Wednesday, November 23, 2005

National Convention Report

As I wrote earlier, I attended the National Convention in NYC last Friday.

Overall, the con was weak. First, it could hardly be called a "National." While the dealers there were good (and no knock on them), but it was the usual Big Apple Con suspects... all northeast dealers (plus Motor City and Harley Yee.) I went expecting to see a wider variety of dealers and did not. There did not appear to be nearly as many dealers as attended past Nationals.

Second, many of the scheduled guests were not there (Romita, Adams, etc), even though they were being promoted as being there all 3 days.

On a positive note saying I enjoyed chatting with Blazing Bob (High Grade Comics), Steve Borock, Brent (Quality Comix) and Ted (Superworld.)

So... on to the pick-ups...

I arrived just before 1 o'clock and my first stop was Superworld where I quickly looked for my most wanted books. I chatted with Ted for a few minutes, but they didn't have what I was looking for in the grade I needed. As I chatted with Ted, Tom Brulato (and his assistant?) were scouring through a new high grade collection Ted had acquired. They seemed to be pulling a number of books, leaving some table scraps for us lesser beings. Ted noted that he was sorry to see all the trouble with Ewert as Jason had been a good customer and could always be counted on to buy a stack of books.

Next off to Blazing Bob. He had some great books at decent prices, but just not the ones I needed. Bob made a few snarky, yet funny remarks, and I moved along.

My next stop was with Steve Wyatt and the Don Rosa Collection. Steve is a super nice guy and it was a pleasure chatting with him. I was thrilled to find many of the books on my want list still in the Rosa Collection. Best of all, the books were priced at guide... not bad for true NM books.

Here is the Rosa COA

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First, I pulled 4 Bronze Age Captain Americas, thus completing my Jack Kirby run... issues 193-214 all NM-ish or very close. The one thing some of the Rosa's suffer from are non-colorbreaking bends. So, even the VFs still have NM-ish eye appeal.

Don Rosa Captain America 193

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The story in Iron Man 80 is an abomination, but the cover rocks. Kirby really is King.

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I was thrilled to upgrade a number of Fantastic Fours with NM Rosa copies. This is my favorite. Believe it or not, due to the super thick spine, Fantastic Four 236 is very, very tough in NM or better. This Rosa copy is a slam-dunk for a 9.4 with a perfect spine... and it costs me $6. Could be my best value of the show.

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I also picked up some EC "East Coast" reprints from the mid-70s from the Rosa Collection. Love these covers...

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The next booth I hit had some sweet X-Men that were grossly undergraded. How often do you see that? The books were so undergraded, that I had to ask the dealer if I was missing anything! He responded that he does mail order and he doesn't like returns... so he grades everything low. Fine by me!

He graded and priced this X-Men 98 as a Fine+ (6.5). I consider myself a very strict grader, and I think it's an 8.5!

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This X-Men 100 was graded and priced as a 7.0... I think it's a 9.0 with a bright white cover to boot!

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If every dealer graded and priced like this guy, we'd never need CGC.

As I mentioned in previous posts, I went looking for ECs and WWII cover action Comics. There was only one WWII Action cover in the room and it was badly restored. Disappointing. As far as ECs go, there were some in the room, but far less than I expected, and prices seemed high -- full guide or more for midgrade books.

I probably paid a few bucks more than I should have for this beauty, but it was at the top of my want list. I love this cover... a snapshot of a dark and twisted bondage scene... very edgy and disturbing.

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I picked up this Two Fisted tales 41 from Harley Yee for a surprisingly good price:

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Last, but not least, I checked this 8.0 beauty from my want list courtesy of JHV -- a good dealer, by the way... Ah, maybe it could be an 8.5 on a good day...

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Before I knew it, the afternoon had passed and I had to catch the 5:45 Amtrak back to Upstate NY.

As I mentioned previously, the variety of dealers and availability of guests was disappointing. I actually went home with half of my show money still in my pocket... that has never happened before.

It's too bad that the greatest city in the world can't get comic shows nearly as good as those held in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, etc.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Censored Cover

This Vault of Horror 32 features a censored cover and internal artwork. The story involves a businessman who goes camping with his partner, and to get the business to himself, buries a hatchet in the top of his partner's head. Of course, the dead partner returns to haunt his murderer. Instead of seeing the hatchet lodged in his head, the cover and internal artwork were altered to show this bizarre white glow on top of the victim's head.

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The censored images were removed in contemporary reprints and the hatchet is visible. However, I do not know if the uncensored images feature the actual original artwork, or the hatchet artwork was re-created for the modern printings.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Road Back

It was one year ago today that I was down-sized from my job.

Finding a good job was much more difficult and more of a test than I anticipated. Seven months of unemployment was a real trial of will and character. (I'd like to thank Marsh & McLennan for the gray hairs that didn't seem to be there last year at this time.)

Well, that phase of my life is over now, but I did have a profound effect on the way I think about some things. A good humbling and humiliation will do that to you. I now know that every single one of us is a simple twist of fate away from traveling a rougher road in life.

I'm working now, I'm married and a kid is on the way, so life is good again.

In fact, last year I cancelled my plans for attending the National in NYC because I was laid-off 4 days before the show. Returning to the show this Friday will be a lot of fun, but it will also be a personal triumph for me.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Was eBay Hacked?

The latest email scam is a look-alike emails that invites the recipient to join the Powerseller Program. Follow the link and sign in and you will be enrolled...

I'm embarrassed to admit, this one actually got me a few weeks ago. [blush]

I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to stuff like this, but this email took phishing to the next level.

The email passed most of the scam tests.

  • It was addressed to my eBay email address (which I only use for eBay and nowhere else. So the scammer must have the ability to get email contact info from eBay.)
  • The site it sent me to what appeared to be a secure https:// address within the eBay domain
  • And it came to me after I sold a bunch of stuff on eBay, so the timing "made sense."

Given the fact that they used my secret eBay email address and timed it after I had sold a bunch of items, actually makes me think that the scammer either hacked into eBay or obtained inside info in some other way.

After following the link and entering my data, I grew concerned, so I quickly changed my password. No harm, no foul, but frightening nonetheless.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Good, The Bad and The Restored.

GOOD NEWS: Here's a book I thought I sold years ago, but I actually found it in an unfiled box!

BAD NEWS: It has a small tear seal on the back lower right corner. I guess my resto detection skills are better now than they were when I bought this 10 - 12 years ago.

Still a nice book, but it goes to show you even midgrade books can have all sorts of hidden surprises.

I really like the Shock SuspenStories because they featured a mix of story types. Each issue might have one horror, one crime, one war and one sci-fi story. The common thread was each story had a EC "Shock" ending. Great stuff.

Shock SuspenStories #10

Frontline Combat

Next up, Frontline Combat #6.

Looking back through these books, I'm surprised at the fairly decent paper quality. A slight bit of toning on the perimeter of the covers, but no brittleness and the inside pages are OW to cream at worst. The cover whites are still fairly white... little or no transfer stain. Not bad at all for books that were probably never stored properly until they were 20 or 25 years old.

If anyone has any info on the paperstock used for ECs, please comment below...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Got The EC Bug Bad

Now the bug has really gotten into my system. I need another EC #1...

I picked this up at a NYC or Long Island con.

Frontline Combat #1. Probably a 6.0/6.5

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To be continued...

ECs on Parade

After the Crime SuspenStories 14, I went a few years before my next EC. I bought this at a convention in NYC or Long Island in the early 90s.

Shock SuspenStories 1. About a 5.5... maybe a 6.0.

I love the look of revulsion on the reporter's face (right.) I presume it's the Warden throwing the switch in the background... he looks a little too happy, smug and self-satisfied, doesn't he?

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Friday, November 04, 2005

My First EC

I was bitten by the EC bug years ago, but drifted away in favor of the superb Gemstone Reprints in the mid-90s. Why buy the originals when the reprints were available for $2 each?

Well, a recent series of the threads on the STL Message Boards have rekindled my interest in the original EC comics. I will certainly be looking at ECs at the National in NY on the 18th.

This the first EC I ever bought. I picked this up in the late 80s at Fox Creek, a small antique fair in Upstate New York. At $5, it's one of my best comic bargains ever.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Action Comics #40 Signed by Siegel & Shuster

I had this sweet Action Comics #40 Signed by Siegel & Shuster on my watch list. It would have made a great early Christmas present to myself.

Sadly, the price went through the stratosphere. Hmmmm... gotta love those zero feedback users that came out of the woodwork to push this one up beyond all reasonable boundaries. Interestingly, the last "real" bidder topped out around what the book should go for... about $400.