SDCC Fandom Reunion 2011 web site, stolen fanzines
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Aaron Caplan here ...

 

I'm the guy who stupidly set my packages down at a booth at this year's SD Comic-Con, and immediately had them stolen!

 

But now, three months later, because of an honest dealer, they have been recovered! I thought all was lost, as most thieves would have no idea as to the value of these zines, as well as their historical significance - I thought for sure they would simply be trashed.

 

But I was lucky. Thanks to an observant Jamie Newbold, owner of Southern California Comics (http://www.socalcomics.com) in San Diego, he knew something was suspicious about the young dude trying to sell these. Apparently, Jamie had previously seen this post (thanks mycomicshop!!) and paid only $50 to recover the fanzines. He immediately contacted me to tell me the news. I was in shock! Only one zine was missing (The Buyer's Guide #1), and I already have several copies of that widely distributed adzine.

 

The stolen books in question were extremely high value comic book fanzines from the 60's and included Alter Ego #1, Alter Ego #2, Alter Ego #3, Fantastic Fanzine #1, Comic Buyer's Guide #1, Xero #1, The Comic Reader #8 (first actual issue under the name "The Comic Reader"), The Comic Fan #1 (Edited by Buddy Saunders), The Collector #1 (mint condition), Champion #1, Comicology #1 The Buyer's Guide #1 (only one not recovered) and Comic Comments #2. I never realized this until they were shipped back last week, but another zine, Fandom Calling #3, was also in the batch.

 

Just to give you an idea of the actual value, I sold my duplicate copies of Alter Ego 1 and 3 in 2009 for $3000 and they were nice books, but not in what I would consider near mint condition! The Comic Comments #2 was irreplaceable and probably the last surviving copy, as it was hand typed by editor Wayne DeWald and only 4 or 5 copies ever produced!!! Gary Groth's Fantastic Fanzine 1 and Bill G. Wilson's The Collector 1 are impossible to find in any condition, so I would estimate the value of this collection at over $4000, and possibly closer to $5K.

 

So again, I have to thank Jamie at Southern CA Comics for being an honest comics dealer with integrity. Thank you, Thank you, thank you!! If you want to buy comics from a reputable guy, contact Jamie at socalcom@aol.com and tell him I sent you!

 

And thanks to MYCOMICSHOP for helping to put the word out. You guys are the greatest!!!

 

Bestest,

 

Aaron Caplan

www.fantucchio.com

aaron AT fantucchio DOT com

 

Congrats Aaron and welcome to the boards. So glad you got your fanzines back.

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Congratulations! :applause:

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Not to sound snarky (I'm not trying to be) but is it usual for someone to cart $4000 worth of high value books to a comic con? Or were you trying to sell them? I've only been to one Con and that was as a buyer, so the only books I had on me were ones I wanted autographed.

 

I definitely was not trying to sell them. I've gone to 12 SDCC's and almost always bring fanzines with me, and never to sell them. But this year was different because of Bill Schelly's Fandom Reunion. Each fanzine was specifically selected because I wanted to show them to a key 60's big name fan who was scheduled to be at the Reunion. Yeah, I was showing off and see where that got me!!! I wanted to impress the various fanzine editor/publishers who were scheduled to be at this very special occasion. You have to understand, many of these fandom luminaries do not even own copies of their original fanzines, so most are amazed when they are presented with something they haven't seen for 45 years! And most of these creators are embarrassed by their early efforts and do not realize the impact their efforts had on their readers.

 

So I brought the Alter Ego's because I thought I would be talking to Roy Thomas and Jean Bails (Jerry's widow); the Comic Comment #2 was to show editor Gary Brown and frequent Comic Comments cover artist Alan Hutchinson; the Champion #1 for editor Bob Cosgrove (he did sign it before it got stolen); The Comic Fan #1 for editor Buddy Saunders (he also signed it); Comicology 1 for editor Doug Fratz (he signed it); The Collector 1 for editor Bill G. Wilson; Fandom Calling was for editor Mike Raub; Xero was for the Lupoffs and Richard Kyle; TBG 1 was for Alan Light (who was a no-show at the Reunion); and finally Fantastic Fanzine #1 was for Gary Groth.

 

I did get to show them around a bit to many of the above people, but before I got to Roy, Bails, Kyle, the Lupoffs or Groth - the zines were gone ...

 

I really regret not being able to razz Gary Groth a bit about his first issue of Fantastic Fanzine. It was so clearly a crudzine (horrendously bad xerox printing on one side and the worst art/layout ever) that I thought he might get a laugh from it. His employees sure would, as I intended to confront him at the Fantagraphics booth! Note that this zine was created when Groth was 12 years old, so anything produced at this age was an enthusiastic labor of love, despite its lack of quality. And look where Groth is today as a result of his fanzine beginnings.

 

If you'd like to read more about the SDCC Fandom Reunion go to:

 

http://www.fantucchio.com/fandom_reunion_comic-con_2011/comic-con_2011_fandom_reunion.html

 

Bestest,

 

Aaron Caplan

 

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I was sick to my stomach when I heard about the theft. I'm so glad that most were recovered. Please don't do that again ;)

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Glad you got (most of) them all back Aaron. It was fun hanging out with you and going to dinner at OAFCon.

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Yeah, I was showing off and see where that got me!!! I wanted to impress the various fanzine editor/publishers who were scheduled to be at this very special occasion. You have to understand, many of these fandom luminaries do not even own copies of their original fanzines, so most are amazed when they are presented with something they haven't seen for 45 years! And most of these creators are embarrassed by their early efforts and do not realize the impact their efforts had on their readers.

 

Ok, I totally get that! Glad you got them back - I'm sure you won't be letting them out of your sight again!

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Aaron,

I was at my booth when you first noticed they were missing.

 

It was very upsetting because I know you had just put them down for a second.

 

I'm very happy to hear that these boards and threads do result in stolen merchandise being returned and making people aware of what's happening.

 

Bob

www.highgradecomics.com

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Any news on the person trying to sell the stolen goods being arrested and hopefully charged?

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I was sick to my stomach when I heard about the theft. I'm so glad that most were recovered. Please don't do that again ;)

 

lol ... I'll try not to! If you're Mike from Motor City Comics, then I probably bought one of the zines from you! You guys have some pretty obscure fanzines.

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Jamie is a standup guy. Thats awesome you got your stuff back!

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Glad you got (most of) them all back Aaron. It was fun hanging out with you and going to dinner at OAFCon.

 

This has to be Roger! Cool ... I'm very new to this site, even though I registered 6 years ago. Thanks so much for dinner dude!

 

Here's a somewhat blurry image of Ray and Roger (with the cap) at my John G. Fantucchio display at OAFCon a little over a week ago:

 

OAFCON_2011_Ray_and_Roger_at_ the_Fantucchio_Display.jpg

 

 

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Any news on the person trying to sell the stolen goods being arrested and hopefully charged?

 

As far as I know, the thief has gotten off scott-free.

 

Jamie Newbold, owner of Southern California Comics, who paid $50 for the fanzines from the "alleged" thief, said that San Diego Cops consider comic book theft to be on the caliber of a parking ticket. He's an ex-cop, so he knows what he's talking about. Apparently, he's had some experience with comic book shoplifters and the SD Police have consistently refused to throw the book at them. It's a trivial occurrence to them ...

 

At the SD Comic-Con, I immediately reported the theft to the SD Police, who had several Officers stationed at the Con. When I started to describe my 12 lost fanzines in great detail to the Officer taking the report, his eyes glazed over and he scribbled a single word on the report other than my name and address: "fanzines". That's it. When I asked whether that meager description was enough, he said "That's all I need." The Officer had no idea what a fanzine was, nor had any intention of going after the perpetrator.

 

So to answer your question, I doubt if the guy selling them to Southern California Comics, very likely the thief, will ever be caught. Not that I care, now that I have my zines back.

 

Edited by fugtussey

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Dont slam cops to hard, I know quite a few and most are great people but also flip it around and think.

 

If you saw people in real life (not T.V.) shot, stabbed, raped, murdered, beaten, mutilated in vehicle wrecks and you yourself have been assulted with everything from kitchen knives to homemade shanks you may just write down "fanzines" too.

 

Just food for thought.

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I am glad you got your fanzines back.

 

Did you mention the total value of them when you reported it to the police? Mentioning them being worth $25K (or whatever) would garner more attention to the cop who than just thinking they are a bunch of photocopied pages by nerds like us :)

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I am glad you got your fanzines back.

 

Did you mention the total value of them when you reported it to the police? Mentioning them being worth $25K (or whatever) would garner more attention to the cop who than just thinking they are a bunch of photocopied pages by nerds like us :)

 

Yes, I told the officer they were worth approximately $4000. He didn't write it down ... maybe he didn't believe me.

 

I know I'm beating this story to death, but I forgot to mention that the reporting process took over 2 hours. This involved finding SD Convention Center Security, where they had me running from Hall B to Hall G, then back top Hall C (Lost & Found), then upstairs near the Registration area - nobody could find the right person that I was supposed to talk to. A curious phenomena is that several of the Security people told me the Convention Center was laden with cameras and that if I knew where the theft occurred and exactly when, they could easily find the culprit. That's why they sent me wayyyy on up to Hall G, to go to the Head Security dude to find out how to access the cameras. This turned out to be completely false - there are no cameras. Apparently, they tell many of the part-time contractor Security personnel that there are videocams, possibly to keep them on the straight and narrow? I have no earthly idea.

 

I then was told to wait for the SD Police upstairs near the Registration area, and sat there twiddling my thumbs for another 40 minutes. All in all, not a good experience!

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