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  1. #1
    Senior Member Trallis's Avatar
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    Default How old should a comic be before it can be called a "classic"?

    Ok, this post isn't completely about classic comments.. but my first quetion definitely is. What do you guys consider "classic"? I'm sure it's been discussed here before, so I don't want to start posting something that's way out of line. But here's my story.

    I recently came across a Near Mint copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 for a very low price. I've always known that this is a valuable comic(maybe not ALWAYS, but at least since I got back into comics last February). The first thing anyone said to me about the issue was that it was actually "one of the most valuable modern comics".. Since that day I've become a really big fan of the later parts of the series, including the newest UCSM series with young Miles Morales. I also collected several other complete series like Waid's Daredevil vol. 3(because my first issue was 9.. finding the old ones took quite a few trips to random new comic shops.. and I realized that I really loved the hunt.

    I collected all of the relaunched title and the current title because I really loved them.. but I never gave much thought to trying to collect volume 1 because it was way too expensive just to get the first issue.. so after I had collected all of the issues in first print of a whole bunch of different series and some classic runs like Daredevil Born Again, I was suddenly really disappointed because I couldn't think of a series that I could set out on a hunt for.. Ultimate Spider-Man, Chew, and Invincible were all options but I was put off by the crazy high prices for their first issues. I couldn't justify the price. To me, dropping a big load of money on something I want completely removes the entire portion of collecting I love the most: the hunt. I want an excuse to take road trips out to tons of far away comic shops and dig through long boxes, always hoping today will be the day that I find something really spectacular that's been carelessly priced far too low. It's a really rare event, and the chances of that one rare issue being a part of a series I'm collecting is slim.. but somehow it happened. I found a Near Mint Ultimate Spider-Man #1 that was under priced by about $300.. so I bought it. $100 is a lot, but for such a special and valuable issue, $100 is almost too low to even believe. I asked the employee there every question in the book, and he was really knowledgable, So the seemingly unbreakable wall that was preventing me from even trying to start collecting USM was broken. I have something to collect.. and an excuse to go on comic adventures all over the place.. I could travel the whole earth and still end up missing a few issues.. and I love that.

    So I guess I figured the classic comics guys would be interested in my story. USM #1 might still be considered "modern", but I'm only 28, I was in 10th grade when this came out, and I didn't get into comic books until earlier this year.. so this "modern comic" is kind of a adventure begins. Another guy on the forum was suggesting that I just find someone trying to get rid of their full run of the series and throw down the $500 to $1000 dollars and call it a day..

    I figured if anyone would understand why I would rather track them down one by one, they'd be here in the classic comics section. I'm sure most of you have had some experience digging through bins and finding something sweet.

    So I decided to post about it here because to me, USM is my current classic comic hunt.

    I'm gonna do it the old fashioned way.. and I refuse to pay anything more than 0.50 over the cover price unless it's one of the first 15 issues or so.

    While I'm here.. anyone wanta help me come up with a few other runs to collect? I wouldn't mind adding a few challenges to my list.. and furthermore, I really am interested in hearing what you all consider classic.

    And if you're interested in reading a great story that's just begun recently, check out my blog: trallis.blogspot.com. There's also a link in my sig
    I'm gonna use it to document my adventure. There will be posts any time I buy an issue, and I'll tell you were it was and what I pa id. When I set out to buy comics and come home empty handed, I'll post about that too. That will give me a place to vent my frustration and complain about how terrible the comic book shop is at X location.

    I hope some of you read it...I'm gonna make it entertaining. Anyone who has worked to track down a series the old fasioned way will appreciate this stuff. There is absolutely no point, in my opinion, to just plunk down a stack of cash and get a pile of comics that someone else spent a decade collecting, and I have no emotional attachment to. That's what buying the trades is for. I want to travel far and wide, pay much less per issue, buy issues that I see the condition of first hand, and most importantly, appreciate each one when I take it home, sometimes reading it, and sometimes setting it aside to be read when I get the rest of the arc. I'll also be posting about other cool things I find on my adventures..because thats what its all about. Keep in my mind this is the issue that lead me to start this adventure, along with the blog ;was found on an out of town comic shop trip.
    Last edited by Trallis; 12-15-2012 at 01:01 AM.
    http://trallis.blogspot.com/
    A blog about high adventure and comic book collecting

  2. #2
    Hardcover addict dupont2005's Avatar
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    The board considers anything two years old or older a classic comic. The "Modern Age" of comics is a hot topic among us nerds, I'd personally say it started around 1990 or so.
    The Copper Age is my Golden Age
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Trallis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dupont2005 View Post
    The board considers anything two years old or older a classic comic. The "Modern Age" of comics is a hot topic among us nerds, I'd personally say it started around 1990 or so.
    Thanks for that bit of info.. I wonder what this current age will be called when a new age i considered modern
    http://trallis.blogspot.com/
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  4. #4
    Hardcover addict dupont2005's Avatar
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    I think a lot has changed since 1990. Trade paperbacks availability and popularity, changes in distribution, printing and coloring/lettering technology (even illustration technology), digital comics, the gain and loss of different publishers and imprints, the changing house styles in mainstream comics, the changing variety and trends in the less mainstream comics, the importance of TV, video games, and movies in comics. All that stuff adds up to a very different comic atmosphere from even the early 2000's. Not to mention cover prices which essentially dictate the market since so many publishers count on floppy sales before they even decide to release in TPB. I think big changes are yet to come as well. Five or ten years from now things could be very different.
    The Copper Age is my Golden Age
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  5. #5
    Senior Member foxley's Avatar
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    For the 12 Day threads, 'classic' is set at ten years ago or more.

  6. #6
    I'm a male DebkoX's Avatar
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    I'd say from around 2002 backwards, thats how I see it.
    “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it.”

  7. #7
    Modus omnibus in rebus Roquefort Raider's Avatar
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    I see it as a movable slide... anything published before I started reading comics I see as a potential classic, and all the rest I see as modern stuff.

    For general purposes, I suppose a ten year gap is sensible... although at the age reached by many people on this board, ten years really aren't all that long!
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  8. #8

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    Isn't it 25 years equals classic, 30 years = antique.
    "It is wrong to assume that art needs the spectator in order to be. The film runs on without any eyes. The spectator cannot exist without it. It ensures his existence." -- James Douglas Morrison

  9. #9
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Personally, I would say that the "Modern Era" of Comics began in 1977 when Comic shops and the "Direct Sales" market took off. Now, comic fans consider this the middle of the so-called "Bronze Age" from a story perspective, but as far as the "value" of comics from a collector's perspective, comics that were available at comic shops are less "valuable" than those purchased at newstands during that time because a comic shop vendor could order as many copies of a "First" issue as they wanted; Which is why none of us can get near the "Price Guide" value for a first issue upon re-sale--because the vendors probably have Fifty copies in a warehouse somewhere!


    In fact, when I first started buying comics at my LCS (Local Comics Shop) theclerk told me books with a little "diamond" in the upper left-hand corner or a slash over the UPC (or even replaced by a Spider-Man head) was actually a "reprint", from her perspective, of a comic that was sold to newstands! The only time "Modern" Comics really become "valuable" is when vendors underestimate the "importance" of a given comic and don't order as many copies. (Such as Todd McFarlane's return to SPAWN in #185or perhaps the first appearance of Miles Morales). In summation, the "modern era" represents the vanishing of comics from newstands and drugstores; comics sold digitally could probably be considered part of the "Digital Era", even if a given book is purchased at a LCS.

    As to what's considered "classic", in film and periodical publications, anything 10 years or older can be considered a "Classic". But personally, anything I find exceptional is a "classic" in my eyes alone and I'm happy with that! I sure don't consider the second "Clone Saga" (aka The "Groan Saga") or One More Day "classics"--more like travesties! And that's part of the fun of collecting comics!

    That's the bottom line because "Leader Desslok" said so!*

    [*An alteration of a "Classic Catch Phrase" by a (now) legendary Pro-Wrestler!]
    Last edited by LEADER DESSLOK; 12-15-2012 at 07:03 AM.
    FAV Comics: Lil' ABNER, DICK TRACY, BATMAN, UNCLE SCROOGE, KAMUI, TOMB OF DRACULA, THE MIGHTY THOR by LEE\KIRBY, WONDER WOMAN by PEREZ\KAREN BERGER, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-206 and EC COMICS!

  10. #10
    Senior Member LEADER DESSLOK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ood Friend View Post
    Isn't it 25 years equals classic, 30 years = antique.
    I've heard that anything over 50 YEARS OLD is considered an "antique" because it represents a half century.
    FAV Comics: Lil' ABNER, DICK TRACY, BATMAN, UNCLE SCROOGE, KAMUI, TOMB OF DRACULA, THE MIGHTY THOR by LEE\KIRBY, WONDER WOMAN by PEREZ\KAREN BERGER, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1-206 and EC COMICS!

  11. #11
    *choke* Dan B. in the Underworld's Avatar
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    It's really quite simple.

    Anything that came out before I stopped buying comics in 12/78 is classic.

    Anything from after that isn't.
    I tend to split superhero comics fans into "People who like Krypto" and "People who don't like Krypto."
    Basically, if you miss the wonder of a dog flying around in a little Superman cape, you're in the wrong hobby.

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  12. #12

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    It changes as I get older. When I was first reading comics, anything over five years old seemed classic (and there were also some instant classics). Now it seems like it's thirty years.

    My personal feeling is that on this forum, it should be twenty years. But I suppose to open up the board to more fans a ten year gap is the norm. It also bothers me that the other forums (for DC) seem to be so focused on the last year's worth of comics and resistant to any discussion of older stuff--you should be able to talk about both new and old DC comics with fans on the same forum, but there doesn't seem to be that interest over there--and so the Classics forum becomes the default for these discussions.

  13. #13

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    My definition of classic is changing. In general, I think of classic as being pre-Crisis on the DC side, which is roughly equivalent to pre-Secret Wars on the Marvel side.

    However, I'm starting to think of some 90's stuff as classic. For me personally, the late 90's was one of the best eras for comics, there was so much good stuff coming out, like Starman, Sandman Mystery Theatre, Astro City and Box Office Poison, Kurt Busiek's Avengers and Thunderbolts. Every time I went to the comic shop I came back with comics that I knew were going to be great reads and which I still re-read regularly today. So my definition of classic is changing. That era was 15 years ago now, after all.

    When nostalgia begins to set in, it's classic time.
    At last, Boy Comics finally gets its own website!

  14. #14
    Run Runner shaxper's Avatar
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    Most comic book eras last around ten to fifteen years (with only the Golden Age being shorter IF you count the Atom Age separately...which I do)

    The Golden Age is 1938 to 1945 (end of WWII)
    The Atom Age is 1945 to 1957 (1st appearance of Barry Allen)
    The Silver Age is 1957 to around 1970
    The Bronze Age is around 1970 to 1985 (Crisis on Infinite Earths)

    Combine that with the fact that many readers who entered the market in the Copper Age exited around 1996-1998 while the back issue market and circulation numbers began to plummet, and I figure 1996-1998 makes a good end date for the Copper Age, with the emphasis in the industry afterward being on rebranding characters (Ultimates, All-Stars, etc), titles (lots of renumbering and unnecessary new volumes), universes (Infinite Crisis and Final Crisis, House of M) and even formats (tpb sales and e-comics) to bring readers back.

    Of course, going by the decade or so rule, that might suggest that it's about time for another new era. Perhaps DC's New 52 (with Marvel following soon after) marks the beginning of yet another new era for comic books?
    Last edited by shaxper; 12-15-2012 at 09:49 AM.

  15. #15

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    There are also mulipe ways we use the word classic. I think of the period between 1935 and 1985 as the Classic Era of comics. After that the culture and the market of the industry changes in America and it's a very different world. There's the use of classic to mean something is great--and therefore anything can be classic. And then there's the use of classic to mean something is traditional or definitive. Like the way I use Classic Legion to mean the original concept of the team, to distinguish it from other iterations of the same group. And there's the use of classic to mean something you're nostalgic about. Of course, all of these can overlap and apply to the same thing. For example, "Ride Bat-Hombre Ride" is a classic in all senses of the word.

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