Geeks and non-geeks should enjoy this video retelling of the horrible Death & Return of Superman story-lines from the early 1990′s. Starring Elijah Wood and Mandy Moore and many other, this video perfectly captures how hilariously horrible that story was, and the damage it did to mainstream comic storytelling in general.
For more on death in comics: Dead Comic Book Characters Always Get Better
For more on Superman being a terribly boring character: Superman is Problematic
A few days ago I wrote about the publication of publicity grabbing comics like this weeks Human Torch death issue of Fantastic Four, and the Death of Superman issue from 1992.
When I stopped by my local comic shop this week I saw another ridiculous similarity between the two issues. In 92, the Superman death issue came in a cheap plastic bag with a bleeding Superman logo printed on it.
Marvel decided to revive the idea.
This bags look and feel exactly like the Superman bags from 92. It doesn’t really matter, but it’s just another example of Marvel trying to make this seem more valuable than it will be.
For more information:
Ask anyone who has ever worked in a comic shop if they have stories about people coming in looking to sell some, “old comics,” and I guarantee they will have far more than one.
The comic shop where I used to work had people coming in with piles of comics every week. They all thought they were going to retire, or put their kids through college off of the sale of these books.
The sad truth is that most comics aren’t worth much more than a couple of dollars. No joke.
But why all of the misconceptions?
Here’s the story:
Comics as we know them today first came into existence with Action Comics #1 in 1938. That was also the very first Superman comic.
In the late 30s and early 40s, many classic characters were created: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Robin, the Joker, Catwoman, Captain America, the Flash, and many other characters who are still staple characters of the DC Universe.
Comics quickly became popular among kids and adults, boys and girls. However, there was no collectors market, and there really wasn’t even the concept of a collectors market. So no one had any reason to save or preserve these comics. They were fun, and that was it.
Then Pearl Harbor happened, and the United States entered World War II.
Once the United States entered the War, Captain America and pretty much every other hero started encouraging children to buy war bonds, and recycle comic books and other household items to help support the War effort. This, inadvertently, created the secondary collectors market. As a consequence of comic books being used to help the war effort, these old pre-War comics became incredibly rare.
Flash forward to the 1990′s.
In the early 1990′s, stories started showing up in the mainstream media that comic books were being sold for piles of money. People were becoming rich overnight from selling their comic books. It was true; they were selling mostly pre-War comics.
Even today, you see some rare comics selling for big money – “World Comics Record Smashed – Action Comics #1 8.5 Sells For $1,500,000″
As a consequence, the comic industry boomed with prospectors buying up everything that they could. Print-runs ran up into the millions because people were buying multiple copies of books that they didn’t even read. Simultaneously, the general quality of comic writing plummeted. There were some good books that emerged in the 1990′s, but for the most part, the writing was pretty damn poor.
Basically there were millions of books being purchased, and no one was reading them… So the market collapsed, and almost took Marvel and DC with it.
And that’s the short version of the story.
Here are some guidelines for comic value.
People who don’t read comics understand one thing about them. “The first issue is the most valuable.” Unfortunately it’s not always true. The value is determined more by the events of a comic, the quantity in existence, the quality of the writing, or the first appearance of a crucial character.
- Action Comics #1 (1938) is the first appearance of any super hero, it’s also the first appearance of Superman and Lois Lane. It’s very valuable.
- Detective Comics #27 (1939) is the first appearance of Batman. It’s very valuable.
The number on these issues isn’t what indicates the value.
Similarly, there are tons of mini-series, or newer series of comics that have #1 issues, and they aren’t usually valuable. Sorry.
Look at the Date
Take a look at the copyright date.
If it was made before 1945, the chances are really good that it’s pricey.
If it was made between 1946 and 1969, it could easily have some value.
Anything since 1970 could be worth some money, but not a whole lot.
If it was made in the 1990′s it’s probably not worth the paper it’s printed on.
Comics are not an investment, just as DVD’s, video games, and books aren’t investments. Get them because you enjoy them. There are so many amazing comics out there to read, find one that you connect with and have a little fun.
Talk to a financial planner if you are looking to save for the future.
I spent all day zipping across Six Flags Great Adventure with two of my good friends from college; Andrew & Dave (they’re twins). They live in Buffalo, NY and don’t have the opportunity to come down too often, so they decided to splurge and buy us a Flash Pass.
Basically, the Flash Pass is a big red tamagotchi (remember those pieces of garbage?) looking thing with some form of receiver/ transmitter. It allowed us to book our rides without having to wait on the line – Freakin’ sweet! Especially when you don’t have to pay for it.
So, we zipped around all day, enjoying the beautiful weather, and going on more rides than I can count.
Here’s the scoop on big attraction rides (In no particular order):
Batman the Ride
The original Batman coaster still rocks. This short but intense ride never disappoints. I think I’ve gone on it about 12 times in three visits over the last year.
This wooden roller coaster is anything but your typical wood coaster. It’s fast, smooth, and exceptionally intense. I think it’s the best one in the park (Andrew & Dave agreed).
A great steel coaster with an incredible drop. Ride this one before you go on El Toro because as great as it is, it won’t measure up next to wooden awesomeness.
I really want to go on this record holding (height & speed) 456 foot tall, 128 mph phallic symbol, but it’s always closed when I go to the damn park.
The Dark Knight Coaster
Great movie. Abysmal ride. Don’t waste your time on stupid thing.
Great American Scream Machine
It twists, it turns, it cork screws, and it loops… a lot. This classic coaster is a lot of fun, but it can beat you up a bit.
Superman: Ultimate Flight
You fly through this ride in a horizontal position. Nothing underneath you except for the harness. It’s fast and unbelievably smooth; you really feel like you’re flying. I love this one.
Bizarro is awesome!
For those of you who don’t know, Bizarro is the anti-Superman, and he inverts the definitions of words. When Bizarro say’s he is “here to save you,” he actually means he is “here to kill you.”
So, when I say “Bizarro is awesome,” I mean it’s not.
The Bizarro coaster is a slightly modified version of the old ride Medusa. Medusa was boring. The minor improvements along with some special effects don’t do nearly enough to revitalize this ride.
A woman who was on the line for Batman with me put it best:
“Medusa wasn’t great, but it was ok because it never had a line… Bizarro sucks because it isn’t great and the line is insane.”
- Don’t keep your cellphone or keys in an unzipped pocket. Dave’s phone was “stolen” by Superman (Not very Superman like). It’s a very strange feeling watching your friend’s phone drop from a great height.
- Riding at the front of these coasters is more visually intense, however, the back of the coaster is physically more intense (Especially on Superman and El Toro).
FAIL Blog is pretty simple. Users submit photos or video of stupid or awkward things and they Photoshop the word “FAIL” or when warranted “Epic FAIL.”
Here are some geeky and not as geeky examples:
FAIL Blog usually updated a few times a day and is usually good for a quick chuckle.