History of Comic Books - Part II

In part 2 of comic books history I'll be covering the first half of the Platinum age. The second half will be in the last installment.

The Platinum age started with a book that came out in 1897 titled "The Yellow Kid in McFadden's Flats." It was 196 pages long and in black and white. The cost was 50 cents and was published by G. W. Dillingham Company. It was actually part of a series Dillingham did on American authors. The phrase "comic book" was actually coined with this printing as the phrase was written on the back cover.

In 1899 a "Funny Books" comic came out which featured the format that became the traditional comic book format of the Platinum age. It was hard cover and very large at 16 1/2 by 12 inches. The book was created by F.M. Howarth, but published by E.P. Dutton. It was a black and white collection of reprints from the Puck magazine.

It wasn't until 1901 that the first color comic book came out. It was called "The Blackberries" and was 9 by 12 in hardcover.

Around that same time, what became the most used format for comic books at 17 by 11 inches, came out. Some of the early titles of this format were "The Katzenjammer Kids", "Little Nemo" and "Happy Hooligan." It was during this time that the first "Buster Brown" comic was created, the character from which the Buster Brown shoes were made. As a matter of fact because of the success of Buster Brown many companies used the comic to sell their merchandise.

In 1910 the now popular "Mutt and Jeff" came out with a new format, the reprinting of daily strips in black and white. The book was still hard cover but was 15 by 5 inches. It was published by Ball Publishing and 5 volumes were published.

Then in 1919, Publisher Cupples & Leon used a different format. They were 10" by 10" with 4 panels per page. They were black and white, 52 pages for 25 cents. Titles and characters used for these books was "Mutt & Jeff" and "Bringing up Father."

It wasn't until 1922 that the first monthly published comic came out. The date on the cover was simply January and was 10 cents. The format was 8 1/2 by 9. The title was "Comics Monthly" and only lasted 12 issues. Each issue featured a different King Features comic character. The characters featured during this 12 month run were "Polly and Her Pals", "Mike and Ike", whom the candy was named after, "S'Matter Pop", "Barney Google", "Tillie the Toiler", "Indoor Sports", "Little Jimmy", "Toots and Casper", "Foolish Questions" and "Barney Google and Spark Plug." These were all reprints of comics originally printed in 1921.

In 1926 the forever popular "Little Orphan Annie" was first published by Cupples and Leon in 7 by 9 format. These were printed in both hard and soft cover and were 60 cents each.

It wasn't until 1929 that Dell, one of the soon to be larger comic book publishers, got into the act. Their first comic was called "The Funnies" and was done in tabloid size format. The comic was 16 pages and sold for 10 cents. It was sold at news stands along with the newspapers. What was unique about this comic was that it was done in 4 colors and was not a collection of reprints but original comics.

In 1930 Walt Disney also got into comic books with the "Mickey Mouse Book" published by Bibo and Lang. It was 9 by 12 and 20 pages long. Inside the comic were also games, stories and songs. This was really more a magazine than a comic and it really wasn't until 1931 that the first true Mickey Mouse comic came out. It was 32 pages long, 5 1/2 by 8 1/2 and published by David McKay Company. Over 50,000 copies of this comic were published. Between 1931 and 1933 there were a number of Mickey Mouse based comics that were published.

In the last issue we'll go over the years of 1933 to 1938. The reason for devoting one issue to only 6 years is because it was during this time that comic book publishing really took off and comics started coming out of the woodwork.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Comic Books

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

Comic Books History - Part I

Because comic books have such a long history I'm breaking up this series into several parts.

Comic books. Arguably one of the largest industries in the world. To be able to store every comic ever written you would need a city the size of New York and even then I think you would run out of room. No question, comic books are here to stay. So when did this multi billion dollar a year industry actually start.

Actually the origin of comic books is not really known for certain. Up until recently there was one theory of what the first comic book was. Then new evidence suggested that this was incorrect. We may never really know when comic books started but as of this writing the first known comic book was "The Adventures of Obadiah Oldbuck" which was written in 1837 somewhere in Europe in several languages. In 1842 an English version of this comic was printed for the United States, more specifically New York City. The comic was 40 pages long and didn't really resemble the comics that we are used to seeing today. There were no word balloons with dialogue. Instead there was text typed at the bottom of each panel to describe the story. A copy of this comic was recently discovered in Oakland CA. The comic itself was done by Rudolphe Topffer who in Europe, was considered to be the creator of the picture story. He created the comic strip in 1827 as a graphic novel. After that he created 7 more graphic novels in many different languages including copies for the United States. These books stayed in print until about 1877. This was considered to be the Victorian Age of comic books which is still incomplete and still being researched even until today.

Even though many comics were printed after that, they have fallen into obscurity and the next known comic book was published in 1894 called "The Yellow Kid." The Yellow Kid was actually a character derived from the comic "Hogan's Alley" but the kid was so popular that the comic book became known by his name rather than by the official title of the comic book. Hogan's Alley was created by a gentleman by the name of Richard Outcault who actually got his start writing for "Truth Magazine". In an issue of "Truth" he did a character cartoon featuring "The Yellow Kid" and it's from that initial publishing that the actual comic came into being a short time later. It is believed that Outcault got his inspiration for "Hogan's Alley" from several cartoonists including Michael Angelo Wolf and Charles Saalburg, both of whom used street kids in their cartoons. It is believed that the title "Hogan's Alley" came from the song “O'Reilly and the Four Hundred" which starts off "Down in Hogan's Alley."

In the next of this series I will be covering what is referred to as "The Platinum Age Of Comics" which spans the years 1897 to 1938 which features the extremely popular "Mutt And Jeff" and "Little Orphan Annie" comics. You don't want to miss this.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Comic Books

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

Can A Comic Book Hero Explain Retrograde Mercury?

To begin with, let's set the record stright: Mercury is not the only planet to go retrograde. We hear about it a lot because it happens 3 times a year, but actually every planet and asteroid except for the Sun and Moon go retrograde at one time or the other. It is actually rare for there to be a time when we aren't experiencing some retrograde or the other. Every planet from Mercury which is closest to the Sun all the way out to Pluto and Ceres at the outer edge of our solar system goes retrograde. And so do all the Astroids, like Chiron, Vesta, Sedna, Pallas and Juno.

We can better understand retrograde Mercury by taking a favorite comic book character as an example - let's say Zorro with a capital Z. When the planets change directions (and they all do) they make a kind of "moonwalk" in the sky as they appear to zig backwards in their orbit.

These Mercury Retrogrades (and Mars, Venus, Pluto, Chiron or Jupiter Retrogrades). Are zig-zags that the planets make in the sky and they take various amounts of time. A retrograde of Mercury takes 3 weeks, but larger planets like Pluto or Saturn spend up to 6 months or longer in retrograde motion. But just looking at retrograde is to overlook some of the most important elements of the retrograde cycle. That's a lot like eating the frosting and ignoring the cake. Since we want to have our cake and eat it too - we need to understand the whole picture. The picture that retrograde makes starts weeks or months before the retrograde begins, and ends the same amount of time AFTER the retrograde ends. It is a three part process.

The three distinct parts of a mercury retrograde, or other planetary retrograde cycle each have a different character and meaning. Taking one without the others means missing some of the most important pieces of the puzzle. These three phases are

1) the pre-retrograde phase - called Entering the Shadow
2) the Retrograde Phase and
3) the post-retrograde phase - called Exiting the Shadow. Part one is like when Zorro draws the first part of his signature Z. It begins when the planet hits the degree it will return to at the very end of Retrograde. During the Retrograde time the planet appears to move backwards - all the way to the same degree where it began. This resembles the second / slash that Zorro draws with his blade when making his signature as it returns to the same level that the Z began at. Finally the planet changes directions again and makes it's final pass across the same degrees that it has crossed twice already - first when entering the shadow, then in retrograde, and now finally as it is exiting the shadow. And this resembles Zorro's final sword stroke as he finishes off the last flourish of the Z and moves on to new things.

To illustrate what happens during a Mercury Retrograde cycle, just imagine that our Hero Zorro is out and about, doing what he does when he spies a problem. He quickly get's into his "superhero" outfit. We can think of this preparation time as entering the Shadow. Then he runs off and fights the bad guys. We can think of this time as Retrograde, because he has come back to a situation in order to fix it. Finally he turns the bad guys over to the authorities and gets back into his street clothes; which we can compare to the phase of leaving the shadow. Job well done! And he moves on to other things.

By understanding this deceptively simple concept we can see how to make use of any mercury retrograde, or retrograde of Saturn, Mars, Venus, Pluto and even the Astroids. At least we begin to understand how to use the "foreshadowing" period to gain insight as to what we will be reviewing and making changes to during the actual retrograde. This allows us to prepare for what may be coming. Each planet has it's own domain however and they all mean different things. To learn how to make use of the current Mercury Retrograde (or other retrograde planet) cycle visit:

Aura G Wright is a published author and public speaker. Her self improvement columns have appeared internationally in The Yogi Times, Zink, FindBliss and others. To learn more Astrology please visit for more on Mercury Retrograde visit For more on personal development visit

Review of Hellboy (Starring Ron Perlman)

Comic book films are all the rage these days. Ever since movies like X-Men, Blade and Spider-Man conquered the box office, Hollywood execs have been scrambling to mine the latest hot property from the printed page. When done correctly, these films capture the wonder and imagination of their original source material (which is saying a lot). When they fail, as in the case of movies like Electra and The Incredible Hulk, they become bland exercises in mediocrity - something which the boys in Los Angeles are all too familiar with.

But I don’t want to be too hard on Hollywood. It’s not necessarily easy to adapt a comic book. First of all, it’s hard to pull off unless you have a king-sized budget (just imagine a movie like Spider-Man done on the cheap). Then you’ve got to find a director who can transfer the visuals of a comic book to the big screen (Sam Raimi comes immediately to mind). Then there are all the usuals like competent actors and a solid script, as well as that intangible “something” which seems to be ever-present in movies which really come together. All in all, not an easy task, but one that studios are more than happy to take on for the time being. That is, at least until the superhero version of Ishtar comes along.

This entrant into the Hollywood superhero sweepstakes is called Hellboy and was directed by Guillermo del Toro (most known for his work on The Devil’s Backbone and Blade II). Based on the comic book by Mike Mignola, the plot is as follows: Towards the end of World War Two, Nazi mystics led by Rasputin (Karel Roden) attempt to open a portal at Hitler’s behest and bring forth an alien god from the depths of space. They are thwarted by a group of American soldiers and a youthful occult expert named Trevor Bruttenholm. Rasputin is hurled into the portal and everything is once again right with the world. Well, that is until they discover that something came through the portal while it was open. That something happens to be a small demon, complete with an oversized stone hand and long red tail. The soldiers adopt the childlike creature (who happens to love Baby Ruth candy bars) and give him the moniker of Hellboy (Ron Perlman).

Fast forward 60 years into the future. Bruttenholm (John Hurt) is the head of the Bureau of Paranormal Research, and a slow-aging Hellboy is their chief monster hunter. Other members include Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), a pyrokinetic with emotional problems, and Abe Sapien (acted by Doug Jones and voiced by David Hyde-Pierce), an aquatic telepath. And the newest addition is John Myers (Rupert Evans), a young agent hand-picked by the very ill Bruttenholm to be his replacement. Meanwhile, we find that Rasputin has returned from the void, and he has horrible plans....plans which only Hellboy can help or hinder.

Before I go any further, let me say that Ron Perlman is the man. He has an uncanny ability to convey emotion through layers of make-up and prosthetics, no doubt a skill he honed during his stint on the television series Beauty and the Beast. And playing larger-than-life characters is what he does best, as demonstrated by standout roles in Alien: Resurrection, City of Lost Children, and Blade II. With his oversized jaw and atypical looks, Perlman has been embraced by a generation who grew up staring at Klingons, Sith Lords, and other assorted oddities.

Perlman is in rare form in Hellboy, possessing both the physical presence and acting ability to pull off the role of a big red demon. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a lot of help from his surroundings, especially the Del Toro script.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful movie to look at, and the special effects are really top-notch. Take, for example, a scene in which Hellboy glimpses a vision of a possible future Earth, complete with vast tentacles stretching across the sky and smoldering cities in ruin. It would no doubt be enough to reduce even H.P. Lovecraft to tears.

But there’s something missing among all the effects and attitude. For a movie which deals with mysticism and alien gods, Hellboy, ironically, seems to lack a soul. Most of the characters just seem to be going through the motions with no real direction in mind. Even the villains seem made of cardboard, and their nefarious schemes lack any real sense of urgency or dread. If an alien god was about to cross over into this world, don’t you think it should seem a little scary? Del Toro should have watched John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness to see how it’s done.

John Hurt, an excellent actor, is given very little to do as Bruttenholm. Even his illness is only briefly touched upon, robbing the movie of what could have been perhaps its most dramatic element. No, Hurt is mainly called upon to look dignified, something an actor of his caliber could pull off in their sleep.

Rupert Evans and Selma Blair also suffer from the poor script. A romance between the two is teased, but it is quickly dropped as the final act of the film draws near (another wasted opportunity). Blair spends most of the film slinking around in black and looking glum, and one wonders why our protagonist would be so smitten with her in the first place (unless, of course, it’s simply because she’s the only woman he knows). Evans (as John Myers) is a major player in the early part of the film, but seems to recede into the background and almost disappear by the end. True, Hellboy is the focus of the film, but it’s a little odd to feature someone so prominently in the early stages and then pull them away as the picture wears on. Even Jeffrey Tambor as Tom Manning seems to get more screen time down the stretch.

But the villains are what really keep Hellboy from rising above the rank of simply average. In a film like this, the antagonists are all-important. Heck, they’re all-important in every action movie. Just look at a film like Die Hard. Would John McClane have seemed half as heroic if he didn’t have a villain like Hans Gruber to match wits with?

As the central villain, Rasputin is a major letdown. He has potential to be sure, but that potential is buried beneath a mountain of generic villain-speak. In fact, the clockwork nazi named Karl Ruprecht Kroenen seems to be a far more interesting villain, although the script quickly runs out of ideas and just ends up thrusting him into a generic battle with our hero. Even the final monster, which is supposed to be the primary threat, is disposed of in short order (leaving the climax of the movie feeling very incomplete).

Hellboy is worth the price of a rental, if for no other reason than to see Perlman in action and admire the special effects. But don’t snap it up expecting the character depth of Spider-Man or the supernatural energy of Blade. Like the mystical villains which populate its landscape, Hellboy talks a good game but ultimately has nothing to say.

About The Author

Shane Rivers


Comic Books - The Green Hornet History

In this article we're going to briefly discuss one of the darkest heroes in comic book history, The Green Hornet.

The Green Hornet actually hit the scene as a radio program before it ever saw the light of day as a comic book. The radio show debuted in 1936. This was two years before Superman hit the scene in comic books and three years before the creation of Batman. Yes, The Green Hornet did come before both of them though most people don't realize that.

The character of The Green Hornet was created by George W. Trendle, who stated in his creation that John Reid, who was the Lone Ranger, was the great-uncle of Britt Reid, the Green Hornet. Something else very few people know. The Green Hornet was one of the forerunners of the super hero genre. And since Trendle linked The Green Hornet to The Lone Ranger, it could be said that The Lone Ranger was also a forerunner.

Like many crime-fighters that came after him, The Green Hornet wore a mask, as did The Lone Ranger. The Green Hornet's true identity of Britt Reid, was an editor of a newspaper, the Daily Sentinel. This way he could keep an eye on what was going on in the world around him, much like Clark Kent did as Superman when he took a job working as a reporter at the Daily Planet. There were actually many parallels between Reid and Kent even though Reid was human and Kent was from the planet Krypton. Unlike The Lone Ranger though who got rid of his true identity and just went by The Lone Ranger, Britt Reid kept both of his identities. Newspaper publisher by day and crime-fighter by night.

The Green Hornet did not fight crime on his own, however. He had his trusty sidekick Kato, who was Reid's Oriental houseboy. Kato was a master at martial arts long before Kung Fu movies were even thought of. Kato was really the muscle of the team while Reid was more of the brains, though he could put up a pretty big fight when and if he had to.

Unlike many of the super heroes that came after him, The Green Hornet was a plainly dressed man. He wore a hat popular during the times and a coat. The only thing he wore that would even be remotely considered odd was his mask. But as crime fighters went, he was a dull one to look at. Kato too wore a mask and was dressed like a chauffeur. The two certainly didn't win any awards for original fashion.

The Green Hornet's car was the Black Beauty. This vehicle was created long before Batman's Batmobile and had every gadget inside that you could think of, from rocket blasters to laser beams. The Green Hornet also had a Hornet Gun which could blow the locks clean off of doors.

The one thing fairly unique about the Hornet, especially for the times, was that he was looked at as a bad guy. This made his job that much harder with the police also on his tail.

The comic eventually made its way to a hit TV series starring Van Williams and the ever popular Bruce Lee.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Comic Books

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

Comic Books - The Incredible Hulk History

In this article we're going to cover the history of one of the most changing comic books and characters ever - The Incredible Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk was another Marvel creation from the genius mind of Stan Lee. The character debuted in 1962 and thus began a strange evolution of a character that was probably the most tormented in comic book history.

The Incredible Hulk was Dr. Bruce Banner. He was a scientist experimenting with gamma rays. Well, one of this experiments went haywire and Banner was exposed to the gamma rays himself. He was close to death and miraculously survived, but not without paying a huge price. It seems that whenever Banner became angry he would transform into this hideous green creature who became known as The Hulk.

Unlike most other super heroes, The Hulk was not good. He wasn't entirely bad either. He would come to the aid of the underdog and saved many an innocent person in his day. But he had very little affection for law and order. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they were trying to kill him all the time. The Hulk consequently inflicted as much harm on the upholders of justice as he would do to the criminals. He was an odd bird all right.

Oddly, the first comic with the green Hulk lasted only 6 issues when the appearance of the Grey Hulk hit the stands. In this incarnation Banner would transform into the Grey Hulk at night and then back to himself when dawn came. The reason for this was because Banner could not live with what he had become. So he transformed into his darker side at night to let out his ugly side, since Banner was afraid of the dark. This was done without him knowing it. In later issues however, it was done consciously.

In 1964, two years after the first appearance of The Hulk, there was an issue of Tales To Astonish featuring Giant Man where he ended up meeting and fighting The Hulk. In the next issue of that book it would split into two sections. The first section would feature Giant Man and the second section would feature the Hulk. Finally in issue number 70, The Sub-Mariner took over Giant-Man's place in the book.

It wasn't until 1968 that The Hulk took over the whole book. It was at this time that Tales To Astonish was dropped and the new title for the book was The Incredible Hulk. This is the reason why you never find issues 7 through 101 of the Incredible Hulk, the only comic book hero to suffer this comic numbering fate.

The Hulk basically ran this way until 1998 when a book came out called "The Rampaging Hulk" which tells of the early history of The Hulk before anybody knew Bruce Banner was The Hulk. It lasted six issues.

Finally, in 1999 The Incredible Hulk ended its run with issue number 474. But it didn't stay dead. After the new comic titled simply "The Hulk" hit the stands, 12 issues in, the word Incredible was added back to the title. The Incredible Hulk had returned.

The Hulk was such a popular character it saw its way into cartoons and a feature movie, which unfortunately was not true to the comic and quite awful according to critics.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Comic Books

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author


The Proper Use of Comic Book Supplies Will Help You Maintain a Top-Notch Collection

If you want to keep your comic book collection in tiptop shape, comic book supplies will become part of your collecting life. As soon as a magazine is printed there are natural environmental forces going to work to try and destroy the ink and the paper. You have put in a lot of time, effort and enjoyment in acquiring all your comics. You don't want them to turn back to the dust and elements from which they came do you? So the proper use of comic book supplies is essential.

Elements such as humidity, temperature, pollutants, human skin oils and even the chemicals of the printed materials themselves, will start to deteriorate and discolor your comic books from day one. Comic book supplies and tools that have been developed over the years to help us combat these natural forces are de-acidification paper, polymer type storage bags, stiff backing material, storage boxes and desiccants (dehumidification materials). Not only will these comic book supplies protect your comics for your own enjoyment, they will add to reinforce the future value of each comic book.

Most all of these comic book supplies can typically be located down at your local comic book shop. But as I have discovered lately, there can be a world of difference in preservation abilities depending on what materials are used in the manufacture of comic book supplies. Quite typically what you may find downtown will be of sufficient protective quality to protect your comics for quite a while. Although, polybags, to put your comics into, are quite common and fairly cheap, Mylar bags are definitely the way to go. They will protect for 100 years (that may be a little overboard) as opposed to 2 or 3 years for poly.

There has been a lot of elaborate science, particularly chemistry, which has gone into comic book supplies preservation material manufacturing the last several years. MicroChamber material has been developed that will increase preservation from de-acidification and environmental breakdown for a vastly superior time period as opposed to typical comic book supplies materials available today. Beware though, comic book supplies manufactured with this new material can become quite costly. But if you have some serious collector's items, which you feel are worth a significant amount of cash, isn't the investment worth it? It is also no secret that CGC uses these comic book supplies materials in every comic book they grade.

I have created a page at my comic book site, which incorporates links to some rather technical scientific articles on preservation and using MicroChamber materials. You can read an in-depth discussion at .

Be forewarned though, You may need a moderate understanding of chemistry and physics to completely follow some of the discussions. But the articles will open your eyes to what is available in the comic book industry for comic book supplies preservation supplies these days.

Now if you have a rather rare back issue that may well have a high dollar value, here is a process worth considering. De-acidification products are usually used to neutralize acids in the paper prior to storage of most paper products of a pulp nature. This is not to be taken lightly, as it is considered by most to be an extensive form of restoration. The current understanding of the process is that the staples are removed and the sheets are submerged, film developer style, in a bath of de-acidification material. Then the entire book is rebuilt with new staples. This process can cost around $50 per comic book, when done by a professional, but will restore and increase the life expectancy of your comic book by many years. This process, in my opinion, should only be considered for already deteriorated comics that may have a considerable future worth if restored.

One final item to consider, especially if you live in a high humidity area is the use of descants as part of your comic book supplies arsenal. A desiccant is a chemical sieve for water, and is available for industry use in small packets or in buckets. For our purposes an 8-oz can (that looks like you'd keep a grasshopper in) can be simply put inside the box to absorb moisture and indicates when it is full by changing from crystal colored to pink. These same cans can then be reused by baking them for 3-4 hours in an oven at about 350 F. Each canister can cost around $9-$10 from one supplier called GAYLORDMART. 1 canister per short box and 2 per long box should be sufficient. Another consideration is the little packets typically found in a box of shoes. These are even more inexpensive, but would require further research to insure no harm would come to each comic book.

So as you build your valuable comic book collection, you will want to put some serious consideration into the comic book supplies that you will need. Materials and supplier source will become important variables in your overall decisions. I will have more interesting topics and sources from time to time at my site, so come on over and visit. You may even want to bookmark it.

Dave Gieber owns and edits a website built around one of his childhood passions. Learn the basic essentials to comic book collecting success. To receive your free 5-part mini course visit: Comic Book Supplies

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How to Contact Comic Book Artists and Writers

The first annual New York Comic-con brought out Milla Jovovich and was so successful, organizers almost had to shut it down. The second annual New York Comic-con was organized much better, even bringing out Steven King and Stan Lee to meet fans.

Below are some more insider tips for contacting your favorite comic book artists and writers at various comic book conventions around the country...

Meeting in Person:

Although most comic book creators, artists, and writers will tell you where to send fan mail inside their publications, the comic book industry also takes great pains to make itself available to their fan base through conventions, expos, and fan events.

The general rule of thumb is if you wait a while, a comic convention (or “comic-con”) is likely to be announced in your area, and the organizers will make all sorts of promises as to who will be there (most of whom won’t show up). Buy your ticket anyway, and take a few hundred bucks and a good Sharpie pen -- because even if the people who show up aren’t the people promised, they’ll most likely be worth meeting.

Most comic conventions today go far beyond only comic books. They often feature actors, directors, television stars, set designers, comic artists, writers, and an assortment of retro names that will have you scratching your head trying to remember who they were. The show will usually charge around $25 for a ticket, but the attractions will last all day long, from rare film screenings to autograph sessions to bootleg comics for sale. Most conventions travel around the country so fans don’t have to spend any money to travel.

What should you bring to get signed? Nothing really, unless you know someone is going to be there and you have some great piece of memorabilia sitting around relevant to that person. Usually there are plenty of items for sale at comic conventions you can purchase to have signed.

Prices at convention’s vendor booths are usually not cheap, however you can pick up some really neat pieces of pop culture memorabilia if you look hard enough, and the chance to get that item signed by its creator can be something really special.

Comic book conventions and the comics themselves are a huge industry that gets bigger every year. Therefore, comic-cons are a great place to spot up and coming stars before their signatures becomes worth thousands of dollars when they really hit it big.

How do you find a comic convention I your area? It’s pretty easy -- just visit the Comic Book Conventions Web site. This resource list all upcoming comic-cons, usually four or five per weekend, and it also announces changes to programming, cancellation, and contact information.

The better conventions come back the same time every year, such as the Mid-Ohio-Con, which takes places in Columbus, Ohio on Thanksgiving weekend. The 2004 Mid-Ohio-Con lineup included the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld and Noel Neill, the original TV Lois Lane, as well as numerous other comic industry names.

The Vancouver Comic-Con happens once every few months, while Dragon-Con takes place each September. Every corner of the country has some sort of gathering, but even if you have to get in the car and drive a few hours to a really good-size convention near you, the money spent in doing so can be gained back when you take that authentic John Byrne sketch and put it up for auction on eBay.

The big names of the comic convention business include the following:

San Diego Comic-Con International, P.O. Box 128458, San Diego, CA 92112-8458, 619-491-2475

The biggest and the best, Comic-Con has become a brand name in the business. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts gather every year, some flying in from across the country to listen to panels of experts, get autographs, buy memorabilia, watch special screenings of movies, and just hang out.

Dragon*Con, P.O. Box 16459, Atlanta, GA 30321-0459, 770-909-0115

A solid number two, Dragon*Con takes on more of a fantasy tilt—but it’s not just for Dungeons and Dragons fanatics. D*C gets bigger every year, and as the collectors grow from obsessed teenagers to well-funded adult fans, the money going through the registers keeps increasing as well.

Big Apple Comic Convention, 75-34 Metropolitan Avenue, New York, NY 11379, 201-865-3288

This one is in New York City, so of course it’s big. If you live in the northeast, the Big Apple Con is the one for you.

Mid-Obio-Con, P.O. Box 3831, Mansfield, OH 44907, 419-526-1427

The Midwest really knows how to put on a show, and M-O-C always has an interesting lineup of names. It’s not the biggest comic-con around, but it’s got a reputation as one of the best.

Mega-Con, P.O. Box 1097, Safety Harbor, FL 34695, 727-796-5725

New York Comic-con, Jacob Javiz Center, 655 West 34th Street, New York, NY 10001, 1-888-605-6059

Sending Fan Mail:

To write your favorite comic book artist, look for his or her fan mail address printed in the comic book. Or send your letter to the comic book publisher, whose address will also appear inside the book.

Visit Contact Any Celebrity for instant access to the best mailing address, agent, manager, publicist, production company, and charitable cause for your favorite comic book artists and writers.

For instant access to the best mailing address, agent, manager, publicist, production company, and charitable cause for over 54,000 celebrities worldwide, visit Contact Any Celebrity now at to search their online database!

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Comic book stores are literally everywhere – every city has at least one. The most obvious way to find them is to check your local yellow pages or city directory. You can also buy comic book magazines that detail where you’ll find rare comic books in your area. These magazines discuss comic book prices and the latest collectors’ trends, so they’re worth the few dollars you pay for them.

If there are no local comic stores in your general geographic area, you will find lots of comic book shops and stores on the World Wide Web that may give you a listing of the stores in or around your area. These sites will usually ask for your zip code to determine where you are located, and then they will generate a list of comic book stores within that general area.

Reliable comic book shops now operate over the Internet to reach people in far away places and people who don’t have the time to actually go to a comic book store and browse.

Shopping for comic books online can be just as exciting as shopping in a store. Most online comic book stores have bigger inventories so you’ll have access to more issues. They even carry rare back issues.

If you have no time to visit a comic book store or go online and browse through collections for sale, then order a comic book catalog. You can bring the catalog wherever you go, so you can incorporate shopping for comic books with your daily activities.

Comic Books provides detailed information on Comic Books, Comic Books For Sale, Vintage Comic Books, Comic Book Stores and more. Comic Books is affiliated with How To Draw Caricatures.

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