We've all got a memory, a tale, of that one rare comic book  that we saw at a friend's house, at the beach, at the store, or the barber shop.

We have a memory of it, and of looking for it, or asking for it, or trying to trade for it, but never getting any luck in landing it.

Or, maybe against all odds, we DID find it, or scored it for a song.

This is your thread.  This is YOUR list.  This is where you should post that single most statisfying or frustrating pursuit.

 

I'll start:

When visiting my cousins, perhaps an hour north of our town in the middle 60s, I mentioned to them that I had fallen into reading and following the Fantastic Four.  Issue #60 had just come out, and I told t hem that it was the end of a major storyline with the Silver Surfer and Dr. Doom.  And that the last panel said, "Next: A New Danger Dawns".

My cousin made a smart-mouthed boast, "So, you don't know what the next issue is yet, huh?"

"NO, I don't," I admitted, instantly hooked and desirous for any information (He didn't have any idea either, but was just baiting me, teasing me.)  He refused to discuss it any further.

His mother, my aunt, remarked that "isn't that Marvel Comics the same as that Thor record you've got?"

Instantly, I was alert, as I knew there had been several LP records of the first Marvel heroes released in about 1965-66.  Cousin Kim had gotten one for his birthday or Christmas or something.

We went to their toy closet, and opening it up, found a tall stack of junk, notebooks, coloring books, kids books, comics, and odds and ends, that had been swept into a stack, out of sight. From among them, they pulled out the Golden Record album of Journey into Mystery #83, "The Stone Men from Saturn" debut of Thor.  The vinyl was not in a paper sleeve and faintly scratched, but intact, but the comic was missing. It should have been inside the sleeve with the black record.

I had only seen one similar record within the year. It was the FF version of the same release, and I had borrowed it and listened to the first FF adventure with the Mole Man, over and over. I had borrowed the record from another family, and returned it after a week.  But actually Thor wasn't as interesting to me, but I asked about the comic.  Comic books interested me.

"Oh, it's in there somewhere," said his mom, but she wouldn't let me unpack the closet and the topic was closed.

Several years later, we visited again, and I asked about the issue. No one was interested in pursuing it. I offered to unpack and repack the closet to find the issue, and while we did that quickly, we never found the issue. I quickly and carefully restacked the closet and regretfully put it out of my mind. It was gone.

 

About 18 years ago, my cousin Kim died. His had abused his liver and the transplant didn't take. He was dying of yellow jaundice. When we went up to see him for the final time, he was yellow-green and delerious. While we sat around making small talk, he was out of it on the couch.

Some how, the topic of the closet came up, and we opened it up. There in the top one or two items was the reprinted Thor adventure. It started on the inside front cover and ended on the inside rear cover.  I was puzzled, cause I didn't recall what this was at first. It had no price on it. I put it back on the stack and didn't bring it up during the wake.

On the ride home, it dawned on me that it was the long-lost missing reprint book that we had hunted for.  The key had been the lack of ads and that the story started and ended in b&w on the inside covers. There was no accounting for what had happened to it for 20 years. But now it was back!

Later that night, my cousin passed away, but we didn't return for the funeral.

I looked up the value of the book in the Overstreet price guide and mailed a letter to my surviving cousin, telling him what I thought the book was and what it was worth. I asked if he was interested in selling it, and he declined, saying it was part of his memories of his late brother. I understood. It was listed for just $4.00 in the guide. The memories were more precious. (Now, I see it listed for $1800!

I never saw it again.

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i don't think you're weird...just accustomed to the instant gratification, on-demand world of point and click.  Aren't we all?

I never tumbled to the fact that comics were coming out according to a regular repeating printing cycle. I just kept looking all the way down to the bottom of the bin.  But I did notice that all the Marvels were together...and all the DC were together...and all the Gold Key together... almost like uncovering the layers of earth stratum when doing an archaeological dig. Once you exhausted the Marvel layer, there was no point in digging any further.  ( I was a Marvel Fan-boy or Zombie, back when it was not an insult.)

I don't remember having that reaction, although I may have rose colored glasses,  possibly because I never knew what was supposed to be coming out on any particular day, and there was so much I was interested in that I wasn't frustrated by not finding a particular comic. But I wasn't collecting all of the MU, I was collecting comics from several publishers of stuff I liked. There was almost always plenty to buy, and almost any spinner I saw had a good chance of having something different that I was interested in.

I don't remember how I came up with the money for any of them. I know I often had to make choices and come back, but I don't remember how deep I ever went before making those choices.

The only moments of panic--which were fairly common, I admit--were when I picked up an issue and realized it wasn't the next one I needed. That could spur a frantic plotting of where I could go that I hadn't already gone to find one the one I missed before it was gone from those places. That wasn't always successful.

But I very much remember that feeling of knowing that a new spinner rack might not only have something of interest, but it might have something of interest that had been hoping to find.

You sound like you were a little more possessed with getting specific comics and had less time than I had to go looking. I don't know if that makes you weird. It's not like you were perusing every copy of every title to find the one with the best alignment of staples. That would be so weird...oh, wait, nevermind.

I still like the hunt, which mostly comes from checking out used-book stores looking for something interesting, and I miss not having that feeling when I walk into a comics store. It's a possibility, but not too likely.

-- MSA

I only started that OCD checking of the stapples as we got into the 70s, cause I kept reading that condition was important to later value....and that you should try to keep your comics flat, tight spine, never roll them, etc.

That's also why I started expanding my tastes and looking for reasons to buy additional Marvels.

It would have been so much easier to have had a steady income from a paper route, put my energy in riding the bike into that, and just picked up one copy of every Marvel that came out prior to the line expansion in 1968 (which, I have to admit in hind sight, really watered down the quality and dilluted the artwork from the masters...Ditko, Colan, Kirby, Heck, Adams, etc.

SO many of the stories and artwork suffered when the split books were spun off...plus we got Capt. Marvel, Silver Surfer, NBE and others that I can't recall right now... Just dilluted the quality but I didn't give up for 4 years ...2 years after Kirby left.)

It's also why I was shocked to discover SO many issues with double covers...that is, an assembly error, where two covers stuck together, and were stappled together on the single issue.  You might turn the cover, and there it would be again...instead of the splash page.  We value this rarities now, but a the time, I tore the outer one off and saved them in a growing little pile for future wall posters...that never happened.!

Emerkeith--

Here's your final page of the Ditko story in TTA #29, although recolored in Atlast Masterworks 144...

I saw a guy doing the staples thing once in the early 90s at my shop, back when everyone was double-bagging their comics. I think the only concern was if the staples were badly aligned. After that, I don't know how much that stuff affects condition. Obviously, any flaw in a $10,000 book that affects it some tenth of a percentage ends up being a lot, so it may have paid off.

But my books are mostly in BTH condition (and if they weren't before I started using them to write about, they are now),so staple alignment is not a big concern. You were clued into that stuff pretty early.

I didn't start to really flip through the books or examine them closely until the Dreaded Deadline Doom began to strike on a regular basis, and I'd snatch up the new issue and get home to find it was a reprint of something I already had. I wasn't collecting full runs of comics, I was collecting comics I wanted to read, and that wasn't one.

I agree with you, Kirk, I don't infer that's the devil. Especially since, if it was supposed to be, they almost certainly would have given him horns in the final panel and maybe shaded him red. Frankly, I think that would've been better than the undefined punishment from some mysterious guy.

-- MSA

Oh, I think E.D. is right on about it being a devil/punisher/judgement angel, or whatever.  don't trust the coloring on this, cause the earlier page or two alternately colors criminal Bogar, the "victim", the same shade of yellow, and then the barber...in this REPRINT book.  None of the colors reproduce 'right' on the glossy paper of Masterworks, but they're better than not

And Ditko can really draw sheets...white sheets, ghostly sheets, flapping sheets, you name it...he certainly has a tenancy to lean to them...and does them so well for this exact effect.  (Recall, "I am The Living Ghost" from TTA #15 as well! I reproduced those five pages elsewhere on this board once.)

I wasn't buying my new silver age marvel for condition either. I was buying what interested me...but reading comments in letters pages that talked about condition, preserving, bagging, etc, I was thinking I should be taking care of them more. And so, as I got older, I stopped lending them out, and made sure that they were flat, not rolled, etc.  What's a BTH condition?

BTH means beat to, um, heck.

Talking about staples, etc, takes me back. I think in this day of $3-$4 comics they have better quality control. It used to be common to see a single staple instead of two or an incorrectly cut cover (or interior pages). The cut might be half-way through the CCA seal with a very noticeable white edge (part of the back cover) on the left side. I also remember the double covers. I also removed them, but never kept them. Maybe none of them were nice enough covers to make me want to frame them. I seem to remember these imperfections were never DC books. I remember the Charlton books had a lot of off-register color plates. I actually have a Charlton book with the cover for one title and the interior of a different book.

...Meaning it's different coloring in this Masterworks , it's the only reprint there is , and better than none AND better than B&W , you mean ?????????

Kirk G said:

Oh, I think E.D. is right on about it being a devil/punisher/judgement angel, or whatever.  don't trust the coloring on this, cause the earlier page or two alternately colors criminal Bogar, the "victim", the same shade of yellow, and then the barber...in this REPRINT book.  None of the colors reproduce 'right' on the glossy paper of Masterworks, but they're better than not

And Ditko can really draw sheets...white sheets, ghostly sheets, flapping sheets, you name it...he certainly has a tenancy to lean to them...and does them so well for this exact effect.  (Recall, "I am The Living Ghost" from TTA #15 as well! I reproduced those five pages elsewhere on this board once.)

I wasn't buying my new silver age marvel for condition either. I was buying what interested me...but reading comments in letters pages that talked about condition, preserving, bagging, etc, I was thinking I should be taking care of them more. And so, as I got older, I stopped lending them out, and made sure that they were flat, not rolled, etc.  What's a BTH condition?

Yeah, although the masterworks may be the only chance that we have to see/read some of these old books, the fact of the mater is that each book has to be re-coded or re-colored to asssign new values to the pages.  The image may look the same in black and white, but the assignment of which color to which region (so critical to Ditko's work) is open to re-interpretation. In some instances, the colorist may see that the scene was supposed to be a night scene, and so, shade it more realistically than it appeared in the first printing.  Or decide that DD's costume would stand out better against a neutral grey wall, rather than that pink one as first printed.

I remember vividly enjoying the FF #41-43 issues when Vinnie C didn't fill in the backgrounds or left the majority of the interior household shots with blank walls, allowing for a robin-egg blue wash that the FF and evil FF costume stood out against really well.  But in the first reprinting in Marvel's Greatest Comics, those walls were changed to pale yellow, and the tone of the book changed for me.

Likewise, when the Marvel masterworks reprints a page on glossy stock, the ink doesn't seep in and mute a bit...but instead floats on top and seems more garish.  This also changes the impact of the story for me.  It's why I prefer the originals.

So I am suggesting that the original figure in the last panel of ED's remembered comic, TTA #29, may not have been yellow, but might have been Devil red.  But I don't know cause I've never seen it. Only he has.

Please excuse me for getting back on topic :) but my elusive silverage comic was Mystery In Space 68. I saw this as a house ad in some other comic and NEVER saw it in the racks. Ever. I had at that point never heard of Adam Strange and he seemed so new and I thought his costume was great, the pose on the cover was great and the title - The Fadeaway Doom - totally intrigued me. I only finally read the story in the Adam Strange SP and to tell the truth it made little or no impression on me, but that couldn't wipe out the memory of the yearning that I felt all these years.

Andy

According to the GCD, this Mystery in space #68 bore a date of June 1961. This issue has be reprinted twice here and here:

United States in The Adam Strange Archives (DC, 2004 series) #2 ([November] 2006)

There was also a science type feature on giant telescopes.

Of interest is the footnote where we find the note: "Keep this book from Andrew Horn"!

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