Yes, I know people were trying to rip each other off with those DC treasury reprints of Golden Age books back when they were new.

§ August 17th, 2011 § Filed under collecting § 7 Comments

In response to yesterday’s post, reader Philip asks, in reference to the new bunch of first issues heading our way from DC Comics:

“So how long, do you figure, before someone calls you with ‘I have a mint-condition Action Comics #1 to sell’ and they show up with the re-numbered Grant Morrison book? (Apologies if you’ve addressed this already.)”

I think it’s been noted once or twice here and there, but I think if I discussed it, it might have just been on Twitter or something. But that could be a problem, but I don’t imagine it’ll be an issue for quite a while. These new number ones are too obviously new, and whenever that particular problem you mention has ever come up with us, it’s been among older comics, like DC’s treasury-sized 1970s reprints of Golden Age titles. (Or between Superboy #1 and Superboy Annual #1.)

I suspect, in about ten or twenty years, assuming the continued existence of stores dealing in these stapled paper things, the current spate of starts and restarts and renumberings will result in no small amount of befuddlement for future collectors. I suppose ultimately the new DC #1s for their long-running titles, like Batman, won’t necessarily be a specific problem in that people will confuse it for the original #1 from decades ago, but will simply add to the morass of recent first issues already out there. And there will be plenty of #1s to go around for folks to attach their spurious dreams of found fortunes, like the debut issues of Cyber Force and Team Youngblood that pop up in nearly every collection that passes through our doors. “Look, I have first issues” they say, hope briefly in their eyes ’til I tell them the terrible truth.

However, in fifty years? Seventy-five years? As we get some distance from the current marketplace and (making a huge leap here) assuming there is still a comics market as we understand it…maybe some people in the year 2081 will confuse a Superman #1 from 2011 for being the original and try to get some big bucks (or Galactic Space Credits) for Superman’s “first” comic book. I’ll update my blog in about 70 years and let you know if and when that happens. (Or if it occurs earlier than that, which could very well happen. It wouldn’t completely surprise me. Well, it would if they did use Galactic Space Credits.)

7 Responses to “Yes, I know people were trying to rip each other off with those DC treasury reprints of Golden Age books back when they were new.”

  • Roger Green says:

    When I worked at FantaCo in the 1980s, DC had put out treasury editions (I think) reprints of Action #1, Detective #27, etc. Yes, some unwitting adults – I believe them to be sincere – thought they had found a gold mine.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    “‘Look, I have first issues’ they say, hope briefly in their eyes ’til I tell them the terrible truth.”

    As Harry Truman said when asked about his reputation for “giving hell” in answer to questions, “I don’t give ’em hell. I just give ’em the truth and they think it’s hell.”

  • adam barnett says:

    The re-launching of books has been a nightmare. I can barely keep up with what issue goes where when I buy back issues. I understand why they do it from a marketing perspective, but it’s also caused them to lose sales from someone like me.

  • Professor Booty says:

    Mike, I dunno if you already know about it or not, but there’s an interesting blog/project out now called DC Fifty Too with the premise being “what the New DC Universe would look like … if it were out of DC’s hands”. A lot of great artists participate in it and I hope I’m not being a spamming asshole right now, but when I saw this image I immediately thought “Hmm, wonder what Mike Sterling would say about that”. Sorry for the spammy comment (I’m not associated with the site in any way). Just thought you might enjoy it.

  • Professor Booty says:

    Also, I have a question for you: I own exactly 0 Swamp Thing comics. I became quite interested in the character through your blog, but I don’t wanna read all that current stuff – I’d much rather grab some tradepaperbacks or other collected back issues. What would you recommend? I’m all for the (pretty) easily available & quintessential Swamp Thing stuff to get me going.

  • Gary Dunaier says:

    The Famous First Edition reprints of Action Comics #1 and such came out in the 1970s. I’m guessing they were prompted by the news stories about Mitchel Mehdy spending $1,800+ for an Action #1 in the early 1970s (which, I guess, would be like someone paying a million dollars for it today) and decided to cash in by offering the giant size replicas.

  • Shinwell Johnson says:

    Indeed, the in-house ad for the “Famous First Edition” version of ACTION #1 did play up the Mitchel Mehdy sale. The tagline was something like, “he paid $1800, you can get it for just a dollar.”