Discontinued Collectibles Guide

Comics & Graphic Novel Collectibles

Collectable comics

When we think of comics we normally think of them as papers originally published for the enjoyment of children. Well, it wasn’t always so as we shall see shortly. Although collectors of comics come in all ages, most are adults. There is almost certainly an element of nostalgia in their choice of collectables, which is as good a reason as any for becoming a collector.

For anyone starting out as a comic collector it will be useful to have some knowledge of the history of comics or comic papers as they are often called. The term "comic" incidentally does appear to come from the fact that from quite early on most of the material in these publications has been humorous, or was considered so in its time!

Comics have their origin in the "penny dreadful" papers of Victorian times. In the 19th Century these papers, priced at one penny, contained stories serialised over many weeks, usually featuring lurid crime stories or horror tales of the supernatural. Some of the characters are still remembered today such as the criminal, Spring-Heeled Jack and the detective, Sexton Blake.

Stories told in strip cartoon form first appeared late in the 19th Century. Ally Sloper’s Half Holiday first published in1884 is reckoned to be the first ever. It was actually aimed at illiterate or semi-literate adults, which meant most of the working classes at that time. The character, Ally Sloper, was an ordinary working chap who managed to get himself into all sorts of scrapes. He is reputed to be the first regular character to appear in a comic paper. If any copies still exist they would certainly rank as collectibles today!

In 1890 Amalgamated Press, owned by none other than Alfred Harmsworth, introduced two new comics, Comic Cuts and Illustrated Chips. Both these titles were notorious for consisting almost entirely of material pirated from other publications in both Britain and America. So successful were they however that Mr Harmsworth was able to fund the launch of both the Daily Mirror and the Daily Mail from the profits they produced. Comic Cuts continued to be published right up to 1953.

We can’t leave the 19th Century without mentioning one of the best known of all the old titles. The Boy’s Own Paper appeared in 1879 and was last published in 1967. Both it and Comic Cuts are highly collectable now.

In the early years of the 20th Century publishers recognised that the best profits lay in the juvenile market and so by the outbreak of World War I, all comics published in Britain were children’s comics with a target audience of 8 to 12 year olds.

Dundee based newspaper publisher, D.C. Thompson & Co really hit the jackpot in 1937 when they introduced the Dandy and again a year later with the new Beano. These are both still published today and all their earlier editions are much sought after by collectors.

The late 1930s also saw considerable activity in the comic book genre over in the United States. Detective Comics, soon to become DC comics, introduced two of the first and most enduring superheroes, Superman, in 1938, followed a year later by Batman. Both are still popular today. DC added a "feminine" element in 1941 with the introduction of Wonderwoman, in All Star Comics, who is also still fighting for right and justice in the 21st Century. She is commonly regarded as a feminist icon today!

DC’s main American competitor, Marvel Comics, came on the scene much later with the introduction of Spiderman in a comic called Amazing Fantasy in 1962. He was one of The Fantastic Four and The Avengers who first appeared in 1963 comprising Iron Man, Ant Man, Wasp, Thor and Hulk, frequently led by Captain America. The Captain was a revival of a much earlier creation. Marvel’s other team of superheroes, The X Men also appeared the same year.

American comics like these had already begun to appear on the British market around 1959, although many had circulated in the UK much earlier. US Servicemen inevitably brought comics over with them and also had them sent out from home during their postings here.

There have been many well loved British comics produced since the First World War, such as Rover, Film Fun & Radio Fun, Roy of The Rovers, Bunty and others. All are collectable today but one which stands out from all the others because it was different was The Eagle. That makes it a great collectible.

On each of the pages within this section dedicated to Comics collectibles we have included links to live and current online auctions dealing in each theme. In addition, where known, we have added details of collector clubs, forums and websites. We wish you every success in tracking down the missing pieces of your discontinued Comics collection and hope you will become a regular visitor to Accumulations. Remember it’s an ever-changing scene so it is always worth a return visit!

If you are interested in a specific type or genre of Comics collectible, click on one of the following links:-

Eagle Comic

Please also check out the Comics Books, Related Dealers and Useful Resources listed on this page.

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