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And I mean, like, the Wonder Woman #1 from 1942, not the Pérez one, you wiseacres.

§ August 25th, 2017 § Filed under legion of super-heroes, retailing, the eBay § 4 Comments


So kind of the last thing I expected on the most recent New Comics Day was for someone to walk in with a shoebox containing about a dozen and a half comics, with that comic pictured above right on top of the stack. For the two people reading this site who don’t recognize the significance of that particular issue, that is Adventure Comics #247 from 1958, containing the first appearance of the long-running DC Comics team the Legion of Super-Heroes. And yes, that is a scan of the actual copy that I received in that collection.

I was particularly surprised because, at my previous place of employment, my old boss Ralph would often note that this comic is one that he never had show up in any collections. People would bring in runs of Adventure, but #247 was always skipped. Third or fourth appearances of the Legion, sure, but never this first one. In the time I worked for Ralph I’d seen multiple Amazing Fantasy #15s, and Amazing Spider-Man #1s, X-Men #1s, a Wonder Woman #1 here, a World’s Finest #2 there, but nope, never that elusive Adventure comic.

But there it is, at long last. In my hot little hands. Sure, it wasn’t in the best condition, but all the pages were there, and it was completely readable. The cover had seen better days, and the spine was about half-split, and the centerfold was loose. What I presume were the owner’s initials are right there on the front cover, as they were on some of the other comics in this collection…well, either initials or some elaborate hand-written arrival date scribbled on there by some newsstand operator. Not a great copy, but better than no copy.

Anyway, I put it on the eBays…I was planning to put it up for one price, thought “well, let me try for a slightly higher price,” and I guess I should have put it up for a much higher price because it was listed literally for about two minutes before someone bought it.

And that’s the tale of how I owned Adventure Comics #247 for all of about half an hour, forty-five minutes tops. Where was this comic a month ago, when I was talking about that exact story of the Legion’s first appearance? Ah, well…I probably would have been too afraid to scan that panel out of this comic anyway.

Here’s hoping whoever bought it doesn’t try to send it back…I’ve already spent that money on hooch, dice, and other sinful pleasures. Besides, I took a whole lot of pictures of the book’s problems to accompany the listing…I probably spent more time taking those pictures than the comic actually spent on eBay. There shouldn’t be any surprises.

Now I need to actually process the rest of the books in the collection: some late ’50s/early ’60s Detectives, a couple Brave and the Bold issues with Cave Carson, a beat-up Action #300, an even more beat-up Atom #4, a couple of other things. But this is one of the real perks of the job…getting to enjoy lots of old comics. Even if certain comics only stick around for about half an hour.

Guess I still gotta go to work.

§ September 11th, 2015 § Filed under the eBay, trading cards § 4 Comments

So I recently acquired a whole bunch more boxes of trading cards that I’m in the process of throwing onto the eBay store, including this particular goodie:

dcrystalbox1
“Whoa, a whole box of Dark Crystal cards!” I thought, “with sealed packs and everything!”

dcrystalbox2
“Surely this will be worth tons and tons of American dollars!” I briefly hoped until I looked up concluded sales on eBay and saw that it generally sells in the $20 range. I mean, full boxes of this set sell for more than that:

xforcecardbox
It was kind of a surprise. Judging by the number of boxes of these that are on, and have been on, eBay, there’s no particular shortage of them. Plus, as time goes on and the turnaround between “seeing a movie in a theater” and “owning the actual film in some home video format” shortens, the actual need for a movie souvenir that recounts the plot of the film is lessened. (Same reason why movie adaptations aren’t such a big deal in comics, anymore…the focus is on “prequels” or some other kind of new story to supplement the one on the big screen.)

That’s not to say these Dark Crystal cards won’t sell. They clearly are, just not for the “Mike can retire early” money I was hoping for.

Of course, that doesn’t explain why those X-Force cards sell for slightly better money. Those are all just pictures taken from the comics, as I recall. If you have the comics, you have all the images in this set. Is it just the act of collecting and collating the cards? There aren’t even rare chase cards in this particular set. Of course, the answer could just be “I like superhero comic cards, so back off, mister,” which is perfectly fine with me.

I haven’t had the time to generate actual content…

§ August 13th, 2015 § Filed under low content mode, the eBay, zines § 6 Comments

…so please accept this scan of a Linda Ronstadt book from 1978 in its stead:

lr
I currently have this up on the eBay, so I’m using this as an excuse to plug my eBay auctions, I guess.

Oh, this does remind me, I did recently list some other music-related magazines that may be of interest to funnybook fans, such as these issues of the music ‘zine Who Put the Bomp. Issue #7 from 1971 has a cover by underground comics artist George Hansen:

bomp71971

…while #9 from 1972 has a cover by another underground cartoonist, Jay Kinney:

bomp91972

Later the mag shortened its name to Bomp and went to slick color covers, such as this one for #18 from 1978 by William Stout:

bomp181978

Also, I’ll put up actual scans of those first two Bomps here when I get a chance…the digital photos didn’t work as well as I thought they would.

So there you go…I started off claiming there would be no content, and lo, there was content. Just how do I do it? I must be some kind of miracle worker.

More stuff tomorrow, pals.

Kept my Steve Gerber-written She-Hulks, too.

§ October 6th, 2014 § Filed under sterling silver comics, the eBay § 8 Comments

I wrote up a little thing on the Seth’s/Ralph’s site about my impending departure. Includes lots of photos y’all have seen before, but may be new to my customers. Nice to have them all in one place, anyway.

By the way, pricing up my own back issues for sale is a terrible thing. I wavered on Quasar, but priced ’em up. I’m not giving up my Squadron Supreme, however.

Also, in my price researching, I discovered that this particular issue of the 2000s series of The Brave and the Bold is selling in the $20-$30 range, presumably due to the Killing Joke tie-in. One guy on eBay right now is shooting for $75, believe it or not. Huh, who knew.

This is the prettiest Sluggo has ever been.

§ March 12th, 2014 § Filed under sluggo, the eBay § 5 Comments


 
 

BEHOLD

ANIME SLUGGO

 
 
At least, this is the prettiest he’s been other than this, or maybe even this.
 
 

from this eBay auction

I suspect it was cigars ‘n’ wine all around the office when they came up with the name “Kru-El.”

§ December 20th, 2013 § Filed under superman, the eBay § 11 Comments

So I was looking for something else on the eBay the other day (the Man of Steel prequel comic, if you’re wondering) when this particular item caught my eye:


It’s one of those “Choose Your Own Adventure”-type books, but with that Super-fella I’m sure some of you have heard about. I ended up buying it, primarily for three reasons: first, I am a Superman fan, and this kind of oddball thing is right up my alley. Second, pal Andrew has his Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Tumblr You Chose Wrong, and I figured I could contribute some endings from this book for his site. Third, I could write about it on my own site. And thus, here we are.

I’ve only done one read-through, following a couple of different branches here and there when it was pretty obvious when a decision was going to lead to an unfortunate ending.

AN ASIDE just in case you don’t know about this kind of book…it presents a narrative in which you are asked at certain points to make a decision about where the narrative should go. You are then directed to another page in the book which continues the narrative until you either reach another branching decision point or an ending. The decisions are usually in the format of “If you decide to go into the dark, foreboding cave to investigate the growling sound, turn to page 57. If you decide to run the hell in the other direction like a sensible person, turn to page 99.”

In the narrative line I followed, Superman ends up going with Lex Luthor to fight it out on another planet with a red sun, nullifying Superman’s powers so that they can engage as physical equals. If he didn’t do so, the missiles Luthor has aimed at Metropolis would activate, destroying the city. At various points you are given options to knock out Luthor (which sets off the missiles, automatically activating when Luthor is disabled), or even to straight up let Luthor get killed (very unSupermanly, resulting in an appropriately bad ending for Supes).

As you can see on that cover, there are other villains that turn up along the way, such as the Toyman and the Phantom Zone villains (General Zod and Faora, of course, but also the fabulously-named Kru-El). The book helpfully includes a couple of pages of villain fact-files, which you are invited to turn to when the villain(s) first pop up in whatever narrative thread you’re following.

“FORTRESS FACT FILE #3 – FAORA HU-UL: This female Phantom Zone villainess is crazy! Her hatred of all mankind makes her the most dangerous of all the Phantom Zone foes! Do not approach Faora without a weapon, or you will have no chance of surviving!”

Well, sure, why not.

Hold on, only reading one line of narrative before writing this post doesn’t seem right. Let me go through again and see what happens. Be right back.

[TEMPUS FUGIT]

Okay, so this time Superman encounters a nine-foot-tall yellow monster wreaking havoc, and one thing leads to another, the monster tells Supes that he came to Earth to ask Superman for help, but the oxygen-rich atmosphere disoriented him and made him act all crazy ‘n’ such. He wants Superman to go back to his planet, but (turning to page 24) Superman decides to take him back to the Fortress of Solitude to run him through his super lie-detector to make sure it isn’t some kind of trap. Once there, the monster notices the Fortress Zoo and asks to see it. (Turning to page 34) Superman agrees, but while in the zoo, the dreaded Bravado Beast, who hates the color yellow, breaks free of its pen and charges at the monster, breaking cages and freeing other creatures in the process. The rampage continues into Superman’s Kryptonite storage room, which exposes some of the deadly rocks:

“‘Help me!” Superman shouts to the creature.

“‘I can’t!” the creature replies in terror. ‘The Bravado Beast has me in its clutches — and it won’t let go!”

“‘Then this,’ Superman gasps, ‘is…’

“THE END”

I’m a lousy Superman, it seems. Also, you can see the Bravado Beast itself in this article about Superman’s zoo.

One more point about this book…on the very first story page, Superman is referred to as “Earth’s Mightiest Mortal,” which I’m pretty sure was solely Captain Marvel’s tagline. That Superman, always horning in on Billy Batson’s action.

So let’s start off Year #11 with a post about X-Force and Deadpool.

§ December 9th, 2013 § Filed under market crash, retailing, the eBay § 10 Comments

It seems really almost like yesterday I was setting up a table near the front of the store to show off all the editions of the brand-new X-Force #1, drawn by red-hot young artist Rob Liefeld. Each factory-sealed in polybags with one of five different trading cards, stacked up high and waiting for us to open our doors for that new comics day.

And did they sell? Oh Lordy, did they ever. It was 1991, the Good Old Days of Comics Retail, and anything that even just slightly smelled of being Hot and Collectible was in high demand. As I recall, a number of our copies of X-Force #1 shared a particular printing defect, a thin dark line that stretched down the front cover, painfully obvious and not obscured at all by the polybag covering. We pulled these aside for replacement from the distributor, but again, as memory serves, such was the demand for the comic that we were even able to sell copies of these, perhaps under the customers’ assumption that the comic’s presence within that sealed polybag thus ensured it was mint, regardless of the item’s actual condition. We noted the damage, we may even have dropped the price a bit to account for the flaw, but still they sold.

And everyone bought them. Yes, everyone. I bought one. I admit it. I was caught up in the hype and the craziness and it’s not like this was the only time I apparently overlooked any kind of deficiency in storytelling in my funnybooks.

If you were around buying comics in 1991, you probably bought one too. You may have bought one of each, to get all the trading cards. …Hey, I’m not judging. It was a weird time, and a lot of us conspicuously consumed a lot more comics-related product than was probably healthy. I’m sure most of us have full sets of the first series of Marvel Universe trading cards, too. (Judging by the number of people who try to sell these sets back to us now, I suspect Marvel went door to door and gave a set to every U.S. citizen.)

Anyway, we sold a lot of X-Force #1s. I’m sure a good number of them went into the hands of kids and teens who dived into the comics collecting hobby during its peak faddish phase, who dived right back out again as soon as that fad was over. I didn’t sell any full cases of them to single buyers, but I’m sure they did somewhere. They sold and they sold and they sold, and sales on the book continued to be strong, as both current issues on the rack and from the back issue bins, and so it went until the comics market crashed a couple of years later, and well, you can read more about that if you’d like.

X-Force continued with mostly reasonable sales, relatively speaking given the state of the marketplace, ’til it finally wrapped up in the early 2000s after a dramatic revamping of the book (and restarting as X-Statix). It’s had the occasional relaunch since then, selling on a much, much smaller scale (just like everything else in the comics market nowadays, compared the land of good ‘n’ plenty back in the early ’90s). Unsurprisingly, back issue demand has dropped, and most people who were interested in those early issues likely bought them as they were coming out. Plus, tastes have changed…what was “hot” and seemingly cutting edge in 1991 is now dated, its shortcomings more obvious now that we have the perspective of distance.

I was looking at eBay the other day, specifically looking at entries for sold items featuring Deadpool. Deadpool, who had debuted in New Mutants #98, just prior to that title being retooled into X-Force, who has been experiencing something of a renaissance over the last couple of years in a handful of popular series. Of late, I’ve noticed that sales haven’t been quite as strong for us on the various Deadpool projects that have reached the stands. The trade paperback collections still move quite well, but the bloom appears off the rose for the actual periodicals. A temporary dip? Burnout from overexposure? Anticipation dying down from a supposed movie that never materialized? Who knows, really, but it’s a trend I’ll need to keep an eye on.

However, back to the eBay. I saw some eBay sellers trying to move those early issues of X-Force with liberal application of “DEADPOOL! H@T! L@@K!” shouting from the auction titles, a desperate marketing move to rid themselves of stagnant product, not too dissimilar from using the “Copper Age” label to get folks to oh God please buy some of these copies of Arak Son of Thunder. In particular, I saw one or two instances of X-Force #1 being sold with a “DEADPOOL!” notice in the title, and I, a proud owner of X-Force #1 as I have explained previously, could not recall Mr. Pool’s presence in said comic, beyond being on one of the prepacked trading cards.

Turns out, sure enough, there he is, in one of the Cable Guide files that filled some space not taken up by house ads in the back:


This does not appear to be a sales incentive, it seems. Even X-Force #2, plugged by many sellers as featuring Deadpool’s second (in-story, as opposed to trading card or Cable Guide page) appearance, doesn’t appear to be gaining any sales traction. That these comics originally sold in quantities probably far in excess of the actual number of comic collectors still remaining in the marketplace is the main reason. In fact, I suspect there’s some kind of economic concept regarding the supply of things and potential demand for them that covers the situation quite nicely. (On the other hand, the aforementioned New Mutants #98, which sold okay back in the day but not nearly close to X-Force numbers, currently sells for big money whenever you can dig one up.)

That’s not to say X-Force is now entirely unsellable. I’ve sold some of those early issues. There are still fans of that type of work. But it’s a weird sort of nostalgia that I get when I deal with these comics now, a reminder of a time when it seemed like the industry, the publishing industry itself, not the media adaptations, was an unstoppable juggernaut, an unending tidal wave of new comics and new relaunches and new #1s and Big Name Artists and new superhero universes and that we couldn’t see the bare ocean floor that wave was going to leave in its wake.

Nothin’ says lovin’ like Hulk from the oven.

§ July 13th, 2012 § Filed under collecting, retailing, the eBay § 13 Comments

So it can be difficult to buy things at the shop at times when people bring items in that they’ve already “researched” on the Internet, particularly when they see prices like these:


Note: the “used” copies start at $150, and work their way up into the $500s.

Now, I know this is not a terribly common item, and that the 1970s Fireside paperbacks are usually in-demand collectibles. Even in pristine shape, though, the books in the line don’t sell for that much, at least to my knowledge. We had a copy of the Fantastic Four Fireside paperback in Near Mint condition that sold for about $60, and it took forever to move it. We also had a…rather well-read copy of America at War, the Fireside reprint of DC’s war comics (and, I think, one of the most sought-after volumes from this series, next to the romance book), that sold for about six bucks.

In the past, when we’ve had copies of the Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook, they were usually in Good to Very Good condition, and, if memory serves, we usually sold them for around ten dollars or so. Or maybe it was the Marvel Strength and Fitness book…basically the same type of book, with about the same level of demand and desirability. Basically, it’s a book that’s an interesting novelty item, but not really comics as such, and not with an excessive value.

At least, that’s what we generally believed. A quick look at one online store lists a Mint copy as being in the $150 range (theoretically, as they don’t have any in stock). And a look at completed eBay auctions shows that a couple of copies have sold in the $40 range, which may be a more realistic assessment of this item’s value:


…since this is showing what prices people are actually paying, as opposed to, as shown in the Amazon image above, what prices that sellers are trying to get.

But I don’t know…maybe I’m wrong, and Amazon sellers are turning over copies of this book all the time at hundreds and hundreds of dollars. But we have to base our pricing and purchasing on what we think we can sell it for, and what we’ve sold it for in the past, and not on what high hopes others might have. And frankly, I would have zero confidence in getting prices like those on Amazon for this copy of the book. I doubt we would have even really approached those eBay prices, but it’s all a moot point since we couldn’t come to terms on the book with the seller anyway.

Ah, well, At least Chris wrote up this description of the Marvel Superheroes’ Cookbook we can all enjoy.

Not to be confused with the arcade game “Super Pac-Man.”

§ February 16th, 2011 § Filed under superman, the eBay § 8 Comments

So pal Batfatty pointed me to this original art auction on the eBay:


Plenty more close-up images at the link.

Man, I don’t even know what to tell you. But I’d totally buy it if I had the scratch right now.

I don’t often wear my Tom Servo “I’M HUGE!” t-shirt for the same reason.

§ November 5th, 2010 § Filed under batman, sluggo, the eBay, this week's comics § 5 Comments

Another recently arrived purchase from the eBay: a companion Sluggo magnet for the one I received a few days ago:


This Sluggo is kinda sorta posed the same way as the Sluggo in the last Sluggo Saturday, only sans moustache.

• • •

Arrived at the store this week is an assortment of buttons called “DC Superheroes Have Issues,” and some of the buttons feature pics of superheroes and villains with captions identifying their particular problem and, perhaps, intended to comment on the wearer of said button. Like, Batman’s says “Needs Anger Management,” Flash’s is “Speed Freak” (er…), Dr. Fate’s is “Painfully Shy” (because of the full facemask, you see), and Joker’s is “Just Crazy,” which is pretty funny, actually.

The best one is probably this one:


And while this may be a problem of the Penguin’s (though perhaps overstating it a bit):


…that’s…um, well, what can you say, really. Apparently, expected demand for this button was low, as this was the only one in the box. Or maybe it’s a Rare Chase Retailer Incentive Embossed Foil Die Cut Cover – Death and Return of Captain America and Superman Autographed by Alex Ross and Buck Rogers and Silver Spoons Star Erin Gray Button! Starting Bid $129.99! L@@K! H@T! We Take PayPal!

…Er, sorry about that.

For some reason, I Googled “morbidly obese Penguin” and up came this page, and apparently the phrase is some kind of internet thing. Maybe. I guess. Who can tell?

• • •

Finally got around to reading some of this week’s comics, and regarding Grant Morrison’s Batman and Robin #16…without getting into spoilers, let’s just say that they weren’t kidding about it being a “game-changer.” I mean, we knew where it was going, given the premise of Batman, Inc., but how it got from here to there is something else. Of course, my first reaction to reading it is “I wonder what they’re going to have to do when they eventually change everything back to the way it was” since, like any comic book character with this long an existence and with this much tie-in merchandise and other media translations, the inertia of its own history and reader/general public expectations always tends toward reverting these kinds of temporary fiddlings with the formulas. But, given the kind of change made, and the relative significance of the character, I suspect the transition back to the old status quo may be as traumatic as the change over to the new one…and I also suspect Morrison has said transition already built into place for when the time comes.

Oh, the comic was good, too.

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