About michaelzapcic

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

Walt’s Big Gamble

Let’s all put our hands together and celebrate my triumphant return to Comic Book Men!

In this week’s episode, Walt meets a fellow ElfQuest fan.  For the uninitiated, ElfQuest was one of the very first independent comics ever published.  Produced by Richard and Wendy Pini, it was actually the very first closed-ended comic series ever.  Interesting geeky backstory here:  Richard Pini wrote a letter (back when comics had ‘Letters’ pages) in an issue of Silver Surfer which was ready by Wendy Fletcher a fellow comics, fantasy and scifi fan.  The two corresponded for years, met, fell in love and were married.  Fast-forward to 1977, when the couple brought forth their dream project, ElfQuest, full of dark magic and elven folk and adventure galore.  ElfQuest was the first fantasy-adventure comic series written and illustrated by a woman, Wendy Pini.  Richard serves as her editor.

This woman reminded us all that there are times when we’ve all felt like outsiders.  

 

The next items were the Aliens M41 Pulse Rifle (nicknamed Brown Bess) and the Motion Tracker by Master Replica.  Two cool props from a very cool movie, James Cameron’s, Aliens.  The guy selling the items was not out of bounds with his asking prices, but unfortunately, as I’ve said before, most people come in with a number fixed in their head and retail doesn’t work that way.  We gave him a very fair price for the motion tracker.  It could be argued that this was the first time that a major motion picture portrayed a woman taking center stage as an action hero…Sigourney Weaver kicks major ass as Ripley, a character who signed on to the mission originally as simply an advisor.  Her transformation into badass mode is prompted by a young female survivor of the colony they are investigating.  She needs to protect the girl from the Alien Bitch-Queen, and having her maternal instinct re-awakened gives her all the motivation she needs to do what needs to be done.  

 

The last of our transactions was the Ben Cooper Batman Playsuit.  The Ben Cooper company was THE premier Halloween costumer for children during the 50’s through the 90’s.  There are few things more Americana, in my opinion, than the Ben Cooper costume.  The company held licenses for hundreds of different characters. I myself can remember being:  Spiderman, Dracula, and Bozo the Clown.  The playsuit differed from Cooper’s regular halloween costumes in that it was made out of fabric with hand-stiching, and ACTUALLY looking and feeling like the character’s costume rather than having a pictorial representation on the plastic bib.  This was a really cool item and I’m really glad Walt got it for the store. 

 

Now, on to Walt’s Big Gamble.  We all pitched in $250 to get a storage locker, hoping to find some holy comic and/or collectible relics in other people’s discard.  The day was brutally hot and we’d been out there looking at storage locker after storage locker and were sweating like madmen. Finally, at one of the last lockers of the day, we saw some things that piqued our interest.  I should have known that things were going awry when Rob Bruce showed up.  (He ran us up in the bidding $500 over what we wanted to pay, but that’s ok. We’ll get our revenge eventually.)  Anticipation was high that we’d stumbled on to some fairly good comics, but it was nothing but crap.   It WAS a shock that there were no comics in the long boxes, because long, white boxes are specific to comic books and why someone would buy ‘long boxes’ -the industry term- to store magazines and encyclopedias is beyond me.  We were stunned and disappointed.  And broke.

 

One question, did ya like my gloves?  

And there ya go!

 

 

 

 

 

Pity The Fools

I really don’t know how I let myself be talked into some things, and this episode is one of ’em. The boys purchased a Mr. T’s Water War backyard water-frolic toy. The gent who came in to sell was himself a character. Sporting a mohawk, he was (and probably remains) Mr. T’s #1 fan.

Seeing as how these products littered shelves back in the 1980s, $40 was MORE than a fair price. I remember being 15 years old and buying a Mr. T action figure, realizing I was WAY too old to be buying something as schlocky as that, and having it dawn on me that action figures should have MORE than five points of articulation. But more on T in a moment…

Non-sports trading cards… these are EITHER the bane of a comic shop’s existence, or the backbone of its sales. For Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, it is an albatross that has hung around our neck since even before Kevin purchased an existing comic book store (then called Comicology) and renamed it. Part of the inventory that came along was a huge cache of Super Hero cards. Now, for anyone who doesn’t follow the trends of comics (and unless you are a die-hard fan, why would you?), trading cards of the non-sport variety had their heyday in the ’60s and ’70s with “Mars Attacks” and the 1966 Batman TV series card set, and we can certainly count “Wacky Packages” and “Garbage Pail Kids” in there for good measure, and yes, I know that “Garbage Pail Kids” came out in the 80’s, but bear with me for a second. In this time period, sales were as good as they could get… but like all fads or trends, there was a resurgence, a period of time when the kids who grew up with something reach an age where A) they want to recapture a part of their youth, and B) they have disposable income to do so. And so cards came back in the mid-to-late ’90s. They still are around today, but they don’t have the sway they used to.

Aquawoman was a lot of fun. Cosplay gets a bad rap at the Stash, probably because none of us would be able to pull off wearing anything super-heroic. I also won’t even get into the whole licensed/unlicensed costume kerfluffle… that’s best left to greater legal minds than mine. The cold-cast Lady Death wall hanging was a pretty cool piece from a character that had some serious interest in the ’90s. Created by Brian Pulido over at CHAOS! Comics, she’s still around to this day.

As far as Teddy Ruxpin and Grubby go, I will admit that these toys freak me out. It’s one thing to go to Disney World and visit the Country Bear Jamboree or hit up the Hall of Presidents, but it is just TOO CREEPY to have these… things on a shelf, ready to turn themselves on and kill you in your sleep. And I am convinced that this was either the abandoned plot to Halloween 4, or what was supposed to happen if enough people purchased Teddy and Grubby. The gentleman selling them seemed harmless enough, but you never know.

As to Mr. T’s Water War, I believe that the actual workings did not come close to the design concept. Hitting T with a sponge didn’t give the cathartic release that hitting Bryan with a sponge did. And I have to wonder… what was up with Ming’s orange speedo?

I’ll leave you to ponder THAT burning question…

And there ya go!

USS Ming!!!

U.S.S. Ming
>
> Hope you got your fill of me last week cause I’m not around much this week, BUT this week centers on my buddy, Ming. The first transaction was actually two things — one, Ming “owned” as a child (albeit briefly) and the other was something he desperately wanted. Both are from the G.I. Joe 3 31/4″ figure lines which were a little after my time, but right up Ming’s alley. First up: the Terrordrome, headquarters to the evil Cobra. This was a high ticket item back in the 80’s and it was damned big. It looks like it should have been in the middle of a dormant volcano. This was a pretty impressive piece, even to someone like me, who’s not a huge fan of the series. But the truly impressive piece, the one that Ming yearned for as a child, was the U.S.S. Flagg. THIS was a truly monstrous piece, over seven feet long, three feet wide and two feet high. I can only imagine the size of the playroom that could accommodate this behemoth. The gentleman who brought it in was a pretty cool guy whose dream of teaching toxicology through comics-themed flashcards was inspired. I don’t know what Ming plans on doing with this piece he bought, but right now it’s set up in the Stash’s basement in all its oversized glory.
>
> I was really touched by the next transaction. A gentleman came in with a signed “Heroes” magazine put out by Marvel Comics after the events of September 11th. Marvel produced this as a tribute to the real-life heroes in our world, the first-responders: firemen, police, EMT’s who risk everything day in and day out. This book had a huge print run and even so, it went into second printings because of demand. Originally, some of the proceeds went to various charities to help first-responders and victims of 9/11. Even so, the value of this book has not gone up significantly, except as a sentimental piece of memorabilia. The seller was going to take the proceeds of the sale and donate it to a firefigher’s charity. Walt not only gave the gentleman his asking price with no negotiation, he chucked in an extra $50 bucks. Just goes to show how much heart Walt actually has. Don’t worry, Walt doesn’t read my blog so this isn’t apple-polishing on my part.
>
> And lastly, Ming brokered a deal to help a stay-at-home dad treat his wife to a night on the town. Gentleman came in with a Warner Brother’s store print of Howard Porter’s Justice League. This was an impressive piece because it showcased Grant Morrison’s use of “The Big Seven” (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, The Flash and Martian Manhunter) back on the team together for the first time in a decade. The Warner Brother’s store became famous for their high quality prints and while this one by Porter IS desirable, it never fetched the price tags of Bruce Timm’s or Alex Ross’s pieces. Still and all, I think Ming gave him a fair price. Hopefully enough for the guy to get he and his wife backstage with Donny and Marie.
>
> So that’s it for this week. Hope you enjoyed watching Ming as much as Ming enjoys being watched.
>
> And there ya go.
>
>

Super Friends

Super Friends

This is a very personal episode for me…I hate, and I mean literally HATE when my personal problems become public, but when our show runners threw this idea out there, I realized that this could make people in other parts of the country who weren’t aware of the damage we incurred due to Superstorm Sandy get a little insight. My family and I were extremely lucky…no one was hurt, and all we lost were THINGS. Sure, losing possessions that you’ve worked at accumulating over a lifetime sucks, but at the very least you can acquire them again.
More on that in a little while…Now on to our transactions!
Up first was the guy who wanted “Howard the Duck” #1. His contention was that Howard was the CENTER of the Marvel Universe, as Howard was involved in every important storyline that Marvel Comics published. My counter-argument is that Marvel has to publish characters a certain amount of times every few years to retain the rights to those characters. Either way, Howard pops up every now and again in Marvel books.
Writer Steve Gerber created Howard with the intention of it to be a joke-character in that, the fact that Howard’s stories made NO sense…it was an absurdists dream-book, but he became SO popular that the joke turned on Gerber. He fought with Marvel editorial so much he was removed from the character he’d created!
Next up was Rad-Repeatin’ Tarzan. This toy was recalled  due to the fact that if you pressed a button on Tarzan’s back repeatedly, it appeared as if Tarzan was “swinging on his own vine” if you get what I’m saying.
Sadly, this gent wouldn’t take $10 for Tarzan, but he did learn that even if a toy has been recalled, it doesn’t necessarily translate into money.
Lastly, we had a guy bring in something that Walt and I recall very fondly from our own childhoods…The Power Records Read Along Comics.
Put out by Peter Pan Records in the 70s, these books brought comics to life for young readers, with a full cast, sound effects and background music.
This was THE coolest way for a kid in the 1970’s to follow comics, and my only regret is that DC and Marvel didn’t go bigger and broader with these books. They could have opened up comics to a larger audience, much in the way Manga has 100% saturation in Japan.
Getting back to my story, It was amazing that Walt, Ming, Bry and Rob Bruce were able to get ahold of George Perez and have him do a FULL PAGE drawing of Wonder Man for me. I would never be so Pollyanna-ish as to say that Sandy afforded me the opportunity to meet one of my comics heroes, but thanks to my friends and co-workers I was able to. And may I just say what so many people have discovered at the many comic conventions that he attends: George Perez is a warm and amazing person… and so are Walt, Bryan, Ming and EVEN Rob Bruce (but don’t tell them I said that…they’d NEVER let me live it down!)
And there ya go!

Bat(Man)Cave!

Everyone needs a little bit of space that they can call their own…sometimes it can be a study, other times a simple bathroom. On this episode of CBM, the Stash’s newest hero carves out (literally)a little chunk of Gotham City real estate…but more on him in a minute.
Walt, Ming and I see an awful lot of merchandise walk through the door every day, but some items just snap us back to our childhood in an instant. The twelve original Star Wars figures with stand was just such an item.
Star Wars came out during the summer when I was nine years old, and I’ll let you in on a secret…I HATED SCI-FI. Honestly, I could not sit through a full episode of Star Trek, I loathed Space-1999, and I thought that Lost In Space was one of the MOST depressing shows ever. I did not see Star Wars for a full EIGHT MONTHS after it was in theaters. I remember all of my friends bugging their parents for Star Wars action figures for Christmas, even though they wouldn’t get them until February after. I also remember laughing to myself that I was going to clean up at Christmas because I had a clear field to all of the toys I wanted.
Geek Note- George Lucas approached The Mego Corporation about licensing Star Wars figures in their 8″ action figure line. Mego refused, and Lucas went to Kenner and brought about the 3 & 3/4 ” action figure revolution which is still in vogue to this day. Lucas also retained ALL merchandising rights from 20th Century Fox, a visionary move that netted him a fortune.
The Dakin Underdog figure is a bit of a rarity. I only ever saw that toy as a kid, and although I was a big Underdog fan, I never had it myself. This piece is in beautiful condition, having never been removed from it’s box. I spoke with Rob Bruce about it, and he told me he comes across one, usually loose and filthy from play-wear, about every four or five years. Even he was impressed with the condition of this Underdog.
Now, on to our BatCave owning new friend. The piece he was looking for, A Hot Toys Dark Knight Rises 1:6 scale Batman DX figure…This figure is the Rolls Royce of toys. It has MULTIPLE interchangeable heads, and one of those heads has a PATENTED feature in which, get this, Bruce Wayne’s eyes FOLLOW YOU. How insane is that? There is no wonder as to why this figure sold out BEFORE it hit stores and why it fetches upwards of $500 on the secondary market.
I must admit that I was kind of jealous that the fellas got to see the BatCave and I didn’t, but just knowing that someone out there loves his heroes as much as we do tickles me no end. I can only imagine the amount of time, money and passion this man must have put into this project, and the patience and understanding of his wife. Kudos, my friend! I tip my cowl to you.
Now if I can only convince MY wife to let me build a basement with Bat Poles and an Atomic Pile…
And there ya go!

The Incredible Bulk

Another Season of Comic Book Men is upon us, and we start off with a bang, if I do say so myself!

The banter at the beginning of the show is an actual question Walt Flanagan posed to Ming, and true to form, Ming Chen’s answer to every problem is to commit murder.
We had a special guest this week: Mister Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno.  Kevin Smith had met him at a Comic Con, and the two got to chatting, and Lou had offered to help Kevin get in shape. To deflect this, Kevin had thrown Bryan in front of the speeding bus that is Lou, and hired him to try and return Bry to his former glory.
Truthfully, it was a bit daunting coming face-to-face with Lou Ferrigno.  He was, and will always be, The Incredible Hulk to me. We had no idea he was going to be walking into the store that day, so to see him there was especially jarring!
The young lady with the CGC-ed Archie #18  was a true Archie fanatic. While I read Archie back in the day, I don’t have HALF of the knowledge this woman does. Being that this was a double she had, I think she made out fairly well in this deal. We usually don’t deal in a) Archie Comics; b) Golden Age books and c) CGC graded books (not that there’s anything bad about them, we’re just comic-purists at the Stash, and believe books shouldn’t be kept behind plastic, they are MEANT to be read), but even as Walt was having his second thoughts after the transaction, she was gone like a flash.
Geek Fact: Archie’s full name is Archibald “Chick” Andrews and he appeared first in PEP Comics #22, Cover dated December, 1941.
The next transaction was a comic we sold. Daredevil # 168, The first appearance of Elektra Natchios. Created by Frank Miller, Elektra was the first love of Matt “Daredevil” Murdock, as the two met in college. Her father was killed and she embarked on a journey that would lead her to become a female ninja and a premiere assassin. This of course would bring her into conflict with her old lover, Murdock, who became a criminal lawyer AND costumed vigilante Daredevil. She was originally meant to be a one-off character, but became so popular that she appeared regularly in DD’s title until her death in issue #181.
We’ll see if Bryan took anything away from his encounter with Mr. Ferrigno. I hope so, but even if he doesn’t, he’s definitely around for fifteen more episodes for us to help change his bad habits. 
As always, thanks for reading and spending some time with me and my geeky friends. We had a ton of fun filming this season, and I think you’ll agree that it shows.
Until next time-
There you go!

Giant Sized Anniversary

Here we are folks, the season finale.  

Thanks for hanging with us this season.  It’s been a real pleasure to geek out with you over the stuff that’s come through the doors and give you a more in depth look at the inner workings of Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing about it.

 

This year marks Walt’s 15th year as manager of the Secret Stash.  Ming knew he had to pull off something really great because as anyone who knows Walt realizes, he is not a demonstrative man.  Walt’s list of things he loves is short, but what he loves he loves with all his heart.  For this occasion, hockey was the logical choice.

 

But first, the swag.  Our old pal, Anthony, brought in a Warner Brother’s store  Batman cover shadow box.  Limited to 250- pieces, this shadow box was a 3-D representation of a Batman cover and came with a certificate of authenticity.

Also in its favor is the relatively low number, in this case, number 33 out of 250.

Geek Note: In the case of statues and dioramas, lower number are always more desirable to the collector. I personally do not subscribe to this theory, but hey, we nerds have our own peculiarities.

Ming agreed on $350 which is not a bad price seeing as how the WB stores have all closed. Let’s be frank, they ain’t making them no more!

Next up is what feels like an old friend: Giant sized X-Men #1. We won this in an online auction and it came in the same day that the gentleman was actually looking for it. This happens more often than you might think as the more popular books sell off our wall quite frequently. We didn’t even know that this book had been signed by the artist Dave Cockrum and found out along with the gentleman inquiring. There are a few artists who have distinct signatures and are easily recognizable to the true comics fan. We sold this without a COA (Certificate of Authenticity) because Cockrum’s signature is one of these few.

As Walt points out and the next customer proves, if you’re patient, you can usually get your price.

Our third item was a animation cell from the Lord of the Rings animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi in 1978. Bakshi may be best known for his adult animated film, Fritz the Cat, which received an X-Rating and is credited for being the most successful independent animated movie of all time. His geek cred includes: The Mighty Heroes, Mighty Mouse, and the 1967 Spider-Man cartoon. This was a really nice piece for fans of Tolkien.

And now, for some DEVILS WORSHIP!

It was a real pleasure being with Walt at The Rock in Newark, home of the NJ Devils, and to get to watch Walt on the ice with his childhood heroes. Ken Daneyko, Jim Dowd, Grant Marshall and Bruce Driver were four of the nicest guys you could ever meet. Genuinely enjoyed meeting Walt and the rest of us and we sure enjoyed spending the afternoon with them. You can see why they still have a following today.

The best part was watching Bryan get pummeled with hockey pucks and seeing him dragged off the ice. Sometimes it’s the little things in life…

I want to thank you folks for watching Comic Book Men and tweeting, facebooking, and in general loving our show as much as you do. With all honesty, there would be no show without you. Thanks for helping us prove that– beyond any doubt — our geek culture is absolutely awesome. I have seen over the past decade how much influence WE have in bringing OUR heroes into the limelight and letting non-geeks see how cool they truly are.

And there ya go.

Comic Charades

This is a fun one this week boys and girls. Lots of snappy chatter, games and prizes!

Let’s get to the transactions first, and we’ll talk about some of the funny stuff in a minute. Out of the gate, Bryan and Walt were checking out a Transformers Megatron figure. This was banned in America because it was too realistic-looking. It transformed into a real-looking German luger. Unfortunately, the number of super-realistic toy guns back in the day resulted in a number of accidental shootings by law enforcement officials who were unable to tell real guns from fakes. So, toy manufacturers are now required to put a blazing orange “cap” on the barrel of all toy guns.

Next up was a 1975 convention-circuit George Perez sketch of Prince Namor, the Sub Mariner. George Perez is one of my favorite comic book artists. His attention to detail is second to none. Here is a man who is not only unafraid of drawing team books with dozens of characters, he enjoys it. Most artists shy away from drawing large casts of characters because of how difficult it is to make each one stand out, but Perez gives each character a unique look and quality that transcends the four colors. This is an early sketch and I don’t believe he had ever drawn Namor professionally, but we proudly display it at the Stash behind the counter.

George Perez’s artwork is well represented at the Stash. In addition to the Namor sketch, I have a personalized YellowJacket sketch he drew for me in 2001. I waited in line for four hours for that sketch at a con in Chicago and the ten minutes I spent with him was well worth the wait. A nicer guy you’ll never meet in the comics world.

A young lady came in for a copy of Detective Comics number #359, “the million dollar debut of Batgirl.” Technically speaking, Barbara Gordon made her comic book debut nine months before her television premier. It is a comic book myth that she first appeared on the TV show. The myth comes from the fact that television executives wanted to have a character that female fans could identify with and they lobbied DC to have the character debut in the comics first. The seeds for the TV character were planted in the second season of Batman with Commissioner Gordon mentioning his daughter Barbara a time or two.

This issue was written by Gardner Fox, Golden and Silver Age legend who created the concept of the super-team with the Justice Society of America in All Star Comics #3. What started as a cynical marketing gimmick and a derivative female character has turned into a self-sustaining solo-character. After Alan Moore crippled Barbara Gordon in The Killing Joke, John Ostrander and Kim Yale remade Barbara Gordon into the cyber-genius Oracle who would go on to become the information-hub of the DC Universe. Barbara would reach her pinnacle under the talented Gail Simone who currently writes Batgirl.

Monster Bill…We get a lot of characters at the Secret Stash and Monster Bill is one of them. He came in with Aurora monster models that were definitely out of our price range. After going out to the Monster Van, Walt picked up a re-issue of old Universal monster model four-pack for $175 and the promise that Bill would help Walt put them together. Universal monsters are Walt’s weak spot. The Stash usually doesn’t purchase model kits, but his affection for those old timey monsters plus the fact that it was Monster Bill made Walt make an exception this time. I can say with a certainty that the model-making date never happened. And as Kevin pointed out, Walt was just yanking Bryan’s chain.
About Comic Charades. We do play on the very rare occasion when we have down time. Walt, Bryan and I are very good, and Ming is as good as you saw. A surprisingly good player is Rob Bruce…who’s Crisis on Infinite Earths actually brought me to tears…or maybe it didn’t. This week’s episode was another peek behind the curtain at our day-to-day doings. Sometimes nothing huge happens but we still get into nerdy conversations and have a blast doing it.

And there ya go.

Cryptozoic-Men

This week’s episode deals with one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of…a comic book pitch to an honest-to-God Comic Book Company. Dynamite Comics is a New Jersey based publisher, and prints some pretty big names in the industry; The Bionic Man, The Shadow, The Green Hornet, The Lone Ranger…true fans know the names. It was pretty cool to take a meeting with the fine folks at Dynamite. But more on that later. On to the swag!

The first item through the door this week was a seven-foot long Millennium Falcon created for Toys ‘R Us to highlight Hasbro’s “Power of the Force” Star Wars 3 & 3/4″ action figures. This thing is huge…and I mean HUGE!  Ming could actually hollow it out and live in there, it’s that big. Walt actually got this for a good price, although I’m at a loss to where, exactly, we’ll be able to display it.

Next up was a copy of Creepy Magazine #1 by Warren Publishing, signed by Jim Warren, Gray Morrow and Frank Frazetta. This may just be a one-of-a-kind item, as these gentlemen are no longer with us (that means dead to you.) Two hundred dollars is not really an outrageous sum for us to pay, as I truly believe this book can fetch upward of $375.

Last up this week is The Godzilla from The Shogun Warriors line produced by Mattel. This was an amazing toy that I had as a child, and foolishly brought to the beach, effectively ruining it. Godzilla had a spring-loaded fist and wheels on its feet, as it wasn’t the most articulated toy. This toy was one of the first to arouse the ire of Parent groups in the 70’s because of that fist. By 1980, the entire Shogun Warriors toy line was off the market. To find a Godzilla in as good a condition as this one was in is rare.

As I said before, it was a real kick to meet with the staff of Dynamite Comics, and helping Walt to craft a couple of villains for his book was a hoot and a half. Truthfully, I can’t wait to see the finished book. I’ve already seen a few early pages and man, are they amazing.

So thanks for reading, and there ya go.

Stash Wars

Got tremendously positive feedback from last week’s episode.  Thanks for watching and glad you enjoyed it.  Sometimes we get to put our resources to work in pretty amazing ways.  Part of what makes this a job I love — the best job in the world.

This week, you get to see a little more of our day-to-day antics.  And…some of the really unique stuff that makes its way through the doors.

First up was the R2-Q5 XBox 360.  The gentleman who goes by the artistic name “Mark Bongo” truly put his heart and soul into this creation.  Speaking to him afterwards, I found out that over 16 hours worth of work goes into each one of his mods.  I gotta admit, I’d love to have one, but unfortunately, $1,300 is a little too much to spend on an XBox when I’m trying to rebuild my house.  

This really is an XBox with all the bells and whistles.  We hooked it up to an HDTV and it was just spectacular.  

Next up was the Garbage Pail Kids cards.  It always makes me happy when one of the guys is able to get something back from their childhood.  This time around it was Ming’s turn.  And since he didn’t have much stuff as a kid, that child-like look on his face whenever he gets something is always heartfelt and satisfying.  

Now, WHY this was a fond memory of his childhood, I have no idea, but this was a little after my time.  I grew up on Wacky Packages and one of the brainchildren of that was Art Spiegleman, who was also responsible for the Garbage Pail Kids.  Parents may have shaken their heads over the Wacky Packs, but they were downright hostile to the Garbage Pail Kids.  I think there was a line that was crossed here — one of good taste.  

As we bring up on the show, Spiegleman won a Pulitzer Prize for his groundbreaking Maus, which is being taught in literature classes at many colleges and universities throughout the country.  Its a great example of how comic books can transcend the medium to be recognized as great literature.  

Following in his footsteps, Harvey Pekar and his American Splendor also received critical acclaim, opening the floodgates for other comic writers and artists to follow.  I think it’s great that more and more high schools, colleges and universities are offering courses specifically using the graphic novel as a literary vehicle.  

The cosplay girls.  These two were a lot of fun because they broadcast their geekiness in an unselfconscious way.  They were dorky and they knew it…and embraced it.  They were having fun and no amount of teasing from Bryan could dampen their enthusiasm.  

Geek Note #1:  The character these girls are trying to get into, Deadpool, is a direct swipe of DC Comics character, Deathstroke.  Both are mercenaries, carry many weapons of various types and have similar facemasks.  Deathstroke’s real name is Slade Wilson and Deadpool’s real name is Wade Wilson.  I believe Deadpool was supposed to be one of those wink-and-nod characters who should have faded into obscurity, but was such a hit with fans that, instead of fading to black, Marvel Comics ended up giving him his own series.    

Last but not least, the Marvel Legends figures.  Back in 2002, Marvel started to put out action figures of such high quality and levels of articulation that they became the ‘must-have’ toy for any collector.  These sought-after dolls, especially “chase” or short-packed per case figures were going for upwards of 5X their suggested retail price.  So for instance, a short-packed clear Vision which would retail for $12.99, could fetch as much as $69.99.  

Geek Note #2:  “Chase” or short-packed per case figures is the industry term for a figure that comes one per case.  This makes it extremely limited and therefore extremely collectible.  Oftentimes, “chase” figures are readily available in other countries.  Manufacturers hate to waste their molds and materials, but they love to create demand among collectors for their merchandise.

The figures have gone down in value in recent years, but Walt actually gave this gentleman a good deal on his figures.  

As far as foosball goes, Walt and Bryan spent MANY afternoons at the Highlands Recreation Center honing their skills.  Walt worked there prior to managing the Secret Stash.  I would have been disappointed in them, if they couldn’t have taken a couple of rubes like me and Ming.  

That’s it for this week.  Hope you enjoyed the show.

And there ya go.