Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Business

Comics-collecting legend to auction off some of her treasure trove

STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Holy auction block, Batman!

Comic book collector and industry legend Maggie Thompson of Wisconsin has decided to put about 500 pieces of her personal collection up for auction over the next few months. Nearly 90 issues went on the block Thursday, including the first issue of The Avengers, Journey Into Mystery No. 83, which features the first appearance of Thor, and the first issue of The Incredible Hulk.

News of the auction has comic lovers' wallets tingling. The books are in exceptional condition; auctioneers expect the total collection could easily fetch $1 million by the time sales wrap up next year.

Comic book collections going for $1 million aren't unheard of, said J.C. Vaughn, vice president of publishing for Gemstone Publishing, which produces a comic book pricing guide. But it's rare to find books from such a respected collector and in such good condition, he said.

"What is unique is to get a pedigree collection from somebody of Maggie's stature within the industry," Vaughn said.

Thompson, 70, has been collecting comic books since she was a girl in the 1940s. She married another comic book collector, Don Thompson, in 1962. Twenty years later they left Ohio, where Don Thompson had worked as a reporter, for Wisconsin to take over editing duties for an industry magazine, Comics Buyer's Guide.

They spent years working on the magazine. It grew into a paper-and-ink equivalent of a Facebook page, connecting comic fans, distributors, writers and artists across the country.

Don Thompson died in 1994, and CBG folded in January. But Maggie Thompson is still as sharp as Wolverine's claws. She blogs about industry happenings and can talk for hours about how comics have evolved from something parents abhorred to a part of mainstream culture.

"Everybody knows, 'With great power comes great responsibility.' They (even) have opinions on Loki!" she said, referring to Spider-Man's catch-phrase philosophy and Thor's evil adopted brother, who has grown into one of the most popular comics villains after he was featured in the Thor and Avengers movies.

She doesn't know exactly how many comic books she has but estimates it's tens of thousands. She used money from selling Amazing Fantasy No. 15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, and the first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man, to build a vaultlike storage addition on her home east of Stevens Point.

Employees with Dallas-based Heritage Auction took 524 items from her collection in October. The auction house plans to sell them off in waves. Live and online bidding on the first 86 issues started Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif. By the end of the day all 86 issues had sold, netting a total of $784,148. The Avengers No. 1 went for $89,625; Journey Into Mystery No. 83 sold for $77,675; and The Incredible Hulk No. 1 went for $58,256.

"You almost never see (a collection) with this type of, basically, love behind it," said Mike Zapcic, assistant manager at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash comic book shop and one of the stars of AMC's "Comic Book Men."

Thompson isn't going to part with the stories she loves completely. The auction house has agreed to sell her lower-grade copies of the issues she's giving up. She wants to read them and use them for research without worrying about damaging them, she said. Selling Journey Into Mystery No. 83 at $80,000, for example, would give her enough money to purchase that series' entire run at a lower grade, Steve Borock, the auction house's consignment director, said.

But she also wants to pay off a new car, perhaps remodel her kitchen, build a bigger retirement nest egg and care for her grandchildren, she said. And she's not sentimental about it.

"We are all temporary custodians," she said.

Comments
Apple to build second campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge

Apple to build second campus, hire 20,000 in $350B pledge

Associated PressSAN FRANCISCO — Apple is planning to build another corporate campus and hire 20,000 workers during the next five years as part of a $350 billion commitment to the United States that will be partially financed by an upcoming windfall f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school

Water Street Tampa developers seek artist and design for $600,000 outdoor art near USF med school

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa called Wednesday for artists to send in their ideas for a big piece of public art for the outdoor plaza between one of the $3 billion project’s office buildings and the new University of South Florida Morsani College of Med...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Tourism brought in record $112 billion to Florida in 2016

Tourism brought in record $112 billion to Florida in 2016

Tourism brought in a record $112 billion to Florida’s economy in 2016, up about 3 percent from 2015, according to Visit Florida figures released Wednesday. About 10 percent — $88 billion — of the state’s gross domestic product came from tourism in 20...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

Time to carbo load: Three new bakeries include an Australian bakery, second La Segunda

LA SEGUNDAA Tampa Bay giant has stirred and is on the move. La Segunda Central Bakery, a family-owned Ybor City institution for nearly 103 years (they celebrated that birthday Jan. 15) and the largest producer of Cuban bread in the world, will open a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Dow Jones closes above 26,000 for first time

Dow Jones closes above 26,000 for first time

The latest on developments in financial markets (All times local):4 p.m.Stocks are closing higher on Wall Street, sending the Dow Jones industrial average to its first close above 26,000 points.The Dow had traded above that level on Tuesday but wound...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Pasco goats somehow make yoga less weird

Pasco goats somehow make yoga less weird

DADE CITY — More than 36 million Americans practice yoga, but many people still feel intimidated by the ancient method of controlling the body and mind through physical and mental practices.Perhaps it is the daunting terms or confusing poses that cau...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Behold: The fastest cars at this year’s Detroit Auto Show

Behold: The fastest cars at this year’s Detroit Auto Show

DETROIT — Despite all the hype surrounding auto shows, let’s get real for a moment: The majority of the vehicles on display will end up ferrying kids to soccer practice, embarking on road trips and commuting between work and home each day.That’s unde...
Published: 01/17/18
This is why clothing companies want to know about your weight, jobs and past pregnancies

This is why clothing companies want to know about your weight, jobs and past pregnancies

The first step for a shopper buying a suit at the fast-growing menswear retailer Indochino is sharing his personal information: A salesperson armed with an iPad measures nearly everything on his body, from the distance between his belly button and re...
Published: 01/17/18
TECO, Duke linemen to help restore power in Puerto Rico

TECO, Duke linemen to help restore power in Puerto Rico

TAMPA — As more than 1.5 million people in Puerto Rico remain powerless, local linemen are stepping up and flying out to the island to help restore electricity. On Wednesday morning, 25 linemen boarded a flight from Tampa International Airport to Pu...
Published: 01/17/18

Pasco Business Digest for Jan. 19

Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18