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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The final bricks in the wall.

Pop quiz hotshot, what do Incredible Hulk #92, X-men #63 and Sandman Mystery Theater #66, #69 & #70 all have in common ? Give up ? I thought you would, well I got them all in a single package this week and they each were the final issues I needed to complete those three series.

It's a nice coincidence that I managed to complete three series all at once, especially considering, the X-men series took me five years, the Hulk four and the Sandman MT books have been on my want list since 2007 !!
So how come it took me this long to get them and was it pure serendipity that I managed to get them all in the same month ?

Now none of them are particularity expensive, the Overstreet Price guide has the Hulk #92 (in NM) at $5, The X-men #63 guides F/VF at $60 and the Sandman Mystery Theater are at best worth a few bucks each. The trouble was finding them in the first place and getting a decent deal in the process.

X-men #63 was easy to find, it's plentiful in any grade and never sells over guide. It's one of the better issues of the first X-men series, Neal Adams goodness and a cool Magneto cover. But for some reason it ended up the last issue I still needed to get. I really don't like paying $14.00 in shipping for a $50 book...so each time I saw one for sale I was hoping to bundle it with something else to save on shipping, but I struck out every time and passed.

By sheer chance a collector was selling a bunch of Silver Age X-men books, including this one AND some modern books..including the elusive Incredible Hulk #92.

Now Hulk #92 is the very first Planet Hulk issue, which is the best Hulk storyline of the last 20 years, so collectors have been scrambling for this book which starts it all. Last year I was able to purchase the entire Planet Hulk run...with #92 missing. Every comic book store I've been to in the last 3 years had this issue missing...Sure they were on eBay, but at 2X to 3X the guide price (and then I would have to break my rule of paying shipping for a single book as well). But like I said I finally found a seller who was selling it a reasonable price and had another book I wanted.

And then there were the Sandman Mystery Theater books. A lesser known Vertigo title, but one of the very best from the 1990's (not to be confused with Neil Gaiman's Sandman series). Sandman MT lasted for 6 years and never disappointed, if you go back to this post from May 2007 you'll see I was already raving about the series...and I was also boasting that I had completed it. Well I wasn't lying, I was only being stupid...I thought the series stopped at #65 and later found out it went on another 5 issues. Which of course,I didn't have.

So I started hunting them down which turned out very difficult. The final five issues didn't have a large print run as the series was slated for cancellation and a lot of comic book stores didn't even bother to order the final two issues.
Issues #69 and #70 were particularly difficult to find. Remember these are basic $3 books which will never appreciate or become valuable..and still Mile High comics is selling #69 for nearly $15 (5X guide) and doesn't even have a single copy of #70 for sale. The only people buying these are the idiots like me who complete series and just have to had every single issue.

But getting all of them was more than worth it, nothing beats the feeling of getting a series complete, and when you manage to do more than one in a year, not to mention a week, it's a real red letter day on my calendar.

With X-men #63 I now have X-men #1 to #250 complete, I used to have #251 - #450 as well, but I sold those in the big purge of 2010.

With Incredible Hulk #92 I now have amassed my longest and completest run ever.
* Incredible Hulk V1 #1 - #6
* Tales to Astonish #59 - #101
* Incredible Hulk V2 #102 - #474
* Incredible Hulk V3 #1 - #112

That's 544 consecutive Hulk issues from 1962 tot 2007 (when the series ended and I did as well)

And with those Sandman issues, I can finally proclaim Sandman Mystery Theater #1 - #70 complete (and yes, this time I've checked to see that #70 is really the last issue)

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