It’s still early in the new year but I’ve already done something I have never done before: Bought a Mystery Box from a Website.
Long story short, a conversation started over on Monkeysfightingrobots about Comic Box Subscriptions and as I undertook a little research one UK based site kept popping up, Comic-box.co.uk. It kept popping up on facebook and in the background of websites I was looking at, it was everywhere. So, I decided, for research, to order a box. I settled on a 1980-1990 mystery box for various reasons and waited for it to come.
The box cost £13.99, with £2.50 postage but I had a 10% first order discount so in the end it cost me just over £15 for 20 comics. Not a bad value. And if I’d been a fan of X-Men comics it would have been much better. How so? Well, let’s look at the contents:
Title Issue Year Pub. Writer Lead Artist
The Amazing Spider-Man 327 1989 David Michelinie Erik Larsen
Classic X-Men 24 1988 Chris Claremont John Byrne
Flash 17 1988 W Messner-Loebs Greg LaRocque
Manhunter 1 1984 Archie Goodwin Walter Simonson
Marvel Comics Presents 50 1990 Erik Larsen Eric Larsen
Marvel Fanfare 27 1986 Bill Mantlo Tony Salmons
Marvel Fanfare 33 1987 Chris Claremont June Brigman
Marvel Super-Heroes 3 1990 Various Various
Marvel Tales featuring 235 1990 Bill Mantlo Sal Buscema
(as above) 236 1990 Bill Mantlo Sal Buscema
Marvel Universe (Vol 2) 16-18 1987 Various Various
The New Mutants 43 1986 Chris Claremont Steve Purcell
The New Mutants 72 1989 Louise Simonson Bret Blevins
The New Mutants 74 1989 Louise Simonson Bret Blevins
The New Mutants 91 1990 Louise Simonson Rob Liefeld
Wolverine 3 1989 Chris Claremont John Buscema
X-Factor 28 1988 Louise Simonson Walter Simonson
X-Factor 35 1988 Louise Simonson Terry Shoemaker
That’s 20 comics.
18 Marvel, 2 DC.
12 featuring the X-Men (Marvel Fanfare 33 is X-Men based).
5 written by Louise Simonson, 4 written by Chris Claremont, and 3 by Bill Mantlo.
Walter Simonson is main artist on 2 titles but he also produced work for each of the titles with ‘Various’ against it, so that makes, I guess, 6.
1 Rob Liefeld comic is 1 too many for me.
The earliest comic is 1984’s Manhunter but this is a reproduction of Detective Comics from the 1970’s. After that we have 2 published in 1986, 4 each in 1987, 1988 and 1989, and 5 in 1990.
There are a number of Team covers, but only three covers feature a prominent female character. 1 of those is Manhunter, the other 2 are Marvel Fanfare #33 and The New Mutants #72. In both of those the character in question is being threatened in some way, one by strangulation the other by a force field.
And 13 came in those self-sealing bags with the sticky strip that sticks to everything when you are trying to put the comic back in. I have therefore re-bagged 10. Only 10? Yes, because the Marvel Universe ones aren’t worth me re-bagging.
All in all, it wasn’t the best result for me personally. If I’d been an X-Men fan, this would have been wonderful. I can’t complain about the X-Men bias although I did expect more of range, even if it was just a greater mix of DC and Marvel.
I would also have preferred more of a spread across the decade: it’s hard to call it a 1980-1990 Box when all but one of them were published from 1986 onwards. There really shouldn’t have been 5 from 1990, although 2 of these will make it into my collection because I collect Spiderman comics.
There was also one issue that wasn’t in great condition. The Marvel Super-Heroes Fall Special had a badly damaged cover with a number of creases, a folded corner and even a significant tear. I’m not sure that I would personally have included this in any bundle.
Having said that there is still enough in this bundle to keep me interested and I will place several titles happily into my collection. The Manhunter comic is especially interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it.
And I don’t have any of these comics already, so big bonus there.
Overall, I’d say the box was value for money as there are enough comics of worth to warrant the cost. However, a greater range would have improved the chances of there being more gems and at least given me more of a mixed reading experience.
I wasn’t sure what to expect and my excitement for the experience was probably worth the venture. I have some new comics for my collection, a few new reads, and a trip to the charity shop for the, unread, Marvel Universe comics.
I mean, who needs 3 issues of that?
Life long comic book reader, collector, and reviewer.