The Simple Comic Newsletter
Table of Contents
02 Samurai Guard
03 Kazar, More Than Just
04 eBay and Comic Buying
05 What Else Do You
Have Like This Book?
06 Movies and Heart Attacks
07 Classic Commercial
08 Top 10 List
What a difference a month can make! Last issue, I was
depressed about the number of hits and WHAMMO, the triple! Plus, I get a
contributor! So maybe this newsletter is turning that proverbial corner.
I just need a little help. If you are a fan of the newsletter, tell a
friend, a family member, even a pet who is online. Post about it, tell
other webpages to link to it. The more people we can get to read it, the
more contributions we can get and the better off it will be! I feel
there is a fair amount of people who want to read about something other
than new comic news and I am doing my darndest to deliver that. There
are allot of great series out there that have been passed over that I
want to bring back to the spotlight again. I really want to show that
comics can be a very affordable hobby and there are alternatives to the
$2.00-$3.00 an issue for new comics. But I need your help to keep this
going. Enough begging, lets get on with another issue.
One of the fun parts of this job is getting new comics to review. While
many of them are the same old stuff, every so often one comes along that
catches my interest. Samurai Guard is one of these. While the book is
still in its early stages, it shows promise. Will be interesting to see
the development of the book.
The book is published by Colburn Comics
and is written and drawn by Kirk Abrigo, who is a competent artist, but
his strength lies in his writing. Actually, it is his characterization
that is his best strength as he has managed to flesh out a nice
collection of characters in one issue, something allot of people cannot
accomplish in a dozen books (best example is Youngblood, did you know
anyone after the first issue or for that matter care?). From Captain
Shindo to Yori, a female samurai who shows that you can have a
worthwhile female character and keep her fully clothed.
The story deals with the mythical Bushido
Island and the invasion by an outside threat that includes scuba men and
ninjas. It eventually pits the age old battle of the samurai versus the
ninja. One thing I would like to see is a little less action and more
character development, but considering this is the first issue and I am
sure that Kirk wanted to make a good impression and draw interest, I can
understand the more action approach. I do hope he does go into more
about the different Samurai's backgrounds and their relationships to
each other. There is some very good potential here if it is properly
handled. I personally want to find out how a woman became a samurai and
would like to see some of the tension between her and the other samurais
as they have to feel their male only occupation is being threatened.
Also, how Shindo initially reacted to this and if his stance has changed
at all would also make interesting reading.
In closing, Samurai Guard is like the
diamond in the rough. It is a little unpolished now, but shows allot of
potential. Lets hope that Colburn is in it for the long run and that the
industry gives them a fair shake, because the market is in need of
diversity and this title breaks free from the glut of super hero and
scantily clad female comics that are so prevalent.
For more information on Colburn Comics
and Samurai Guard, check out the web site at the following address:
(Finally a savage who doesn't
have black hair!)
More Than Another Savage
Savages have always been popular in both comics and fiction in general.
From timeless heroes like Tarzan and Mowgli, you have a long tradition
of the savage man in an even more savage world. While Tarzan has been in
comics for 50 years, another savage has been around quite awhile (with
his first appearance in Uncanny X-Men #10). This person is Kazar the
Savage, the monarch of the Savage Land, a land teeming with dinosaurs
and other creatures from another era. With his trusty companion, Zabu, a
saber-toothed tiger, he keeps peace in this harsh realm.
The story of a man in a land that time
seems to have forgotten isn't a new one (can you say Warlord or Kona or
even Turok?), Kazar is probably the only one that keeps coming back.
While Warlord had one long run and then sorta faded into obscurity and
Turok did make revival, only by abandoning the Dinosaur Valley and
coming to the modern time, Kazar has stuck to his roots. He is one with
the Savage Land and no matter how many times you take him out and try to
civilize him, he will end up back there. Even the lure of a beauty like
Shanna the She Devil, couldn't keep him from romping in the wilds with
Zabu at his side.
While I enjoy the Warlord series more and
Turok did have those great painted covers in the old series, I always
have a fondness for Kazar. I only wish that they would give him a proper
series, one where we get to see him and not a bunch of guest stars. That
is the one problem with the Savage Land, it is a haven for heroes and
villains. The X-Men and Spiderman have both spent considerable time
there as have a half dozen other characters. It is tough for me to enjoy
Kazar when he is always playing second fiddle to some super powered guy.
While Kazar has had numerous series, I do
find his early stuff in Astonishing Tales and his own 1970 series to be
allot of fun. Sure the 80's series had its moments, but they cannot hold
a candle to the early stuff. The good thing about Kazar is that almost
all of his books are cheap, very cheap and they make a good read for a
budget conscious person. So pull out some of that pocket change at the
next convention and treat yourself to some good escapism. Kazar is a
very enjoyable series and considering you can get a few books for a
buck, you are not talking a major financial commitment.
eBay and Comic Buying
I’d like to introduce myself as a "once
in a while" comic book dealer; I don't deal full time, but rather about
a show every two months, plus a private customer a few times a year. I
have talked to several dealers who feel you're really taking a great
chance by buying on such online auction sites as EBay. A recent article
in Comics Buyers Guide talked about the possibly of guide price
manipulation using EBay as a vehicle (having 2 people fake a sale and
report it to the guide to get the price raised). The point of view I'm
expressing here is that I've had nothing but positive experiences with
buying and selling on EBay, and that there are a lot of very reputable
people who use the EBay system and other online auctions, and that it is
an excellent source for buying and selling.
If you’re trying to assess my expertise
in all matters pertaining to dealing and online auctions, I would be
remiss if I didn’t point out that I just completed an online purchase
via the EBay auction within 72 hours of this article being submitted, in
which a golden age comic with a Phantom Lady story in it- Wonder Boy 17
arrived with an eerily familiar handwriting on the tag placed on the
Mylar. Yes I won the bid on the exact comic that I traded to a fine guy
from Indiana 3 years back at the Motor City show in Novi, MI. I can
summarize the profit and loss aspect of this transaction in that I
essentially paid this guy a 3-year storage fee, and not a slight one at
that. I will point out that I'm very happy with this transaction overall
as I received 6 comics from the 1940s and 1950s.
Bidding on EBay or most online auctions
does differ from traditional bidding. For one thing, the proxy system
will allow you to win a lot of auctions under your minimum. At a
traditional auction, if you yell out "30", that's what you pay if you
win. A traditional auction is also very time consuming. Of course, the
last second "dreaded and evil" sniping, which we probably have all done
at times is something that is a part of the online auction equation. To
clarify for some of you, sniping is that winning bid place within
seconds of the close and not leaving time for anyone else to retake the
The first reaction one might feel
regarding online purchasing and auctions, especially with graded comics
is “buyer beware”. I did more selling at the beginning than buying, and
I didn't have a scanner then. My philosophy as someone who fancies
himself as an honest and trustworthy dealer is that if I err, I need to
err on the conservative side with my grading and description in order to
get positive feedback's. I've found that if you can find online dealers
who consistently err in your favor, you’ve got inside information
regarding value not apparent to everyone. One tip I can give is when you
look at someone's feedback file, try to notice comments regarding their
grading. Comments such as "books in better condition than advertised" or
“conservative grading” always catch my eye.
From my buying experience, I've recently
have been on a buying spree and have won about 35 lots in the last few
months. I've won 20-30 lots in the previous year or two since I've been
registered. Since grading is always subjective, I generally grit my
teeth and bear it if a comic comes shipped to me at a half grade less
than I was expecting (e.g. VG/F instead of their stated condition of
Fine). I'd estimate that this happens about 20-25% of the time. Of
course, I believe no one when they say they have a comic in VF or near
mint. I always bank on the comic being in at least a half grade less for
the high grades. So, in the majority of the cases, I agree with the
grading. Finally, in some fortunate cases, the comics come in higher
than advertised- maybe 5-10% of the auctions. Out of these 60 or so
lots, I had to return one comic, in which they called a 1950s Jackie
Gleason comic a VG/F and it was barely a good as it had long tears,
creases, etc. I did get a refund for this.
One fact to be cognizant of is what
general type of clientele you're dealing with, which I think can
correlate to what general type of merchandise we're talking about. I've
mostly bought golden age with some silver and maybe a 1970s lot or two.
I wouldn't expect 12 and 13 year olds to be dealing with early 1940s
Superhero golden age with Schomburg cover art, for example, and this may
skew my experiences with EBay. I'm estimating that the demographics of
the people I buy from fit into the more older and responsible people. Of
course, silver age is something that does attract buyers and sellers
from all ages.
In studying this great modern trend of
online commerce, one must adjust to the times. I think that the ultimate
impact of online comic auctions will be on the supply side, especially
of the premium vintage comics, rather than the demand side. The big
conventions are still getting the crowds (promoters are widening the
attractions and variety). Of course, there are those dealers who'll say
that business is off, but that is partially the function of not having
the material people want perhaps made less available to some degree by
these online auctions. I have read that 90-95% of Internet businesses
actually end up failing. What will make or break the online business
person is perceived value, trust and service from the prospective
customer’s point of view, and those who understand this and are in this
for the long haul will not take advantage of the long distance commerce
and will grade accordingly.
So here are a few tips (other than the
typical ones you might read) from an experienced buyer:
- One of my best runs of winning lots was
right after the EBay system went down for a good portion of two days.
They have a policy of extending any auctions due to finish within an
hour of a downtime. My advice is to keep checking to see if it goes back
up. Downtime keeps a lot of bidders away and they might not be there to
bid on a lot, which closes in say 8 hours (if the system goes back up in
- I spend most of my checking time on
comics in the "ending today" category, mostly in the Golden age section.
One can spend an enormous amount of time comparing what's on the list
with the price guide, so you need to be efficient with your time. If you
got something about to close in an hour or so and its current price is
about half your minimum, you might want to bid your minimum now. If
you've got a marginally popular comic there, it'll go through 1 or 2
last minute snipe attempts, but you got a pretty decent chance of
- Don't be scared away from reserve
auctions, especially those in demand comics close to ending that haven't
reached it's reserve. The last minute sniper will be more likely to stay
away since there are more unknowns involved.
- Always bid an odd amount, like $5.27,
instead of $5.00. That way a sniper won't be able to nip you by a penny.
- If you look at new additions to the
auction, you might want to bid the minimum early (knowing it won't hold
up) just to get it bookmarked as a reminder when you look at your
auctions a few days later. When you check your current auctions, these
will be included.
- Keep bookmarked folders on EBay sellers
and who you've found to be conservative graders in the past. I have EBay
sellers sub folders also.
- Even though I’ve pointed out that there
are a majority of fair and reasonable sellers using the EBay system, one
does need to apply some smarts. Someone with a 0 rating with a
collection up for sale with a $5000 price is not someone I’d send a
check quickly to. I’m more comfortable with those who have a complete
description of the comic rather than a grade with no reason behind it.
- To contrast this point, a low rating
reflects more on how much the seller has used the EBay rather than if he
or she is trustworthy. I have asked for references from a guy several
years back who had a 0 rating and was selling a couple dozen Mystery in
Space comics from the 1950s. I did get answers from the past buyers of
his, won this bid and wound up with a very good deal (about 5x the value
over what I paid).
- When using the search engines, try
clicking both boxes. For example I’ll type in Planet Comics and click on
both Search only in Comic Books: Golden Age and Search titles and
- Regarding shipping rates, both the USPS
and UPS sites have rate calculators. I’m comfortable using priority
shipping by the USPS as it's $3.20 for up to 2 pounds anywhere in the
- Enjoy the comics you do win. I figure
even if I sell a couple at less than I pay, it's like paying for a movie
since I'm enjoying the comic and the art.
Mark Rachow is the owner of Mark's
Vintage Collectables and does shows in the midwest and is active on Ebay.
He currently has an inventory of over 20,000 comics, with several
thousand in each the silver and golden age categories. He can be reached
at firstname.lastname@example.org and has an
operating website at
http://www.members.home.net/marksvint/marksvc.htm or more simply
What Else Do You Have
Like This Book?
If you ever spent any time as a comic dealer, then you heard this
phrase once too often. Someone likes a certain character or genre and
wants to know what else is similar to this. Do you have that problem?
You really like horror comics and want to know what has been made, but
don't know where to look? Well, look no more! I have done a section on
my website that focuses on this very thing. I call it Related Comics and
it features lists of books that are available or were available on this
website by genre. I currently have the following genres covered:
Fantasy/Sword & Sorcery
I also have sections where I list all the
different books that some of the most popular heroes in comics appear
in. So if you are a Batman fan, you will find his usual stuff like
Batman and Detective as well as other series he either stars in or are
part of his family like Robin and Catwoman. You will also find team
books like JLA and Batman and the Outsiders as well as team-up books
like Brave & the Bold and World's Finest.
So now if you enjoy one kind of genre or
hero, you can look to see if you can find similar books! I even
bookmarked the different sections, so you can easily get to them as the
page is quite large! So next time you need a little advice, check out
the page see if this helps out.
Movies and Heart Attacks
While I don't surf the web too much for comic news and I am so far
behind in news, that I feel like Rip Van Winkle, I have to comment on
the news about upcoming comic book movies. As I go into Fred Sanford
mode (pretending to be Fred Sanford as he pretends to have a heart
attack), I have to clutch my heart and stand in disbelief. Marvel not
only is having some big budget movies coming, but they are getting some
real actors in them! Gone are the days when Dolph Lungren was the
biggest actor Marvel could get for a movie, they are attracting them
like flies. First we had Wesley Snipes do Blade (which is getting a
sequel with Wesley in the main role), but we make Patrick Stewart in the
X-Men. No, not Patrick Duffy or Neil Patrick (isn't that Doogie Howser's
real name?), but a bona fide Shakespearian actor who is not washed up.
Plus, they are also getting some oscar caliber actors to fill out the
movie and it is shaping up to be not just another Marvel movie, but an
event, a major event!
Even more surprising than that is the
Spiderman appears to finally be done with all the legal wranglings and
is preparing to be made a movie, by Sony, if what I read is correct. It
is also supposed to have a big budget and talk is on about some big
names vying for the role of Spidey himself. Pinch me because I must be
dreaming. I thought this movie was never going to see the light of day.
Let us hope it gets the same royal treatment the X-Men are getting.
Other news I hear is that the Superman
movie is getting ready to go and will be given a major makeover. While
the last batch of movies had a few moments, I for one would like to see
a more serious approach. Plus, there is talk that maybe a Flash movie is
in the works. I am not sure what way this will go, but the television
series showed promise. It only was given the timeslot from hell and had
almost no chance of success.
Add in some smaller studio movies like
the sequel to Spawn and others (what ever happened to the animated
Elfquest?) and you have alot for the industry to be happy about! Let us
hope they use the past as an example of what not to do and learn from
these mistakes. There is so much potential in comic books, and I would
like to see it given a fair shake.
One of the corniest of the old commercials is the ones for building
bigger muscles. Sure there was the famous, "Make a man out of Mac" one,
but there are alot more that are equally corny. I personally like the
one that has "Mr. Terminator, Arnold" holding up two women. Or the ones
where the scantily clad beauties are hanging all over this muscle bound
guy. Talk about sending the wrong message to impressionable youths. Just
build up those biceps and you will have all kind of women hanging on
you. Yeah right!
But one thing these ads don't tell you is
that sure their product may help in developing muscles, but to get the
really big muscles, like the guys in the ads, you need to spend hours a
day on them. And you cannot expect these results in a few months, it
take years to get huge. But of course, they don't want something like
reality getting in the way. Sure there will be some disappointed boys
who expect to spend a few months on their body and head to the beach to
bully everyone around and attract women like a magnet, but all they will
find is that they are the same person, minus some money.
Top 10 List
I am going to do a different list this time. Instead of the usual list,
I am going to list the top 10 reasons to attend a local comic
convention. Please note that there are the Top 10 Silly Reasons to
Attend, but some have some truth to them.
10. Where else can you wear those goofy
costumes you bought?
09. People don't ask you who is on your t-shirt (aka: Who's Bone? What
are the Wildcats?)
08. To see what the latest bandwagon that the dealers have jumped on
(was Beanies, now Pokeman).
07. To buy copies of all those television shows that were considered too
awful to be released on video (wow, Quark, I loved that show!)
06. To cry at all those books you paid full price for that are now in
the quarter bins.
05. To laugh at the dealer with 300 copies of the same book in the
quarter bin (I really thought Doom IV was going to be a big hit).
04. To make a list of all the expensive comics you are going to buy when
you win the lottery.
03. Where else can an adult buy kids toys and not get funny looks?
02. Roll your eyes as you notice that the guy selling adult magazines is
right next to the guy with the Beanie Babies and Pokeman cards.
01. Find that expensive comic in the bargain bin and gloat to all your
friends about it!
Another issue in the can! We are slowly, but surely heading towards that
20th issue, our next milestone! Hopefully we will get some more
submissions. If you have a site you would like to see spotlighted or are
coming out with a comic you wanted to get reviewed, send it along and we
will do our best to cover it. Thanks for reading and enjoy those comics!