Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stan Lee Ripped My Comic !!!

Sometime in 1979 (if memory serves me correctly; it may have been 1978), my childhood friend and fellow comic collector, Joe Carbone, and I, were taken to a NYC comic con by his dad. I think I went to the show with maybe $50 or $60, deciding that I was going to put a good portion of it toward getting one really nice book. I wound up choosing issue #11 of The Fantastic Four, featuring the origin and first appearence of the Impossible Man. I think I paid around $30 for the book. The Overstreet Guide from 1979 places the value in Fine at $33, so I guess $30 sounds about right for the condition of this issue, which I'd put around a Fine -. The 2006 guide has it at $264 in Fine and $1750 in Near Mint. The Excelsior himself, Stan Lee, was at this con and signing comics. I got in line with my new purchase, figuring, “Ah, perfect, I can get my #11 signed by Stan Lee himself! The line wasn't too long and it was set up in the hallway of the convention. I can't remember what hotel it was being held at, but it was a relatively small space in the crowded hallway. When I got to him, Stan, sitting behind a small table, asked me my name (and made some now forgotten comment about the old F.F. issue) and proceeded to inscribe it to me and sign it. Unfortunately, Stan pressed fairly hard on the cover and as he signed it, his ball point pen sliced right through the (then) 16-or-so-year-old-paper. I noticed that and showed it to him, so he took it back and wrote the now infamous line , “I'm sorry I Ripped It - Stan.” On the one hand, I was pretty pissed that Stan had ripped what had been a pretty proud investment for an eleven-year-old, and on the other, I had a special, one-of-a-kind note on my book from Stan Lee! As I was leaving the table, I showed the book to my friend's dad who got pretty upset and used a couple of expletives about Stan ripping a kid's comic and how he should have paid for it. I let it slide and I guess the book is fairly unique. I've often wondered if I'd prefer to just have a nice clean copy of the book, without any signature at all, as, to many collectors, writing on the cover of a comic, other than maybe a store date, is frowned upon. Later on, I did a trade with my friend Joe for his Fantastic Four #14, which he bought that day and also had signed. Looking closely at that signature, you can notice that Stan tore into that cover a bit as well!


Addendum - Looking back at the signature on the #11, it's in a bit of a different style for Stan. The way the 'S' leads into the 't' is more of a cursive 'l' than the normal upside down and elongated 'V' shape that he usually uses. On March 31st, 2012, I met Stan again (for the 3rd time) at the New York Comic Book Marketplace, where he signed my copy of IDW's The 'Amazing Spider-Man John Romita Artist's Edition.' (btw, a video I put together showcasing this book can be seen here: John Romita - Amazing Spider-Man Artist's Edition The signature he used on that is closer to the one on the #14 here, than it is on the #11.  So that makes the #11 even that much more unique!



8 comments:

Everybody's gotta be in a Gang said...

Maybe Stan rips every one he signs- just to make it more unique.
I think it's cool that he did that.

Jesse said...

That damn Stan!!! lol
Dude, what a massive undertaking this is...two blogs to update, wow! I don't envy you one bit, brother. Good luck, I will be tuning in for geek news and scans. hehe...

The Keeper's Notes said...

Hey Jessssiiiitttto! Long time no communicate...glad to see you're still alive and kicking..well, at least alive...and breathing (I assume)...thanks for stopping in...yeh, two to update...but it's fun!

Everybody's gotta be in a Gang said...

What am I? Chopped Liver? I made a comment too, DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The Keeper's Notes said...

Dan! Hey, man..sorry! My bad!! I should have tried to meet Stan again when he was at the NY Comic Con in Feb...and had something less expensive signed. I also could have brought the old F.F. to show him!

Everybody's gotta be in a Gang said...

No problem- just exaggerating for humor sake.

CamChes said...

Cool blog man. I like seeing pictures of all this stuff. Did you ever collect those old Mego figures? I see that TwoMorrows is putting out a book about them this summer. http://twomorrows.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=52&products_id=566 I saw that DC made them change their cover art which was actulalIy really cool, and now is boring. finally got my entire comic book collection back from my parents home (where I left it since 1986--they moved twice during that time, so I'm very happy its still all together). Now I have a zillion boxes of comics piled up against the wall in my studio. I'm trying to think of a way to liquidate the whole thing, without giving it away or selling them for cents apiece. Selling on ebay a batch at atime will take a little while.... I guess that's what I will have to do though. I'm going to try and do a few experimental sales, and see if anything is worth anything.... I should spend some time going through the whole mess and see if I can make a big database for all of them. What do you do to keep track of everything?

The Keeper's Notes said...

Hey Cam - Thanks...glad you like the site! I'm planning a new update soon (maybe today!)...there's lloooaaaddds more stuff to keep this site going for quite a while! Now I've just got to keep thinking of something interesting to write about the stuff!

Thanks for the link to the Mego book, didn't know about it. I've got a couple of other Mego books that have been published over the last ten years or so...mainly photo/price guides with brief histories. Tomart's Toy magazine has published a lengthy history of Mego over the last couple of years, including interviews with some of the original people. I definitely had some Mego's growing up and have collected a few items from their line. I've got all the 'Monsters' they put out as well as some of the Super Knights (had a King Arthur as a kid...right now I've got two empty boxes for him, but no actual figure!) You can see one of my Mego Spider-Man (8" ver) in the masthead for this site. Down the line, I'll have an interesting story about one of the main guys at Mego back in the day - all tied into the apparel industry!

As for keeping track of the comics..that'a a time filling job, to be sure. I haven't kept any kind of records for my collection in quite a while, but I did do a fairly thorough cataloging around 12 or 13 years ago, including grading alot of it. There are new comic recording keeping programs that should help to cut down on some time. Check out
http://www.comiccollectorlive.com/ for one program that will help you organize your stuff.

As for selling stuff, yeh, it can definitely be a pain...and, unless you've got some pricey stuff (ie hi-grade Golden or Silver age books) you're likely to get below guide value for most of it on Ebay. And remember to bear in mind all those Ebay and Paypal fees! Good luck.

If you're looking for a good way to store whatever you might keep I highly recommend the new drawerbox comic box system. Go to http://collection.powweb.com/ to check them out. A bit pricey (it's the shipping fees that kill you) but well worth it, if you're tired of moving heavy boxes of comics to get to the ones at the bottom.