I've been watching a number of places for a cheap couple of Atlas Masterworks volumes in the variant gold frame cover to match my other masterworks...

 

I recently had to settle for a non-variant cover for  Tales to Astonish #11-20 Masterwork #94, I am sad to say.  I couldn't resist the $30 price on it, compared to the $125 that was being asked for the variant cover.  But then I scored a variant cover, so I've got the MINT shrinkwrapped classic copy up for sale on ebay, and continue my hunt for the following:

 Tales of Suspense #32-54   Masterworks #186

(and Avengers #112-118 Masterworks #179 as well)

(and Human Torch/Strange Tales #101-117 Masterworks #66 as well)

Now, I know that there are non-variant versions around, but I'm unwilling to buy them, unless they are dirt cheap.... or at least reasonable.


  In particular, I value the two or four page introductory comments almost as much as the issues and artwork reprinted inside!  That's almost worth the price of admission...sometimes.

(There's only so many times you can read Stan Lee dancing around the issues, but sometimes someone else...an expert  like Dr. V or a fan like Michael Allred or Art Adams... can add some insight. And sometimes, there's a blow by blow description of why personnel changed and changed again like how Roy Thomas described his Avengers run.  So, you never know what you're going to get.

[But I will say, the two page comment by Michael Allred in TTA Vol. 2 masterwork is worth it! So funny! Especially when he writes his on biography blog!]

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I should update you that my unreasonable quest for all the Atlas Era Masterworks from the early 60s has just about drawn to a close...however, I found a few surprising things:

 

First, there are virtually NO copies of Marvel Masterworks #186 on the resale market.  I'm not sure why this is.  The Fourth Volume of Tales of Suspense (with the man being dragged off to the Behive on the cover) appears in several listings on ebay and elsewhere, but I have found only ONE store that is selling the Variant cover, and the price is far, far too high for this odd assortment of last pickings.  I wonder if it just didn't sell, or priced too high, or just what's going on here.

 

Second, try as I might to bid for the earliest Atlas Masterwork #57 Tales of Suspense #1-10, I continually get beaten out by someone else swooping in at the last moment and bidding far too much for what the volume is worth.  Now, there are standard covers on the resale market, and I may just have to settle for one of those.

 

I'm finding a couple of copies of the Amazing Fantasy Omnibus show up on the resale market, but they are frequently overpriced, and I'm finding they are coming down in price. It should be possible to score one of these in the $60-80 dollar range soon.  Of course, I've already got mine, so I'm trying to give a heads up to those Ditko fans who want all Ditko volumes... cause this one is an absolute beaut!

 

So, I guess I'm set for now, unless a low price variant cover Marvel Masterworks #57  or  186 should tumble my way.

It's been a fun little quest, and I'm afraid I blew all my Christmas money that might have gone toward a ski weekend, but hey, get your priorities straight.  It's a guarenteed thrill to read Kirby, Ditko, Heck, Sinnott and Lee...compared to the once in a lifetime thrill you get just before you crash and break your leg while skiing, eh?!

Check westfieldcomics.com -- they're having a Masterworks sale right now. ($16 each.)

Thanks for the tip. I just went to Westfileld.com and found that the 4th Atlast Era Masterworks for TTA #32-55 was $62.74 in both variant and regular editions.  Can't find the first volume yet.  But I do spy a few $16 values amongst the Masterworks listings. Thanks.

I am delighted to report that I have spotted and secured a copy of the variant copy of TOS Masterworks #186 for my final purchase in this mad effort to collect all of the TOS and TTA and AAF masterworks.  And now that I have blown my budget for the year, I will be able to do some amateur analysis of the trends and features of that pre-hero Marvel/Atlas period.  For what it's worth....

I thrilled to say that my copy of TOS Masterworks #186 arrived today.  I REALLY enjoyed the word play and clever observations in the introduction by Berry Pearl, FFF.

However I note that my copy has a couple of small problems.
First, there's a razor blade slice in the front of the dust jacket...noted when the volume was advertised.

Second, there's a slight moldy smell, as if the volume has been kept in the basement or in a musty location. It's not enough to make you gag, but I find myself continually wanting to lean forward and sniff the paper, thinking that it might smell like an old comic book from my youth.  But it doesn't.

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