Getting lucky.

§ October 10th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Getting lucky.

So I spent most of the day on Monday sick and lounging about the house, sorta watching TV, sorta napping, sorta not getting a darn thing accomplished.

I read no comics, with one exception…I pulled a trade paperback out of the vast Mikester Comic Archives, and that paperback was Nancy’s Dreams & Schemes. This was the third of the five volumes released by Kitchen Sink in the late ’80s, which reprinted assorted strips by Ernie Bushmiller.

Now I’m not mentioning this to sing the praises of Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, wonderful though it may be. No, I’m bringing it up because, to the best of my knowledge, this series of Nancy books represent the majority of Nancy reprints in recent times (I know only of a couple others). As such, they tend to be in demand by Nancy collectors, which can drive prices up.

Luckily, I was able to buy these when they were still new and still in print, thus I only had to pay $7.95 or so a pop. And that reminded me that I’ve been lucky enough, over my past thirty years of funnybook reading, to be able to pick up several runs of comics or graphic novels when they were new, before they became pricey “collectors items.”

In 1983, I was one of the five people nationwide still buying the Swamp Thing title when Alan Moore took over the writing chores. Well, my response to his writing was the same as everyone else’s — i.e. “my mind, she is blown” — and started keeping an eye out for anything else he did. As a result, I picked up his Maxwell the Magic Cat series (produced by Acme Press, distributed in the U.S. by Eclipse), reprinting a comic strip Moore wrote and drew. Fairly difficult to find now, but generally not too expensive…with the possible exception of the apparently poorly-distributed fourth and final volume of the series. I’d hate to be a Moore fan now, trying to track these down.

Another Moore title that I was fortunate to purchase as it was coming out was Miracleman, the U.S. publication of Moore’s groundbreaking Marvelman series. It seemed like the series sold like it had twenty dollar bills stapled to the covers, so it was hard to imagine that anyone missed buying it. But, then again, it has been a number of years, and there have been some new readers coming into the hobby since Miracleman ended its run, and Moore’s reputation has only increased since then. On top of that, the notoriety of the series has only been driven upward by the confused ownership issues surrounding the character, preventing its reprinting and, as you may guess, pushing up secondary market prices.

I have seen some issues sell for insane amounts on the eBay, in particular the Miracleman/Kid Miracleman battle issue (#15) which has sold for hundreds of dollars, even without the artificial pricing bump that a CGC “slabbing” would have given it. So, short version — thank God I bought this series when it was new.

Other series I’m glad I already own and not having to pay the current premium prices for: Zenith, the five album series from Titan Books, featuring Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell’s own Miracleman/Watchmen-esque take on superheroes; the three Starblaze/Donning albums for Matt Wagner’s original Mage series, its only decent reprinting; the 125 or so Gladstone albums reprinting Carl Barks’ Duck work; and, of course, my Swamp Thing runs, though admittedly not many of those are too expensive and difficult to get.

One series I did miss and regret afterwards was Fantagraphics’ reprinting of E.C. Segar’s Popeye…I kept meaning to track them down, but never got around to it, fortunately enough, since new, improved editions are coming soon. I also regretted not buying Blackthorne’s Dick Tracy comics, but, again, a complete reprinting of strip is forthcoming.

I guess if we wait long enough, most anything we missed the first time around will eventually turn up in print again…which makes me glad I did buy Miracleman, since it looks like pigs will fly before that situation will ever get cleared up.

At the moment, the only other titles I’m sorry I missed purchasing are Shelley Mayer’s Scribbly and Sugar & Spike, which I’m sure DC is going to reprint any day now.

I don’t really have a point to any of this, other than feeling fortunate that I was able to get these (mostly) classic and (mostly) in-demand titles when they were still affordable and easy to find, rather than trying to chase them down later.

Today’s disturbing image, taken from the above Nancy book:

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