Ever since I dipped my toe into the pool of selling items beyond sports cards, I have taken notice of the vast differences of personalities of collectors.  One type of collector has really taken me by surprise: Comic book collectors.  Over the past several years, I have probably bought and sold about 80,000 comic books.  I love comic books.

Here is what my garage looked like at the end of 2012.  See those boxes?  side from the nice cache of wax you see, everything else is comic books!

Comics make me giddy … not as giddy as baseball cards do, but they are really fun when I can pick up a massive collection.  It is a lot different to me than picking up a collection of figurines to sell.  There is no joy there aside from profit.  For comics on the other hand, I enjoy learning about them, the cover art, trying to see if there is a full run, etc.

I do have a confession to make though.  The last time I actually read a comic book was back in 1993 or so.

I guess you can’t really call me a die-hard comic collector because … well … I don’t collect them!  I know nothing about them either, however I did think it would be cool at one point to pick up the first comic the Incredible Hulk and Wolverine were in.  (That never happened.)  Still, for some reason, I do enjoy having them and dealing in them from time to time.

When it comes to buying and selling, I thought comics would be quite complementary to selling sports cards.

I was wrong.

Comic book collectors seem to be on a different planet from sports card collectors.  Many that I have met over the years seem to be more comfortable wearing a wizard hat than a baseball cap.  They love their Spider Man shirts, and many know nothing about sports … at all (though I’m sure many know more than I do!).  Obviously, this doesn’t account for all comic book guys.  I am only speaking about the folks that I have talked to.  When I bring up anything about sports to them, they look at me like I’m speaking Klingon….wait…scratch that…they probably understand that language very well.  They look at me like I’m speaking Greek.

Does that sound like I’m making fun of comic book collectors?  On the contrary, I have gotten along with them really well.  I enjoy hearing about their passion and being educated about the comic book world.

This whole thing got me to thinking.  What do others think about me as a baseball card collector?  I put together the graphic shown below.

Normally when you see a graphic like this, you typically see a box that shows what reality is, but truthfully, I would say that reality is comprised of a little of each picture.

In any event, I do enjoy baseball cards (duh) and I do enjoy comics (though I know nothing about them.)  There is a television show called Comic Book Men that I really enjoy watching.  If you haven’t seen it, look it up!  I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

I actually enjoyed it so much, I decided to take a chance and send a TTM autograph request for the four guys that are on the show which run the shop:  Walter Flanagan, Mike Zapcic, Ming Chen and Bryan Johnson.  I affixed four 2″ x .75″ white rectangles to index cards for them to sign, and sent them to their shop in New Jersey.

Lo and behold, guess what showed up in my mailbox a few months later?

I was very happy about this, however, this particular project that has been on the back-burner for a long time now.  Since I decided to write up a blog posting about comics, i figured now would be a perfect time to break them out and create something cool for my collection.

Since I received 4 autographs, I wanted to do a booklet.  The thoughts I had going in my head were to create a very comic-esque type of design, which was truly a fun thing to do.  My son and I are working on a top secret Clash of Clans project together, and I was just telling him about how I rarely, if ever use the font Comic Sans.  Just like that – my latest project utilizing the very font I spoke ill of recently.

The front and back covers:

And the inside …

This was a very fun design to create, and I’m happy to have been able to do it.  As you can see, I added a red inner spine, which I think really helps it pop.  Walter, Mike, Ming and Bryan – if you are out there somewhere reading, thank you for your autographs!  Kevin Smith:  I would have LOVED to include you as well, but it sounds like you are very busy and may not have time to get a hold of for a signature.

You might be thinking … why is Tanner talking so much about comic books?  This is unlike him!  Well, let me put your mind at ease.  This IS about baseball…and comics.  Baseball comics.  You may have seen some comics from the early 90’s of some baseball greats like these:

The fronts of the comics state “Unauthorized and proud of it!”

I hadn’t paid much attention to these before, since they aren’t baseball cards, but the artwork and how they are written is a lot better than I had expected.  The comics don’t make the players look to be super heroes; rather they are more biographical in nature.

The back of one of them shows that there were comics made of celebrities ranging from Michael Jordan to Janet Jackson to Pee Wee Herman.  Yes, Pee Wee Herman.  Because we all need that in our collections, right?

One of them even showed a preview of an adult comic, which I cannot believe made it on the back of one of these comic books.  Exactly what market were they targeting anyway?  I can imagine how angry I would have been if I had picked up one of these for my son if he grew up in the 90’s.

Canseco has a comic book in this series, and initially I had decided to pass up including it in my collection, but ultimately decided that it is one comic book I had to have for my collection.  I may be a bit biased in saying this, but the artwork for Canseco’s comic is the best out of the other sports comics I have seen.

A few weeks back, someone reached out to me regarding this particular comic book.  He is friends with an Ivy League professor whom he used to do shows with back in the 80’s and 90’s.  His friend specialized in 19th century sports paper items, among various other things.  Due to work and family, his friend retired from the show circuit and he ended up buying a bunch of his inventory.  Part of the inventory was the original artwork for some of these baseball comics.

As you may have guessed by now, he had page 30 of the ORIGINAL ARTWORK from the Canseco comic!  At first, I balked at the price, thinking I didn’t want to get too deep into a different collecting facet such as this, but ultimately, I came to my senses and bought it.

As you can see below, The artwork is 11×17 and on much stiffer/whiter paper than the original comic.  It looks great!

I’m a sucker for these types of original pieces that were used to create tons of collectibles from when I was a kid.  It is great to have a piece that was used to create countless copies for other collectors to enjoy.  I’ve got to say – longtime comic book artist Greg Fox really did a great job on these drawings.

It is really neat seeing all of the ink marks and filled in areas done by hand…

… and even areas where there was whiteout applied to fix mistakes!

This looks like it is going to display really well, but the problem is, I just don’t know where/how to display.  Why?  Because not only did I get one of the pages…

I got all 30!

There is no way I’ll be able to display these, so sadly, I’ll have to wait until I build my secret underground shrine.  But until then, I’ll just enjoy having them.

For the life of me, I couldn’t shake the thought of using some of the artwork to merge with one of my favorite childhood baseball card designs, so I decided to give it a spin.

First, I took a picture (no I did NOT cut this out!) of one of the pictures…

…and colorized it in Photoshop.

As a standalone, I thought it was kind of neat, and almost wished the comic were full color, but that is okay.  Since augmented reality is all the rage these days, I wanted to see what it would look like with a real background.

Blur it a bit …

Put Jose back on…

Cool!  But what if I made the background blue?

Yeah, I think I like this a lot better.

I did the same type of treatment with this picture from the comic, as well:

So, how about merging it with this iconic card from the 80’s?

Here is how it came out:  (Note the liberal usage of my new favorite font comic sans.)

You know I had to make it a real card, right? 🙂

Here it is with the page of the comic:

I should have been done after this, but one of the comic pictures caught my eye.

Topps has used a similar picture for a few of their recent releases, namely the 2014 Stadium Club card.

Here is what it looks like when the REAL picture is replaced with a colorized comic version:

While I thought that was cool, I wanted to try something with the 1992 Topps design.

I think that came out pretty sweet as well.  Last but not least, here it is posing with its twin in the comic itself.

And with that boys and girls, I find myself in a hugely massive quandary.  There are probably dozens of drawings from my new treasure just screaming to be colorized and made into baseball cards.  Unfortunately, I simply don’t have the time to devote to such a project…just like the other 100 or so projects I have on the back burner.  At the very least though, I’m happy to have been able to have had fun in making a cool booklet and a few neat comic cards for my collection.