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Least appropriate use of he phrase “all the rage” thus far.

§ March 30th, 2020 § Filed under collecting, retailing, self-promotion, sterling silver comics § 5 Comments

So over the last few days I’d been getting requests for two specific issues of Spectacular Spider-Man. No, not that series. Or the other series. Or that other one. I’m talkin’ the original one, the one that began with “Peter Parker, The…” before the title. …No, not that one.

Anyway, my curiosity was piqued as to why these issues, and though I (almost certainly correctly) suspected one of those websites or apps that “inform” folks intent on speculation and investing was responsible, I was wondering just what specific thing was driving this demand.

As you all know, things have been a tad topsy turvy this past week or two, so I had other things on my mind besides researching peculiar demand for a couple of issues of a Spider-Man comic that generally, and no offense to any fans or involved creators, back issue bin filler of no particular note.

But I had some time on Sunday, my first break in a while (more on that later in this very post) and finally sat down an did an eBay search on these requested issues. And I found many a listing with multiple variations on this title:


They’re in demand. Because there’s a character named “Corona” introduced in these books.

Oh come ON.

Needless to say, there’s no connection between Corona the comic book character and the coronavirus, aside from the names, much like there’s no connection between Corona the beer and said virus (but if you saw any of those articles claiming that Corona the beer had suffering sales as of late due to the pandemic, here comes Snopes to clear that particular misconception).

This doesn’t smell like “investment” so much as a recommendation by others to buy ’em cheap out of back issue bins of unsuspecting dealers and then bilk someone on eBay for a lotta dollars by making them think they’re getting a rare collectible.” Well, okay, that’s investment of a sort, but there’s no way something like this is any kind of long-term investment. It’s “buy and flip quick” while the coronavirus is all the rage.

Look, I’ve said before, however people want to enjoy the comics hobby, that’s fine, knock yourself out. But when I found out what was driving this need for these comics…well, my mostly-working eyes couldn’t help but roll awfully hard. Sheesh, “it’s an ill wind…” and all that.

Speaking of ill winds and what they don’t blow, my shop and I have been lucky enough to avoid such zephyrs and actually take in normal income since the California shutdown a couple of weeks back, despite being closed to walk-ins. My doors may be shut, but I’m working hard behind them all by my own self, taking phone orders and internet orders and eBay sales and getting ’em all packed up and shipped out. Now I don’t know how long that’ll last, given I did have a boost from a last new comics shipment from Diamond on Wednesday (resulting in sales that were pretty much on par with regular non-shutdown New Comics Day sales). But folks have been eager to throw business my way, and even prepay for material I won’t receive ’til Diamond revs up the ol’ supply line again.

Now I have been very busy, as it seems like I just take a phone or email order, start packing stuff, get another order called in, add that to the pile, then get more orders, and so on. Like I said above, I haven’t really had a chance to sit and relax for a moment at the shop until I had a brief respite on Sunday. And even then, I began posting some random books in a Twitter feed and on the store Instagram and will likely do more of that as time allows.

And speaking of the Instagrams, I offered (and am still offering) a special deal…$20 (which includes shipping) gets you 30 random comics. Good way to get you some comics for reading, giving to the kids, cutting up for art projects, and the like. And it clears out some stock from my backroom, too! It’s a win/win! Just PayPal $20 to my store’s email address (mike at sterlingsilvercomics dot com) and I’ll send you a package, too! Domestic customers only, though if you live in another country let me know and maybe I can get something worked out for you.

Bet you weren’t expecting a commercial. Sorry, gotta find ways to keep that cash flow active, especially if things get a bit leaner as this situation continues.

Anyway, stay safe out there, follow Nancy’s advice, and let’s all get through this so we can get back to focusing on fun stuff…all them funnybooks. Tell you what…next post I make here will be virus-free. …Er, you know what I mean.

Or just send me shoeboxes filled with twenties.

§ March 25th, 2020 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 8 Comments

As I’m sure you’ve already heard, Diamond Comics has, after this week’s shipment, suspended delivery of new comics to retailers until further notice. I feel this is, in general, a good thing, preventing unsold stock from piling up in stores in currently locked-down areas (like mine) with bills for invoices piling up.

I mean, at least in the short term. The new comics I have now I’ll be shipping out to customers who’ve paid via PayPal or called-in credit cards…packing is going to be taking up most of my Wednesday. It won’t be as lucrative as a normal New Comics Day, but it’s still going to be income, and I can still use it, as I do have to pay for this week’s shipment. And last week’s, as I’m on a “net-14” pay schedule with the distributor, meaning I have two weeks to pay each invoice. It shouldn’t be too much of a problem covering both bills, I think, as customers have been pretty willing to buy stuff from me over the last few days, thankfully.

I’m not 100% looking forward to new comics-less weeks and not getting those sales, though I have have enough stock here to sell to hopefully keep at least some money coming in. The trick is getting it up somewhere where folks can pick through it. I don’t have an online store aside from my eBay listings, and that isn’t necessarily representative of what I’ve got in the back issue bins and on the shelves. A lot of my business came from walk-ins, and that’s where I focused things. Now that I don’t have walk-ins, I’ve got to figure out a new strategy, which will be my new project once I’m done dealing with this week’s new comics cycle.

One place to keep an eye on is my Instagram page, where I’m probably going to be posting some choice items out of the case in the next few days. That’ll be relatively quick and easy, though I don’t want to overwhelm the feed. And I may be posting things on my store website, so keep an eye out there, too.

Of course, you can just send me want lists, and I’ll see what I’ve got. I never have a problem with that.

I do have to admit, I wasn’t entirely prepared for this, but then I wasn’t expecting most of the U.S. economy to just up and shut down. But I plan to hang in there, and I think I can make it through to the other side of this. I mean, what else am I going to do, quit the comic business and get a real job? FERGIT IT

Working harder closed than I did when I was open.

§ March 23rd, 2020 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments


So I have a stack of Free Comic Book Day promotional material set aside at the shop, that either has to be discarded or repurposed since, as you probably heard and probably shouldn’t be surprised by, the event has been postponed to maybe the summertime? We’ll see…it all depends on how our current situation works out.

And when I say “repurposed,” I mean, like, what if the FCBD crew issues a bunch of stickers with the new date, once it’s established, that we can just slap over the old “May 2nd/First Saturday in May” tags on the posters and shelftalkers and such. Unless it’s just cheaper to reprint everything, I don’t know.

Pictured above is the Free Comic Book Day pen…I ordered a bundle for the store, and, now that I look at it, it really could have used a second line of print reading “FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY” to be properly promotional, but, you know, as it turns out, that didn’t really matter this year. Regardless, I just kinda look at that bag of pens and have this…sorta sad feeling, I guess? Sad that we got all this stuff for the big comics store event of the year and now it was just all for nothing. Yes, I know, not nothing since a FCBD is still supposed to happen eventually, but still, having this material on hand when most of it is, as it stands now obsolete is pretty affecting.

But this FCBD pen is still good. And it even writes!

In other “the store is closed to the public due to the CA shutdown” news…my shop is doing okay with phone and mail orders, along with a couple of very generous prepayments for future product. I managed to go through my comic saver list and call everyone, and already have had a lot of folks setting up mailing schedules on their items, or just straight up paying me for whatever’s in their box which they can pick up once the world settles town a tad.

Still haven’t heard from Diamond to discuss how to handle payment of invoices for the time being, since my income is going to take a hit, and how I can make sure the new weekly shipments will still head my way. Did call my landlord to tell him that next month’s rent may be a bit tricky to pay, but fortunately he’s on board and willing to work with me on that, too. What choice do any of us have, really?

Anyway, doing my best to keep my shop viable, and not turn this site into a “closing a store for good” document. Here’s hoping things ease up soon…not just for my store, of course, but for everyone’s health and safety.

Well, here we go.

§ March 20th, 2020 § Filed under retailing, sterling silver comics § 9 Comments

The California governor has issued a statewide stay at home order, with only essential services to remain open, like grocery stores, gas stations, law enforcement, that sort of thing.

As much as I’d like to think my shop is an essential service, that means I’m gonna have to shut down as well.

Now it’s my understanding I can still work in the shop, just not have it open to the public, and thus I’ll be able to receive shipments, mail orders out, etc. I have some funding options and emergency grants I can pursue, and I’ll have to call Diamond tomorrow and see what I can do about managing my invoices there on my assumed reduced income.

Of course, Wednesday and Thursday were very good days of business at the store, but even as good as it was, that’s not going to pay for my incoming inventory without financial assistance. Hopefully some of the options I’ll be exploring will provide it.

Anyway, I’ll try to keep folks updated here, and naturally on all my store’s various online venues, as to what’s going on. If you are a regular customer of mine, feel free to call or email me…the plan is to be at the store my regular work hours, more or less, so I’ll do my best to work with you during these troubled times.

Good luck to everyone out there, and absolutely feel free to contact me. Thanks for reading, pals.

The Spock/Jaws crossover we were all waiting for.

§ March 9th, 2020 § Filed under collecting, eyeball, sterling silver comics, video games § 5 Comments

Okay, I’m back, barring any further shenanigans. Quick update on the eye…still a little cloudy, but it’s very close to being clear and I suspect I’ll be back to whatever passes for normal in short order. Then it’ll probably be time for the other eye to go south on me again. Sigh.

Next…I did my jury duty service Monday. Waited around all day, wasn’t called in as part of the three different groups of jiuror pools pulled into courtrooms. Free for another year, hopefully!

Before that…the previous Friday, a construction crew behind my shop, building an addition to the restaurant, somehow managed to cut through the shop’s internet and phone lines. THAT WAS DELIGHTFUL. And of course the repair crew showed up Monday while I was at jury duty, where they managed to fix one of the problems and not the other. Hopefully we’ll get that final problem fixed Tuesday. Here’s hoping. …I had workarounds for both services, so the shop was still able to function, but…bleah.

In addition, since my vision hadn’t been that great in my good readin’ eye, leaving it difficult to read any print comics, I availed myself of the DC Universe app and my iPad to read some of the digital comics they had available. And that’s how I, at long last, finally read Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s Hitman run. I actually read the first four or five issues when they were originally released, but for some reason didn’t keep with the series. It’s the usual combination of serious war stories, thoughts on what it means to be a good person, and outrageous/weird/grossout humor, mixed in with Mr. Ennis’ general and hilarious contempt for superheroing (the exception being Superman, natch…and maybe Catwoman). Interesting that the title caaracter has been left mostly untouched outside of the creators’ work (though I seem to recall there was a New 52/Rebirth/whatever namecheck).

Anyway, it’s a good series, even if I kinda had to cover the screen now and again whilst reading it in the juror waiting room.

And one last thing…at long last, my Blip collection is finally on its way to becoming a thing, with the acquisition of issue #5 in a recent purchase:


It has all the latest and hottest tips for playing Zaxxon, which is good because I’m terrible at it.

Blip was Marvel’s short-lived video game comic-sized magazine from the early 1980s, of which I owned one copy originally, but had since discarded and now of course I wish I had back. But as I recall, the series hadn’t been terribly popular at the time, and just kinda stunk up the back issue bins as unsellable stock. But it was also the first place a comic book version of Mario from Donkey Kong (and likely other video game characters) appeared, making those particular issues quite the pricey items. This issue just has a Tootsie cameo on the cover, which frankly should make it a collectors item all by itself.

Anyway, send me your spare Blips. I might even pay you a nickel or two for the more notable ones.

Which reminds me, someone tell certain comic publishers that having the prices on their covers in a 2pt font sucks.

§ November 18th, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, sterling silver comics § 4 Comments

Don’t really have a regular post as such today, for which I apologize. I’ve been busy and preoccupied with work-type stuff and thus didn’t have the spare brainpower to dream up anything at least somewhat entertaining for the site.

You can read about it here on my Facebook page, but basically, what with all the stuff regarding my eyeballs and the related costs, plus another surgery scheduled for next month, combined with the usual fall sales doldrums but no shortage of product being churned out by the Big Two comic companies (well, it’s mostly the One)…I find myself in a…less comfortable position than I’d prefer to be in.

I’m sure I’ll be okay…Christmas is coming up, and that’s usually a good time for the store. But I thought maybe encouraging some of my pull list folks to come by, and maybe encourage other folks to step into the shop and maybe grab a book or two, or perhaps visit my eBay store or maybe even just call in with a want list or three, would help me ride out some lean times here.

On the plus side, several people heeded the call and contributed to the cause, which was much appreciated. And hopefully it will continue. Every little bit helps, whether you visit the shop or mail order or join the Patreon or whatever, it’s all great support and very welcome. I can’t thank everyone enough.

I took kind of a hit throughout the year because of my vision issues…as one might imagine, if my vision is cloudy or obscured entirely due to bouts of internal bleeding, that makes it difficult to grade and price comics, or put things on eBay, or read prices printed on comics or even my own price tags, or check invoices. At one point I couldn’t even make out covers. I had to have people peeking over my shoulder, mostly my dad, telling me what I was looking at in order to function. Plus, having to pay someone to cover for me on the days I absolutely couldn’t be in the shop (like, say, when I was in surgery) was an additional financial burden.

It’s all very frustrating. And it’s probably going to recur with my next surgery, which is on my left eye, AKA my “good eye.” I have vision in my right eye, but it’s not as strong and has some obscuring issues and I won’t be able to drive while my left eye recovers. I’ll probably be able to read prices and stuff but grading comics is going to be out. Plus, I suspect I’ll probably have to print out my Diamond invoices at a ginormous font size rather than trying to read the tiny light grey-on-white lettering on the invoices they send me.

And that will be in the middle of December, when I should be doing good business with the holiday season.

This is a lot of complaining, I realize, and I’m sorry to make you read it, you four people who made it this far. All in all, I’m doing better…haven’t had a rebleed incident in my left eye for a while, and my eyes do seem to be healing nicely, and I am a lot closer to the end of this than the beginning. And this coming surgery is relatively simple (a lens replacement) so recovery should be short, but my eyes are tricksey things, yes they are, so who knows how long it’ll actually take for my eye to be back on its feet. Er, so to speak.

Anyway, this is a problem I never anticipated when opening my own store, I’ll tell you what. But I’ll muddle through it somehow. I mean, what’s the alternative, getting a real job? P’shaw on that, I tell you.

Whoops, almost slipped past me.

§ November 5th, 2019 § Filed under sterling silver comics § 10 Comments

Today is the 5th anniversary of the day I opened my store, Sterling Silver Comics, to the madding crowds. A big thanks to all you folks who helped me get this far, whether you purchased anything from me or offered me moral (or immoral) support online. I greatly appreciate it.

I realize the phrase “following up on my Swamp Thing post” doesn’t exactly narrow things down.

§ June 14th, 2019 § Filed under does mike ever shut up, sterling silver comics, swamp thing, undergrounds § 1 Comment

Following up on my Swamp Thing post, I should note that there are further reports about what may or may not have happened regarding the show’s cancellation. First it was “somebody messed up the tax credit,” then it was “they weren’t getting enough tax credit,” and now it’s “powers-that-be thought the show was a stinker and cut their losses.” The show’s getting plenty of good reviews now, but it’s probably too late for them to change their minds. Anyway, I have no idea what the full, real story is, but in the meantime, one of the My Little Ponies, a “community manager” at DC Universe, tries to keep things upbeat, as is the way of said ponies.

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More Swampy follow-up: after noting here and discussing further here that DC’s digital versions of certain Swamp Thing issues feature incomplete artwork or missing captions, BobH asked if the same problem was still in the print edtion. And yes, after getting Swamp Thing Book One TPB back in stock, I was able to check and…the color-hold image is missing from the reprint of #21, and the “and meet the sky” caption is still missing from the end of #24. Don’t worry, everyone, I’m sure they’ll have this fixed by ther time Swamp Thing Season Two shows up on DC Universe.

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Hey, look at this thing that showed up in a collection on Thursday:


And here’s the back cover, because why not:


I immediately recognized this as an Ods Bodkins book, featuring the work of Dan O’Neill, but quickly realized it was one I already had, albiet in the diffeof trent edition. It was, in fact the first edition, from 1969, of Hear The Sound of My Feet Walking..Drown The Sound of My Voice Talking. I discussed the book, or at least my edition of same, a couple of times on the site, including way super-early on, back when people read blogs. And I brought it up again a mere 12 years later when I decided my site needed a nice big scan of the cover.

It’s quite a bit larger than my copy (it’s about the size of one of those treasury edition comics) and there appears to be a page half covers in red ink. Not “oopsie we splashed some red ink on this page,” but literally “here, have a giant solid block of red for just that one page for some reason.” I’ll need to take a closer look and see what’s up with that…or just straight up keep the book, since I love “Ods Bodkins.” …Yes, I’m the guy.

• • •

So about the Will Eisner “Spirit of Comics Retailing” award my shop was nominated for…well, you can read the whole tragic tale here on my store’s Facebook page. If you eschew Facebook, and if so I salute you, the short version is: got the paperwork a while back, decided to hold off dealing iwth it ’til my eyes were a bit better, checked the due date, waited a bit, eyes are reasonably better, got out the paperwork again, realized I misread or misremembered the due date and now it’s too late to enter. Well, great.

On the other hand, if I tried to complete the paperwork and take the necessary photos and make the necessary video for the award application on time, I would have had to done with eyes that on a good day were barely adequate for my regular day-to-day stuff, and occasionally completely obscured leaving me with hardly any vision at all. So, let’s call this a “mixed blessing,” and should someone make the horrible mistake of nominating me again next year, hopefully my eyes will be back in business for good and I can give the award whatever attention I can manage.

And like I said in my Facebook post…my eyes are finally getting better. Both eyes. At the same time. Not “one eye’s mostly okay, the other completely blind” or anything like that. This is the first time I’ve had reasonable, though still a bit to go, vision in both eyes at the same time in over a year. Barring any more surprise sets (crossing my fingers ande my corneas) everything should be good sooner rather than later. Yes, I realize I’m jinxing it.

I can’t really call myself an “Eisner nominee” since I won’t be in the running, but it’s nice that someone thought well enough about me to throw my name into the hat. I’m not the biggest or most media-present store out there, but I am a guy who likes to sell comics, has a store full of them, and has done this for a long time. That I still get to do it is certainly an award in and of itself.

• • •

Don’t forget…I’m still taking your funnybook-related questions and post topics! I’ll probably start on them next, so be sure to tune in on your Internet Radio Box for that.

The only Free Comic Book Day t-shirt I can find in my closet is for the May 1st, 2010 event, which means I should clean out my closet more often.

§ May 3rd, 2019 § Filed under eyeball, free comic book day, sterling silver comics § 6 Comments

The Free Comic Book Day, she is coming tomorrow, so I hope you’re all ready to get out there and get your mitts on some free comics. Also, don’t forget to drop a dollar or two or a hundred while you’re there to support your local shop, as those free comics ain’t free to us, friends! I’ve been involved in the FCBD event every year since it started, and as a result, have written a whole lot about it, if you care to check out the Free Comic Book category on this here site.

I’m pretty much ready, though at the moment I am medically precluded from tossing boxes of comics around for the time being, so my job Friday night will be pointing at where I want stuff to go while others who are kindly devoting their time to help me do the actual labor. I mean, I can still unload comics out of the boxes and fill up the display tables, so I won’t be entirely useless. But still, kind of a bad time to be told “DON’T OVEREXERT YOURSELF, DON’T MOVE OR LIFT HEAVY STUFF” when one has to, you know, rearrange one’s entire store.

Speaking of my health, Chuck V. asked in response to Monday’s post:

“You know, I don’t want to get too personal and I realize it would take away from the supposed theme of the blog, but have you considered sharing a bit more about what caused this? Kind of a public service announcement.”

Well, if I had to sum up my problems in a public service announcement, it would be “Don’t Be Like Me — Don’t Be An Idiot about Your Health.” I wasn’t taking good care of myself, I wasn’t eating properly, I was drinking way too much soda, I had enormously high blood sugar and high blood pressure, I was overweight…I was a mess, basically. I felt fine, so of course I didn’t think there was any problem, until there was.

What’s causing the problem in my eyes is neovascularization, where new, weaker blood vessels started forming as a result of my poor health and circulation and blood sugar levels. Because the new vessels are so fragile, they can burst easily, especially when one’s blood pressure was crazy high.

Now, the good news is, I’ve basically been Scared Straight. I’ve lost weight, my blood pressure is normal, my blood sugar levels are where they’re supposed to be, I’ve changed my diet (no sodas for a year now!) and I’m doing a lot better than I was. But, the damage I did to my body is still there, especially in my eyes, and needs to be dealt with. Those injections in my eye I’ve mentioned over the last few months? Those were to keep those new vessels sealed and prevent new bleeding. The surgeries I’ve had in the right eye removed (or at least reduced) those vessels, so I shouldn’t have a recurrence of that problem there.

Now the left eye had been doing fine…there was no bleeding there, despite also having those weak vessls. A couple of injections were given to keep that situation stable while work was focused on saving the right eye. But, eventually, despite improvements in my overall health, the vessels in there burst as well. My eye doctor says it could have been just a random spike in my blood pressure that broke those vessels, like maybe exerting myself a little too much, or even just a bad dream could have done it. But whatever the reason, I got bleeding in my left eye now, and I am going back in or surgery on Monday to have that blood removed.

The overall health of my left eye is significantly better than my right, which had some tissue damage. As such, the surgery should be relatively easy and result in quick healing and restoration of my sight back to about as close to normal as we can hope for. And yes, those extra vessels will be expunged as well, and with any luck my new health regime will prevent them from coming back.

So that’s probably more than you wanted to know. I should probably add an “eyeball” category to my site here.

“It wasn’t bio-restorative formula, was it?”

After the last surgery, my right eye was about as red as Swamp Thing’s eyes, so you’re close!

Okay, enough Eyeball Talk….I hope everyone has a fun Free Comic Book Day! And remember, if anyone makes buying something a requirement to get a free comic, give ’em the ol’ bra’s d’honneur and march on outta there. Then come to my store, where I won’t make you buy anything to get your freebies…but I may make sad puppydog eyes at you until you do buy something. THAT’S MY PROMISE TO YOU.

And speaking of my store, I got some paperwork the other day regarding the nomination of my shop for the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award. Clearly some kind of terrible mistake has been made. Anyway, more on that later.

Thanks for reading, and have a good Free Comic Book Day, pals!

It only seems like 29 years and 12 months.

§ September 1st, 2018 § Filed under self-promotion, sterling silver comics § 3 Comments

I started working in comics retail in September of 1988, so this marks my 30th anniversary slinging the ol’ funnybooks. I wrote a little thingie marking the occasion over at my store’s website.

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