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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bag #2

Well, like I promised here's what was in the second M-bag I received last month...
During the early 70's Marvel had a lot of succes with the Marvel Team-Up book (MTU) , which featured Spider-Man and a different guest stars each month. Spidey had the Midas touch at that time and every book that featured everyone's favorite webcrawler was an instant succes. So Marvel decided you can never have enough of a good thing and launched a copy-cat book.

Marvel Two-in-One was a comic book series that featured the Fantastic Four member, the Thing, in a different team-up each issue with a different character, and lasted for 100 issues, from January, 1974, through June, 1983.
Many of the characters paired with the Thing were more obscure superheroes/supervillains, and the series never really attained the popularity of Marvel Team-Up, but for a lot of fans it was the better book.
A reason for this is that there weren't so many rules set in stone as for the Spidey book, using lesser known characters the writers had more freedom to walk away from the beaten path. In MTU a lot of A-list characters teamed up with Spider-man and both had to be victorious and get equal share of the glory...not easy to write.

Now I have to be honest, I own full runs of both Marvel Team Up and Marvel-two-in-one, but I haven't read more than 3 or 4 issues of MTU's 150-book run, (only reason is not enough free time), but I have read a lot of the Two-in-One's and for me the main reason MTiO is better is because of Ben Grimm...
I love Spidey as much as the next guy, but Ben Grimm, often overlooked, is one of Kirby/Lee's most important creations in the Marvel Universe.

During the 50's comic books weren't very good, the implementation of the comic book code and the fear installed by Wertham and the U.S. Senate hearings on the link between comics juvenile delinquency, had all but castrated most publishers and what they brought to the stands were bland, stupid and silly books written to not even upset the most delicate of 5-year olds.
Most Superheroes were lost in limbo and the few that did still have their own book like Superman, Batman and Wonderwoman came across as characters from some far-flung fairy-tale land. Completely out of touch and out of time with the real world.

As wel all know Marvel comics changed all of this with Fantastic Four #1 (1961) a new team for the new age...a team where everyone wasn't perfect, the forerunner of an new breed of superghero. They weren't friends all the time, they had problems, they complained and some were downright miserable...just like real people.
The most "human" of all was the one who looked the least human..Ben Grimm aka The Thing. The everyman, the working class joe, the grumpy man with a heart of gold.

Marvel Two-in-One annual #7 is one of my top-3 comics of all time, it features (silly idea) an intergalactic boxing match, featuring all of Earth's strongest heroes agains The Champion an Elder of the Universe and a huge boxing fan.
Again it's a larger than life story, featuring more superpowered heroes than you can shake a stick at, but in the end, it's the most human of all,Ben Grimm who carries the story and makes for the heartwarming ending..

There's a sentimental reason why I like this book as well, but that's for another time...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

It's on..

Here's a follow-up I didn't think I was going to write this year...My entry concerning the purchase of ASM #1 was one of the most read and reacted-to pieces I've put up (meaning more than 2 people read it). Again only one person chose to comment IN the thread, but I received a lot of mails and pms...
Most were very encouraging and told me to go for it and get the rest of the books. Being a weak-willed person when it comics to collectables I've deceided to go for it.

Now let me be honest, it's not only the people egging me on in the hopes of seeing a trainwreck that convinced me, but I feel I just have to try...it's been a good run, getting a series complete for the last 4 years, so it would be nice to make it 5-in-a-row.

So it's officially on...it's going to be an interesting and expensive 7 final weeks of 2006.
And to put my money where my mouth is...here's what I purchased this week

7 weeks and 5 more to go...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Miller Time

About a month ago I waxed lyrically about the 70's & 80's Hulks I got in the M-bag and used the cover to issue #258 as a showcase..partly because I remember buying that very book back in 1981, but also because I loved the drama of the cover...The Soviet Super soldiers ganging up on the Hulk and beating the snot (well he IS green) out of him...
Now the cover was drawn by comics giant Frank Miller, around the time of his incredible Daredevil run and just before his legendary Dark Knight days.

Imagine my surprise when I saw the original Miller cover for sale on an original art dealer's website.
And here it is in all it's black and
white glory

Oh and before anyone goes jumping to conclusions, I didn't buy it, it's still for sale here and can be yours right now...all you need is $8000

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This "key" opened my safe

After a few months of buying "fun" comics, I started to get jonesing again for some ASM books, being so close to completing the series, but yet so far due to the price of the few remaining books...
Happy to say that my ASM want-list is now down to just 7 issues, though I doubt if I'll be able to complete the series this year.
Last week I bought #18 and #27 in VG...and I also got this one

oh and....

Happy/ashamed to say that my Fantastic Four #1 has now been dethroned as the most expensive comic I've ever bought, by that other uber-key....Amazing Spider-man #1
Being serious about completing entire series means a few things to me;

a) No reprints...ever. Period. If you go for it, go for the real thing
b) No restored books, I'd rather have a low grade GOOD than a restored VG
c) Pay what you can afford, don't go into debt for the sake of a funny book.

So I knew that the day was coming that I was going to have to shell out the big bucks for this and a few other ASMs..
I was planning on getting it as a Xmas present for myself, just like the FF#1 last year, the Avengers #1 the year before etc...And during the Xmas break my friend CVR always flies down from Boston to Belgium and I get him to take the big ticket books with him as I rather not have these kinds of books shipped from 5000 miles away. Trouble was that CVR wasn't planning on coming this year at the usual time, but was flying in at the end of October. So I made the decision to get the book now as an early early (early) Xmas present.

I have been following all ASM #1s that have been put on the market (eBay/Heritage/Comiclink) this year religiously and new what the going rate was, and what to look for. Again I wanted a copy in 2.0 to 4.0 that presented better than the given grade, oh and it HAD to be CGC'ed as I didn't want to take chances with restoration.

I had been tracking this very copy for a while and the seller, whom I knew,had put the book up on eBay every three months for $1900...it never sold and highest bid was about $1500...
So after it was up last week and didn't sell again, I emailed him asking how much he wanted for it. I had a psychological barrier of $1500...but he wouldn't let it go for that price, and I have to agree, book was too nice for $1500. But we did agree on $1600...so now it's mine

7 more to go....