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.
Stumbled upon an issue I have been looking for...oddly no other Swamp Thing comics with it. Unfortunately it has a couple of small flaws to keep it out of the 9.6/9.8 range so won't be able to add it to my Moore Swamp Thing CGC run.
Even though I have been focusing on collecting Moore's run, I did find a few Wein/Wrightson issues at a local Half-Price Books. No number 1 or 2 unfortunately, but I did pick up #9. What a great cover. I'm kind of kicking myself for not picking up the other issues now.
This month ... March 2018 ... has marked the end of my daily new comic book purchases that I had ordered and picked from the LCS every month or biweekly. That had went on for 44 years. Last week I had picked up my last new comic book with my other orders. Only one single comic book! Finished. I think back all the years I went into the store thrilled in getting my daily dose of new comic books, to read new stories and had fun. Not anymore now. It is strange but not disappointed because I can still get my hardcover volumes with reprinted classic stories, graphic novel books and other items at the LCS. So, I can still go visit the LCS a little longer.
But this day marks the beginning of the end on my visits to the LCS. How longer will it last? That, I do not know until I have completed my collection. With the new comic books stopped ordered and closed, what is left for me? Good question. However, this chapter is done and closed, a new chapter begins.
What I know is that it means I am now totally focused on fulfilling my collection in finding pre-1975 books to fill up all the gaps. It means more trips to comic book cons and small shows in my region as far I can go if my budget allows.
Well tomorrow (3/24-3/25) in Dayton Ohio is the 2018 Gem City Comic Con. It's not a big show but it has grown over the years. It is a true Con not a celebrity sign fest where you can actually buy comic books! I am making my list for tomorrow and plan on being there by 8 am and will spent the extra 5 bucks to get in an hour early at 9. Last year my best buy was in the first five minutes of the early entry hour. So if you are within a few hours of Dayton I would suggest stopping by if you can. In the picture are my two most recent buys. The Thor annual 2 is a 9.4 Boston Pedigree and a Thor 140 9.4. I think I am becoming a 9.4 collector by default as I bid on a lot of 9.6 and 9.8's but come in second a lot. Then I go buy a 9.4 of the same books after the auctions. For a lot less though!
So today lets look at 2 months worth of speculation from the Wizard of Mile High. All which were full of blank specs with the exception of one which took off for a few months.. But before doing so, try thinking of what comic books looked like back then, Indie's were still pushing hard, and remember, this is before Image or Valiant, also there were no marketing gimmicks at the same level as there were just a few years later. No crazy #1 reboots, no variants, it was still pretty flat compared to the 90s-today. But still, Chuck was adamant about honing his craft
Wow! Elementals!! I mean, at that time I think that even I didnt like Elementals anymore. And Comico, who was solicited by DC at the time, was putting out such crappy books, I just couldn't believe anyone in their right mind would plug such fluff.
He did make a valid point about TMNT though, although that particular book, nor series, ever took off, TMNT was definitely gaining momentum and remained to be a safe long term investment. Oh and the part about "Every toy manufacturer reading obscure comics for their next animation project" is just bnkers
Lets dial up the following month here:
So admittedly it was a very slow month, and Chuck probably felt compelled to give Bill Black a boost with a title that had no shot at ever making it to a top 100 list. OK
Uncensored Mouse was definitely a book that made a lot of sense to me. And it actually did experience a bump in price after the title was cancelled on the 3rd issue. Good call there!
I wonder if other speculators saw it coming or was Chuck really ordering heavily on it and beat the competition to it. This was a $20 book by the Fall.
But even more surprising was that Chuck missed this bad boy
He sure did write extensively about it in his May newsletter
And by 1990, Rock n Roll history was made and the indie market has found a new gimmick to market to us
So you see? When speculating, you really really have no way of telling which new book, series, or trend will grow popular and become the next big thing. Even when you're in the business for so many years
To be continued....
SHAPING UP AND CREATING MY COMIC BOOK ROOM
This year I think I will start cleaning up my books and think up what I want to put in the room. Too many stuff I have in boxes, and they need be placed in good display. Thinking to buy metal shelves to put all my short boxes stacked up to free up space. It might take me a year or so to get the room as what I have in mind.
I had just started my special sketch project at FEV. I gave a blank comic book page (the kind of paper comic book artists do their work) to one artist. It will be finished by February later. It is going to be a unique project, where I will have many different artists put their work on the same page. I estimate the project will take me up to 5 years. I have a long list of artists in names. This is the centrepiece artwork for my comic book room.
The year is 1988 (this newsletter was published in Dec 1988) and Batmania is in FULL EFFECT. With Dark knight being a 2 year old book, Killing joke absolutely KILLING it in the secondary market and the Tim Burton movie buzz on everyone's lips. Anything that had to do with bats got collectors very excited. And so, as I was walking home from the post office picking up this month's N.I.C.E. newsletter, this is what I read
I nearly got hit by a truck crossing the street reading this! My first ever lucrative spec has materialized! And it wasnt even thanks to Chuck!
So yeah, my single copies of Batman #426-429 were well secured and thanks to my own intuition I was on my way to financial freedom hitting it big with a whooping $100 profit on this one set!
Needless to say, I blew all of my dividends back to chuck by the time I finished reading his spec choices for that month alone (I circled the most entertaining ones for convenience purposes) :
Oh Em Gee... Theres just so much THERE there
-Those 2 big investment books were motivated by #1 issue hype & Batmania. Following up on his Bats 426-429 write up You already know I bought 10 copies of the latter spec
-But even more entertaining was his MCP #18 spec based on Byrne's return to Marvel. Is that really a 1st appearance? no. Is that a 1st Byrne book? no. But it sure seemed like thats what he was aiming for.
-A new Universe book made the Chuck List? Or maybe he meant he wont buy any, but still wanted to mention that it may be a hit? Who knows..
-Oh didnt you know that Avengers #304 is the next Punisher/Wolverine? Now you know! Go buy 'em!! Quick!!!
-Poor Art Adams, he was such a huge star back then, this really seemed like a safe bet based on his track record.. You know that Art was so hot, that Chuck didnt even bother mentioning McFarlanes ASM 316 which dropped the same month with a 1st Venom on the cover.
... And I just mentioned Spots because I still have my copy
But Chuck wasnt always so bad, here, at the end of his spec column he offered 2 great specs, which ended up (finally) working for me!
Not too shabby!
Whats funny to me is, if you read my previous entry, Chuck was complaining about price hiking with some dealers and overstock which was purchased by those dealers secretively. And here, lo and behold, we have Death Rattle #8 dropping to $2 from being a $15 book almost within just a couple of months AMAZING
So what did Chuck miss on this month.
Well ASM #316 was one book, Crow #1 was another that came that month, and last was this one:
In fairness, Deadline #1 didnt take off until much much later, when Tank Girl got big! In fact Leanne Harper ( who did a great job listing new books for Chuck on the newsletters) didnt even mention Tank Girl on the cover of issue #1, but still thought I'd mention it...
Last, I thought you may find this quite entertaining as well:
Looks like Chuck's not the only one sucking at specing for Mile High
In the next installment, you get not just one, but TWO newsletters worth of speculating!
In December 1988 Chuck made a revelation
Give it a try Chuckster, give it a try
-So in Fairness, this was 1988, Cerebus #1 was a $500 book and the indie B&W explosion was in full swing (although didnt last much longer after that).
-Also #1 books were all the rage and to an extent so were Japanese/Manga books... But come on... Havok & Wolverine #2???
-Oh and loved the GSXM & Excalibur special comparisons. Excalibur #1 was a $10 book at the time (which was a really big deal back then in the early spec age) but even if that comparison was relevant, as a speculator I doubt I would put a new hot book in the same bracket as a (then) 13 year old $120 key. And comparing a random JLI book (which in fairness was a hot title at the time, as issue #1 was $12 book back then) to those 2 was a little much
-So Longbow Hunters #1 was a $21 book then and went to 2nd print. I remember missing on that boat and thinking to myself I missed on another Dark Knight Return! However James Bond never took off and that spec was DOA
-Chuck Loved Xenozoic Tales, Im pretty sure that the reason why that book was a $10 dollar book (1st print) was because he pumped it hardcore! Still is a favorite of mine, but alas that spec for the 2nd print never worked .
-Punisher Return to big nothing was Mike Zeck's return to Punisher. HUGE deal! Yup I bought a copy even though I had probably never spent over $15 on a comic prior to that. And hearing chuck say it could be a $100 book was all it took for me to pull the trigger.
Sadly that never panned out.
So Lots of misses and no hits...
Actually there was one hit that month.. Just not one that Chuck speculated on:
Thats all for today, but tune in tomorrow for some more spec fun with even more great misses, and a big reveal on a, back then, HUGE key that Chuck admittedly missed... Care to guess what it was??
Won this just now in the Comic Link auction. A book that has jumped up in registry points recently - 750, to be exact. Don't know if the character will be appearing again in the movies. I'm just happy to have all those points. I had a CGC 9.4 up until three years ago, then sold it. That one had crm/ow pages, so I've managed an upgrade here. Got it for under $400 too. Enjoy.
I received a few responses from interested buyers regarding my two long boxes of comics. One guy only wanted to trade (records/gift cards/stuff I don't want) and kept sending really odd offers. I'm sure that can be fun, but I want the space and cash! Today I met with an interested buyer, nice guy. He looked through the boxes, noting the comics he wanted, and made a solid offer on the lot. It was for less than what I had listed, but I had a nice chat with another collector and I think we both are happy with the outcome. And I'm glad they are going to a good home! This lot was a bulk of comics that would not have been worth the time or effort to sell individually. The proceeds are going to be set aside, along with any future sales money, so I can see what my final tally is.
The next step is selling/listing small lots and individual comics that are worth more. I have sold one or two on Ebay in the past. Anyone have any tips for the best way to get boxes for shipping? And/or the best shipping process? I rarely ship items and don't want to overspend on postage or packing materials. Any other good options to sell besides Ebay/Craigslist?
These comics are raw/ungraded as well. There may be a few worth sending to CGC for grading, but I have not done that before. Any feedback on general guidelines on what comics to send in would be appreciated. I was thinking of sending in a couple Valiant Comics for grading? Like a Rai 0, in hopes it is a 9.8. I realize I may lose money though if they come back 9.6 or 9.4. So a little hesitant. I may post a few pics in Grade My Comic and see if they are worth sending in.
Here are my boxes that I sold! Goodbye dear friends!
On February 10, 1974 Amazing Spider-Man #129 was released, and so was the first appearance of Frank Castle--The Punisher, coincidentally this was also the first comic I would pick off a spinner rack at the local corner store, and purchase. And So began my hobby of collecting comics.
Here we are 43 years later, and I still have this special issue today.. It has been through a lot, and shows, although I have an upgraded copy of this issue the value of this one is priceless in memories for me. Happy Birthday Frank ...
Wow I've really been slacking on my Swamp Thing journey. The good news is I'm still reading ol' Swampy, just started the Moore run this week and let me just say it has been fabulous. Not that I had any doubt in Moore to deliver. I'll be back over the next couple of days to give a round up of the issues I've read. Meanwhile a pic of my stack of stuff to read over the next couple of months.
I finally completed my write-up for my newly acquired world class copy of Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 W for my CGC Registry Set entitled, "Enter Wolverine!" Just wanted to share with the larger CGC Comic Collecting Community! Enjoy!! -Professor Pecora
[AND NOW...THE WOLVERINE!]
Incredible Hulk #181 showcases the 1st full appearance of Wolverine and his 2nd overall appearance in the history of comics!
Moreover, there are only a handful of comic books that have literally stood the test of time and have reigned over any other book of its era; Incredible Hulk #181 is one of those exceptions!
If you were to think of a single comic book to represent the most sought-after, most valuable and most significant issue of an entire age, it would be Action Comics #1 of the Golden Age (1938-1955); Amazing Fantasy #15 of the Silver Age (1956-1969); and Incredible Hulk #181 of the Bronze Age (1970-1984). In other words, the 1st appearances of Superman, Spider-Man and Wolverine have superseded the importance of any other character of their respective time periods!
With that said, the world was introduced to the claw-slashing, berserker-raged mutant Wolverine, who made a long-lasting first impression during his debut in November of 1974, as he battled the most powerful character in the Marvel Universe—the Incredible Hulk! However, Wolverine wasn’t anything like the major superheroes before him; instead, he was ill-mannered, hot-tempered and walked the earth with a tortured soul, as he would later struggle with his origins and the purpose of his creation. He was a government experiment—the perfect weapon—Weapon X! As a direct result, the “anti-hero” was born!
Wolverine was originally created by writer Len Wein and designed by Marvel Art Director, John Romita, Sr. However, in October of 1974; it was the late Herb Trimpe (May 26, 1939 – April 13, 2015) who first drew the character for publication in a last panel cameo featured in the Incredible Hulk #180. The following month, Wolverine was depicted on the front cover lunging in midair and slashing through heavy chains to attack the Goliath Green Machine! In my personal opinion, this is by far the most badass 1st appearance entrance in the history of comics! Wolverine battled the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe head on, so the story title, “AND NOW…the WOLVERINE!” served as an impact statement as if to say, “move over Hulk…another badass is in town to take on all challengers!” With that being said, Herb Trimpe’s classic cover of Incredible Hulk #181 forever remains etched in the hearts and minds of all Wolverine fans and collectors, and is easily recognized and revered worldwide by any comic book collector or connoisseur!
Roughly 8 months later in the Summer of 1975, Wolverine made his 2nd “full” appearance in Giant-Size X-Men #1 and became a major addition to the new X-Men team. While Wolverine was kicking a** and talking trash in the process, he became increasingly popular with avid X-Men readers and became the most popular character on the X-Men roster! From this success, Marvel would later feature Wolverine in his 1st solo comic; in a classic four-part miniseries, which was published from September – December of 1982. Fast forward a little over six years ahead, and Marvel finally catapulted Wolverine into his own monthly series in November of 1988! Furthermore, in the 43 years of his existence, Wolverine has become the most popular character in the entire Marvel Universe, next to the franchise’s marquee character—the Amazing Spider-Man!
In the Marvel cinematic world, Wolverine has been characterized on the silver screen by famed actor Hugh Jackman for an astonishing 17 consecutive years in a total of 9 films! With the start of the new millennium in the year 2000 up until the year 2017, Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine) has been featured in the following Marvel films: X-Men (2000); X2: X-Men United (2003); X-Men: The Last Stand (2006); X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009); X-Men: First Class (2011); The Wolverine (2013); X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014); X-Men: Apocalypse (2016); and Logan (2017).
To say that Hugh Jackman has had success towards making Wolverine and the X-Men a viable movie franchise would be a gross understatement! Rather, he has ventured into “legendary status,” with almost 2 decades of filmmaking and helping to contribute a Worldwide Box Office Total of OVER 5 BILLION DOLLARS! As a direct result, copies of Incredible Hulk #181 will only continue to appreciate and rise in value annually, making it not only the most coveted book of the Bronze Age to collect and showcase, but one of the most secure long-term investments!
According to the CGC Census Report as of December 12, 2017, out of an impressive total of 9,989 copies graded, only one (1) freak of nature was graded (WAY BACK in April of 2001) as a Universal MINT 9.9, which sold for $150,000 on Comic Link back in February of 2011! Furthermore, only one hundred four (104) copies (including my copy) were graded as a Universal 9.8 and only ten (10) copies were graded as a Signature Series 9.8. With these statistics in mind, the rarity factor for a CGC Universal IH #181 in 9.8 is only 1.04% of the total population! That’s extremely rare! Considering the vast number of copies that have already been professionally graded and the fact that many 9.8 copies are stashed away in private collections, it is going to become increasingly difficult to locate any 9.8 examples; raw or professionally graded!
On that note, this particular CGC 9.8 copy sports PERFECT COVER WRAP, PERFECT CENTERING, and PERFECT WHITE PAGE QUALITY along with being PERFECTLY cut! (okay, if you want to be a snob...99.9% perfect! ) The color saturation is deep and bright and the corners are razor sharp! Of MAJOR significance is the absolutely PERFECT CENTERING & REGISTRATION ALONG THE SPINE! It is extremely RARE even in the 9.8 grade to find a copy in this immaculate condition, which makes the Professor Pecora Copy of Incredible Hulk #181 one of the finest and most valuable copies in the world!
I purchased this PRISTINE GEM in March of 2017 from the same auction house where the single CGC 9.9 MINT copy last exchanged hands—Comic Link! I had to bid very aggressively in the final seconds of the auction to secure it, along with auctioning off the majority of my CGC 9.8 Bronze Age Marvel Key Collection in the Pedigree Comic’s April 2017 Grand Auction to pay for it, but at the end of the day...it was all WORTH IT!
In closing, I would like to thank Mr. Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics for helping me to acquire this MEGA Bronze Age Key!