Beauology 101: Comics Books-Important, Valuable and Memorable

Your host, Beau Smith

Your host, Beau Smith

by Beau Smith

Comic Books That Are Important.

Comic Books That Are Valuable.

Comic Books That Are Memorable.

Those three categories are all very different, yet they can overlap. They mean something personal to us all, deeply personal as any passion or hobby should. We can’t and shouldn’t force our passion on others, but we can share it if we do it with care, kindness and in an informative, but polite way.

It’s not “This is THE best comic book of all time!!”

What it should be is:

“This is my personal favorite comic book of all time.”

See, you get personal without getting personally in someone’s face. Try it, they might listen. If they listen, they might share, and then all kinds of good conversation and discovery can start from there. (That almost rhymed, does that make me a rapper?)

Today I’m going to share a few books that fall into the above categories for me. My hope is this—if you’ve never read any of these comic books, then maybe me bringing them up will encourage you to seek them out in their original form or in a reprint package and read them. I would be honored to be a part of a new discovery for you or to think that I was a small part of putting a smile on your face.

Note that these books are listed and fueled by my personal opinion, nothing more. I’m all I know, so that’s what I have to go by.

Comic Books That Are Important:

Amazing Spider-Man #31

Amazing Spider-Man #31

The Amazing Spider-Man Issues #31, #32 and #33. Marvel Comics. 1966

This three-issue arc of The Amazing Spider-Man taught me how comic books are a form of storytelling like no other. It taught me about character development and how the mesh of words and pictures can be near perfect in when telling not just a story, but an epic story. I truly believe that this is the best work of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko as storytellers. I will not debate who carried most of the workload, they did it together. And together, they won, just like Spider-Man did in this story. I will always be able to recommend this work to anyone without any fear of them being disappointed. So much rides on the actions, reactions and choices characters make in this story. If you have read these issues, then read them again and relive the enjoyment that you got from the first time you read them.

Comic Books That Are Valuable:

Sub-Mariner #17

Sub-Mariner #17

Sub-Mariner Issue #17 Marvel Comics. 1941

I’m talking about money, cold cash, what kind of money will someone pay you. If you have any sizable collection of comics, more than likely you have a few books that are truly worth money. In my case, I’ve been reading and collecting comics for close to 60 years. I’ve been to hundreds of conventions and comic book stores. I could probably list key issues here all day, but I won’t. What I will list is the first comic book that I bought that is now worth a lot more than I paid for it, because of it being rare due to age, because of condition, and because of character. The book is Sub-Mariner issue #17 from Marvel/Timely Comics. There was a paper shortage during this time in history, superheroes were just starting to catch on, and as anyone will tell you, condition-condition-condition! I have talked about this book here before. As some of you may remember, I bought it from the Chicago based retail shop, Moondog’s at Chicago ComicCon in the early 1980s. I paid the most I had ever paid for a comic book—$30.00. According to the most recent Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, it could be worth anywhere from $300.00 to $7000.00 depending of course, on condition of the book. Mine is in pretty good shape for a book that is 78 years old. I’m not an expert grader by any stretch, but I know it’s going to tip over the $1000.00 mark. Is this the most valuable comic book I own? Nope. But again, without the knowledge and eyes of an expert, it’s close. Being that The Sub-Mariner, in all his versions through the decades, is still one of my favorite characters, I chose this to represent valuable in my collection. I’m sure you have comics in your collection that you feel the same way about. I hope you do.

Comic Books That Are Memorable:

Batman Issue #143 DC Comics. 1961

Daredevil Issue #15. Marvel Comics. 1966

Amazing Spider-Man #50 Marvel Comics. 1967

Batman #143

Batman #143

Three very memorable comic books, each for different reasons. Batman Issue #143 because it was the first comic book I ever read…read meaning completely on my own. I was in first grade when this book came out and it had been my goal to read this incredible story that had Batman, Robin, Bat-Hound and a giant insect looking alien on the cover. Yes, I had a stack of other comics I had bought since I was four, but this was the first one I could read at the age of six. I always list it as my first comic book and always will. You never forget your first.

Daredevil #15

Daredevil #15

Daredevil Issue #15 is memorable because it was the comic book that turned me into a Marvel Comics True Believer. From this issue on out, I always bought Marvel Comics first and foremost. Any DC Comics or other brand were only purchased if there were no Marvel Comics to be had. It was this issue that solidified the feeling that Stan Lee and Marvel Comics really wanted me in their club. John Romita, Don Heck, Jack Kirby and Vinnie Colletta were holding the door of the clubhouse open for me to enter. From this point, I went back and collected every issue of Daredevil that I had missed and then continued to buy every issue until issue #100. (Even I knew it wasn’t the same book after that.) Yes, I had loads of other Marvel Comics before Daredevil #15, but it was at that point, something really struck a chord with me that told me “The Other Brands Don’t Cut The Mustard.” Marvel Comics at that time “spoke” to me. It was like they were written just for me. The ‘60s were my favorite decade for comic books. When I look at Daredevil #15, I always remember that.

Amazing Spider-Man #50

Amazing Spider-Man #50

Amazing Spider-Man issue #50 is memorable because it was my lesson of commitment and not giving up. Remembering why you started something and being right in your reason to finish it. It always seemed to me that Stan Lee saved his “Life Lesson” stories for the pages of Spider-Man. I personally always felt the Spider-Man book had to have been Stan Lee’s favorite book to write during this period. I always related Jack Kirby with the Fantastic Four, I could feel his personal touch there, much like I could feel Stan’s on Spider-Man, even after Ditko left the book. Again, this is my opinion, my feelings and what these books said to me.

Here in 2019 nearing the age of 65, I enjoy looking over and reading my comic book collection just as much, maybe even more, than I did at the age of 12. That’s important, that’s valuable, and that’s memorable to me.

I hope that it always will be for you.

Your comic book reading buddy,

Beau Smith

The Flying Fist Ranch

Follow me at @BeauSmithRanch on Twitter and Instagram



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