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Monday, August 24, 2015

Stockton Con 2015 Comic Snags!

Stockton Con was three weeks ago, and it was a pretty good show. Although I did bring a camera, I didn't take any pictures of the show, so I apologize for that.

Actually, this post isn't really to brag about my snags at the con whatsoever. It's actually to commend a seller by the name of Steve Wyatt. Both Gerry and I are always happy to see this guy at his booth no matter what show we find him selling at and you'll find out why in a minute here.

I think his booth was the first one we visited at the show, but I'm not sure. As usual, we just checked it out and said hello and then swept the con for other comic booths just to find our marks and compare them to other sellers.

Pretty much the usual. So the first comic I got was this Shazam #1 and it was at Steve's booth. The book is advertised as a VF/NM and is a pedigree from the Don Rosa collection.

I offered $75, and Steve immediately said he didn't know if he wanted to do that, which is perfectly fine. I didn't think he would since it is a pedigree book, which it comes with a C.O.A., and later I would find that he is actually selling the collection for Don Rosa himself.

So Shazam #1 is the first appearance of Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr. in DC Comics. That's not in DC Canon, but just under the DC Comics brand.

Still, that's not the sole reason why I had my eye on this one. It's a pedigree, and although I'm not big on pedigree comics, I wanted at least one of 'em in my Vault. Steve then counter-offered with $85, and I knew that was a good enough deal so I took it.

Later I would find out that Don Rosa is actually a comic artist and writer that worked on Disney-related comics like Scrooge McDuck, Donald Duck, and the DuckTales comics just to name a few. Steve was actually selling some of Don Rosa's collection for him, so I think it was a pretty awesome snag and deal that Steve gave me.

The second book was in the same round as when I got the Shazam #1. For a long time, I always thought I had X-Men #129 in my collection, but when I went looking for it to send into CBCS, I couldn't find it.

Pissed me off, and I probably misplaced that comic somewhere. Oh, well, I didn't mind snagging up another copy just in case. As an X-Men fan, the first appearance of Kitty Pryde, is a great one to have in just a fan sense.

As most everyone knows, this comic has a lot of first appearances other than just Kitty Pryde. This comic also debuts Emma Frost as well as Sebastian Shaw and the Hell Fire Club. So, yep, always a good one to have for an X-Men fan.

When I asked to look over this copy, Steve immediately said that he would do $75 for this comic before I even got to the bargaining part. So, I snagged this copy a long with the Shazam #1.

As usual, Gerry and I did a few more laps around the venue to see if we missed something at other vendors. We ended up at another booth close to Steve, and I spotted a Caliber Presents #1 on the wall.

I asked to see it and looked it over. He was asking $90 and it was advertised as a 9.0 VF/NM as well. It looked more like a VF-.

I thought I'd make him an offer for $70. The seller said he couldn't do it and that all his comics were priced to sell, which is fine.

I have no problem with that. I don't take it personal.

I did know that I could get a CGC Universal 9.0 on eBay for near the same price, but I didn't say anything about that. There's no point for me to say it to his face and argue, because his books were priced to sell and that's that.

However, the seller didn't leave it at just that. He continued on.

He then mentioned his daughters who were playing on the floor in his booth area and said how he needed to put them through school. Now, that was unnecessary to throw out there.

Right from there, he moved a possible sale from business to personal and for what reason? I don't see any other reason for saying that other than being slightly annoyed.

True story, and Gerry can back me up on this one since he was standing there when it happened.

If you don't expect customers to haggle a bit at a comic convention, you're in the wrong venue. My offer wasn't ridiculous. It's a tad above 20% off with plenty of room to counter-offer.

That's not the point though. In a recent post that was extremely long-winded, I had a reason why I used that effect.

Actually, I read some comments on some Google+ pages about how some couldn't even read through the whole post because it turned them off and was so ridiculous. Ding! Ding! Exactly!

In terms of the sale of the comic itself, his daughter's education is about as relevant to me as my $2,000 credit card bill is to his daughters.

I don't want to hear extra diatribe about having to make a profit or putting daughters through school when it comes to business. I'm sure he'd rather not have me waste his time with extra diatribe about how I could get this same issue already CGC'd for the same price on eBay.

Both statements would be irrelevant to the actual comic and sale at hand.

Everybody knows that a dealer or seller has to make a profit, that they have bills, over-head, booth space to pay for, etc. Stating the obvious doesn't impress a possible customer and  during a deal it's unnecessary. There's little to no point to it and it's a turn-off and a waste of time for both the buyer and seller.

Of all the ways to handle it or things to say to move a possible transaction elsewhere from a sellers vantage, shoving that card in anyone's face does not give a buyer anymore incentive to buy from them as opposed to another seller. The other sellers there have business and personal financial liabilities as well, don't they?

He could've moved the conversation to some other comics I might have been looking at, or he could've just left it as is before the "putting daughters through school" comment and whatever else he went on about concerning his personal plight. A good seller will save that crap and always try to convince why the comic in question is a great buy for whatever reason or try to move a possible sale to other options a customer may be interested in.

Perhaps, the customer will find another comic or product at their booth that they do deem a good deal and go with that one. That's keeping a possible sale professional, and that's all I ask for.

So it's no surprise that I found myself back at Steve's booth. Actually, there was a comic that I had in mind prior when I was buying the Shazam #1 and X-Men #129, but thought I'd give the con another lap before pulling the trigger on it.

The guy at the other booth and his comment wasn't why I didn't buy anything from him. Sure, that part of his speech was a turn off, but there's still one simple fact to why he didn't get my money. If you haven't gotten the real point yet, you might as this adventure continues.

No, this isn't this one that I had in my sights earlier. I don't believe in divine intervention, but for some reason, I suddenly found myself standing in front of the back issue boxes at the side of Steve's booth. It was like a tractor beam pulled me in to that very spot.

Before I knew it, the "Howard the Duck" label on the comic bin divider caught my eye. Immediately, I thought of the 1st appearances of KISS!

I'm a fan of KISS. Not a super die-hard fan, but a fan nonetheless. I did grow up listening to them and remember the vinyl collection my best-friend's brother had during the early 80s.

Before I got into gawking at comic covers, I gawked at Hard Rock and Heavy Metal covers. KISS was definitely among those that I'd geek out on at that age. They were also one of the bands me and my best-friend would rock out to with a mop and broom and pretend we were the real thing.

Funny that it would be only a decade or so later when me and him were really onstage playing actual instruments, except all the air-guitar moves with those mops and brooms gave me no stage presence practice behind a drum set. So, good memories concerning KISS, and I just wanted those two to have them. 

Not a huge Howard the Duck fan though, unless we're talking about Lea Thompson.

I remembered issue #13 was one of the appearances, but I wasn't sure whether it was the first brief or first full appearance. I was too busy looking over the comic's grade, but Gerry looked it up for me and found #12 was the first cameo appearance.

So I looked for issue #12 in the box and found it. Score! I then noticed that the price tags did say the appearances on them. Duh! So, I apologize to Gerry for having to look that up unnecessarily.

Gerry then mentioned that the boxes they came out of were marked 50% off. I then wondered if they were already marked 50% off or if they were 50% off what the actual price tags said. I've actually had that happen where I went up with comics from a 50% off box only to find that the price on the tag was already marked down at that percentage.

So I whipped out my Overstreet Guide and looked at the prices. Both comics were NM- and priced at the exact OPG values, so I figured the comics weren't already marked down 50%.

Gerry then mentioned that I could probably get those two for $40 if I haggled, but I told him I wasn't going haggle my 2nd batch of comics with Steve. 50% off was already a great deal. I didn't feel a need to be a douche and push it.

There is a real and main reason why I made up my mind concerning that. We'll get to that soon enough.

This is the mark I kept in mind after my first round of purchases, and I purely got this for nostalgic reasons. Batman #428, the death of Jason Todd at the Joker's hands, was definitely one of the best Batman moments from that era.

I remembered this back in the day, and "A Death in the Family" story arc has always been one of my favorite Batman stories from the Copper Age. As for a comic investment? I really didn't care all that much concerning that, but the fact that it was graded a 9.6 NM+ by CBCS and around the same price I could snag it on eBay without the shipping cost was also appealing, of course.

Yep, I was even one of the fools who called the number to vote whether Jason Todd lived or died back in the day, and I did vote for the latter. I was actually surprised that more people voted to off the character also when I first read this issue back then.

The sequence of panels showing the Joker brutally beating Jason Todd with a crowbar had always stuck in my mind throughout the years. I was pretty shocked at that age when I first saw this, but the scene did cement the Joker as one of my all-time favorite comic book villains.

I know, I'm a sick puppy. Amazing story by legendary comic writer Jim Starlin, and awesome artwork by Jim Apparo too.

Anyways, Steve immediately told me that he wouldn't go any lower for the Batman #428, and like I had said, I didn't even try to haggle in the first place. I already had my wallet out when I told him I wasn't even going to try.

After I said that, Steve immediately said that he would give me an extra $5 off for the Howard the Ducks though. He just offered it to me, so I got the Howard the Ducks for $50 bucks, or $25 each.

Now, on to the reason why I didn't bother haggling on my 2nd round of purchases with Steve. Earlier, and I forgot when or what lap it was around the comic con, Gerry found a Marvel Spotlight #6, the 2nd appearance of Ghost Rider, in one of Steve's boxes for $55 bucks.

So Gerry went up to Steve and asked if he'd do $45. To my surprise and to Gerry's, Steve said, "You know what? Just give me $40 for this one."

So I thought that was really cool that Steve did that. He could've just took the $45 offer. Hell, I would've, but Steve gave my buddy a better deal when he really didn't have to.

That's why I decided earlier that I wasn't going to haggle my second round of comics with Steve, but him being the awesome guy that he is, he knocked down an extra $5 bucks on the Howard the Duck comics. I surely wasn't expecting that either.

The only dealer we bought from that day was Steve. Like I mentioned, we're always on the hunt for his booth and we actually like the guy as a person and as a professional.

Steve is always personable. He'll yap with ya about most anything. It doesn't just have to be about business. You can tell that when he's selling at a con, he is there more as a fan.

Sure, he's also there to sell comics and make a profit. No doubt, and any dimwit knows that. He just doesn't shove it in anyone's face while doing business. Well, I've never heard or seen him do so.

He's also the promoter for Big Wow Comic Fest and East Bay Comic Con, and we talked about that because I remember Big Wow being Super-Con in Oakland. So, he's very personable when bantering but doesn't make it personal when in a business transaction.

Steve Wyatt is often at San Diego Comic Con as well, so if you find him and his booth there (it's the one with the big "Big Wow Comic Fest" banner), definitely be sure to drop by, say hello, and maybe pick up a few comics. He definitely has some of the best deals over-all that I've seen at the cons in my area.

So another comic book convention adventure, and it's exactly how it went down at Stockton Con this year concerning the hunt. I don't think I need to spell out why Steve got my money at this show, and I'm pretty sure most of you figured out exactly why by now.

Though I'm pretty sure there's still some out there who won't get it either. Oh, well. Anyway, good luck and happy hunting or selling out there.


  1. Good day to you Mayhem sir!

    Looks like we have the same taste! If you leave Bats 428 and Shazam 1 out, I got all of those in my collection. Anyway, here' s my hunting list for this season:

    - Strange Adventures 180 (1. Animal Man)
    - Ms Marvel 16, 17, 18 (1. Mystique)
    - Star Wars 68 (Origin Boba Fett)
    - Avengers 196 (1. Taskmaster)
    - Batman 357 (1. Killer Croc)
    - Green Lantern 7 (1. Sinestro)
    - Hulk 141 (1. Doc Samson)
    - Fantastic Four Giantsize 4 (1. Maddrox the
    Multiple Man)

    Leave some of them in the bins for me, you hear!

    Max Rebo

    1. Damn, Mr. Rebo, you just reminded me that I need to score a first appearance of Sinestro in Green Lantern #7 soon. You definitely got a hunt on your hands for those books. I wish you the best of luck on your hunt, sir! Definitely let me know how that goes as always.

  2. I always enjoy reading your anecdotes about buying from dealers. I agree with your thoughts on haggling and being fair.

    1. Hi there and thanks. Good to hear from you. I have no problem with dealers or sellers telling me they can't do a certain price or they won't go any lower than the price they have it at. It's no big deal to me, and I don't make it a big deal. I just don't like it when they make a big deal and go off on this unnecessary rant about whatever.

      It's business, and the more comfortable I feel and the more I trust a seller, the more lenient I am and the more I'll support them. If they rub me the wrong way, they just won't get my money. Pretty plain and simple.

  3. Hey Mayhem,

    I think you overrated the talk of the dealer about giving his kids a proper education. When I hear this kind of stuff I usually put myself in a turkish bazar and go like: "My wife wants to have a nice vacation this year and my children want to have these new video games..." You know, it' s about who' s the best actor and who' s gonna be the first to say "Ah, quit braggin, here' s the comic for your price!" Guy probably doesn' t even have any kids. Shheeshh.

    Speculation Jones

    1. Maybe so S.J., but the point is that despite the seller playing some "acting game" as you described it, he still didn't get my dollars. He definitely was not into bargaining, and that's cool. I just don't want to hear that extra stuff unless it's about the actual sale or another possible sale.

      Treat me with respect as a customer and don't give me a guilt trip like some little kid. I guarantee you that 8-10 out of ten when sellers pull that guilt trip card, the person will walk away from their booth. It isn't about the actual sale. That's short-sighted. It's about repeat sales and a repeat customer. Make a customer walk away feeling like they got a deal, and I bet they'll keep returning.

  4. Great post and comments. I LOVE these anecdote story posts. Comics are bought and sold by human beings and as such, we get all the good and the bad associated with that. (Same is true when selling, because buyers have a whole range of foibles as well). Good stuff!

    I buy online and I have done some work over the past couple of years to establish TRUSTWORTHY and PROFESSIONAL sellers (either high-end comic websites or ebay sellers). I would rather spend $5 extra on a guy who is "in my stable" of trusted sellers than ONLY worry about trying to save a buck. There is value in loyalty to the true professionals!! Great stuff! Wiebes

    1. Glad you got the point of it Wiebes. Yes, it's about the professional sellers who value repeat business instead of just one measly sale.

      I totally agree about value in loyalty, but that value and loyalty is earned from the customer. Making a customer feel uncomfortable or using a "guilt trip" tactic often has the opposite effect from what I've learned while working the flea market circuit in my local area. I would always hear other sellers say something to this effect, "No, I can't do that price. I have to make money, you know?"

      And you know it is the truth, but if you want to make someone walk away faster from your booth, then say that line. I do understand that sellers get ridiculous offers all the time. I sure did while selling at flea markets, but there are other ways of handling it than stating the obvious, which most of the time customers could really care and it turns them off pretty quick.

      It's just my opinion on the matter. Some people have an immunity to that rant, but I personally don't have the time to hear it.

  5. I think you over paid for X-Men issue. Pick this one up for $20 in that shape.

    1. Heya and congrats on your snag. You sure got a super deal on that since eBay copies at that grade are going for $70 - $125 currently. When and where did you pick that up, or did you pick it up in a lot?

  6. After a 7 year hiatus from collecting i got back into the convention scene this year. First stop was in Sacramento Con and then a few weeks ago was at this same Stockton Con. In both cases the person who got my money that day was Steve. Spot on with your description. he is a knowledge, friendly guy with a very nice selection. 100% agree with looking him up if your at a convention.

    1. Hello Stephen and welcome back to the crazy but fun madness of collecting comics! It's a hell of ride. Looks like you're in the same stomping grounds as I am. How did ya like Stockton Con?

      Steve so far is a great and straight up guy as a seller. Maybe I'll run into ya at a local con around these parts.

  7. After a 7 year hiatus from collecting i got back into the convention scene this year. First stop was in Sacramento Con and then a few weeks ago was at this same Stockton Con. In both cases the person who got my money that day was Steve. Spot on with your description. he is a knowledge, friendly guy with a very nice selection. 100% agree with looking him up if your at a convention.

  8. Great read! Ya that dealer is super!! Ive rapped out with him a coupla times