About michaelzapcic

Comic book man. I have the best job in the world.

Knights of the Stash

Wow, this season has just FLOWN by!  Here we are at the end of Season Three, and it is definitely one of my favorite episodes yet!  

The first transaction was truly unique: a Stretch Hulk figure. Back in the late 70′s, Kenner had released a line of “stretch” toys headlined by Stretch Armstrong. The novelty was that the figure (decked out like a pro wrestler) could be stretched out to four or five feet, thanks to it’s body being made out of latex and its insides filled with gelled corn-syrup. Then came Stretch Hulk, along with Stretch Plastic Man, produced by Mego. And then came the lawsuits.  It’s pretty obvious that Mego was trying to cash in on Kenner’s success, right down to the packaging, but lets face it, by 1980, the action figure market was DOMINATED by Star Wars, and no one really cared about the Stretch toys until YEARS later. I think Walt made a really fair offer, but the guy obviously couldn’t be ( I can’t help myself!) FLEXIBLE!

So, free tickets to a Renaissance Fair…who wouldn’t be stoked? Walt Flanagan, that’s who. Oh, and of course Bryan just has to pile on the misery, but we talked them both into going. Whenever Jay Mewes comes to town, we are all in for some laughs.

The John Romita Jr. Splash page…it truly is a thing of beauty.  If you have never been able to see a comic book artist’s original pencils up close and in person, you’re missing out. While the finished product captures the essence of what the writer is trying to convey on the page, the rawness of an unfinished piece is amazing. JRjr is one of our generations finest illustrators, especially on Spider-Man. His work takes on an added luster when you put it side-by-side with his father’s (also a legendary Spidey artist) and see how similar, yet unique each gentleman’s perspective is. I am a huge fan of his and Walt made a great deal for this piece.

I was NOT a fan of the original Battlestar Galactica…it felt entirely to derivative of the Star Wars franchise, which it most certainly was. So when the rebooted Sci-Fi Channel Battlestar Galactica started, I had little-to-no interest in watching it. That is, until someone whose opinion I trusted loaned me his DVD copy of the miniseries. It didn’t take long to hook me. One of my favorite throw-aways was the Pyramid games, and just seeing the equipment, ratty before, just get more and more worn and used up.  These were some cool props, but unfortunately Sports memorabilia, especially for a sport that never REALLY existed, has a limited shelf-life, and I think these went over that time.

About the Ren Fair: it was actually cool to go through the tests of Knighthood. Each of us excelled at one thing or another, but I’ll have you note that I was the only one of our group to best a Vixen! I know Walt and Bryan thought it was corny, Ming took it WAY too seriously, but Jay and I had a good time throughout. I’m amazed he volunteered to take tomatoes in the mush, though.

To paraphrase Kevin at the end of each episode, That’s gonna wrap it up for this Season of Comic Book Men…I want to thank you all for watching and reading along with my blog. As you may have heard, We will be back with a Season Four, and on behalf of Kev, Ming, Walt, Bryan and myself, I thank you kindly.

And there ya go!

Comics..Guaranteed!

As a comic book retailer, the opportunity to exploit a prospective customer’s ignorance can be enormous.  Parents come in after their child goes off to college of on their own, loaded down with books that child left behind, looking to just dump them. Most times, these books aren’t worth the paper they are printed on, but sometimes you’ll get a New Mutants #98 (first appearance of Deadpool for the uninitiated) or an older, even rarer book that the kid had saved for or even TRADED-UP for.  These are the times where character is tested. I wish I could say I was never tempted to take advantage, that I was above that thrill of giving someone a dollar for a Five HUNDRED dollar book. Those thoughts have danced through my mind at various times, but thankfully, my better self wins out. One of the things that Walt and I pride ourselves on is honesty…come in looking for a fair deal, we will invariably give you one. The young gentleman looking to finance his college education with his father’s books really was that naive “deer-in-the-headlights” guy who had NO idea of what he had. His father basically told him, here are comics, they are worth money, good luck!  We took pity on him, and hope fully gave him a REAL education. More on him in a minute.

Anyone who remembers the movie, “Jingle All The Way”, raise your hand…Now, put it down, you liar. It starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad and also Rita Wilson and the late Phil Hartman. It had so many dangling plot lines and was so corny and horrible, nobody cared. Which brings us to the reason this travesty was even released: Toy tie-ins. The TurboMan action figure was a thirteen inch monstrosity, put out at a time when 3 & 3/4 inch figures were the norm. This clunky, bulky, in no-way representative of Arnold action figure was also made of slick plastic, making it a challenge for children to even hold onto. The majority of these figures ended up in discount bins in toy stores all over America, and ultimately into landfills, which makes this a fairly rare figure. I guess.

The next transaction is one of the most amazing I have ever witnessed, and not because what the gentleman brought in was so great, but because of what the gentleman did…he wore down Walt Flanagan!  Anyone who is even remotely aware of Kevin Smith knows he idolizes Wayne Gretzky, and for good reason. Gretzky is to Hockey what Michael Jordan is to basketball. He so revolutionized the game, that everyone looked at hockey in a whole new context.  That being said, this gent brought in a whole mess of Gretzky memorabilia…and Walt wanted to get it for Kevin. What he didn’t want to do is overpay…and I think he did. If you watch this scene a few times, you can actually SEE Walt getting more and more frustrated and basically giving this guy what he wanted, price-wise, just to leave the store! 

Which brings us to the educational part of the show…Walt reached out to a contact he had at CGC (that’s Certified Guaranty Company LLC, to those not in the know) to come down and explain the benefits of CGC-ing a book. A thumbnail of the process is this: You send a comic to them; THREE separate experts go over your book with a fine-tooth comb, looking for defects that come with age and handling; each comes up with a grade for their part of the inspection; it is then sealed in a lucite package, preserving the grade given, providing THEIR seal is never broken. 

This guy’s father knew what he was doing when searching out and saving books. Fantastic Four #s 4 (first Silver Age Sub-Mariner), Fantastic Four #5 (first Doctor Doom), Fantastic Four #48 (first Silver Surfer and Galactus), Hulk #102 (Hulk gets his own book again, after sharing Tales to Astonish with Sub Mariner), Captain America #100 (first Silver Age Cap book, despite it being #100), and Amazing Spider-Man #129 (first Punisher). Hopefully, this will get him started on his path of academia, and maybe give him a greater appreciation of comics as well.

And there ya go!

Batcycle On Broad…

I’ll be the first to admit that we get a LOT of cool items that come to the Stash, but that could be said of many comic stores.  But we get really funky stuff that heads our way. Case in point: the brothers who brought us The Batcycle. There was a whole lot of love that went into customizing that cycle, and a TON of sweat that went into fixing up that sidecar/Robin-gocart. When you consider, seven thousand dollars really isn’t too much as an asking price (to anyone OTHER than Walt.) It was pretty cool to play Robin to Bryan’s Batman, and we did cut pretty dashing figures cruising the mean-streets of Red Bank.

Up next was the Spider-Man and Fantastic Four board game from 1977. I remember seeing the box art by John Romita Sr. as a kid and falling in love with it. The only problem was that it was NEVER sold at any of the toy places my parents took me to, so finding it was next to impossible.  Turns out I really didn’t miss anything. It never fails to make me laugh at how to the bone Bryan can cut sometimes, with his “it’s so ghetto” comment. Milton-Bradley spared MUCH expense making this game as boring and un-interesting as possible, not shelling out one dime more than they already had licensing Spidey and the F.F., with crappy(made-up) villain names like LionFace. Personally, I think Walt paid $20 more than he should have for this game.

Then came the F.O.O.M. guy…now this was interesting. Back in the early-to-late ’70s, the only way for a comics fan to get a peek forward at what was coming out was through fanzines dedicated to a favorite comics. One of the most famous back then was “The Legion Outpost” a fan magazine for fans, published BY fans.  But then, editors at both Marvel and DC got the bright idea to publish their own magazines to cater to the fans, and thus Friends Of Ol’ Marvel was born, along with Amazing World of DC Comics.

With F.O.O.M. however, you got ALL of the goodies: a membership card, a certificate, an exclusive poster, plus you got to see what was coming out in print six months down the line! You felt like the ultimate insider, with the entire Marvel Bullpen at your fingertips. Walt got a great deal on these magazines.

Ming is a HUGE “Back To The Future” fan, and I knew he was thrilled that the Christopher Lloyd-signed OUTTATIME plate came in. This was a pretty cool piece, in that this iteration was ONLY sold at Universal Studios in California, and that the elusive Doc Brown doesn’t traditionally hit the Convention circuit all that often. Five Hundred Bucks is a little steep of an asking price, especially since the guy who signed it is still alive and kicking.

Some cool swag passed through the doors this week, and some couldn’t even fit! But we usually pick up some stuff that makes us, and our customers happy. 

And there ya go!

 

 

The Esposito Collection

And then, there are some weeks when a TON of stuff happens!

There is not a day that goes by that we don’t get AT LEAST one person in to sell comics or collectibles, which is still incredible to me because, with the advent of the internet and various online auction sites, the world is literally at people’s fingertips. Don’t get me wrong, one of my favorite activities is going through other peoples stuff, seeing what they thought would be worth money down the line…it’s almost like opening up a time capsule, albeit one from only a few years ago. Most times I find trash, and I try to let people down as easily as I can without hurting too many feelings. But there are a few times when we get TREASURE!!!

I have known Walt Flanagan for going on seventeen years, and he is one of the most unflappable people I have ever met, but when Inker Mike Esposito’s nephew brought in some of his uncle’s artwork, Walt nearly had a coronary.
Not only did Tim (Esposito’s nephew) bring in the art, but some VERY cool highball glasses given out to DC artists in the late ’60s/ early ’70s. Those were actually purchased by Walt himself, to display at The Stash.

A bit about Mike Esposito and why Walt and I are such huge fans of his work: Mike was from New York City, and was making his bones in the comics world during the last days of the Golden Age. He was a frequent collaborator of penciller Ross Andru, whom Esposito had gone to high school with. He was also credited as the first inker on The Amazing Spider-Man after Steve Ditko had left the title and John Romita Sr. took over the art chores. He had a hand in creating some cool DC characters in the Silver Age, concepts still used to this day, such as The Metal Men, Suicide Squad and Rose and Thorn. He and Andru have also achieved a kind of immortality, as their image of Wonder Woman is on a United States postage stamp!
The Loki Hot Toys 1/6th scale figure, released by Sideshow Collectibles is a truly amazing action figure. When placed side-by-side with a thirteen inch G.I. Joe from the ’60s or ’70s, you can get a clear view of just how far toy companies have come in terms of the quality of their product and their ability to sculpt in exacting detail.
But more importantly, the young lady purchasing Loki brings up a valid argument…DO NICE GUYS ACTUALLY FINISH LAST? I believe it is possible to be a good guy and not be on the receiving end of life’s poking stick. I love Kevin’s line about life NOT being a Damon Runyon story.
Now let’s talk Happy Days paper dolls. I seriously doubt that you could market paper dolls with anything other than the kitsch factor in mind to todays marketplace, but these were a big thing back at the height of Happy Days’ popularity. Walt’s love of Happy Days is well known to his friends and to fans of his and Bryan’s podcast “Tell ‘Em Steve-Dave”, insomuch as his trivia quizzes around The Secret Stash have become legendary. It’s been pointed out more than once that Walt yearns for a more idyllic, carefree society of Arnold’s Drive-In, Mayberry and Riverdale. We may have been one of the ONLY places where the seller could get $55 for his item.
I have to say that it ALWAYS feels great when we at The Stash get to do something helpful to someone in need. Mrs. Esposito was actually going to get rid of the artwork her husband had been working on before his death, and that would have robbed a lot of his fans the opportunity to buy a piece of history, their history that they shared with the artist. It’s always a good thing to give back, especially to someone who unknowingly helped a little boy discover a passion he’d take with him for his entire life. So thank you, Mike Esposito. For myself and your innumerable fans.
And there ya go…

Comic Book Trivia, or Ya Lose Ya Chews

Even in a world-famous comic book store, there are weeks where we get some down time and not everything is an adventure.  Sometimes we get to just sit around and enjoy each other’s company and getting on each other’s nerves–including finding new ways to torture Ming. (He loves it.) 

This was one of those weeks.

During our first transaction, a couple came in looking for an Amazing Spiderman #238.  This comic has the distinction of being the first appearance of The Hobgoblin.  This issue was written by Roger Stern with art by John Romita, Jr.  This book was written during a very cool period in Marvel history.  The Marvel universe was only twenty years old, and writers were not slaves to past continuity.  Stern, being one of Marvel’s best writers at the time, chose to create a new character rather than resurrect one (remember, Norman Osborn “died” in issue #122).  This was a VF/NM copy which also included the TATOOZ (yes, cutesy word for tattoos) intact — which was a giveaway.  Most kids ripped these out; either put them on or chucked them away.  

I was amazed that Walt actually went for the surprise boxes.  I remember going to Wizard Comicons and seeing people line up at the Wizard booth to spin the wheel and try their luck at winning desirable figures.  Mostly they got the cast-offs.  Action figures that would feel quite at home on the Island of Misfit Toys.  The folks that wanted the ASM #238 conned Walt down to $60 AND their two crappy Batman figures.  I know how much we paid for that comic, and while we didn’t lose money we certainly didn’t make much.

What came in next made Ming geek out, however it left Walt non-plussed.  It was the Nintendo Game & Watch — actually, three of them.  This was the first hand-held gaming system.  It had limited graphics and could not store more than one game in its memory.  The reason why it was called Game & Watch is because it was also a timekeeper/alarm clock.  This actually put Nintendo on the map as a major gaming concern.  While I’m well aware of how much these systems go for on the back-market, this really wasn’t Walt’s cup of tea, and doesn’t really fit into the scheme of the store. Ming, however was very disappointed, but as it’s not his store, he’s SOL.

The last transaction this episode — Hellboy’s gun, the Good Samaritan.  This sideshow prop is FREAKING HUGE.  In the comic books, as in the movie, the Good Samaritan is an oversized gun which was given to Hellboy by the Torch of Liberty when Hellboy was 12 years old.   The handle is purported to be made of wood harvested from the one, true cross.  The metal is forged from various church bells, crucifixes, church silver and other mystic metals.  While I doubt Sideshow went to such lengths for this replica, it is still a beautiful piece.  Walt negotiated a really good deal and I’m happy to say it’s still at the Stash for me to look at.

Now, on to our trivia contest.  Please note that Walt tailored every one of the questions to the knowledge base possessed by the individual being questioned:  hence my questions were much more difficult than Ming’s or Bryan’s.  Personally speaking, I really think that Ming just wanted to have his mouth filled with gum because Walt was right…if you work in a comic book store, you should know that Billy Batson IS Captain Marvel!  My eight-year old son knows that.  I wonder if Walt would give him Ming’s job…..

And there ya go.  

 

 

 

 

 

In The Gutter…

My man Bryan Johnson is absolutely right…I miss the made-for-TV Horror movie of the 1970s and early 80s.  There was a subtle cheesiness about them that that can NOT be captured in this day and age.  Many have tried, all have failed. But I digress.

Walt purchased a Batman Bowling Ball. That’s all it took to set in motion a series of events that would have DIRE consequences for all of the staff at Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.  But more on that later.

Those close to Walt Flanagan know how much he loves the old Universal Monsters, and when the First issue of “Famous Monsters of Filmland” walked through the doors of the Stash, Walt lit up like a tilted pinball machine. This was the magazine upon which ALL other horror mags measured themselves. Launched by Publisher Jim Warren and Editor (and MONSTER fan extraordinaire) Forrest Ackermann, it jumped on the bandwagon of Monster movies being released on television, and capitalized on the trend. Walt made a pretty sweet deal for these three books.
The Punisher Shape Shifter…there’s a LOT I could say about this transaction, and all of it bad. The fact that you have a projectile coming out of the Punisher’s crotch is bad enough, but the truly horrific thing about this toy is that the crotch thing is ONLY at the half-way point of the transformation. Do an internet search for the FINAL transformation, and you’ll see where the projectile is SUPPOSED to come out. The boys bought it, and now I have to look at it…EVERY DAY.
Now, let me say a few things about the Clerks team; Each and every one of them is a fantastic person. Brian O’Halloran is a very funny, self deprecating gent whom I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with at a few Comic Cons. Little known fact about Scott Sciaffo: He writes poetry-and very well may I add! Ernie O’Donnell put my house back together after it got slammed by Superstorm Sandy. And Jay, well, he’s…Jay. He moves like a blender with the lid taken off.
They are competitive bowlers and fun to hang around. While it’s true that we’re not as win-hungry as Walt, I think you’ll agree that we acquitted ourselves pretty well. I’ll let you decide if I got robbed.
And there ya go…

Uhura’s Uhura

 

You just KNOW it’s going to be a fun episode when Ming starts off talking about Dr. Manhattan’s…umm, blue junk. I have absolutely NO idea why they scare him so much, but hey…that’s Ming!
As you may have guessed from This week’s title, we have a VERY special guest walk through the doors of the Secret Stash…none other than Lt. Uhura herself, Nichelle Nichols! More on the sweet siren of the spaceways later…
Our first item that walked through the door was Dark Helmet’s Pith Helmet from the movie “SpaceBalls” written and directed by Mel Brooks. I loved this movie, but even I didn’t see it TEN times…and I remember the scene this was in very well…it was classic Mel!
The gentleman who brought it in wanted $6000 for it. Unfortunately, without any paperwork to verify that this was an actual screen used prop, it’s basically just a really cool conversation piece. I’ve said it before, but unless you can authenticate a prop, it holds very little value.
“SpaceBalls” was one of Mel Brooks’ funnier parodies. The adventures of LoneStar, Barff, Princess Vespa and Yogurt hold up well even to this day, especially Pizza the Hut.
The next customer came in looking for X-Men #101, the first time Jean Grey appears as the Phoenix. Bryan constantly razzes me for my love for the character Jean Grey, but to me, she embodied my pre-pubescent dream girl. Bright, beautiful, spunky and powerful…who WOULDN’T fall for a girl like that? I found it quite charming that this young lady empathized with Jean the way she did, and that comics, as a medium, helped her around her dyslexia.
He-Man was not a part of MY childhood, but it tickles me to no end that Ming has such a distaste for the character, as He-Man was such a BIG part of the 80s, which was HIS childhood era. Just the way in which Ming speaks with such venom about the characters that inhabit the He-Man universe makes me laugh. Being a comic geek (albeit one who could pass for normal, sometimes) we should, as Kevin puts it, make room at the table for EVERYONE.
This NECA piece was well sculpted, and updated for the new millennium, with a new haircut and codpieces. It retailed for $275, so Walt made him a more than fair offer.
Now, onto our special guest. It’s no secret that, amongst the Comic Book Men, I am the lone Star Trek fan. I can honestly say that I only became a real fan when I was 13 or 14. It was around this time that a local TV station (WPIX, for those who are curious) started airing episodes at Midnight. Kevin explains the argument of Star Trek versus Star Wars very succinctly and very well: Trek was about fostering diplomacy, while Wars was about ACTION. The logic behind the philosophy of Starfleet appealed to me- “To boldly go…” It was about EXPLORING, something I thought to be so cool.
So with that in mind, you can only imagine my surprise and delight to find Nichelle Nichols standing in the middle of the Stash. It was a really tough assignment, finding an Uhura Mego Mint on Card, but we do have contacts all over the state, and Ming and I shook the branches of every one of ‘em.
Ming made it with a minute to spare.
Also surprising was that Bryan ACTUALLY had some cash on him. I think he made out (no pun intended) quite well, and I have NO IDEA what to make of the fact that Nichelle went for a double dip of the Johnson! Congrats, Bry, that may be the only time I’ll ever be jealous of you.
As always, thanks for readingg and tuning in.
And there ya go…

Superman’s 75th Birthday Bash!

 

Comic Book Men returns with a WHOLE lot of geeky goodness, fresh off of our mid-winter hiatus!  And we kick it off with The Secret Stash’s own 75th Birthday Party in honor of Superman.  

In our first transaction, Walt is reminded by a customer trying to buy a 75th birthday present for his father, that Superman, too, turned 75 this year.  The Superman item that this gentleman picks up is a Chemtoys Superman figure.  It has exactly ZERO points of articulation and actually didn’t even really look like Clark Kent.  Chemtoys, based out of Cicero, Illinois, was originally a cleaning supply company who revolutionized the toy industry back in the 1940′s by mass producing bubble solution for solution.  Remember that little dip and blow from your childhood?  That was them!

They also produced poorly made novelty toys back in the day when licensing was cheap (and fairly unregulated).  The gentleman paid $125 for it and he got a great deal.  These are NOT easy to come by and go for almost twice as much on online auction sites.  

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Walt this excited about cosplay, especially cosplay when HE is participating.  His idea for us to dress up as Superman’s supporting cast was an inspired one, and we came up with some really obscure characters that no one would have recognized, like Mon-El, Superboy’s “brother” from the planet Daxam, or the Phantom Zone villains such as Jax-Ur, Faora, Kru-El, and so on….but no one wanted to paint themselves all white.  

Our second transaction, Lois Lane #106.  In the 1970′s, spurred on by the success of their socially relevant Green Lantern/Green Arrow run by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams where they tackle such topics as racism, religion and social consciousness, DC Comics decided to branch out and have Superman’s girlfriend, Lois Lane, take on racism.  Using Superman’s “Plastimold” machine, Lois turns black for a day.     

I think it’s really cool that a young comic geek would come in looking for this issue.  It’s always fun to geek out with a fellow Superman fan and talk about the impact of comics in the lives of readers — especially those issues that seek to open up conversations and take a stab at starting a little ‘trouble’. 

Now for the Superman party.  Eagle-eyed fans of Comic Book Men will notice some familiar faces in the background of the Superman Bash.  I will point some out that you do not know — my beautiful wife was on hand in her red dress, and you can hear her laughs peppered throughout the scene.  Fans of Tell’em Steve Dave will recognize Git’em Steve Dave in his trademark hat.  I had other family there, three of my brothers and their wives, and my niece Erin and nephew Ian.  

But my favorite question of the night was Sunday Jeff’s about Teri Hatcher(“Are they real, and are they spectacular?!?”).  That boy’s a riot.  

And as far as Superman, himself, Dean Cain is one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever met.  In between filming, I got to speak with him and found out that he’s passionate about supporting our troops and visits Afghanistan on a regular basis.  He’s also a devoted father and we can’t thank him enough for taking time out and hanging with us. 

One last thing.  Ming and I really don’t have a hot tub in the basement.  If you want to know where we REALLY keep the hot tub, stop by the Stash, 35 Broad Street, Red Bank, NJ….

And there ya go.

 

Cryptozoic Man!!!

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, folks!

Walt Flanagan has a soft spot in his heart for monsters. Werewolves, and non-sparkly vampires, and misshapen hulks of dubious humanity. These are Walt’s childhood pals, they’re the ones he had sleepovers with. That being said, it should come as no surprise that his latest venture (alongside OTHER childhood pal and misshapen human Bryan Johnson) is a hybrid hero/monster, the Cryptozoic Man. For Walt and Bryan, his comic is nothing short of a labor of love. But I’ll tell you about the Baltimore Con a little later.

The Tomb of Dracula transaction sets up perfectly how Walt feels about certain monsters… if they act in the service of humanity, sweeping the dregs off of the street, then great. They are benefitting society, allowing us to grow as a whole, while ridding us of elements we think of as distasteful. Win/win, right? To Walt, life should be so cut and dried.

ToD writer Marv Wolfman and artist Gene Colan took a character who, up until that time, was the epitome of literary evil and managed to make him somewhat sympathetic. You understood that Dracula needed to feed, much the same way that humans have to eat. It was less about morality than it was about survival. And let’s not forget the importance of ToD as a Marvel Comic book. Not only did Dracula have the opportunity to interact with characters in the Marvel Universe, he also spawned a character who is still popular to this day: Blade the Vampire Hunter. Blade proved that a comic character could actually be a profitable movie franchise. Without him, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the X-Men might not have been made.

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a little background on Sunday Jeff. Here is a guy who jumped into toy collecting with both feet in the mid-‘90s. He’s got a great eye for detail when it comes to finding flaws in merchandise, and has amazing luck when looking for hard-to-find action figures. And he happens to be a genuinely nice guy.

So it came as no shock that Sunday Jeff low-balled the guy with the Jawa Sandcrawler. AND HE WAS RIGHT TO DO SO! It’s a toy that rarely pops up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all that rare. I have seen some come in, and granted they may not have been in as nice shape as this one, but they were whole, in played-with condition, but had both box AND instructions. Collectors are, by definition, completists and willing to pay for those peculiar bragging rights.

Take the Mego Buck Rogers action figures as another example. Sunday Jeff, as is his style, gave an accurate (if a little TOO realistic) assessment of Buck’s current status in the pop culture landscape. True, Buck Rogers of the 25th Century was a pioneer in the pulp hero pantheon, but what he is today is all but forgotten. I, too, would have passed on those figures.

Now, about Baltimore… Walt and Bryan had a serious case of nerves. This was, after all, their baby, and it’s never easy putting your art right out on Main Street for anyone to take a swing at. Ming and I had less at stake, and were able to enjoy ourselves a little more. Of course, when you put cameras in front of him, Ming could have a good time at an execution. Walt and Bryan had nothing to worry about, and the Con crowd was friendly and welcoming. Being on the opposite side of the table was certainly a new experience, but not uncomfortable in the end.

And there ya go!

Dukes of Jersey

For those of us who grew up in the ’70s and ’80s, The Dukes of Hazard was a staple of Friday Night television, even if you weren’t a fanatic(and I wasn’t), but there was a certain charm to the Duke clan, who consisted of Uncle Jesse, cousins Bo, Luke and Daisy (and Coy and Vance, who were the “scab” cousins introduced after Tom Wopat and John Schneider left due to financial disagreements.) Even in their theme song, the family is referred to as “modern-day Robin Hoods. What comic fan of the time didn’t have a soft spot in their hearts for these lovable rogues?

The gentleman who came in to sell his Dukes of Hazard wares was affable enough.  And he gave us a great deal on some rare Dukes items.  The cherry on top, however, was a ride in his General Lee.  He put almost a decade’s worth of effort into this car and it showed, in every perfect detail down to the jugs and TNT (really road flares) in his trunk.  Getting to ride in this car fulfilled a dream I didn’t even know I had:  I got to be a Duke for an afternoon.  

The dude who brought in the Amazing Spider-Man comics came in with some champagne dreams.  His asking price of $3,000 was completely unrealistic given the condition of the books…while they were not as bad as some comics I’ve seen, they were a far cry from the condition they needed to be in to get the money he wanted.  I stand behind my assessment of their value and think that we came to a reasonable compromise.  

The Green Goblin IS Spider-Man’s arch nemesis, even though Norman Osbourn was “dead” in the comics for twenty-five years.  And while others tried to take his place, most notably, his son, Harry, who was Peter Parker’s best friend, no one could match the evil and madness Norman exuded.  When I commented that these two particular books were ‘book-ends’ what I was meant was that issue #14 was the Green Goblin’s first appearance and issue #122 was his final appearance (until they brought him back in the 1990′s during the whole clone saga–and the less said about that, the better).  These are two pretty kick-ass books and are must-haves for any Spider-Man fan.  

Our Canadian Brony.  Well, he certainly was intense and had a true passion for My Little Pony.  I’ve never understood the allure of this phenomenon of My Little Pony, especially among young to middle-aged men.  It’s been speculated that former president Bill Clinton is a Brony, which would explain a lot.  Thank God this was not the only thing he brought with him or it would have been a long trip for nothing.  The Chris Hemsworth THOR statue WAS something we were very interested in, but it being an artists proof and not coming with a box or a certificate of authenticity almost squashed the deal.  But, since this was a prototype of a very popular character made, it was worth a leap of faith on Walt’s part.  And as a personal aside…I’m glad I got the tattoo I got rather than the tattoo he has.

And lastly, while not well received in The Stash, Star Trek has been near and dear to my heart since I was in high school.  The philosophy of Gene Roddenberry struck a chord with me in my adolescence.  I found this fella’s story to be pretty cool; basically, he wanted to replace for his cousin a Mego Starship Enterprise bridge playlet he had broken when he was sick as a child.  Walt let him slide A LOT regarding price.  I guess he felt a kinship…it seems to be happening more and more the older Walt gets.  

Bryan had some great one-liners in this episode and even Ming got off a zinger or two.  By the way, don’t bother trolling the internet looking for Bryan and my sex tape.  It’s locked away in an unmarked wooden box in a storage unit located somewhere in Area 51….

And there ya go!