Saturday, 20 October 2018

COMPLETING A COLLECTION...



If you're a collector, you'll know the thrill of finding that elusive issue (or issues) to complete a run of comics.  I've been doing that very thing recently, tracking down missing numbers years after the fact, and what adds an extra sense of satisfaction for me is completing a series in the very house I started it.  You see, after living in my present abode for eleven years back in the '70s and early '80s, my family relocated to a new house in another area for just over four years, before moving back again to our previous home.  I've now been back here for 31 years, and today I received the 1979 WHOOPEE! FRANKIE STEIN Holiday Special, which completed the set of eight Specials issued between 1975 to '82.

The first and only one I bought at the time was the one for 1976, but around ten years later, BOB PAYNTER, Youth Group editor of the IPC mags, gave me another four from the shelves in his office on the 20th floor of KING'S REACH TOWER in Stamford Street in London.  These were the 1977, '78, '80 and '81 issues, though I think I was living in the afore-mentioned other house when I got them.  In the last few months I was able to acquire the '75 and '82 issues, and the '79 edition that arrived this morning completes the set.  That means I got four of them in this house and four of them in the other, so it's an equal split - though the quartet that Bob gave me have been in my present residence for 31 years.  What's significant to me is that I started and finished the collection in this house.

I found a replacement for the 1976 Frankie Annual I used to have a good many years back, but only recently (a couple or so months ago) managed to find two copies of the '77 Annual, though they weren't in great condition.  (I don't recall ever having this book back in the '70s.)  Just in the last week, however, I managed to get superior condition copies of both Annuals, so I'm now the proud owner of every Frankie Stein-titled publication from the '70s and '80s.  Of course, the definitive version of Frankie was by KEN REID back in the '60s, but the character enjoyed even greater popularity under the hand of ROBERT NIXON in the '70s, perhaps the only artist who could do any kind of visual justice to Frankie in Ken's wake (as testified to by his cover of the 1976 SHIVER & SHAKE Annual).  Interestingly, I think it was Nixon who took up the reins on Reid's RODGER The DODGER strip when he left DCT to go to ODHAMS in the '60s, so there was already a precedent for Bob stepping into Ken's shoes.

Another milestone (for me) was when I finally managed to track down LEO BAXENDALE's third WILLY The KID book a few years back, over 30 years after buying the first two back in 1976 and '77.  Again, started in this house, completed in this house.  Then there are the missing issues from my collection of X-MEN and FANTASTIC FOUR Pocket Books from the early '80s, which were lacking two numbers and four numbers respectively.  I managed to obtain them around a year or so ago, so that was another sense of accomplishment for me.  Anyway, there are loads of comics and books that fall under this label, so I won't labour the point.  Of course, it's good to fill a gap in a run regardless of where you live, but it gives an added thrill of accomplishment when you do it decades later in the same house where you started (especially if there was a break in tenancy), don't you think?  It somehow makes the past seem less distant - for a short while at least, but I'll take what's going.

What's the longest period of time it's taken you to complete a comics collection, Criv-ites?  Do tell!    

12 comments:

pete doree said...

It's probably about 30 years for some of my faves also, Kid, certainly a complete set of Star*Reach took me about that long for some reason.
What about buying things that you already have, but just have to get in specific editions? I bought Star*Reach Greatest Hits, even though I already have everything in it ( apart from the Brunner / Elric cover ) but I still wanted it more than life itself, 'cos I remember seeing it in ads at the back of Bizarre Adventures, and wanting it back then.
Ditto with Gil Kane's Star Hawks - Have the Hermes press trade, but still had to get the Ace Books paperback, 'cos that's the version that was out when I was a kid. Where's the sense in any of that??

Kid said...

I do the same thing, PD. I have various Marvel stories in a variety of presentations; original issues, monthly reprints, Marvel Masterworks, Omnibus and Epic collections, facsimile editions, etc. - just can't help myself. However many reprints I have though, if I can get the original edition I had as a kid (even if THAT was a reprint), I'll go for it. I suppose collecting is a compulsion, but the only thing it hurts is our wallets and cupboard space.

pete doree said...

Absolutely. Nothing beats getting the original one you had as a kid. I sometimes fool myself that the new version I've got of something is the actual copy I swapped or sold years ago, and it's somehow made it's way back to me! Hey. I'm a comic fan, I'm allowed to fantasise...

Kid said...

Of course, when I said 'the original edition I had as a kid', as I'm sure you understood, I meant ANOTHER 'original edition', not necessarily the ACTUAL, PHYSICAL copy I had. (Although that's happened as well. A friend once returned a bagful of comics I'd given him 30-odd years before.) However, I find that a replacement comic somehow becomes (in a mystical, magical way) the actual comic I had (at least in my eyes), so I don't have to fantasise. In other words, as you said, I just consider that the original has made its way back to me. (Even if I ripped it up 40 years ago.)

Barry Pearl said...

It took me 16 years to complete my collection of Marvel,comics 1961-1977!

Kid said...

And it's what can legitimately be called a definitive collection, BP. Well done. Even Marvel, TwoMorrows, and Taschen rely on your collection for their publications.

Paul Mcscotty said...

I don't actually collect entire series of comics I don't have the room , time, patience or money to do that but I do have a series of lists of individual comics I am always on the look out for that have nostalgic interest for me. Most have now been completed (my interest in Odhams comics, Valiant, Buster, Lion etc) but I still have a few US books to get including Superman 247, 252, Avengers 86 and 106, Conan 43,Fear 3 Mighty Crusaders 4 and Spider-man 80 etc - I recently picked up about 10 from that list 3 weeks ago on a visit to Brighton if i had more time I think I could have gotten more all at very good prices (almost cheap) including Conan 26, Hulk 126,137 and Astonishing Tales 5 all for less than £3 each (although Conan 26 is not in great condition - which is not a problem for me) I have seen most of the main comics I am after in Glasgow but at mad prices I try to get them cheap just feel that paying £35 for an early 1970s comics is outrageous which was the cost of an albeit mint copy of Hulk 136 last year - I got mine in Liverpool along with 137 and a couple of Spideys for £2 each and all were in very good condition.

Kid said...

Yup, there are still bargains to be had if one is prepared to wait and hunt through eBay (and other places), PM. Incidentally, when I talk about 'completing' a collection, I don't always mean the full run of a series. For example, when Hoot! came out in the early or mid-'80s, I bought #s 1, 3, & 10 (Christmas issue), somehow missing out on #2. A few short years back (two or three), I tracked down #2, plus 4, 5, & 6. (They were free gift issues for some reason.) I only ever intended to but the first three issues when the comic first appeared, so now that I've got that missing #2, I regard my collection of Hoot! as being complete.

Paul Mcscotty said...

I like to use my collecting as an excuse to go to other towns and cities that way I manage to take in a new experience and sometimes get a wee comic treat (and visit the odd nice pub or coffee shop 2 other interests of mine)I have had some great bargains and finds in Perth, Liverpool. Lake District and Brighton but also find it is quite sad how few comic shops now exist and how few comics seem to be in thrift type stores and when they are they cost too much for the condition they are in (or are comis from 1990 to 2018 ie of no interest).

Kid said...

Sadly, because of the exorbitant prices that some eBay dealers ask for some items, PM, thrift and charity shops follow their example, regardless of condition. So if an item that is worth no more than a fiver in pristine condition is seen on eBay at a ridiculous asking price of £50, charity shops will say "Right, we'll charge £25 for ours then - that's a bargain!" They really don't have a clue, despite the so-called 'training' they allegedly receive. They actually check eBay now and use it as a price guide. Ridiculous.

Philip Crawley said...

Yeah eBay has its good an bad features. And it just takes one or two opportunistic individuals, well allright; 'chancers', to stick an outrageous asking price on something and way too many greedy sheep follow suite. Becomes a bit of a joke though when say eight out of ten results on a page of search results are at crazy prices and two are reasonably priced - I wonder which ones will end up selling?

Kid said...

The lower-priced ones will always go first, PC, as you know, but if someone is desperate enough to be reunited with something, the higher-priced items will probably eventually be sold as well. (And I must confess I've paid a little over the odds sometimes for an item that I really want, so I'm adding to the problem.)

However, what gets me is the utter stupidity of charity shop managers taking an inflated asking price of something as an accurate indication of its value. I remember when '70s Daleks Annuals used to sell for a modest price, while the '60s ones (by a different publisher, so they weren't really connected) cost quite a bit more. Then, as if someone saw what was being asked for the Daleks Annuals from the '60s and thought "Oh, the Daleks book from 1964 is going for £90, so I should get about £50 for my 1979 one!", the asking prices of the '70s Annuals suddenly shot up. That's on eBay of course, but when it comes to charity shops, there's no point arguing the toss with them, because they claim that they're 'trained' how to determine something's worth. They still don't have a bloody clue about condition though, or the value of the box when it comes to an old Dinky or Corgi car.

"It's priced at £40 on eBay!" they say. "Yeah, but it's in pristine condition and has its original box - yours is all chipped, has a tyre missing, and doesn't have the box!" I'll tell them. And here's the kicker - "Yes, but we've taken that into account when pricing the item!" they'll say, looking for £15 for a beat up toy car. Meanwhile, hungry people starve as cash flow into the shop slows to a minimum because of the unrealistic pricing in such places. I always thought that charity shops were supposed to benefit the customers as well as the homeless, etc.

Okay, rant over. However, if you want to see how difficult it sometimes is to give charity shops money, see my post 'Charity Begins...Where, Exactly...?'

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