It’s not the Emerald City Comic Con, also taking place this weekend in Seattle, but the NorthEast Comic-Con is a fun medium sized show and a good place to find some deals and get some decent comics. I’ve been several times over the last few years both when it was in Hanover and the last few times when it has been in Boxboro. The show can be hit or miss for me depending on how many comic dealers attend. This weekend was a hit, there was a large crowd, a good mix of dealers, and people selling toys & collectibles. I picked up some neat stuff from the dollar bins and got a couple of issues to cross off my want list.
There were people selling high-end stuff, expensive graded, non-graded, highly collectible comics like Marvel Premiere #15, Conan #1, and DC Comics Present #26 (a comic I aspire to own one day). There were also plenty of tables selling nice selections of silver and bronze age books as well as my favorite, the dollar bins.
Generally, there are two types of cheap bins. There are the ones where the dealer is trying to unload an overstock of recent comics and then there are the ones where they are trying to sell older comics that are typically not worth much and the condition can vary greatly. It is the latter type I am most interested in. I’m mostly looking for something fun to read, and on the off chance pick up something that I cross off from my want list.
Speaking of my want list, I track my collection using the excellent software from Collectorz but I manage the specific things I am looking for using old fashioned pen and paper. I carry the small notebook pictured above with me to every comic shop and show that I attend. I’ve had it for years, it is compact and well made. The notebook and the messenger bag I carry are all part of the ritual that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting comics, the search. For this piece, I want to recap what I purchased at the show but to make it more interesting I will also discuss why I made the purchase.
Gold Key & Whitman
The Black Hole #2
Turok Son of Stone #85 & #86
Uncle Scrooge #107 & #113
None of these comics are in any kind of condition to make them considered valuable to a collector, but they are all readable. The covers are worn and have creases but they are attached and in certainly in acceptable condition. I’ve been a Disney Duck fan since I was a kid and when I find a decent Whitman Scrooge comic for a buck I will almost always pick it up. These two issues happen to have Carl Barks stories in them which is a huge bonus.
I got into Turok with the 2010 Dark Horse series that Jim Shooter wrote. Since then I’ve been getting the different series that Dynamite has put out. Turok is a great character who ends up on wild adventures, usually involving dinosaurs. Who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Lately, I’ve been reading the old Valiant series by David Michelinie and Bart Sears. These Gold Key issues are the first two I’ve seen in such nice condition and I was very pleased to pick them up at such a great price.
Finally, there is the Black Hole comic. I love movie tie ins and picking this up was a no brainer. It has a great photo cover and will fit nicely with the rest of the movie adaptations in my collection. I’ll have to keep an eye out for the first part.
More Movie Tie-ins and Licensed Marvel Properties
Sheena #1 & 2
Battlestar Galactica #15
Fraggle Rock #1
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade #1
Bill & Ted’s Excellent Comic Book #1
This bonanza of comics featuring licensed properties all came from the same booth. The Sheena and Bladerunner books are both movie tie ins that I do not already have. The Indiana Jones book is the third movie adaption and the only one I don’t have yet. It might have been a mistake buying just the one issue as these mini-series are typically sold in combined sets so there is a good chance that I’ll end up with another #1 in the future if I find the whole set at a decent price.
The original Battlestar Galactica is one of my all-time favorite TV shows. It only lasted for the one season and while the comic book series lived on after the show it was also short-lived. There were only 23 issues and this one is one of the last three that I need in order to complete the run.
I’m a big fan of the Bill and Ted movies. They are outlandish and silly but nothing beats their message to “Be Excellent to Each Other”. Evan Dorkin wrote and drew this issue so that was a neat surprise.
Fraggle Rock is also a special series from when I was a kid. We did not have cable in our house until I was in high school. This is not a complaint, just a fact. My exposure to HBO usually came when we were with my dad on the weekends and we would visit his friends and colleagues. There was one family that we visited often enough that when their children were not around for us to hang out with we got to watch their TV for a couple of hours and this was when my brother and I were introduced to the wonderful world of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock. I’ve been reading a lot of the Jim Henson comics that Boom Studios has been publishing the last couple of years so I was pretty excited to find this issue from the Marvel comic Star line of kids comics.
I find that the Jim Henson properties like the Muppets and Dark Crystal lend themselves well to the comics medium and this issue of Fraggle comics was no exception. The story was fun and the Marie Severin art was really excellent. It was very detailed and the coloring really evoked the Fraggles bright look. It reminded me of Mercer Mayer’s monster books.
Early Bronze Age DC comics
Shade the Changing Man #2
Time Warp #5
First Issue Special #1, #6 and #11
Last year at Terrific-Con in Connecticut I bought a copy of Shade the Changing Man #1. It was a series I had never read before and knew very little about. I read the issue that night in the hotel while chowing down on pizza and RC Cola. I was a great supper and a great comic. Ever since then I’ve been searching for the second issue. This weekend I finally found it. I paid five dollars for it and that was honestly more than I wanted to spend, but it was the end of my time at the show and I was still under my strict spending limit so I pulled the trigger. It was the most I paid for any comic on the day and I am very glad to be able to read it.
Chris Sheenan over at Chris is on Infinite Earths turned me on to 1st Issue Special. The whole series is filled with fun and wacky introductions to different concepts and heroes. Try out stories can be really interesting artifacts. With hindsight, we can see what worked and what didn’t. The best thing about the issues I picked up was that two of them, Atlas and the Dingbats, are Jack Kirby creations. I really enjoy Kirby’s DC work. Many believe that he was not at his best when he was writing, drawing, and editing himself, and there is probably some truth to that but I still enjoy it.
Time Warp is a science fiction anthology series that I honestly know very little about. I bought one other issue previously and dug it so I thought I’d try and collect the rest of the series. The comic has a dollar cover price and is oversized. It combines my love of anthology comics and science fiction and I was able to get these two issues at a great price.
Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #3-4, #6-7, #11
Sword of the Swashbucklers #1-9
I picked up the Sword of the Swashbucklers for several reasons. The first two are because they were cheap and it was an almost complete run. The third reason is the most important though. This is a comic my brother has told me he enjoyed very much as a kid so I thought I’d give it a whirl. And, yes, I know Marvel Epic comics are not an independent comic, but it’s close so I put it in this group.
Jim Starlin’s Breed is a series I’ve been piecing together and I was very happy to find #1. I’m a big fan of Starlin’s work and am always looking for new stuff of his.
I was first introduced to Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers on Professor Alan’s Quarter Bin podcast. Since then I’ve picked up a couple of issues and it is a wicked fun series. The comic has some historical significance as it was one of the first comics published by Pacific Comics. Kirby helped put Pacific on the map as a publisher, where they previously only in the distribution business. This is a series that I’ve seen sell for quite a bit so I was glad to find issues in very nice shape in the dollar bins.
Local is a comic I have never heard of, published by Oni Press, which I have read next to nothing from. What grabbed me though was that is was written by Brian Wood, a favorite of mine. I loved The Massive and Rebels that he put out over at Dark Horse. I also really enjoyed Briggs Land so I am willing to try something written by him without any previous information. This particular dealer was really trying to move the stuff he had brought to the show, offering the comics at a dollar a piece or ten for five dollars. I pulled out twenty books including these four issues of Local. I plowed through them when I got home and am sorry that I did not find the other eight issues. The premise of the series is pretty cool, stand-alone stories that take place in different cities and towns, and the only connective thread is that the character Megan McKeenan will appear in each story in some fashion. This is a series I’ll certainly seek out in the future.
Stuff from the Want list
Arak Son of Thunder #3, #46-47
Atari Force #14
Madballs #4-5, #8
Not too long ago I put together a complete run of All-Star Squadron. Now I’m working on Infinity Inc. and Young All-Stars. I’m a big fan of Roy Thomas’s work. Last summer I heard him talk about how much he enjoyed writing Arak and that really got me interested in it. I’ve already mentioned I’m a fan of adventure comics, see Turok above, so picking up Arak seemed like a win-win situation.
Marvel’s New Universe was a valiant effort that was doomed just as it was getting ready to launch. (I’m pretty proud of the joke in that previous sentence and I hope that if someone reads this they get it). I’m very, very slowly working on a complete set of the original New Universe line. When I had originally decided to start that endeavor I had found a long run of Mark Hazzard: Merc that had issues one through eleven and the annual. Now I finally have the last issue and it should be interesting to read the series straight through.
Atari Force is an under-rated space saga created by Gerry Conway, Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, and Ricardo Villagran. I’ve been piecing together the twenty issue set and am one step closer with this pickup. At this point in the series, Conway and Garcia Lopez had moved on, with the latter only working on the covers.
Madballs is simply a guilty pleasure. In recent years I’ve become quite obsessed with the gross line of toys from my childhood. The comics are absurd and dumb but fascinating nonetheless. I mean how did a comic about gross bouncing balls get published in the first place, and last for ten issues for that matter? What could the stories even be about? I’ve just got to know and that’s why I picked up these issues.
One of the things I enjoy most about comics fandom and collecting comics is seeing what other people are buying. I like to see what they picked up and learn why. Was it an investment? Was it the last issue they needed to complete the run? Was it something they always wanted to read? A lot of the people I follow on twitter regularly post pictures of what they have acquired and it really is fun to see what they share. One of the great things about collecting comics is that there is something for everyone and there is always a story behind why someone bought the comic they did.
I’m going to close out a pic of DC Special Series #2 that reprints Swamp Thing #1 and 2. It features a fantastic Bernie Wrightson wraparound cover. The comic is pretty worn and feels well loved. It will fit nicely into my collection.