Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rare? Nope.

Certain old comics--even some from the Golden Age--are rather common. I've never quite figured out why this is so. I know the main reason for it--some specific issues just solder better than others. But why this is so, I can't say. What made one issue sell particularly well and thus made the odds for its survival as a collectible more even?

When I was a comic book dealer, there were just weird issues of books that I would always run into. Why were they more common than the issues that came out that particular year? Who can say?

For instance, I used to run into copies of Superman #63 and Superman #98 a lot! By "a lot", what I mean to say is that I rarely didn't have those issues in stock. And if you try to find a Superman #62, or a Superman #99...lots o' luck! Those are much more difficult to find!

One of the books in my collection is WALT DISNEY COMICS & STORIES #140. It's considered a "key" issue. That is, it's important to collectors because it has the first appearance of a Carl Barks creation who was used quite a lot over the years: Donald Duck's super-lucky cousin, Gladstone Gander. I always got a kick out of the stories that had Gladstone in them. They were a lot of fun.

However, this issue of the book is just very damned common. Many, many of them obviously survived over the years because I rarely go into a comic book convention when I don't find several dealers with at least one copy of that book in their stock. They're just very, very easy to find.

But what made it so attractive to kids that so many were purchased (and survived)? Was it the cover art? It's clever, but no funnier or more imaginative than many another Carl Barks cover. It couldn't have been the appearance of Gladstone, because it was the first story in which Barks ever used him. No one knew who he was, so the kids could not have approached the book with any amount of affection for him.

One thing I've always wondered about was if the color stock had anything to do with it. The cover is dominated by a bright yellow the surrounds Donald. Maybe all of that glaring yellow cover stock grabbed the eyes and attentions of a hundred thousand extra kids that month. Was this issue part of a promotional giveaway? I've never heard that. It's a mystery.

But I do have a very nice copy in my collection. They supposedly are priced at a slight premium because of Gladstone Gander's first appearance. But I always see them end up going for a lot less than the Guide price. Supply and demand rules.

My copy of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #140.

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