Rare Book Monthly

Articles - August - 2013 Issue

Comic-Con:  it's no laughing matter

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Comic-Con San Diego

Is it that time of year again?  Yup.  The festival of printed cartoons ran July 18th to July 21st in San Diego as in past years.  It’s close enough to Hollywood to attract real life cartoon characters and close enough to the Mexican border to reach the drug stores one may need to recover.  The event is organized by Comic-Con International, “a non-profit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular art.”  Thank God somebody has their back.  Mickey, Pluto and Superman are safe after all.  The fair manages to attract 100,000 visitors over 4 days and also manages not to be the only fair of its kind in the United States.  Chicago, Miami, Boston and Denver [among others] have their events.  Comics are no laughing matter.

Comic Con San Diego has been around for a while and I spoke with two San Francisco comic book store principals who have had long associations with the event, in both cases most of ten years.  James Sime of Isotope Comics didn’t go last year because of a death in the family [his cat] and didn’t go again this year to see if he could continue his addiction recovery.  “The show is a little much,” the crowds milling like the bulls at Pamplona.
  

Natalie Jumper who is a partner with Gary Buechler and Anthony Rivera in Comic Outpost [www.comicoutpost.com] were there and had a new attraction this year, video interviews with some of the real comic book characters; Dan Jurgens who wrote the Superman comics for a while, Gerry Duggan who writes Deadpool for Marble, Cody Vrosh, a free lance artist and Darick Robertson who draws the art for the smash comic title Ballistic.  England may have its royal family but so does the comic book world complete with capes, uniforms and disguises.

If none of this sounds familiar that’s okay.  Comics have become their own language and have their own blue bloods.  [Does this sounds like a new comic book title to anyone else?]

I asked Natalie what its like to be in the comics business.  They mainly sell new material to about 500 people visiting their shop on Ocean Avenue each week.  A typical transaction runs from $20 to $80 and she describes the business as very good.

For an east coast perspective I then called George Vasilakos at Zombie Planet in Albany, New York to see if they had sent anyone to the show.  Not this year and not in ten years since he moved east.  He does however take the family to the New York Comic-con for three days in the November each year.  “I wouldn't miss it.”  George, who has had his shop for 10 years and an active comic book business for five, said business is good, several hundred fans and collectors coming in each week.
  

For George the New York show is a family affair.  Mom and their three children 18, 16 and 10 will all be going with him for three days.  “I’m the obsessed collector but my children also collect.  They have been attracted by the images and become interested in the stories.”

I then spoke with Tom Key, a lifelong collector, who works at Oxford Comics in Atlanta, Georgia.  Tom is 46.  He didn't attend the recent Comic-con show either but expects to go to the Dragon-con in Atlanta in September.  Comics are a big part of his life.  “New comics are typically released once a month and, working here, I get an early look and sometimes buy.”  To the question, “is it an investment” he replied he hasn't bought comics with that expectation.  As to his collection, “I have them stored.  If I could I would look at them electronically.”  Condition is very important.  He has about 2,000 examples in his collection.

About the field generally – “Comics aren’t as taboo as they once were as movie studios have made superheroes a part of everyday life.”  As to women, “comics continue to be a man’s game.  The heroes are action figures, male power figures.”  He then mentioned “manga,” Japanese comics that many women prefer.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Gonnelli Auction House<br>Books and Graphics<br>19th, 20th and 21st April 2021</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br>Atlases and Maps</b
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br> Veneto and Venice, a Selection of Books from the XVI to XX century</b>
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 20<br></b>Rossini Gioachino, Baguette de chef d'orchestre appartenuta a Gioachino Rossini, dono del Comune di Passy. 1500 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Manetti Saverio, Storia naturale degli uccelli trattata con metodo. Cinque volumi. 1767. 18.000 €
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 21<br></b>Poe Edgar Allan, Double assassinat dans la rue morgue. Illustrations de Cura. 1946.
    <b><center>Gonnelli: Apr. 19-21<br>Books from XVI to XX Century</b>
  • <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Ronald Reagan. Series of 37 letters to Senator George Murphy, and related material, 1968-90. £50,000 to £70,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Chaim Weizmann. Autograph letter signed, to General Sir Gilbert Clayton, 6 September 1918. £20,000 to £30,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Sir Winston Churchill. Autograph letter signed, to Pamela, Lady Lytton, 1942. £20,000 to $30,000.
    <center><b>Sotheby’s<br>Collection of a Connoisseur:<br>History in Manuscript, Part 2<br>27 April 2021</b>
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Oscar Wilde. Five autograph letters signed, to Alsager Vian, 1887. £15,000 to £20,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Napoleon I. Letter signed to Admiral Ganteaume, ordering the invasion of England, 22 August 1805. £10,000 to £15,000.
    <b>Sotheby’s, through Apr. 27:</b><br>Horatio, Viscount Nelson, and Emma Hamilton. Two autograph letter signed, to Catherine and George Matcham, 1805. £6,000 to £8,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Frances Palmer, <i>Battle of Buena Vista,</i> chromolithograph, New York, 1847. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Antonio Colmenero de Ledesma, the earliest publication concerned solely with chocolate, first edition, Madrid, 1631. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Romans Bernard, <i>An Exact View of the Late Battle at Charlestown, June 17th, 1775,</i> engraving, 1776. $40,000 to $60,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> <i>A Short Narrative of the Horrid Massacre in Boston,</i> English edition, London, 1770. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> William Soule, <i>Lodge of the Plains Indians,</i> albumen print, 1872. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Manuscript document to enforce New York’s “Agreement of Non-Importation” during the heyday of the Sons of Liberty, New York, 1769. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Clarence Mackenzie, <i>Drummer Boy of the 13th Regiment of Brooklyn,</i> salt print with applied color, 1861. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b> Moses Lopez, <i>A Lunar Calendar,</i> first Jewish calendar published in America, Newport, RI, 1806. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 15:</b><br>The Book of Mormon, first edition, Palmyra, 1830. $30,000 to $40,000.

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