Sunday, September 18, 2005

Dispatch from Beaumont

So, a few weeks ago, Jim D. sent me another box of comics. After I had pleaded with him not to do so.

There's some good stuff in that box. Astonishing X-Men, some Avengers, some other comics which are worth picking up. We, here at League HQ, are not sure WHY Jim sends the comics, but he occasionally does send off a box. So, thanks, Jim, I guess... He's always looking out for me, even when I beg him not to.

The other day Jim called me at work.

Apparently Jim's local comic shop is an excellent shop, and Jim had called to impart the variety of knowledge which only a fellow comic geek finds ASTOUNDING.

"There's a copy of Avenger's #4 and X-Men #1 at my comic shop..."
"Oh my God."
"I got to hold them in my hand."
"You actually touched them?"
We are such geeks. Such terrible geeks.

I've never even SEEN these comics. These are huge collectors' items, no matter what condition these comics are in. And while the comics weren't alas, in perfect condition, they were there. And, as I said, I ain't never even seen those comics.

Both are Stan Lee written. Both have art by Kirby. Both are part of the Marevl explosion of the early 1960's.

Avengers #4 isn't worth as much as Avengers #1, but it's worth more than #2 as it's the issue where the Avengers locate Captain America frozen in a block of ice in the Arctic Ocean. Shut up. That's prime comic mythology where I come from.

And X-Men #1? Well, it's X-Men #1. I think I'm cool as I have a torn copy of #32.

Look, we all have our own Maltese Falcon. If you want to take the metaphor up a notch, the Holy Grail of the comic world is Action Comics #1, but people like you or me can't afford Action Comics #1, even with a torn cover. It's a $100,000 comic book in good condition.

So you sort of have to take the trickle down effect and say "okay, what comic is my Maltese Falcon? I strongly suspect the Holy Grail will turn me to dust and I'll be told by that old knight guy that I have chosen poorly. So, the worst that can happen with this Falcon is a lot of people could get shot and dames are gonna turn on you... Is that a risk I'm willing to take?"

Before Jim had even gotten to the shop, someone had called in and wanted the X-Men #1. It went for $300 or so, which is about right for this comic in "good" condition (I will not get into the comic grading scale here, but, believe me, it exists). Not a bad turn around for a $0.12 investment. In Near Mint? The comic fetches a few thousand bucks, I think. So bag those comics, Loyal Leaguers.

However, the Avengers #4 had a partially torn cover and was selling for around $100. Not a bad price, and it will probably just continue to increase in value, even in poor condition. If I were a wealthier man, I might even have had Jim pick it up for me.

Jim did consider buying the comic, but was faced with that cold dread that most comic collectors feel creep into their skulls during any expensive purchase. "What the hell am I going to do with a $100 comic book?"

I have Mr. Miracle #1 in a frame at home. But that's how I roll. The frame cost more than the comic. The League isn't alone in his admiration for Mr. Miracle, but the fan base isn't shelling out huge bucks for a briefly lived series from the early 70's. But that's not the comic I'm looking for.

The League's Maltese Falcon?

Action Comics #252: First appearance of Supergirl and Metallo

I could, possibly, afford a beat up copy of this comic one day. I've just never seen it in person, and eBay sort of makes me itch, so I don't even know how close to getting the comic I'll ever be. Not a big deal. It gives me something to look for.

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