Thursday, February 24, 2005

Deathlok Chronology

So here is the chronology for Deathlok, or Luther Manning. This is only for the original Deathlok and does not include John Kelly or Michael Collins or any other person.

  • Astonishing Tales #25
  • Astonishing Tales #26
  • Astonishing Tales #27
  • Astonishing Tales #28
  • Astonishing Tales #30
  • Astonishing Tales #31
  • Astonishing Tales #32
  • Astonishing Tales #33
  • Astonishing Tales #34
  • Astonishing Tales #35
  • Astonishing Tales #36
  • Marvel Team-Up #46
  • Marvel Spotlight #33
  • Marvel Two-In-One #26
  • Marvel Two-In-One #27
  • Marvel Two-In-One #28
  • Marvel Two-In-One #34
  • Captain America #286
  • Captain America #287
  • Captain America #288
  • Marvel Fanfare #4
  • Marvel Comics Presents #62
  • Deathlok #1

02/23/05 New Comics

Here we go True Believers, this weeks picks:

  • Batman: The Man Who Laughs GN
  • Seven Soldiers #0
  • Amazing Spider-Man #517 (Skin Deep pt. 3 of 4)
  • Batman #637
  • Rogue #8 (Forget-Me-Not pt. 2)
  • Excalibur #10
  • Fantastic Four #523 (Rising Storm pt. 4 of 4)
  • The Flash #219
  • X-23 #3
  • Uncanny X-men #456

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #35

The release date for the 35th Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (OCBPG) is fast approaching. Not only does the OCBPG contain the current publishing data for almost all published comic books as well as current condition values, it is chock full of informative articles. The OCBPG is an invaluable tool for any transaction in the comic book hobby.

In today's market the biggest criticism the OCBPG receives is that of minimizing the effect of slabbed books on the market. The OCBPG does include a bit of prices realized in the past year for slabbed books. However it generally only reports key issues of benchmark sales. I suppose the thinking is that since such a small fraction of comic books that are sold/bought are slabbed, that the majority of the market is still in raw comics. So the OCBPG caters to this portion of the market.

Overstreet also publishes a quarterly pamphlet that tracks prices realized for slabbed books within the previous quarter.

Here is a sneak peek at the upcoming cover the 35th OCBPG:

Sunday, February 20, 2005

02/16/05 New Comics

This weeks releases:

New X-Men #10
Astonishing X-men #8
Ex Machina #8
Green Lantern Rebirth #4 (of 6)
Marvel Knights Handbook 2005
She-Hulk #12
JLA Classified #4
Teen Titans #21
Stormbreaker #2 (of 6)
JSA #70
Spectacular Spider-man #25 (Sins Remembered pt. 3)

Friday, February 18, 2005

Detective Comics #359

1st appearance of Batgirl

The story opens with Barbara Gordon, daughter of Police Commisioner Gordon, sewing her costume for the Policeman's Masquerade Ball that night. On her way to the Ball she sees several Moth-men attempting to kidnap Bruce Wayne. Barbara leaps from her car dressed as Catwoman, and using her learned Judo skills fights the Moth-men. This allows Bruce Wayne to escape and change into his identity as Batman. Suddenly Killer Moth flies in via a strong wire suspended from an unknown source. Killer Moth overpowers Batgirl, until Batman shows up and saves Batgirl, while Killer Moth flies off.

The next morning Bruce Wayne learns from a letter mailed to him that Killer Moth plans on attacking Bruce Wayne until he pays him #100,000. Bruce, as Batman, learns that Killer Moth has sent similar letters to all the millionaires in Gotham City. Batman devises a plan to capture the Killer Moth.

Meanwhile, Barbara has been in training to keep herself in top physical shape. Later she receives a rare book that is on hold for Bruce Wayne. She decides to deliver the book in person. Upon arrival in the house she witnesses Killer Moth shooting Bruce Wayne in the back and killing him. Ingeniously she has developed her costume to be disguised as her clothes. Her beret pulls down to become her mask, her skirt pulls away to become her cape, her handbag becomes her utility belt, and her boots unfurl to reveal Bat-boots. Batgirl fights the Moth-men, while Killer Moth escapes. Batman and Robin watch from inside a side room and come out to help her. Batman reveals to Batgirl that it was a trap for Killer Moth, they used a dummy which was shot and Robin placed a homing device on the Moth-mobile. Batman & Robin leave Batgirl to track Killer Moth.

Batgirl removes a motor-bike from her truck, which she has modified into a Batcycle. When Batman & Robin at Killer Moth's hideout, a trap is sprung capturing them. It's up to Batgirl to rescue them from the trap. Upon release all three heroes search the hideout for Killer Moth. Batgirl is able "smell" Killer Moth behind a fake wall. Batman deduces that during her fight earlier, some of her perfume rubbed off onto Killer Moth. So she was able to smell it on him from the other side of the fake wall.

Quote from this issue: "Holy Interference!" - Robin

Credits: Gardner Fox (Script), Carmine Infantino (Pencils), Sid Greene (Inks)

Friday, February 11, 2005

02/09/05 New Comics

A little late this week, but a some good reading:

  • Alpha Flight #12 (Days of Future Present, Past Participle pt. 3 of 4)
  • Captain America #3 (Out of Time pt. 3)
  • District X #10 (Underground pt. 3 of 6)
  • Captain America and the Falcon #12 (Brothers and Keepers pt. 5 of 5)
  • JLA #111 (Syndicate Rules pt. 5)
  • Young Avengers #1 (Sidekicks pt. 1)
  • Earth's Mightiest Heroes #7 (of 8)
  • New Thunderbolts #5
  • Fantastic Four: Foes #2 (of 6)
  • Action Comics #824

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Fantastic Four Movie

FF Main

Well July 8th, 2005 is quickly getting closer. I am very excited to see how they interpret the Fantastic Four to the big screen. I really hope they dedicate the same attention as they did for the X-men movies, and not the dreck that they distributed as the Punisher movie. Although initial photos of the Thing does not instill any confidence that they have.


Here is the cast for the movie, also Legendary creator Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance as FF mailman, Willy Lumpkin.

Ioan Gruffudd .... Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic
Michael Chiklis .... Ben Grimm/The Thing
Jessica Alba .... Susan Storm/The Invisible Woman
Chris Evans .... Johnny Storm/The Human Torch
Julian McMahon .... Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom
Kerry Washington .... Alicia Masters

Thursday, February 03, 2005

02/02/05 New Comic Listing

Here are the books I picked up:

  • Uncanny X-men #455
  • Superman/Batman #17
  • Firestorm #10
  • Excalibur #9
  • Exiles #59
  • Superman #213
  • Shanna, The She-Devil #1 (of 7)
  • New Avengers #3
  • Justice League Elite #8
  • Detective Comics #802
  • X-Men Unlimited #7
  • X-Men: Phoenix Endsong #2 (of 5)
  • X4 #3 (of 5)

Comic Book Pedigrees

The term pedigree is used quite frequently in the comic collecting community. There is a certain aura of excitement when a book is from a pedigree. Pedigree collections range from Golden Age books from the 1930s to Bronze Age books in the 1970s. They range from Superhero, Horror, Western, Romance, and more.

This is a list of pedigrees that are recognized by CGC:

  • Allentown
  • Aurora
  • Bethlehem
  • Big Apple
  • Boston
  • Bowling Green
  • Chicago
  • Circle 8
  • Cosmic Aeroplane
  • Crowley
  • Curator
  • "D" copy
  • Denver
  • Diamond Run
  • Gaines File
  • Green River
  • Hawkeye
  • Larson
  • Lost Valley
  • Massachusetts
  • Mile High (Edgar Church)
  • Mile High II*
  • Mohawk Valley
  • Northland
  • Northford
  • Nova Scotia
  • Oakland
  • Ohio
  • Okajima
  • Pacific Coast
  • Palo Alto
  • Pennsylvania
  • River City
  • Rockford
  • San Francisco
  • Spokane
  • Toledo
  • Twilight
  • Western Penn
  • White Mountain
  • Windy City
  • Winnipeg

Green River Pedigree

reprinted by permission:

The Green River Collection

by Brad Hamann

Belying its serene-sounding title, the Green River Collection actually claims an indirect connection to one of the most horrific series of murders on record in American history.

William J. Stevens II began assembling this collection of mainly Silver Age Marvels and DCs in the 1960s when he was a boy. Stevens’ father operated a 1,200-square-foot pharmacy on a secondary road by Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and Stevens and his adopted brother Robert would steal comics and boxes of trading cards from the store. Stevens meticulously cataloged and stored this quickly-growing collection.

The collection first began to surface in the early 1990s when Stevens, now in his forties, began selling some of the books to Craig Barnett, a local dealer who ran a store in Spokane called The Comic Book Shop. Stevens would arrive at the store with stacks of comics packed in brown paper grocery sacks whenever he needed money. According to Barnett, Stevens was looking to raise money for a microwave receiving station to track police calls as part of his apparent fixation with law enforcement. Barnett has described Stevens as very personable, and “a really nice guy, but an incredible con man.” These transactions went on for about a year and then stopped. Later, Barnett learned from Robert Stevens that William had died as a result of cancer. What Barnett did not know at the time of his purchases, was that William was not only a con man, but a convicted felon.

Convicted of burglarizing a uniform store in 1979, Stevens had served a two-year stint in prison. Then, in January of 1981, he had simply walked out of a King County jail work-release program and dropped completely out of sight. Stevens traveled extensively under several aliases and resided in the Portland, Oregon area until May of 1985, when he returned to Spokane and enrolled at Gonzaga.

Police discovered and arrested Stevens at his parents’ home in January of 1989 after several phone tips resulting from the television program “Manhunt Live: A Chance to End a Nightmare!” At the time, Stevens was in his last year at Gonzaga University School of Law and serving as the president of the Student Bar Association. He promptly issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. “I am not the Green River killer. They have made me out to be a very bad person, and I am not,” he declared.

After a search of his parents’ home, where Stevens was then living, police found 29 firearms, and a box full of phony driver’s licenses and credit cards acquired under assumed names. Credit-card fraud and robbery were apparently a means by which Stevens had survived through the years. Also discovered were more than one hundred police badges, and a large collection of pornographic videotapes and sexually explicit Polaroids of naked women.

Stevens seemed a strong suspect in the series of murders in the Seattle-Tacoma area that began in the early 1980s. In all, the Green River Killer had tallied 48 victims between 1982 and 1984. The killer systematically left his victims, all women, near the banks of the Green River outside of Seattle. Many were prostitutes, but several runaways and hitchhikers became the unfortunate victims of the most prolific killer in American criminal history. After his arrest, Stevens was exhaustively interviewed about the Green River murders, but a series of alibis placed him on trips with his parents out of the Seattle area at the time of some of the murders. Police eventually released Stevens and took him off the list of suspects. Stevens died of cancer on September 20, 1991. In 2003, Gary Ridgway, another longtime suspect, confessed to all of the murders.

Craig Barnett has not kept a detailed list of the nearly eight hundred books he purchased from William J. Stevens, but after Stevens’ death in 1991, Barnett announced the as-yet-unnamed collection in one of his market reports in the Overstreet Monthly Price Guide Update.

In an April 2004 e-mail to a collector, Craig Barnett recalled some of his 1990-1991 dealings with William Stevens:

Bill kept me on the hook as far as what other books he had and mentioned over and over that he had between five and fifteen Amazing Spider-Man #1’s and would bring them in as soon as he found them. Considering some of the quantities of some of the books he did bring in I really had no reason to doubt him. I don’t remember having any quantity of the major keys so it's unlikely that he sold me more than one or two of any keys that he did have, but I really don’t know which ones they might have been and in the grades they were in, they would have sold rather quickly. He did bring in quite a few annuals and specials ─I remember getting several copies each of the FF and Spider-man annuals and specials early on as Bill thought they would be worth more because they were larger but I have no idea as to what quantities of each there were─ most of the books were grouped together in threes and fours with an occasional grouping of five─ I don’t remember getting more than five of anything.

What emerged over the course of time was that in addition to the books he sold to Barnett, William J. Stevens had bartered the sale of nearly 1,650 of his books to attorney Craig C. Beles in order to pay off some of the legal bills that had accumulated as a result of his run-ins with law enforcement. After reading through the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, Beles sent out a letter to many of the dealers who advertised in the book, notifying them that the collection was for sale.

John M. Hauser, a well-known dealer from Madison, Wisconsin was alerted to the solicitation by a fellow Wisconsin dealer, Jef Hinds. Hauser flew to Seattle and initially viewed about one hundred of the comics. “After seeing these, I knew I wanted the rest,” said Hauser. “I put in a competitive bid and won out against the crowd of dealers.”

Hauser purchased the collection in partnership with James Haack, another dealer. Each put up half of the $25,000 winning bid. The collection they acquired contained a wide selection of DCs and Marvels. “There were multiples of almost every annual I received. I think [the Stevens brothers] stole more annuals, as the cover price was higher and they thought they would be worth more. Most of the annuals have graded at 9.4 or 9.6. Sadly, all of the Flash’s I bought were water damaged,” said Hauser. The Amazing Spider-Man #1 that Hauser and Haack purchased was later graded a 7.0 by CGC.

At the time of the purchase, Hauser was unaware of Barnett’s connection to part of the collection. Later, Hauser read in one of Barnett’s market reports in the Overstreet Monthly Price Guide Update that Barnett had sold multiple copies of Fantastic Four Annual #1 and Spider-Man Annual #1. Hauser then contacted Barnett, but by then most of the DCs and Marvels had been sold. Barnett still retained a number of Gold Keys and books by other publishers.

Hauser and Haack first offered their books for sale to the public in 1993 when the two dealers ran an ad in the March 26, 1993, issue of Comics Buyer’s Guide. The books listed for sale included nearly complete runs of Silver Age X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers, Daredevil, Journey Into Mystery (from Issue #91 up), Sgt. Fury, and Fantastic Four (from Issue #8 up). The collection also included a large assortment of DCs and some Gold Keys, as well. Once Hauser and Haack had recouped their initial investment, they split up the remainder of the books.

According to Barnett, John Hauser coined the name for the Green River Collection. Once the name became better known, Barnett began to put a certificate explaining the collection behind each backing board, along with the shop stamp.

The collection was officially recognized as the Green River Collection by Comics Guaranty Corporation in 2001. Mark Haspel, senior grader and pedigree expert at CGC says that the collection was already well-known when John Hauser began submitting books to CGC for grading. The existence of the original sales lists made it that much easier to document and verify the books in the collection.

In 2003, Craig Beles attempted to sell a raw copy of Daredevil #11 on eBay. The book did not meet reserve and an interested collector took the initiative and contacted Beles directly to negotiate a price for the book. When Beles told the collector that he had other books as well, a deal was struck for an additional 75 books.

The books that make up the Green River Collection number approximately 2,400, and are among the easiest to identify of all the major pedigrees. The vast majority of these books carry a small red arrival date stamped on the front cover. The books are characterized by incredibly white pages, terrific cover gloss, great color strike, tight cover wrap and an overall unread, right-off-the-newsstand freshness. Edges and corners are razor sharp. When examined first hand, it is hard to believe that these books are forty years old.

The collection contains single copies of many of the books, but also cases of multiple copies, as mentioned; for example, the original sales manifests compiled by Beles listed six copies of Avengers #22, and nine copies each of Strange Tales #138 and Fantastic Four Annual #3.

The majority of the collection has yet to be graded by CGC, but those books that have been graded received outstanding marks, ranging generally from 8.5 to 9.6. Books graded at 9.6 include Amazing Spider-Man #29, Daredevil #11, and Tales of Suspense #83.

Collector Shin C. Kao has compiled a near-complete list in PDF format of all the titles in the original sales manifests, along with a scan of the original Comics Buyer’s Guide ad. This additional material can be found at

©2004 Brad Hamann

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

.25 cent PictureFrame issues

Between November 1971 and March 1972, Marvel Comics experimented with their titles by releasing .25 cent issues. By today's standards this seems very inexpensive, however comic books at the time only cost .15 cents. So a ten cent jump seemed excessive. Marvel eventually only raised the cover price by five cents to .20 cent issues.

Another change Marvel made was the introduction of the Marvel Comics bar across the top of their comics, which has become a mainstay for most of the 1970s to 1980s.

Here is a complete list of the .25 cent PictureFrame issues:

  • Amazing Spider-Man #102

  • Avengers #93

  • Avengers Annual #5

  • Captain America #143

  • Captain America Special #2

  • Chamber of Darkness Special #1

  • Conan #11

  • Daredevil #81

  • Daredevil Special #3

  • Fantastic Four #116

  • Fear #6

  • Incredible Hulk #145

  • Incredible Hulk Annual #4

  • Iron Man #43

  • Kid Colt Outlaw #156

  • Marvel Feature #2

  • Marvel's Greatest Comics #34

  • Marvel Special Edition #4

  • Marvel Spotlight #2

  • Marvel Tales #33

  • Marvel Triple Action #1

  • Mighty Marvel Western #16

  • Monsters on the Prowl #14

  • My Love #14

  • Rawhide Kid #93

  • Ringo Kid #12

  • Sub-Mariner #43

  • Sub-Mariner Special #2

  • Thor #193

  • Where Monsters Dwell #12

  • Western Gunfighters #7