Special guest star: Bully.

§ October 11th, 2007 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Special guest star: Bully.

My favorite cover gag of the week, from Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24, features this blurb:

…on a comic that is:

“If you read only one comic this decade, make sure it’s the second part of a four-part story! Excelsior, true believers!”

The mighty Bully, the cute little stuffed bull, brought to my attention this AP story about the Detective Comics #27 (first Batman, doncha know) that was found in someone’s attic.

Leaving aside the fact that, once again, the article leads off with a reference to a forty-year-old TV show (I love the original Batman TV series, but for God’s sake, does the writer of this article think he’s being clever, that it hasn’t been done a million times before?), it had me wondering if we’re going to see a new wave of folks searching their homes for old comics and potential fortunes.

I’ve said in the past that, over the years, I’ve had many, many people claim to have “the original Superman” or “the first Batman” or something equivalent, and I’ve never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever seen any of these alleged books come into the store. That it’s recently happened once for someone out there doesn’t make me think it’s any more likely that someone will just pop in with an Action Comics #1.

It becomes readily apparent after a minute or two of conversation that most people who make this claim, or some are just talking about bringing in some comics to sell, don’t know the first thing about comic books. Now, I’m not saying that in some haughty, “oh, the little people just don’t understand the intricacies of our beloved hobby” Comic Book Guy voice. It’s simply that the ins and outs of the hobby is outside most folks’ experience, and not any priority for them as their interests lie elsewhere. And that’s fine. It’s not like I can walk into, say, a diving store and immediately know all the important details about diving. It’s just not my thing, and I shouldn’t be expected to know the fine points of that endeavor.

But over the years, I’ve noticed several aspects of the funnybook collecting pastime that non-comics people don’t recognize or understand. These are among the reasons why I’m tad skeptical when someone tells me about the valuable comics they have at home:

1. They can’t tell what year a comic was published (the older they say the comic is, the more recent it’ll turn out to be…though sometimes, if they’re the original owners and bought the comics as a kid, a general timeframe can be pinned down).

2. They can’t tell what issue number a comic is. (a “3 DEC” in a box in the corner of the cover is invariably interpreted as a date).

3. They can’t tell what condition a comic book is in (not “Very Good Minus” or “Fair to Good” type conditions, but “brand new” or “near mint to excellent” — which the comic is always described as — versus “run over by the family station wagon” — which it usually is).

4. They don’t know what the title of the comic book is.

5. They don’t know the character that actually appears in the comic. (Even gimmes like “Superman” and “Spider-Man,” which you’d think would be instantly recognizable by everyone on the planet, are victims of this…promised 1950s Superman collections have turned out to be 1970s Marvel Tales, for example).

6. They don’t understand that, unless they’re Whitman 3-packs or certain ’80s or ’90s comics, their old comics aren’t in “their original bags,” and the bags in question, being comprised of this plastic, aren’t a guarantee of absolute protection against damage (see my “run over by the family station wagon” example earlier).

And before anyone accuses me (again) of dismissing these people just because they don’t know what it is they have, I do put an effort into trying to determine, at least in general, what books are in their collection. And I try to correct some of their incorrect assumptions about their comics…in a friendly and gentle manner, not all huffy and dogmatic like I am here. I also try to remain enthusiastic, and encourage them to bring their comics in. After all, you never know what it is they’ll actually have. There could be some good stuff in there!

And if they say they have “the first Batman” or whatever, usually a size comparison at the shop will reveal that it’s the treasury-sized reprint edition from the ’70s (“is it the size of this comic, or this comic?”).

Maybe, just maybe, someone in our area has a Superman #1 or a Detective #27, and perhaps that person will bring it into our shop and yea, upon that day there will be great rejoicing. But I’m not holding my breath.

Sorry, Bully:

Speaking of Marvel’s current O.D.ing on zombie covers…did anyone have a moment, looking at the “regular” cover and the “zombie” cover for the new issue of Wolverine, where they couldn’t tell which was which?

Having Marvel Zombie cover artist Art Suydam on the regular cover doesn’t help matters any.

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