Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

May 21, 2013

Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound

Greensburg — If someone were to refer to you as a pannapictagraphists would you ....A--need to see a doctor? B--start a diet immediately? or C--confess to a priest and never ever do that again?

You most likely wouldn’t do any of the these because you would be too busy hanging at the local comic book store. Pannapictagraphists are those people who love to buy, sell, and trade comic books, and many of them are searching for 20th century comics that you just might have!

Collectible comic books are divided into two main groups the “Golden Age” and the “Silver Age.” The “Golden Age” refers to comics printed from 1938 to 1955. It was during this 17-year period that many of the major publishers, titles and characters that make up today’s collectible comics came into being. The first major character to be introduced was Superman in June of 1938, quickly followed by Batman, Wonder Woman and Captain America.

As we approached the end of the Golden Era, the publishers of American comics were forced into a major overhaul. Innocent as comics may seem to us now, in the early 1950’s they were considered by many to be undermining American young people and contributing to juvenile delinquency. In 1954 German-American psychiatrist Fredric Wetherman’s book “Seduction of the Innocent,” cited both overt and covert depictions of sex, drugs and violence in many of the day’s most popular comics. Although the book never reached the status of a best-seller, it did cause enough stir to shut down several major publishing houses. Those that remained established the “Comics Code Authority” in 1954 to assure parents that their products were suitable for children.

The “Silver Age” of comics denotes the period from 1956-1970. A new group of superheroes made their appearance during this period including The Flash, the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. Many of the early comics, such as Green Lantern, Atom and Hawkman, were revived in new format in the 1960’s with enhanced color and graphics. DC Comics and Marvel Comics from this era are of special interest to collectors. Also watch for Harvey Comics, the distributors of Richie Rich, Little Dot and Casper the Friendly Ghost.

Collecting for investment purposes requires patience as it is a ‘gain as you go’ situation. If you are new to this field of collecting remember that it takes time for comics to grow in value. Collect topics that are of interest to you, start with low risk newer issues and study, study, study. As your knowledge of comics grows, venture gradually into speculation with older books. You might consider collecting only number 1 issues of several different series to narrow the vastness of this immense field of collecting.

Paper is very fragile and many valuable comics have fallen prey to neglect. Humidity, temperature variance, exposure to light and poor air circulation are all factors that can result in deterioration. Make certain to always wash your hands before handling a comic book as the natural oils in the body can be harmful to the paper. Minimal stress to the spine and staples is important. To limit this it is recommended that you lay your book on a table to read as apposed to holding it.

Seem like a lot of fuss over a comic book? Maybe so, but consider this: Recent prices realized at specialized auctions include: $50,000 for a 1962 Amazing Fantasy CG, $21,000 for an original 1957 Peanuts comic strip signed by Charles Schultz, and $12,000 for the 1963 Amazing Spider Man #1 CGC/PGX.

Bet you go get those old comic books out from under the bed now!

Until next time,

Linda

 

{Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-429-7887 or lkennett@indy.rr.com}

 

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