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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Weekend At Fallcon Part 2

Fallcon wasn't all volunteerism and costumes: I also picked up some swag!

The 1/2 Price Books table was particularly motivated this year to move product. Accordingly, within the first few minutes of the show opening my brother came staggering back to the check-in table with a box full of manga he had purchased (100 books for $30). Later in the day, he also picked up all the Harry Potter books except the first, in hardcover, for a buck apiece. Me, I nabbed a package of Detective Comics issues 501 through 525 for seven bucks, a run which predates any other issues of Detective Comics I own.

Aside from some nifty Batgirl backup stories, these aren't a part of any critically-acclaimed run (that I'm aware of) so I'm excited to dig in and see what I find.

After going a bit crazy on Showcase and Essential volumes last spring at Microcon and my local comic shop's moving sale, I told myself I wasn't going to buy any at Fallcon this year, no matter how good the deal. It's a good thing I made this vow, too, since I could have easily blown all my money at a dealer that was selling an extensive collection of both for 50% off. In the end, I did cave a bit and picked up one volume, the first Aquaman Showcase, mainly for its humor potential.

On day two, I started off the morning by straying too close to some quarter boxes. I was specifically trying to avoid going crazy on $.25 comics but the well-organized boxes of one dealer (usually, the cheap books are haphazardly thrown in boxes, rather than in any semblance of order) caught my eye and before I knew it, I was walking away with 130 comics that I bought for $30: 23 cents a book! Within that pile I managed to plug a few holes in my Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and Fantastic Four runs and I also got a damn-near complete run of internet darling (and difficult to reprint) Rom.

Mrs. Teebore and I had decided we should get something to commemorate our first Fallcon together, aside from a stack of comics (something she'd enjoy too), and we settled on a print of the much loved pantsless wonder, Donald Duck, that we could frame and hang up in the house somewhere. So after I was done binging on twenty-three cent comics we headed over to say hello to Don Rosa and pick something out.

We settled on a print showcasing the various moods of the irascible duck and had Mr. Rosa sign it for us.

Our timing was just right, too, as we got the last copy of that particular print.

I also decided to pickup a print for $10 from the collection that Rich Koslowski was showcasing this year, featuring Family Guy and super hero amalgamations that were pretty hilarious. Mrs. Teebore helped me settle on this one:

After that, with time before the charity art auction and my money dwindling, I figured it was time to seriously work on fulfilling the goal I have at every con of picking up at least one needed issue of Avengers and X-Men.

I spent an hour or so methodically walking the floor, stopping at each of the dealers with comics from the era for which I was looking (late seventies) and comparing prices on the issues I needed. Moving backwards from what I have, I didn't find any of Avengers issues for which I was specifically looking, but did find #109, a Hawkeye-centric story in which he quits the team for the umpteenth time, in decent shape for the tidy sum of $5.

Sadly, only one dealer had any issues of X-Men that I need at anywhere close to what I wanted to pay for them, but fortunately, the issue in question was #112, the next one I needed going backwards. It's also the first part of a phenomenal Magneto story during the classic Claremont/Byrne run (it's the rematch between Magneto and the then All New, All Different X-Men in which he brings them to his volcanic Antarctic air, whups the team, then traps them in equipment that reduces their motor functions to that of infants but leaves their minds intact).

The dealer had it in good shape for $13 which is a little bit more than the ten dollar limit I've been placing on single back issues, but #112 is hard to find in good shape at any price and I'm slowly accepting that as I plunge further and further into X-Men back issues, I'm going to have to increase that limit in order to end up with even reading copies of the issues. Plus, I've bought a lot of stuff from this particular dealer through the years so I know his prices are fair.

After that, it was time for auction. The climax of Fallcon every year is a charity auction, with 100% of the proceeds split between the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Lupus Foundation. The auction items consist of art donated by creators and dealers alike, as well as some miscellaneous merchandise and other odds and ends.

Due to this generosity, every year the auction is huge, but this year we faced an embarrassment of riches. I still don't know how we got through all the items in time. In the end, though, many pieces sold for prices way under value, due to the speed with which we moved through items and the sheer number involved: after all, there were only so many attendees with so much money to spend, and that money had to get spread out to all the various pieces.

Every year there is invariably a centerpiece item, something that generates buzz as the auction items are assembled over the course of the weekend, something that outsells all other items by a wide margin. This year it was, without a doubt, the complete collection of the Fallcon Sketch Cards.

A newly-born innovation of Fallcon, throughout the year artists from all over the industry were commissioned to do a sketch of their choice to be featured on a trading card. At the con, random grab bags were stuffed with a certificate to be redeemed for a random trading card. Every creator made two copies of their sketch card, one for the grab bag giveaway and another to go into a collection of all the cards that would be sold at the auction.

The only way to get a complete set of the 500 original sketch cards (a much desired commodity judging from the reception the cards received overall) was to buy it at the charity art auction. In the end, it came down to a bidding battle between the the Dread Overlord and Master of Fallcon and the guy that owns Cedar Cliff Collectibles, with the Fallcon impresario taking away the collection for the tidy sum of $5,000.

While the collection set a record (I believe) for the auction, there was plenty of other stuff to be sold as well. Amongst the other high bid items was a splash page from Booster Gold drawn and donated by Dan Jurgens featuring Booster and the Blue Beetle, an original piece by Tony DeZugina (I forget of whom) and Gene Ha's original cover art for the recently released Top 10 (vol. 2) #1, each of which sold for a few hundred dollars.

I myself bid on and won a Hellboy/Abe Sapien sketch from a local artist and first time attendee who was so curious and excited about the auction that I was compelled to bid on his submission. Plus, it's a nifty piece that my wife liked as well.

I also won a full color print of Cyclops's first wife, Madelyne Pryor, in her Goblin Queen persona, by Mark Sparacio:

And that was Fallcon 2008.

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