Doing Business in San Diego & Online Since 1997
Socal Comics Alerts - 03/04/14
We Buy Comics
We spend thousands each year buying comic collections. Call today! (858) 715-8669.
San Diego's Most Comprehensive Comic Book Store Just Got Larger
We've expanded into another suite and are in the process of remodelling the store. We are expanding our comic book and trading card supplies selection. We also intend to begin carrying Magic The Gathering cards and more. Our graphic novel area is also expanding with the addition of more square footage to display trades. Come see San Diego's fastest growing comic book store swell with pride!
This week's comic review video:
Free Comic Book Day 2013 via AlterEgosTV
Our recent acquisition of the Southern California Comics Collection yielded one huge prize - a copy of Showcase 4. Considered the first Silver Age comic book (1956), it represents the beginning of a generation of comic book fans. Our copy was warped at the time of purchase and required some professional conservation to correct the physical appearance. Once completed, our copy was certified by CGC at 9.0 making it the fourth highest graded copy! Significantly, few copies exist in high grade so the value of the book was speculative. I say ‘was’ because we sold our copy May 4th for a whopping $50,000!
10am to 6pm, just like the rest of the week! 'Nuff said!
Did you know that So Cal Comics store owner Jamie Newbold is ALSO a fully trained and licensed Forensic Comicologist? Growing up on the mean streets of the back issue world, Jamie honed his comic quality deductive skills to perfection. Now he scans and accesses vintage books for the sharpest grade possible. You can run, color-treated covers...but you can't hide from - JAMIE NEWBOLD: FORENSIC COMICOLOGIST:
Neal Adams Stops By Our Booth and Talks to Jamie During a Hero Complex Interview at Comic Con 2012
Recently, Our store bought out one-half of the contents of a house. Literally. Comics, action figures, toys, statutes, cards, posters, military model kits and much, much more. These collectibles were purchased new ages ago by a now-deceased owner. Unfortunately, the process of displaying these items has cluttered the shop for the time being. Please be patient and come see the new stuff!
Check Out Our Store Tour Video:
And Now for Something Completely Different:
As a firm believer of good karma, we try to help fellow comic book fans when they are in need. This weekend is a great example, as we helped recover a stolen comic book fanzine collection that contained some of the first examples of fanzines in our hobby. Many of these pieces are one of a kind and are difficult to find in any shape. For example, the first three Alter Egos (a widely popular comic book fanzine from the 1960s) are an extreme rarity even at mid-low grade. It was an amazing find to have at the shop. However, possessing the items seemed too good to be true. As we researched more into the fanzines, we stumbled on a Comic-Con blog where we discovered who the original owner was. His collection of fanzines had been stolen from him at the Con. I was able to piece together what happened and determined we now possessed the original owner’s stolen fanzines. We contacted the owner and are responsible for bringing back a collection to its rightful owner.
The owner, Aaron Caplan, is a popular figure in the colorful history of Comic Book Fandom. He owns one of the largest fanzine collections in existence. The loss of some of his best fanzines to a thief at the 2011 Comic Con haunted him for months. We acquired them at the store from a man off the street. Once their history was discovered we also learned of their value. The small collection of about 11 fanzines and related material has a retail value well over $5000.
Caplan graciously compensated our store for the money we spent to purchase the fanzines and thanked us profusely for our integrity and good spirit.
Your Friendly Southern California Comics Team
Our Store was Awarded a Certificate of Recognition for Donations we made to the San Diego Police Department's Mid-City Division.
Action Comics # 1
We are beginning a new feature for our web site. This section will contain collector's stories of comic book acquisitions and sales and other tales that will be entertaining and of interest to our friends and shoppers.
Our opening entry is a contribution by local collector and friend Peter Jones. Some of you may know Peter from encounters at Comic Conventions or AACC meetings of old. Peter's tale is probably one of the best we will feature due to the book the story is about--ACTION COMICS #1! I'll let Peter take it from here...
It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, that Action Comics #1 is a "Holy Grail" for many comic collectors and the ever-increasing prices on that book keep it out of the hands of most. In the past I've attempted to take a cheaper route and collect poor man's copies of some of the big keys. I call books that are assembled from parts of more than one copy "Frankenstein" books. They are also known as "married" copies which make them sound ever so…..genteel. Sometimes I fill in the missing parts of an incomplete copy with color Xeroxes to make a readable book; these I call "cyborg" books.
My overall success rate in this kind of endeavor has been extremely low and I've essentially abandoned such projects over the years, but I've had some requests to share the following story. My memory of some of the details is a little vague, but it goes something like this: I put out feelers for a low-grade incomplete copy of Action #1. I reckoned that in the best case I could assemble a complete copy and in the worst case I might only end up with a coverless and incomplete Action #1, at least with the Superman story intact, which would still be pretty cool. To me, having the world's worst copy of Action #1 was still preferable to having no Action #1. A few separate Action #1 wraps sold for decent money on ComicLink recently, so I guess there are other collectors who feel the same way. This was pre-eBay, so that meant putting occasional ads in CBG and calling dealers and other collectors. It's difficult to find parts, and empty covers are scarcer than coverless copies. I also wasn't surprised to find that a seller's radar goes up when I ask for an incomplete book or just a centerfold or a cover. They rightly surmise that I'm trying to complete a comic and they adjust the price upward, if they even have a part that I need. Comic collectors can be a suspicious and cantankerous lot sometimes, and the other Dr. Frankenstein's out there zealously guarded their scraps of key books. Typical conversations inevitably veered towards what they might get from me rather than what I could pry out of them. It really didn't go very well. Somehow I heard of an antiques auction, not even a comic book auction, somewhere on the East coast, where an Action #1 missing the cover, first wrap, and centerfold was offered. I called the auction house and they said it had already been sold but I managed to track down the buyer and ask if he was interested in selling it. He wasn't, but he wished me luck. I heard that a lot. Eventually, one of my ads in CBG got me a phone call from someone who had a copy that was missing one page but was otherwise solid and fairly attractive. The inside cover of Action #1 offered a contest where kids were encouraged to carefully color the first page of Chuck Dawson (a b/w strip), tear it out and mail it to National Comics. The best colorists would get some sort of prize. It made me wonder if there are more than a few copies out there that are missing that page. Anyway, this copy was not inexpensive but it was heavily discounted. I agonized and passed on it, but on further reflection, (and some manipulation of my financial resources), I called the seller back and went for it. Any regrets I had evaporated when I held the book in my hands. I couldn't believe I truly owned an Action #1, even with a page missing.
I had moved into the eBay age by now, searching for an incomplete copy with the page I lacked. Finally, a hideously thrashed one surfaced. It was missing the cover, at least one outer wrap, and the centerfold, pretty much the most crucial parts that any other bottom-feeder like me would want, but it had my needed page. There were indeed a lot of other bottom-feeders out there and the competition was fiercer than I expected. I was very determined though, and I won it. It turned out the page I wanted was in decent shape, too. With a little reluctance I took a razor and cut it out. The spine was already split about half-way down, so the extraction didn't take much effort, although I offered a silent prayer for forgiveness from the comic book gods for desecrating even such a wretched Action #1 corpse as this one. I laid the page inside my first copy and beheld a complete Action #1. A Frankenstein book, yes, but un-restored, and likely the only one I'll ever own. I barely refrained from shouting maniacally "It's alive! It's alive!" In case anyone wonders what I did with the rest of the second incomplete copy, I used my Famous First Edition reprint of Action #1 to make color Xeroxes of all the missing parts and assemble a readable cyborg book, which I sold to another collector (with full disclosure, he knew what he was getting). That almost entirely paid for the cost of obtaining the page.
All-Negro Comics # 1
Years ago a local comic book/toy store carried an extremely rare copy of All-Negro Comics #1. This particular copy was purchased years ago by another gentleman and sold to the comic book store as part of a collection. I bought it from the store in the 90's and eventually submitted it to CGC. I researched the origins of this title after learning that the comic had a Scarcity Index of 9 in the Gerber Photo-Journal Guides. "9" indicates that by the mid-1980s, the contributors to the Gerber volumes assumed that less than 10 copies could be accounted for. In our hobby, scarcity is everything to many collectors and comic investors. The variety of ALL-NEGRO COMICS’ features is oddball: a violent detective story followed by a fairytale for little children, then an adventure yarn about a Tarzan-like African hero and finally, a sex-comedy about two opportunistic tramps. Also, please note that the price of this 48-page comic is 15¢, which makes it somewhat ahead of its time. (The next time the 15¢ price-tag would pop up was in the late 1950s, and then for only a brief period of time at Dell.)
The career of publisher, writer and “All-Negro Comics, Inc. President," Orrin. C. Evans, is detailed on the inside-front-cover of this issue of ALL-NEGRO COMICS: “Former reporter and editor in the Negro newspaper field. Over a period of more than 25 years, he served with the Afro-American newspapers, the Chicago Defender, the Philadelphia Tribune, the Philadelphia Independent, the Public Journal and the American and Musician and Sportsman’s Magazine. He also has been a contributor to the Crisis, official organ of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.” Evans tried his best with little money to provide enetertainment to inner-city kids in Philadelphia. But, the combination of high cover price for the day and white distributors reluctant to carry a comic book for negroes ended Evans' intention. Copies went unsold. Some were retained by financial backers and the Evans family.
Fast forward to the summer of 2009 when I was interviewed for an LA-based radio program called "Ramped-Up". I spoke about the world of comic book collecting and introduced my copy of All-Negro Comics #1 into the conversation. The reporter was fascinated by the piece of oddball 1940s comic book history. One month later the segment aired in Los Angeles. Subsequently, I received a phone call and e-mail from a listener. Bruce Talamon, a photographer in LA heard the broadcast and contacted me with his own All-Negro Comics story. Bruce told me that he spent sometime in the past researching African-American comic book history. He read about All-Negro Comics and decided to pursue it further. Bruce learned that Orrin Evans had passed away. He dug further and located Florence Evans, Orrin's widow, in a resthome back east. Bruce and his wife made arrangements to meet Florence and spent an afternoon with her. Both parties were charmed by each other's company. Bruce and his wife returned home, richer for the contact with Florence. As time passed Bruce was contacted by a relative of the Evans family, a daughter. She arranged to meet Bruce and offered him a token of appreciation for afternoon spent socializing with her mother. She gave him a high-grade copy of All-Negro Comics #1. That's kharma, baby!
Astonishing # 9 Cover Art
Jamie has collected original comic book art since the 70s. The luxury of living in San Diego during the early San Diego Comic Con years provided ample collecting opportunity. One of his most pronounced art pieces is a pre-code horror cover from 1952. Purchased at the SD Con in the late 70s, Jamie has retained it in his collection to the present day. He paid $35.00 for the cover! Now, comic art in the 70s was not held in the same regard as the art market holds art in the new millenium. Jamie collected Atlas horror comics in the 70s-80s and saw the Astonishing cover as a cool supplement to his comics. $35 was a fair price for something collectors seemed less interested in back then.
The art was stored or displayed in Jamie's apartment at various times. Unfortunately, and this is where the story gets interesting, the art was targeted by a pet bird and suffered chew damage before Jamie discovered it. He rescued the page from further damage, but he almost tossed it because it appeared worthless, certainly less valuble than the $35 investment. But he kept it. Instead, he stored it in an old suitcase along with other memorabilia for years.
Jamie and Gino opened their store in the late 90s. Some of the start-up money came from their own collections going up for sale. Jamie dug around his storage containers and found the long-forgotten Astonishing #9 cover art. Opting not to sell it he kept it around intending to do something with it eventually. Skip forward to the year 2002, Jamie drove up to art dealer Tom Horvitz's home to discuss an art deal. While there, he and his two accompanying friends got a chance to see much of Tom's art. Pretty impressive! Included in his selections was some Russ heath stuff. Jaime had always been a fan of Russ's art. Tom said he represented Heath as an art agent. He even offered to let them meet him! He made a phone call to Russ and Russ was at Tom's apartment in less than 15 minutes! COOL! They were hanging out with Russ Heath! But it gets better! After some conversation and and a display of Heath art for sale he recalled he already owned some Heath art. He told Russ and Tom about the damaged Astonishing cover. Heath said he could probably redraw the missing corner the bird chewed off. Jaime made a call to home to his wife and she e-mailed a quick photo of the cover to Tom's computer. He and Russ looked it over and made a quick business decision. For $300 Russ would draw a replacement corner. Then, Tom would ship the art and Russ's drawing to the midwest to Roger Hill. Roger set a price to affix the replacement corner to the original cover. He also set a cost for creating and mounting all the missing stats. Referring to the 2 photos above you can see the older, darker cover paper. Notice the newer, whiter cover paper at the bottom, right corner? That's the new art that Russ drew to fix the cover. Compare it to the xerox of the original, undamaged art in the bottom photo and you can see how accurate Russ was--50 years later! Now, for those of you still paying attention you may have realized that the same artist had now worked on the same page of art twice--50 years apart! How cool is that!? The art took about 1 year to return from Roger. To paraphrase the title of the cover, Jaime was "astonished" to see the finished product. Below is a xerox of the cover as it existed before the corner damage
Jaime still has the cover. It has to be one of the coolest pages around. New Site.