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A Newsletter for the Comic Collector

Here is another issue of the fun and most importantly free newsletter that tries to capture the fun that comics used to bring us, before it became big business. Hence the name, Just Newsprint. This has been one of the most asked questions since I started this newsletter. As always, your comments whether they be positive or negative are always appreciated.

Since the early days of comics, fans have always wanted to pit different heroes against each other. Comic companies, realizing the sales potential, have given us a fair share of battles over the years. In recent years, we have also seen a glut of crossovers as everyone's heroes battled and or teamed up with everyone else's. But back in the newsprint days, the battles usually were relegated to heroes of the same company. This has led to some memorable battles and many of which took place over and over again. So here is my list of my favorite duels. Instead of giving specific issues, I am just giving the characters. Many of these guys battled more than once. You will notice a plethora of Marvel characters as they in my opinion, are among the most interesting battles.

10. Human Torch vs Iceman-The ever famous fire and ice battle. While I personally think the Human Torch could win this with ease, they always made it a battle. Have him go supernova and the poor Ice Man turns to Puddle Man.ssurfer.jpg (2782 bytes)
9. Thor vs Silver Surfer-In the landmark fourth issue of Silver Surfer, the two titans duked it out. Not only was it a great issue, but it sported an awesome cover!
8. Superman vs Shazam-Sure they only battled one time (at least that I know of) in Kingdome Come, but what a battle it was!
7. Hulk vs Iron Man-They had a very classic battle in Hulk # where Iron Man was frozen due to being drained of energy from his battle with the Hulk.
6. Punisher vs Daredevil-Sure they are both normal guys (as opposed to most of the heroes), but they both have skills and desire. They have both fought a few times, with the most memorable coming in Daredevil #180-182.
5. Hulk vs Wolverine-There has only been a few battles, but they were vicious. Especially Incredible Hulk #340, one of the most memorable battles in comic history.
4. Superman vs Green Lantern-While they didn't fight all that often, it was an event! Green Lantern's near limitless ring against Superman's equally limitless powers. Talk about rocking the world.
(Webmaster's note: I can't remember the issue, but in DC Comics Presents, maybe an annual, the ring defeats Superman instantly by creating a planet of kryptonite!)
3. Superman vs Muhammad Ali-Sure it was goofy and Muhammad Ali is a real person, but this was a good battle. It was a true battle of skills as Superman was reduced to a normal person and they had to fight it out in a boxing ring. Plus the ending where Muhammad Ali holds up Superman's hands and says "We're both the greatest" or something sappy like that was a regular tear jerker.
2. Spiderman vs Human Torch-There has always been friction between these guys and while there was mutual respect, there was also some hatred. Johnny Storm with his arrogance couldn't stand Spiderman and his wisecracks. These guys battled numerous times including in Fantastic Four #4 and Amazing Spiderman #1.
hulk.jpg (4679 bytes)1. Hulk vs Thing-This is the granddaddy of all battles and is always an event. While the Hulk was always the stronger of the two, the Thing had experience and smarts. Further proof that brute strength isn't always enough. But then in Hulk #, the tables were turned and the Hulk was the smart one. Interesting.
(Webmaster again. This is the greatest battle pairing in comics ever! I would like to see the more-mutated (madder AND stronger!) Thing from What If? take on the smart Hulk. Now THAT would be something!!)

Classic Ad of the Month
This month's classic ad is the ever popular "Scary Life Size Monster Ghost!". It says that it will obey your commands. Whoopeedoo! It is just a oversized kite that looks like a ghost. Anyone over five years old would know it was fake from a hundred feet away. Especially the string that attaches it to you. But at over seven feet tall, it has to be imposing. Just don't let it get tangled up in a tree or you will ruin the whole illusion. Maybe if Charlie Brown had one of these he could have warded off that kite eating tree.

If this wasn't enough to get you to part with your hard earned dollar (yes, it cost a dollar for all this horror), you also received at no extra cost, the popping, crawling, glow in the dark skeleton hands. Hide them in your pocket and they will crawl out and scare the beejeebies out of your friends. With these two, you have the start of a haunted house. Think of the money you can rake in from the neighbors as they go through you house of frights. Sure it is only two exhibits, but you gotta start somewhere. Guess you can always order the rubber masks that are always featured.

Bargain Bin Bonanza
This month's bargain bin deal is the good old Alien Legion comics. There were a few series of these alien troopers and are easily found at a buck or less. Not only are the good science fiction, but they are also good stories with some real character development and interaction. Chuck Dixon did some work on these and they are well worth the low price.

From the snakelike Commander to Grimrod, the regional tough guy, you have a nice mix of different aliens that learn to work together for a common goal, survival. The stories are usually action packed and feature some real intense battles. Characters do die or get maimed and this adds to the realism of the book (or as realistic as a book about a bunch of aliens can get). Like many of the good books from the 80's, you can jump in anywhere and not be too lost, but if you are around for the whole series, you get alot more enjoyment out of it.

If you crave good sci-fi and like lots of action, then this is one bargain bin series worth checking out. You will not be disappointed!

Top Selling on Tomorrow's Heroes
One of the questions I get asked frequently are what are the top selling comics and companies on my web site. I don't know if it is just inquisitive fans or rival web pages trying to find out my secrets (guess all those X-Files episodes are getting to me). Irregardless, I will give you the top selling comics and companies on my web site. Granted, these are just over the past few months. I really think you will be surprised!

Top Selling Comics
1. Avengers West Coast (blows my mind too)wwoman4.jpg (2924 bytes)
2. Wonder Woman
3. Green Lantern
4. Green Arrow
5. Groo the Wanderer
6. Uncle Scrooge
7. Uncanny X-Men
8. Alpha Flight
9. Swamp Thing
10. Captain America

Notes: The Avengers West Coast is a total shock! I have sold over 150 copies of these, with people buying one of every issue I have. I don't know if it's the low prices or the fact that most stores have jettisoned them out, but they are great sellers. The question is will it keep up? The next three were helped by one big order where someone bought out one of each. The Groos and Uncle Scrooges are a handful here and there, but they add up fast.

Top Selling Companies
1. Marvel Comics
2. DC Comics
3. Disney
4. Malibu
5. Dark Horse
6. Valiant/Acclaim
7. Image
8. Viz
9. Independents
10. Archie

Notes: The first two are no surprise as they have the most books, so it is only expected. But Malibu has been a major surprise. I have sold alot of Malibu and to different people. Guess it is the quality of the stories and the very low price. Disney's are constant sellers and I pick up all I can at comic shows. While Archie is low, it is picking up. I am making an effort to build up my selection of these timeless books.

Do You Buy Comics?
One of the most asked questions is if I purchase comics from people. While the answer is yes, there are stipulations. Since I can get comics around here for dirt cheap prices, I have grown accustomed to deals, so I am not looking to pay high prices. As you can see by my site, I sell books very cheap and so I need to get them even cheaper. Here is rough list of books I am looking for and basic prices I pay. You will notice that unlike most sites, I am not looking for the hot books. You can keep your limited edition covers of Danger Girl or whatever. I want good reading, good condition books that sell now and will still sell down the road. I have no interest whatsoever in platinum editions, signed books or any limited released books like Wizard 1/2, American Comic Exclusives or whatever. So please don't bother me with these, there are enough dealers out there that want this stuff.

Tomorrow's Heroes Buy List
I pay $ 0.20 each for Archies (any titles from the 1960's-1980's)
I pay $ 0.25 each for the following Disney comics from the 1960's-1980's:
-Donald Duck
-Mickey Mouse
-Uncle Scrooge
-Walt Disney Comics & Stories
I pay $ 0.10 each for the following 1980'a Independent comics:
-Alien Worlds
-American Flagg
-Elric (and related books)
-Jon Sable
-Lone Wolf & Cub
-Tales of the Beanworld
-Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
-Twisted Tales
I pay $ 0.25 each for most Manga related comics.
I pay $ 0.75 each for Ranma 1/2 and Akira comics.
I pay $ 0.10 each for GI Joe comics.
I pay $ 0.20 each for Conan the Barbarian comics under #100

Please send list of what you have before shipping them out. This price is for excellent to near mint comics. I will reimburse you for shipping, provided you ship book rate to save us both money. I am looking for large amounts of comics only. If you have less than 20 books, it is probably not worth it for me, due to shipping costs. I also trade, just add a nickel to the price of each book for trade. While I will occasionally buy alot of the same issue, I will sometimes limit how many of a single issue I want to purchase. I try not to have more than 30 copies of any comic in stock.

Roll Call
One of my favorite things in comics was the Justice League roll call at the beginning of their comics. Nothing was more exciting that opening a new issue (or an old issue that was new to you) of the Justice League of America and see who would make up the team that issue. I remember how much I enjoyed looking for my favorite characters on the row of heads and try to determine if they were a more powerful team or a more finesse team. While this may seem trivial to some people, I found it the most enjoyable part of the book.

It was especially exciting when they would team up with the heroes of different earth's. The annual JLA/JSA team-up was a parade of floating heads. It was always cool to see how different the heroes looked. The Green Lantern of the JSA with the lantern instead of the ring, etc... You know there would have to be some major menace to battle this many heroes. Minor villains need not apply.

I always thought it was the little things like this that added to the enjoyment of a comic. That roll call at the beginning built up the excitement for the issue. Oh how I long for those days when a glass of lemonade and a new issue of the Justice League was all a kid needed.

Too Much of a Good Thing
One problem that Marvel had during the last decade is the overuse of their heroes. Especially the minor heroes like the Punisher and Ghost Rider. While both characters are good supporting characters, I really don't think either one was good enough to sustain a regular series and a bunch of guest appearances. The problem is once a character shows even a bit of popularity, they are given a regular series. If it has any success then they make the circuit, appearing in every book that needs a boost in circulation. It was sorta like the talk show circuit for actors in new movies. Suddenly, a character that appeared a few times a year would be popping up like dandelions on a lawn.
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The main problem with this is that too much exposure ruins the character and soon people tire of him and he or she loses all salability. The Punisher is the ultimate example as he went from a bit character in Spiderman and Daredevil comics to having three regular series and a slew of appearances and specials. There is more Punisher stuff out there than any single person would want to read.

Don't think that Marvel is alone in the cut and burn mentality. Dark Horse are perfect examples of running a franchise into the ground. They have the belief that if one Star Wars or Aliens title will sell, then six should sell even better. They have taken many very good franchises and ruined them. Not the quality, as they usually maintain high quality, but in customer interest. One thing I learned from my years of running and owning a comic store is that collectors want to collect all the titles or none. Most seem to have no middle ground. So a collector would keep buying all the Star Wars titles released until it reached a point where they couldn't afford all of them and then they would just drop them all. I have never been able to understand this mentality and guess I never will. Why they cannot just pick and choose is beyond me. But whoever said collecting comics had to make sense. Anyway, these companies don't realize how they are destroying their own market by doing this, sorta like the farmers who chop down the forest and plant the land until it is used up and then move on to the next section of forest. instead of doing crop rotation or replanting a section or anything else logical, they just keep ruining the land. Same with these companies as they take a decent property and end up ruining it.

So the moral of the story is instead of trying to squeeze every last penny out of a collector, slowly increase the amount of material and keep it to a reasonable limit. Collectors have limited budgets and once they are exceeded, they react harshly and no one wins.

Well there is another issue of Just Newsprint. Once again, I increased the size of the newsletter. It is my goal to try and keep increasing it. I also want to increase the quality and I'm always looking for submissions. Well, see you in a month and remember that comic collecting can be fun and affordable!

Tom Zjaba

Copyright 1998 Tomorrow's Heroes