I got back into collecting comics around 1987 when my son, who was 12 years old, started collecting Spider-Man comics. Like most kids who grew up in the 50's and 60's, the first things I collected were stamps, coins and baseball cards. I was lucky that my Dad worked for sanitation during my early years and would bring me the comics and sports cards that others threw out.

Unfortunately - and quite buy accident - when I was about 13 he threw out all my toys, comics and cards 2 weeks after Christmas. Then when I went into military service, my Mom got rid of everything else that I accumulated up until that time except stamps and coins, which were stolen. As you might guess, I now throw nothing out.

Little did I know then I would later get hooked on collecting comics. It started when I decided to go to a local comic book show in Rockville Centre with my son, thinking he was nuts because he paid $11 for a ratty Spider-Man #11. I only went with him to make sure he didn't get ripped off - but in the end I not only bought some more Spider-Man comics for him, but I also picked up a comic for myself. There was one specific issue that caught my attention and when I saw it, it was like deja-vous. I couldn't believe the emotions it elicited within me. It was like a jolt back into my early childhood!

That specific comic was World's Finest #126, from 1962, featuring “The Negative Superman.” I still have that issue.

As I mentioned earlier, when I was growing up my family did not collect anything. They just threw things out. As money was always tight collecting things that were not practical was out of the question. Perhaps old records, especially Italian records, were the closest they came to collecting anything. Oh, and music rolls since we did have a player piano.

Getting serious about collecting sort of happened by chance. I had placed an ad in my local paper, which resulted in my spending $1,000 (a lot of money for me) for thousands of newer comics. At the next show, after taking out a Spider-Man my son needed, I started to trade for more Spider-Mans with dealers and other collectors, while selling others. Before long I made my money back and then ran another ad.

I got a call from a young fellow who said he had thousands of comics, such as Batman #2 and up! After questioning him on whether he said #200 up, he restated #2 and up and also had many other early comics like Detective Comics #44 and up - “Up” meaning to about 1962. He got them from a storage facility where he worked for $100!

For a few thousand comics, mostly from the 1940s to 1950s, I paid him $8,000.

I had just refinanced my mortgage 2 weeks before.

No, the story is not over yet.

He then tells me there is a second half of the collection and that he is going to try to get it from his boss. Naturally my wife was a nervous wreck, but sure enough, three days later, he calls to tell me he has the 2nd half!!!

Risking a divorce, and despite my family thinking me crazy, I took the initiative and paid another $10,500 from my 3 charge cards. That is what catapulted me into comic collecting.

After achieving more than I ever expected in comics I feel I've “graduated” to Pulps. I had a complete high grade Silver Age collection and all the big books, like Action Comics #1 and Detective Comics #27.

I had passed on buying pulps a number of times though I was always attracted to the Frank Paul cover art on Amazing Stories.

One day, however, around 1991, I decided to go to a show in New York City in pursuit of comics. While I didn't find any comics, I did see a book dealer who had boxes of pulps. I was intrigued, so I took another chance and bought a fair amount of them. In that first purchase of about 50 pulps was a nice copy of Weird Tales #1, which I still have. I paid about $500 for it.

Then, in early 1992, I received a catalog from a dealer who had come across a great collection. I had some cash put together, so I took another chance and bought about $20,000 worth of key pulps. Expensive at the time, but now they would be considered bargains.

Although I still love comics, now I find pulps generally more rewarding. I feel they are more 3- dimensional. The art is better than on most comics, many of the stories are by renowned authors and they are much more of a challenge to get. I also like that pulps were the precursor to comics and the improved product of the Dime Novel era.

I guess I always had an interest in some of the major characters, but never knew that they had originated from the pulps. My father, long gone, used to imitate the Shadow's laugh and on occasion, (although I did not know them to be pulps at the time) would have a Planet or two around the house. I can also remember watching Johnny Weissmuiler as Tarzan and Guy Williams as Zorro and all those great Westerns on TV back in the '50s. I guess that was what started my interest in these characters.

As I started collecting the pulps, however, I got more and more interested in the history of how they began. I discovered that the dime novel had a direct link to the pulps and in turn the comic characters of today.

What also became evident was the influence that they had on the American way of life, while at the same time being reflections of the way things were and the way things ought to be.

The American hero began with the Dime Novel (1860) and the Story Papers of long ago, with true characters like Daniel Boone, Buffalo Bill and Jesse James becoming the first fictionalized heroes. Other totally fictional characters then took over, like Nick Carter and Frank Merriwell. Then the pulps continued in even more dramatic fashion with the likes of Tarzan, Zorro, the Shadow and Doc Savage then finally graduated to the superheroes in comics like Superman, Batman, the Flash, etc. And, of course, many of the people who crafted the comic industry came from the pulp field. Most of the ideas for their comic characters came from the fertile minds that grew up reading pulps.

I guess like most collectors, I love the feeling of custodial ownership with each purchase and knowing that I am surrounded by my hobby in a room I built for them.

Another thing I've enjoyed in the pulp field is what's known as Pulp-con. Pulp-con is a yearly convention in Ohio where I can meet and cajole with other fellow collectors who really have a reverence for this stuff. You might have heard of my driving buddy, Jim Steranko, who is a noted pulp expert in addition to the fame he's achieved as an artist and as a magician.

Naturally, it's a rush to find that one pulp you've really been looking for, then it's on to the next one. I appreciate the find more so then I did with comics because unlike comics, pulps require much more of a chase. Comics, for the most part, can be had as long as you are willing to pay the bucks for it. They can all ultimately be found, and that is not the case with pulps.

The one specific item, however, that gives me more pleasure than most is not even a pulp, but is certainly related. That item curiously enough came without my direct knowledge during my purchase of the Bethlehem collection.

It is actually one of the Story Papers I alluded to earlier. This particular one is from The Boys Of NY, which was a Frank Tousey publication way back in 1886. That issue revealed a story and the existence of The Man In The Black Cloak, a possible precursor to the Shadow. I did an article years ago in Comic Book Marketplace alluding to the possibility of its origin of the Shadow and examining some of the coincidences and parallels in this story. I hope to write more about this character next year and still consider it my prized possession.

Possibly the best dollar for dollar find, however, was the Charles Strong collection.

Charles Strong was a writer who also wrote for the pulps (Phantom Detective and others) and hardcovers back in the 1930s and '40s. He later became one of the editors for Popular Publications.

I was fortunate enough to buy about 500 paperbacks from the 1940s and 1950s as well as about 250 comics and maybe 100 pulps plus about 1,000 hardcover books from one of his daughters. All like new! Perhaps a few had some dust shadows, but otherwise they had been undisturbed in boxes for 50 years. They were very high grade and included most of the Thrilling line, Thrilling Comics and Startling Comics including Big Yank, Uncle Sam, and National. For those I paid a buck each! Fore the paperbacks I paid 15 cents each, and for the hardcovers and pulps $1 each. Suffice to say, it was a pretty good deal!

I don't let too many get away, but the biggest deal that did get away was one where I relied on a partner, not that it was entirely his fault.

It was a totally complete, high-grade science-fiction pulp collection (thousands of pulps), including Weird Tales, Amazing Stories, Tales of Mystery and Magic etc. We had made an offer of $22,000, stating that he would fly out if anyone else offered more (as it was a collection on the West coast). Unfortunately for us, a dealer/collector who lived on the west coast got to it, paid $1,000 more and drove off with it.

Today, that collection would be worth about $250,000! And believe me it is not the money. It's having all those high-grade books. Instead, now I've had to seek them out over the years, one by one, and continue to upgrade, often paying through the nose for them. No complaints though really, as I have done quite well overall and do enjoy the pursuit!

Archie will be Archie, and not much will change that.<br><br></div> </body> </html> 21; of the '70s or its better-dressed sequel, the '90s. In each case there were nods to the prevailing mores, but they were mainly of appearance in nature and not in substance. Archie was, and is, still what he was created to be - family entertainment.<br>The birth of the comic book specialty market, or direct market, precipitated a major decrease in the number of comics aimed at kids. Many publishers severely scaled back or flat out abandoned their efforts to cultivate the next generation of comics readers. Archie Publications, however, did not. They achieved the kind of cool you only get to be when you're not worried about whether you're cool or not. They produce family entertainment, they're good at it, and they stick with what works (or, more precisely, what their readers want).<br>&#8220;It's what we do best,&#8221; said Archie's Victor Gorelick. &#8220;What's out there for young readers today? Not much in comics. We produce a product that parents are comfortable giving to their children. Archie Comics has entertained six generations of readers and hopefully will for another six.&#8221;<br>Recent years have lead to some small but key successes for family fare such as <i>Bone</i> (from Cartoon Books), <i>Akiko</i> (from Sirius Entertainment), <i>Amelia Rules!</i> (from Renaissance Press) and a few other titles. These have been roundly celebrated for their all-ages accessibility, but even now few others seem to be willing to commit to Archie's level. The familiar characters-obnoxious Reggie, perpetually hungry Jughead, girl-next-door Betty, socialite Veronica and, of course, Archie-exist in the Rockwellian paradise of Riverdale, where the main concerns range from where to go on a big date to Betty &amp; Veronica's perpetual rivalry over Archie.<br>A recent example of how the characters are frequently tweaked slightly can be found in the series Archie's Weird Mysteries, itself based on yet another cartoon incarnation of the gang. In this particular instance, it was sort of a Scooby Doo meets The X-Files take. Not surprisingly, the situations changed more than the characters. <br>Gorelick predicts his sixtieth anniversary as a headliner will be a big one for the not-so-young Mr. Andrews, and it's probably more than just another dodge to get out of doing his homework.<br>&#8220;We're developing live action Archie and Josie &amp; the Pussycats singing groups, Archie, Betty and Veronica live action and/or animated movies, and Archie live or animated TV shows.&#8221; There is also, he said, a possible theatrical musical production. But it's safe to predict that whether these particula