Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ya Did What to Yer Comics??

Doug: So here I sit, looking out at what was supposed to be 20+" of snow -- yeah, you read that right. Two feet, comrade! Storm of the century -- the 20th and the 21st!! We officially got 13" where I live. Suffice it to say that the snowblower's been abused, the winds were whipping (so I really have no idea how anyone can truly say how much snow we actually got), and we had no school yesterday nor today (making that up in May...). I've included a couple of photos for your viewing pleasure. Both are out our back door. The brown brick building is a vocational school that's about 80 yards out (the basketball hoop is part of a half-court in our own yard). If you notice, the drift up against the wall is slightly higher than the lock on the visible door. The second shot is actually to the left, of our neighbors' back yard. The snow is two feet up the trunk of the tree, and the drift running between our houses is over 3 feet deep. It was not a fun day cleaning up the driveways and sidewalks in our neighborhood!

Of course, there sits Karen out in the desert -- probably 80 degrees at her house today! The only person fit to live in the Chicago area right now would be Bobby Drake...

Doug: So, as long as there's a little time (as I write this), does anyone want to discuss Marvel Value Stamps? I'm one of those saps who had self-inflicted holes in his comics. I never did "Collect 'em All!", nor did I have that cool stamp album. I don't recall if I began to clip the Series 2 stamps. Even today, if I decide to buy some comics from that era, I cringe when I get to the letters page -- will it or won't it be chopped out of there? How about you?

EDIT (4:50 CT) -- Hey, I was just doing some reading for our upcoming look at the Avengers vs. Zodiac, and I came across the page below within the pages of Avengers #121. Seemed topical, so here it is!


Steve Who Comics said...

I had to dig my way out of 18" of snow a few weeks back, Doug, so I know how you feel.

As for the Marvel Value Stamps, I made a brief stab at collecting them by sticking them in my scrap book but gave up after one Killraven and one Black Panther stamp. Frankly, cutting them out was too much effort for me. Odd that they were called Value stamps but if you actually used them they reduced the value of your comics.

david_b said...

Here in Milwaukee, it was about 18" as well yesterday. Wasn't bad at all.., despite all the hype on the broadcasting mediums. Just shoveled for 2hrs (I'm old school, no snowblower..) with my iPod and headphones.

Yeeah, I regretfully cut a few out myself.. On eBay auctions I did see a few Marvel stamp books for the stamps, but they didn't look all that impressive.

I'm of the impression that Marvel didn't really anticipate the level of interest in them, or any significant prize for those 'true-believers' who were cutting up comics and collecting them.

For what..? A poster..?

I didn't get the sense that the Bullpen had any 'grand no-prize' or announced finale for the months of collecting.

Despite promoting interest in all these lesser-known lines such as 'TwoGun Kid' or 'Combat Kelly' or something (which obviously was the rationale..), it was a big misstep for them, resulting in the devaluing of millions of comics in the years to come.

Karen said...

Hey Doug, it's actually 31 degrees in Phoenix right now! Yesterday our high was only 46 - so while we aren't inundated with snow, it's been very cold and windy here!

I did collect the stamps, and even had the stampbook and funky Spider-Man poster that came with it. I never got all of them though, and I sure wish I hadn't cut up my books for them. They are a major problem for those of us who collect bronze age titles. There have been a number of times I've been burned when buying an old issue only to find alter the stamp missing. Now I usually ask to open the book and check.

Mile High comics was good about replacing an issue of Captain Marvel that I ordered from them a few years back when I found the stamp missing. I was surprised though that they graded a book as Very Fine with the stamp missing. I wonder if they even checked the interior pages?


Kid A said...

I was a bit too young to collect comics during the Bronze Age, but I have tried to be careful when buying them from that time period now. I, too, have been burned. I used to be too lazy to check every page of a comic I bought to make sure it was intact. I would just look at the front and back cover and call it good.
Karen, I've wondered about Mile High's grading practices myself with some of the "NM" purchases I've made being more like Fine+, but as you said, their customer service is great about taking care of stuff like that. They used to do auctions on their site, and I was a lucky winner of an early Daredevil that was somehow lost after it supposedly reached my doorstep. After one email, they sent another book out in the same condition no questions asked.

Edo Bosnar said...

Man, now I cringe when I remember the stuff I did to my comics for about the first 3 or so years that I was buying them (i.e. about 1st to 3rd grade). Not only did I cut out those "value" stamps, I also cut out panels or just the specific characters. Sometimes I also "enhanced" the drawings with my own artwork - and if I happened to have anything in black and white, I treated it like a coloring book...

Anonymous said...

Hi All,
Over here in London, it’s 10 degrees plus ( that’s about 50F+ to you) , blue skies & sunshine, not a snowflake to seen ( though I did have my car written off in the snow & ice last month, so I’m not gloating too hard).

On the subject of MVS, I would never have dreamed of cutting up a comic, but I guess that was one advantage of being here in the old country...US Marvel comics were as scarce as rocking horse droppings, so you treated them with respect.

Doug - correct me if I’m wrong here, but when they launched them in 74, they (Marvel) actually didn’t know what they were for themselves? I remember reading on a Bullpen Bulletin that they ‘hadn’t decided yet’ what the rewards / prizes / incentives were going to be, and they’d been appearing for months before anyone knew why they were collecting them.
Actually, I still don’t know. I remember something about free admission to comic cons, which I thought were free to get into anyway. My heart goes out to those of you that chopped up your comics for nothing.


PS Doug / Karen – can we please have a topic on titles (of stories) if you haven’t already done so? Some of the most wonderful (& awful) titles have cropped up over the years. I was sure if I saw ‘...a world he never made...’ on one more Marvel comic, I would smash! I loved it when they swiped titles from poetry or Shakespeare (Brain Child to the Dark Tower Came).
Some of them I never worked out what they refer to to this day. ‘This Beach head, Earth’ sounds like it’s copped from Churchill or someone, but I have no idea where. Also, I love X men Annual 5, but why the Hell is it called Ou la la Badoon? Do the badoon look French to American eyes? Actually, you might have a point there.

Doug said...

Richard --

I actually know the intent of the Badoon title you mentioned. In the states, in the 1970's, there was a popular line of hair care products from Vidal Sassoon. The tagline in their commercials was "Ou la la, Sassoon!". Hence the play on words in the comic title.

Overall, titles are not something I've ever given much thought to, but around here we're open to just about anything. So who knows?

David -- If you've ever said you lived in Milwaukee before, I missed it. Lived there myself for a few years when I was a waif. But it was some important time, as that's where my location was when I got the Mego Batman with removable cowl, Origins of Marvel Comics, Son of Origins of Marvel Comics, and it's where we lived when my mom boxed up all of the blown-up Megos and sent 'em back -- and I got replacements (I've told that story around here recently). Yep -- went to South 78th St. School for 2nd-4th grade, and then we moved back to the Chicago Southland. Pretty good memories, though!

Edo -- when I was 6 or 7, I made my own comic book. The first several pages, however, were clippings from the corner boxes and mastheads of the Marvel and DC comics (respectively). I'll bet it's some cute artwork! Unfortunately, it's long gone!

Karen -- 31 is very cold? Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!! It's 10 here today and my son is walking around the house in shorts and a t-shirt. But then, he's a dumb teenager.


Steve Does Comics said...


I've always assumed, "This Beach Head, Earth," was a reference to the 1950s sc-fi movie, "This Island Earth," in which a couple of Earth scientists find themselves caught up in a war between two alien worlds.

Karen said...

Steve said: "I've always assumed, "This Beach Head, Earth," was a reference to the 1950s sc-fi movie, "This Island Earth," in which a couple of Earth scientists find themselves caught up in a war between two alien worlds."

Yup. Most of the chapters of the Kree Skrull War were named after famous science fiction films or stories. "The Andromeda Swarm" = "The Andromeda Strain", "Godhood's End" = "Childhood's End", etc.

@Doug: OK pal, 31 degrees may not be cold to you, but for me, that's pretty bone chilling! Enjoy your bragging rights now -when summer rolls around I can talk about our 120 degree days. Not that I'm looking forward to it, mind you!


Fred W. Hill said...

I clipped a few of those Value Stamps out of my comics, which seems so stupid now! I suppose that raised the value of those issues that weren't clipped! Does make you wonder what the hell the Bullpen was thinking, especially considering how much of the staff at that time consisted of Silver Age fans who became pros in the Bronze Age. You'd think at least one of them would have protested against encouraging kids to mess up their funny books.
Looking forward to your peek at the Avengers/Zodiac mix-up as that was another of my fave Englehart epics.

Doug said...

Fred --

If all goes according to plan, the Avengers/Zodiac tussle should commence on Valentine's Day and run for three weeks.

Stay tuned!


david_b said...


I actually grew up in Beaver Dam, but spent a lot of time with family and grandparents here in Milwaukee, and bought my house by Mayfair back in '93.

REALLY looking forward to the Avengers-Zodiac column coming up. I'm always filling holes in my back-issue department, but having just gotten into the Avengers in '73 smack in the middle of their Defenders crossover, the Zodiac story was a solid three-issue battle filled with great pacing, excellent characterizations, exciting action, surprises, and lots of depth and development of my favorite Avenger at that time, the Swordsman.

One of the best, way-overlooked Avengers story arcs..

Redartz said...

As Steve Who and david b admitted, I too trimmed the stamps from my comics. I actually ordered the book and managed to fill it completely ( oblivious to what was being done to those 100 innocent comics). Never did see any benefit from the stamps; actually traded it at a recent convention for some nice silver age books. Guess that would be a benefit...

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