I had a good long talk with my pal, Chris Owen, about magazines recently. We could not figure out why magazines have not exploded in value as collectibles. We were talking about comic book related magazines, so we narrowed the discussion down to the publishers Eerie, Skywald, Warren and Magazine Management (Marvel’s Curtis).
Most people I know love these things but not many actually collect them seriously. We wondered why they were not collected more because Chris and I both thought these mags more than merited a stronger collector base.
The thing is you can’t escape these magazines if you are a comic book collector because they cross over so much, they are practically one and the same. Some very prominent comic book characters actually make their first appearances in magazines, Starlord in Marvel Preview #4, Rocket Raccoon in Marvel Preview #7, and Man-Thing in Savage Tales #1 are three great examples. You can’t collect Rocket Racoon or the Guardians of the Galaxy and not have a Marvel Previews #7.
Curtis is a Marvel Comics brand and it should probably be the most collected of all the publishers precisely because it ties in so much of the Marvel Universe. Not only did you have important first appearances but you also had vital issues to the canon of other major Marvel characters. Collect Punisher? Then you need a copy of Marvel Previews #2. Characters like Iron Fist and Chang Chi had very early and very important runs in Curtis mags. Conan is another thing altogether, he went from pulps in the 30s to books in the 50s and 60s to comic books beginning in 1970 then over to magazines in 1971 and 1974 with Savage Sword of Conan. Next to the collected Howard books, the best way to read Conan is the black and white mags. Magazines were not covered by the Comics Code Authority and could have much more mature subject matter, perfect for the nasty storytelling needed for a good Conan yarn.
Marvel actually tried out Magazines in 1968 with its two Spectacular Spider-Man releases, I read that they were trying to compete with Warren Publishing. Warren was finding success with its Eerie and Creepy titles and added the very comic bookish Vampirella in 1968. Skywald and Eerie (the publisher, not the Warren title) I like to call the Pre-Code E.C. of mags, these things were downright nasty and had quite a following in the early 1970s. The crazy Skywald and Eerie covers are a natural add-on to any hero based magazine collection much like the Pre-Code horror comics are nice additions to superhero comic collections.
We talk a lot about how important covers are to today’s back issue comic book market, covers are driving the biggest value gains in the hobby right now and they have been for years. You owe yourself a good look at some of these early magazine covers, the quality is beyond belief. If anything will spark a surge in magazine collecting and magazine values it will be through the discovery of just how great the covers are.
CGC grades magazines and I always hated them because they never fit in my CGC comic boxes, I think this fact hampers collecting a bit but the remedy to that, of course, is to have 100 magazines in your collection and not just a Vampirella #1 and a Marvel Previews #4 that seem to always be out of place and in the way. Once a critical mass is reached and they get their own special collecting box the pet peeve of their size will go away.
Charlton had some great 70s mags that I really love collecting, Six Million Dollar Man and Emergency!
Can you see yourself collecting magazines? Do they belong in comic book collections? What is stopping them from catching on in a bigger way?