Friday, September 25, 2009

Marvel Value Stamps are the bane of my existence.

I took a trip home to take in the Pittsburgh Comicon on September 12th - not because the Pittsburgh con is a great con by most definitions (it's remained relatively the same for the past decade or so...just like the Pirates!), but because Stan Lee was making an appearance. As I've always wanted to meet The Man and won't get many more opportunities, I took the 600-mile jaunt and managed to score some home cooking and find a few sought after comics in the mix.

One of the worst comics (as far as the physical condition is concerned) I have out of the thousands I've got stashed away in boxes is a copy of Fantastic Four #150, which features a rare battle with Ultron as well as the wedding of the Inhuman Crystal and Pietro Maximoff, the mutant Quicksilver with the Pinko Commie name. This isn't an uncommon issue or a particularly expensive one - the reason I have such an awful copy is a cautionary tale in and of itself: I rather haphazardly bought it on eBay. I got it for a great price, but I skimmed over the description, which, of course, is a silly thing to do when buying practically anything online.

The book is in such bad shape because whoever previously owned it decided that it'd be fun to draw mustaches on every character in the book - man, woman, child, dog, and robot. Nothing living and not a vegetable was spared. Now, I'm all for a good mustache joke, but come on. Don't draw facial hair or any other kind of hair on my comics!

In any case, I found a few good comics at the con that I thought worth buying - a few early issues of the Sub Mariner Tales to Astonish series, the last issue of the first modern Human Torch series, a recent Avengers issue I was missing, and, lo and behold, a nice looking copy of Fantastic Four #150. I got it at a great price - 50% off what the vendor was originally charging, too! Then I took it home and opened it up - over all, a really spectacular copy.

Except the damn Marvel Value Stamp was cut out.

Marvel put these "stamps" (which were really just pictures of stamps - there was no adhesive backing or anything like that, just the other side of the page) in most of their books for a few years back in the mid 1970s. I'd imagine they were there to give kids another incentive to buy more of their books - what's collecting without getting the complete set?!

I will admit that I like the idea of the stamps. They have, in all honesty, a nostalgic feel about them that I enjoy; they're kind of the precursor of comic book trading cards at any rate, and I like the history behind them.

But dammit! Stop cutting them out of the books I'm paying money for thirty years later, people! Seriously!

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