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About this journal

This thread will follow the adventures of one Chuck Rozanski who pioneered and championed comic book speculating back in the 80s

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N.I.C.E. #38 June 1989

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? Lets continue: 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.    
 

Moderns heating up... In the late 80s

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; Marvel: 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) Independent      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) DC 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?        
 

N.I.C.E. #37 May 1989

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  
 

N.I.C.E. #36 + Mile High Futures #49

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. PS-

Aweandlorder

Aweandlorder

 

N.I.C.E. #33-34 Feb-March 1989

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....

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Aweandlorder

 

N.I.C.E Newsletter #33 - Jan 1989

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! Stay tuned!!          

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Aweandlorder

 

A little history... And a plug.. From Chuck

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 

Aweandlorder

Aweandlorder

 

N.I.C.E Newsletter #11 - Dec 1988

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 Lets continue... -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??

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Aweandlorder