT Leo O’Mealia. Boy, what a great issue. They are in really nice shape other than the cover stripped off in the remainder process. But don’t any of you other guys go bidding on them, stick to all that bronze and Silver and Modern stuff!!

Chris…360 long boxes? I just moved 230 banker boxes, which are smaller, and they went on to five pallets in my garage to be processed. Long boxes are about twice the size of a banker box, so we’re talking 15 pallets of comics. Jeez, congrats!!

Happy New Year to everyone.

From Pulpartists.com website run by David Saunders https://www.pulpartists.com/Cushing.html

Here is more about the hybrids from this publisher Cushing,who partnered to do just four pulp titles with Lloyd Jacquet—who you guys will recognize as the head of Funnies Inc, the “shop” that put together Marvel Comics #1!! And the third partner was Harold Hersey, who wrote the only contemporary book ever about writing for the pulps, Pulpwood Editor, in 1937. It’s a scarce little puppy, near impossible to find in a jacket. What an interesting set of partners!

Here is more from pulpartists.com:

In October of 1936 H. D. Cushing joined with Lloyd Jacquet and Harold Hersey to form C. J. H. Publications at 49 West 45th Street. They produced innovative periodicals that were both a pulp magazine and a comic book. Their titles included Dan Dunn, Tailspin Tommy, and Flash Gordon.

The first issue of Tailspin Tommy Air Adventure Magazine included a story by Lloyd Jacquet under the pen-name “Jay Kay.”

In 1936 Harold Hersey announced in The Author & Journalist Magazine that C.J.H. Publications was publishing a fourth title, Mystery Adventures, to which aspirant authors were advised to mail prospective manuscripts addressed to 49 West 45th Street.

When Mystery Adventures finally appeared on newsstands the contents page identified Harold Hersey as Editor, but the address was listed as 120 West 42nd Street, instead of 49 West 45th, and the publisher was listed as “Movie Digest,” and not C.J.H. Publications. Movie Digest was a Hollywood fan magazine from Macfadden Publications,which by that time was under the control of Warren Angel and Paul Sampliner’s associate, Irving S. Manheimer.

The January 1937 issue of Tailspin Tommy Air Adventure Magazine included a Statement of Ownership that identified the three owners of C.J.H. Publications as Cushing, Jacquet and Hersey. This was the last pulp magazine produced by C.J.H. Publications, after which the partnership of was dissolved.

Spider
Spider
8 months ago

Happy New Year to all! hers to another year of OCGTC (Old Canadian Guys Talking Cr@p…sorry,….Comics)

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s hope the price corrections currently reported by the GPA are merely a cyber-attack orchestrated by the Russian FSB [Ex-KGB] & not really happening at all !! Your books have actually tripled in value since January 1st and you have all become millionaires!!! This will all become apparent after George Pantela pays the ransom and the GPA returns to ‘normal’ !!!

For all of you wanting to continue the fight & throw good money after bad, I invite you to fill my space at the bottom of the barrel & bid for the books that I used to bid on. I am no longer ‘in the game’ as I feel it is more important to pay the mortgage, feed my kids & pay down my debts to be more important than buying a slabbed Marvel Team Up comic at twenty times guide !! One of my major suppliers was comics4less on ebay & his auctions are absolutely on fire ! If you think you are going to get a deal, dream on, as his fan base is huge and they have very deep pockets !!! He has done no wrong- he posts each book at a starting bid of $3.00 and lets the monkeys slit their own throats !! Even those damned western comics & silly romance comics are hammered down for multiples of guide after bitter hand-to-hand combat by desperate fanatics !!! Not bad for dead genres, dont’cha think ???

Youse keep saying that the western medium is dead, but it still has it’s adherents. So does romance- it is not quite dead yet. Jack Kirby, Frank Frazetta & Matt Baker say that these genres still have life! Look at some of the sales that some of these books are achieving!

If the western medium is actually dead as you say, as is the romance medium, what chance do you think the superhero medium has in the long run ??? How long do you think superheroes can go on without becoming redundant??? DC is almost dead right now- if it wasn’t for Batman, they would be six feet under! Western & romance comics, pulps & magazines were industry leaders for DECADES yet now are a laughing stock ! What makes you think that superheroes will go on for ever?? How long do you think that people will flock to see the latest MCU blockbuster?- at some point, these movies will become boring too!

Our technology and culture continues to evolve at a rapid pace. We are enjoying technology right now that people in the 1970’s would consider ‘science-fiction’. What makes you think that people thirty years from now will give a crap about Spider-man ?? They will probably inhabit a completely different world than we live in right now and comics may be as important to them as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics !

Sell your stuff now, while you can! Don’t be the donkey with the highest bid- you have been warned !

Excelsior !!!

mel taylor
mel taylor
8 months ago

I just wish we could get back to talking more cr@p about artists, writers, titles, characters and all that jazz, instead of price points. All good to know, I’m sure, but not really what comics are all about. Can we please get back to talking about clean lines instead of the bottom line? That’s what brought me on board in the first place. How about Spider’s idea of a post called “Reader’s Corner” to just discuss great comics?

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

Well said Mel!- that is what brought me on too! Discussion about great comics & their history. Full steam ahead !!!

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
8 months ago

While I am currently selling most of my collection and do find pricing interesting, it’s the comics themselves that still interest me! I have to say, these Ziff-Davis G.I.Joe issues I picked up recently have not only the amazing Norman Saunders painted covers but really some top notch Caniff inspired interior art as well! I may have fallen in a painted cover rabbit hole!

mel taylor
mel taylor
8 months ago

Actually LF, after Spider mentioned the concept of a Reader’s Corner, I sat down and compiled a list of about twenty great books or runs of books for $5 and under (most of them are actually 3 or 4 bucks!), great books from the individual (Fantastic Four #56 for example) to great runs (such as Secret Wars 2015). Lots of brilliant aritsts and writers are included in the list, any one of whom could make an interesting subject for a post. While I am sure there are indeed a lot of folks who want to hear the monetary angle on collecting comics, I’m almost certain there are any number of folks who just plain love comics for the wonderful art form they are, and value the history, the great writers and artists, and the marvelous titles and characters that make up this medium.

And, Gerald, you could do a lot worse than falling down the painted cover rabbit hole. Norman Saunders was brilliant and prolific! My personal fave for painted covers is my fellow Calibre Press alumnus David Mack. Beautiful work! And so are his interiors!

so long for now, mel

Chris Meli
8 months ago

I only care about the bottom line and things in plastic boxes. If it isn’t in a plastic box, I put it in the bottom of the bird cage. If it is in a plastic box, I will consider selling my children’s organs to obtain it.

So of course I hang on every move of GPA. Returning to the original post, I was confused about what Walt was talking about, and then I remembered those averages that I never look at. This reminded me of how exercised I got about the GPA overhaul a few years ago – I hated the new format, which forced me into a completely different approach to the data. I think GPA is used by different users very differently – this loss of 2020 averages is a non-event for me, because I only look at individual prices for trends/estimates, as most books I am interested in have so few price points that averages are meaningless.

I would love to get raw data from GPA the way I can for the CGC census, then I could build my analysis the way I want. Instead I am forced to translate what GPA has on an ad-hoc basis into my analysis. Maybe if I could use the raw data, I would build something to look at averages if the number of price points is more than X.

mel taylor
mel taylor
8 months ago

Correction. I meant “Fantastic Four Vol.3 #56” with the big reveal of Ben Grimm’s Jewish heritage (lists at only $3 in Overstreet, if you can believe that!).

And, Chris, I truly hope you have a fine time looking at the covers in your collection. Too bad about all those colourful and verbose interiors lining your bird cage or trapped in plastic!

cheers, mel

Bud Plant
8 months ago

Gerald, yeah, man, those early 1950s Ziff Davis G.I. Joe issues are mostly real sleepers. Ziff had deep pockets and hired the best artists during their short but effective run as publishers, including Murphy Anderson, Saunders of course, Berni Krigstein, and writer Jerry Siegel.

Inside those G.I. Joes is hiding outstanding work by Henry Sharp and Harry Anderson, both top notch guys who puts lots of detail into their work. Harry Anderson did several pre-code Atlas covers that have gotten pretty desireable of late, but he dates back to the early 40s. He even did several pre-#10 Nyokas, which are not bad books (the others, all from the Binder shop, are pretty lame which is why Nyoka gets a bad rap).

Anderson was all over throughout the 1940s and early 50s, working for many companies. Here’s a google/images link to some of his work: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22harry+anderson%22+%2B+comics&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwiW4uPv76v8AhWRBkQIHe3rD5gQ2-cCegQIABAA&oq=%22harry+anderson%22+%2B+comics&gs_lcp=CgNpbWcQA1DcCVjDOmCnT2gAcAB4AIABPIgBoQGSAQEzmAEAoAEBqgELZ3dzLXdpei1pbWfAAQE&sclient=img&ei=9V60Y9aTLJGNkPIP7de_wAk&bih=690&biw=1180&client=safari&hl=en-us

Henry Sharp is even less known, but outstanding guy who disappeared from comics in the mid-50s. Take a look at some of this art here on google images: https://www.google.com/search?q=henry+sharp+%2B+comics&client=safari&hl=en-us&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwj5m_SO66v8AhW2NEQIHbh9DVcQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1180&bih=690&dpr=2#imgrc=KD0y-ppI5jtntM

Tthe very late G.I. Joe’s, around #39, the art got very bad and I think the rest of the issues are mostly junk. But those early ones, some of which are even 52 pagers, those are fine books. Be careful, they began the series in 1951 with #10 thru #14 as first five issues, then restarted correct numbering with #6. So there are two each of #10-14’s just a year apart. I’ve even had respected dealers get them confused. Both both sets of 10-14 are all good and maybe you’ll get the one of the first five issues at a bargain instead of the real 10-14.

Walter – I’d be willing to give you a little write up for those coverless puppies but you are right, I’d rather not on something I want to bid on. But on anything I already have, I’d give it a try. And of course that way I get a sneak peek at what’s coming down the line. Send me a short list, if you are serious, and I’ll take a whirl at a few for you. I’d enjoy that.

Hey, and it’s your gig here so you can write what you want. But I’m of course more with a couple of the guys above, I’d rather talk about content and creators than price trends. Nonetheless, I have learned here and since I’m trying to do best on the stuff I sell, that comes in handy every so often.

Wayne Morgan
Wayne Morgan
8 months ago

I too am in agreement on this.

mel taylor
mel taylor
8 months ago

Hey Walt
I don’t want to lose your valuable advice, but I think CBD used to offer a better balance of the two. I know finance is as much a part of any collecting habit as enjoyment, otherwise we wouldn’t have any money left to buy more stuff. Please don’t think I was in any way suggesting the end of that side of the CBD formula. And, I guess I’m as much to blame on the other side of that formula, because I never did get around to giving you another Undervalued Spotlight! Maybe we all should talk about a regular post on just great stories and creators, with a nice dash of comic book history and trivia? Bud Plant already pretty much does that with his every comment!

Spider
Spider
8 months ago

Bud, that David mack of the painted covers…I take it he is the same one who did Marvel Knights Daredevil #9-#25 (I’m approximating but that would be 1st echo till Alex Maleev and Bendis kick things off with #26). Awesome work, those books you read once and then the next day just revisit to enjoy the artwork.

Regarding: price data (investment) vs enjoyment. I think the Undervalued column really got it right, important books that showed a fairly diverse spread of subjects but focused on what made a book desirable to the greater collective community.

I also enjoyed when Chris and Walt did that great books of the Silver/Bronze age – their commentary regarding X-Men #94 or what they’d spend $5000 on was very interesting – I followed both Men’s advice on that one over the past year.

Bud (again), with all these boxes of colourful bit’s of paper clogging up your place, mate can I reach out to see if you have some of my required filler issues????

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

I look at Chris Meli’s comment & that just says it all. Prattle about sales, bottom line, plastic boxes. It is like an alien language & makes no sense to me. Unfortunately, this language has permeated our hobby and the atmosphere has become noxious. It should be obvious to all that Chris & I are not on the same wavelength! I would like to see more discussion about actually reading and enjoying our books. Please refer to this mystery-fiction blog as reference for how it should be done – not a word about investing anywhere to be found!!!

https://mysteryfile.com/blog/

The problem of mindless investment is not strictly limited to comic books. Other fine collectibles have also been ruined by the infusion of ‘big money’- with militaria and sports cards [sports collectibles] topping the list. It is not merely the fact that some of these items are vastly over-priced, but also the lengths that some collectors & dealers will go to to squeeze out yet another dollar from a potential sale. With comics it is all the cleaning, trimming, pressing & slabbing that has become a ritual with some collectors- or even mindless restoration!-how many important arrival dates or cleanly written, unobtrusive former owner’s names or other markings have been removed by investors in order to ‘improve’ a book’s appearance??? Militaria & sports collectors are dealing with mountains of fakes & forgeries- something comic book collectors have yet not really had to face other than some reports of faked convention sketches being spotted in the market here & there. All of these problems mount as items become more expensive- we are plagued with more tinkering, more fakery, more tomfoolery in an attempt to increase that items value.

The coin & stamp markets seem to be experiencing steady growth, immune from the wild price swings that have plagued comics, militaria & sports collectibles. There is material to collect in both of those fields of interest for collectors of ALL financial levels. You can gather a truly impressive collection of either stamps or coins over the course of your life without having to spend more than, let’s say $100.00 on any single given item! Every collector sets his own financial ‘comfort zone’ & generally tries to stay within it. I remember that the comic book market was very much like the stamp market in the 1980’s- peaceful & sedate with Overstreet reporting slow growth on the most popular items & even stagnation & decreases on less popular items. ‘Tis true, folks- I was there to see it- then BIG MONEY swept in in the very late 1980’s and the market went to hell. Stamps & coins succeed because they are/were both originally units of legal currency and are recognized GLOBALLY with MILLIONS of active collectors, unlike comic books which are not currency and most collecting seems to be limited to a few thousand crazy North Americans. Millions of people collect stamps & coins but their markets remain relatively sedate and accessible, yet the comic book market is governed by a few thousand North American collector/investors and the prices go HOG-WILD!! How does that work ???

It is painful to see comics promoted as investment vehicles as that was never their intended purpose- they were supposed to be cheap, disposable fun, primarily for kids. We are all here because we read comics when we were kids & that fondness remained with us as we became adults. This is very important as we have bonded with our childhood pastime & remember the fun we had with our favourite books with a passion. Today’s kids are not creating that bond [difficult to bond with the horrible crap that is being produced today!] and will likely not grow up hankering to collect comics. I look forward to more price decreases in the future as investors/flippers finally sense that it is getting more difficult to flip their slabbed relics at a profit & move on to new pastures. Lord knows where they’ll go next!

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

I’ve said it before & I’ll say it again- if you like the Ziff-Davis G.I.Joe, you’ll love Kurtzman & Wood’s parody of it in Mad Comics #10

http://whatwoodwallydo.blogspot.com/2009/03/gi-shmoe.html

Hey Joe!- You got gum ??? Priceless !!

Norman Saunders is one of my favourite pulp artists- he was prolific and successful, making the jump to comics, magazines, paperbacks & even trading cards. His style is instantly recognizable and he produced some classic covers in his time.

Just as prolific was artist H.J.Ward , best known for his covers for the Spicy/Speed line of pulps. He died very young due to lung cancer, at 36 years of age, in February 1945. Collectors have gone ape over his pulp covers lately- can you imagine what would be happening right now if he had lived long enough to paint some comic covers ???

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mel taylor
mel taylor
8 months ago

Spider
If you like the Mack covers, issues 16-19 and 51-55 of that Daredevil run are beautiful examples of his interior work too. The first is a story of Ben Urich tryig to unravel the case of Leapfrog’s disappearance and it’s affect on his young son. A wonderful and powerful story that can bring you to tears. It’s also written by Bendis, which is just an added bonus. 51-55 are both written and illustrated by David Mack, with a story about Echo’s return to the Rez to go on a vision quest. She ends up getting a life lesson from Wolverine! Mack’s multi-media paintings and collages are pure eye candy that can be enjoyed over and over without ever tiring. 20-25 are actually illustrated by Phil Winslade and Dave Ross, the less said of whom the better. That run of Daredevil is a particular favourite of mine becasue it includes work by David Mack, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Michael Lark, all of them former Calibre Comics creators!

Spider
Spider
8 months ago

Thanks Mel, I have 3 of the 5 of the later DD issues in my reading box, want all 5 before starting the arc. I’ll hunt down that 16-19 too on your advice!

Speaking of reading:
I’m making my way through the Steve Englehart Avengers, starting at #105…I just read #119 which is based on Halloween night in a town called Rutland, Vermont…a local gentleman who runs the parade is taken hostage and then The Collector impersonates him to lure the Avengers to their deaths. I’m sure with this audience I don’t have to go on about Tom Fagen and the Vermont, Rutland issues, but boy….that book took me an hour to read with all the side research on the history of it…what a great read and such fun!

Bud Plant
8 months ago

Spider, sure, send me a want list and I’ll see what I can come up with for you. [email protected]

Now if only I could find some Big Little Book collectors! I collect nearly all of them, 800-something, and I kept upgrading mine. So as the market was going away, here I was ending up with dupes. Then a very good comic buddy passed away, and I bought his collection. Then another character I didn’t know passed away, Jim Rogers I think, up in Portland area, and I bought HIS collection through a middleman. By then I was paying less and less. Now I just picked up three more boxes from an antiquarian book dealer, but I kept to only Disney titles (Mickey, Donald, Pinnochio, Snow White), a couple others and a nice bunch of uncirculated ones, about five titles, that must have come from a warehouse find.

But, holy smokes, I have the motherlode of BLB dupes in an area that is going the way of the dodo…not deservably so, but that’s the reality. Shadow, Green Hornet, Flash Gordon, Betty Boop (yes, two oversized ones, very scarce) and the even more rare four Fawcett characters, those are still in moderate demand. But the run of the mill Dan Dunns and Little Orphan Annie, even Dick Tracy and Buck Rogers…average condition copies, aughh. I took a box of very nice titles to a vintage comic show in November…didn’t sell a one.

I listed some of my better titles as an experiment with My Comic Shop, things in the VG+ to FINE range of better titles. I sold a couple…but most of them, I’ve been steadily reducing my prices again and again. I auction them off once they get down to $30 or less, but even then I usually get less.

One of these days, when time allows, I might start listing them on our sister website that Anne and I have for vintage books. But meanwhile they don’t seem worth much attention.

I’m not quite sure why I am going on about this, but its interesting that BLBs have so much in common with comics, yet they are more of a curiosity for people than something collectors get very excited about. I only have one friend currently who collects them, and he only wants a few western titles and Flash Gordons, and has most of them now. All the people who grew up with BLBs in the 1930s and 40s, they are mostly no longer with us or trying to reduce their holdings. I’m not counting the mini-surge of 60s and 70s BLBs, I don’t think they ever really caught on and even the Marvel titles aren’t a big deal. BLBs were huge in the 1930s, and even early in the 1940s…but once comic books came around and offered “all in color for a dime,” BLBs began the long slide into oblivion. By 1951 or so, they were virtually gone from the stores.

But heck, I still like them a lot. I think they are a lot of fun. They look great on the shelves, and it’s a joy to find the occasional one I don’t have. As part of this last deal, I scored about 20 titles in Spanish from Argentina, several unique and never done in the U.S. I’ve never had any of those before. Argentina has very strick export laws about cultural heritage leaving the country—as I was told by the late Larry Lowery, head of the Big Little Book Club—so very few of these Spanish editions ever got out of the country. They florished from about 1940 to 1952. Walt Disney himself even went down and visited the publisher during the war in the early 1940s, and was presented a Snow White ediiton in a solid silver hinged box—which Larry had, naturally. Oh, was it cool to see.

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
8 months ago

Thanks for your input on the G.I.Joe issues! I knew about the numbering snd agree about the quality of the late issues. Covers alone keep me from those issues as I don’t consider myself a completist anymore! Don’t worry Walt… more are going out the coming in! I will end up having an eclectic if small collection when I am done! One big book I will probably keep is Daredevil #1 (Marvel). When I was 13 my father died. That Christmas following my brother came home and brought me Steranko’s History of Comics vol 1… and the Daredevil. An expensive issue but one that I have great sentimental attachment. Also for the real old timers… he bought them at the Cherokee Bookstore in Santa Monica, Ca. I was able to go to the store ten years later and bought my copy of Moon Girl and the Prince #1. I am sure Bud remembers the place!

Spider
Spider
8 months ago

Gerald (& everyone else), have you read Steranko’s History of comics lately? is it worth hunting down a copy? I love his art, what’s his writing & research like?

mel taylor
mel taylor
8 months ago

Spider, if you have never encountered Steranko’s History of Comics, you are in for a treat my friend! I envy your opportunity to dive into it for the first time! It opened my eyes to so many great books and creators I had never even heard of. Although his actual output of comics is relatively small, his contribution to comic history is huge on the strength of that book alone. He. quite literally, wrote the book on comic history. Make that THE book on comic history! Jump at the first copy you might be lucky enough to find!!!

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

Steranko’s History of Comics was intended to be a six volume set. Unfortunately, Steranko only got as far as volume 2. Still a very good read & highly recommended! Geez, now I have ta dig out my copies- haven’t looked at them for a while. I wish he would do a history of the pulp magazines- I’ve seen him at every Pulpcon that I’ve attended ! He’s quite the collector!

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

Bud- I love Big Little Books & would love to help ya get rid of some. Trouble is, we all know that they are a dead medium [ they are as dead as dime novels!] & I am never willing to pay decent money for them. I have got about 60-70 BLB’s & have got pretty well all of them for a song [ including nice copies of Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, Tarzan & The Shadow etc etc]. I can only shudder to think what the shipping costs would be from the USA too!- I can actually buy books & model kits from Europe with cheaper shipping rates than from the States!!!
Pulp magazines were quite ‘dead’ too up until a few years ago. The market was strictly controlled by readers & fans who resisted the publication of any kind of price guide & objected to making them into any kind of investment vehicle. These fans would keep pointing to the comic book market & say “look what happened to them!” . I was present at several panels & discussions at the Pulpcons back in the nineties when some of these talks were happening- nobody objected to cataloging the contents of the various pulp titles but as soon as price guides were mentioned, all hell broke loose! I don’t know what lit the spark that made pulps a hot item in recent years, but most comic guys don’t know what they’re getting into & just buying them for their covers. I am not expecting interest to explode in BLB’s at any time soon, or dime novels for that matter. Maybe if CGC began slabbing them, it could spur some investment [GAG! CHOKE!! I can’t believe I just wrote THAT !!!].

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

Hey Guys ! I am actually reading stuff ! I have not bought anything since mid-December & am quite elated !!!***

I recently read a short story called ‘Big Timber’ by Charles Tenney Jackson from the February 25th 1927 issue of SHORT STORIES. I love stories about timber, mining, railroads & the hobo life & this one was quite a treat! Great stuff & I recommend you hunt down a copy! Oh yeh, this is a pulp- not too many illustrations in this issue…
I also read Incredible Hulk #179 [ a recent purchase from comics4less ], which is I believe, Len Wein’s first Hulk story. This may also be the second appearance of the Missing Link for those who care. It’s a filler issue, coming between ‘The Death of Adam Warlock’ in Hulk #178 & the first appearance of Wolverine in #180, but it was a proper story- with a beginning, a middle & an end. You could read this & get something from it, unlike some of the current stuff that I have tried to read!

I also read chunks of a low grade FEATURE FUNNIES #19 from April 1939 that I also got recently from Heritage. It’s a fair copy, with the cover & centrefold loose with plenty of tape on the spine, with a water stain on the back cover for character ! The pages are nice & supple though & allow a good read.I won this book with a bid of $6.00 thus ended up paying $35.00 with Heritage’s minimum buyer’s fee of $29.00- this means that the consignor of this book received about $5.10 USD for his book while Heritage pocketed $29.90 USD !! What a deal !! The best feature in this book is the BLACK X story by Will Eisner, where Black X is able to stop a revolution in Panama in only 4 pages ! Wow!- Let’s send him to the Ukraine!!!

The Hulk & Feature Funnies kinda explain why I am bummed out about collecting. I’m either paying top dollar for generic mid to high grade 1970’s comics that are not worth that outlay of cash on an artistic or literary level, or am scrambling at the very bottom of the barrel for beat but complete golden age comics. Add to this the horrific shipping charges that some companies throw at you PLUS the taxes & you are ready to throw in the towel !! My last Heritage shipment contained about $300.00 USD worth of stuff but cost me an additional $175.00 USD to ship !!! Holy COW, MAN !!!

*** I will continue to buy stamps & movie posters as I have stated ! I did buy a postcard from February,1916, sent by an Australian trooper returning to Egypt from the Turkish theatre of operations, to family in Australia. The postcard shows the steamship SS Arabia which transported passengers & goods to & from Australia and the Middle East even into WW1. A few months after this postcard was sent, the Arabia was sunk in the Mediterranean, in broad daylight by a German U-Boat. Incredibly, only 11 seamen lost their lives with no losses among the passengers ! This little piece of history cost me about the same as the Hulk #179.

Bud Plant
8 months ago

For all my whining. BLBs are NOT as dead as Dime Novels, I’d debate you LiveFrog. I deal occasionally in Dime Novels, or at least see them occasionally for sale. I actually own two or three dozen of Edgar Church’s Mile High copies of his Dime Novels from the 1920s or 30s, and I haven’t yet bothered to try and sell them…I don’t have any love for them, I’m afraid. I bought them directly from Chuck Rozanski decades ago along with Church’s clip files (he was THE hoarder of art images from magazines), which I also still have. Now THAT’s dead, when even the Mile HIgh copy can’t get anyone steamed up!

Really nice copies of BLBs, say FN up and especially VFN, are not very common and with the right titles, they will sell eventually. Jim Payette/Rare Books and Comics deals in them, I’ve upgraded my collection from collections he has picked up over the years. But average, beat-up copies, minor titles, yes, they go begging at $10-$25 ea. As do Dime Novels from 1900 to the 1930s….

Steranko’s History…who doesn’t love it? It was the first out there, although Jules Feiffer’s The Great Comic Book Heroes did, in a different way, start the ball rolling on comics history. The Feiffer was excerpted in the October 1965 Playboy, which is where I first saw it (sneaking it out of my Dad’s bottom drawer…I would have been 13 then). My Mom got me a copy for Christmas of ‘65, so long before Steranko’s book came out.

Great Comic Book Heroes is also well worth reading, since Feiffer, like Steranko, grew up loving the 1940s comics books. That is where I first saw images of the Golden Age Captain America, The Sub-Mariner, The Spirit…they are all burned into my brain to this day. It’s been reprinted a couple times so easy to find now.

The funny thing about History of the Comics, Jim printed (and reprinted) so many copies, one of the two issues has stayed in print, available from Jim himself, for the last 50 years! Diamond would still offer it once a year or so even up to recently. I handled both of them initially, buying them directly from Jim at shows we did or through the mail, and have restocked it very so often for nearly my entire career. I bet you he still has copies.

What I would love to see, hohoho, is a new edition of both History of the Comics volumes with all the artwork (well, as much as possible) in full color.

The big deal about History is that JIm grew up in the 1930s and 40s, personally loved all the stuff, and then did his homework including interviewing many of the artists who were still alive in the sixties when he put the two volumes together. First hand knowledge.

And Jim doing a book on pulp history…one can only dream. He would be the man to do it, for sure. But others are slowly putting these out, the latest was Pulp Power, all about Street & Smith which means all about Doc Savage and The Shadow, and it’s very, very good. A LOT has been written about pulp history by now…volumes by Will Murray, including all his “Interlude” essays in the pages of the Sanctum Doc Savage and Shadows pulp reprints…those should be compiled into a book. Will Murray is a one man expert on pulps, and he still finds time to write new spin-offs also. He is a treasure.

Lastly, Cherokee Books in Los Angeles. Yes, I was in there at least a couple times back around ‘65 thru ‘67 or ‘68. The writer of the book Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture, Dan Gearino, worked hard to establish what the first comic book store was…

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Comic_Shop/oSg6DwAAQBAJ?hl=en&gbpv=0

The store I was a partner in, Seven Sons, was in the running in his eyes but not really. We opened in March 1968. But we only get kudos by by a technicality, since Dan was opting to consider free-standing, independent stories rather than an annex or portion of another store. Cherokee was actually a real used book store long before Burt Blum, who I think might have been the owner’s son, began selling vintage comics in the mezzazine of the store. You sent up a set of stairs behind the cash register, so it was hidden in the back and upstairs…. In my book, Cherokee gets the prize as first comic shop, hands down. In Dan’s book, he makes the case for a store Robert Bell opened in the early 60s as the true first shop, which I have no first hand knowledge of but I’m sure he’s probably right using his parameters. And there is also that guy, “Pop Hollings” I think, who was written up in Overstreet, he was peddling old collectible comics way back in the late 40s. But in it’s day, Cherokee was THE place.

Anyway, hallowed history. There’s good pictures of Cherokee on the net. Larry Bigman (a good buddy of mine) has a pic visitng the store with his dad, but I don’t see it on the web. Here you go with Burt though:

https://www.google.com/search?q=cherokee+book+shop+%2B+comics+Burt+Blum&client=safari&hl=en-us&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjE8bHpm7P8AhUnNkQIHXjcBSsQ_AUoAXoECAEQAw&biw=1180&bih=690&dpr=2#imgrc=F47L39eT9WT_pM

PS: Rick Durrell, pictured with Burt Blum in the color shot here, was one of the very first collectors who strictly wanted high grade copies of Golden Age. In the 1960s, all of us kids would take any copy in any condition, we had no real money and few of us had job yet. And even $2 or $5 or $10 for a comic was big money then. Barry Bauman up in Oakland had an Action #1 that we wanted $400 for, and that was as far out of reach for us, in 1967 or thereabouts, as buying a new car for teen-agers these days. I was buying Quality-era Blackhawks from Barry for $1 or $2 a book, and $30 or $40 was all I could rustle up as a high school kid. I went into Collectors Book store in ‘67 and spent $27 on $2 Atlas and ECs and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Anyway, I visited Rick Durrell just once, he was a fireman in LA. He died far too young and his collection went to Ernie Gerber under what is said to be questionable circumstances, and from there, I don’t know. Ernie Gerber also passed away far too soon, in his early sixties.

Spider
Spider
8 months ago

Thank you everyone for your comments – I’ll be hunting down a copy of Steranko’s book.

Appreciate the insight Bud regarding it’s printing history!

LIVE FROG
LIVE FROG
8 months ago

Bud- I’d love to debate with you some day- it would probably be a lot of fun! I like Big Little Books & I am strangely drawn to Dime novels & have been picking them up hodge-podge over the last four decades. I have never attempted to truly ‘collect’ them , I’m not trying to fill runs, but don’t mind having some in my stash for the fun of it ! Maybe one day I’ll actually read one [several pulp fans have told me that many dime novels are unreadable!- I need to check this out for myself!!]. By saying that they are a ‘dead’ medium, I am merely replying to your long post detailing how hard it is to sell them- they will sell, they will generally find a buyer, but it has to be for the right price. I put them in the same category as Dell Westerns, which various CBD denizens have mocked over the last few years and which I have tried to defend. They are not so ‘dead’ that they cannot be sold, but it is a lot of work [even with the internet] to find someone to give them a new home.
When I am offered a BLB or Dime novel for, let’s say-$30.00- I KNOW that I will never get that $30.00 back if I ever try to sell that item, as long as I live. I am buying this item simply because I want to have it & no investment potential is anywhere in the cards. This is also true for many antiquarian books – I am buying them simply for the fun of ownership, not investment, thus spending a huge chunk of money on such a book does not make financial sense to me. Have you ever tried to sell a group of used books to a book dealer ??- it is pointless, unless you are happy to get a buck or two per book!! Book dealers do not want to pay you for your old books!- they are happy to wait until you are dead & buy your estate for cheap at auction [ or deal with your widow, who will be over-joyed to find someone willing to take her husbands; old useless CRAP away from her !!].

There are LOTS of rare, old books on the market- I don’t need to buy one for $500.00 to be happy- a $50.00 book will do just fine! Thankfully, there are lots of dealers out there willing to sell old books at decent prices & I have lots of material to choose from. All is well, until you actually try to sell some of your surplus books to one of these guys!!! Good luck!

Dang it all! I am simply running out of room & have no space left to cram any more old books into my basement! I’ve got stuff on the staircase & seeping into my living room !! I am simply going to have to slow down & try to read what I already have. I have enough to last me several lifetimes! Egad!