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Oh great, I’m going to have to make sure I have both the direct and newsstand editions of all my Swamp Thing comics.

§ November 30th, 2018 § Filed under batman, collecting, retailing § 3 Comments

So I may have been a little quick to dismiss the whole “direct market vs. newsstand editions” thing from the other day. Let’s start with this comment emailed to me by Reader John:

“I wanted to add another distinction in the direct market vs newsstand discussion. It’s my understanding that some collectors (or perhaps they’re speculators) prefer newsstand copies released after 1988 or so because of a belief that the newsstand copies are rarer and thus more valuable (especially in higher grades since those tend to get mangled on the racks as you pointed out on Twitter). You can see this in the asking prices of auctions for Spawn #1 on eBay.

“Personally, I think it’s ridiculous that whether a comic has a UPC or an ad/Spidey head in a white box on the cover can affect the value of that book. For that matter, I also think that the presence of a jewelry ad insert should not add value to a comic either, but apparently some collectors do.

“Interestingly, there is one small subset where a logo instead of an UPC is considered more valuable by certain collectors. In the mid 90’s, after DM copies had UPC’s, DC did some multipacks sold outside of the direct market. The comics included in these had a DC Universe logo in the UPC box. I once had someone offer me $100 for an issue of pre-Zero Hour Legionnaires (I don’t think it was even one of the Adam Hughes covers, but I might be wrong.) just because of that logo!

“Off the record, I took his $100 and used it to purchase several mid-grade silver age Adventure issues.

“Thank you for taking the time to read this!”

Some of these points were also brought up by other commenters on Wednesday’s post, and Thelonious_Nick pointed out this page on the Mile High Comics site which goes into detail regarding their handling of newsstand comic pricing. And the reason I even mentioned it on Twitter in that link I edited into John’s comment above was that, totally coincidentally, one of my regular customers brought up the very topic to me at the shop, mentioning how newsstand editions are often harder to find in higher conditions due to poor customer handling and/or lack of attention from the sellers, as opposed to stores run by annoyances like me who are all “AUGH! Don’t bend the comics!”

As John noted, I just haven’t had that much experience with folks specifically looking for newsstand editions versus the direct market editions (specifically those just differing in their UPC codes or lack thereof). That’s just a clientele I haven’t noticed over the years, and as I’ve repeatedly reminded any of you who happen to glance my way, I’ve been doing this for many, many years. Okay, it could be collectors are seeing those out on the sly, not cluing in your pal Mike that’s what they’re after in the off-chance I’d decide to bump up the price on said books (…who, me?). But after all this time I figure at least someone would put in a request like that, pulling a comic out of the bins and asking “do you have the newsstand version of this?”

Also brought up in the comments by Nicholas is the fact that sometimes the direct market editions of certain comics would have some extra art ‘n’ such in the UPC box, replacing the missing UPC code. Usually it would be filled with company-promoting slogans like “The New DC! Stop Us Before We Kill Again” or “Have You Read This Crossover Yet? C’mon, What, You’re Too Good for It?” But as was mentioned as an example, Todd McFarlane would often fill the UPC box with extra bits of art, which could make the direct editions a little more appealing to the Spidey fan.

This has given me something to think about, or at least pay closer attention to, as you might imagine. I’ve spent a long time with the assumption stuck in my head that there’s no real difference between the two versions if the only difference is the presence of a UPC code. Well, I guess that isn’t necessarily the case. I don’t know that I’ll be going through and raising prices on my newsstand variations, but at least now I’m a little more aware of the phenomenon.

• • •

I saw discussion here and there online that it’s the 30th anniversary of the whole “Death of Robin” call-in-and-vote Batman thing, and I just wanted to point out that this was the first major regular-public-attracting comics event I had to deal with from behind the counter, rather than as a the mere mortal comics fan I was just a few mere weeks prior. I think I’ve spoken before about how I don’t have quite the recall of this hoohar that I do of the not-that-much-later “Death of Superman,” but I certainly remember the phone calls and the concerned walk-ins and so on. Speaking of newsstand versus direct editions, the version of Batman #427 had the phone number to call to vote on Robin’s fate, and the newsstand edition didn’t. Either version still flies out the door, regardless.

If it’s one thing I need, it’s more “to read” piles of comics at home.

§ November 9th, 2018 § Filed under collecting § 3 Comments

So I’ve been going through box after box after box of comics at the store, just piles of ’em from collections acquired over the last few years, and finally making some headway in getting the processed and put out for you, the people, to come and buy.

I’ve been pretty good about not pulling from said boxes to fill my own collection…plenty of stuff I’d love to have, but I’d love to make money on selling it even more. By and large I just keep to filling holes in the ol’ want list on things I’ve been seeking out for years, like some of the Atlas/Seaboard comics from the ’70s, and fanzines of pretty much any period. Oh, and the occasional Charlton Popeye.

Jumping back a bit, to back when I was but a mere non-comics-retail-working mortal, like most of you common folk out there, I was pretty good about picking up comics I was interested in. Particularly throughout the 1980s, when DC and Marvel discovered he idea of “mini-series” and put out a boatload of purposefully short-run titles, many of which caught my eye and were dutifully snatched off the racks by my young allowance-stretching self.

However, there were a couple of series that I wanted to pick up, but, for reasons long forgotten by God and man (but probably related to “that allowance can only stretch so far”) I never did get around to acquiring. One such as Sword of the Atom, basically “The Atom as Tiny Conan the Barbarian,” featuring some of that great 1980s-style Gil Kane art that the Kane purists may have pooh-poohed at the time but that I really enjoyed.

As it turned out, a run of that original Sword of the Atom was present in the stacks upon stacks of comics I was processing, and set it aside for myself. It did inspire me to check the ol’ Diamond Comics database to see if a trade paperback existed, collecting this mini-series and the three subsequent specials (which I did not have in the piles here at the shop, far as I could tell). There was a trade, published in 2007, and apparently long out of print, and going for some not-terribly-high but more-than-Mike-wanted-to-pay prices on your eBays and your Amazons and such.

Mentioning my quest for the remainder of this series did bring pal Nat into the shop with the first special for me, which was very nice of him. However, a Twitter pal picked up a copy of the trade in the clearance bin at his local shop for dirt cheap, and it is now winging its way to me via the tender mercies of the post office. Thus, with its eventual arrival, that will be one less missing comics experience from my youth. And I’ll be able to put those issues of the mini-series back out for sale…though I’m not sure what to do with the special, since Nat gave that to me as a gift. I’ll have to ask if he wants it back!

Now another comic that I inexplicably passed on during its original run was Night Force by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan. I was reading New Teen Titans at the time, and in issue #21 there was a special 16-page free insert previewing the forthcoming Night Force title.

Now, I liked that preview. I was into Gene Colan’s super-moody art, and I was enjoying Wolfman’s work on Teen Titans, and I was a fan of horror comics…or at least the weird, creepy off-on-the-distant-edges-of-the-main-fictional-universe books like, oh, say, Swamp Thing. But, again, like with Sword of the Atom, and for probably similar reasons, I did not pick up with series.

Not much later, the main character of Night Force, Baron Winters, plays briefly into one of Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing storylines, which just sort of added to the “well darn, should have picked up that series” feeling I had. But I still didn’t. Even working at the other comic shop which had no end of full runs of Night Force (only 14 issues long, mind you) didn’t get me off my duff to pull a set aside for myself.

Many years later, a collected hardcover edition of that series was announced, and I sort hemmed and hawed over getting one for myself at the time. I did wait, however, and not too long ago I did finally get my hands on a new copy of the book for a bargain price. And I’m glad I waited…the printing on the original comics wasn’t awful, but seeing Colan’s art recolored on nice paper is a real treat.

Its title of “The Complete Collection” is bit of a misnomer, in that there were two follow-up series (in 1996 and 2012)…these were also written by Wolfman, but drawn by Brent Anderson (2nd series) and Tom Mandrake (3rd series). Not collected, and probably harder to find in the back issue bins. If only I’d bought that first series at the time, then I would have bought series 2 and 3 as they were coming out, and I wouldn’t be in this mess now.

And there’s your little bit of insight into what your pal Mike still gets for himself. I mean, I even bought the full run of Spanner’s Galaxy at the time, I have idea why I passed up those two series.

“BRIAAAAANNNNN!!!” [shakes fist]

§ August 13th, 2018 § Filed under collecting, Uncategorized § 4 Comments

So this Twitter discussion with Pal Andrew got me nostalgic, in a way, for my days of comic collecting just prior to my frequenting dens of iniquity, er, I mean, comic shops…well, okay, same difference. Anyway, I was thinking back to my comic buying progression, from occasional purchases from grocery stores and newsstands, to buying those three-packs of Star Wars comics at Toys ‘R’ Us, to digging through stacks of old comics at used bookstores, to making the rounds on my bicycle of all the local convenience stores and that one nearby grocery store.

It was one day in 1983, while going to one of those convenience stores that was a little farther afield trying to track down an issue of something or other, that I ran into a friend of mine from school. I told him what I was up to, and he said “oh, you should check out Ralph’s Comic Corner, it’s a comic book store in Ventura, they should have what you’re looking for,” and thus did my long association with that store begin, leading to my evenual employment there, and of course to opening up my own store. So, should anyone ever ask how I ended up in my current situation, you can blame old schoolmate Brian Lindquist, wherever he may be now.

Not to say that Ralph’s was my first-ever comic shop. I visited one in Simi Valley prior to that, after having seen an ad or a coupon or something cluing me into its existence. That was a slightly further trek to make than the relative closeness of Ventura, so we didn’t go to that store very often (I think ultimately only about a half-dozen times, at most, including that one time I met Chris Claremont).

But, as I was saying, before delving deep into the world of THE DIRECT MARKET and all its horrors, I had various places around town that I’d hit up for comics, some relatively close, some requiring a little more of a journey, and you’d have to check them most of them out on a pretty regular basis to make sure you were seeing all the newest releases. The aformentioned grocery store usually had a pretty good selection, and, especially during the summer, more than once I’d show up on New Arrival Day just a little too early only to see the uncut bundles of comics sitting in a cart, waiting for some probably overworked employee to finally find the time to open ’em up and toss them on the rack.

The one place that was more of a “last resort” was a convenience store that was a little farther away than the rest, so I didn’t go there too often, especially since they inexplicably charged tax on comics (something that periodicals weren’t subject to in Califoria at the time), and even worse, sometimes the comics would have a price sticker directly affixed to the front covers! Eep! On the other hand, that particular shop was the one place I ever saw the Superman Spectacular out in the wild, which is still one of my favorite Superman stories, so I can’t think of it with too much disdain.

The best place in town to get comics was a place deep in Oxnard called the Strand Newsstand, which had pretty much everything. Tons of magazines, lots of paperback books, the extensive porn wing, and, of course, multiple spinner racks of comical books. Once I started going there (and we went there weekly, both my dad and I), my need to circulate amongst the other convenience stories pretty much declined (though I’d still pop in once in a while to tide me over between Strand visits). The weird thing about this newsstand, which has me wondering about their distributor situation, is that they’d occasional get stuff that primarily would go through the comic shop direct market. PC Comics, such as Groo and the Berni Wrightson Master of the Macabre, I found there. Fanzines like The Comic Reader. The first issue of Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories. The Comics Journal. And they seemed to get things a little bit earlier than my other funnybook sources, too.

Whatever the reason for their comic stocking advantages, this store became the place for me to get my regular comics fix…even after discovering Ralph’s Comic Corner, this place was still closer to us and I split my purchases between both shops. Eventually, I did more or less fully migrate over to just buying from Ralph’s, especially once I started seeking out back issues.

A lot of those places I used to buy from have since closed up shop, or stopped carrying comics…presumably for reasons unrelated to my no longer visiting them. It’s certainly a lot easier for me now to stay on top of gathering the comics I want to read, since all I have to do is wait for them to show up at my store after I order them. (I mean, theoretically, given the usual vagaries of our supplier.) Definitely more convenient, but somewhat…lacking in the mystery and excitement I used to feel traveling from shop to shop wondering what will be there, what new comic will I discover, what new stories will I hardly be able to wait to get home to read.

“Coverless Plus” isn’t a real grade, but IT SHOULD BE.

§ July 18th, 2018 § Filed under collecting, retailing § 3 Comments

So the other day one of my regulars dropped by with a comic book he’d purchased via mail order, and he wanted my opinion on its grade. It was sold (and indeed, the backing board was marked) as a “9.0,” which works out to be Very Fine to Near Mint in Overstreet Price Guide terms. (It should be noted that this was not a Professionally-Graded-Sealed-in-a-Plastic-Slab comic, but a “raw” (as collectors’ cant would have it) funnybook in a mere bag and board in common use amongst we mere mortals.) Anyway, I gave the book a quick once-over and had to break the news that, given the few spine creases, a couple of which were color-breaking, plus some minor rounding/softness at the corners of the spine, this couldn’t be in VF/NM. At best, maybe a low Fine, or perhaps a VG/F if I hadn’t had my Diet Coke that day. (And since I haven’t had a Diet Coke for a few months, that comic’s darn lucky I didn’t grade it Coverless Plus.)

It sounds like he’ll be able to return it, which is good, but this particular interaction did make me feel a little better about my own grading abilities. It’s…not something that comes terribly easily to me, probably the part of the job that feels most like “work” (aside from the whole “taxes” thing, and having to deal with Ian). Mostly, at the previous place of employment, I didn’t do much with the “grading and pricing back issues” thing. That was left to my old boss Ralph, mostly for the sake of consistency in grading standards and price levels, while I mostly focused on…well, everything else regarding said backstock. I’d check for missing issues, pull stuff out of the back, bag ’em and tag ’em, put ’em in alphabetical order in the To Be Priced boxes, and after Ralph priced them all up, I’d put them all away in their appropriate spots. If someone wanted to know a grade on a certain issue, more often than not all I’d have to do if flip the comic over, look at the sticker on the back where Ralph placed the grade, and then happily reply “Sir, this copy of Saga of Crystar Crystal Warrior #6. guest-starring Nightcrawler of the X-Men, is in VF- condition!” and that would be that. I certainly wasn’t unaware of comic conditions, and could do some general grading, but it just wasn’t my main thing at that shop…someone else did that, while I attended to other duties.

Now that I’m sailing alone on the seas of comics in my own ship…er, store, I can’t depend on Ralph to do that for me anymore. Which isn’t to say I don’t bend his ear once in a while whenever he drops by to ask him some grading questions whenever I find something that stumps me And sometimes he tells me “huh, I’m stumped too,” which makes feel a little better that someone with a lot more direct experience in comic grading can get a bit thrown on occasion. There are so many different things that you weirdos do to your comics that the variety of wear and damage and, um, engine fuel smells, and…er, beginnings of essays that Overstreet’s grading guide never dreamed of, that even old hands need to do a little guesswork and interpretation to put your dime down on a specific condition. It can take a lot of effort, and a not-insignificant amount of concentration, but as time goes by, I think I’m getting better at it. Plus, I find when I do a whole bunch in a row, I get into that “grading groove” and start knocking ’em out at a more reasonable pace.

Don’t get me wrong…grading can be a challenge at times, but it’s still “Mike gets to look at old comics all day and call that his ‘job'” so I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. And as I said, my skills are improving…I’m a long way from calling that comic with the holes punched with a pen through the center and the tape and the missing back cover a Very Fine Plus. I know now that’s clearly no better than a VF.

Please don’t tell me if “poggery” actually means something dirty.

§ April 23rd, 2018 § Filed under collecting, market crash § 9 Comments

So reader John, the fella what related the horrifying yet strangely satisfying tale of the shredding and recycling of 14 long boxes of Turok Dinosaur Hunter #1, emailed recently to inform me of more bulk stashes of the ’90s funnybooks that came into his hands.

Specifically, he had several long boxes of ’90s comics, abandoned at a local storage facility, fall into his possession, multiple copies of each, all in Mylar sleeves, and all of the Usual Suspects when it comes to collections like this. Singled out by John was this photo he took of all his copies of Man of War #6 from Malibu Comics:

…specifically because he felt, as I am a man of poggery, I would appreciate the included pogs in each sealed factory-polybagged issue:

This was during the time of, of course, the Big Pog Invasion, but also during the time of Everyone Gets A Superhero Universe, including Malibu Comics which was doing this universe, with Man of War and the Ferret, while also doing the Ultraverse, with Prime and Firearm and so on. Did those two Malibu Universes ever cross over with each other? I imagine it would have been relative easy, being published by the same company an’ all, unless there’s some behind-the-scenes ownership stuff I don’t know about. Regardless, if they’d made it into the 2000s maybe that would have happened.

Anyway, there’s come collector excess for you, but at least they seem to have been kept in better shape than the comics in this tragedy. John said that the majority of the comics in this accumulation met a fate similar to the aforementioned Turok…well, not shredded in a spectacular fashion, but certainly disposed of, save for some Deadpools and a few other goodies that may actually be sellable. But here’s hoping that Man of War movie never comes to fruition, or I would weep openly on John’s behalf for such a lost lucrative opportunity.

Collectors edition Titans collectors comic for collectors.

§ November 29th, 2017 § Filed under advertising, collecting, dc comics, teen titans § 5 Comments

from DC Coming Attractions #81 (August 1983)

I sort of preferred Marvel using “Distinguished Competition” as a nickname for them.

§ November 27th, 2017 § Filed under collecting, marvel, retailing § 7 Comments

Occasionally the One Remaining Comic Book Distributor in the U.S. will run some deep discount sales on stock for retailers, and recently they unloaded a bunch of Marvel’s Omnibus editions and Marvel Masterworks volumes for prices ranging from “well, that’s a little less than normal wholesale” to “whoa nelly that’s cheaper than a cheap thing that’s cheap.” So natch, I loaded up on a few items for the shop and offered them at discounted prices, and everyone’s happy.

I’m especially happy, because a couple of the items offered were of particular interest to me, and at the ridiculously low sale price I picked them up for myself. One is the Howard the Duck omnibus, including the entire original series (including the couple of later issues released around the time of the movie), his previous appearances in Man-Thing comics, that one treasury edition, and something from Foom magazine that I haven’t looked to see what it is yet. I’d actually been on the lookout for discounting on the HtD book after getting my giant-sized Man-Thing omnibus on the cheap a while back.

Now, I have an ulterior motive for this…primarily, getting these reprints in a nicely-printed permanent edition frees up the actual comics from my collection, allowing me to put these out for sale in my shop. You’ll notice that post about the Man-Thing omnibus went up around the time I was beginning to open my store…well, suddenly, I had full runs of two Man-Thing series, a bunch of issues of Fear, some Giant-Size Man-Thing, and other odds and ends I was able to turn around for the most part. It more than covered the cost of the omnibus, and provided some sorely-needed store-opening cash besides.

Thus, theoretically, I should soon have a full run of Howard the Duck plus Asst. Materials for sale in the shop…though I 1) already have a number of those issues in the store right now, acquired from other collections, and 2) I kinda wish I kept those Man-Things now that they’re gone. Logically, I have all the stories, so I don’t really need them, but there was some small measure of sentimental value to them. Plus, omnibuses are a lot harder on the scanner if I need to grab any images out of those comics.

But hey, that’s life, so I’ll get those Howards into the shop regardless.

The other book I acquired for Low, Low Pricing from that recent sale was the Marvel Masterworks edition of Not Brand Echh. That’s another series I have all the issues for…in fact, this was the first series I completed a run for that had come out (almost) entirely before I was born. (Not sure about the last issue, with the May 1969 cover date…given cover date shenanigans, it may have actually come out just prior to or during my birth month of March ’69.)

Now it’s been a while since I’ve read my run of it, but getting a hardcover volume with the artwork printed on paper that isn’t slowly turning to dust has inspired me to dip into this zaniness again…as, you know, time permits, since I’m constantly behind on reading everything. And what I’ve read so far is very funny…very early Mad Magazine-ish in that every square inch is filled with a joke of some kind, and all the more remarkable that it was the very creators of the comics themselves doing the parodies. Yes, it’s the dreaded “Official Parody” that should be toothless and boring, but Not Brand Echh often reads like Stan and Jack and the rest of the gang blowing off some steam after toiling away at the Marvel Universe for so long.

My favorite panel so far into my rereading is this one…it’s specifically mocking the Fantastic Four storyline where Dr. Doom tricks Silver Surfer and steals his powers, but the way Stan ‘n’ Jack exaggerate Doom’s strategy of “pretending to be nice” is hilarious:


The more I look at this panel, the more I think there’s no way on God’s green Earth that anyone could have come up with a funnier book for Doom to be reading than “Butterflies I Have Loved.” I don’t know why that puts a stupid grin on my face every time I see it, but good gravy that one panel alone is funnier than entire issues of supposed humor books I’ve seen of late. Those Lee and Kirby kids, they’ve got some talent.

The actual title of the comic itself, Not Brand Echh, is charmingly dated as well, reminding us of a simpler time when products would be advertised in comparison to competing items, but the competitors would be described as “Brand X” or something similarly obfuscatory. You know, not like today, where commercials are basically “BURGER KING SUCKS, EAT AT ARBY’S” or something equally straight-forward. “Brand Echh,” of course, was Marvel’s nickname for their crosstown rivals DC Comics (putting a Mad-esque twist on “X” for the grosser-sounding “ECHH”), and when the title of the series was combined with the blurb just above it (“Who says a comic book has to be good??”) the cover of every issue was a slam at their competition. That’s…got my respect. I think the closest DC ever got to lobbing that ball back into Marvel’s court were some Marvel parodies in Inferior Five, though there were other minor gags/references in various DC titles here and there. (Wasn’t there a direct swipe at Spider-Man in Legion of Super-Heroes? Maybe someone can remind me.)

And now that I have this book, a run of Not Brand Echh should be making it into the “New Arrivals” back issue bins at the store as well. If, of course, I can convince myself to bring them in.

In which I buy something I didn’t actually need, but wanted anyway…which probably describes most everything I own, to be frank.

§ March 3rd, 2017 § Filed under collecting, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 12 Comments

So my old boss Ralph has been processing a bunch of comics magazines, including those two Atlas/Seaboard magazines I mentioned a couple of weeks back. Well, I finally got my hands on those two items, which I’ll probably talk about in the near future, but before that, let me discuss something else I acquired from Ralph at the same time…The Captain Kentucky Collection Volume 1 (1981) by Don Rosa:


And here’s the back cover:


…as well as a closer look at those pics ‘n’ captions, since they don’t show up too well in that scan:


I’ve written a few times before about how I first found the work of Don Rosa in the Comic Reader ‘zine, where they were reprinting his Captain Kentucky comic strips. I thought they were pretty great, and I always kept a lookout for any more work by Mr. Rosa, which brought me to his Don Rosa’s Comics & Stories magazines, and, eventually, to his official Disney debut in Uncle Scrooge #219. (And that of course sent me on a journey rediscovering the work of Carl Barks, but that’s a story for another time.)

Anyway, I didn’t really need this, as such. I own this 2001 hardcover which reprints every CK strip:


…but it doesn’t have that great cover from the ’81 magazine, and there’s an introduction in the mag that isn’t in the hardcover. Plus, there’s those two great photos I have scanned above. The magazine also has an index to “People Offended” and “Places Destroyed” which I thought was funny, and unique to this publication…but it turns out the hardcover also that this index, expanded to the strip’s full run and not just the first 50 installments, which I didn’t recall.

For the most part, I try not to repurchase (or “double-dip” on) things I already own, says the guy with about fifteen different versions of House of Secrets #92. But there are always exceptions, and I remember really wanting this CK mag when I first heard about back in the ’80s, but thinking I missed the window of opportunity to get one and that I’d just have to piece together the run in the Comic Reader. Having that hardcover should have been enough, but finally seeing the mag in person while digging through Ralph’s boxes sort of rekindled that collecting desire. Even though at the time when I first saw it, I said “ah, I’ve got all those strips, I don’t need it” — but sure enough, a couple of days later I was on the phone with Ralph, telling him “sigh, okay, hold that Captain Kentucky ‘zine for me, too.”

And now, here it is, in my hands. Another weird old hole in the collection, filled. Like I said, I didn’t need to own this, but I sure am happy to finally have it.

In which I turn a plug for Andrew into a plug for me.

§ February 10th, 2017 § Filed under atlas, collecting, pal plugging § 4 Comments

So I had a question or two in response to that long-ago post about the Flaming Carrot Comics magazine that I finally acquired. JRC and BobH asked about Flaming Carrot’s appearances in the Visions ‘zine/con program from about the same time period. This was an annual publication produced for the Atlanta Fantasy Fair, and the Carrot appeared in the first issue in 1979, and reappeared in the following issues up through 1987 (according to the Wikipedia article). This means at least a couple of FC’s appearances in Visions did predate the release of the magazine. Well, three, to be exact, since there’s an ad in the back of the mag for Visions #1-#3.

BobH specifically asks if the Visions material (and the 1981 mag) had ever been reprinted, or at least repurposed/retold, and to the best of my knowledge, they haven’t. The only reprintings I know of have been the Dark Horse collections (later partially reissued via a Kickstarter campaign, it appears) but those were just of the Aardvark-Vanaheim/Renegade Press era comics. One of the Visions issues listed in the back of the FC mag notes a story with the Artless Dodger, who appears later in the regular series, though I suspect the latter is a brand new story rather than a reworking of the original. I would love to see these comics from Visions collected someday, but frankly, if it hasn’t happened yet, it’s not going to, barring some unforeseen, but quite welcomed, Flaming Carrot renaissance. Or if someone just walks into my shop with them someday to sell to me. I’d gladly pay upwards of a dollar each for them.

• • •

Also from that same post, Chris G. asks how far along I am in my Atlas/Seaboard collecting. As you may recall, Atlas/Seaboard launched in the mid-1970s several color comics (and some black & white mags) by lots of top talent, with the intention of competing with Marvel and DC, and, for various reasons, all those titles went under just a few months later. It’s…interesting, if not always necessarily good stuff, and I decided a long time ago I was going to put together a full set of these. I sort of let it go for a while, but then I started getting large numbers of them in collections brought to my shop, and that restarted the ol’ collecting bug again.

Some of my most recent acquisitions were the first couple issues of the Archie Comics-a-like Vicki, which are among the harder-to-find comics from the Altas/Seaboard line. However, my old boss Ralph is currently holding for me two of the Atlas magazines (a Thrilling Adventure Stories #1 and a Weird Tales of the Macabre #1) so I’ll be a couple of comics closer to finishing the collection. I think I only have about a dozen or so to go. I suppose I could just hunt them down on the eBays, but the fella I bought a bunch from at the shop still has several more boxes to bring in to me, so we’ll see what happens there.

• • •

Hey, lemme thrown in a couple plugs for pals here:

Tegan has just added exclusive content for Patreon supporters that you can read about here.

Joe Hunter has a Patreon going for his cartooning, with exclusive content for contributors. He’s a swell and talented guy, so please check him out.

Andrew is doing Black Orchid Month, because why the heck not, you know? Black Orchid, As Seen on TV if You Watched the Recent Justice League Dark Animated Movie There, which I did just the other day, so I’ll probably have some thoughts on that posted here soon.

So I finally got my mitts on one of these.

§ February 3rd, 2017 § Filed under collecting, from the vast Mikester comic archives § 7 Comments

Actually, I acquired it last week, but, you know, other things popped up that kept me from telling you about it earlier than this. But here it is, the hard-to-find Kilian Barracks magazine-sized edition of Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot Comics #1 from 1981:


I didn’t realize (or had forgotten) these were serially-numbered, so my copy is #2171 out of 6,500 copies:


…or however many copies still exist today, after who knows how many have been lost/destroyed/tossed out over the years.

Now, I’ve actually read this at some point…someone I knew had a copy and I was able to read theirs, but this was years ago, and at this point, this is going to be a brand new reading experience for me.

I’ve said before I’m not really collecting a whole lot of old comics for myself at this point…I’m trying to finish out my collection of Seaboard/Atlas, there’s an issue or two of Inferior 5 I still need, and a handful of Three Mouseketeers, and I’m always on the lookout for fanzines. But this comic here, this Flaming Carrot mag, is one I’ve been wanting to own for a very long time, and when I saw one turn up for cheap on the eBays, I had to grab it. Most copies up there seem to be alleged “high grade” copies, or slabbed in those plastic tombs, and selling for hundreds of dollars. As you can probably see from the scans, this was a…well-loved copy, and actually priced at a reasonable amount. (An amount made even more reasonable by a 10 dollar “thanks for being a swell cat” discount code that eBay had sent me.)

Now all I need to do is get copies of the earliest Flaming Carrot appearances in those Visions mags. Well, I’m sure I’ll win the lottery any day now.

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