July 22, 2017

Genius Covers : My Amazing Copy of Fantastic Four Annual #1

You can find other entries in the Genius Covers series HERE

While I have a pretty formidable comic collection (purely in terms of number of comics), I don't really have a lot of key early issues from the 1960's and 70's. I do have a couple early issues of Daredevil but they are in pretty rough condition but as a kid collector I was more interested in the current issues than older ones and I didn't really care about owning the important issues when I could read reprints or graphic novels with those issues included.

All this recently changed when I received a great looking copy of Fantastic Four Annual #1 from 1963 for my birthday this year from my sister. I was flabbergasted as she included it at the bottom of a stack of inexpensive G.I. Joe comics from the 1980's and then BAM! a Jack Kirby cover smacks me across the face!

Here's the cover with colors just as vibrant as the day they were printed.



The issue story line finds the Fantastic Four running into trouble from the Sub-Mariner, prince of Atlantis. Written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, I believe this is my early 60's Kirby. Jeez, thanks Avril!



The issue also features the Thing battling a hammer head shark!



The Marvel annual issues were always filled to the brim with just about double the size of a normal issue and Fantastic Four Annual #1 filled its pages with full page art featuring the teams key villains from their first year in comics. First we have The Mole Man the first villain the team ever faced in issue #1.



Although Alicia Masters, the Puppet Master's step-daughter, dated the Thing for many years in the comics, he would become the father-in-law to the Human Torch when Alicia married Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four issue #300.



There was also an incredibly detailed map of the team's headquarters in the Baxter Building. Before the days of comic information being easily accessible it was these type of drawings that provided the amount of detail super fans needed to know every possible thing about the Fantastic Four.



Thanks again Avril for the totally unexpected surprise!

July 10, 2017

Possibly The Most Disturbing Chicago Cubs Cash-In Yet

Living in Illinois as I do, I'm sometimes surprised to be reminded that another baseball team also plays in Chicago other than the Cubs. It's a Cubs world here and we all just live in it and the White Sox are nowhere to be found.

The other day I was flipping through the newspaper coupon book/penny saver thing that comes once a week and a small postcard fell out into my lap. I recoiled in horror and I was face to face with the deep dark blue eyes of Kyle, the Littlest Cubs Fan. This officially licensed monstrosity product (thanks a lot MLB!) is a vinyl doll (and not a toy by the way, it is a collectible! as the fine print reads under his left elbow) dressed in a Cubs jersey that can be yours for only $159.99!

I pick up a lot of Chicago Cubs cards and oddballs for my L.T.T.P.R.M.D. (Long Time Trading Partner Reader Mike D.) and this would work out sooooo well for our next trade!

Me: "Oh, thanks Mike for finding an original 1954 Spic and Span Andy Pafko for me! That must have taken some time to track down."

Mike: "It was wasn't too hard, I found a good deal from a seller after about eight hours of searching." 

Me: "Thanks again. Here's your part of the trade. It is Kyle, the Littlest Cubs Fan."

Mike: "Delete my contact information."



At least you now know how you can push the eject button on any friendship you have with a Cubs fan. Plus, that $159.99 isn't so bad as you can spread it out over six payments of $26.67! 

July 9, 2017

Jesse Orosco Rookie Card and Autograph

One of my favorite type of players to collect are pitchers that have a career where they pitch forever. Some of my all-time favorites include Hoyt Wilhelm, Gaylord Perry, the Niekro brothers, and Kent Tekulve. 

The all-time king of "pitching forever" is Jesse Orosco who pitched from 1979 to 2003 and holds the record for pitching in 1,252 games. Although he is famous for winning World Series titles with the New York Mets (1986) and Dodgers (1988), Orosco began his career as a Minnesota Twin. He was then traded to the Mets as a part of the trade that brought Jerry Koosman to Minnesota. Orosco would also end his career pitching for the Twins in 2003 for eight games.

It doesn't appear that Orosco has any cards as a Twin from either of his stints with the team ( Add that to the "cards that should have been" list) and you can find his rookie card in 1980 Topps. He shares it with the 1986 Cy Young winner Mike Scott, making it a very respectable 80's multi-player rookie. 


Orosco only has a handful of certified autographs, including 2005 Topps Pristine Legends and 2013 Topps Archives, so I added an  TTM/in-person autograph of Orosco's 1983 Fleer card. I received this one from Reader Mike D. in a trade a while ago and I like how Jesse signed the card without signing over his portrait. 


July 8, 2017

Show and Tell #133: A Summer Trade From the Summer of '74

Here are the results of a recent trade from Matt of the Summer of '74 blog. He sent me a collection of Twins, Royals, Mariners, and a couple of great cards I'm not sure how he knew I would love. We start off with a Bill Madlock 1980 Topps buyback which are a pretty rare find in 2014 Topps products.


Next up is a James Shield Royals jersey relic from 2014 Topps. Shields signed with the Padres before the 2015 season and missed out on the Royals World Series run.


Next we have two cards that could each be reprints that you might have trouble identifying with just a card scan alone. Turns out Carlos Beltran's second Topps flagship card is real and the Bo Jackson is from the Berger's Best insert set from 2016 Topps. The Jackson is obvious with the card in-hand as it is a modern glossy card. 

Don't you miss the days when Beltran's rookie was in 1995 Topps and his second Topps flagship card was released five years later!?


Omar Vizquel's Fleer rookie card can be found in 1989 Fleer Update and so this 1990 Fleer card was realistically my first chance of pulling a Fleer card for the all-time leader in double plays at shortstop.


I'm not sure exactly who Matt knew I was looking for this card as I haven't put together a First Pitch needs list but it was in my trade package anyway.


Also included were two TTM/in-person Mariners autographs of mid-80's designated history Ken Phelps and pitcher Pete Ladd who went 8-6 in his one season with Mariners in 1986. 



I even got this awesome signature card! Thanks for the trade Matt and I will look for some stuff for you at the National in a few weeks!


July 3, 2017

Ripping Some Rick and Morty Mini Figure Blind Boxes

Rick and Morty Season 3 is coming soon! 



As in it arrives in a few weeks, July 30th to be exact, and as the new trailer and premiere dates have been released, I've been spending my baseball card money on the mystery minis figure boxes that are available only at Target. You might overlook these sort of items if you stick to the Target trading card aisle by the checkouts. My local target stocks these in a sort of "pop culture" section behind the books and video section and was a box of these with 12 figures to choose from with a $5.99 price tag. 


The 12-figure box size allows for a really small chance of pulling a double as the only figure with a lower than 1/12 chance of pulling is Mr. Puppy Butthole at 1:6. But really, who would be mad at pulling double of everyone's favorite Rick and Morty character.


And wouldn't you know it, my first box gave Mr. Poopybutthole. His figure is substantially smaller than the other figures and if you have some time you can easily search the boxes and find his (or avoid it if you already pulled his figure)


Next up with have Birdperson, who we learned in the Season 3 premiere that aired on April 1st is still alive and with us, although he has been slightly augmented. This was one of the top figures I wanted to pull and I'm glad I got him.


My last figure turned out to be Summer glancing at her phone. Of all the characters in the show, she has gone from my least favorite characters to one of the best. She and Rick share one of my favorite all-time moments in the show, the body building scenes with DMX as the theme.


Overall, I would recommend these to Rick and Morty fans. Although they are made by Funko, the art style stays true to the show and are high quality. They are pretty sturdy sitting on by desk and I hope that they continue to expand the characters available (especially with Morty variations).  

June 23, 2017

My New Favorite Andy Pafko Piece

A few months ago I came upon an auction for an Andy Pafko item I had never seen before but I knew I had to have. It was a one of a kind original press photo from the Chicago bureau of United Press International dating back to 1955. It features my favorite baseball player, Andy Pafko, checking the sights on his rifle, with a second rifle on his lap. The photo is taken in his Wisconsin home with a Milwaukee Braves cap in the background and a photo of him from his Dodgers days to the right. It's just such an unexpected image of "Handy Andy" and one I had never seen before and now I'm happy to share it (without watermark) on the blog for Pafko fans to enjoy. 


Deer hunting is incredibly popular in Wisconsin and as the back of the photo provides, Pafko was preparing for hunting season. The back also gives a glimpse into how the baseball has changed as it references that Pafko decided to not work during the offseason to be better rested for spring training.