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

  • <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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