First off let’s get the obvious out of the way: Yes, Ming and I lost the bet. Our punishment, re-enacting Fantastic Four Annual #3, the wedding of Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) and Susan Storm (the Invisible Girl), was not one of Ming or my more glorious moments. Despite my aggravation and obvious frustration at losing the bet, it actually ended up being a lot of fun. Ming is one hell of a sport – at least I got to wear pants…
Now, on to the Comics!
In the first transaction, Anthony the cigar store owner brought in five long boxes. With dreams of fortune and glory in his head he asked for $5,000 for his “treasures”. Unfortunately for Anthony, his comics were bagged, but not boarded or sealed and they REEKED of tobacco from years of storage in the basement of his store. Let this be a lesson to the new or newly restored collector: board and bag your comics. Store them away from direct light, excessive heat or cold, and VERY IMPORTANT, away from tobacco. Tar and nicotine residue will ruin your comics.
Even though his collection had been rendered mostly worthless due to poor storage conditions, there were a few bright spots:
Invincible Ironman #55. This book introduced a villain named Thanos, who most recently shot into the spotlight due to the Avengers movie franchise. In fact, Thanos was most often an antagonist of Captain Mar-Vell and Adam Warlock, Thanos only fought the Avengers once or twice in his thirty-odd year history. When he found himself at odds with the Avengers, it was directly due to one of the aforementioned heroes.
Geek Note #1: Thanos so respected his worthy opponent, Mar-Vell, that he helped guide Mar-Vell’s spirit into the afterlife after the hero succumbed to cancer. This may be my favorite scene ever written by Jim Starlin. You can read it in the graphic novel, The Death of Captain Marvel.
My other favorite keeper in Anthony’s collection was a stack of Frank Miller’s Daredevil. Miller started drawing Daredevil with issue #158 and brought what was a second-rate character to prominence as a top-tier Marvel hero. He re-established him as a guardian of the people, a street-level hero much in the vein of Batman and Green Arrow over at DC comics. Roger MacKenzie teamed with Miller as the writer.
Geek Note #2: Kevin Smith wrote best-selling stories starring all three of these characters — heroic in the most classic sense of the term and certainly in spite of their very real, all-too-human baggage.
Next up, Amazing Spider-Man #129. This is the first appearance of The Punisher. If you watched last season of Comic Book Men, you will remember that I hate The Punisher as a character. He crosses the line and stops being a hero the minute he pulls the trigger and kills the bad guy. It’s not that I don’t sympathize…the mafia rubs out my family, I might have some serious issues with anger management and revenge, too. But you can’t call him a hero, and to call him an anti-hero is also giving him too much credit in my opinion.
However, Punisher is a very popular character, so much so, that at one time he had four, monthly comic titles. And Walt’s got something when he points out that any guy who can strike terror while wearing white go-go boots has got some serious balls.
The gentleman who bought it was not only a nice guy, but a stereo-type-breaking dude– an art therapist. Just goes to prove that the medium of comic books has a wider reach than simply guys who frequent The Android’s Dungeon.
Our trip to Bodnar’s Auction saw us bringing back the last of our cool items this epsiode: X-Men #94, Giant Size X-Men #1, an incomplete Flea Circus game, and a piece of original art from the comic strip, Abbie and Slats, by Raeburn Van Buren. Too bad the Flea Circus was missing some parts or we would have won the wager and we could all have been treated to Bryan Johnson wearing the virginal white gown.
Even novice collectors understand the importance of Giant Size X-Men #1 — the first international team of mutants under the X-Men aegis. However, they may not realize that X-Men #94 was the first NON-reprint book in close to three years and that the X-title was on the precipice of being cancelled.
Geek Note #3: Marvel stopped producing new stories for the X-Men with issue #66 and reprinted older comics as issues #67 – #93.
Finally, a couple of special things that made me smile through my anger when filming the wedding scene. One, did you notice the ring I slipped on my blushing bride’s finger? Yes, indeed, that is a Legion flight ring — MY Legion flight ring, in fact.
That bouquet of flowers that Ming tossed out to the cheering crowd as we rode off into the sunset? That was a copy of X-Men #1 by Jim Lee. And the guy who caught it? None other than Jeff Silverman, our own Sunday Jeff.
That wraps it up for now. I’ll be back with more next week, folks.
And there you go.