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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Slated for cancellation

When I finished collecting the Amazing Spider-man series a few months ago, the most asked question I got (apart from "how much did it cost") was "Will you be getting Amazing Fantasy #15". At that time I couldn't really answer it because well, in my mind I had completed the task and more importantly AF15 was and is the most expensive Marvel book.

But after a few months I decided to see if I could swing it, I knew it was going to be expensive, but I planned on not buying too many books this year and maybe, just maybe I would then be able to get an AF15 at Christmas, just like the Christmases before when I got Avengers #1, FF#1 and finally ASM #1 respectively.

Next to the price, availability was a problem too, not too many of these books around, Spider-man #1 isn't that common, but there are at least 3x the amount of that book floating around compared to Amazing Fantasy #15.

A third problem was the condition of the book. I've always tried to buy expensive books that look better than the given grade. Maybe hard to understand, but let me give you an example. A book can look like a VG (4.0) but has a water stain on the back cover that takes the book down to a GOOD (2.0). The water stain is there, it lowers the grade, but it's a defect that isn't too bad aesthetically and it's on the back cover. Trouble is that a lot of low and mid-grade copies of AF#15 have Marvel chipping ("
A bindery (trimming/cutting) defect that causes a series of chips and tears at the top, bottom, and right edge of the cover. This is caused where the cutting blade of an industrial paper trimmer becomes dull. Dubbed "Marvel chipping" because it can occur quite often with that company's comics from the late 50s and early 60s")
And as Marvel chipping is considered a factory defect it doesn't factor in to the grade of mid-grade books. Thus you can buy a 4.0 book that looks like a 2.0...quite the opposite of what I want.

Take a look at this AF with the very common Marvel chipping...

So things didn't look to good, but
I had originally planned to start looking for a nice one around Winter 2007 with the intent of getting one as a Xmas present to myself...but an opportunity arose and I couldn't turn it down.

I got this copy from a fellow collector by accident really (no seriously, read on). He never put the AF15 on sale, but I was close to buying his Hulk #1...we went back and forth for a while and I told him I didn't really want to buy it as it would mean taking money out of my AF15 kitty...2 minutes later he told me he had an AF15 as well and if I was interested he would sell it to me.
Ten minutes later I had bought it...It was exactly the book I wanted, a 3.0 that looked better than the grade, almost no Marvel chipping and a fair price. Granted it was more money than I had ever spent on a comic book,and it was half a year too early but this is THE Marvel key after all. For me it's still FF#1...but for most comic collectors the first appearance of Spider-man is the holy grail

And to think the Amazing Fantasy series was slated for cancellation and issue #15 was the final one. Because it was the final issue, nobody really cared what was going to be in it. With nothing to lose, publisher Martin Goodman allowed Stan Lee to experiment with a new kind of superhero — one who would be a teenager, but not a sidekick, and who would have everyman doubts, neuroses and money problems...
This "far-out" idea proved to be golden and gave birth to Marvel's flagship title...Amazing Spider-man...which only started a long (especially for the fans who had a taste of Spidey in AF15 and wanted to read more) 6 months after Amazing Fantasy #15 was issued, sold a boatload of copies and got the most letters from readers in years.
Now let's just hope the success of the the third Spider-man movie that came out this week will make my copy of AF#15 even more valuable

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Blogger Lawrence said...

Congrats. on the copy of AF15.....It is the holy grail, and you sir have got it! Exciting.......

5:18 PM  
Blogger chromium said...

Thanks man :)

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice copy. Congrats on finishing the run of ASM.

5:09 PM  

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