Maybe I’d collect every copy of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. You know which one.

§ September 23rd, 2019 § Filed under collecting § 15 Comments

So y’all left a lot of good comments on last week’s post about being a comic book completist (and I continued on a bit in a second post). Thank you for participating…sometimes I feel like we’re kind of past the heyday of people wanting to leave comments on small hobby blogs like this one, but every once in a while you folks come through and remind me “hey, sometimes people actually read my site!” So, thanks pals.

Anyway, let’s dig into some of those comments from that initial post and see how much typing I can do around them:

Thom, the fella what started all this in the first place, had this to say:

“For the record, I knew that completism was a thing, but I had no idea Swamp-Thing completism was being practiced by more than one person.”

Oh, sure, sorry about implying otherwise. But yeah, I’m not the only Swamp Thing completist out there. I’ve encounted a few through the years, online and in the respective shops I’ve worked at. Granted, not many completists have gone so far as to get Swamp Thing Chalk, but more have than you might think! But I gotta be one of the very few to have this.

• • •

Brad Walker strolls in with

“So have you ever talked about Richie Rich and Casper #1?”

Ah, you mean how Casper is clearly the departed spirit of Richie Rich, condemned to roam the mortal world until he has sufficiently counterbalanced his excessive avarice in life, therefor the two of them appearing together in one adventure is a blunt expression of Harvey Comics’ belief in the dualism of mind and body?

Or is it the “swamp creatures” thing in that first issue you linked? Yeah, on second thought, it’s probably that. Well, to be honest, while those monsters are clearly planning to eat Richie Rich and thus certainly have my sympathies, but that doesn’t really trigger the “swamp monster collector” instinct in me. I suppose I want something a little more…Swamp Thing-ish, I suppose, more green and humanoid and/or transoformed by science goine awry, as opposed to a couple of critters that just happen to live in a swamp. A fine line to draw, I understand, and probably exposes something disturbing about me psychologically,, but this issue just doesn’t float my airboat.

• • •

The infamous John Lancaster had more to say, but I wanted to focus on this bit:

“One that I may have mentioned here before; collecting every #1 issue of Spitfire and the Troubleshooters. As of my last count and based on publishing records, I own approximately 4% of the print run on this one. It’s not because I love that character or anything, I just want to wipe their existence off the earth. It’s basically a Scrooge McDuck gambit.”

Whoa nelly. Imagine finally getting all extant issues of this in one place. Just mountains of Spitfire, taking up every room in the house, filling the bathtub, falling out of the attic, stacked around the Ford Festiva in the garage, etc.

But even that’s an aspect of collecting I’ve come across once or thrice over the years, with folks trying to buy multiple copies of the same issue. I mean, aside from the investment side of things, I saw that a lot during the ’90s boom. Or, you know, whatever the hell was going on here. I mean, just got a wild hair to get, say, every copy of the “Spore” issue of Iron Man, as Mag ‘n’ H were trying to do at one point over at the Comic Treadmill. Or the customer I have now who’s way into Green Lantern, and wants as many copies as he can get of the 3-issue “Emerald Twilight” series.

I can’t say I’ve ever wanted to do that, myself. I mean, sure, I guess it would be a little funny if I bought every copy of Swamp Thing #24 I could find…just, like, corner the market on them, be the world’s ultimate collector of Thrudvang, but…yeah, nothing’s ever tickled my fancy that way. …I seem to remember former employee and old pal Rob decided he was going to get every copy of the Art Adams “Fin Fang Foom” trading card from the ’91 Marvel set. I helped him with that a bit, that’s probably as close as I’ve come.

• • •

Andrew Davison schools us on

“In the past I’ve used GCD to search for a character’s appearances.

“Any top tips for finding comics on a theme?”

That is admittedly a bit harder. Other than looking at hundreds of comic book covers nearly every day, like I do, perhaps you can plug in various keywords into the Grand Comics Database’s story title search function. Or if you’ve got time to kill (and who doesn’t, we’re all swimming in free time) you can just poke through the various cover galleries of likely titles there. Yeah, that’s kind of a crapshoot, but you never know.

Also, there are plenty of blogs and Tumblrs and, um, Myspaces, I guess, out there where folks have already done the work and pieced together their own lists of comics that cover their specific interests. That’s my guess, anyway…I don’t really know, I don’t go on the internet.

• • •

Paul Di Filippo (a fella who himself isn’t unfamiliar with swamp critters) wades in with

“What?!? No love for swamp monster Solomon Grundy?!?”

I ain’t got no beef with Mr. Grundy, no sir. It’s easy to forget that he fits right into the genre of “man transformed by science and/or magic into swamp beast” since he isn’t, y’know, green. OKay, he was getting a bit green in that one Swamp Thing story, but that was pretty much it. I talked about his first meeting with Swamp Thing not too long ago, and I’ve mentioned a couple of times how DC wanted Grundy to fill Swamp Thing’s niche in the DC Universe (as Swampy was tied up over at Vertigo) and put out a series to do just that.

But despite the connection to Swamp Thing, I never felt obligated to add “all appearances of Solomon Grundy” to the collection. That would being getting some pretty pricey early comics there. And I think I’ve bought ‘n’ read a sufficient numbers of more recent appearances so…I’m probably good on the guy for now. I won’t say no to future comics, but I’m probably not going to be dipping into back issues to fill holes in that particualar accumulation. Sorry Paul!

• • •

Eep, that’s a lot of typing. Okay, back soon with more. Leave more comments on that first post if you’d like, and of course read everything everyone has to say there. Lots of good comments…remember when comments were good? Now you can relive those halcyon days right here on Progressive Ruin Dot Com.

15 Responses to “Maybe I’d collect every copy of All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder. You know which one.”

  • Mike Nielsen says:

    The question about the GCD search.

    A few years back we implemented “keywords”, so if anybody has added keywords to information you can search that way.

    For instance, if you search for Korean War or basketball, you will find many stories (and covers) that have those items.

    It’s nowhere near comprehensive, but there is quite a bit there.

  • Chris V says:

    Once upon a time, the owner of the comic store I frequent regaled me with the tale of one of his wackiest customers.
    He said that this customer would only buy the Master of Kung Fu series.
    I said, “Oh, so he buys every appearance of that character?”.
    “No.” he replied, “He only collects that one series. He buys a complete run of that series, and when he finishes off a run, he starts over again. He’s bought the complete run of Marvel’s first Master of Kung Fu series at least eight times over now.”
    I thought, wow, that is one wacky customer.

  • Damien says:

    Well now I know why the only issue I’m missing of Spitfire is number one.

  • John Lancaster says:

    To put the Spitfire thing into some better perspective in terms of volume. I estimate that right now I have approximately 40 long boxes (loose, not bagged or anything) of just #1. There’s about 20? or so more long boxes of all the other issues in big chunks. I figure I have about 300,000 or so to go for #1 so there should still be plenty out there to find. And to answer the next question; yes I realize that is absolutely ridiculous. I would say 90% of those I got for free so it’s not like I’m not paying my mortgage just to continue this inane quest. Many shops I frequent are aware of my “hobby” and whenever they get any in a collection they just save them for me. It’s not like they’re worth anything, and I generally spend enough that a handful of free hot garbage hurts their bottom line.

  • John Lancaster says:

    …in addition, I’ve been ridding the earth of this horrible comic since 1988. It’s not like I just accumulated these over the last couple of years. So it’s like a couple long boxes a year on average.

  • Thom H. says:

    I’ve never consciously collected the same issue of the same series over and over again, but I did end up with multiple copies of JLA: Classified #1 through sheer enthusiasm.

    I thought Grant Morrison and Ed McGuinness were a fantastic team, and it was a miniseries (basically), and it was related to Seven Soldiers which I loved.

    So every time I saw it in a dollar bin, I’d pick up another copy because hey — I like that comic! Then I realized I had 5 copies of the same issue and decided that was probably enough.

    Also, quick question: what’s wrong with Spitfire #1?

  • John Lancaster says:

    Thom – With very little exception, the Marvel New Universe was an awful, awful thing. I really could have just picked about any of the series to focus my ire on. It’s mainly because as a comic shop employed during those times I got soooo sick of seeing it in every handful or collection of comics that walked in our door, I decided I had to do something about it. Coincidentally, a few days earlier I had just reread the Uncle Scrooge Story “The Secret of Atlantis” (
    Having this fresh in my head, I hatched my evil scheme. Since I wasn’t wealthy enough to quite do what Scrooge did, I just figured I would collect them by chance and good luck…I have been know to buy them cheap off Ebay if I run across someone selling a pile of them…and so it went. I really could have just as easily been Kickers Inc, or Nightmask. Someday though, I’ll have a cargo plane’s worth of Spitfire #1 and I plan on having the biggest bonfire in the county. Just to prove that I am completely crazy – about ten years ago I finally figured I had enough of the ubiquitous JFK memorial album and destroyed about 50,000 of them. There can’t be more than a few dozen left in the entire mid-West.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    John, when I was a kid, my family took a trip to New York, where my younger step-brother left our backpack full of comics on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. When my dad went back up to look for it, (they nicely let him up without paying a second entry fee) it was gone!

    That was the summer the New Universe was hitting the spinner racks, and we were excited to get in on the ground floor of this new comics world and bought all the first issues. Yep, they were all in that backpack. So, if you ever find yourself in New York, go to the top of the ESB and maybe you’ll find yourself another copy…

  • Thom H. says:

    Yes, the New Universe is terrible. Although I do have a friend who remembers parts of it fondly. I’ll have to ask him which series he still feels a connection to — probably not Spitfire. In any case, thanks for the explanation.

    On the other hand, “The Secret of Atlantis” is most definitely not terrible. Thank you for linking to that synopsis. I can’t believe how much story Carl Barks was able to pack into 32 pages! I’ve never been much of a Donald Duck fan, but I might just have to seek out that issue (in reprints, of course).

    Good luck on your continuing quest!

  • Chris V says:

    D.P 7, by Mark Gruenwald, was a pretty good comic.
    There were some other New Universe titles that were decent, or had chunks worth reading, but most of D.P. 7 was quite worth your time.

    Also, while it’s pretty terrible, Jim Shooter’s Star Brand issues are worth reading. It’s like watching a car crash.
    You can’t believe Shooter actually thought it was a good idea, but there it is on the page.

    I found Spitfire to be among the worst of the New Universe books.

  • John Lancaster says:

    Hey Thelonious_Nick – I was wondering were that backpack came from….I believe one of my many New Universe Minions already procured it and transported it to the Hall of Keeping….

    And Thom – You can’t go wrong with a Carl Barks duck story (or Don Rosa for that matter). All are available in various reprints that are pretty easy to get. The new Fantagraphics Hardcovers are absolutely fantastic. Along with the aforementioned Don Rosa. I encourage you to seek some of them out.

    Chris V. – I do agree that DP7 was about the only saving grace for New Universe. I tried getting into Starbrand when Byrne was doing it and it all just seemed stupid to me. Don’t even get me started on The Pitt or The War. By that point I was actively dissuading customers from it.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Now that I think of it, I am surprised that “Kickers, Inc.” was never adapted into a Saturday morning cartoon series or a video game. I mean, the concept–“They’re super-heroes AND they’re a football team!”–seems tailor-made for either medium.

    It must have been the name. Because, man, that is one seriously stupid name.

  • Mikester says:

    Star Brand is a saint!

  • John Lancaster says:

    The Saint of Crap, maybe….

  • Mikester says:

    John – Awwww….