The barbarian era of collecting
June 7, 2005 5:33 AM   Subscribe

How Marvel convinced us to cut up our comics “The program destroyed the value of countless Marvel comics of this era, and missing value stamps are the bane of serious Bronze Age collectors.”
¶ I was ten years old and I collected all 100 Series A Marvel Value Stamps, so I totally grooved on this remarkably comprehensive site. Ironically, the coolest artifacts are the empty collector’s books, which show off the artwork best, in glorius black & white & red, without the crappy colour printing of the era.
posted by KS (5 comments total)
i ¶ KS
posted by quonsar at 11:00 AM on June 7, 2005

I wonder if some shrewd, forward thinking person at Marvel invented this marketing ploy deliberately to ensure that their pristine editions would be worth much, much more in the future.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:58 PM on June 7, 2005

That's exactly what I thought, jacquilynne. The comics they mentioned wouldn't be worth nearly as much with the stamps cut out if there were never any stamps in the first place.

That said, the comic collecters market gets pretty ridiculous, and it seems in the long run these things have no speculative value even though people remain convinced that they do. Way too many people got sucked into speculation in the early 90s just to find out their comics weren't worth anything in a few years. Comics are meant to be read, not collected.
posted by ScottMorris at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2005

I think it's weird that Galactus was the ultra rare stamp - made all the more humorous as it appeared in an issue of Amazing Spider-man and Fantastic Four. I was expecting Spider-man until I went back and saw that he was number one. KS - you're right on about the degradation to the images caused by poor print coloration! Some of the comics with the most striking, highest quality art are still in black and white (Bone and THB come to mind). I just went back and read DK2, however, and I like the balance that Miller and Varley found with how to do ink line art and computer color. Probably helps that they're married.
posted by Slothrop at 2:06 PM on June 7, 2005

I buy and read comics and run a comic shop, and I just have to say that buying or collecting comics thinking that they are an investment or something is the most ridiculous idea. It's the whole reason (that and the fact that most buyers can't see past the superhero tights) that comics have struggled to be seen as a "legitimate" art form. If people stopped caring about the value of comics we'd see a drastic change in the way the comics industry is ran and more quality comics.
posted by handshake at 6:10 PM on June 7, 2005

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