We did it, friends! We’ve made it to the last page of my Marvel Value Stamp Book!
It has been a house of horrors, to be sure, but it has also been a bit cathartic, confronting the sins of my comics collecting past, one grim page at a time.
I’ll also admit that it’s been a little … fun? Nostalgic, at least. Sure, I lament the damage done to my old Marvels, and even if I never would have sold any of them, the “replacement cost” I’ve incurred still rankles.
But this survey has also taken me back to the Summer of 1974, and that kind of remembrance is really what Longbox Graveyard is all about.
there’s some karma … my very own social media icon turns up on the last page!
I was new to comics in 1974, and my first exposure to many Marvel characters came through those Value Stamps. On that level, at least, the scheme was a marketing success. I might never have known about Byrrah, or Puppet Master, or even (yes!) the Mole Man if not for finding these portraits on the letters pages of the books I read and re-read that lazy summer. Along with those pithy little marketing messages typed in the footer of most pages (“You’ll gasp at THE ASP!”), Marvel Value Stamps helped alert me to the warp and woof of a larger Marvel Universe … an imaginative tapestry that obsesses me to this day.
So, yeah, Marvel Value Stamps cost me some money, but they also helped cement me into a lifetime hobby. I guess we can call it even.
- #89 Hammerhead: Captain America #178 – $9
- #90 Hercules: Marvel Team-Up #24 – $8
- #93 Silver Surfer: Marvel Two-In-One #25 – $5
- #95 Mole Man: Amazing Spider-Man #136 – $51 (1st app of Harry in Goblin costume)
- #96 Dr. Octopus: Avengers #130 – $19
- #99 Sandman: Amazing Spider-Man #137 – $37
- #100 Galactus: Sub-Mariner #72 – $9
That brings the grand total for replacing my defaced Marvels to … $3274. To be honest, that’s less than I thought it would be. Sometimes looking at facts rather than emotions can put your fears to rest.
Something I haven’t touched on much, though, is the violence Marvel Value Stamps did to the comics collecting hobby as a whole. Even when these books were new on the stands, I remember coming home one day and opening a brand-new issue to see some jackass had ripped the stamp out of my book and put it back on the rack, without even paying. And raise your hand if you’ve ever sourced a Marvel comic through eBay only to find a chunk of the letters page removed! It’s been decades, and we are still dealing with the fallout!
It just goes to show, as much as I’ve exorcised my Marvel Value Stamp demons with this month-long blog series … these are a dark gift that will keep on giving. You never know where the Curse of the Marvel Value Stamp will … pop up … next!
TOMORROW: Tournament of Terror Winner Announced!
The most amazing thing happened to me!
Last night I went to bed cranky, angry, and full of bitterness about the many Marvel Value Stamp indignities I’ve chronicled all month here at Longbox Graveyard.
I was filled with silly notions about a lifetime of regret from carving up funnybooks that turned out to be worth real cash money, all these decades later.
But when I woke up … those feelings were just gone.
I felt great!
I mean, look at those stamps above. They’re charming! And imagine little twelve-year-old me, eagerly turning to the letters page of his fresh-bought comics, and cutting out the newest stamps. Oh, it’s charming.
And these stamps, in particular, represent such a positive series of role models. Kingpin is a champion of his city, and a force for urban renewal. J. Jonah Jameson, the original crusading reporter, and the enemy of Fake News! The Leader … that guy knows best, let me tell you. The Rhino, the Stranger, Dormammu — pillars of the community, all of them! Only Ghost Rider is less than wholesome. “Biker Types” are anti-social!
Here’s the very reasonable price I ended of paying for those cute stamps!
- #73 Kingpin: Power Man #21 – $9
- #74 The Stranger: Marvel Premiere #18 – $21
- #76 Dormammu: Doctor Strange #5 – $17
- #80 Ghost Rider: Thor #229 – $10
- #81 Rhino: Ghost Rider #9 – $21
- #87 J. Jonah Jameson: Marvel Team-Up #25 – $8
- #88 The Leader: Avengers #129 – $19
That brings the running total replacement cost for my Value Stamp issues to $3136. A pittance. I really don’t know what I was upset about!
You know, if my rantings here this past month have infected any of you … I am sincerely sorry. But better than apologies, I can offer a cure! I found this darling little seed pod under my bed. Let me bring you one, you will feel so much better after a good night’s sleep.
It’s no bother.
Oh, no, I insist.
There is no pain. Suddenly, while you’re asleep, they’ll absorb your minds, your memories and you’re reborn into an untroubled world … Tomorrow you’ll be one of us … There’s no need for love … Love. Desire. Ambition. Faith. Without them, life is so simple, believe me.
TOMORROW: Dr. Strange vs. Dracula!
So many pages in the Marvel Value Stamp Book. So many pages in this Book of Sins.
Imagine you are in the basement of a haunted house. Feeble light leaks through the boarded-up, fortress-like windows, illuminating lazy swirls of dust motes. Bones and rusty knives hang from the ceiling on chains and leather straps. Red eyes gleam from the shadows, unblinking. The sound of your own heartbeat muffles your uncertain, shuffling footsteps as you approach … the Book.
Inside, page after page. You turn them, with increasing speed and hysteria. Each page displays the grim trophy haul of a homicidal maniac. Ears, on one page. Flensed fingertips on the next. Ah, eyelids! And WHAT the hell are those irregular shapes with the bits of hair …?!?
Yeah, that’s how I feel, leafing through the pages of my Marvel Value Stamp Book.
The body count mounts. Most of the damage was done when I cut up my Hulk #181, but good ol’ Wolverine popped up in another couple books in the summer of ’74, costing me even more blood money.
Bring out your dead!
- #59 The Golem: Incredible Hulk #182 – $80 (Wolverine cameo)
- #60 Ka-Zar: Frankenstein #13 – $15
- #61 Red Ghost: Captain America #180 – $17 (1st app of Nomad)
- #62 The Plunderer: Fantastic Four #153 – $15
- #66 General Ross: Astonishing Tales #26 – $14
- #67 Cyclops: Incredible Hulk #180 – $209 (1st app of Wolverine, technically)
- #68 Son of Satan: Astonishing Tales #25 – $51 (1st app of Deathlok)
- #70 Super Skrull: Avengers #128 – $19
- #71 The Vision: Avengers #129 – $19
For those of you scoring at home … I’m up to $3031 in replacement costs!
It’s like a waking nightmare!
TOMORROW: Dark Genesis!