The staff included Define999, Liaton-9000, lscomics and Whetteon. Solarcadet1 is a hardcore foreign collector with some of the most amazing sets in the hobby. We are pleased to bring you this Q & A...
solarcadet1, you have been an adherent of the foreign comic collecting niche for quite a while, particularly the set building type of foreign collecting. An entire comics publishing history of cool covers and key books exists to choose from, why Amazing Spider-Man 129? What is it about this book despite it obviously being a key, that drove you into building the largest foreign edition set known to exist for this book?
ASM 129 was my first substantial key book that cost over $50 in the mid 1980s. To own a $50+ book in the mid 80s was an amazing feeling.
The 129 to me is the most sentimental comic of all. I think it may be the most reprinted comic in history. It's weight, sentiment, value, and art makes it one of the most recognizable comics in the world.
Of all these Amazing Spider-Man #129 variants, which one stands out the most to you and why?
Value aside (which is little to none), the Colombian edition and the error/misprint Greek #17. I believe the Greek was somehow professionally created with an incorrect numbering which makes it quite unique in it's own right. The Colombian is in my opinion the rarest of all the foreign 129s. This 129 collection has been a 2 year long organized chaotic labor of love.
As far as we all know, this is the most complete collection of 129 editions, do you believe there could be more out there yet to be discovered? If so, will you chase those as well?
There is only one I know of that exists. It is a Brazilian 2007 edition from the publisher Panini. In time I will find it. It looks exactly the same in format to the French edition shown on the 3rd row 4th from left (next to the white Brazilian).
Yes, I agree with you that the Columbian and the Greek mis-number do seem to be the rarest. Columbia seems to be a tough nut to crack as far as sourcing books for sure. I have always wondered why this is? Two years also seems pretty fast to me considering how difficult sourcing foriegn comics can be at times. How do you keep all of your contacts and leads organized?
I have been successful with developing an Excel spreadsheet of my contacts and the books they have or have found all in order by country. I keep in contact with everyone as far as new leads and developments and been lucky enough to maintain foreign friendships.
As far as the other question, putting the Panni book aside for a bit, there do seem to be other foreigns of this book rumored to exist. What countries do you think might have reprinted the 129 that no one in the foreign collecting community has confirmed exists yet? I have my ideas on this but I’m curious if yours jive with mine?
My very first "sourced" 129 was from none other than Liaton-9000 before I ever joined the CGC boards in September 2012.
There is only one confirmed missing foreign edition. The flip side to that in the foreign edition game is speculation. There could definitely be editions that we are not sure of from Philippines, Thailand, or Japan.
At this point I hope they do NOT exist in that it solidifies my fear of having to hunt them for years to come.
That's a good point, the most likely ones you haven't discovered yet are the Asian ones. On that point, which ones have been harder to locate or dig out of their home countries due to cultural reasons or language barriers?
Most difficult to get due to language barriers were the Mexican and Brazilians way back in 2012. I didn't know anyone in Mexico. Once I would get a phone number I would have my girlfriend, who speaks Spanish, call them and explain to them for me that I am hunting for these books.
Once I increased my foreign bounty hunter lists in all Mexico and South America I was able to find books in one sweep of an email because someone would know someone that knew someone to help me.
Once I even had books smuggled across the border into San Antonio, Texas and then shipped to me. I always paid nice little finders fees and they kept emailing their finds instead of wasting time in posting on Mercado Mexico and Brazil sites.
Are there other ASM #129 related items (not books) that you know of which you don't have? If so how many and what are you still looking for?
Yes indeed. There is a foot tall statue of Punisher from the 129 cover I would like to pick up later on for a glass display case and i have seen custom Beretta 9mm gun grips with punisher logos engraved and painted.
In the future they are coming out with a retro Mego style ASM 129 action figure in the same vein as the DC Retro figures.
Two of the books on the bottom with black borders next to the Essential Punisher Paperback are from the Marvel Legends 8 inch and 12 inch action figures. I ended up giving the toys and packaging to my nephews but later on I will repurchase them again for display and not to open.
I never thought I would ever get sick and tired and looking at the greatest cover all time but maybe I have. (laughs)
Without 100% confirmation on whether or not they exist how long do you plan to search for possible Asian or Filipino editions of the book before considering the set complete?
The search never ends. The beauty of hunting foreign editions is while you’re hunting one particular title from time to time you stumble upon new things. I will continue to search and source other countries. I have been hardcore in the game for 2 years and just last week I discovered another Action Comics 419 that I didn’t know about.
Its all about 2 things: The discovery and the hunt. At this point in my foreign collecting endeavors I will continue to hunt as long as it is fun. I don’t care much about the value of the book. The value is when they are next to their foreign counterparts.
Along the way, i have been very fortunate to make friends with Matt, Tim, Liam, Hector, Nuno, Ronnie and Stephane. At this point it now means more to help your foreign brothers out and we all bask in the worldwide glow of our beautiful hobby.
That’s a good point about the hunt solarcadet! When I first started hunting a very wise collector, and one of the founders of this type of collecting explained to me to never let the book eclipse the pleasure of the hunt. To enjoy the search and reap as much value from the beginning and the end is the idea. In this interwebz day and age the collecting of American books has taken on a sort of mundane, instant gratification, big money sameness that for me personally started to feel stale. The foreign niche became that place within the hobby for me where one can maybe catch a little bit of that nostalgic hunter vibe. I like to think it might feel a bit like it did back pre-internet/LCS where your options were mail order dealer ads in books, cons or old bookstores where it could be kinda of a crapshoot.
And I also agree wholeheartedly about the value of the set as a whole eclipsing the sum of it parts. This is another interesting part of the hobby that flies in the face of general collecting. In many ways collectors assume that when you purchase in bulk the value assessment should go down. That’s not the case in foreign sets now is it? Because of the difficulty of putting extremely hard to find books together a sets value should eclipse what could be gotten if the set is split up in my opinion of course. Single tough foreign books can be found but the amount of energy, time, focus and money needed for the hunt of a tough set is staggering!
Well the hunt is why we do this after all right? Oh, and of course because of the stunning imagery that comes out of this type of collecting. The images of your 129 set are stunning and you deserve some accolades for building it sir.
One major point I want to make that I believe represents the hobby as a whole.
In order for there to be a reprint you must have an original edition. In these foreign countries, these comics, characters, and titles were the first an initial introductions. Some kid in Brazil first learned of Superman and Batman with their editions, not the American editions. The foreign publishers, layout artists, and editors took their own liberties to adjust to their own preferences therefore these foreign book are not simply reprints.
Amazing Spiderman 129 has a cover date of February 1974.
El Sorprendente Hombre Araña #9 is the 1st foreign edition with a cover date of September 1974.
The 1st American reprint is Marvel Tales #106 with a cover date August 1979.
It is worth noting that the the 1st foreign edition came out 7 months after the original and 5 years and 7 months until the first TRUE reprint.
Those are some interesting and valid points for sure. The injustice of calling foreigns simply "reprints" has been an ongoing fight. Both on forums and in the minds of collectors/dealers. I totally agree solarcadet1 and would add that there are many other factors that make these books more than simply reprints. Not wanting to get to long winded I won’t go into all of them but I will say this.
Every foreign book is a window into the language, culture, and society that licensed the original American content. They are unique pieces of pop art all by themselves touched by foreign translators, editors, artists and type setters. Calling foreigns simply "reprints" doesn't give the books justice or the talented teams at the foreign publishers any justice. I prefer to call them variants, editions, foreigns, or whatever. In my opinion the reprint classification, at least what the term represents now in the current comic collecting universe, isn't a proper classification.
Ok Solorcadet1, well I think thats about it! Thank you for creating this set, it is a doozy and a very amazing feat of time, energy, and focus. Is there anything you would like to add before we go?
Nope, that is all from me! I have enjoyed collecting and adding to the foreign collecting niche and hope to see other new sets and discoveries from my friends....