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That Ron Dude

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Everything posted by That Ron Dude

  1. His process was based on two ideas. One-- if you put a comic book in sunlight the colours except for blue eventually bleach out. I think we have all noticed this. Meanwhile, blue doesn't pick up well in older scanning/photography methods-- thus blue pencilling. Combine the two ideas and you're in business. I met him simply because 48 years ago there weren't too many people over the age of 12 who read comics. He was in Detroit and I was in Toronto. We were friendly at conventions in both cities. I haven't talked to him in 45 years. I am glad he had some success within the field. I think his fanzines were often well researched and a step above the others coming out at the time. I hear that he was in a car accident.
  2. I will put up more information a little later. For now, I haven't been at these boards in a while first because they shut down and second because I have been busy with The Tower of the Comic Freaks. Thanks to those of you who gave me input on it. In the end I went with the cover that the people on Collector's Society said they liked best though there will likely be a second edition where I will use the other cover. It peaked in its category on Amazon at #16 which makes me very happy. I also got positive reviews from Peter Bagge, Dave Sim and Scott Edelman (the guy who wrote the Marvel Bullpen Bulletin Page) and I will print some of the reviews later. For now, if you haven't seen the book I have many of the sequences in it up here. http://thetowerofthecomicbookfreaks.blogspot.ca I hope you take a look at it and I hope you enjoy it. The book continues to sell. This is unusual almost a year later with a book from one of the smaller publishers. I think word of mouth is helping it along.
  3. What has made collectable comics increase in value? They could have just as easily gone down. Foremost, I think many people came to realize that the printed value of comics by Stan Lee, Al Feldstein, Jack Kirby, Al Williamson, Siegel and Shuster, Neal Adams and so on is just worth a lot more than the dime or so it cost on the stands or the dollar or so a collector’s bookstore might have been charging for it. And people seemed to be realizing that around 1965. Comics before that are collectable and valuable, and much less so after that. I might call that inherent collectability— there being less items available then there are people who want the item. But other things put the value of rare comic books through the roof and I will state as many as I can. 1. The Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector: The fanzine advertised in Marvel Comics. With a copy any one could have an idea of what other people thought their comics were worth. 2. Howard Rogofsky and Robert Bell: They realized that people would pay far more than people in the RBCC were asking for their comics. Their catalogues were available for a quarter. 3. Conventions: In 1970 there were only two within a five hundred mile radius of Toronto. There a collector might see a comic he had been previously unaware of and decide to collect it. 4. The Overstreet Price Guide did a lot to formalize the price of comics. The Gerber photo guide also made collectors aware of the scarcity and value of the comics of the past. 5. Comic books were a disposable art form. While a quarter million copies of Amazing Fantasy 15 were printed, there are probably only about five thousand existent today. There would be even fewer Amazing Fantasy 14s. 6. Comic stores were perma-cons. They became fan meeting centres and some were run by knowledgeable people like George Henderson who owned Memory Lane, Toronto’s first comic store and Ron Van Leeuwen who owned Silver Snail, Toronto’s second. It could be depressing buying comics that were priced factoring in the store’s cost of heating, electricity and and taxes. But factoring in the cost of postage or convention admission could be depressing, too. 7. Hoarding: People accumulated huge collections for pennies a book. Businesses like Mile High and My Comic Store have huge inventories where a stray issue can be found but at a significant premium. Others did it on a smaller scale. On a micro-scale an old friend, Cliff Letovsky, bought a hundred copies of Conan #1 when it came out. I am not sure if that raised or lowered the price of the comic in the Montreal area. I guess it depends on how much patience Cliff had. 8. Bags, boards, and boxes: These kept the comics in nicer condition. More could be charged for comics in nicer condition. One dealer pointed out to me that they also make the comics look like they are in nicer condition. 9. Direct Market: At a certain point a reader had to purchase his new comics from a comic store. There, back issues could also compete for his attention. 10. Collections like White Mountain, Mile High and other pedigrees: They allowed the owners to charge a premium on comics in the best condition with an interesting history. 11. Ebay, Heritage and Comiclink: With eBay, a comic that once might have been available only occasionally at a convention, became available permanently and in quantity. This, one would think, would send down the price. But eBay also made everyone into a potential dealer. At one time a collectable comic purchased in a comic store would be worth half the price if sold back to the store. That became irrelevant. The comic can now be resold for about the same amount at any time through eBay. This caused many to loosen the purse strings with the knowledge that their money wasn’t going into a black hole. In my opinion, it was eBay more than anything that made things go up. 12. Condition mania: CGC allowed people to agree upon the condition of a comic. This made comics more liquid but also introduced a behaviour which rewarded very slight differences in condition, some undetectable, disproportionately to other factors. 13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 1990s speculation. No one wanted to miss the next TMNT #1. Smart operators knew this and put out small run comics with as many #1 designations as possible such #1 ASDFJKL Summer Special, #1 ASDFJKL Adventures, #1 ASDFJKL, #1 ASDFJKL Swimsuit issue, #! ASDFJKL Comics and Stories. They would put multiple covers on each issue and send limited amounts of some of the covers to stores creating instant collectables. There were lots of tricks. Someone remarked that if stocks traded the way comics did at that point, people would be jailed. 14. A wealthy basketball player. I wish I could remember the details but a basketball player who had the money paid an unprecedented amount for a rare comics. That sent the whole high end of the market up. 15. Movies: They draw attention to certain characters sending the books through the roof. Groot in Tales to Astonish #13 sent a $25 comic into the thousand dollar range. 16. Key Issues: Issues with certain characteristics go up while the ones around it stay lower. I have heard this attributed to the notion that people's dwellings are smaller now and collectors have no room for runs. They buy primarily key issues. It could also be that the runs are now purchased in reprint, at a much lower price. 17. EBay goes BUY-IT-NOW: The people who manage EBay decided that it would become a sellers market. They give ads which are initially free, charging only when the items sells. This gives a seller every incentive to price high and troll for suckers. ` 18. Business plan of dealers: It seems to make more sense to dealers to sell fewer comics at high price than more comics at low price. Less transactions occur therefore less work. It is easier to restock. Their businesses can look like museums with few items moving, but they can sell very few and still turn a profit. 19. The early generation of collectors is now in their sixties or worse. Many of us have paid off our houses and our children’s education. We can buy things that we have always wanted but have been too cash strapped to buy. We can buy that Corvette or that Incredible Hulk #1. Any other ideas?
  4. That's FRIGGING awesome!!! I would take that note, the envelope, and a copy of your book and frame it all together for a display. Classic. I'm being lazy not reading though all the pages, besides LCS and Amazon are you doing any direct sales? I'd rather you get the lion's share of the money anyway. Hi, Boba. I have not been doing direct sales. I have been doing direct giveaways. For years people have been giving me their books, zines, comics, helping me with computer stuff I can't do. They all get free copies. Same for family. This year everybody on the list got a disappointing Christmas gift-- my book. The gang at work got them-- I brought only five so I wouldn't give away more there. Caliber's policy is no comps so I bought them at cost which is printing, transportation and tariff (I am in Canada). One of my friends who writes books for a living liked it very much and wanted to buy two more for his own friends which was a very nice gesture. I gave them to him at my cost. He gave one to a big time illustrator whom I have met but whom I am not close to. He loved it and phoned me to tell me so. I wasn't home and he got my answering machine so I am able to use his exact words in a quote. The reaction I have gotten so far is excellent and I am making a bit of money from comic store and amazon sales. I still haven't hit 50 cents an hour for the time I put in. I am an advertised guest (in small type) at a large convention in March. I designed banners and I am having them printed now. We will see if I get any sales from that. I will certainly be trying. I hope you are enjoying the book.
  5. What?No Montreal,Smoked meat bagel pizzas? Hi, Porcupine. I get the allure of Montreal smoked meat. I have had the pleasure of eating at Ben's a couple of times. We do it well in Toronto, too, but Ben's and that other one near it are well known for good reasons. A contender for best pizza was one I had in the Eastern provinces in a small, inexpensive and inconspicuous restaurant about two years ago. I was told that the quality lay in the cheese. They don't pasteurize it there like they do in Ontario. It tastes different and better.
  6. I don't like it but it is ultimately the business of the person doing it. Occasionally I buy Star Wars junk for my son. I check the prices before I buy. Comic purchasers should do that too, or be prepared to take a hit.
  7. I haven't had time to read mine yet but online opinions seem to like your book. Have you got much feedback from distributors? Is it doing well? I hope so. The book has been received well, if I can judge by what people have told me and written. It seems to have been well received even by people who have never heard of fandom and haven't read a comic since they were children. I know my limitations as an artist but some people have told me, unsolicited, that they like the art. I can believe that the art works well with the story but I don't think that anyone with 20/20 vision would buy it for the art. Beguiling bought 40 copies. Silver Snail has never heard of it and told me to try the Beguiling. I got a guest pass and a table at the March Toronto Comicon. I haven't been offered one of those in a while. It made distribution numbers at Diamond. I am still working on making fifty cents an hour for all the work I have done. But there have been a lot of little perks, the Ditko letter being first among them. These things (graphic novels that don't have Batman or Wolverine in them) don't have great distribution and the book is doing as well as or better than I anticipated just by hitting minimum at Diamond. What I have to do now is hope enough people see it and speak well of it to get a second edition that is advertised in a meaningful way by the publisher. Mind you, I don't want to sound like I am complaining. Caliber did buy an ad in Diamond and they don't do that for all their titles. What I would love to see is a large ad. I expect to promote the book at conventions, when possible. I have a Facebook page called, "The Tower of the Comic Book Geeks". About two-thirds of the people who are on it come there every day. Every day I put something new up. If you go to Facebook and ask to join, the answer will be "yes".
  8. I am very happy that he took the time to respond. And, I will send it off to the publisher (you saw it first). If there is a second edition, the note will be in it.
  9. I have been sending out complementary copies to some of the professionals who were working in comics during the Silver Age. I got this response from Steve Ditko. I feel like I have been zinged by Don Rickles.
  10. Thanks for the help and for looking at the thread. I found him. Buy his book. He deserves it.
  11. The only ones I see that seem to be working are the ones that seem to fill a special niche. I hope you can fill a special niche. Also, are you knowledgeable in the world of business or a fan who is winging it, or, obviously, something in between?
  12. If you know his email or know where I can find it on the internet could you contact me? I couldn't find him on Facebook and I googled his name but no luck. Also, I don't know his first name, just the initial. I read the book, The 1964 New York Comicon, which is the story of the very first comic convention. I loved it. I would like to email him.
  13. Remember how Mad Magazine would put a photo of Soupy Sales or Zsa Zsa Gabor reading a copy of Mad, in their letter column? Well, they're both dead but my wife Jocelyn and my daughter Cammie were here to stand in. The Tower of the Comic Book Freaks arrived today. I have no complaints. It looks the way I hoped it would.
  14. I stopped reading when Man Mountain Marko was on the cover, which was #73. I had never seen anything so stupid. I picked up "The Prowler" which was #78 sometime later and thought, "Yeah, stupid".
  15. Thanks, NCN. The best pizza I have ever had was at a small place about a block from Times Square. It was an anchovies pizza, with lots of cheese and one filet of anchovy on each slice, six in total. I have often tried to duplicate it but it never turns out the same. Added bonus, since it was an anchovy pizza I didn't have to share it with any of the unsophisticated people I was with. The NY Bagels though have not been memorable for me. Montreal claims the best bagels and handmade bagels are sold here in Toronto as Montreal bagels. I prefer the Toronto bagels which are a bit drier, probably because they were the bagels I was brought up on. I hope you enjoy the book. It contains no bagels or pizza but it does have a short sequence with an egg cream.
  16. I look forward to checking this out. The only problem is the accuracy - NYC water tastes great. Thanks again, to all who have given their encouragement in the many ways people can give encouragement. Now down to brass tacks. So, you say New York water tastes great, eh? Eh, eh, eh, eh, eh? The first person to proofread the manuscript was a former New Yorker from the Bronx then Long Island who insisted that I change my commentary on NYH2O because New York water was famous for its purity and excellent taste. I told him to suck eggs which, to me, would taste much better than NY water. Could it be that any food or drink a person is brought up on tastes good? I mean, as a kid we ate anchovy sandwiches (really) and I just can't understand it when people don't want anchovies on a pizza. It could also be that New York water just tastes different than Toronto water. It could be that all the hormones, filtered medications and doggie poop in the water table add a certain little something to Toronto water which tastes great to everyone here. I admit that is a possibility. But when I first went to New York thinking that water was water, it tasted different. I remember-- it was flat and metallic, but probably a little piece of heaven to a New Yorker. I hope that settles everything. Sincerely, Ron Kasman
  17. Apparently, it is out on Amazon. It is in circulation with Diamond and will appear as expected in comic stores. It is even #16 on the Amazon popularity list in one obscure category (which might have only 16 books in it). Anyway, I slept well last night. Thank you all for your many kindnesses. #16 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Comics & Graphic Novels > Historical & Literary > Historical Fiction
  18. Hi, Goldust. Thanks for your kind words. I am honestly surprised to hear that the book even exists. I assumed that it wouldn't be arriving at its destinations until January 11th. I have to write to Caliber and find out what is going on. The reviews have been good thus far and I am proud of it. I hope you enjoy reading it. If you find it to be a clunker please do not put up a review but if you like it and you're up to it, I can use all the positive reviews I can get. I know about Pekar, Clowes, and Seth and I love them all. I am not sure if my development has been parallel to their's or influenced by their's. I think Pekar opened the door to this type of story. I know Seth writes himself into fictitious stories and several people have assumed this story to be true though I don't think even 10% of it is true. I think of my artistic influences as being Tintin, Archie and Marvel comics from the time I write about. I think you can see the Marvel particular in the lettering and inking. I am not sure where the story came from. A few of the guys have told me to write down the long comic fan anecdotes I have a habit of yacking about over our Friday night meals of cheap Chinese Food. Instead, I wrote snippets that are more interesting than my anecdotes, then figured out a bad guy and the subplot which is the love story. Believe me, when I was seventeen not only did I not know any girls, I didn't even know anybody that knew any girls. So that part is pure wish fulfillment. One other thing. In the book I wrote a special thank you to Bill Schelly whom I have never met. He wrote an autobiography which is probably unexceptional to most readers but absolutely marvellous for a certain kind of person. I loved it and most of the people who are on this board would love it, too. The story in a sentence is that fandom was important in his life, he wanted to be an artist but he wasn't good enough. The kicker is that being a comic artist (back in 1973 anyway) was a rotten job for most. I read his bio and thought, "My story is the same". So my story was inspired by Bill Schelly's story, but with a girl friend, a bad guy, a hero with foibles and, if I did it right, many of the other things that make a fictional story interesting.
  19. Well, Bronze, yours is my best review yet. If you are so inclined cut it and paste it into the review section at Amazon. I also look forward to seeing it as on the big screen but for now, I will be as happy to see it distributed by Diamond. I live on a short street. The numbers go up only to 99. This might represent 250 people living here. If you count me, there are four people that I know of just on this block who are writing film scripts. Extrapolate that to Toronto and you have 40,000 people writing them. To Canada, roughly 500,000 film scripts on the go. That seems about right. Move it to America and we have 5 million. So, given that, I figure my chances of getting it made into a movie are about one in ten. Just kidding. Seriously though, there used to be a guy in town name Kaja Blackley who wrote and drew comics. He also published them. He was a bright guy but used to tell stories that were questionable. They'd start with phrases like, "Last night I was having supper with the Chairman of the Board of GM..." People didn't know what to think. I mean, somebody eats supper with the Chairman of the Board of GM-- why not Kaja? But a lot of people tell tall tales-- why not Kaja there? One day there was a half page article in the Globe, Canada's premier newspaper on Kaja's optioning his comic for film. The local comics geeks were talking about it. "How does he get an article on his OPTION." Everybody, it seemed, had options but the Globe didn't much care about anybody but Kaja. Anyway, the film was actually made. Monkeybones with Brendan Fraser. It was based on one of Kaja's comics. It tanked but who cares. He did it. Maybe he also ate supper with the Chairman of GM. What a world. I haven't seen Kaja in many years. He was a nice guy. I hope things continued to go well for him.
  20. Hi, Senormac. No objections at all. I looked for it on Amazon and didn't see it. I will check again. I searched the title yesterday night and the name comes up in several places. So I think it is getting the promotion it needs. I am also looking forward to an interview on Bleeding Cool which will definitely raise people's awareness for the book (thanks, Mark). EDIT: I just checked Amazon again. Someone is selling it discounted. Someone is selling it used and it hasn't even been printed yet. Several people are selling it at slightly jacked up prices. The Kindle editions are up at two bucks a pop. I guess that all means that Caliber is doing what it can to sell it. It certainly makes me happy.