DC Survey Card Variants

In the late 70’s DC inserted a survey card into select books. This is called a DC Survey insert variant. You answered questions they had listed, removed the card and mailed it in. At this time these books have been found to be quit rare and hard to find. Also as of this writing, there seems to never been any rhyme or reason for which books were used and where they were released. Also at this time, we have no idea how many were filled out and removed from the books and mailed in. So finding these may be even tougher than first perceived. This is an excellent variant for the collector who thoroughly enjoys the hunt. Below you can view a picture of the card and you will find a list of the books that have been verified to have this card. That does not mean, every one of the books has the card. It means these are the books that randomly had the card inserted into them. I hope you decide to give this a try. I highly recommend you add these in Mid grade and up to your collection. Happy Hunting

  1. Action Comics 481
  2. Adventure Comics 456
  3. Detective Comics 476
  4. Batman 298
  5. Jonah Hex 11
  6. Justice League 153
  7. Weird War Tales 62
  8. Firestorm 2
  9. Flash 260
  10. Super Friends 11
  11. Superman 322
  12. Aquaman 61
  13. Black Lightning 8

Also but not confirmed

  1. Claw 10
  2. House of Secrets 151
  3. New Gods 17

Next time we discuss National Diamond Sales inserts. See you there.

Variants Part 1

Today I thought we would start our discussion on variants. There are many types, so I am going to break it down to one type of variant each time. Today we will discuss the Mark Jewelers Variants. These are a 4 page centerfold from Mark Jewelers that advertise jewelry. These books are exactly like the regular comic sold except they have the ad insert inside and were only sold near U.S. military installations in America and overseas. They were mainly to help soldiers buy engagement rings for sweethearts back home really. They started running these ads in 1972 and stopped in 1986 to the best of my knowledge. They ran in both Marvel and DC comic books. Numbers of these books compared to the regular issues are not known but are said to be significantly lower. Prices on these can vary, but can run as high as 30% higher than their counterpart. Some people do not believe there should be a difference, and will not pay the higher price. So if looking to sell these, you should look for completest, and variant collectors. I personally like these, because there were less of them and like Newsstand editions, these books are harder to find in super high grade because of soldiers taking them into the field and to work to read. My personal opinion, if you get a chance to get any of them at a great price in high mid grade and up. Buy them up. I have included a photo of what these inserts look like. Next time we will discuss the DC Survey Variant.


Holy Grail, an item coveted for years. Yet it is hardly seen in real life let alone owned.

Grail, an item you would like to own. But is just out of your price range.

Examples of Holy Grail’s:

Is this a Grail? I picked up another one of my Grail’s today. I am not sure if this is a Grail. I see these all the time and wonder if people understand the meaning of Grail or Holy Grail in the least. Especially in the comic related Statue genre. It is almost laughable at times. 

I believe we can all agree that Action Comics #1 is the Holy Grail of all comics. Can you have a personal grail? You bet you can. Look at the second definition above of Grail. This is the Statue or Comic that you want to own, look at every time you go out. Price it, touch, want it. But always a little too expensive. You save, you even sell or offer to trade something you already have. And may even finally get it. That is your Grail. You will never sell it if you don’t have to. You treat it differently than the rest of your collection. You don’t buy it, then replace it every time you get a new piece.

I have my Comic Grail. It is a CGC graded Amazing-Spider Man #129. Took me five years to obtain. The one book I had to have. Although I am a Harley Quinn and Deadpool fan. Their books were easy to get and affordable early. So they are not my Grail’s although I love them. As for a Grail Statue. I see my Grail as the Harley Quinn on the motorcycle with the Hyenas in the side car as my Grail. May never own it. and only seen one in person.

So if I could ask one favor in the Comic and Statue collecting world. It would be, quit over using the term Grail. Not every Statue is a Grail. Not every Comic is a Grail. And there is only one Holy Grail. Join me next time when we will discuss Variants.

Signatures on Comics

First and foremost let me say that this is purely my opinion. Nothing more, from a guy who collects many different types of things. I hear people ask all the time, Hey, Stan Lee is coming to a show here. Gonna get him to sign something. What should I get? Then I see others list different books they want signed or you should get signed.

First, all books are graded on there appearance of how they look compared to when they originally came out. If you wrote your name on the book or in it or drew on it or wrote anything, what would happen to the value? It would drop! Right? So look at it this way. It cost $150-$175 to get Stan Lee’s autograph at a show. So with that in mind, if you put a $150 autograph on a $2000 book. Have you helped the book or degraded the book? Now, if you believe that in 50 years that Stan’s autograph will be selling for more than the book is ever worth than you may have a win. Do you think you will live that long?

A lot of folks are getting Rob Liefeld to sign New Mutant 98’s. Do you think his signature ever be worth more than the book? I guess, NO. That is why I got him to sign an X-Force #8. This book will never really amount to much, but his signature on it will always keep the price well above normal. Now there are people out there who disagree and that is up to them. Heck, there are even companies who will authentic a signature and grade the book and encapsulate said book. But I wonder down the line if an encapsulated signature series Fantastic Four #1 8.0 signed by Stan Lee will sell for a higher price than an encapsulated Fantastic Four #1 8.0 not signed. Just something to think about.

Signed books are awesome to own. Heck, I have a good number of them myself. But wouldn’t it be even nicer to get signed original artwork, movie props, and other items that can be used to show off. I have seen toy Hulk hands, Iron Man masks, Captain America shields, Funko’s, Great lithographs, and tons of other items. I even have non sporting Marvel and DC bubble gum cards signed by the actors who play them and by artists that drew them. So next time you are thinking about getting a comic signed by and artist, actor, writer or other creator. Think about future implications. Now, if you are getting it to keep in your own collection and care nothing of the value, then get whatever you wish. But if you are collecting for investment purposes, think about it long and hard. Join me next time as we will discuss the term” Grail” and its use with comics and statues.

Print Editions

When buying comics you always want to know that you are paying the correct price for the correct printing. Nothing like paying for a first printing only to find out later you have a fifth printing.

Depending on the publisher and the year, there are a couple of ways to tell what print you are getting. With older books you will need to open the book. Somewhere around the first page or so, or the last page there will be an area with all the information about the book and the publishing details. If it does not list any mention of the printing edition, then it is a first printing.

With newer modern books you will need to use the bar code. Or should I say the last five numbers of the bar code. These digits will tell you everything.

  1. The first three digits will tell you the issue number.
  2. The fourth digit is the variant number.
  3. The fifth digit is the print number

The above example is: Issue number 4, First variant (original cover), First printing.

Now open the second photo and see what you get from that code.

There is one other way they release different printings. They change the color of the cover of the book. A great example of this is New Mutants #87. The first printing is a red cover. The second printing is a gold cover. A highly collectible book to watch out for is Batman: The Killing Joke. It has multiple printings and everyone of them has a different color cover. So do your home work and know what you are looking for before you spend your hard earned money.

Join me next time when we discuss Autographed books.

Newsstand vs Direct Editions

This is a question asked so often from new collectors. What is the difference between Newsstand Editions and Direct Editions and how can you tell them apart. Well there is a long drawn out complicated answer. Then there is the short to the point answer I am gonna share here with you.

When Newsstands were the main way to get comics and the barcode was introduced, the barcode was how you bought and paid for comics. In 1979 as more shops began opening and there needed to be a way to tell the difference from where the comics were bought, a slash was added through the barcode for the direct editions sold at comic shops. But most people, nor the shops liked the slashes. So the programs became unified with logo’s that lasted till 1987. These are the Spider-Man mask, Hulk face, Captain America and etc. After 1987 publishers used what ever they wanted in the block. So initially barcodes were for Newsstand Editions and logos and other gimmicks were for Direct Editions. There is even a short time that both went back to barcodes but inside the barcode are the words: Direct Edition or Newsstand Edition. In 2013 Marvel stopped Newsstand Editions altogether. Below are some examples for you to see and compare. Join us next time as we discuss ways to find which Printing Edition you are buying.

First Appearances

The most sought after and collected books besides issue number one is “The First Appearance”. The 1st appearance of a character is just that. The first time we are introduced to that character. Well, let me clarify. This is a point in which the collecting community for the most part and myself have a disagreement. There are two types of first appearances. The “first cameo appearance”, and the first full appearance”. I argue that the first time you meet a character no matter how many pages or frames they are in, that is still the first time you meet them. The collector world says, if it is only one page or a single panel introduction, then it is a first cameo appearance. The issue with this is the cameo is never close to the value as the first full appearance. A perfect example of this is The Incredible Hulk #180 has Wolverine on the very last panel in the book as he confronts Hulk. But The Incredible Hulk #181 is considered the first appearance since he is in the story plot of that book. Now research value and you will see what I mean. Same goes for Venom and Bishop. There are quite a few more. So make sure when someone tells you it is a first appearance, you ask if it is full or cameo appearance. If you don’t, you will be sorry when spending a lot of your hard earned money.

There are also first appearances of items, places, special weapons and the like. Example; The Baxter Building, The Bat cave, Iron Man’s Stealth Armor, The Fortress of Solitude. Even the changing of a costume or the color can be reason to grab said books. Alas, Spider-Man’s 1st appearance in the Black Costume is one. There are many more items and places that are just as important to the comic world, so they are sought after just as much.

There is one last item about 1st appearances you need to know about. Some characters have more than one 1st appearance. Let me give you an example. Carol Danvers, AKA Ms. Marvel has 5 different 1st appearance. Let me list those for you

  • Carol Danvers: Marvel Super Heroes #13
  • Ms Marvel: Ms. Marvel #1 Volume 1
  • Binary: Uncanny X-Men #164 Volume 1
  • Warbird: Avengers #4 Volume 3
  • Captain Marvel: Avenging Spider-Man #9

So, if you want all her first appearances, you would need to have all the above books in your collection. Marvel Super-Heroes will run the most expensive in high grade. While Ms. Marvel is next. The others are still quit affordable. Betsy Braddock, Steve Rodgers, and quit a few others will fall under the more than one identity and more than one 1st appearance problem. Do your homework and happy hunting. Join me next time when we discuss Direct Editions Versus New Stand Editions.