Hard Times

I still have not opened all the boxes I brought back from my USA PO Box trip last week. At first comb through there were way more toys than I thought and not as many comics as I thought. I did find this mini-run of the first three Star Trek issues from Gold Key’s 1967 series. I like the #1 being a CGC 6.0 with White Pages: I think Star Trek #1 is still a great buy and would love to find a few 8.0s to add to my pile. I remember back when I bought this, probably in late 2020 or early 2021, there was also a #1 with William Shatner’s and Leonard Nemoy’s signatures on it, I think it was only around a 4.0 so I turned my nose up at it. It was only later that I found out that the two signatures on a book were rare because of that fact that the two didn’t see eye to eye for quite a while. Having one lowly 4.0 copy with those two sigs sure beats having zeros 8.0 copies, I can tell you that for sure.

The cover of the week belongs to this lovely Action Comics #96 featuring those delightful Wayne Boring pencils, Stan Kaye inks and Jack Alder colours. From May 1946 this has always been one of my favourite Action covers of that era, I’m happy we’re able to offer it up on one of our upcoming weekly icecollectibles eBay auctions.

Oh my goodness folks, some truly amazing books walked in this week and are destined for the weekly eBay auction. They all have large pieces of the cover missing as I believe that’s the way returns were sent in back in the 1930s, please correct me if I’m wrong. I’ll start with this precious pile of New Adventure Comics #24, 27 and 31. These are actually high-quality copies that would grade out in the 6.0 range if they were complete. It is a true pleasure leafing through these books with no fear of pages flaking off or tearings, these are soft and supple comics, issue #31 (October 1938) in the foreground is looking great with that Creig Flessel arctic cover. I had a hard time putting these things down truth be told.

I think I spent 15 minutes enjoying every ad featured on the full back cover ad of New Adventure Comis #31. So here’s some social commentary; it’s 1938 and America is slowly climbing out of the great depression. The USA was not the land of plenty in 1938, these were still hard times and I love how the ads on the back reflect this. There were nowhere near as many frivolous gimmicks as there would be in the coming more prosperous decades. Here we have ads promoting learning how to dance, how to shoot arrows, how to fence, we have binoculars, telescopes, yacht caps, rulers and drawing angles as well as slingshots and radios. The quality was probably crap but most of the stuff was at least of some use, an ad for the times I’d say.

The ice collectibles weekly eBay auction was super busy last night, realizing some great prices, especially on raw listings. There was a really strong price for a raw Savage Tales magazine and another strong price for this Batman #30 pictured below. I’ve been reading that Golden Age has been holding its own during this downswing in comic book prices: this Golden Age Batman #30 result reinforces this. Our very solid copy sold for $895 USD.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1688


  1. That is a very nice Batman. I think that one is about the least prized of the Batman war covers because people like to think war is about fighting rather than money (when in fact…).

    You know I owe you one or more than one on Star Trek. That is a great call. This is the photo cover exception that proves the rule. (Whatever that means.) I tried to get a nice #2 and #3 over the past couple months but I was too stingy.

    “They all have large pieces of the cover missing as I believe that’s the way returns were sent in back in the 1930s, please correct me if I’m wrong.” I am kind of surprised by this statement – I guess it was handled differently in Canada? Up into the seventies they were doing this in the U.S. – shipping returns was too costly, so defacing the book and sending back part/all of the cover as proof of destruction counted as a return. But then instead of throwing the books away, in many cases the newsstands broke their contract and sold them for a couple of cents to the flea market, where they were sold for ten cents as defaced. I would say about 50% of the books I had early on were in this shape – I loved going with my father on Sundays to pick through the flea market bins. The best finds for me were the DC reprint giants – especially World’s Finest and Strange Adventures.

    They really got their money’s worth out of that New Adventure back cover real estate. More fun to try to read that type describing a Giant Flying Plane than describing how to get your high school equivalency.

  2. I used to work in the magazine department at my store, when we used to carry a full range of magazines. These things do have a shelf life & when their time is up, you return your unsold copies to the distributor for credit. Most newsstand magazines are sold on consignment, so you only pay for what you sell & return the rest. Trouble is, the distributors don’t want to be flooded with all kinds of back issues as they are not in the back-issue sales racket, so they tell you to return the part of the cover with the magazine title & date on it & throw away the rest. I had to tear off the top thirds of hundreds of totally good magazines every month & send the guts to recycling. I never had to tear up any comics- I would have lost my mind !!! I have enough mental problems as it is!!!

  3. Spider- that Bat book is beautiful the way it is! It shouldn’t be cleaned & pressed in my opinion. It has a ‘patina’, as antique & militaria collectors call it. Let it be!

  4. I tried to post this yesterday, in reply to David’s comment, but for some reason, it would not ‘take’. I am trying again now, apologies if it is out of place-

    Thanks David- I loved going to conventions back in the 1980’s, they were all about comics back then, not Hollywood ‘events’ promoting new movies or TV shows. I have fond memories of those shows & do not expect to experience their quality again. Of course, with so many good books now priced into the stratosphere, there are few convention dealers around that can handle a large stock of Golden Age or fifties material. Back then. we had amateur & professional dealers showing up from all over Southern Ontario & even some from Quebec, plus the usual gang from the US like Harley Yee & Motor City Comics, with boxes filled to the BRIM with great, old books to cherry pick!! Back then, the stuff was plentiful and affordable and a kid like me, working part time at a grocery store, could go to one of these shows & come back with a Marvel Mystery #63 [in nice condition!!] or More Fun #72 [ in nice condition !!!] plus stuff a shopping bag with cheap horror or crime with the remaining pocket change! I did this over & over again & had the time of my life!
    For me, the 1990’s was all about pulps. Comic books had begun to realize huge price increases & comic conventions began to swing in the direction of Hollywood ‘events’. I began to lose interest in attending these ‘new direction’ conventions & stopped going to them about 1997. The show that finally turned me off was a big show at the CNE in 1997, which in spite of all the hype, produced about 20 comic book dealers selling mostly modern crap, plus a few guys dressed up like Klingons walking up & down the hall! That was it for me- I have not been to a show since. I have always enjoyed pulps & began to pursue them more aggressively as my interest shifted away from comics. Pulps were affordable and just as entertaining as old comics. I could buy a long box of ARGOSY’s for the same price as a single Marvel Mystery comic! I experienced nirvana by attending seven Pulpcons back in the 1990’s, taking place at Dayton or Bowling Green, Ohio & I have never been the same since! Old time Pulp collectors have always been closer to rare book collectors than comic book collectors and have treated their hobby differently than the comic collectors have treated theirs. Pulp collectors had always valued their books by their own ‘fair-market value’ system and resisted the publication of any sort of price guide for decades on end! They did not fixate on condition or investment potential as many comic collectors do and gained satisfaction from actually READING and STUDYING the books that they collected, not encasing them in plastic coffins!! Many fine fanzines were published by serious fans of the medium & several publications [ such as GOLDEN ATOM] remain landmarks in the study of pulp fiction! You should have heard some of the discussions at the old Pulpcons- they were full of hatred for the comic book collectors and the manner in which they were destroying their own hobby. There was always a fear that comic book collectors would latch onto pulps & destroy that hobby too. Those fears appear to be becoming a reality, as more & more pulps are being scooped up by comic book investors. So far, these investor-buffoons are scooping up books with salacious or horror covers and are leaving the really good stuff alone [ although WEIRD TALES is good stuff, but the buffoons are buying them because many of them have naked babes in bondage on the cover and NOT because they contain Howard or Lovecraft stories!]. The various SPICY & horror pulps are fun, but hardly worth what is being paid for them now. If you think paying $3000.00 or more for a Spicy Mystery is a good deal, ..then come to my house & maybe I will sell you some !!!
    Buy pulps & enjoy them- READ THEM! That is where their value lies. I have not yet seen a slabbed pulp & actually shudder at the concept. Many pulps are quite fragile & are always losing bits of paper. I don’t think the act of slabbing a pulp will stop it from shedding paper from the cover over-hangs or edges of the text block & the bottom of the slab will fill up with bits of paper & ‘sawdust’ that you will not be able to remove without cracking the slab. I can just see the comments in the CGC Forums in a few years- “Hey, my CGC 5.5 Spicy Mystery November 1935 has newton rings & paper chips piling up in the bottom of the slab! What do I do???” You get what you pays for, folks!

    On a final note- I did manage to get a couple of Gene Colan Tomb of Dracula original art pages not too long after that convention that I wrote about earlier. A book dealer that I knew called me in the early 1990’s to say that he had just bought a collection of books which included a bunch of comics & some art that I may be interested in.looking at. Sure enough, he had three Colan Tomb pages, one of which was a splash. He ended up keeping the splash, but I got the other two pages for about $100.00 each. It is quite possible that those three pages came from that convention, but if not, who cares!

  5. Live Frog, like you, I’m not a fan of CGC with exceptions of True keys, like Amazing Fantasy 15 or such.
    Love your Pulp and comic con reflections. I had about 200 pulps in the day, but as they browned and faded and chips, I sold the same. I maybe got 5$ a piece. Hated my investment wasting away before my eyes. Most were circa 1938 to 1950, all genres.
    I’ve about 30 HC Old Tarzan books, not the original Pulps, they are wasting away too. 🙁
    But ERB otherwise puts a smile on my face.
    Thanks for taking so much time to share Live Frog.
    Walt once owned the best looking Star Trek # 1 that I ever saw. I owned it for a few years and then sold it back to Walt. We both made a mistake selling that NM plus bugger 🙂
    I think it was cgc’d later at a 9.6

  6. Hey Walt, those cgc Star Treks wouldnt grade so high today. Look at those spine stresses and ticks

  7. Thanks again David for the fine comments. I have a couple thousand pulps ranging in grade from brittle to pristine. Don’t get too excited- many are general fiction pulps like Argosy & Adventure, Westerns of various titles & tons of sci-fi. Pulps were cheap-o up until a few years ago & I was buying them for as little as $2.00 each! Pulp paper is actually very resilient & can survive much hardship, but it is not indestructible. I have a run of 1920’s ADVENTURE issues that smells DANK & ANCIENT, & the paper is GREY unlike any colour you usually see in a pulp- they feel like they have been stored for centuries in the bowels of a Medieval Cathedral, yet the pages are still quite supple!!

    Although many pulps have survived in pristine condition, that level of ‘pristine’ can not be compared to the same grade in a comic book! As you very well know, there are many vintage comics out there with lofty grades of CGC 9.8 and those books are perfect! A pulp in a similar condition will always show under scrutiny, a bit of colour abrasion somewhere on the book, usually the spine or edges of the covers. The paper is so soft that the merest rub will take off some flakes of colour somewhere. And then, those pesky overhangs- even if you have a perfect book, those overhangs will have creases as they fold over the text block, or even small tears. Pulps simply can NOT grade 9.8, unless CGC creates a specific set of rules for grading pulps. Many investors will be righteously confused when they receive their slabbed, high grade pulps- only to find creases & tears on their overhangs & colour rubs on the edges of the spine. Oh, just wait until the fun begins!!
    As I have said, most pulp collectors are closer in kind to book collectors & have their own set of grading criteria. A high grade book or magazine usually does not get a higher rating than Very Fine & that tells every collector what he needs to know. Of course, comic collectors with their 5 levels of NM-M from 9.2 to 10.0 and their mania for investment will be quite perplexed !!! Oh dear !

    I will now cease with the pulp talk & let us return to the original commentary forthwith !!! Forsooth ??

    I was never a ‘trekkie’ but I did enjoy the Gold Key Star Trek’s. The artwork was the standout, with Alberto Giolitti providing interiors & George Wilson painting the bulk of those lovely cover images. Don’t slab these things, guys!- just read them !!

  8. Meli, how deep did you go on the Star Treks? I knew you were going after an 8.0 a year or so ago. I think what threw me off those New Adventures I show in the pic is that the 24 and 27 have just a slover of the cover left and they look like they were cut with scissors. Thanks for the confirmation. I like how that ad type has been around comics since the very beginning.

    Spider, in hindsight it may have been a mistake to run it raw, if it was cleaned and pressed it might have graded a 5.5 or 6.0. There is the issue of the time needed to complete the pressing and slabbing process and the costs associated with going that route, and perhaps the need for liquidity with the book at the moment. Most of the time you have to go the CGC route if there is grade otherwise anything can happen, this same auction we listed a 6.0ish Savage Tales #1 and it went for $736, raw, the GPA on 6.0s is in the $600s. You just never know.

    Live Frog, I bet there were a bunch of comic collectors with those jobs tearing the covers off for returns, as you say, it must have been painful.

    Dave, that Star Trek #1 got graded a 9.4 and you are right we both make a mistake not keeping that beauty.

  9. LF, I wasn’t saying the book should be cleaned and pressed (nor slabbed), I just wanted to know the factors taken into account when deciding with the owner how to approach – just like your comments regarding patina, I was wondering if that was discussed as a positive attribute or if it was purely time, cleaning costs, not enough difference in raw vs. slab in a particular grade, etc.

  10. Spider- you pose a very good question & it is one I ask myself every time I watch the latest auction unfold. There are lots of books being cleaned, pressed & slabbed out there & is this really necessary for some of them? Does it really make a financial difference? This Batman #30 sold for $895 US raw- how much would cleaning, pressing & slabbing cost & how much above $895 US would the book sell for after this was all done ?? How long would this process take? Is it really worth the effort? Maybe Walt can give us an estimate of costs. If Cleaning, pressing & slabbing cost [ I’m guessing here] $400.00, and then the book sells for $1295 US, was the process necessary as the seller has not gained anything! Lots of books out there being slabbed needlessly & quite a few sell for amounts that do not cover the costs of that process.

    Back in the day when restoration became a thing [ late 1970’s & into the 1980’s ], many fine books got into the hands of pure speculators, who would take a gorgeous book with an arrival date penciled or stamped on the cover & pay to have that removed in an effort to put the book back to MINT condition. These books have had a part of their history removed, like a rare stamp that has had a rare cancellation removed, by an unthinking baboon who thinks that he will profit from it! Pure collectors suffer from the results of this stupidity, but I don’t think that the collecting community as a whole will learn & will clean & press the souls out of all their old comics! The people that restore & conserve, clean, press & slab should have the sense to tell collectors/investors what should and should not be done, but they do not- they take the money and run. Sometimes I feel that collecting has become one giant ponzi scheme- with money being the only important factor.

  11. Depending on who you use it would be $200 to $300 to get it all done and months and months of waiting. The market could be stronger then but it could also be softer. There are a bunch of ifs in play but then again if we did this and it sold for $1375 we might be asking ourselves if it might not have sold for close to that raw. Decisions have to be made, best not to look back unless there are lessons to be learned.

  12. LF
    You are so right about past conventions. They were real comic book conventions for real comic collectors. Today’s cons are a travesty by comparison. A few years back I decided to give them another try and was not happy to see all of the crap for sale, Hollywood and TV junk galore, idiots running around in daft costumes as if they are VIPs, and very few comics. This convention actually had only three tables with comics, on two floors. I was standing at one table going through a nice box of vintage books when a guy shoved me aside, by sticking his elbow in my guts, and, when I protested, he informed me that there was a kid here who was looking for a Spider-man comic which might be in the box I was looking through. Turns out he was the dealer! I informed him that I did not in the least appreciate being shoved aside on the off chance there might be a book somebody else wanted in that box (taking turns seemed a foreign concept to this jerk), and I also informed him, in no uncertain terms, that I happen to have three kidneys, two of which are bunched up on the right side, right where he planted his elbow!!! He didn’t apologize and kept looking for that kid’s Spider-man!!! After which, I turned around and walked out of said “comic” convention. They really are now called “cons” for a good reason! I did get to hear a freind of mine say to the guy, as I walked away, ” Way to go moron! Chase off the guy with the gold card!” After which he too walked out! Give me a good comic shop with a knowledgeable (and considerate) staff any day! They are worth their weight in gold cards!

  13. LF, when we’re talking big dollar books, books that have lost structural strength (perhaps gold era) then I can see a case for encasement. (see I start with a positive!)

    However, my experience shows that they are the minority. I use ComicBookRealm as my pricing/info database and they ask their users to assist them by verifying sold CGC books so the figures can be used in the database: if effect all you are doing is clicking a link, looking at the sale, confirming the grade and purchase price (and ensuring that if the product contains isn’t qualified, i.e. blue label, that it is excluded).

    It is a very interesting experience to conduct; it shows that the last few 3 years that millions of books have been slabbed – however there are a huge amount of sales for books where the sale price barely covers the cost of the process and the owner would have been much better just to sell the book raw. None of these new collectors are talking about the losses that they’ve had when they’ve slabbed modern books just to have them sell on ebay for pittance.

    This view of a days total CGC sales on ebay actually heightens the value of Walt’s service (and other LCS I imagine): Walt is able to discuss with his customers their options and expected returns and steer them into the most profitable course for each particular book. So many of these books should never have been submitted to CGC in the first place – not everything in plastic is gold!

  14. There is nothing less exciting , to me, then going to a comic con and leafing through slabbed books.
    The raw books, the dollar bins and the wall books, a different story.
    Oh Walt, a Serbian Joke….

    A man is terminally ill and has 3 months left to live. Seeing as he was a holy man for all his life, God gave him a visit and granted him 3 wishes. The man ponders for a few minutes then asks for his first wish.

    “God, I’d love to have a nice steak dinner and some brandy to wash it down with.”

    So, God waves his hand and a juicy steak and plum brandy appear in front of the man. He devours it. Whilst eating the steak the man thought of his second wish.

    He asked, “God, can you make sure my children and grandchildren stay safe and healthy until it’s their time to go? I want them to live long lives.”

    God thought over the idea of protecting the mans family and eventually agreed, “Sure, you’ve been a holy man all your life, it’s the least I could do.”

    The man thought long and hard of what he wanted for his final wish. After a few minutes he inquired,

    “God, I’ve always wanted to visit America but I was too scared to fly or go by boat, is it possible to build a road spanning the ocean so that I can drive to America in my car?”

    God thought about it for a few minutes and responded, “I’m sorry but I’m afraid a project like that is going to take forever. Do you wish of anything else?”

    The man thought, “God, I would consider myself a good man, a holy man. But, I’ve been married and divorced 4 times. I just don’t understand it. Can you grant me the power to understand women’s logic and reasoning?”

    God, surprised by the question, took a few minutes to think and eventually responded,

    “Sir, about that road, would you like 1 or 2 lanes?”

  15. Excellent joke David!- you should have it slabbed !!!

    Guys- I miss the old conventions so much- they will never be replaced. There will never be a time like that again, when a hall the size of a high school gym will be filled with affordable Golden Age, fifties & Silver Age material. I don’t think there are too many dealers out there that can handle an inventory so vast as what Harley Yee or Motor City had back in the day, the prices of these books nowadays make holding such a selection of beautiful, vintage pieces a financial impossibility for many modern dealers. Also, why would you want to travel around the country with a mass of expensive, vintage books anyway, risking theft or damage, when you can easily sell them online for big money through any of the big auction houses or ebay??? You can stay at home, in your shorts, drinking beer & watching sports while your books sell for a fortune with minimal effort ???!!! If we see a resurgence in old time comic book conventions, I am sure that most of the stuff that we will see will be tons of bronze age through modern era comics, with a sprinkling of Silver Age & older material scattered here & there.

    I miss the act of leaving the house, making the trip & going to the show physically. I love pawing through boxes of killer old books & making my selection. The act of making the purchase ‘in person’ makes that transaction special, & that book will be forever cemented in your memory as a result. As I look at my collection from time to time, the books that I purchased at a show ‘manually’ leap out at me & I relive the experience. Many books that I have bought online leave no or little impression & sometimes I am trying to remember how I ended up getting this book in the first place & who I bought it from! Buying online does not give the same thrill, it is impersonal and cold- but it is our reality right now and for ever more. The internet has opened up the world to us & we can reach dealers & find books that we may not have found at a hundred conventions, but the internet also has taken away- it has taken away the social aspect of collecting comics and we are very much poorer for this. Many collectors have developed some bad habits in their ‘solitary confinement’ and have lost their minds by paying too much and by obsessing about the investment potential of their purchases!! Go outside & get some fresh air, folks!! That’s all I can say to you!

    Spider- you are right!- we need more dealers like Walt to educate new collectors & steer them in the right direction. I don’t think there are enough dealers like that out there, the hobby is consumed by greed & the wolves prey on the rabbits! There are too many books being slabbed that do not need to be slabbed, many of which will not sell well enough to cover their costs. Not only does the seller lose money, but he wastes the graders time & delays other more worthy books from getting to the market. By far WORSE, in my opinion, is the ‘dealer’ who gets a pointless book slabbed, then posts it on ebay for a stupid ‘buy-it-now’ price that can not possibly sell. Weeks, months or even years later, that book is still there unsold & the dealer has refused all offers. “I WILL GET MY PRICE!” – he shrieks & the book ‘rots’ online for all to see. Unfortunately, this now happens- some newbie wants to sell his VF She-Badger #1 but does not know what it is worth- he goes online & finds that several idiots have posted that book for $500+/- & automatically assumes that that is what it is worth. He gets his book graded & posts it online for $500. It does not sell, it will never sell, but the continuity of stupidity is perpetuated!

    Yes, I do believe that our books should have value & am glad to see them appreciate. I jumped on board back in 1980 & watched comic book prices rise & fall INCREMENTALLY over the next ten years. The growth as depicted in OVERSTREET was very measured and sedate, very much like the growth in stamp values as portrayed in the SCOTT’S Catalog of world stamps. We enjoyed a healthy market & had confidence that a carefully curated comic collection would appreciate OVER TIME & possibly make us a small profit when it was time to sell. Unfortunately, our reverie was broken in the late 1980’s when our cozy little world was shattered by an influx of ‘big-money’ from the outside world & we have never been the same since. It is all about the money now, & collectors obsess about grading, cleaning, pressing, trimming, slabbing & selling NOT about collecting, reading or enjoying the art. Far too much emphasis is put on dolling up books for final sale, than actually enjoying them for what they are. They are meant to be entertainment first, not an investment tool & it is sad to see our once fine hobby become such an abomination. Sadder still to see that pulp magazines are now being affected by this same stupidity. What will be the next target in the investor’s sights after the pulps have been sucked dry?- 1930’s girlie magazines ?? Don’t laugh kids!- it’s already happening- right in front of your eyes!!!

    End of sermon. Thansk you very much.

  16. PS- Spider- I meant to say this above, but got distracted. Yes, there is a place for slabbed books. Even I can see that there is a requirement to preserve certain books that have somehow survived many decades in impeccable condition. Why risk damaging your Mile High ,Larson or Promise pedigree books- these pieces have now transcended beyond the level of a mere comic book & have become holy relics. It is probably best for us to preserve such pieces for posterity, but we really do not need to slab another Spawn #1 !!!

    But keep this is in mind- the Mile High, Larson & Promise collection books all survived DECADES in perfect condition without benefit of boards, bags or slabbing ! Edgar Church had 18000 comics piled up in stacks all over his house, which was the primary residence for himself, his wife & his kids, and NOTHING got damaged !!! If he could enjoy and preserve his books in a perfect state for decades without having them slabbed, why should WE get our books slabbed ???? Eh? Eh ? Eh ???

  17. LV and I are reading from the same prayer book. If you want a book to be beautiful: thenI can’t do better than a E.Gerber Mylite2 in standard (silver age) with a half back board and for my bronze books I insert an interleaving panel in the middle of the book to contain off gassing. When I look at preservation I don’t look at comic guys doling out some strange belief that laminating a book then putting it in plastic is the way – I look to book archivists…you try and buy a Moby Dick 1st printing slabbed…won’t happen. But we can see how museums safeguard their collections.

    Mel, once again, loved your CON commentary. Spot on mate! Sometimes I get a bit grumpy, I like comics…but all the side culture that it’s created seems to have swamped it out

  18. Walt, I had a deep and meaningful thought this morning, strange but true.

    Hypothesis: the reason why the MCU has taken a larger than life influence over comic trends/fashion/speculation over the past few years is related to a reduction in collectors who actually read the books.

    It seems to me that for every 25 people on Instagram talking about what book they’ve purchased there is only one person talking about what they are reading, discussing story or showing the interior art.

    When we read a book we may find different avenues for our interest: was it the main character, a secondary character, a villian, the writer, the artist or the inking that triggered a new interest? there may be (but not always) something in that book that drives us forward to our next purchase. Let’s say I pick up a Tomb of Dracula, impressed by the art I follow Gene’s career and buy a Detective Comics, where I fall in love with Killer Croc, then I’m hunting down his origin story and really dig this guy called Gerry Conway…it’s an organic, flowing journey that takes me from one point to another on the proviso that I read the damn book!

    Without reading I have nothing but other’s opinions (that YouTube Hot 20 books of the week!), cover buys or pretending the whole thing is a giant trading card game and pouring over data from GPA (I may change my name to $pider)…and watching the MCU offerings too…by watching I’m using the shows to spark my interest in particular books, it’s very reactive vs. a traditional pro-active experience.

    Just a thought!

  19. There is no real substitue for physically handling books before buying. and, every once in a while, you simply stumble over something cool you hadn’t expected. I recently picked up three mid-100s issues of Daredevil because Colan was back. Pretty uneven Colan because they seemed to just throw inkers of any descritpion at Gene’s wonderful pencils, with very mixed results. But! And here’s where the undocumented details jump out, #153 had reporter Ben Urich in it, one of my favourite ancillary characters in Daredevil. I then wondered just how old the character was in Daredevil continuity. Though there is no mention of it in Overstreet, this turned out to be his very first appearance, having been created by Roger McKenzie and Gene Colan! These are the little surprises I just live for! I have to wonder, if I bought a slabbed copy, if CGC would even mention it as a first appearance. Either way,not being able to read the book would ruin the whole experience for me. So, let’s just leave the “cons” to the con arists and rediscover the genuine thrill of reading and collecting.

  20. Darn it Mel ! Why did you tell everyone about Daredevil #153??!!! The cat’s out of the bag now! I’ve been stockpiling DD#153 for years, have about 68 of them in NM/M condition! I think one of them might be 9.9 !! I have to get them slabbed. Just wait until they announce that Ben Urich will be in the next Daredevil movie- I’ll make a KILLING !!!!!!!

  21. This is what I am ranting about- this is what has happened to our hobby. This is not collecting- this is mental illness !


    Hope the link works. A single slabbed page from a Hulk #181 [ page 13] sold on Oct 2/2022 for $304.86 USD. This is a statement about the mental health of a segment of our society! Shameful !!!

  22. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relic

    I don’t think there is anything unusual in that Hulk #181 page, this behavior is basic to humanity. It doesn’t resonate with me at the page level, but it clearly does at the level of the complete book. If you value possessing an object rather than just the experience of the object, you are participating in this behavior.

    Something is worth what people will pay for it. There is no straightforward reason that a complete comic is worth more than a single page, or even a staple. You can buy the materials that compose them for a penny. So when we pay for a book, a page, a staple, we are paying for the meaning of the object, not simply its raw material.

    And you guys keep talking about “read the comic” – but nearly everything you have talked about has been reprinted – so there is ample opportunity to read these stories without taking the risk of damaging the relic. Why would I page through a Shakespeare first folio when I could page through an excellent reproduction that I can spill coffee on with no concern?

  23. Kind of agree with the Meli assessment…there are ample ways to read a lot of books…still, when I had the chance to read the first Thor story in a JIM 83, having already read it a few times, I relished being able to read the original, and the rest of the book which hadn’t been reprinted (at least to my knowledge and how is that not a Marvel Facsimile yet?!)

  24. Hey LF
    Well, somebody had to let the poor cat out of the bag. I find so many obscure appearances and milestones just through sheer luck. How is your stock of Daredevil Vol.2 #58, the first modern appearance of Night Nurse? A while back I added a lovely copy of Fantastic Four #485 (a.k.a. Vol.3 #56) to my collection, which contains a wonderful story about Ben’s Jewish upbringing. Now, though it has been quite clear from the get-go that Ben may be Jewish, there was always a bit of a taboo about mentioning religion in the comics. Turns out this is the first time it is actually specified that Ben is indeed Jewish, a major milestone in the character’s development which has completely escaped Overstreet’s notice. Well, that was cool enough, but in FF #511, the gang actually ends up in Heaven to take Ben back with them. They actually get an invite to meet God, who, get this, turns out to be Jack Kirby. I’m not making this up! And, yet again, it slipped by completely unnoticed by Overstreet. These are the things I love to stumble upon on my own. So, now the cat is out of the bag on these too. Get ’em while they last, pilgrim. These are milestones that truly deserve much more attention than they are currently getting! So yeah, first Ben Urich, first real take of Ben Grimm’s faith, and Kirby as God!!! You just can’t lose with this stuff, and they are still readily available for under five bucks! So, get stockpiling before the word gets around!

  25. Chris/Tim- I fully understand the need for people to want to own a piece of a historic or significant object or thing. It is one thing to want to own a sliver of wood from ‘the one true cross’ or a finger bone from St. Peter’s right hand, but I don’t think a piece from a very modern comic book is quite on that same level as those ‘holy relics’.
    People have been buying bits & pieces of books for centuries, usually pages from hand lettered medieval texts or bibles, including pages from Gutenberg bibles, but these are ancient books that have fallen apart- nobody in their right mind would pull apart a complete 500 year old leather bound book to sell it off in fragments !!
    I personally do not believe that buying a single page, staples or flakes off of any book to be a sound investment. I speak for myself, everybody else has their own perspective. I come from a time where completeness was valued & the only possible use for an incomplete book was to use it to restore another incomplete book, which then begs the question- what is that incomplete carcass worth to the guy who wants to restore his book?? I guess that question will always be hanging over our heads. I do not have a need for an incomplete book or fragment in my collection & do not go after them. The only incomplete books that I have are books that I bought in group lots & had no choice in the matter.

    Old magazines have been carved up for decades by mindless vultures who have costed out the benefits of selling off all the advertising separately rather than as a complete unit. Thousands of classic magazines have been destroyed so that some mindless fool can sell an old Coca-Cola ad for $50.00 or a Marilyn Monroe/Elvis picture for $25.00! A single good magazine can yield ads worth up to a couple hundred dollars value sold individually, whereas the magazine may only sell for $25.00-$75.00 as a complete book. Along with the carcasses of those destroyed magazines, we have lost thousands of articles, illustrations & features that are not that easy to replace! Not all this stuff has been reprinted or has been stored in an easily accessible manner. Some of these dealers actually think they are doing us a favour & continue their mission of destruction like religious zealots- I should know, I worked for one !!! Some magazines may no longer exist in a complete state, or at all- how long before the vultures start carving up comic books too??

    I keep saying ‘read the book!’ as an alternative to having that book slabbed. Too many books are needlessly slabbed. Yes, go and slab your Mile High Captain America #3, but DO NOT slab your FVF Dazzler #1 !!! I do not think that pulps should be slabbed as they will continue to flake & your slab will be filled with little bits of paper and sawdust. Slabbing needs to be taken seriously & books have to be carefully considered to be candidates for such a process. I do not believe any true consideration is being applied & the ‘powers that be’ are simply taking the money & running!!! I also say ‘read the book’ and enjoy it, as I feel that too much emphasis is being applied to the financial aspect of our hobby & the various artificial means to prep the books for sale. Is this what are hobby has come down to? When I go to a blog like MysteryFile.com or pulpflakes.com, there is NO MENTION of pressing, trimming, cleaning, slabbing or value- they are true enthusiasts blogs & all they care about is the pursuit of entertainment and furthering their knowledge of the publications that they love.

    Think about this- the CGC warehouse is stuffed with thousands of comics, waiting to be graded & slabbed. I am sure that most of the books in that pile will be more modern books, from the 1970’s and on. Doesn’t it piss you off to know that maybe that high grade Mystery in Space #54 that you have been waiting for for ever can not come to market for MONTHS, because there are 128 copies of New Mutants #98 ahead of it in the pile for grading ??? How does that strike you- eh??? Pfffft!

  26. Mel!- I just can’t keep up with all these first appearances!! Can’t you just send me a spreadsheet???

    Why doesn’t OVERSTREET do something about this-
    [ A Handy guide for the speculator when investing in first appearances of characters who may or may not end up in a movie!]

    It's sure to be a winner!

    The book should be only sold to speculators & cost about $2000.00 a copy!!! After all, it WILL make them rich !!!

  27. Mel, I put DD#153 on my Insta feed and talked about it being one of the great undervalued comics in the era (it’s a real pity someone doesn’t do a column about Undervalued Comics, this would be a real contender).

    Mel, that #101-157 run on DD is dangerous waters, there isn’t any consistency at all, one issue can be a great read…Bob Brown is adequate however then Klaus Janson comes to join him in #124 and the art is pretty good with those boys working together (everyone always raves about Miller but forgets Klaus’s embellishment etc.). #153 is a great book…#155 is an absolute shambles!!!

    My favorite books of that era are Bullseye #131 & #132…there is this weird rumor that circulates that Bullseye was either a Miller creation or he took him and made him great…whilst I can agree Miller put him in the spotlight, when you read his first appearances you can clearly see he was created very well, he really hits the page fully formed (reminds me a little of Punisher), I heard that Miller ‘turned him into a psycho’ no, within 2 panels he kills a man with a pen! I can confirm, he was created ‘nuts’!!!

    I can also recommend #146, really enjoyed Jim Shooter’s script on this one and you get Gil Kane pencils too.

  28. I have always had a fondness for ol’ Horn-Head & I believe that DD#101 was the first issue I ever bought & read [right off the newsstand!]. I was eight years old & I bought the book because it had a monster on it. I had been reading stuff like Where Monsters Dwell & some of the Everett Submariners [ attracted by all the weird ‘fishy’ creatures that populated those books] and thought that DD#101 would be similar- but it was not! It was a Steve Gerber story & it went right over my head!! This was not surprising, as I was living in England at the time and was fed a steady diet of silly UK comics like BEANO, WHIZZER & CHIPS & DANDY. American comics were hard to find & I probably read several dozen silly humour English comics for every DEAD SERIOUS American comic that I could find! Yep, American comics were DEAD SERIOUS compared to the light hearted UK kiddy comics- it’s like comparing Benny Hill to Clint Eastwood [Dirty Harry!]. It’s quite a stretch to go from Dennis the Menace in a Beano comic to a Steve Gerber Daredevil story for a newbie 8-year old kid & I couldn’t understand a word that came out of Gerber’s pen!!
    I didn’t find too many DD’s in England & re-connected with him when I moved to Canada, starting half way through the Miller run. Miller’s rendition of DD cemented the character into my brain & I began the process of chasing down as many back issues as I could. I found most of the first 110 issues fairly easy to locate & of course, the Miller issues and beyond were no problem, but there is a block of issues starting with #109 [when the cover price changed to 25c] through #157 that are not very thick on the ground. I am not suggesting that these issues are scarce, but they did not pop up in the back issue bins as frequently as all the silver age issues that preceded them. As you have mentioned, DD was plagued with inconsistent quality, with some issues being very solid, others very weak. I can recall reading fanzines from the mid to late 1960’s where many fans were saying the same thing- ‘a fun character, but Marvel does not seem to know what to do with him’. I know that sales were down in the mid-1970’s & the book was being considered for cancellation, but as we all now know, Miller brought the character back to life and he marches on to this very day.
    In this day of the internet, finding these issues is a cinch, it just comes down to price. I should finish off my run, because I never did complete it, as there were simply too many distractions along the way! I still do not have a #1*, but I have several reprint editions, so it’s not the end of the world. I love the Wally Wood issues, the Miller runs [ both of ’em] & the Black Widow issues the most. I recall reading most of the Black Widow issues as I found them in the used book shops & having lots of fun with them. Now I have to dig up my copy of DD#153 to see what all the fuss is about! I have not read it since about 1982 & can not remember a thing about it!

    *I do own a Daredevil battles Hitler #1 ! Does that count ??

  29. I still get razed about not having any Miller-illustrated DD in my colleciton. I’ve really only got a smattering of the books I like (and, of course, I do have a nice MIller-scripted/ Mazzucchell-illustrated), but my favourite Daredevil is Kevin Smith’s run and the Bendis and Maleev, as well as the Brubaker and Lark material. These are simply some of the best Marvel books ever written, in my humble opinion. I can’t even guess how many times I have read and enjoyed these books, sometimes spenidng hours just revelling in the dynamic composition. I have to agree with Kevin Smith though when he says, “Daredevil has always been like the Grateful Dead of comics.” There’s clearly something completely original about this character that separates him from the pack. And, despite some people’s aversion to it, I think Ben Affleck’s Daredevil was great, although I was constantly afraid he might be impaled on Jennifer Garner’s chin!

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