Foreign Comic Collector - Page 9

that there is no price guide that focuses on foreigns, values can be all over the map with one exception that I know of. That exception dealing directly with foreign issues is the Comic Book Price Guide of Great Britain, and for the most part values of UK foreign “pence” variants are about half of their American counterparts. Interestingly enough many foreign variant collectors prefer this price discrepancy for the end goal isn’t monetary value but intrinsic value to their collections. The task of finding these rare variants is hard enough, what is not needed on top of everything else is sky high pricing factored into the hunts of key books. Condition For American comic book collectors condition has long been a very important issue. Obsessive would probably be a good adjective to describe American’s views on condition. In some countires it seems the exact opposite of obsesive is true in many cases dealing with foreign countries’ collectors. The “bag and board mentality” is not something that caught on until recently in many foreign countries. The result is that huge amounts of foreign material were left to the Fantastici Quattro 56, Italian edition that collects 3 issues. A Fanelements and exist in a poor tastic Four, Secret Wars 2, and state. Finding high-grade forthe Classic Hulk #340, Vicious cireign comics can be practically cle! Notice the Italians curious editorial decision to flip the iconic impossible because of this McFarlane cover so it is reversed issue! In many of these counhorizontally? tries, structural condition only matters in extreme cases, like detached covers, massive tearing or writing on a book. This being the case, many American foreign collectors have had to adjust their collecting preferences having to do with condition. Some would say many of the collectors in foreign countries have a more traditional philosophy when collecting comics. The stories and the visceral excitement of the content matter more than the structural condition of the book. This traditional mindset, while great for what it is, makes finding foreign variants in the highest quality condition extremely difficult and time consuming. The other factor in condition of these books is environment. North America sits in latitude where the environment could generally be called temperate. Many countries closer to the equator have more tropical environs that damage books much faster because of the duel comic killing factors of high temperatures and high humidity. The Latin American foreign variants are one group that was highly affected by this climate issue. The Batman Novaro 227 variant condition problem This variant is extremely rare and even more rare in grades above fine. Print quality and storage issues seemed to plague this very important Mexican variant. Many comic books printed for countries in lower latitudes not only suffered from a lack of a “bag and board mentality”, but also a humid and tropical environment. Just finding one 227 Novaro variant is tough, but finding three while residing outside their countries of origin is a gargantua n task. The ironic indigenous bias by foreign collectors Another very important aspect to consider in foreign variant collecting is that for many but not necessarily all, some foreign collectors seemed to have a preference for the American editions instead of their own indigenous language versions. This bias can be seen in the UK Comic Book Price Guide of Great Britain where the books created for the local market are worth considerably less than the American books. This flies in the face of the generally accepted variant value phenomenon of rarity=value. Normally with American variants the more rare a book the more its generally accepted value. Not so with foreign variants, even though the UK “pence” copies had print runs of about a tenth of their American counterparts, they are not nearly as valued in the UK guide. Unfortunately, I have found that this bias for American books seems to appear all over the world. While hunting for a particular Portuguese variant I spoke with a Portuguese collector about why it was so difficult finding a particular book. He explained that for the most part the Portuguese collectors at the time were not pursuing the local Portuguese book. They wanted the American version and he found it amazing he was able to find the Portuguese version for me at all. I believe this bias for American books only intensified with the creation of the Internet and the explosion of other venues for foreign collectors to pick up original American comics. It must be noted however that this view is a just a generalization from some of my research and this bias doesn’t necessarily exist for all foreign collectors, countries, or types. The other issue I believe contributed in this bias for American versions is language. The educational systems in place in Europe and elsewhere around the world usually start children on a path to being multilingual from very early on. Language limitations which could have caused a foreign collector to be pigeon holed into only his countries version didn’t seem to Page 9