Wednesday, 30 September 2020

THE 'MESSY' WORLD OF MARVEL (UPDATED)...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

I was looking through some '70s back issues of The Mighty World Of Marvel earlier tonight and was appalled by the amateurish manner in which many of them were presented.  No wonder the title (along with several other Marvel UK weeklies) was hemorrhaging readers in its middle years.  MWOM had started as a mixture of spot colour, full colour, and tones, then withered into a muddy, murky, black and grey mess that ruined the artwork and was sore on the eyes.

As an example, look at the page below.  The top two panels have been trimmed (shortened) to make the page better accommodate the slightly different dimensions of the UK Marvel titles, but the bottom border lines haven't been restored - leaving the panels looking as if they just disappear into the 'gutter'.  That's taking laziness just a bit too far, wouldn't you say?  And it's not an isolated incident; there are several examples of such clumsiness in this one issue alone.

Then there's a Daredevil splash page (below) which has been clumsily 'drawn-up', but is missing parts of the credit box and other bits of detail, giving it an unfinished appearance.  Doesn't it look awful?  Marvel UK did eventually get its act together and improve a bit, but these pages fare badly when compared against the professional quality of comics by IPC and DCT, with which they shared space on the newsagents' shelves at the same time.  Marvel later stopped trimming the artwork and learned to master more subtle shades of tone before doing away with it altogether, but until then, too many issues suffered from inferior production values.

I have very fond memories of those early Marvel UK mags, but when I look back at the makeshift appearance of many of them, I wonder why I wasn't put off by just how shoddily-produced they were.  This is Marvel we're talking about - surely they were capable of doing far better than this and giving the readers a higher standard for their money?  Remember, they weren't any less expensive than rival periodicals by other publishers, which contained mostly new material, whereas the Marvel weeklies were mainly reprint.  (Perhaps Marvel 'weaklies' would've been a more apt description.)

I have to be completely honest and say that I'm surprised that Marvel got away with producing such inferior-looking comics and wonder how they managed to survive for so long.  I suppose it's a testament to the artwork of Kirby, Ditko, Heck, Trimpe, Buscema, Colan, etc., that even when it was butchered in such an appalling manner it wouldn't just lie down and die, and that its inherent quality still managed to shine through - barely perhaps, but just enough to show what it was made of.  And no doubt the skillful scripting of Lee, Lieber, Thomas, etc., helped 'carry' the poor visual reproduction at its worst.

Even the cover blurbs were sometimes inaccurate.  For example, in #81 there are no 'inside news scoops on Marvel', only some info about a competition (hardly a scoop), and Spidey's swap shop is nowhere in evidence.  (And wouldn't that belong in SMCW anyway?)  I still have a soft spot for these comics, but my appreciation of them is hardly a 'warts and all' acceptance of them.  Sometimes I have to half-close my eyes and squint a bit in order to blur their faults and look past their inadequacies.  They didn't always do the art and stories justice, far too often depending on the readers' mercy, but they were of their time - and as that time coincided with my youth, I therefore can't help but think fondly of them - despite their imperfections.

 
 
Any thoughts on the matter, Crivvies?  Then you know the procedure.  Incidentally, above is the poster from 1972, given free to readers who sent in 8 tokens cut, one a week, from the centre pages of the first 8 issues of MWOM.  (There were two spare coupons in the next couple of issues for reader who might have missed any.)  This isn't a scan or photo of the full-size poster (which I've got), but a smaller preview of it from an ish of the comic.  I've included it as a bonus because it balances up the page.
 
And as you can see from this letter by R. Leyland in MWOM #129, I'm not the only one who'd noticed the falling standards in quality.  The editorial staff quote rising costs, etc., claiming that the comic is even better value for money than previously, but there's no denying the facts of young master Leyland's missive: the glossy-covered, black and white, grey-toned, 36 page 8p comic was a far cry from the 40 page, mix of full and spot colour, 5p comic of only 2 and a half years before.  Even if we accept Marvel's claim of better value, that's only from a monetary perspective; from a quality one, there's no denying it was far less than it had been.
  
 
 
Incidentally, today's date 48 years ago was a Saturday, which is when the very first issue of MWOM hit newsagents' counters all across the country, so to celebrate its anniversary, below is the cover to #1, along with a few interior pages and the 'green-skinned monster T-shirt transfer'.
 




Tuesday, 29 September 2020

NEVER MISS A BLOG POST ON CRIVENS! THAT'S BURKE'S LAW...


Copyright relevant owner
 
I'm unable to state with absolute certainty whether I was aware of Burke's Law as a TV show before or after I saw the comic strip in TV Century 21, but I believe it was the former.  Captain Amos Burke was first played by singer/actor Dick Powell in the first episode of The Dick Powell Show in 1961, but it was Gene Barry who made the part his own in two series from 1963-'65.  There was a third series in 1966, renamed Amos Burke Secret Agent, to cash in on the James Bond and Man From U.N.C.L.E. spy craze at the time, but it wasn't a hit and was cancelled after only 17 episodes.  I couldn't say whether it was ever broadcast on UK TV, but I don't remember it at all.

Because the original was a show that I associated with my childhood in the '60s, I was pleased when it was revived in 1994 (with Burke promoted to deputy chief), again starring Gene Barry.  I watched it avidly, because it was almost like having my childhood back again.  Anne Francis, who played Honey West in a '60s episode of Burke's Law before getting her own series, even popped up again in a cameo appearance, though this time referred to as Honey Best for copyright reasons.  (Perhaps viewers were meant to assume she'd married someone with the surname of Best, but they knew who she was supposed to be.)

Anyway, there were two seasons of the new series before Amos Burke was again relegated to 'TV Heaven', but for a while at least, it was good to catch up with an old friend from my youth.  Do you have any memories of the show, either in its '60s or '90s incarnation?  Indulge in some nostalgic reminiscing in our comments section.  And while you're casting your mind back, enjoy the debut episode of the comic strip from the first issue of TV Century 21.

Don't all rush at once now.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Part Four Of Barry Pearl's Tales Of The Marvel Age (Guest Post)...


Images copyright relevant owners

Investing in comics!

As we wind down my Tales Of The Marvel Age, this is my favourite because it is so silly and totally unbelievable.  But you have to believe me, this is true.  Really!  It happened around the year 2000.

Having newly boarded and bagged 5,000 copies and getting my first Overstreet guide, I was astonished at the potential value of my comics.  And with so many comic stores open it seemed that old comics were big business.  Unfortunately, I told that to my then current girlfriend (Betty) who had always thought comics were worthless.

We were going out for dinner with her friends, who I'll call "Lois and Clark".  We often had dinner with them, a nice couple.  We'd arranged for them to call at my place first, and when I opened the door, there they were with their 12-year son who was holding about five or six new comics.  They were all #1s.  They were titles I didn't know and by companies I hadn't heard of.

Lois and Clark said they'd stopped by the local comic book store and bought comics the dealer said would be worth a lot of money in the next few years.

Me:  Be careful.  Dealers just want you to buy comics, and very few that come out in the year 2000 will be worth anything in the future.  That's because no one throws out comics anymore!
Lois and Clark:  We know, that's why we brought our son with us.  We'll need college money in six years and we want to buy the right comics to pay his tuition.  Betty says you know which are the right ones to buy.
Me:  Actually, I don't.  I don't buy current comics and I doubt that anything bought today will be worth something in six years.
Lois and Clark:  Betty says you have valuable comics, and that you know which ones to buy.
Me:  Not really.  It was all luck.  When I bought comics they were disposable, people often threw them out after reading.  Had I known they were going to be worth money one day I would've kept my first Justice Leagues and Lois Lanes!  (At this point I thought the subject was over.  I was wrong.)
Lois and Clark:  You have valuable comics.  Betty says they're worth a lot of money.  Which ones should we buy?  We need money for college.
Me:  I really can't help you other than to say you should save your money and invest it.  Do you want to buy old comics and see if their price goes up?
Lois and Clark:  We want to invest in new comics, ones we can get for just a few dollars.  Just tell us which ones.
Me:  I don't know.  I don't collect new comics and I certainly can't tell you if they'll ever be worth anything, but it's doubtful that prices will skyrocket in six years.
Lois and Clark:  Of course you know, you bought the right ones for yourself.  We'd then buy not just one but a few of them.  And Betty says that you said their prices really went up in the last few years.
Me:  That was an accident, I didn't know.  If I had, I'd have bought ten copies of each.  (Especially Amazing Fantasy #15!)
Lois and Clark:  So you won't tell us?
Me (turning to the kid):  The best thing you can do is buy the comics you like and put them in your closet for thirty years.
The kid:  I don't like comics.
Me:  Then don't buy them.  Buy the things you like.  Why'd you buy the ones you have?
The kid:  The dealer said they'd be worth a lot of money one day.
Me:  Will you read them?
The kid:  No.
Lois and Clark:  So you won't help us?!  That's selfish to keep it all to yourself. 

Believe or not, this went on all night.  I was never to see Lois and Clark again, as they refused to come to my house or invite me to theirs.  They did stay friends with Betty, certainly longer than I did, and the three of them always thought I had a secret that I wouldn't share.  People, eh?

ANYONE KNOW WHAT THIS IS?

Funny the things you remember so long after the event.  It was November 1965 on the first day of moving into our new home.  Beside the tiled fireplace that was common to such terraced houses at the time, I found... well, what did I find?  I don't know what it's called, nor am I aware of it's purpose, so it's probably better that I show you something approximating it - which I have in the above photo.  If I recall correctly, it was the same colour, and it captured my interest for some reason.

Can't say exactly how long I had it or what its eventual fate was, but it's lived in my memory ever since, which is why, when I found something resembling it (I think the original had a more oval shaped head, with the underside slightly like a spoon or ladle) a number of years back, I kept it as a reminder of that day nearly 55 years ago.  It's around 2 inches long, pretty much the same as the one I found back then.

"So why tell us?" you may be wondering.  Simple.  Anyone know what the hell it is and what it's for?

Sunday, 27 September 2020

BABE OF THE DAY - VALERIE PEREZ...

 
 
 
"Live long and prosper" says the delectable Valerie Perez. "Come round to my house and let's party," I reply - "and keep the Star Trek outfit on" (at least to start with).  Well, there's no harm in trying, is there?  With any luck, she'll give me a Vulcan mind-meld and maybe pinch one of my nerves.  A man can dream.

"THE EYES OF THE MUMMY!" A TRIBUTE TO JOLTIN' JOE SINNOTT...

 
Copyright MARVEL COMICS
 
As we all know, Marvel stalwart Joe Sinnott, probably best known for inking Jack Kirby's pencils on Fantastic Four for a number of years (and inking many other artists' work too), died back in June of this year.  Although I noted his passing on the blog, I thought I'd present one of his solo efforts, from Amazing Stories Of Suspense #146, published by Alan Class & Co. Ltd., a UK company that reprinted (in black and white) US stories from a variety of different magazines.  (The strip originally appeared in Tales To Astonish #42 in 1963.)

Just wanted you to know, if you didn't already, that Joe was a talented artist in his own right.




Saturday, 26 September 2020

LOVE(LY COMICS & BOOKS) FOR SALE...


I think I'd be fairly safe in assuming that most comics collectors are like me when it comes to acquiring sought-after items, in that they'll purchase what's available and affordable even if the condition is less than perfect, then upgrade to a superior example should the opportunity ever present itself.  That's because there's no guarantee a better copy will come along at a respectable price (one that you'd be prepared to pay anyway), so you buy it when and where you can.

And so it is that I find myself with various spare copies of a diverse selection of comics and books I've obtained over the years, some of them only in recent months.  I usually don't mind having spares, but I'm running out of space which I'm eventually going to need to store new items.  I'll probably put them on ebay, though I know I won't get what I paid for them - mainly because some of them weren't worth what I paid for them to begin with.

Anyway, I thought I'd show them here, and if any of you want to make a decent offer for any of them, let me know.  I don't know what the Blogger rules are when it comes to advertising items for sale, but hopefully they won't mind.  Incidentally, the 1975 Garth book cost me £24.99 only a month or two back, and while I don't expect to make a profit on anything, I wouldn't like to take too much of a loss.  Any questions about condition, just ask.




THOUGHT FOR THE DAY...

Were it a criminal offence to have an erection and you got charged, do you think it would stand up in court?  And if so, would you get a stiff sentence?  (Oo-er, missus!  Frankie Howerd is alive and well on Crivens.)

Friday, 25 September 2020

TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 - MARVEL FACSIMILE EDITION...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

Hooray!  Arrived today, my Facsimile Edition of Tales Of Suspense #39 - the debut and origin of The Invincible Iron Man!  I love these comics, but a few things niggle me.  First of all, the bar code box is unnecessarily big, obscuring too much of that iconic cover.  It's been smaller on some previous facsimiles and could (and should) have been smaller on this one.

Inside, the indicia has been printed under the splash page instead of below the ad on the inside front cover.  The splash now contains a warning that 'This comic is presented as originally created.  It may contain outdated depictions.'  This would've been better placed as part of the indicia, instead of being imposed onto the published artwork and compromising the archival integrity of the material.

Another thing I've noticed in most of these facsimiles is that the image is often positioned too high on the page, leaving a bigger margin under the art than above.  I suspect this is caused by most reprint pages being first prepared for book collections, which usually have a new page number under each image.  When this is removed for single issue reprints (on account of it not appearing in the original comic), it leaves the lower margin too high.  (Though, strangely, the other two tales in the mag are better positioned in this regard.)  You'd think they'd compensate for this and lower the image for a better balance of top and bottom margins.

Those small niggles aside, it's great to see this iconic issue being re-presented as an individual magazine for a new audience, though there's bound to be a posse of older readers coming along for the ride.  Below is my original copy of TOS #39 alongside its facsimile.  Make Mine Marvel!

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Guest Post: Barry Pearl's Tales Of The Marvel Age - Part Three...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS
 
How Howard the Duck changed my comics collecting!
 
By the end of 1975 I had been buying my comics in a local Queens comic store for several years.  I even did some favours for the owner, Joe, such as running an errand to Pennsylvania and running off his price list in my office.

The local comic stores made money by selling old and new comics.  Joe, in particular, was friendly to his customers because he wanted something from them.  Most comic book buyers will eventually cut down on their buying and then stop collecting.  Joe then wants to then buy their collection for the cheapest price possible and people gave in to him all the time.  In fact, Joe and the many other  owners would often ask serious collectors what comics they had, looking to buy them.  Joe knew very well of my collection.

I was buying about 30 comics a month from Joe:  Regular comics, King Size and Annuals, and, at that time, Marvel had the more expensive magazines out.  By today's standards that would be about $100 a month.  (Then, maybe $20.)

The comic book store got the comics in a week or so earlier than the local candy store and they would put the comics you ordered away for you.  So I came in excited to get, with my weekly order, Howard the Duck #1.

When I was given my stack, I saw no Howard and the following conversation ensued.
 
Me:  "Is Howard out yet?" 
Joe:  Yes, but I'm not selling it.
Me:  Huh?  What's up?
Joe:  I've made an agreement with all the comic stores in Queens.  This is a popular comic and we deserve more money.  We're holding onto all the Howard the Duck copies for three months and then we're going to sell it for $1.  (That's four times the cover price of 25 cents.)
Me:  You know that's illegal.  That's called "restraint of trade".
Joe (laughing):  Take us to court.
Me:  I've been a steady customer for years and even done favours for you.  Sell me the damn comic.
Joe (he really said this):  This isn't The Godfather, I don't "owe" you a favour.  I don't want to owe you a favor.

I bought my comics and left.  The very next Tuesday I went to pick up my daily newspaper at the local candy store.  Right above the newspapers the new comics were on display and there was Howard the Duck for 25 cents.  I bought it.
 
I no longer wanted to deal with Joe, but I felt I needed to go in that week and get the comics I'd ordered.  (I wouldn't feel that way today.)  When I picked up my comics the next week, I told Joe not to order any more for me, that I would come by and select them.  This really wasn't true, I had no intention of returning to his store.  Joe saw an opening - he thought I was giving up collecting.  He knew what comics I had.

Joe:  Giving up buying?  Let me buy your collection.  (He became rather insistent, but I left.)

For the next 6 months I bought my comics at a store near where I worked in Manhattan.  By the end of the year I had given up buying comics.  About three years later, I passed by Joe's store and went in to see if any new hardcovers had come out (Graphic Novels, EC reprints, Flash Gordon, that sort of thing).  When Joe saw me he quickly, without a word, went to the back of the store, just to let me know he was ignoring me.  About six months later I went in and the same thing happened.  Soon, I moved out of the neighbourhood.

25 Years Later...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, having picked up the Overstreet guide, I now had an idea of how much my comics were worth.  About 2002 I was in line at a locksmith in my old neighbourhood when I saw that the person behind me was Joe!

Me:  Hey Joe! Remember me, I used to buy comics at your store.
Joe:  Of course I remember you!  Most collectors cut down on their buying and then sell me their collections. You just stopped buying one day.
Me:  Well, I stopped collecting.
Joe:  Do you still have your comics?  Did you ever sell them?
Me:  No, I still have them.
Joe (with a straight face now - he knew what I had):  Well, you know that people don't buy old comics now.  That stopped years ago.  They only buy new comics today.
Me:  Only new ones?  Nothing for the old ones?
Joe:  Nothing.  Hey, for old times' sake, sight unseen, I'll buy your entire collection for $1,000! Sight unseen!  (He knew I had Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Fantasy #15 and so on.)
Me:  I can't believe that people only buy new comics.
Joe:  Yeah, the time of collectors wanting old stuff has long passed.  They only want the new.  You're one of the few keeping their old comics, everyone else has gotten rid of them.
Me:  Well, I liked them.  And still do.
Joe:  Let me know before I change my mind!  (He gave me his card.)

How low can you go?  Today, I wish I'd led him on, but I was so surprised I just got my key made and went on with my life. I presume that Joe crawled back under his rock.
 




 

BLOGGER FECKS THINGS UP...

 

Due to changes recently introduced by Blogger as to how posts are composed, I no longer have the easy flexibility to arrange or move opening images precisely into the position I want in order to keep them consistent with the layout of previous posts.  If I was prepared to faff about for half an hour, after much trial and effort, I might be able to get them exactly where I want them, but life's too short so I can no longer guarantee continuity in spacing between one post and another.  Everything about the new Blogger now makes everything about five times longer and more difficult to do than previously.  Why the hell do they do it?  Surely their motto should be "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"?  Well, they've now broken it!

RUPERT WOULDN'T FEEL VERY CHARITABLE ABOUT THIS...

 
Copyright relevant owner

I see the Oxfam charity shop in Clarkston is at it again.  They have a facsimile of the 1952 Rupert Annual, without its slipcase, in a cabinet with a £24.99 price tag on it.  Just looked at it on ebay and there are several going for as much as a tenner less - with slipcase.  (Even allowing for p&p, it still works out a few good pounds cheaper.)  Out of the half dozen available on ebay, only one is marked up at £25, yet charity shops claim that they usually price items between the lowest and the highest on ebay - which, let's face it, given the chancers there, is hardly the most 'scientific' way of evaluating the value of anything.

Yeah, I hear you, it's for charity - but charity begins at home.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Part Two Of Barry Pearl's Tales Of The Marvel Age...


Copyright MARVEL COMICS

A Secret You Don't Know!

This was told to me, in confidence, by a big New York City comics dealer:  There eventually comes a time when a big or valuable collection has to be sold.  Often it is an aging collector, or, sadly, his widow, his children or a companion after the collector's death.

For argument's sake, let us say he has a collection worth $100,000.  The family will call in the five or six big dealers thinking they'll get five or six separate estimates and bids on the books.  Wrong!  The dealers know each other and conspire to get the books at the lowest price.  They call and consult with each other on these big items and agree that instead of offering $60-80,000 for a $100,000 collection, they'll all offer a ridiculous $10,000 or thereabouts.  So after getting five or six "fixed" bids the family feels that's what the comics are worth and sells them for that price. Now the dealers split the collection and for $2,000 each they get $20,000 worth of comics.

I'm sure that this goes on I many major cities, so it's better to get some bids from major stores that are outside of your area. 

Consignment:  Consignment means leaving comics in a store with a stranger and with no advance payment.  This is great for the store because they lay out no money and have no risk whatsoever. You'd receive a percentage of what the store sells them for, but would have to trust them that they're telling you the truth about the amount they sold for. 

In 2004 I walked into a neighbourhood "nostalgia" store which had a ton of comics and also toys, games and memorabilia.  I didn't mention my collection, but my friend's 10 year old son, Sean, did.  He told the owner that I had all the old Marvels. 

The owner wanted them on consignment, which is how he sold his merchandise.  I said I wasn't interested, and the 'back and forth' went on for quite a while until we left.  I was back in a couple of weeks later because Sean wanted a specific toy.  Again the owner spoke as if I'd promised him something and said he was expecting delivery from me the following week.

The store closed down at the end of the month.  His landlord told me that he was looking for him for back rent and the people who'd given him toys, games and magazines on consignment were looking for him also.  He'd left without paying them.  Had I done something stupid I would've been out a fortune.  So be careful when you go to sell your comics. 

Joe's store:

So I started buying comics at Joe's store and I saw how sleazy some of these guys get.  I hate seeing people ripped off at any time, but I really hate it when I see kids ripped off. 

It was 1975 and I'd come in to pick up my weekly comics.  A young man came in with an early copy of Daredevil and wanted to sell it for about $40 or so.  Joe told him that it was in bad shape and that Daredevils don't sell.  He offered him $10, take it or leave it, which the guy took.  By mere coincidence, the next Wednesday I was back in the store when someone wanted to buy it.  Joe told him the copy was in great condition and that Daredevils sell fast so he better take it before it was sold.

He did - for $60.  And the moral of the story?  I'm sure you don't need me to spell it out.  See you next time.

Tuesday, 22 September 2020

MELANCHOLY MUSINGS...

Childhood.  An age of innocence where time seems to hold no sway, and awareness of the future only extends as far as looking forward to school holidays, birthday and Christmas presents, and the latest issue of your favourite comic going on sale.  That apart, there only seems to exist one big 'now', and whatever state you find yourself in feels like it will never end.  The house you're living in will be your home forever, you'll always be a schoolboy (or girl), and your parents and siblings will be around for as long as you are - which feels like it will be for eternity.  Childhood - the best days of our lives we're told, and unless you lived in a third world country beset by war and poverty or were the victim of abuse or cruelty, they are.

It's all downhill from there I'm sad to say.  Age, illness, deaths of loved ones, financial and family worries, uncertainty about a future you never even realised lay ahead of you, so accustomed were you to the eternal present you once thought you had.  Sure, there are good moments too as the years pass and your youth recedes, but they're always bittersweet once you reach that age where you're painfully aware there are more years behind you than lie ahead.  Do policemen, teachers, shop assistants, workmen, etc., all look younger than you recall them being in your day?  They're not, it's just that you're getting older and at the stage where you're beginning to 'fret to find your bedtime near'.  The final bedtime that is.

So now that I've cheered everyone up with my positive and optimistic assessment, let me ask you all a question.  Are you fulfilled in your life; do you have a goodly store of pleasant memories while yet adding to them each and every day, or do you feel that you never achieved your potential and still have so much more you want to do, while being all too well aware that you really don't have enough time ahead of you in which to do it?  Linger a moment  in the darker recesses of your mind, consider your life up to now, and then share your regrets (if any) and sadness of how quickly life seems to pass without us being aware of it until we near journey's end.

(There's no doubt about it - I'll need to stop taking those happiness pills.)

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Guest Post: Barry Pearl's Tales Of The Marvel Age - Part One...

 

Having collected and read (several times) all the Marvel Age comics from 1961-1974, I "bagged" them and placed them in cartons when I had my big move to a new apartment.  In 1978 I did the same for the new comics I had since collected.  I also paused writing my book on the Marvel Age. 

25 years later, having just moved into a house, I decided to unpack and enjoy the comics again. I saw that the 30 to 40-year-old comic bags had deteriorated greatly.  They were wrinkled, separated, torn and some, with the name of "Robert Bell" on them were, well, melted.

I knew my comics were worth something, especially the ones from the early 1960s, but I had no idea just how much they were really worth.  I went into a local comic shop for the first time since my move.  I asked which bags were best and the dealer steered me to the Overstreet guide, which suggested mylar bags.  So I asked the dealer to order mylar bags for me - 5,000 of them!  He was astonished and it showed on his face.  Most people ordered no more than 50!  A very important point: I'd been out of touch with comics for a quarter of a century. 

And then it began: 

Dealer:  What do you need 5,000 bags for?
Me:  5,000 comics.  I may need more.
Dealer (obviously not believing me):  I haven't seen you here before.  What comics do you have?
Me:  Marvel comics.
Dealer:  Which ones?
Me:  The ones from the 1960s and 1970s.
Dealer:  Which Ones?
Me:  All of them.
Dealer:  No, really, what do you have?
Me:  All of them.
Dealer:  Which ones, really?
Me:  Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Avengers, X-Men, Daredevil and so on.
Dealer:  Which ones?
Me:  All of them.
Dealer:  I know people who have all the early Fantastic Fours, or Spider-Mans or Avengers, but no one has them all.
Me:  Can I just order the bags and backing boards?


And I did, but that is not the funny end to the story.  When they came in he called me... 

Dealer:   The bags and boards are in.
Me:  I'll pick them up tomorrow.
Dealer:  No, I have to deliver them to you.
Me:  No, I'll pick them up.
Dealer:  No, have to deliver them or I can't give them to you.
Me:  Huh?
Dealer:  I have to deliver them.
Me:  Why?  Okay, deliver them. 

So the next day he rings my bell and is at my door.  That wasn't enough, he wouldn't just give me the bags. 

Me:  What's up, what's this all about?
Dealer:  I need to see your comics.
Me:  Need to?  You mean you want to.
Dealer: Yeah, I know people who have all the early Fantastic Fours, or Spider-Mans or Avengers, you say you have them all.  I need to see them.
Me:  Why didn't you just ask me?

I took him over to my 1960s closet and opened both doors (see picture above).  He took one look at all those comics, took two steps backwards and fell to the floor.  He almost fainted!  Fantastic Four #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, Avengers #1 and 4, Daredevil #1, Tales of Suspense #39, etc.  He'd seen these separately, but never together.

It took him quite a while to get up. 

Now here is why I began to dislike dealers: 

Dealer:  I can sell all those comics.  On Consignment.

(Consignment means leaving my comics, in a store, with a stranger.  I'd receive a percentage of what he sells them for, but would have to trust him.  No way.  If I wanted to sell them I wouldn't need him.)

Me:  I've no interest in selling these comics.  In fact, I just bought bags and boards for them.
Dealer:  Oh, you've got to sell them.  Let me take them to my store.
Me:  I'm not selling them.  Just give the bags and boards.
Dealer:  Okay, but when you sell them, let me know!  (His pleading went on and on.)
Me:  You'll be the first person I'll call.  (This wasn't true, but I wanted him out of the house.  I've never had another dealer over since then.)


I was treated pleasantly at his store for a year.  I bought more bags and several books related to comics.  Then, one day, about a year later, I came into the store and was met by his wife. 

Wife:  My husband said that you shouldn't come back here anymore.
Me (puzzled):  Why?
Wife:  He said you'll know.
Me:  I don't.  Why? 

I didn't receive an answer.  Sometime later, at a local sporting event, I ran into him at a concession stand. 

Me:  What happened?  I was a steady customer.
Dealer:  You said you'd sell me your comics.
Me:  I never said that. 
Dealer:  Who'd you sell your comics to?
Me:  I never said I was selling my comics.  I never sold them.
Dealer (talking as if they were his comics):  Well, you told me I could put them up on consignment and I've been waiting.  I even made space.
Me:  Good luck. 

His store closed later that year.



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