ISSUE #35 – All in the Wording

 

Seasons Greeting, lovely CBSI family. With the holidays on the horizon, I’d like take a sappy moment to thank you all for being such a wonderfully supportive, mature and knowledgeable community of collectors. It is truly a pleasure to write for you and to see all of the wonderfully unique perspectives you all bring to our collective table.

Most specifically, I’d like to thank Ben C and all of our amazingly talented writers for fostering such a great place for us all to escape and speak about the finer things in life; comics. For more info on what they all do to make the seasons bright, flip on over to the ‘About Us’ page, here. While you’re there, drop them a line to thank them for all of their hard work and dedication.

As we draw to a close in 2018, I’d like to ponder a very important topic as we move into another exciting year of collecting. It’s a touchy topic and I’d like everyone’s educated thoughts on this as I think it is high time we discuss it as a community. Lately, the debates over first appearances have not only gotten heated (which is ridiculous), but many of the debates have been left fairly ambiguous.

Whether it’s Kamala Khan, Venom, Wolverine, Mystique, Darkseid, Gambit or something as modern as whether some kid in a Spider Gwen costume constitutes a first appearance, the debate seems to spark almost every week. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the final decision as to “First Appearance.”

Sometimes, it’s a cameo, sometimes it’s a cover appearance, other times it’s just a brief appearance and still other times it is a legit full appearance where the character is part of the story. Sometimes, even, it’s a controversial appearance in a magazine or a previews-type publication.

There is our problem right there… the wording. The wording just doesn’t work any longer. Why do we as a community let one grading company essentially decide what’s worth more than something else AND how to word it? Whenever I see these debates, they almost always seem to end when someone posts a CGC label. However, CGC labels change as the market changes.

We as a collector community have the power to decide and, therefor, the power to change the market. As an example, early CGC copies of Fantastic Four Annual #6 don’t even list Annihilus on the label. Now, that book has become a big key because WE decided it was (well, technically, Disney may have decided… but you get the picture).

So what do we do? Well, if we have the power to decide what’s worth what, don’t we also have the power to decide how we speak about such books? I propose that we flip the wording onto its head and begin to coin more appropriate wording that gets at the heart of it. We have a myriad of options and I’d like you to sound off in the comments on what you think. Here are my thoughts:

 

  1. Integral Appearance – This is the appearance that should be the one worth the most. This should be an appearance where the character is actually important to the book. Even if it’s on one panel, if the character is shown in full and named in the story, it is the first integral appearance. They may ALSO be on the cover (see below).
  2. Cover Appearance – It is what it sounds like. The character’s first appearance on a cover. They may or may NOT be inside the book.
  3. Incidental Appearance – This would cover all manner of cameos and brief appearances. Some characters have many of these prior to their first “Integral Appearance.”
  4. Combinations of the above – Labels may read First Integral and Cover Appearance or some such combination.

 

Well, what do YOU think? Obviously, this is only one possible option, but are we going to just let it stay the way it is which clearly does not work and does not give the clearest picture of the state of the market? As we move into a time in the hobby where investment can be quite high (thousands or even tens-of thousands on a single book), I don’t think it’s wise to let one little group of Overstreet contributors or a grading company decide the fates of our collections and investments. Maybe it’s just me, but I hope it’s not.       

Anyhow, back to the matter at hand. For those of you still hunting down some presents for family and friends, here are a few last minute cheapies for you to ponder.

 

MODERN AGE

Transformers Spotlight: Bumblebee #nn (1-Shot, 2013)  

PUBLISHED: IDW Publishing – March, 2013

ARTIST: David Daza

 

Woohoo! Our real Transformers are finally coming to the big screen, not some cobbled together mess of metal toothpicks that are all exactly the same until they say their names in forced dialogue. Bumblebee is the headliner of this upcoming rock show and he looks really awesome in the trailer. He looks equally awesome on this Spotlight cover from an artist I’ve frankly never heard of. Those are my favorite kind.

Bee is tough, here, and the dynamic quality of the linework is superb. I figured this to be one amongst the deluge of IDW variants, but behold, it is the A cover and can be had for $5 or less.   

 

BRONZE/COPPER AGE

 

G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #103 (1982 Series)

PUBLISHED: Marvel Comics – August, 1990

ARTIST: Ron Wagner

So, wait… we get Bumblebee AND Snake-Eyes back on the silver screen for another go-around?! I’m psyched as I’m sure the rest of you 70’s/80’s babies are. The regular line of Joe comics from Marvel had its fair share of duds, but there are some gems, as well. This one is one of those gems that I am always on the lookout for. These can be tough in high grade as they were very much collected by kids and treated as such. However, aside from #1 and the so-called “silent issue,” most are easy and cheap (reserve your jokes,please).

Where there’s Snake-Eyes, Storm Shadow can’t be far behind, right? Well, even if he’s not in the eventual film, this cover is still on fire and dirt cheap. It’s a tail-ender for the Copper Age and it is so raw and dynamic. Granted, it’s the second costume for Storm Shadow, but it is still one dope cover and of course, as one might expect, Snake-Eyes is in this issue, as well.

 

SILVER/GOLDEN AGE

 

Aquaman #37 (1962 Series)

PUBLISHED: DC Comics – January/February, 1968

ARTIST: Nick Cardy

 

Cardy has a slew of amazeballs covers on the early issues of Aquaman. Obviously, with the film looming, many of these are finally getting a little price bump, but aside from #1, 1st Mera and 1st Black Manta, the rest are eminently grabbable for $15 or less in pretty decent shape.

This particular example has emotion for days and is a beautiful, albeit solemn, depiction of Mera alongside a simultaneously tough and heartbroken Aquaman. Yes, there’s always been something a little hokey about Aquaman as a character and the whole argument of, “What can he do besides talk to fish” echos through many the hall of comicdom, but covers like these make snagging up the set worthwhile in my opinion.

Cardy’s work on darker books like House of Secrets and House of Mystery shows through on this cover as there is a darker mood to it. The work within the water elements is fantastic and the linework is crisp and clean. The figural work is superb, as well, with body lines that have flow. This aspect almost makes them feel fluid. It is a subtle yet effective use of line that was probably less intentional and more to do with someone just choosing the right artist for the job.   

 

FOR THE KIDS

(ALSO, GOLDEN AGE, INCIDENTALLY)

 

Four Color Comics #958 (1942 Series)

SUBTITLE: Santa Claus Funnies

PUBLISHED: Dell Comics – December, 1958

ARTIST: Unknown (Such a shame)

 

Dell gave us 17 issues of Santa Claus Funnies within their Four Color Comics. There were also two other issues just issued under the “Santa Claus Funnies” title and not part of the Four Color numbering. There really isn’t a bad one among them and they foster such a feeling of classic Christmas.

They very much have the Coca-Cola Advertisement feel to them and it is tough to choose just one.  The above example is one of my favorites and fairly readily available, however your mileage and tastes may vary. I mean, this is just masterful artwork no matter what age one is looking at.

Pretty much every year, Dell published one of these in either November or December. They skipped a few years, but for the most part from 1942-1962, there was a new one of these each holiday season. For those who’d like to know them all, here ya go: #61, #91, #128, #174, #205, #254, #302, #361, #525, #607, #666, #756, #867, #958, #1063, #1154 and #1274. Almost all of them can be gotten in decent shape under $20.  

 

*****

 

Next week, while I prepare a year-end top 10 review of Cover Tunes (and it has been a great year of some really insane covers), I will flip back over to ‘between the sheets.’ Stay tuned for that and get ready to vote two weeks from now. Until then, be well, be kind to each other, thanks for reading and happy hunting! Happy holidays, everyone!

 

7 comments

  • Ben C

    That AQ is amazing, but Cardy’s work is amazing, so to be expected, lol.

    I really dig the Xmas cover too, huge fan of the genre.

    • Mike Morello

      So many great covers in both of those runs. I’d love the first Santa’s Funnies, but they’re always shredded. The hunt continues. Thanks, bud!

      • Dell18

        Aquaman cover is pretty amazing. Not much interference from the trade dress on that one. As far as 1st appearances go, I just let the market decide and don’t worry about it too much. Definitely don’t think CGC should be looked at as the final answer. I’m a little disappointed that there’s so much demand for 1st’s and so little for 2nd’s and full stories and/or runs. I just don’t think it’s a sustainable industry if people are only interested in keys, rare variants and 1st’s.

        • Mike Morello

          Very well said. I know I’d rather have every issue of the Dark Phoenix Saga or the Miller DD run than the majority of keys. Thanks, so much, for the comment and for reading.

          • Dell18

            Those are two of my favorites and earliest runs I completed. X-Men hooked me in the 180-190’s when I was a kid. I have some decent keys that exist in my collection outside of complete runs I’m proud of. Raw mid-grade HOS 92, GL 76, Weird Science 21, some moderns, but nothing beats searching then completing and having full runs of Preacher, Sandman, Watchmen, Cerebus (mostly reprints 1-12), 100 Bullets etc. Fables and Hellblazer almost done. Still working on X-Men GS & 94-300 after 30 years. Some guys might get off on my New Mutants 98 or Catwoman 51 or whatever but I’m way more likely to point out things nobody cares about right now like Hitman 1-60, Authority 1-29, Lone Wolf & Cub 1-45 because there’s an emotional connection and memories there. Of the hunt, the art and the stories. I’d cut that NM 98 loose in a second (C’mon Nicieza and Liefeld? Psccch) if it didn’t break up my near complete New Mutants run but It’d kill me to sell my Hitman or Planetary sets and they ain’t worth crap. Nothing wrong with chasing keys, 1st’s and covers, even exclusively with an eye towards flipping but the industry would be healthier if more people were actually reading and trying to complete runs or story arcs. Last Overstreet I saw had Incredible Hulk #1 at $240k and #2, the first green skinned version at $11k. Does that not seem like a ridiculous price gap?

  • Mike Morello

    Not only have you summed up the entire reasoning behind the whole idea of Cover Tunes, here, quite nicely, but you also hit on a few of my favorite runs. Sandman, Hellblazer, Preacher and pretty much all of those late 80’s/early 90’s Vertigo titles are why I got into comics as fully as I did. Luckily, I still have all of my original runs of those that I got off of the rack. I’m probably most proud of those and not my “keys” (other than perhaps 10 or 12 of them).

    As far as 2nd apps, I agree that the gap can be awfully drastic, but it is the unfortunate state of the game, right now. So many people are in this merely for making a buck (which I have zero individual issue with), but I agree it will probably hurt the hobby in the long run.

    Every time you post a comment, I realize more and more how similarly we think about this hobby. Thanks, so much, as always.

  • Avatar

    I just bought that GI Joe 103 to get a little closer to completing the marvel run.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.