Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Comics

My Christmas present from my partner Jerry this year was to be let loose in a comic book store where I could spend up to $100. Yes, that is what this boy wanted most of all. I chose The Time Machine on 14th Street on the 2nd floor because the owner Roger usually has a fine selection of older Silver Age stuff. I've already gone through all of his cheaper DC and Marvel, so I was looking for higher-end, rarer pieces to fill in my collections of odder, less popular heroes such as The Atom, Green Lantern, Hawkman, etc. There were two GLs I specifically wanted, but he had already sold them when we got there last Saturday. I got over my disappointment and picked out three Atoms I needed--16, 18 and 26. The attraction of The Silver Age Atom is the magnificent art by Gil Kane and Sid Greene and the bizarre situations the world's smallest superhero finds himself in. I wonder if at the DC editorial meetings, they would come up with a weird concept and then have to write a story to fit it. In No. 16 from 1964, a deranged scientist has captured the Atom and ironed him flat. (He doesn't look too happy about it.) Something to do with pressing all the energy out of the Atom so the villain can absorb it.

Another highlight of the Time Machine haul was an early Superboy from 1953, one of the earliest comics in my whole collection. The guy (Roger was out that day) said it was worth $50, but he would give it to me for $25 since I was buying a bunch of books. I also enjoyed the Spectre # 4, this short-lived 1960s series focused on a supernatural hero fighting the forces of astral evil with great Neal Adams art and get a hold of the masculine, super-hot villain in the sexy helmet and cape on the cover (He only appears briefly inside because he's mostly a force of destruction possessing the little boy playing with the world to his right.)

I still had some money left in the gift, so the next day, we went to St. Marks Comics on 8th St. where they were having a Xmas/New Years half-price sale. They always have one around a holiday at that store. They were also cleaning out their Copper Age stock for $1 a piece (For non-comic obsessives, Silver Age is 1950s into the early 1970s, Bronze Age extends into the 1980s, we are in the Copper Age now, some call it the Modern Age)

At St. Marks, I bought an additional sixteen $1 comics, mostly Fantastic Fours from the Bronze Age to fill in my FF collection. I get really confused with this iconic series. I have all the collected Ultimate series which consist of bound paperback volumes of black and white reproductions of the first 200 or so books. Then it gets hazy. They collected all of John Byrne's run in full color in bound volumes, with other relevant issues of titles where the story picks up such as the Thing's spin-off, Alpha Flight, Secret Wars, etc. I only have the first two in this series. The comic continue up until about issue #416 or so (Byrne ended his run in the early 300s). After 416 or so, they did a reboot and started all over again. I still haven't figured out the variations through the 1990s, but today Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman have two offspring and have started a school for kids with superpowers. There is a now a spinoff title FF (Future Foundation) on the school drawn by my favorite current artist Mike Allred (IZombie, Madman and the Atomics, X-Statix).

I also bought two Action Comics from the 1970s for $2.50 each. Here's a rundown of the total Christmas haul:

Action 432, 444, 589, 599
Atom 16, 18, 26
Detective 379
Fantastic Force
Fantastic Four 249, 255, 282, 285, 296, 349, 373, 384, 385, 386, 402, 405, 408, 416, 555
Flash 350
Spectre 4
Superboy 28 (from 1953)

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