The story of The Hope Collection is a story of friendship, sacrifice, and decency, just like the super-heroic comics that inspired the people whose lives it touched. Spanning from the dark days of World War II to the present, this is the remarkable story of a New England tomboy – who would prefer to remain anonymous – with a lifelong love of comics and her unlikely friendship with a kind-hearted veteran of the historic conflict.
“I was given this collection many, many years ago, under remarkable circumstances,” she said. Growing up in the 1950s when comics were referred to as “The Ten Cent Plague,” she was lucky to have parents who recognized the positive effect the art form had on her imagination and attitude, and so, encouraged her reading. A gift of comics when recovering from tonsil removal at age seven sealed her love of reading comics forever. Collecting bottles to earn dimes, she spent every one, as well as her whole allowance, on her precious four-color adventures. Read repeatedly and lovingly, the comics eventually wore thin, lost to time but always in her memory.
Many years passed, until the 1990s when she met a coworker who shared her lifelong affection for the comics of the 1940s and 1950s. A veteran of World War II, who was deeply affected by his horrific experiences fighting for his country, the older man had collected pulp magazines as a child, and later comics, getting in on the ground floor for the Marvel revolution of the Silver Age. Keeping to himself as an outdoorsman in the woods of New England, he continued to collect the superheroes and larger-than-life characters of the comics he thoroughly enjoyed. Our tomboy bonded with the older gentleman almost instantly. When she told him of meeting Roy Rogers in person as a child, he gave her a Roy Rogers comic from his collection, and a close friendship developed soon after.
She eventually moved on to a new job and they lost touch, but, two years later, she received the worst of news: she was diagnosed with cancer and underwent surgery for the disease. “As I recovered from surgery, I realized that I had not managed to save a penny,” she said. “The reality that I might not fully recover and be able to set aside something for my loved ones weighed heavily upon me. Being of modest means most of my life, I had no expectation of an inheritance. I just wanted to be well enough to have a few good years to earn and set aside a small nest egg of about $10,000. Then, a few days later, I received a letter from the friend I had worked with some years back.”
Sure enough, it was the reclusive outdoorsman with whom she had bonded, he wanted to cheer her up and give her hope for the future. “A time was set and he came for supper and afterwards produced a box of comics and an Overstreet Guide. He wanted to go through the books one by one and, as I look back now, to say goodbye to his collection. When he came to one book, he said, ‘This one is the most valuable.’”
He then showed her an Amazing Fantasy #15. She protested, stunned, but he insisted she take it, along with the others. “He was a lifelong bachelor, and he said they would be thrown out after he passed away. Unbeknownst to me, he too had cancer and within two years he was gone. But over those years we continued to visit and have great conversations. Now this collection will be sold just as he owned it. Many of the proceeds will be used to bring joy and hope to organizations and individuals of the community of which I am a part,” she said.
She has held on to this collection nearly two decades, only now bringing them, and their remarkable journey, to the comics collecting community. ComicConnect is deeply honored and pleased to share them, and their story, and are delighted to give these true comic book treasures a new home.
The auction end-dates are as follows:
Session 1 (original art, Action - Amazing Spider-Man #44) March 20, 2017
Session 2 (Amazing Spider-Man #45 - Daredevil #30) March 21, 2017
Session 3 (Daredevil #31 - Incredible Hulk #181) March 22, 2017
Session 4 (Incredible Hulk #271 - Strange Tales #77) March 23, 2017
Session 5 (Strange Tales #81 - Zip Comics #38) March 24, 2017
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