Friday, 10 April 2020

BARRY PEARL'S PERSONAL LIBRARY - TOUR NOW ON (UPDATED)...



With many public libraries closing across Britain, it's good of guest contributor BARRY PEARL to open up his personal library for the inspection of all you Crivs out there.  What true comicbook fan wouldn't want a collection of this magnitude and diversity?  So don't let me hold you back, but better have your drool cups ready - you wouldn't want to slobber all over your clothes.  (To take a closer look at any image, click to enlarge, then click again for optimum size.)


When I first started collecting comics during its Silver Age, it was very difficult to get books that either told the history of comics or contained a collection of older comic strips and books.  I have since learned that most of the few books that were out there were inaccurate about dates and creators.

In the 1970s, a few books - especially Jim Steranko's two-part History of the Comics - began to slowly open the door to quality researched histories.  Russ Cochran's excellent EC reprint series of the 1980s was the first to give quality reprints of comics from the 1950s.  DC and Marvel have published many Archives and Omnibuses featuring stories from the 1940s, but mostly skipped over the 1950s. Now, finally, with so many comics in the public domain, PS Publishing and Gwandanaland are giving a great view of that era.

Many of the DC and Marvel Omnibuses reprint stories from their earlier Archives and Masterworks.  These Omnis generally have better print quality than their pre-decessors and have additional features, often including letter pages or stories that haven't been printed before.  Some Omnis, such as Master of Kung Fu, The Savage Sword of Conan and Tomb of Dracula reprint stories for the first time.  Many fans complain about the difference in coloring the reprints have from the originals, but I'm not one of them and this generally doesn't bother me at all.

Here is my Library of Comics, a 50 year collection.  Some of the pictures are composites, as my room isn't large enough to take wide-angle pictures.  (Both left to right and up and down.)

















What a great looking library, eh?  After seeing all that, Barry, I only have one question for you - when can I move in?  My suitcase is packed.  Be sure to show your appreciation for Barry letting you cop a gander at his personal collection, Crivs.

(Update: And below is a three page list of just how many comics he has in his collection.)



30 comments:

Philip Crawley said...

Wow!! Are there any books published on comics or collecting that aren't on those shelves?! There are books there that I never knew existed (and I suspect that someone on my income (which is zero at this point in time anyhow) could never afford now)

Thanks for sharing the library Barry and Kid for bringing the images to us. Off to clean up the drool cup now (TMI?)

Kid said...

I'd guess that Barry has books on just about everything to do with US comic strips and mags, PC, but not quite so much on UK stuff. And why should he? Most Americans will never have heard of most of our stuff. I'd recommend that he buy some of The Treasury of British Comics collections, like Janus Stark, Johnny Future, The Trigan Empire, etc. They'd be worthwhile additions to any collection.

Barry Pearl said...

Thanx Philip,and Kd. First, over the years not too many of the British comics were also available in America. There were a few that have since been published including the British Hulk strips and Capt. Britain archives. And you might be able to see in the closet of Comics some of the Captain Britain comic strips

Kid said...

Yes, I noticed the Cap Brit sign on the shelf, Barry. I was really thinking of collections of UK comic strips outside of Marvel, as The Hulk is an American character, and Cap was created in the States for a British audience. I really recommend the Johnny Future collection, due out at the end of April. Right, I'm off to my scratcher, I'll respond to further comments from anyone in a few hours.

Phil S said...

Nice collection. I see you're doing the thing, got the originals but reprints to read! ever sell anything ? That you later regretted selling?

Kid said...

I think Barry's more of a buyer than a seller, PS, but I'm sure he'll let us know when he's read your comment.

McSCOTTY said...

Amazing collection of books Barey and all very nicely stored. My preference is the individual original comics (of which your collection is fantastic) but some lovely books in that collection like your Ditko , Mickey Mouse and Spirit collections that I wouldn't mind having a few of. Two nice Batman and Suoerman dolls as well
Thank you for showing these to us.

Kid said...

I'm still waiting to hear if I should book my plane ticket, McS. He surely needs someone to dust all those books (in between reading them of course). The Superman is a statuette (of which I have three) and the Batman is an articulated action figure (dolls? Tsk!), which came with the Superman and Batman Masterpiece Editions. (Two individual sets.) They also included actual-size facsimiles of Superman and Batman #1s.

Barry Pearl said...

Today, I guess I am neither a buyer or a seller, let me explain:
First, check out my current Facebook Page:
https://www.facebook.com/barry.pearl/

It tells how I first collected comics. My aunt owned a candy store and I GOT THEM ALL FREE!!!!!!! As time went by I did by the comics because I did not always have the time to visit her store but through the 1960s her store was my library and I read almost every comic that came out!!!

The sad truth:
In the 1960s comics were worthless after they were read. They had no value. But they clogged up the small bedroom that I shared with my brother. So I had to get rid of the comics every once in a while or my mother would throw them out. So I mostly gave away or sold for a nickel, a huge amount of comics that would be worth a lot today. They included the JLA in Brave in Bold, Lois Lane #1 and because they didn’t have super-heroes in them Tales to Astonish 28-34. And the First Superman annuals. And the first Green Lanterns, Atoms, and gosh know what! It kills me to think about it.

But I kept all those Marvels because they were more fun to reread. So virtually all those comics you see were bought off the stands as they were published, or gotten at my aunt’s candy store. The store closed about 1972 so the comics after that date were bought on the stands.

Very cheaply I picked up the following years after I stopped collecting: Avengers 175-200; Fantastic Four #200-417 (No cost, traded old comics); Daredevil 160-235; X-Men 125-165; Marvel Two In One 50-100; The Thing entire run; and Thor 275-300. I paid no more than $1 each at a Comic Conn or local store 20-25 years ago.

I sent the Kid a JPEG of most of my comics

Kid said...

I was thinking more of the books than the comics, Barry. Surely you bought the books? Or do you have generous relations who give you a stack of them on birthdays or Christmases? If so, tell them to put me on their list. I'm just about to add the lists you sent.

Barry Pearl said...

The books come from all sorts of places. New one are gotten mostly from Amazon and Tales of Wonder. I have gotten a ton from going to conventions, 2000-2015, where the books were often available VERY cheap and sometimes used. I have no hesitation in buying used books if they are in good condition.

Twenty years ago saw the end of the comic book surge with stores closing and the ones staying open trying to sell batches of comics. When I mentioned The Avengers and Marvel Two in one and the like, I went to stores and saw batches of 25-50 for about $25. (Sometimes you could haggle). So I paid very little for them. In most cases though, they were, for me, a waste of money because I did not enjoy them as much as I thought when I bought them.

In those comics, maybe even todays, there was too much repetition. The same characters doing the same thing with the same villains.

Kid said...

With today's comics (and going back a few years) there seems to be too many talking heads and the action scenes aren't as dynamic as when Kirby and Buscema were drawing them. Also, today's comics (US) are designed to be collected as books and are therefore paced accordingly, meaning that nothing much happens per issue and none of it makes sense until you read the complete story. Sure, that's probably an overstatement, but that's how it very often seems to me whenever I look at them.

WOODSY said...

An amazing personal library and what a wonderful idea to share it online. A lifetime collecting comics and books. It makes me think how good a virtual library would be, where you ask for a book or a comic to read and it magically appears on screen! Or is that Kindle? Anyhoo, thanks Barry. It was great visiting your library!

Kid said...

I always prefer an 'actual' comic or book to those new-fangled inventions, Woodsy. You can't beat the smell of paper - not including used toilet paper of course. I'm sure Barry will appreciate your appreciation.

McSCOTTY said...

I'm with you on that one Kid you just cant beat the tactile feel of comic itself and of course the nostalgic "kick" that gives us of a certain age. I'm not even that keen on comic collections in book form although some are very good and make sense money wise. Some new comics are very good but your right they seem to be written and drawn for the book collection rather than the monthly comic.

Kid said...

As you say, comic collections in book form are, in the main, second-best to having individual comics, McS, but they're handy for reading purposes and take up a bit less space. The distinction between comics and books is the reason I say there's no comics industry left in this country (industry in the real sense I mean), because however many collected editions or graphic novels there are around, they just aren't comics in the way I perceive them. The Beano weekly is a comic; The Beano Annual is a book. There's a difference. That's something that some people don't quite get.

Barry Pearl said...

Woodsy,
Thanks for the compliment. A Virtual library would be fine for space reasons and to do research. But I do like real books.

McScotty I just last week had a discussion with Roy Thomas about this. First, I like the medium of comics and I enjoy the stories no matter format they come in.

1. The price of old comics now is ridiculous. On the EC Facebook page I see people spending hundreds of dollars for old comics and if they have the money and enjoy it, that is fine. But I would rather spend $25 and get a new book volume that has five comics in it and I won’t be scared to touch it.

2. I mentioned to Roy that the printing of the 1970s comics (especially his Conan stories) were terrible. They had to cheapen the quality of the paper greatly AND the publishers to save money, went from metal printing plates to plastic. The comics themselves looked terrible and are sometimes hard to read.

3. So, recently, Marvel has printed new Omnibuses of Conan, Tomb of Dracula, Horror, Steve Ditko and Master of Kung Fu. They look great. They are printed on good white paper and the colorists can use a zillion colors instead of just four. I often see people “nit-picking” on the colors but I see details now that you could not see before. And if the colors do not match the original comic exactly, that does not bother me.

Kid said...

When Marvel first started doing their Masterworks volumes, Barry, they didn't bother adhering to the original colour schemes, so they weren't quite as archival as they could've been. I didn't mind so much, because Andy Yanchus did a lot of the recolouring (maybe even all of it), and in quite a few instances he added more mood and atmosphere to the pages than the originals had, being an ace colourist.

The series lasted 27 volumes before being rested for a while, and when they returned a few years later, they were under a new team who wanted them to be more archival in nature and reflect how they were originally printed. So the new books (and the 'back to print' ones), though still recoloured for maximum clarity, in the main followed the colour palettes of the original comics. The odd mistake aside, any seeming differences were more down to the superior printing methods and paper used nowadays than a departure from the colour schemes seen in '60s and '70s mags.

I even like a lot of the computer colouring in re-presentations of classic comics, as it gives them something 'extra'. As long as the reader has a choice between old colour schemes and new ones (and can even have both, finances permitting), then I think that's the best of both worlds.

McSCOTTY said...

Hi Barry, I totally agree regarding the price of old comics and the financial sense in buying a collection in book form provides, I have few myself . The difference for me is that 90% of my comic buying is for nostalgic reasons I rarely read the comics all the way through and generally just scan them. Occasionally I get the urge to read them and enjoy that but for some reason for me, that's a rare ish event as I get older, you still have that love of the medium (I envy that).

Kid said...

I'll just point out to Barry that when you say you scan them, you don't mean with a scanner, McS. (Just in case.)

McSCOTTY said...

Lol no I just scan the books with my eyes Kid.

Kid said...

He's got bionic eyes, Barry. (Crivens - bringing together two nations who use the same language in a different way.)

Barry Pearl said...

As I have gotten older, my biggest "problem" is that I do not remember where I read a story. So I can tell you that I like a Ditko story in a PS book, but don't ask me what book!

I like the PS publishing book because they print the ENTIRE book, ads, leter columns and all. It is great to get a glimpse of the 1950s that way.



Dave S said...

What an amazing library to have, Barry- it must be an absolute pleasure to relax there and re-read some old favourites.

I would probably rarely leave such a room if I had one like it! (And I'd refer to it as my Fortress of Solitude, but that's just me).

Speaking of recolouring Kid, I've been some 1985-86 Marvel Tales issues lately where Andy Yanchus had recoloured them- I've had a look at scans of the originals and don't see much difference- had the art of colouring advanced that much from the 60s to the mid-80s to make it worth re-doing the colours?

Kid said...

I haven't seen any of the PS books, Barry, apart, perhaps, from photos of their spines in your photos. I'll maybe see if any are available on ebay.

******

There's a huge difference, DS, in the way that these tales first appeared and how Andy re-coloured them. Perhaps not on every page, but some are very different. If you look at my post Just A Little 'Off-Colour' you'll see some examples. I think I actually prefer Andy's versions in quite a few instances, but the archivist in me also wants to have the original colour schemes. Lucky for me, I have both.

Kid said...

Forgot to say, DS, when the Spidey stories were reprinted in Marvel Tales, because Marvel only kept b&w proofs in the main, the strips HAD to be re-coloured - whether to the original colour scheme or a new one didn't really matter. I suspect that Andy Yanchus was just given b&w stats and didn't even bother to check out the original '60s mags.

Barry Pearl said...

I know for a fact that Marvel Only keeps the black and white film. They have even asked to see some of my Comics to get the colouring right. And I know one of the people who do the omnibus and archives.

As the printing process progressed from the 1970s the printing presses were able to use a greater variety of colours. Open till the 1980s they could only use 12 to 15 colours. Now they can use an infinite amount. In my Discussions with the powers that be colouring was important but not the essential thing that an editor or anyone particularly looked at. The exception of course would be with a new comic or perhaps a new character and that would be discussed. I asked Stan Goldberg if he ever listen to the artist regarding the colouring. He said to me and this is a “I never listen to those prima donnas.’

Kid said...

I think that once or twice, original colour negs have been used for reprints in magazines, Barry (Buscema FF tales - must've been found by sheer chance), but you're right - the majority of reprints are printed from re-coloured b&w sources, especially the Masterworks and Omnibus editions.

Dave S said...

Thanks for the info, gentlemen. Very interesting, as the colouring process is (as you can probably tell) something I know very little about!

I've had another look at some of my Marvel Tales issues and must say that I've done Andy Yanchus a disservice- he's coloured them in a way that looks great but doesn't call attention to itself.

Incidentally, while thinking about this, I saw pics online of a recoloured version of Marvel's Star Wars #1 which looks absolutely stunning!

Kid said...

I'll see if I can find that re-coloured Star Wars ish to look at, DS. I always find comparing such things with their original versions fascinating.

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