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Weaving the Web: Building a Complete AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Run

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Wall-Crawler

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A noble quest to build an Amazing Spider-Man collection

Hello!

As my board name suggests, I am a Spider-Man fan. I have been since I was a youngster. I started actually collecting at around age 14. Pushing 40 now - Where does the time go? I basically took 7-8 years off from the hobby though, from right after high school all the way through university and didn't start really again until about 2004/05.

Once I got back into the hobby, I checked out a bit of everything but I also decided to start to collect the ASM's that I "missed"...Later, I also "discovered" CGC and this message board and wow, mind blown! I learned that I knew nothing but I think I have learned a lot since my time here and continue to do so. I learned about so many other cool books and I started to dabble in a bit of everything, mostly super heroes still, but I was a bit "scattershot" for awhile.

I have discussed "collection focus" many times with fellow boardie and friend, dontfeedthemonkeys. One of the things I recently decided, was that I would like to "return to my roots" and try to build and complete a run of Amazing Spider-Man. I like to think that I have a pretty decent ASM collection, but I know it pales in comparison to the top registry sets. Most of my collection is raw though.

To complete the run, as of this writing, I need:

#1 - #38

#40

#43 - #45

#47 - #49

#55

By my count, a total of 46 ASM issues and obviously some of the most expensive ones. To accomplish this goal of getting the whole run, I will not be looking for uber grades, particularly with regards to non-keys. In the past, I have been too hung up on the grade. I have to get over this a bit for financial reasons if I want to have any hope of completing the run.

My main criteria will be that they be complete (unrestored) and present nicely for the grade. For first appearances, I will likely be looking for slabbed copies and unslabbed for non-keys.

This journal will detail my pick ups, set backs, purchases other than ASM that will 'take funds away' from accomplishing this goal (and I know there will be some) and general discussion concerning completing the series.

If anyone cares, that is ;)

To see old comments for this Journal entry, click here. New comments can be added below.

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Still hate new journals but figure I would offer brief update.

The update is no new acquisitions for my personal ASM collection that are "noteworthy".  I had a "slip" and picked up some modern JSC ASM #800 variants instead of continuing to save for those silver age books I need, but back on course.  For those who follow my other journal about my adventures as a  seller you will have read that I have been using some of the profits of sales from mostly what I would consider "common" or "non keys" (which I normally put a portion back into buying ASM books I need), instead into other keys to "hold and sell later". I have also been saving too though :)

The downside is...I am finding that it is peaking my interest level again and that I am "reminded" of how many great books are out there and with the price points of AF #15 and now ASM #1...It hurts to see what else is out there but I am sticking to it, I am "close" to "completing the run"...Like around 25 issues now (excluding variants and annuals) all of the Lee/Ditko era too.

So, to start off the "new format", my current personal Top 5 and grade range are:

  • AF #15 (will have to be low grade)
  • ASM #1 (likely low to mid grade)
  • ASM #9 (7.0/7.5 range)
  • ASM Annual #1 (7.0/7.5) grade
  • ASM #4 (6.0 range)

I am going to try to stick to earlier advice too, keep plugging away and saving for a low grade (but nice looking) AF #15, then ASM #1...I might "deviate" if I were to come across a "killer deal" but the AF #15 is the primary goal.  Current issues needed to complete the run:

AF #15, ASM #1, #2, #4, #5, #7 - #12, #16 - #19, #21 - #24, #27, #29, #30, #32, #35, #38

 

Edited by Wall-Crawler
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Repost from main thread:

I was able to meet Stan Lee at Toronto Fan Ex several years ago...Ugh...Nearly a decade now (wow), Toronto Fan Ex 2010...

I waited in line for hours, then had to be re-booked for a second try due to the overwhelming number of people who wanted a photo op.  I toughed it out and got my spot for the second try. Even though I only had time to exchange a few brief words with him, it was worth it. I also got to sit in on a panel where he talked about his life and work...This was back when he was healthy and vibrant, so it was a great experience and one I hope to be able to remember for a very long time.

Excelsior Forever!

Here are a my Stan Lee CGC SS books (not for sale) - Feel free to share your CGC Stan Lee SS books and/or stories!

 

ASM #42.jpg

Marvel Age Stan Lee.jpg

ASM #39.s.jpg

ASM #50.jpg

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Been a loong time since I have posted anything here...I have been focussing more on selling and saving lately.

While I said I would refrain from buying "common issues" this book popped up at a LCS (relatively speaking) in the grade range I wanted and price I thought was fair especially with no shipping fees, so I decided to snag it.

24 issues to go to complete the run...

 

ASM 21 CGC 7.0(1).jpg

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6 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

Been a loong time since I have posted anything here...I have been focussing more on selling and saving lately.

While I said I would refrain from buying "common issues" this book popped up at a LCS (relatively speaking) in the grade range I wanted and price I thought was fair especially with no shipping fees, so I decided to snag it.

24 issues to go to complete the run...

 

ASM 21 CGC 7.0(1).jpg

One of my favorite Ditko covers from his run. 

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Good luck with the hunt!

I purchased the bulk of my ASM collection 20 years ago, and finally completed it these last 2 years. My collection is lower grade, but I would not be able to afford it at today's prices.   

I'm working on completing a separate coverless run of #1 to #10 now.

It's tougher than you'd think.  

 

 

 

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Nothing crazy and not one of Ditko's finest covers, but I found another early ASM I needed in a nice grade for a great price with low shipping so I decided to snag it.

...23 issues to complete the run...

 

ASM 32.jpg

Edited by Wall-Crawler
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6 hours ago, Cliff R. said:

The three issue trilogy of ASM 31 to 33 is a great read. 

Not that I would crack open that beautiful slab to read it. :whistle:

Yes, absolutely but I think I'll keep it in the slab. That's what the Masterworks and Omnibus are for ;)

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Been awhile since I posted but I was able to pick this up relatively "local" at a very fair price...I know it is is not a big key from the run but it is one of my FAVOURITE Ditko Spidey covers. I think it is all the colours (SPIDEY STRIKES BACK!), Spidey swinging straight at the reader...Anyway, nice presenting for the grade, fair price, fair shipping. Decided to snag it.

Books remaining: AF #15, ASM #1, #2, #4, #5, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #16, #17, #18, #22, #23, #24, #27, #29, #30, #35, #38

22 issues to complete the run...

ASM 19 CGC 7_1.jpg

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I admire your project.  I've been collecting since the 60s   During my best a long time ago  I managed a 1-500 run ASM  but had to sell a lot of it off when I retired..... have the AF15  but  many of the 1-35 some are missing    Best of Luck

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Wow...Been a long time since I have posted in this journal.

Not much new to report in terms of personal ASM books...I have been busy working from home during the pandemic, busy with a now 14 month old son and focusing on selling (to save) for the next big Spidey book - An AF #15 or ASM #1 (when I have spare time; which is rare these days).

As I was looking in my comic closet though at my near complete run and the value that is in my personal collection, plus for sale inventory, plus what I have saved from selling and still have that I could sell...I'm wavering and pondering "giving up" on completing the run, keeping a handful of books from my personal collection and move all the rest of my personal ASM collection to my "for sale" inventory.

Why? I still have 21 books to go, all from the Lee/Ditko era and does not include annuals (I don't have ASM Annual #1 either - sad). Those will eat up money. Major keys just keep going up and up and up and I fear if I wait too long, they will be unattainable as I would need to get low grade but I don't want a total dog of a book "just to have one" either. I have some standards :bigsmile:. Plus, I am considering what would make me "happiest" in my collecting journey. What would mean "the most" to me to possess? A big run of books, that may never have the two biggest books or a small but mighty collection?

The flip side is there is a lot of memories tied up in all the rest of the run I acquired and there are a lot of books I still really, really like having. So, it is the "collecting crisis" I am having right now...Make a bold decision and let go of a lot of valuable books and accelerate selling to get that big book or just keep doing what I have been doing; wheeling and dealing, clawing away and selling as much as I can of everything else, when I can...

If anyone is reading, feel free to "sound off", love to hear other peoples opinions and/or stories...

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I'm also in the midst of grinding out the last of my ASM run. I think I have around 15 books left and they're mostly Lee/Ditko issues but there are a couple major keys sprinkled elsewhere that I'm missing... #50... #129... I really only got back into collecting a bit over a year ago. Completing the ASM run was something 10-year-old me thought would be literally impossible. Now I'm on the cusp. Not sure how I'll feel when I'm done but I enjoy collecting, flipping, looking at my run... think I'll keep it but who knows.  

    As for you... if you're looking to sell at least time it up with one of the Spidey movies dropping. When the trailer for this winter's movie hits and we learn who the villain is there will be a real feeding frenzy for ASMs. My worthless prediction is that we get Scorpion, the groundwork is laid for the Sinister Six, and the main villain is a bronze age character. Maybe an ally under the misguided leadership of JJJameson... it'd make sense for Kraven to be the one hunting for Spidey now that his identity is known... but it'd also make sense if it were Silver Sable instead. 

Ultimately only you can say what will make you happiest. If you think selling your books and dumping everything into a 529 for kiddo is what'll do it for you, do that

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It’s a fairly major crossroads to be at mate. 

Based on today’s market, selling the run will be a decision that would be very hard to reverse in the future without major expense. 

As you know, I’ve sold many of the books in my collection over the years. I’ve sold some keys because I needed to fund stuff for the family and I’ve sold books to consolidate a larger collection into a smaller one full of books that are truly special to me.

I am completely happy with the decisions I’ve made. I’d rather have a smaller collection of 1st appearances, classic covers and novelties like homages of covers I love, than a big collection that I will flick through and look at less often (but still need the space to store). 

That said, I really miss having some books that I’ve sold in my collection - which is probably amplified by the price rises and general feeling that I am unlikely to have them back in my collection in the future. But, I also only sold books that weren’t my key focus. So I am wistful but overall happy with the decision and would do it again.

You’ve been on this journey for a lifetime. Like my experience, I think that if you let the run go you will miss chasing it a little even if you would make the same decision again. 

FWIW - I personally would want the AF15 over a completed run. I’d probably look to keep all the books that are truly special to me from the run (1st apps of characters I love, covers I love) and then put the rest up for sale to get that AF15 before it is unobtainable for mere mortals. 

But that’s only what I would do and collecting is such an intensely personal hobby. Despite the market driving prices up quickly, it also sounds like a decision you can’t rush. Is the crisis new or has it been bubbling away for some time? What decision do you feel yourself leaning towards at the moment? 

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3 hours ago, 1950's war comics said:

i would never buy big ASM keys at todays crazy prices... even if i was assured of making my money back 

“Even if you were assured”? That reads (or at least I read it) like you wouldn’t pay those prices out of principle. 

There is no doubt that the prices are crazy... Last sale of an AF15 3.0 was almost double the 2019 AVG. But, barring a record-breaking recession or some other kind of calamity, I can’t see it going back to 2019 prices now. It might go down a few K. But it might not too. If you want the book in your collection isn’t it almost a buy now or pay more later scenario? 

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nope i would just move on to another hobby, i am just about to get back into coins again..

since i was a young child many of the holy grails in coins (1909 SVDB cent 1916 D Mercury dime , 1877 Indian cent ..etc etc..) now cost less than a 2.0 ASM 14 

i always wanted them ( every child in the neighborhood dreamed of a 1916 D Mercury dime where i grew up at, when i was a kid) and now they look dirt cheap with room to grow compared to comics

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It's a very personal choice.  Obviously, unless you hit the lottery, if you decide to complete the run it's gonna take longer.

The glass half fun is that you have many of the issues in nice grades and they've increased in value.  The glass half empty, you know the bad news unfortunately.

I'm still buying when I can.  And that's tough when I know what they were selling for in the past.  Generally lower grades or, gasp, restored.  I believe the value of these books will continue to increase.  I can't find most SA keys on major dealer sites and I believe that's an indication that demand is fever high and price will go up. If you love the hobby why quit.  Change the variables; buy lower grade, give up on a complete run and just buy the iconic issues, find something that isn't hot right now - The prices of a lot of Timelys seem to be pretty stagnant and they are so cool.

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I wanted to take a minute to thank those who took the time to reply. I appreciate all the advice and opinions.

The one thing I don't want to do is make any "rash" decisions. I have spent too long getting down to 20ish books to complete the run to do that, and, truth be told, I am proud of what I have and what I have accomplished thus far. Just there is that nagging question...Will I ever be able to get my "holy grail"? Or be able to obtain a nice presenting low grade copy of AF #15 and/or ASM #1 without a major "sacrifice"?  And I mean, how much higher can AF #15 and ASM #1 go? There has to be a ceiling at some point (or levelling off) at some point right?

Time will tell.

So, for now, I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing; selling my non-pc books but maybe evaluate and shift a few non-ASM books/keys into the "for sale" category and continue to buy comics for resale when I can (and I have had some good modern scores of late), but those are all towards the greater goal.  But maybe give myself a bit of leeway as @thehumantorch said, I can change the variables, find something new, etc. One thing I think I have decided, if I am going to buy an ASM book, the "commons" will wait until the very "last" as they will always be "affordable" in comparison.

One thing is for sure though, I won't "quit" the hobby. I'm in it for the long haul :banana:.

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3 hours ago, Wall-Crawler said:

I wanted to take a minute to thank those who took the time to reply. I appreciate all the advice and opinions.

The one thing I don't want to do is make any "rash" decisions. I have spent too long getting down to 20ish books to complete the run to do that, and, truth be told, I am proud of what I have and what I have accomplished thus far. Just there is that nagging question...Will I ever be able to get my "holy grail"? Or be able to obtain a nice presenting low grade copy of AF #15 and/or ASM #1 without a major "sacrifice"?  And I mean, how much higher can AF #15 and ASM #1 go? There has to be a ceiling at some point (or levelling off) at some point right?

Time will tell.

So, for now, I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing; selling my non-pc books but maybe evaluate and shift a few non-ASM books/keys into the "for sale" category and continue to buy comics for resale when I can (and I have had some good modern scores of late), but those are all towards the greater goal.  But maybe give myself a bit of leeway as @thehumantorch said, I can change the variables, find something new, etc. One thing I think I have decided, if I am going to buy an ASM book, the "commons" will wait until the very "last" as they will always be "affordable" in comparison.

One thing is for sure though, I won't "quit" the hobby. I'm in it for the long haul :banana:.

Nothing rash is a good start. 

I'd suggest you focus on an AF15 and get it out of the way.  It's expensive for a reason and I just don't think it's ever gonna be cheaper.  Sell non core stuff to raise funds, save up, realize you're probably never gonna get into a 6.0, or even a 4.0, or hell a 2.0 may be a stretch.  Learn to love a low grade copy.  if you find a low grade copy that isn't too ugly and you can find the money, do you really think you're not gonna love that book considering the cost and commitment you had to make to acquire it??  And do you really think it won't be a bad investment considering how it's value has appreciated for almost 60 years?

And once you have the AF15 it'll be pretty easy from there.  And once you have them all you can consider selling your under copies to upgrade.  I just picked up an upgrade to my FF 4 and I've sent my under copy in for grading.  If I sell it that'll drop the price of the upgrade in half.

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Yes - what @thehumantorch says... I like that.  You can keep your current grind of acquiring, grading, selling and saving going while you sort out what you want to do. If you could snag a low grade AF15 and still keep that run? That sounds like a damn fine outcome!

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I'm speaking from experience, having collected, completed and then sold a full ASM run. I've posted my feelings about this many times in different threads and there are many aspects to consider. Money, space, desire, age, personal circumstances, changing focus - they all play a part and everyone is different, everyone will reach different conclusions which may or may not work for them in the long run.

But there is one other notable element that I have encountered myself and that is the sensation that comes over you when the goal is almost complete. I have experienced this three times in my collecting life - that phase, as you near the finishing line, where your thoughts turn to selling or stopping or changing course. There must be some psychological process where the act of completing a task has the affect of lessening your interest in it. Once the thrill of the chase is over, what replaces that thrill? If you did complete the full run somehow,  what would you do - dig it out once a year and look proudly on it? What is the point of ownership?

In this phase, it is easy to convince yourself of the merits of a particlar downsizing path as you have largely lost the thrill of the acquisition. And you can easily forget the value of the sheer effort involved in putting the run together in the first place. It's why phrases like "you never know what you've got until it's gone" exist.

My advice is this - complete and keep the ASM #1-200 run as the monument to the achievement. That's where all the best stuff is. That is where Spider-Man really exists, in those Ditko, Romita and Andru panels. And that is where the future value largely sits. Sell everything else other than those books that mean something to you and invest the funds in comic books that you love and which are not hampered by having to fit a run or set or goal. Books that don't break anything, should you sell them. That way freedom lays. Sell ASM #1-200 and you will likely regret it. You've put in a lot of time and effort in to build the set - at least keep the best of it. 

 

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