Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Welcome to Store Tour, ROBOT 6’s weekly exploration of comics shops, and the people who run them. Each Sunday we feature a different store, and also get to know the person behind the register.
As we barrel toward Comic-Con International, it’s time for a stop in San Diego. This week’s store is Villainous Lair, located at 3220 Adams Ave. We spoke with manager Sara Winchester.
If that video of the surprise discovery of an Alpha Black Lotus card has you itching to play Magic: The Gathering again, then do we have an offer for you. Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington — the same store that auctioned a copy of Action Comics #1 for a record $3.2 million — is selling the highest-graded Beta Black Lotus card in existence.
The asking price? A mere $100,000.
As Pristine Comics details on its website, the card is rated 10 by Becket Grading Services, which it argues is more comprehensive than Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) and Sportscard Guaranty Company (SGC).
“To compare, there is only one BGS-10 Beta Black Lotus,” the description states. “There are 34 PSA-10’s of this same card. An ungraded NM/Mint Beta Black Lotus lists for about $2400.00. PSA-10 sells for about $10,000. By comparison the BGS-10 Beta Black Lotus should command an asking price of $230,000 (when compared to the PSA-10), Or nearly a million dollars when compared to its ungraded counterpart.”
The sum total of my knowledge about Magic: The Gathering begins and ends with this: An Alpha Black Lotus card sold last year on eBay for $27,302, because they’re super-rare. Luckily, that’s all you need to know to appreciate this video of a collector unwrapping an old alpha starter deck — among the first produced — to discover a Black Lotus, and then proceed to completely lose his mind.
We only see the collector’s fastidiously gloved hands, but I like to imagine him (somewhere after the 8:00 mark) bouncing around the room, Daffy Duck-style, as he exclaims, “That’s a freaking Black Lotus,” “Holy God” and “That shouldn’t happen.”
We’ve become accustomed to reading about rare comic books — even those found in the walls of old houses — fetching high prices at auction, but it may come as a surprise to learn that collectors are laying down big bucks for certain Magic: The Gathering cards, too. (Or maybe it’s not so surprising; I admit my knowledge of the game is limited to glimpses of people playing it in the back of comic shops.)
WhatSellsBest reports that a 1993 “Alpha Black Lotus” card sold this week on eBay for $27,302, apparently not because it adds 3 mana of any single color of the player’s choice to his or her mana pool, but rather because it’s so rare: just 1,100 were released. In addition, the 20-year-old card is in mint condition, receiving a grade of 9.5 from Beckett.
Widely considered the Holy Grail for Magic collectors, a 9.5-graded “Alpha Black Lotus” previously sold for $25,000, according to the video below from Graded Magic Cards.
Awards | Following the nomination of two graphic novels for the Costa Prize, the new chairman of the Man Booker Prize said he would welcome submissions of graphic novels as well. [The Telegraph]
Passings | Former Wizard staff member Marc Wilkofsky, whose efforts on behalf of Friends of Lulu earned him their Volunteer of the Year award in 2005, has died at the age of 42. He was also an enthusiastic member of the NYC Comic Jams. [Andrew Kardon, The Beat]
Conventions | Richard Bruton files a comprehensive con report on the recent Thought Bubble festival in Leeds, England. [Forbidden Planet]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
Congratulations, Dark Horse: You pretty much own my first $15 for the week, with Dark Horse Presents #8 ($7.99) and Star Wars: Dawn of The Jedi #0 ($3.50) both being my go-to new releases for the week. DHP has the new Brian Wood/Kristian Donaldson series The Massive launching, as well as more Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson and new Skeleton Key by Andi Watson, which is a pretty spectacular line-up, and the new Star Wars book coincides with the latest flare up of my irregular longing to check up on that whole universe’s goings-on. Apparently, I’m keeping it local this week, who knew?
If I had $30, I’d add Action Comics #6 (DC Comics, $3.99) and OMAC #6 (DC Comics, $2.99) to that pile — I’m particularly treasuring the latter before it goes away, although I have to admit that the time-jumping nature of these Action fill-ins has gotten me more excited than I should ‘fess up to — as well as a couple of Ed Brubaker books, Winter Soldier #1 (Marvel, $2.99) and Fatale #2 (Image Comics, $3.50). I wasn’t bowled over by Fatale‘s debut, but it intrigued me enough to want to give it another go, while the noir + super spy sales pitch for the new Marvel series pretty much guarantees my checking the first issue out at the very least.
When it comes to splurging, there is nothing I would buy – were I rich enough — more quickly than IDW’s John Romita Sr. Amazing Spider-Man Artist Edition HC ($100), because … well, it’s classic Romita as the pages originally looked on his drawing board. How anyone can resist that (other than the price point), I don’t know.
Comics | CNN covers the upcoming wedding of Archie Comics’ Kevin Keller, who will get married to another man in Life with Archie #16. Keller was injured while serving in the military in Iraq and Clay Walker, his groom-to-be, was his physical therapist. “Riverdale is this picturesque vision of American life, and when you see yourself reflected in that, you have a role in even the most idealized version of the reality you live in,” said Matt Kane, associate director of entertainment media for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “That’s the difference between feeling like a rejected outsider and feeling like you’re a part of something.” [CNN]
Comics | Jim Caple worries that viewers of the Tintin movie won’t appreciate it the way he does, comparing old-school Tintin fans to old-school Boston Red Sox or Seattle Mariners fans: “That’s what I worry about. I worry there will be all these Tintin wannabes who only know the character from the movie, who don’t appreciate Herge’s genius, who don’t know what it was like to wait a month for the next 10-page installment or when you had to special order the few books made available in America. Fans who didn’t earn this movie.” [ESPN]
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Life with Archie is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Richie Rich Gems Winter Special - In addition to their modern-look Richie Rich, Ape has also re-introducied the classic version in both new and reprinted adventures. I missed the solicit for Richie Rich Gems #44 last month (which picked up where the Harvey series left off in 1982), but the series continues with not only the Winter Special, but #45 as well.
Dragons vs Dinosaurs - I haven’t had great luck with Arcana’s books in the past, but c’mon. The title alone…
Hero Happy Hour: On the Rocks - This, on the other hand, is no risk at all. I’m a big fan of Dan Taylor and Chris Fason’s superhero bar stories and this is an all-new, 80-page adventure. Not reprints; not even a printed version of the webcomic. It’s all-new and I need it.
The Dare Detectives: The Snow Pea Plot Collected Edition – Archaia prepares for their publishing Ben Caldwell’s Dare Detectives: The Kula Kola Caper by re-publishing the first story that was originally put out by Dark Horse.
It’s been a big week for the trading-card game Magic: The Gathering. Let’s recap:
On Monday, Gizmodo intern Alyssa Bereznak briefly took the crown as most despised person on Twitter when she revealed that she was matched up with Jon Finkel on a computer date and rejected him once she learned that he was a former M:TG world champion. This got Bereznak a ton of hate Tweets and Finkel a lot of sympathy on geek and mainstream blogs.
On Wednesday, Dark Horse released The Last Dragon, a truly gorgeous fairy tale-style fantasy illustrated by M:TG artist Rebecca Guay.
And Thursday, IDW Publishing announced it’s teaming up with Hasbro to launch a Magic: The Gathering comic book. It’s not the first M:TG comic (here’s a list), but it is the first in more than 10 years. The series launches with a four-issue miniseries about “a unique, new Planeswalker, a powerful mage with the ability to travel between worlds in the Magic Multiverse,” which of course allows for lots of flexibility when it comes to stories. Game designer Matt Forbeck is writing the comic, and Martín Cóccolo will handle the art. The comic will be available digitally as well as in print, and it will be collected into graphic novels. And naturally —y ou know they had to do this — it comes with “exclusive, playable, alternate-art cards for the MAGIC: THE GATHERING TCG,” in “select issues” of the comic.
Just … if you read it, be sure to mention that in your computer dating profile, or you might be accused of being a stealth geek. On the other hand, that apparently isn’t all bad.