While the literary world is mourning the passing of one superhero right now (rest in peace,Gabriel Garcia Marquez!) and Christians everywhere are celebrating another this weekend, I’ve been thinking about comic book heroes after taking my boys to Wondercon in Anaheim, Calif.
It was the perfect opportunity to make some acquisitions like these
and also to conduct a little research on what’s-selling-for-what in the superhero market these days. I still have a bunch of old comics from my younger days, and they should be worth something, right? I just didn’t realize how much.
Among the new acquisitions, I absolutely had to have a copy of “The Wedding of Scott Summers and Jean Grey” from X-Men, even though it’s disappointing. Chris Claremont, Dave Cockrum, and John Byrne ripped little kids’ hearts apart with “The Dark Phoenix Saga” back in the 1980s, and this issue is an attempt to heal up what’s unhealable. I’m glad to have it, but the entire thing is far too sentimental to measure up to what Claremont & Company created. They chose the best, and only way to conclude that story. Nuff said.
On the other hand, nothing that the immortal Jack Kirby ever created can disappoint. While the price tag on his “New Gods” series scared me off (for the time being, at least), I picked up this nifty issue of “The Demon” instead. Switching companies, from Marvel to DC, did nothing to dilute or change his signature style and voice. Open these pages and you instantly know where you are and whose world you’ve entered. Kirby was a true comics mythologist, and in this issue he gives us another terrific origins story for the aptly-named demonologist Jason Blood. Beware, faint-hearted readers!
Finally, I spotted the name of “Claremont” on the cover of a series about the heroes known as “The Sovereign Seven”:
and when I realized that the name belonged to the same fellow who created the Dark Phoenix tales, and that he wrote this series for DC, not Marvel, I had just one reaction: I’m in!!!
As far as my 401(k) is concerned, my friends, Yours Truly owns several special old editions of certain comics, but I never knew their value. I never bothered to hunt in any comics price guides or surf e-Bay to see what they were worth.
One of these is an early issue of Daredevil, his battle against the Purple Man in #4, before the blind crusader switched to his devil-red costume:
… as well as this early appearance of storyteller Frank Miller (“300,” “Sin City,” “The Dark Knight Returns”) in Daredevil:
Even then, early in his career, Miller had a fully mature, sophisticated touch. This issue is creepy! There’s also a later issue of DD’s that features Miller’s introduction of the assassin Elektra:
In my mind, I can still see that comic book rack in the drugstore — I can still hear it squeaking as my mother yelled at me and I frantically searched for something to buy. Elektra’s silhouette and the look on Daredevil’s face closed the deal for me.
And then there’s the Dark Phoenix climactic issue (mentioned above) which is nothing short of Greek Tragedy, Marvel-style:
Well, my good friends, I found that these single issues range from $100 to several hundred dollars. I certainly can’t quit my job anytime soon, but it was a nice discovery — sort of like finding some old savings bonds in the attic that once belonged to Granny.
It’s also a nice vindication of a childhood obsession, too. See? All that lawn-mowing money didn’t go to waste afterall! What kind of stock portfolio gets this kind of return on investment?!
Not to mention that my boys and I have several more boxes of old comics to examine. Who knows what else we’ll find?!!