Tuesday, November 23, 2010


This question still comes up all the time, even among seasoned collectors of vintage back issues:
What is this comic “worth”?

Since even the aforementioned seasoned “pro” collectors struggle with this one I thought it might be a good idea to chew on this one for a few lines.


I love saying that! When I was a kid in school and the teacher asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” my response was always “A Gold Brickin’ Yahoo M’am!” I am happy to report that I have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams and am in fact THE Gold Brickin’ Yahoo of all time. But I digress….now what was I talking about?

The Tick still being cancelled?...no

(and may I add a hearty GRRRRRRR! Over THAT!)

Caprica being cancelled?...no

(Cylons have come a LONG way baby!)

Jessica Alba…well no…but now that I think of it!

(You can NEVER go wrong posting a photo of Jessica I say!)

Oh yes! The value of vintage back issues!
Recently I saw the following online offers for various books :
1) Action #252 CGC Signature series 3.5 – asking $25,000
2) PEP comics #76 CGC 9.2 – asking $1700
3) Fantastic Four #1 – RAW unslabbed VG/F – Asking $5500
4) Superman #53 – RAW unslabbed VG- - Asking $450

These books all have some things in common.

1) They ALL originally sold for a DIME.
2) They are all relatively rare in high grades.
3) They are all 50 years old or more.
4) They are all being offered up by people who sell vintage back issues for a living.

Also, with the exception of Superman #53, they all have asking prices OVER the current Overstreet value in grade.

So what are the books worth?

The simple answer is…A DIME or less given the deterioration of each book.

Of course the answer is never that simple. In fact it is downright complicated. It keeps sellers and collectors up nights trying to figure it out.

Bear in mind the difference between YOUR value and MARKET value. The first being what YOU will be willing to pay for a book and the latter, the “going rate” in the market place for the same book.

First, despite what you read anywhere else, a CGC or third party graded book has NO MORE INTRINSIC VALUE THAN A RAW UNSLABBED book. Socko, Tiger, or even myself can give you a grade that is every bit as valid as any you will get from a third party grader. So why do “slabbed” books command a premium?

Well, in fact, they don’t always. It is only for the very rare book OR books graded 9.8 or better that you see a real separation in value. What you DO get from a third party grader is a standard that is becoming more accepted in the marketplace where amateurs sell their raw books online with inaccurate grades. The “slab” lets a buyer know that he is essentially getting what he pays for. If you do consider buying a slabbed book take that premium into account. Are you willing to pay extra for the service/ Do you trust the seller of the “raw” book to grade accurately, and in the case of modern age books does “slabbing” actually over price the books. (I give that last one a resounding YES!)

Second. A collectible is ultimately only worth what YOU think it is worth to YOU. Sometimes I pay over guide and sometimes under guide depending on what I think the book is worth.
Why not just stick with “the guide”? Because MY (or YOUR) judgment on that value is the ONLY ONE THAT COUNTS! We have to live with the purchase and only we can judge how much that book means in our personal collection.

The key sticking point with three of the books I use for examples is the fact that they ARE selling over guide . This means that should you decide to resell those particular books down the line you risk taking a loss. On the Superman #53 there is a good chance that you could resell at a profit. Of course there is always the chance that the books priced over guide could increase in demand over time. BUT none of that matters if you have no intention of reselling your books.
See what I mean here? It is all a very personal judgment call. When I over pay on a book it is always because I have no intention of reselling down the line. I don’t speculate on comic books. Speculators are better off with gold. 99% of all Comics are far too volatile to count on as long term investments. Sure , books like FF#1, Superman #1, Batman #1 and Action #1 are nice steady performers. They increase at a steady rate and almost never decrease in market value. But for the most part comics are poor investments if you are looking to send the kid to college.

I hope that clears things up for you…as for ME I am even more confused than I was at the beginning of this rant!

Have a great Thanksgiving!
That’s 30!


Saturday, November 20, 2010



Oh man, so much stuff going on and happening in the world of comics, its a great time to be a fan. First and foremost, I hope everyone has been keeping up with Disney XD's new series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. It's an awesome adaption/retelling of The Avengers and their adventures. Being a huge Avengers fan, I'm like a kid in a candy store every Wednesday night @ 8:30. In my honest opinion this show is really giving Justice League Unlimited a real run for the money. The animation and voice actors are amazing and the storyline thus far is fantastic. The mix of new and old is just right. Any fan, new or old will love this show and if you don't come talk to me and I'll set you straight.

Another new series courtesy of AMC is none other than Robert Kirkman's ongoing zombie drama THE WALKING DEAD. This show is amazing. Another series that I'm a die hard fan of, that i was worried wasn't going to live up to the comic, completely surpasses all expectations. Just about everything about the show is outstanding. The actors are spot on as well as the zombies and gore. It's not a direct adaptation of the comic, which is expected considering that for a television series they need to broaden the story and make it more accessible to a bigger audience. The added characters and conflicts thus far do nothing but add a whole new level to an already awesome story. Sunday nights were boring since TRUE BLOOD wrapped for the season but now THE WALKING DEAD fills the void and then some. The thing I like most about this show is the amount of conversation it's sparked amongst long time fans and newcomers. People are curious if what happened on last night's episode was in the book and if so did they change it. That's what really makes good television in my mind, the fact that people who normally may have nothing in common can come together and share something that neither one thought the other would like.

Now, with that said, I've got some comic books I'd like to talk about..so here we go.. I've got something to say!!

OSBORN #1 (OF 5)

Since the end of SIEGE, Norman Osborn has been under lock and key at the maximum security prison, The Raft. Norman has been bidding his time as the authorities decide what exactly to do with him. The country as well as his fellow prisoners are split down the middle. Half siding with Norman, stating that what he did and what he was doing was the right thing and that he's a real American hero as the other half think he's a raving madman who talked his way into a position of power and deserves to rot in a jail cell for the rest of his days. While this is going on, his "believers" in prison have begun an almost cult like gang and made Norman their messiah, sporting Green Goblin tattoos.
Norah Winters, the journalist from Front Line who broke the story of Norman Osborn not being "cured" and still being a raving madman in a place of power (back in the "American Son" story arc in ASM) is tasked with doing a follow up story. She's very torn about writing about Norman Osborn in general because the last time she barely escaped being killed while investigating the original story.
The Senate subcommittee of human rights and law meet and their topic of discussion is the one and only Norman Osborn. The committee talk about what exactly they plan on doing with Osborn because he still hasn't been charged with anything officially because his military status and the status of H.A.M.M.E.R still haven't been decided. If Norman is held any longer he can petition for Habbeas Corpus and actually get set free on a technicality. While all this is going on, Norman sets a plan of his own into motion and gets himself transferred to a secret prison that is currently holding four individuals whom the military have no idea what to do with and they all have something to do with The Spider.
I've been waiting for this series since it was announced. I couldn't wait to see what exactly was going to happen with Norman since his capture and incarceration. I really hope this mini-series sheds some light on what exactly Norman's being doing with his time in prison, a more in depth look into this new "Goblin Cult" and it's members and just who the hell these four new characters are and what they have to do with Norman Osborn.

5 out of 5!!


Spinning out of the pages of The Amazing Spider-Man story arc "The Grim Hunt", comes this new series staring Anya Corazon formerly known as Arana, now known as Spider-Girl. After the events of "The Grim Hunt" story arc, Anya, now wears Julia Carpenter's old Spider-Woman costume, She's been de-powered since her spider amulet was destroyed but being trained by some of the greatest heroes in the world helps make up for it. Anya and her father move into a new apartment. He has stuff to do over at City College and just so Anya's not alone in the new apartment by herself, he made plans for her..a night out with Sue Storm. The two girls walk around and talk about how The Fantastic Four know her father and just talk about nothing special, when there's a big emergency and Sue gets called into action. Anya doesn't just go home and watch her new friend battle whatever on t.v., she puts on her costume and goes into action. She eventually makes her way to City College where her father is supposed to be but she isn't sure because he isn't answering her text messages. She arrives on the scene and finds her father amidst the rubble of the library. Just as she's about to get him out of there, there's a problem..a big red problem. The Red Hulk battling The Fantastic Four.
I was really looking forward to this book because after re-reading Amazing Fantasy volume two and Arana:Heart of the spider, I really think they've grown Anya into a really great character. She's the female equivalent of Peter Parker. I can't help but be a sucker for a pretty girl and teenage super-hero drama. This series has a lot of potential and considering that Anya doesn't have powers anymore, I'm curious to see her attempt to go toe to toe with any sort of Super-Villains without the help of any other heroes like in the now canceled "Young Allies". Spider-Girl has so many possibilities and a real deal twitter account, so who knows what's going to happen.

4 out of 5!

Batman: The Return

Batman Incorporated #1

I've kept my mouth shut as far as this whole Bruce Wayne returning goes but now that he's back, I finally have all my thoughts on the topic and I can really say what's on my mind. This whole SCAM was B******T! Grant Morrison killed off Bruce Wayne to have him come back and "out himself" not as Batman but as Batman's sugar daddy??!!! Why?! Does he want someone to crash Wayne Manor and kill him and Alfred? To top it off not only does he do that but he also creates "Batman Incorporated", a new form of fighting crime globally. Isn't that what the Justice League is? Isn't that what Checkmate is?? I mean come on, Bruce is going to travel the world now and seek out potential candidates to become Batmen in different countries? I find this idea just silly and recycled! Morrison is taking the idea of The League of Batmen and expanding it globally when in fact their are already Dynamic Duo's in different countries fighting the good fight. It's bad enough Bruce said he was funding Batman but now he's going to walk into another country and out himself to someone he doesn't even know and include them into the family. I really don't like this idea at all and I think that it's a turn for the worse as far as Batman and company are concerned. I'm a huge Batman fan and I've been reading it ever since I was a kid. I've been humble with my words when people ask me what I thought about what was going on in the book but now that everything's come to a head and it's all out in the open, I really don't like it and I wish there was some reset button to push so that Bruce Wayne could either stay dead or just go back to being the brooding, miserable super-hero we've all loved.
I love the idea of Dick and Damien being Batman and Robin. The two work so well with one another. Dick has been trained his whole life to fill the shoes of Batman, whether he likes it or not and Damien is a mirror reflection of Dick with the roles reversed. Bruce's death just set this into motion sooner than expected. Bruce being back and also running around as Batman is almost silly. What are they going to do have a "Brave And The Bold Team-up" featuring Batman and Batman?? In my opinion, Bruce should have come back and acted more like Steve Rogers, give up the mantle to Dick and act more like the General rather than be the leader and one of the grunts. I almost wish Bruce had kept the "Outsider" costume and identity and just left Batman alone. What's next "The Batmen Army"? Batman controlled police states? I mean really, what's to say one of these candidates that Bruce chooses as a member of Batman Inc turns into another Jason Todd and uses all of Bruce's tech and knowledge to become a bigger and badder villain than say The Joker. I, as a fan understand the progression of a story and it's characters. Batman is one of the big Three in the DCU and the need for change in the twenty-first century is crucial to expand the ever growing reader populace but to do something so drastic and over the top, there is no coming back after what's been done. Jean Paul Valley isn't going to give Bruce back the mantle of Batman and go away, Bruce isn't going to traverse time and basically write his home lineage again. What's done is done and that's it.
Again, I really don't like what Grant Morrison has done but I, like so many other people out there who I'm sure share the same feelings, just have to sit back and continue reading and hope for the best.
In all honesty, I would recommend you check out these books and everything else involved in this "Batman Inc" era and make a valid decision on it for yourself.

3 out of 5.



We will be open bright and early at 7am so make sure you get down here as soon as you can! There will be savings throughout the entire day but the earlier the better. To curb the flow of people we will be giving tickets at the door with the percentage of whatever time it is. Here's the breakdown:

7am - 9am = 40% off everything in the store
9am - 11am = 30% off everything in the store
11am - 12pm = 25% off everything in the store
12pm - 9pm = 20% off everything in the store

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and we'll see you nice and early!


On Black Friday we'll also be running a special rare EDH Magic Tournament. EDH stands for Elder Dragon Highlander and is a rare tournament with rules and synopsis that can be found here. It'll start at 4:00pm on Black Friday, November 26th with an entrance fee of $5. The prize structure will be the same as normal except Waffle is also going to be giving out rares from his own collection. Old ones. It will be one-on-one style with a starting life of 40. Because of this different and rarely played format new players can jump in without a problem.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Greatest of ALL Time!

The Greatest of ALL Time meets …The Greatest of All Time!
That really is the only way you could bill Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali when it was published in a treasury sized edition in 1978! Of COURSE it had to be in that oversized format because no NORMAL comic could hope to contain Ali, Superman AND the art of Neal Adams!!!
And now, for the very first time this great graphic novel has been reprinted in both the oversized and standard format. Trust me. This is one you MUST have.

Neal Adams, in the introduction of the new edition says, with some humility, that Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali may be the best graphic novel ever done.

I say he is being modest. There is no “may” about it. What’s that? How could something as silly as a boxer against Superman be better than Watchman? How could it be greater than Dark Knight Returns?!...How can it be more amazing than Howard the Duck???!!!

Well with all due respect to Howard, The Comedian and the slightly psychotic Batman just the ART depicting Ali would make this book hard to beat. Neal Adams is simply, like Ali and Superman, The GREATEST (comic artist) of ALL time! He and Dennis O’Neil (who had the original story idea and was Adam’s partner on the iconic Green Lantern/Green Arrow books) captured the essential Ali, a man who is in every sense of the word a hero. They teamed him up with the greatest fictional hero of all time, Superman and together they overcame not only the villain of the piece, but their own limitations and weaknesses.

Below is the official plotline:

Rat'Lar, the maniacal leader of a species of aliens called the Scrubb, demands that Earth's greatest champion fight the greatest fighter of their world. If Earth refuses, the Scrubb and their huge armada of spaceships will destroy it. Superman and Muhammad Ali each come forward to volunteer. However, Ali argues that Superman is not really of Earth, and has an unfair advantage in his many superpowers. In typical Ali-style verbiage, he puts himself forward as the obvious choice.
Intrigued, Rat'Lar decides that Superman and Ali should fight one another to see who really is Earth's champion. To make the fight fair, he decrees that the match should take place on his home planet, Bodace, which is orbited by a red sun (which temporarily robs Superman of his powers). The winner would simply be the best boxer. To make the most of the battle, the match will be broadcast on intergalactic television to thousands of other worlds (with Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen acting as broadcaster). The two would-be champions decide that Ali will train Superman in the finer points of boxing. They journey to Superman's Fortress of Solitude to have his powers temporarily deactivated.
When the real match begins, it soon becomes apparent that in battling with more or less equal strength, Ali is the superior fighter. Superman takes a serious beating, but somehow refuses to drop; he stays on his feet all through the beating. Finally, Ali stops the fight, urging the referee to call for a technical knockout. Superman then falls face-first on the canvas, making the knockout more than technical.
Thus Ali is set to face the Scrubb's champion, the behemoth Hun'Ya. The alien leader then asks Ali to predict at what round the fight will end. After some chiding, Ali predicts that he’ll knock the alien out in the eighth round. Once the match begins, however, Ali quickly starts to suffer from fighting the super-powered Hun'Ya.
Meanwhile, Superman's great recuperative powers have enabled him to make a speedy recovery. Disguising himself as Ali cornerman Bundini Brown, he steals into the Scrubb command ship and sabotages their space armada. In his brave showdown with the armada, however, Superman is again badly hurt, and is left drifting in space.
Miraculously, Ali gets a second wind. In the predicted eighth round, he not only knocks the alien champion out, but out of the ring as well. Yet after witnessing Superman's decimation of his invading forces, the Scrubb leader cries foul and decides to invade the now helpless Earth anyway. Just as Rat'Lar is about to give the go-ahead to his backup forces, his own champion Hun'Ya becomes enraged at Rat'Lar's dishonorable tactics and deposes him. There will be no invasion. Earth is saved.
Superman is rescued and once again revived. Hun-ya, the new Scrubb leader, makes peace with Ali, Superman, and all of Earth. The very end of the book shows Ali and Superman in a private moment. Ali reveals that he discovered Superman's secret identity as Clark Kent, but implicitly vows to keep it secret. The book ends with the two champions embracing and Ali proclaiming, "Superman, WE are the greatest!"

Great space opera but also a story about how true champions go the distance.
Add to that the fact that in 1978 Ali was still a very controversial figure both as a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War and for his conversion to the Nation Of Islam. And though it seems silly from the viewpoint of 2010 but back then a black protagonist in comic books was rare if not unheard of.

This was a book about inclusion. This was a book about heroes, real and fictional.
And you cannot overstate enough the inclusion of the one and only Muhammad Ali.
Ali was and is a very personal hero of mine. Superman was and is a very personal hero of mine. I learned a lot about personal courage from watching Ali in and out of the ring. This was a man who jeopardized his career and millions of dollars for his personal and religious belief that Vietnam was an unjust conflict. Whether one agrees with that or not (and many at the time din NOT) there is NOTHING more American than standing up for what you believe regardless of the consequences. Remember, from Ali’s point of view at the time he was facing jail and financial ruin. He could not foresee the day when he would not only be vindicated but beloved by people all over the world.

Of course he had to get his title back in the ring. Which he did just a year before this book was created when he defeated the “unbeatable” George Foreman in “The Rumble In The Jungle”. In fact I met Big George some years later and HE said that not only was Ali the greatest heavyweight of all time but that he was a true hero for standing up the way he did when everyone else said he was wrong. How’s THAT for an endorsement?!

As for Superman. Well the world would certainly be a poorer place without him. He may not be as “cool” as Batman or as “edgy” as Wolverine. He has more in common with Captain America than with Green Arrow. But he is a hero for one reason. It’s the right thing to do. Alex Ross captured the essential Superman in Kingdom Come when the Man of Steel observes “there is a right and a wrong and it’s not hard to tell the difference”. For the rest of us right and wrong can get confusing but not for Superman. I find that very comforting even after nearly 50 years of reading his adventures.

Ah! You say to yourselves. “He’s just “Geek The First Generation” and sentimental over a washed up superhero and some old boxer.”


But buy a copy of the reprint and then tell me you don’t smile at the end…or even get just a bit misty.

I am thrilled that this book is getting it’s long overdue attention. It is a landmark. It is great fun. And Neal, it IS the greatest graphic novel of all time.

That’s 30!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Blob is Coming!...or maybe it's just your comics!

Hi fellow collectors of all things pop! I have been on a hiatus for the past few weeks fueled largely by work, the Yankee collapse and the flu. But (perhaps to your horror) I’m BACK now! So let’s talk living space, or lack thereof.

If you collect comics long enough, you WILL reach critical mass in terms of storage. There is no getting around this simple fact. At some point your collection will threaten to dispossess you, your wife and children…and the dog. It is not unlike the 1950’s horror movie, The Blob, in which a growing bowl of cherry Jello tries to eat an entire town. Even Steve McQueen was hard pressed to stop the jiggling dessert from gulping down the whole municipality…and he is not available to save you from your comic collection!

Rest assured, left unchecked, your entire living space could fall victim to the next Marvel or DC 17,000 issue cross over event!

So what to do about the creeping comics of death? Is this a hopeless cause? A Kobayashi Maru scenario??? ( I had to get a Trek reference in here somewhere!)

No…or even HELL no! There are steps you can take to control your ever growing collection of multi color goodness.

First, maximize your storage space and efficiency. If you don’t already have your comics stored (bagged and boarded) in acid free comic boxes, do it NOW. Not only are these boxes designed to hold 250+ bagged and boarded comics, they also help protect them from the ravages of time and silverfish as well. These boxes are stackable to four high before they begin to buckle (so don’t go higher than that). IF you need to go UP though, there are comic box filing towers that can be purchased (though they cost more) for this purpose. I even know some collectors who have constructed wooden cabinets deep enough to hold comic boxes on sliding shelves.

In short…BOX your books!

However, no matter how efficient you are eventually you WILL run out of room. At some point you ARE going to have to bite the bullet and part with some of your books. This is not as bad as it sounds when you realize that when you pass, say the 10,000 book mark, it is highly unlikely that you will ever actually READ those books again. And when you can actually find a place to SIT again, you will be glad you made the hard choice.

How to liquidate? There are many ways to ship your excess books but first you need to take stock. Split out your truly valuable books, your cheap “can’t sell for a penny” books , and your sentimental “I am going to be buried with these books”… books.

Before you do ANYTHING else, find a good place for your sentimental favorites. Even if they are of low value you would regret parting with them, so KEEP ‘em!

Sell your more valuable books online or to a comic shop for cash or store credit (for MORE books! It NEVER ends!).

For your low value books (see ROM/Transformers etc) consider donating them to a non profit organization and taking a tax write off that you can use for…more BOOKS !
Trust me, when you see the smiling faces of your family, lost for years among your Howard The Duck collection, you will know it’s all been worth it!

That’s 30!