Tuesday 23 August 2022



I'm constantly surprised by the sky-high cost of some comics on the collectors market, and I bet I'm not the only Crivvie who feels that way.  Whether or not some of the high asking prices are ever realised or whether the mags languidly linger in limbo is probably known only to the sellers, but it takes just one buyer to fork out a huge and unrealistic sum for one issue and, suddenly, just about every seller with that same comic will suddenly hike up the price of it.

I can understand Action Comics #1 going for a fortune, and Detective Comics #27 and the like, because these issues in any kind of decent condition are scarce and truly fit the description of 'rare', but why do some single issues have stratospheric figures attached to them when the ones either side of them are seemingly not worth anywhere near as much?

Introduction of a character or storyline, death of a superhero, etc?  So what?  There were just as many numbers of that issue printed as the ones before and after so they're far from hard to find.  Some of the proffered 'reasons' for the increased value of certain comics therefore seem a bit arbitrary to my mind.  Take Giant-Size Thor #1 (above) for example.  I'm not quite sure why a copy of this comic has an asking price of over £1,000 on eBay at the moment, but the seller seems to think it's worth that amount.

There are several other copies from around £15-£20 up into the hundreds, but considering it's a reprint comic that re-presents the main stories (in reverse order) from the first two Thor King-Size Annuals/Specials, it surely isn't worth anywhere near some of the asking prices (even some of the lower ones) - especially as the reproduction of some panels and pages is markedly inferior to their initial printings and have some shoddy retouching to boot.  (I'm of the firm opinion that one of the reasons why inker Vince Colletta is much-maligned by some Kirby fans is due to numerous dodgy reprints.)

Click to enlarge for a better comparison

I don't have the energy at the moment to give you more than one example, but that should surely suffice.  Above, on the left-hand side of the 'page' is the first printing, on the right-hand side is the reprint - see the difference?  Who'd fork out a fortune for such inferior presentations, especially as there are better, more recent reprintings in other publications, such as Volume 2 of the Thor Epic Collection?

Well, me, I sadly have to admit - but not anywhere near the examples I've just mentioned.  I can't claim superiority though, because there are instances when I've paid far more than I'd have preferred to for certain comics and toys, but only because I wanted to own them far more than I wanted or needed the money for anything else.  I'm therefore just as guilty as anyone of potentially upping the market prices of some items for the next buyer, in my quest to acquire certain collectables.

I suppose that if it's not something we particularly want, we'll scoff at the mentality (or envy their funds) of those who fork out extravagant sums for things, but when it's an item we feel we can't live happily without, then cost is no hindrance if we can afford it without having to live on beans for a decade.

So which category do you fit into?  And have you ever paid a huge amount for something that you felt you simply had to have and later regretted it, or are you glad you finally acquired it at whatever the price?  Whichever, contritely confess or gleefully gloat about it in our conspiratorial comments section.


(And I will get around to properly answering the comments left on the previous post before much longer, never fear.  I want to do them justice however, and that means having to carefully consider my response.)  [Now done.]

Saturday 20 August 2022


Me, on the lower left of the pic, back in the '60s

When we're growing up, I have the distinct impression that we're not fully aware of the different phases we pass through at the time, and it's only when we look back years later that we can distinguish between them.  Sure, we know when we move from primary school to secondary, when we need larger clothes or shoes, etc., but any differences in our outlook, changes in taste as to what entertains or interests us, how we view our environs and the like, are less obvious to us.  Until, as I said, when we review our lives in retrospect and from a distance.

Perhaps I should clarify.  I was, of course, aware that going from short trousers to long, or moving to secondary school from primary, were significant in some way, but what I mean is that I didn't feel any different as a teenager to how I felt as a child.  Any change in my perceptions as to how I saw the world around me - or myself - (if indeed there was any change - must've been, surely?) were not at the forefront of my conscious mind.  Therefore, it wasn't until many years later that the realisation dawned on me that the period of my childhood transpired in four different domiciles prior to the one in which I now live (and have lived for 46 years out of the last 50).

This, I freely admit, nowadays bothers me somewhat.  Whereas at the time I felt like the same individual on my first day in my new house as I did on the last day of my old, I now seem to regard my time in the two residences (and the ones before that) as being separated by a huge gulf, each period belonging in its own 'compartment' of the mind and feeling like the equivalent of, in movie terms, a jump-cut rather than a fade out or fade in.  I've used the analogy before of life (as we live it) seeming like one long single strand of unravelling string, as opposed to separate links of a chain when we look back on it retrospectively, and I can't think of a better way to indicate how things yet appear to me now.

In memory, time has a way of separating some incidents, items, people, places, into unassembled component pieces, where once they were all part of the one single instrument which defined us as the seemingly unique individuals we are.  Truth be told, I'd already started to leave my childhood behind during the last couple of years in my former residence, but I was unconscious of the fact at the time.  The surrounding environs were no longer my playground; no more 'best man fall', climbing trees, dressing up as Batman, or using a hankie as a makeshift parachute on my Action Man and throwing him up into the air in the adjoining playfield, then watching him descend to the ground.

I had already moved beyond such simple pleasures, but wasn't really aware of how I was 'evolving' in terms of what pastimes I was abandoning and what new ones were calling for my attention.  That precise realisation didn't introduce itself until decades after the fact.  During my early years in our new house, my memories of childhood still felt recent and were readily accessible, but as the decades unfolded, they began to feel like long ago and belonging almost to another dimension, far beyond my reach, except when assisted by old photographs or replacement toys and comics bought as an adult.

So now, today, and for the last few years, the fact that the duration of my childhood doesn't really 'belong' in my present home is something which discomfits me.  My childhood belongs elsewhere, but I could never leave here without feeling I'd abandoned the place of (most of) my teenage and early adult years, and that would likewise fill me with a sense of loss.  Anyone else feel as I do, even remotely and with far less angst, or am I trapped in a world I never made?  (Yeah, that doesn't really make much sense, but I had to get a comics allusion in there somewhere to try and introduce a bit of levity.)

Anyway, if the above abstract nonsense strikes a chord with anyone, feel free to comment in the - ah, what's it called again?  (Incidentally, I couldn't think of a picture with which to illustrate this post - I'll maybe add one later.)  [Now done.] 


Update: I caught part of an episode of New Tricks recently (part two of The Rock), and heard a character say something like (and I'm paraphrasing, but I've captured the essence of it) "No one knows when their childhood ends, they just wake up one day and realise it died years ago."  It took me a whole post to try and say pretty much the same thing, whereas the writer of that episode said it in one sentence.  Jealous?  Me?                  

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