Last Saturday night (9/23/17) I was doing my usual late night surfing of the boards and I came across a WTS post from labratnotincluded selling one of his copies of Wolverine 102.5 CGC 9.8. This is probably the rarest book from the 1988 set so I immediately open the post to check it out. As expected the book was awesome but also as expected it was way more than I can spend on a book. Where this entry get its name was something he wrote in the section talking about possible trades.
“I'd consider a decent offer of a 1988 Wolverine Issue 88 CGC 9.8 True Non-Deluxe with something else enticing…”
One of the first things I did when I came back to collecting was to make excel sheet with the current census numbers for every issue in the 1988 run. This was my way to get a quick glimpse of what is rare right now. 102.5 was at the top of the list… 88 (Non-Deluxe) is very far down that list. I knew that 88 was an issues I was planning on submitting and I figured that he must have had some bad luck finding one. So I reached out saying that at some point that I’ll be sending some copies into CGC and I could possibly send a few extra in if he was interested.
The whole time something didn’t add up in my head. How is it possible that someone has two of the rarest comics in the set but doesn’t have an 88. The Census shows (42) 9.8 of the regular and (16) 9.8’s of the Deluxe, by those numbers the Deluxe should be much harder track down.
Well, after a few PM back and forth with labratnotincluded and some research it looks like the census could be wrong and there is likely far less of non deluxe versions.
From what I understand the theory goes like this: Originally there no distinction by CGC between normal and deluxe versions and they were all labeled as the standard. At some later date CGC added a variant for the deluxe version. But all graded copies prior to that date kept there designation of the standard copy. This would completely nullify the accuracy of census number and mess up people’s registry… but I don’t know if there is a reasonable way that CGC could fix it.
All this might be old news to the seasoned Wolverine collectors out there but it was new news to me. I found some posts that talk about how all the X-Titles between Nov 94 through Feb 95 had a similar standard and deluxe set up and that the 88 non deluxe is on rare side of things but nothing specifically about this book (could just be operator error using the search function). I hoping that this entry will be there to help some of newer wolverine collectors out there understand what’s going on with this issue.
I do have some questions for seasoned Wolverine Collectors out there that would help me wrap my mind around this book.
Exactly how rare is the 88 Non-Deluxe? – Since the census numbers aren’t useful in this case, how can we know? I looked at the top 20 sets in the wolverine 1988 and I could only verify 1 copy with a picture was a true non-deluxe. Some don’t have pictures, some note that the book is indeed a deluxe in the non-deluxe slot, others have a picture confirming that it is indeed a Deluxe in a non-deluxe slot. I searched all the usually online auctions/sales and I did not find any non-deluxe.
Is there a way to get more detailed census data? – I think a good indicator on the true numbers could be had by finding out the date that the deluxe variant was added to the registry and then see how many standard copies were added to the registry after that date. Is this possible? And if so how?
Is there a way to fix the census data? – This does not seem likely because they would likely need a photo of all non-deluxe CGC.
Also please chime in if anything that I wrote is incorrect or if there is a big piece of the puzzle that I’m missing.
Lastly, with all this in my head I went to my stacks and pulled my copies and bagged and boarded them up (out of the order that I mentioned in the previous post).
Wolverine #88 (51 Copies)
Just bought this one on ebay. Ten years of waiting to acquire this super tough book. Third times the charm I guess. On two previous listings of this book on ebay, over the last two and a half years, I did not have the funds to buy it now. Needless to say, on both occasions they were snatched up very fast. This marks the first work at Warren for Neal Adams. Only 18 of these on the CGC census. And with this acquisition, I have seven more Adams books to go. Enjoy.
A quick note before we continue. As I was editing the next installment I was thinking to myself, waitaminute A&L, anyone reading this who wasn't actively collecting in the 80s may find this very odd. All of these titles that Chuck recommended didnt just get picked up out of the blue (although some, I have to admit, were rather strange picks). They were mostly referenced as potential investment books based on existing current trends. So lets focus a bit on what was ALREADY heating up on the secondary market at that time period;
Punisher - Punisher's limited series took off quickly and with it boosted alot of Bronze appearance by the character including his first appearance of course. In 1986 ASM129 was a $5. By 1988/89 after the success of the LS and the launch of 2 more ongoing titles, it was a 150.00 book. The limited series was getting anywhere from $20-30 for the 1st issue alone. Also, Punisher War Journal #1 was being speculated due to a reported large quantity of the print run being damaged during shipment.
Marvel Masterworks - Hardcovers and TPB were the next big thing in 1988. And Marvel Masterworks were leading the pack with prices soaring between $70-90
Nick Fury vs Shield #1 was a $30 book and was hot hot hottt
Excalibur #1 12.00 and went to 2nd print, DD #254 15.00, all Groo books were scorching hot at $10-20 for #1s all across the board (Marvel, PC etc)
Indies were absolutely KILLING it. Not to suggest that they were outperforming Marvel/DC in sales, heavens no. They were actually selling very poorly by 1988, but some of the titles published in early 80s-1988 carried a hefty price tag, which resulted in a big interest and in my opinion the main reason why Chuck's spec column was even created. They were the fire that sparked interest with comic book collectors again. Lets look at them closely:
The big three - Cerebus - $500. TMNT - $200 Albedo - $350
Although Cerebus was a Bronze age book it heavily influenced the B&W indie market. TMNT - need we say more. Albedo - the minuscule print run on the 1st issue (#0) was enough to make it very sought after by most indie collectors.
Yes these were all B&W books and all featured anthropomorphic characters. But both trends were actually coming to an end by 1988
The 2nd tier - mostly mature underground and some obscure B&W titles like Love & Rockets ($120) Grendel ($30-80) Quadrant ($130) Flaming Carrot ($115) Cherry ($50) Omaha ($25)
Dark Horse was doing well with Concrete ($20) Aliens ($20)
Gladstone were doing tremendously well with most of their Disney titles but mainly with Uncle Scrooge & Donald Duck ($15-25). Yes I kid you not, Disney was hot back then.
Recent hot series included - Tick ($15), Speed Racer/Racer X ($15-20) Rock n Roll Comics ($50) Black Kiss #1 ($20) Faust #1 ($30)
Japanese/Manga books included Lone wolf cub, Naausica, Lum, Kamui and also Ben Dunn's Ninja High School's series were doing well (although the latter wasnt manga)
Its clear that Batman was the leader of the pack. Frank Miller's Dark Knight was a $20 book almost overnight, and by the time Batman was adapted to a movie a few more titles generated interest in the secondary market. They were: Cult #1 (anywhere from $10-20) killing joke ($25) and of course bats #426-429 which were moving at $100 per set. As I mentioned earlier, HC and TPB were all the rage and had a huge demand, and that reflected in (mainly) Batman books: Greatest Batman/Joker Stories ($60) Son Of Demon ($55) and the biggest one of them all Dark Knight s&n Hardcover Edition ($600).
Watchmen was extremely popular as well, and on a side note I truly dont remember any book other than Dark Knight maybe, that has never stopped being popular since it first saw print.
Also, a new trend was forming with D&D comics: Dragonlance & AD&D were seeing $10 or higher prices. Insane right?
It's been awhile since my last Journal post. My last post was made May 22, 2015. This is my first journal post under the new format, I haven't decided if I like it or not. It's alot easier to use that's for sure, It reminds of the dashboard in WordPress. I've been collecting on & off over the last 3 years, Meeting media guests on cons & still getting signatures from my favorite artists & writers. Everyone collects differently & I'm a signature kinda guy ( For the most part ). I've changed my screen name to something that made more sense for me. Going forward I've decided I want to be a more focused collector, Putting books into the collection that I "Really" like or love. I just recently started to put books into the CGC Registry again.
In May of 2015 I finally got to meet Neal Adams for the first time. He is probably one of my favorite artists of all time. The experience was education for the first time I felt he was kinda stand standoffish, But I got used to it since I've now met him on more than one occasion. I had him sign my copy of Green Lantern #87 that I bought at my LCS in the mid 90's.
Thanks for reading & Happy collecting & have a great 2018!!
For my entry in the journals here is my latest project. Conan 1 statue. I got this kit for my birthday a few months ago and recently have been doing some rearranging of my glass display cases so I figured I might as well start building this guy.
A little background. I first saw this statue on an interview with Roy Thomas. I was like oh my I have to have it to display with my book. A little research and I found out it is a resin kit. A little bummed I have to build it but I'm up to the challenge and I'm sure it will be rewarding. My progress so far is I've taken everything out, dry fitted it, and cleaned it. I'm going to stop by in a little bit to pick up some putty for a couple touch up spots and then primer it hopefully after work tonight.
I've been giving some serious thought lately to possibly selling off the run down to #300. For one, 544 books in one run is a space issue. I need to make the most out of what space I have for comics right now and these things keep piling up! While having a full run of #1 through #544 would be sweet, I think in the long run I'd be fine with 1- 300. At least until our living situation changes and there is more space for comics. I'd like to have the full Copper Age run as those are the books I mostly started on X-Men with. After 300, things just get a little silly for a long time sadly.
I might not do this, and I have no idea how I'd sell off 244 books if I do decide to change the focus of the run. I'm just thinking out loud.
Anyone else here who started off working on a full run of volume 1 and changed the goal like this? Any regrets?
I can't imagine it ever ever being difficult nor expensive to rebuild the run later if I decide to have a complete volume 1. And it'd be something fun to work on.
On the other hand, I already have the books which is a pretty big point in the "just hang on to them" column, even with the storage space issue.
What do you all think?
Won this in the recent Comic Link auction. Planning to concentrate on Marvels and Warren magazines for 2018. This book has a nice double panel cover with artwork by Wally Wood and Boris Vallejo. Also features interior work by Barry Windsor-Smith. Like the Defenders 5 from my previous journal, I got this book for dirt cheap. Enjoy.
Just won this in the Comic Link auction. Probably the hardest one to find in high grade among the Kree/Skrull war issues, due to the black picture frame cover. Although here we take a detour from that storyline, as our heroes battle the mandroids. Surprised to see that my winning bid was under $250. Six more Adams books to go. Enjoy.
Well, I can't seem to get the photo to display correctly, even though it shows correct before uploading, but here is my first new journal attempt. I tried to post earlier today, but the post never showed up...weird. Anyway, thank you to dreamtoreal1 for this sharp looking Iron Fist 14. I'm really looking forward to Ronnylama pressing it and then Chris Claremont signing it at ECCC this year. Hoping it comes back at least 9.2 but sometimes you never know. Hope everyone has a great year!
Til next time...
A few months into 1989 and Chuck's NICE newsletters expanded in size, mainly due to more book reviews and the large appetite in investing by comic collectors. All of that while Indie books were starting to cool off
But that didnt stop Chuck from advising us on hot upcoming new indies:
Whats that youre telling me? A new adult line of books, with 2 variants? tiny print run?? lord have mercy, this will HAVE to be the next Cherry/Omaha! Or maybe the next Black Kiss?
And yes, of course, Abyss will naturally the next Aliens! See how this all makes sense?
How amazing is it to read about all these spec books which ended up being complete duds? I cant imagine anyone even thinking of buying any of these books today even for nostalgic purposes. But if you think Chuck ran out of ways to sell you on books, think again:
But Chuck didnt just stop at speculating on comic books. There were also RPG, boxer shorts and mugs:
And Ill end this entry with a little bit of Chuck past spec history, from the man himself:
I would have looooved to see a spec article from him about Marvel's New Universe when it came out. Why, he'd probably push the heck out of those titles and guarantee you a sure premium on Merc and Spitfire!
EDIT: I did want to mention that this month saw the release of Vampire Lestat #1 which became Innovation's first commercial success and soon after launched a series of other Anne Rice adaptations all resulting in a major boost in secondary market prices. And yes, this was another big book that Chuck missed, much like all of them really.
The latest episode of the Classic Comics Forum Podcast is now available:
This time around we're starting a 2 part discussion of the team-up era of The Brave and the Bold, before they settled on Batman as a permanent star. In this episode, special guest MDG and I discuss issues #50-56, as well as his time working as a writer for both DC and Valiant/Acclaim, where he co-wrote X-O Manowar for several issues. Hope you enjoy!
I have roughly 8000 books, mostly bronze and copper age, peppered with silver, and a handful of golden, all completed with some moderns.
First comic I bought was Web of Spiderman 17, at the local Circle K store in denver colorado.
I did some weekend work at the mile hi comics warehouse at one point, and was paid in back issues of web of spiderman.
I immediately fell in love with the X-men, and #207 was my first issue.
Since I purchased that #207, I have completed a run from 94-544, with the annuals, and giant size issues. #94 is CGC 8.5 Universal. Currently working on 1-93, and have only 33 issues remaining, with the main one being #1.
I've managed to buy about 4000 bulk comics, which included a run from 144-350 or something like that, so I have duplicates.
I'm primarily a Marvel fan, but do have a fair amount of DC, with my focus being on the Flash. That run will be probably the next complete set I work on. I went through the Image phase, missed the walking dead, but have a nice set of Peter Panzerfaust, with a #1 CGC 9.8 that I enjoy.
I've recently started browsing again after the divorce was final, and have ventured out to the shops, antique stores and CON's as they happen.
I'm in the bay area now, and my comic shop of choice was Flying Colors. BUT, I don't purchase new comics any more. The last new comic I bought was the Death of Wolverine series, and so now my time is spent filling in the holes from 1963 to a few years ago.
So, I thought I'd throw this up here to keep a running documentation of where I'm at, and to share with those that may be curious.
Before we continue to the next installment, a little introducion to how the pump n dump machine worked back in the 80s from Chuck himself (Taken from Mile High Futures quarterly catalog dating September 1988)
I thought it would be interesting for new speculators to read how hyping books was done back then, even though its obvious from Chuck's own
writing, that the agenda to expose this scam was for him to make more $$$
So even there, nice try chuck, but no cigar
I just wanted to put an update! Nothing crazy in the sales, but got sold some random glassware (haha, with proceeds going towards comic fund) and listed a few small 'lots' on craigslist today. Within 10 minutes got an inquiry for my Wolverine #1-4 (regular series, 1988?). Nice fellow, looked at conditions when we met nearby and paid full price. Very rare to not get a haggler on CL! Hopefully my other sets sell quickly. I plan to put more up soon.
So my goal again is to save up my funds to purchase something that is higher than my normal purchase range. I already have my eye on a comic that I want (possibly within my normal range) on ebay. Resisting urge to purchase!!!
In this newsletter Chuck took his spec column to a whole new level. He was confident in his speculating skills more than ever.
This makes a great introductory to what actually happened with comic speculating in its infant years:
This "magic" that got Chuck all excited was actually the overwhelming response from buyers like myself who were, by now, FULLY into this new hobby - investing in modern comic books!
And those titles he quoted as heating up were nothing but duds. Sure, as a wholesaler buying 10k JLI #1 at cost and flipping them the next week for $3 was probably a lucrative purchase (BTW, JLI #1 never really heated up), but for an average comic book buyer like myself this wasnt even an option since you really didnt have an outlet to sell back then unless you had a store (or a booth at a con). So the only real winners for buyers back then were your long term buy+hold investment books, which so far, havent manifested on Chuck's watch (spoiler alert - they wont in the future either )
On another note, this month was a month that alot of titles were cancelled, Marvel cancelled Semper Fi, DC cancelled C.O.P.S., LOSH & Haywire, and Comico, presumably at the request of DC, cancelled Fish Police, Maze Agency, Trollords, Trouble With Girls & Justice Machine Annual #1. But many flagship titles (Batman, X-Men, ASM) were now offered twice a month. Also notice the increasing titles with a hefty 3.95-4.95 price tag. Yup, the big two were on to something.
On to this months big winners, but not before a word of advice from Chuck: (as always, I've highlighted the more entertaining parts)
My god, he bought 500 copies of Punisher movie #1 at the punishing price of 4.95. Even by TODAY'S standards that is a bad spec, and that says ALOT. I guess he really thought theres a chance for it to be a hit as he said, while on the other hand he ordered only 100 of Batman movie adaptation since he KNEW the movie would fail. I dont think he could've been more wrong
Well, wish I wouldve bought his entire stock of 300x ASM #298 at $3 a pop. But as he says... Not guts, no glory
Till next time
This was in February of 1989 and Marvel had just been sold to Ron Perelman's MacAndrews and Forbes for $82 Mil
(Taken from Mile High Futures Catalog #49 dated March 1989)
Happy days! So you think Chuck would have made better investment spec's this month? Guess again:
But if you thought that Chuck ditched Batman because it was a DC property and because DC wasnt sold to Elon Musk, I mean Ron Perelman, for 82 mil. Think again.
Needless to say, this was very bad spec, Batman Death in the family was and still is a staple copper Bat book, Batman as a character became much bigger within time, while Marvel would suffer major losses in the near future as a result of this new deal.
Short and sweet - You cannot speculate on comic books, as you do not know what the future holds.