Monday, March 28, 2005

Happiness = Hidden Gems

I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I have 7 short boxes of unread and unfiled comic books. These are books that I bought over the past decade or so -- probably in bulk from convention bargain boxes -- that were set aside without being read or cataloged into the collection.

Most of the books are midgrade horror, reprint books or newer than 1980.

That said, I was pleasantly surprised to find this gem among the books not worth the paper they are printed on.

Superman 193... a nice glossy VF/NM 9.0

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Wild and Crazy Email Requests

A member of StarArchive performed an experiment. He posted a fake email address for Steve Martin on a few autograph collecting newsboards to see how fast an address could be flooded with autograph requests. Within 3 days, he reported over 200 emails requesting autographs.

  • 21 were for charities (9 different people representing American Cancer society)
  • 98 people claimed they were under age 18
  • 15 people wrote multiple times using different emails but the same shipping address (one guy wrote 6 times)
  • 21 people used less than 2 sentences (e.g., Can you send me an autograph to me?)
  • 71 people asked for multiple autographs (1 of them asking for 20 for his classmates)
  • 82 people were not from the U.S.
  • 5 offered to send a SASE
  • 2 people were rude
  • 1 person claimed to be on his death bed (yet sent another request acting like a kid)
  • 46 asked for the photos to be personalized
  • 9 people said they wouldn't sell it on eBay, 1 said they would
  • Movie most often mentioned - The Jerk
  • 66 people claimed Steve Martin is their favorite
  • 1 person loved Steve Martin in The Coneheads movie
  • 1 person loved Steve Martin in The Hunt for Red October
  • 1 person loved Steve Marin of 7th Heaven (I think that was Steve Allen)
  • 2 people mentioned 9/11
  • 3 people mention the Tsunami (2 were collecting autographs for it)
  • 34 mentioned SNL, 4 said it sucks now
  • 2 used the phrase "Wild and Crazy Guy"
  • 1 mentioned that he was gay
  • 2 said that grey hair is sexy (1 was the gay guy)
  • 22 were obvious form letters
  • 2 used profanity

The greed and sleazy dishonesty is, unfortunately, not a surprise. Given this, we should all understand why many celebrities no longer respond to autograph requests.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Future Comic Book Prices

Check out this great article by Gene Park. I always enjoy Gene's logical and analytical posts on the CGC message boards.

I agree with Gene and as I've stated countless time on various message boards, the comic book buying demographic is dying. Today's 5 year olds will not be interested in Silver Age comic books 30 years from now. They aren't interested in comics now, why will they be willing to pay thousands and thousands of dollars for them in 30 years?

Once the current crop of serious collectors dies off or sells off in 20-30 years, who will be left to buy these books? Will there be enough demand to sustain prices? No way.

Certainly iconic books such as Action #1 and Spider-Man #1 will maintain value because they cross the "comic book collecting only" line into the area of pop culture / Americana, so they maintain a much higher level of interest from a larger audience. Non-key issues do not cross this line, and their value will plummet once no one is left to pay big bucks for the more esoteric issues. In 2038, very few people will care that Spider-Man #28 is tough in high grade because it has a black cover.

The rally cry of the die hard fanboys is, "As long as they are making movies, people will want the comic books." This logic is laughable. To today's kid, the Spider-Man franchise IS the movies and videogames. What makes anyone think that today's kids are going to generate a spontaneous interest in old funny books decades from now?!?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Congratulations To Me

As of March 10, 2005, the UACC Ethics Board has a new member, Steve Zarelli.

Steve will be helping Chairman Al Hallonquist and fellow members Robert Palazzo and Gary King. Steve Zarelli is well know for his Pen and Quill articles and his long time activites as a collector. Thank you for taking on his job, Steve.

Michael Hecht
UACC President

I told my fiance about the appointment last night, and her reaction was, "So does this mean you'll be spending MORE time on the computer?!?"

Thursday, March 10, 2005

This Dealer is Horrible Stuff

Neat Stuff Collectibles is just the worst.

This dealer is so incompetent, it borders on a scam. If an organization lists far more items than any reasonable person would think they could efficiently and accurately handle, mistakes are going to happen in volume.

Now, are they really "mistakes" if they would be foreseen by any reasonable person? Are they really "mistakes" when the same problems keep happening over and over again?

Or are these foreseeable events that Neat Stuff considers acceptable "margins of error?" They know that they will get enough positive feedbacks to cover the "margin of error" and maintain their eBay status.

I've ordered from them 3 times. The first order took months to arrive and I had to email them numerous times to get them to mail my order.

I would have never ordered from them again, but they made some statements online that they were improving their service, so I gave them another chance. The second order was delivered promptly with no problems.

The third order, however, will be the last.

I received the order after several weeks. It was 100% incorrect. None of the books I ordered were enclosed... I had obviously received someone else's order.

I wrote numerous emails with zero response. I called and left messages with no response. (Do you think if they sent me an Amazing Fantasy #15 in error they would have answered my emails and calls?)

Finally, a CGC Board member gave me another number to call. I spoke to a gentlemen that promised to issue a full refund, send the correct books and give me additional credit to make up for the error. I sent back the books I received in error and never heard from them again. I never got my credit, never got the correct books and never got a refund.

They had strung me along for so long, and so much time had elapsed that I couldn't even neg them. (Interestingly, other collectors have reported that leaving a retaliatory negative is the ONLY thing NeatStuff does quickly and efficiently.)

Learn from my example and avoid this dealer.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Farewell Luna!

Quintessential New York City band Luna played its final shows this past weekend at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend.

However, I contacted the band's bassist, Britta Phillips, and she kindly agreed to have the band sign a few items that I would send.

This photo means a lot to me. I took this photograph when Luna played at the World Trade Center in August 2001. You can see the banner in the background says, "Center Stage at the Twin Towers." Now that it's signed, it is a treasure to me.

They also signed a Les Paul pickguard for me...

These great mementos take some of the sting out of not being able to attend their last shows.

Farewell to a wonderful band...