What to do with a comic that has been snipped? Or ripped?
Or has missing pages.
No dealer wants run-of-the-mill books that had an ad clipped
out or a page missing. They are next to worthless. Dealers will
risk the investment of a reading copy of a key book, such as
an Action 1, the first Superman, or Amazing Fantasy 15, the first
One option I had with a number of historically insignificant
but artistically cool books I bought in collections that have
been mutilated, by my standards anyway, has been
to frame it.
After all, it is art.
Imagine how I slobbered when I thought I was bringing home
as part of a collection a mid-grade Dell Four Color #371, also
known as Walt Disneys Mickey Mouse in the Inca Idol Case,
a 1951 book that carries a bit of value. The cover was penciled
and inked by artist Dan Gormley. I opened it up at the centerfold
when I got home; the usual first move to ensure the book is all
there. Alas, it was not. Argh.
It was also true for a Red Ryder 72a, a Canadian edition
of the American comic from August 1949. All that remained were
a few pages. The best of what survived was the back cover with
pin-up art of a cowboy riding a bucking horse by American comic
artist and Western painter Fred Harman. It isn't four-colour,
but the inks are crisp, sharp and full of action.
they were incomplete comics, I didn't want to toss them. I shake
and sweat at the thought of trashing a comic book, even if it
was incomplete. The same is true with books and even most news
and arts magazines. Faced with the dilemma of whether to have
a pile of damaged comics with little or no value shoved in a
box hidden somewhere in the basement, or throwing them out, that
little internal light bulb suddenly went on: Why not use
art as art?
Frames don't have to be expensive. I purchased what I needed
at discount dollar stores.
I put what was left of the Dell Mickey comic into a frame
and the single Fred Harman pin-up page in another.
I've now got Mickey and Cowboys hanging up in the powder
room. Cool, if I say so myself and it beats the mass-produced
artwork of a barely-in-focus drop of water on a blade of grass
usually found in powder rooms or sports art that pepper man caves.
Next for framing for another wall is a true key Silver Age
book that is missing too many pages to be sold: Batman 181, the
first appearance of Poison Ivy. I bought it for $3; I thought
it was a steal. In the end, it was me who was conned. Pages were
missing, affecting the continuity of the story. Of course, thats
why it was only $3.
Which brings us to an important warning for buyers of Marvel
comics published between 1974 and 1976: Beware the missing Marvel
Value Stamps. These stamps, which were vignettes of various characters,
were and continue to be the blight of many collectors of Bronze
There were two series, A and B, and they were usually placed
in the letters pages. Many comic readers clipped the value stamps
out and taped or glued them into a booklet sold by Marvel. Sometimes,
the clipped stamp backed onto an advertising page, but they also
backed onto a story page. Oh, so many damaged comic books from
lesson here is to check the books from that era for any clipped
stamps. According to mvstamps.com,
more than 850 Marvel issues had just Series A stamps in them.
A sample of the list of major Marvel books which would be affected
include Amazing Spider-Man between 130 and 157, Avengers between
121 and 147, Captain America between 171 and 198, Captain Marvel
(not the Golden Age Captain Marvel known for yelling Shazam!)
between 32 and 43, Conan the Barbarian between 36 and 62, Fantastic
Four between 144 and 170, Hulk between 174 and 200, Man-Thing
between 3 to 14, Thor between 221 and 249, and Tomb of Dracula
between 18 and 45.
Most of these books would make additions to your collection
if they are not clipped, but great wall art if were clipped.
Not to be outdone, DC Comics did something similar, but the
stamps were all on a single page.
The lesson here is that each page should be checked before
buying a comic. But not all is lost if a collector comes across
a damaged issue, as it still has artistic value that can be framed
and hung, right next to the Roy Lichtenstein.
Let's Talk Comics with Rob Lamberti, who started collecting
comics when the going price was 12 cents an issue and Peter Parker
really was a teenager. He dabbled in the comic convention circuit
in the Toronto area for a while, but stopped to concentrate on
his career as a not-so-mild- mannered crime reporter for a great
metropolitan newspaper, where he hoped he managed to record a
little bit of history the past three decades.