Other Nexus Graphica Columns
For more information, you can try the following:
Brought to Light
The Silver Surfer (1978)
All-Star Superman Vol. 1
Herbie Archives Volume 1
American Comics Group
Mome Vol. 12
Recent Books of Interest
Echo: Moon Lake by Terry Moore (Abstract Studio)
After completing the successful twelve year run on his acclaimed Strangers in Paradise, Moore recently
turned his artistic attentions toward his next endeavor, Echo. The science fiction series centers around
photographer Julie Martin, who after an explosion, discovers a powerful atomic armor adhering to her skin. Moore
wisely relies on his strong sense of characterization especially his portrayals of women, both as an artist and
writer. Echo: Moon Lake collects the first five issues as Julie attempts (poorly) to come to grips with
what has happened to her. As with all Terry Moore stories, this first volume piques the reader's interest,
leaving us wanting more.
All-Star Superman Volume One by Grant Morrison (script) and Frank Quitely (art) (DC)
In perhaps the most enjoyable Superman comic ever, the cerebral Morrison, whose prodigious output varies from
mediocre to sensational, successfully creates a story full of scientific wonder, multi-reality excitement, and
diabolical evil. Quitely's delicate, expressive art perfectly compliments the intricate, intelligent tale. If
Warner Brothers has any sense, All-Star Superman would be the basis for the next Superman film.
Herbie Archives Volume 1 by Shane O' Shea (script) and Ogden Whitney (art) (Dark Horse)
Created and written by American Comics Group editor Richard Hughes under one of his many pseudonyms,
Herbie chronicled the adventures of the most unlikely of heroes, the rotund, everyman Herbie
Popnecker. The most memorable title from ACG relied on sharp witted scripts and Whitney's understated
art. Energized by his arsenal of magical lollipops, Herbie exhibited a wide range of powers in a variety
of genres against an odd assortment of villains. Fifty years after its initial publication, this handsome
collection of the first sixteen Herbie stories demonstrates that these tales still supply a simple, near
perfect parody of superhero comics and its fandom while remaining uniquely its own entity.
Mome Vol. 12 edited by Eric Reynolds and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
The graphic equivalent of the literary journal returns with its twelfth quarterly issue featuring 18
original contributions by the likes of Sophie Crumb, Ray Fenwick, Olivier Schrauwen, Dash Shaw, Al Columbia,
Derek Van Gieson, Sara Edward-Corbett, and Paul Hornschemeier. While the quality fluctuates throughout,
exemplary pieces by Nate Neal, Tom Kaczynski, Jon Vermilyea, Killoffer, and the always reliable David B.
elevate this unique anthology above the standard fare, showcasing a series ground-breaking graphical
Miraclemen, Covert Ops, and Secret Histories
Things changed earlier this decade. Graphic novels, largely ignored by both comic and book collectors, suddenly
acquired a collectible status similar to their prose and periodical brethren. I first noticed this phenomenon
about five years ago when a customer came into Half Price Books to sell Miracleman Book 3: Olympus.
In 1982, the U.K.'s Warrior magazine, Watchmen scribe Alan Moore introduced his postmodern
deconstructionist vision of the popular 50s character Marvelman.1 When the
American publisher Fawcett ceased publication of original Captain Marvel stories, the British publisher L.
Miller & Son re-imagined the popular character as Marvelman, from 1954 through 1963.
Following Warrior's 1985 cancellation, Eclipse acquired the character rights, and to avoid
copyright infringement with Marvel Comics, changed the name to Miracleman. Eclipse produced 24 issues (including
color reprints of the Warrior appearances), 16 written by Moore and eight by Neil Gaiman, as well
as a the three-issue series Miracleman: Apocrypha, which featured original tales of the 50s
Miracleman Family by various creators. The stories were eventually collected into five volumes. Eclipse's
1994 bankruptcy thrust Miracleman into rights purgatory, and 14 years later ownership still remains
unresolved. The collections are currently out of print and most likely will remain that way for the
Knowing all this, I decided to do a little research. What I discovered floored me. The few listings I
uncovered priced the book anywhere from $300 to $500, depending on condition. Book 3 collected
issues #10-16. According to comicspriceguide.com,
the original seven issues can be purchased together for $195 in excellent condition. Curiosity drove me to
investigate the other collections. The other four (Book One: A Dream of Flying, Book Two: The
Red King Syndrome, Book Four: The Golden Age, and Apocrypha) start at around $50 and can
go far as much as $400.
What about Moore's other Eclipse graphic novel Brought To Light? A flip book with Shadowplay:
The Secret Team by Moore (his first major non-genre work) and Bill Sienkiewicz, and Flashpoint:
The LA Penca Bombing documented by Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan and adapted by Joyce Brabner and Tom
Yeates, the graphic novel chronicled several CIA covert operations and history, using material from
lawsuits filed by the Christic Institute against the U.S. Government. This scarce book is difficult to
find in decent condition since the cover easily separates from the pages. Turns out Brought To
Light ranges from $65 to $280, again depending on condition. Like the other Miracleman titles listed,
none were signed by any of the contributors.
Premium prices for out of print, hard-to-find graphic novels written by the popular Moore make some
sense. Scarcity and demand drive up the price. More difficult to understand is the high cost for the
Marvel Omnibus edition of Jack Kirby's The Eternals.
Published as an oversized $75 hardcover, this 2006 book collects The Eternals #1-19 and
Annual #1. While interesting, this secret history of the epic struggle between mankind's genetic cousins
the Eternals and the Deviants reads like an inferior version of Kirby's classic Fourth World saga. Yet
this handsome out-of-print volume goes for anywhere from $150 to $800(!). A complete near mint run of
the individual issues can be found for $170l, less as the condition goes down.
Unlike Moore's deeply influential Miracleman, the quality of Kirby's bombastic, overblown "epic" ranks
well below his previous efforts. If anyone else had created the Eternals, the whole series would have
faded into obscurity.
Most other out-of-print Kirby collections and graphic novels vary from $25 to $200, including the
groundbreaking The Silver Surfer (1978) from Fireside. The first graphic novel produced by a major
mainstream publisher and distributed through regular bookstores, this Stan Lee-written, Kirby-drawn book
represented a watershed moment in comic book publishing and a tantalizing glimpse of an early 21st century
style bookselling model.
Moore and Kirby are far from the only collectible graphic novel creators. Many of legendary underground
artist and counter culture icon Robert Crumb's out of print works demand a premium. Titles such as Fritz
Bugs Out (Ballantine, 1972) and R. Crumb Sketchbook 1966-67 (Zweitausendeins, 1981) command
as much as $500.
First editions of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor collections can be bought for
around $100. Many of Richard Corben's graphic novels go for over $150. Gaiman joins in the fun as well
with several of his first edition graphic novel hardcovers being offered as high as $200 unsigned (a lot
more if autographed).
As with prose books, graphic novel values are determined primarily by scarcity, demand, and condition. Age
often has little to do with it.2 Exuberant prices always existed in the comic
book markets but until recently primarily for the individual issues. The arrival of the traditional book
reader has changed not only the way the genre is produced and perceived but the way it's collected. Most
mainstream readers prefer books over individual issues, much in the way that science fiction fans keep
the bound novel rather than the serialized chapters from the magazines. The new acceptance of the
sequential form created a demand for out of print and first edition graphic novels and collections. Walking
into any bookstore or read any book review column, the change is self evident. Graphic novels have
infiltrated the popular consciousness.
So before giving away that old 90s X-Men graphic novel or collection, you better do some
research. You might be pleasantly surprised.
In that same magazine, Moore premiered the nihilist, near-future series V For Vendetta.
As I'm fond of saying, many 19th century books can be often purchased for as little as $1 at most used bookstores.
Copyright © 2008 Rick Klaw
Rick Klaw produced four years of the popular monthly SF Site
column "Geeks With Books", and supplied countless reviews,
essays, and fiction for a variety of publications including,
The Austin Chronicle,
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Moving Pictures
RevolutionSF, King Kong Is Back!, Conversations
With Texas Writers, Farscape Forever, Electric Velocipede, Cross Plains
Universe, and Steampunk. MonkeyBrain Books published the collection of his essays, reviews,
and other things Klaw, Geek
Confidential: Echoes From the 21st Century.