Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Broadening My Collecting Horizon

Broadening My Collecting Horizon

by Mike DeNero

In this month's installment of Confessions of A Vintage Cardboard Junkie (see column below), K. Aaron Cohen explores the topic of obsession, as it pertains to our beloved card collecting hobby. While I will from time to time touch on the subject myself in our e-Newsletter, today, I would like to add some brief personal thoughts on my own newly discovered and incubated collecting interest: vintage Superman comic books (after all, man can't live solely on vintage sportscards).

The most interesting thing about my new obsession is how it began. Until fairly recently, the Man of Steel never was more than a fleeting thought in my mind. I believe my obsession began two weeks ago on the first day of our family vacation to the Jersey Shore (beautiful Sea Bright, New Jersey, to be exact -- my old teen-aged stomping grounds). On our way to Sea Bright, with my wife at the wheel (she's a better driver than I am -- I'm a little like Woody Allen's character, Alvy Singer, in the classic film Annie Hall) and our two young kiddies tightly strapped in what must be hideously uncomfortable car seats in the back, I was thinking about how when I lift my one son in the air, he always yells "Superman!"

That thought spurred me to go to Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash (yes, the Jay and Silent Bob's) shortly after we arrived at the Sea Bright beach house for the simple reason that I wanted to buy my son a Superman action figure of some sort. When I arrived at Jay and Silent Bob's, I found a few Superman figures to purchase and some old Superman comics from the 1970s and 1980s (bagged and boarded) -- not quite "vintage" comics, but certainly a passable way to learn about the comic book hobby.

Needless to say, that little visit to Jay and Silent Bob's was the impetus that created my new obsession with Superman! Within two weeks, I have learned a lot about the hobby, especially after exchanging several emails with one of our consignors, who is a Spiderman comics collector. That consignor also sent me a scanned image of one of his favorite "Spidey" covers (see below), just to push my new comics obsession along a little further, I think. Needless to say, after our email exchanges, and seeing the absolute coolness of the Spidey cover he emailed to me, I have resigned myself to building a Superman comic book collection of Volumes 1-250 (1939 through 1972).

But why Superman? Why not Batman? Spidey? To me, the reasoning is simple. Not only was he first introduced to us in June 1938 as "Superman! Champion of the oppressed. The physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need!," but he's just cooler than the other Super Heroes. I mean, seriously, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound, he's faster than a speeding bullet, not to mention more powerful than a locomotive. Plus, his face is always visible, whether he's in the form of the mild mannered Clark Kent or the Man of Steel. Thus, he looks like one of us!

The odd thing (only one?) about my new obsession is that I resigned myself to building this collection before I opened any of the 1970s comic books I bought at Jay and Silent Bob's! Thus, the addict in me (that odd little man who sabotages my rational thoughts and, occasionally, my physical well-being) somehow believes that it is a good (and rationale?) idea to spend what could amount to $50,000 (depending upon the grade of the comics, of course) on 250 comic books over the course of several years. Obsession? Certainly. Addiction? Quite obviously.

That's all for now -- think I'll grab Superman (Volume 201) and see what the Man of Steel was up to at the time of that volume's release in 1967. I imagine that he was doing what he's been doing since 1938 -- defending "Truth, Justice, and the American Way."

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