Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ’em down.

§ April 9th, 2010 § Filed under employee aaron § 23 Comments

So pretty much out of nowhere at work yesterday, Employee Aaron whips out this decade-plus old bit of promo material:

That’s a sticker, measuring about 4 inches across, advertising the Hawk and Dove mini-series that I don’t remember a single thing about. Oh, I remember that it exists, and that we have it in stock at the store. I just couldn’t tell you anything that happened in it, if any of it is still relevant to current continuity, etc. I didn’t remember the sticker, either, since we obviously didn’t use it. Neat design, though…nice play on the whole yin and yang thing.

Speaking of Employee Aaron, we had this conversation at the shop:

Aaron: “Hey, what’s this comic?”

Me: “That? That, m’boy, is U.S. 1.”

Aaron: “What’s it about?”

Me: “Truckin’.”

Aaron: “AWESOME. I’m buying it!”

And time will tell whether I did a good thing or a bad thing.

I did wonder momentarily if U.S. 1 experienced the same phenomenon that other normally scorned and shunned comics seem to have in the past…that after a decade or two of being ignored and dumped in bargain boxes and such, people are starting to realize that, maybe, actual mint copies of the series are hard to come by. And, as such, maybe prices on the books are beginning to creep up.

Now, the other two examples I had in mind for this sort of thing are DC’s Shazam! revival of the 1970s (way overprinted beyond demand, as I recall), and Hex (DC’s sci-fi revamp of the western hero, rejected by a readership not ready for its total awesomeness). They pretty much lived in quarter boxes for years…until relatively recently, when the prices jumped up quite a bit for the nice copies. But these two titles had other advantages, such as the characters involved still being around in one form or another, and thus still in the public eye and memory. U.S. 1 was pretty much self-contained, rarely referenced after the fact, and, at this point, yet another forgotten Big Two mini-series. Plus, it was critically reviled at the time, though it’s not like the ’70s Shazam and Hex were exactly embraced by the audiences of their respective times, either.

Anyway, upshot to all this: U.S. 1 guides in Near Mint at $2.50 a pop, so I guess it’s not yet begun its upward price creep. Though I’d be surprised as hell if anyone’s selling it for $2.50. $2.50 for a full run, maybe. (And I’m sure someone’s put one in a plastic “officially graded” sealed slab and sold it for $100 or something dumb like that. Please don’t tell me if that’s the case.)

In fairness, there’s nothing particularly wrong with U.S. 1…it’s a goofy, dopey, and fun comic book that just takes its premise and runs with it. We could use a few more U.S. 1s on the rack nowadays.

23 Responses to “Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime if you don’t lay ’em down.”

  • Brack says:

    I’ve often complained about the lack of characters based on fads nowadays.

    ASM has had a couple recently with Screwball (social networking, parkour) and Overdrive (the pimping of rides). They also had Simple Simon (reality tv villain), but that one was a waste of a good idea for some short term, really obvious, sub-Gerber satire.

    But they’ve all been villains, it feels like we’ve not had entire books cashing in on fads (like US1, Deadly Hand of Kung Fu or Ghost Rider did) in decades.

  • Brack, I point you to Barack the Barbarian and the host of other Obama cash-ins that have been going through the industry.

    And Mike, you’re a liar. No one has ever bought a copy of U.S. 1. Except Chris Sims, of course.

  • Martin Wisse says:

    Cool sticker, but I don’t remember anything about that Hawk and Dove miniseries either, unlike the first one.

    You know what should be due for a revival? Shogun Warriors!

  • Joe S. Walker says:

    I just had a look at that Hawk & Dove series via a certain website, and it’s pretty poor stuff. Ditko’s intentionally uncomfortable morality play is replaced by a sub-X-Files conspiracy set-up. Hawk becomes a standard-issue hardass military chick, Dove a doofus male punk-rock musician. I’d call it forgettable.

  • Nate says:

    I read US 1 off the 7-11 racks when I could find it.

    In the days before cell phones, everyone I knew was into the CB craze and the idea of having the radio with all the time like he did in his head was pretty cool.

  • Jim Kosmicki says:

    I thought I heard reference that Jason Aaron had done something with U.S. 1 in his recent Ghost Rider run? You forget one other item: if there is a sudden surge in demand, DC could reprint Hex or Shazam (as they did in the recent Showcase edition). But since U.S. 1 was a licensed book (a slotcar racing set with 18-wheelers I think?), it will most likely never be reprinted in any form, even if somebody wanted to. I mean if they won’t go through the legal work to reprint Master of Kung Fu or Rom, both of which have actual fans, they’re not going to mess with U.S. 1, not matter how much goofy fun it is (and it is).

  • Rocco says:

    I have virtually no interest in the Hawk and Dove mini, but damn I want that sticker..

  • Chris G. says:

    That IS a nice sticker.

    Didn’t DC already do a Showcase of the 70s Shazam revival?

  • philip says:

    Decided to look for “US 1” over on the ebay and discovered that issue #6 featured “Iron Mike – King of the Bike.”

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Andres says:

    That kinda looks like the logo for the Bureau Chiefs!

  • adam barnett says:

    I’m not being contrary, I’m just stating my own personal experience.

    I tried to read U.S.1 in its entirety a couple of years ago. I just couldn’t do it. And you are talking to the man who has read Nature Boy, Mr. Muscles, and the entire run of Team America.

    That was a *dreadful* title.

  • John says:

    Rats, Adam stole my line!

    I dropped US 1 after 7 issues; this from a guy who bought every issue of Team America right off the rack.

    Mike, I thought you might reference Brother Power the Geek as well.

    Anyway, everyone should make sure they visit Adam’s site. Like Progressive Ruin, it’s a must visit every day.

  • Tom K Mason says:

    US-1 is no Kickers, Inc. and for hardcore truckin’ action, can anything really beat those issues of Green Lantern where Hal Jordan was driving a rig and communicating via CB-Radio?

  • Trinity Moses says:

    So what is wrong with “Mr. Muscles”? It was an interesting attempt at portraying a realistic superhero.

    However, it is not Jerry Siegel’s best Charlton work. That would be “Zaza the Mystic,” a series about a psychic who was unambiguously presented as a fraud–something unimaginable in today’s comics, which are as full of psuedo-science and conspiracy theories as Mr. Sterling’s favorite radio show. (Fortunately, the skills that allowed Zaza to make people think she could read minds lent themselves well to detective work, thus allowing her to still serve as a heroine.)

  • Trinity Moses says:

    Plus, you have to love the fact that Mr. Muscles was assisteded by Kid Muscles, and dated Miss Muscles. I think Charlton made a mistake by not publishing a spin-off called “The Muscles Family.”

  • Trinity Moses says:

    To forestall the inevitable hillbilly incest joke: It was perfectly all right for Mr. Muscles and Miss Muscles to date. Those were not their actual names. They were not related.

  • Todd Gray says:

    I recently completed a full run of HEX and, Mike, you’re right – that is some awesome comics reading. The world wasn’t ready for that kinda badass awesome. I like to think Cormac McCarthy was inspired to write THE ROAD after reading his own full run of HEX.

  • @martin Wisse: There is a Shogun Warriors movie currently in development according to a friend who’s a giant robot fan…

    @Jim Kosmicki: Aaron used at least one of the U.S.1 villains in his run. Last Marvel appearance by the trucker was in Byrne’s She-Hulk run I think…

  • Wow. Am I really the only one who read last month’s issue of DEADPOOL TEAM-UP, featuring none other than Ulysses Solomon Archer and his C.B. Skull?

    I’m not even a Deadpool FAN.

  • Cej says:

    Count me as one of the 5 people who bought and loved US 1. Al Milgrom is an unappreciated talent in my book. He took an obvious cash grab and turned it into a hokey fun book. (I also loved his short-lived run on Peter Parker). Plus US 1 had covers by Mike Golden!

  • The only thing wrong with HEX was the Keith Giffen artwork. I;m sure THAT killed the book. Heck, I can’t even get my scanner to work on that artwork.

  • Scott Rowland says:

    I picked up US 1 #12 for the Ditko pencils (inked/finished by Danny Bulanadi, I think – not Ditko’s best inker). I’ve looked through it, but haven’t actually read it. I’m not sure I ever will, honestly.