Thursday, May 1, 2008

It Came from the 50 Cent Bin (Comic Cents II)

By Chris Buchner

I’m writing this article fresh off the 3rd Annual New York ComicCon (which should give you an idea how far in advance I don’t write these things!) where I spent that entire weekend with my colleagues at the Comicbook Artists Guild table near artist alley doing our thing. It was a great con with a very healthy attendance and a lot of energy behind it. You had your various displays from the publishers and toy manufacturers showing their wares, a few non-comic related things just because, people in costumes and of course vendors selling various products. Amongst those products are, naturally, comic books. And where there’s a convention selling comic books, there are discount bins!

Almost a year ago, I chronicled my escapades at the discount bins at the Big Apple Con held every year at the Penn Plaza Pavilion in New York’s Hotel Pennsylvania. My goal was to show what kind of hidden treasures can be found within, sometimes things you’d never expect to find in those bins. This time around, I was determined to be a little more restrained than I was then (I ended up bringing home almost 600 comics that weekend alone!) but I still did a fair raiding of those bins. With my significantly reduced budget (and the fact I have far too many to read as it is) I kept within specific titles and storylines, filling in gaps in my collection. But, that doesn’t mean there weren’t some gems to be found!

One of the runs I worked on was my Uncanny X-Men line. X-Men comics tend to be expensive the older you go, no matter how far back. That’s because while the X-line is in current disarray and directionless, the older books hold up and are in fairly high demand. Here’s one such gem:

Uncanny X-Men #251, the pinnacle issue of the then-new character Jubilee’s budding superhero career. This is the issue where Wolverine was crucified by the cybernetic mercenaries, the Reavers, and Jubilee eventually comes to his aid. This begins her role as his unofficial sidekick, and restores Wolverine’s father figure role previously had with Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat. Although the condition of my copy isn’t near mint, I did get this comic for just two quarters…you can’t beat that!

Actually, you can. Not only did I find this issue, but the particular bins I was going through had a fairly complete run of the X-Men books from the 200s through the 400s, as well as X-Force and some of the classic X-Factor. Granted, I already had a good portion of the books, but for anyone else that’s a good way to either build up or plug up your collection.

Also, I had started reading Image Comics’ The Darkness just before volume 2 had ended. Thanks to the 50 cent bins, I was able to get most of the run of volume 1, all in excellent condition as if I just bought them from the comic shop.

Todd McFarlane rose to superstardom in the late 80s, early 90s when he became the artist on the Amazing Spider-Man for 28 issues, and then was given his own title to both write AND draw in Spider-Man. It was during this run on Amazing that Venom would come about, ushering in a new era of villain/anti-hero for the next decade. Because of this, while most of the run from the late 200 numbers through most of the 300s are valued and retail pretty high, the McFarlane issues of Amazing are usually valued a bit higher than most. I was able to find numbers 310 and 320-323, which is four parts of a six-part story, in pretty decent condition.

Just in time for Superman’s 70th anniversary, the 50th anniversary issue of Action Comics.

One of my more recent personal project story ideas revolved around the classic rivalry between Daredevil and the Punisher. In order to research for it and get it as accurate in interpretation as possible, I set out to get every pairing I could find of the two. Thanks to Manwithoutfear.com, I was able to purchase all but one issue they had listed as featuring the Punisher. Of course, what should I find in the bins but the issue in question!

I also ended up finding a few of the other ones I had already bought. Just goes to show, you never know what you’ll find in these things.

Lastly for this edition, there are times when I miss a comic here or there. Other times, I jump on a book late and my shop may already be sold out of previous issues. Two of these titles, Superman: Birthright #1 and X-Universe #2, that I had contemplated buying for $1 from a discount website, you guessed it, I found in the 50 cent bins!

So, what will YOU find?

1 comment:

Carl V. said...

I don't spend near enough time at comic conventions going through the cheap bins. Part of the reason I believe is that I pretty much keep up with only a small number of books and often don't have gaps in a run that I need filled. Also because I often go to conventions looking to buy a few bigger ticket items and am saving my 50 cents for that. But I need to start looking again. Making my way through my volumes of the Modern Masters series I have listed comics by Mike Allred and Mark Schultz, among others, that I would like to discover in the cheap bins. I have a list for our next small local con in the fall.

One thing I did find in the comic bins recently, only for $5 rather than $.50, was an issue of a comic called Space Cowboy. Now I know nothing about the story and really don't care about it. What I wanted it for was that it reprinted a Famous Funnies (I believe) image by Frank Frazetta that I absolutely love of a 50's era (my guess) man and woman in a space ship orbiting a planet with a caveman/wild man standing on the back of the ship looking in at them. I just love that image and was so thrilled to find this reprint of it.

Gems can certainly be found if one looks and I just need to start taking the time to sook.