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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Think outside the box

Getting comics halfway across the globe is both an exciting and a maddening experience. Sure you enjoy the anticipation of waiting and hoping this will be the day your little box of treasures arrive. But at the same time you get disappointed if it doesn't arrive on the expected date and you hope and pray it arrives at all...preferably intact.

But as I'm geographically challenged there is no way around, this and my gargantuan yearly shipping bill are the darker sides of collection, but once the box arrives, everything is right in the world again and I temporarily forget all the woes and focus instead on the wonders.

The last 2 weeks I was on pins and needles as I was expecting a rather important package and because of all the non-working days due to Easter, it was stuck in transit somewhere. To make matters worse, it got stuck in customs as well. My friendly neighborhood customs official opened the box, even though the value was below the import-duty threshold. Once he opened and inspected the box he came to the conclusion I didn't have to pay duty or tax and all forms were filled in correctly. But I still had to pay $15 to get my box back, because he had inspected it and all inspected packages carry a $15.00 cost... I have given up trying to understand the logic in all of this.

But once the package was finally delivered I focused on the contents and got that stupid grin again. This time the box wasn't as filled as previous boxes, but it did hold some key books.

I made yet another video showing all the goodies, let me know if you get tired of all these vids and want me to post pics again. I filmed it this time as I seem to get a lot more reaction to vids than to pics, I guess that's Youtube for you.

Here goes...

If you really don't care for videos and want to see which keys I'm talking about (yeah go ahead and spoil the surprise) you can click HERE to see a pic of the two keys (but the vid is cooler)

Oh and as always you can check out the videos in higher resolution directly through my Youtube page Chromiumcomics Youtube page

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Downsizing, thinning the herd, retrenchment... call it what you like it's never any fun when you have to cut back. But that's exactly what I've been doing for the past 6 months. Now I'm not talking about buying less funny books...oh no, I'm glad it hasn't come to that, I'm talking about getting rid of a large part of my collection as it was literally growing over my head.

When the collection went over 10.000 books I knew I had to do something. My main aim was to get it down to 7500 which I did. Most went without remorse, but some were harder to say goodbye to.

First of all I started selling most of my books that weren't Marvel or DC (or written by Alan Moore). This wasn't hard to do as I have absolutely no love for Image, Malibu, Top Cow,Dark Horse, Avatar, Bongo, IDW, Wildstorm and what have you.
I did keep about half my Vertigo books though.

The second time I went through the collection I got rid of all my post 1985 DCs and most of the Marvels from 1990 through to 2000. Of course I kept the books that were part of a complete series, but series that started or appeared only in this era were gone, gone, gone. This was even easier to do that getting rid of all the indies as most Marvel books from the 90's really sucked. Some might disagree, but then some people think Rob Liefeld,Whilce Portacio,Michael Turner and Tod McFarlane are great artists....which I don't.
No, the biggest problem getting rid of these books was not the emotional value, but to get people to actually buy them, even at the stupidly-low prices I was selling them for.

And then I got stuck at about 8000 books, still 500 over my target.
So I dug in and went through the collection a third time. This time I pulled series which I did enjoy but knew I would probably never re-read and weren't part of a larger series. These were in fact a little harder to part with, but I know that the people who bought them will enjoy them as well.

Series like : Silver Surfer (80s-90's), The New Mutants, Xmen Hidden years, Batman Brave and Bold (70's), The Flash (70's-80's) and West Coast Avengers. Selling these put me well under 7500 books and a much trimmer collection.

What can I say...I'm a Silver and Bronze-age fan who thinks comics stopped in 1985 with Secret Wars.

And to celebrate how spiffy my collection now looks I made this video. No more crowded shelves, no more stray books and boxes, all sorted, graded and taken care of.

I know it's pretty small, but by clicking on the rectangle next to the HD button you can watch it in full screen mode and make out the details.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Jolly Green Giant

Well after what seems like forever I managed to complete my Incredible Hulk series.. but not really. I took me over a year to get the very last issue I needed, not that it's that rare but I was never in the right place at the right time. But this week I managed to snag Incredible Hulk #180 and that was all she wrote.

Here's a little scan, the grade isn't anything to write home about, but it's good enough for now. A nice little extra bonus is that the book was signed by Herb Trimpe.

Now Hulk #180 is an odd little book, mainly because it has the very first Wolverine in it, but it's not considered to be Wolverine's first appearance. And that's why the next issue is about 10X to 15X as expensive as this book. Hulk #181 is THE bronze age key and widely accepted as the "first Wolverine".

But then there's this :

Yes, that's the very last panel of issue #180 ... still so sure that #181 is the first appearance of everyone's favorite mutant ?
Now I know I won't convince anyone as most people use these three arguments to "overlook" issue #180. Feel free to subscribe to some/all/none of them.

1) ”Wolverine’s appearance in #180 is a teaser/advertisement for the next issue. He’s not a part of the story in that issue.”
2)”You don’t see much of Wolverine in #180. #181 is the real introduction of the character where we learn what he’s about.”
3)”It’s not considered a full first appearance if it’s a one-panel cameo at the very end of the issue...those don't count”

What I am sure about is that issue #180 won't be skyrocketing in value. A lot of people who firmly believe that #180 is the key have been investing in this book with the hope that some day the world would catch up and that this book would be way up there value-wise with #181. Never going to happen, every year the gap between the two books is getting bigger and bigger.

But enough about these two books... at the very start I mentioned that I completed the Incredible Hulk series...but not really. Well there's a reason for that. The Incredible Hulk starts with issue #102 (1968) and my run continues until #586 (or Hulk V3 #112 ....stupid Marvel)... that's 485 issues + the annuals. But there's more. Before the start of the series, Hulk starred in Tales to Astonish from
issue #60 (Oct. 1964) through to issue #101 (and then continued in Incredible Hulk #102... first issue of the new series). So I need to get those issues as well...someday
But wait, there's more still. Before the Tales to Astonish run there was a short-lived Incredible Hulk series in 1962 which only lasted 6 issues... So I need to get those as well...and Hulk #1 isn't exactly cheap.

But at the moment I'm glad I managed to complete this series, and with some luck I should be able to complete a few other large series this year. Stay Tuned

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