It Never Gets Old

What the heck is going on, seems like everyone has the flu! I think I’ll have a full crew at work this week for the first time since before Christmas! The problem with having a full crew is there’s no more excuses for getting very little done! Tops on my list is attacking that warehouse as my goal is still to be out of there by Halloween. Nine months is plenty of time, right?

This week’s “going to eBay auction” pile had some real gems in it. Check out this nice copy of Peter Pan Treasure Chest with that gorgeous thick spine. I remember a few years ago I had a real nice copy I sent down to grade and it came back ungraded, they said it was too thick. I think they’ve solved that problem since because I’ve seen some graded. This Peter Pan Treasure Chest was a big book back in the 80s and 90s; it’s not so big now though. The funny thing about books like this is how all the old-time dealers still give it reverence: boys, nobody cares anymore, move on.

I’ve posted a lot of old Dell comics on these pages and while they have always been a great source of covers whey were useless for ads because they had none in them. Another thing Dell’s suck at is giving us memorable splash pages and with that in mind I gave myself a challenge, go through the hundreds of pages of the Peter Pan Treasure Chest and find some good splash pages. I think the best splash in there is this Mermaid Lagoon page. I do like this splash but overall, there was slim pickings for good splash pages.

We’ve talked about this before but I’ve re-hash it here again, one of the smartest things Marvel did as a publisher in the mid 1960s was to launch its reprint titles: Marvel Tales, Marvel’s Greatest Comics and Marvel Superheroes. By 1966 the Marvel revolution was in full swing and all the newly added fans made supply of the early Marvels very hard to find. By 1967 the three titles mentioned above were bringing those “old” stories back to market. Old here is a relative term as some of these reprints were only a few years removed from the original printing. I leafed through a copy of Marvel Tales #4, with its Spider-Man #8 reprint and was surprised to find out that 4 of the 5 stories in there were all Jack Kirby stories; Steve Ditko fans had to settle for the Spidey #8 reprint. I’ll always marvel at Kirby’s sense of motion.

The ad of this week is this Marvel House ad from Frankenstein #4 from 1973. This ad screams early 1970s with its art: this was a time when Marvel was really pushing their horror themed magazines being printed by Curtis, there was another ad in this issue, just a few pages after this one, of the Dracula magazine they were also publishing. These horror mags from this era are finally coming around to being the valuable collectibles they deserve to be.

The latest edition of the icecollectibles ebay auction ended with a couple of big books in the raw Fantastic Four #5 and the high grade Amazing Spider-Man #299 with the Mark Jewelers insert. The result that really caught my eye was our CGC 7.0 copy of Tales to Astonish #93, the one with the classic Hulk/Silver Surfer cover by Kirby. CGC 7.0 copies of #92 and 94 get around $50 each and this just reminds me of the power of the cover to drive demand and value.

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 Meli
Chris Meli
1 month ago

It always makes me wistful when you talk about books that used to be prized. That is probably the “old guard” passing – the pre-Marvel collectors who collected funny animal books. I can imagine it was “safe” to collect these in the fifties, while all of the good stuff (PCH etc.) would be thrown out by your mom.

It also makes me think of Chuck Rozanski’s story of the empty Mile High room – where apparently the funny animal books had been stored, and thrown away before he got there for the other books. I think the collecting landscape would be different if he had arrived at the house earlier. These pristine copies would have added more weight to that genre.

Nevertheless, I looked up Peter Pan in GPA and it at least is treading water. I also checked Overstreet – over the past ten years it looks like they have kept it constant, except for an inflation adjustment. My read on then vs. now is grade and availability. There are plenty of low-grade copies available on eBay, but above 7.0 that book is rare. In the old days before eBay, it was probably difficult to find a copy in any condition, leading to the overvaluing of the low-grade copies. On the other hand, I’ll bet some higher-grade copies sold way below where they would today, now that it is clear that there are only a handful anywhere.

I see that continuing to play out as we speak after the ’21 bubble – a lot more books were graded, making the graded population distribution clearer. I see scarce high-grade copies of many books selling at record prices now, while lower-grade copies are selling at steep discounts to where they were in 2021.

I loved reading those reprints as a kid, but I didn’t value the books at all. These were “second editions” and disposable – when I got back into collecting ten years ago I was really surprised at how many had been kept in great condition.

You didn’t give the price for that TTA #93 as $250. That cover has so much going for it.

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