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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Defining False Fandom



Now I have been asked several times –never on CBO I note- what I mean by “false fans”.  I actually thought it was very obvious but let me give you an example.

If you go on Ebay or to some comic shop site that sells old back issues you will see “Class Comics” and words such as “Very rare”/ “Ultra rarer” (oooh)/ “rare” and “rare and much sought after vintage British comic” –usually with the “rare” or whatever tagged on.

There is a selection of covers here:

If you want to read more on Class Comics such as guides, etc., then visit the Class blog: https://alanclasscomics.blogspot.com/

On the 16th February, 2005, after moving from Yahoo 360 to 4T and so on, I set up the Yahoo Alan Class group. Hundreds of covers and photos etc. The first internet group/site dedicated to the publisher. In 2011 I also moved the blog over to Blogger.

The Amazing World Of Alan Class, 24 pages, black and white, published on the 24th April, 2011. £5.00 in the UK, followed.


Marvel, Timely, Atlas, Charlton, ACG, MLJ/Archie Dennis the Menace (US) -one man published them all.

Alan Class.

Who? Class is legendary for bringing black and white reprints of US comics to a country starved of the medium thanks to a certain war!

From 1959-1989 Suspence, Sinister, Astounding and Uncanny gave us a comic fix for a few pennies.

Learn more about the man and how Class Comics came about in the long awaited print version of Terry Hooper's exclusive interview!

Here is the truth.  Yes, there are certain people in my age group who have fond memories of the Class Comics because in the 1960s-1970s US monthlies were hard to find and to find a comic that reproduced issues from several publishers for the price of any US comic was brilliant.

The print quality varied and some strips were reprinted several times over the years under the various titles. As much as I love them I will admit that they are not the best quality –this was a publishing business and overheads had to be cut. You find finding glue turning to very brittle crystals now and this can spread a rather odd staining throughout the books. I have never paid over £4 for an issue –and that was one I wanted and the £4 included postage.

“First appearance of Groot!”/ “First Fantastic Four” –you read a seller listing a book that way then know they are a con artist.  The rather tatty and faded copies (yes, I have found out over the last 50 years that ink in some of the titles Class published does fade) are not worth £40, £50 or even £125.  That is a con job.

Even the value of the first Atlas/Marvel appearance of Groot is determined by greed and what a sap will pay.  I remember a few years back everyone ran out and some paid hundreds of dollars for the first appearance of Guardians of the Galaxy…then asked who the characters in the comics were and what they had to do with the movie. Was the investment worth it?  No, because there is no real value in the comic to anyone other fan a fan and it is not going to make you rich or extra profit.

However, the first appearance of Groot in US comics was in full colour.  The first appearance of the Fantastic Four in US comics was in colour. IU have British weekly comics in which the first appearance of the Fantastic Four, X-Men and even Avengers appeared –they are worth what I paid recently to replace the older tatty copies: between £1.75 to £3.00.

Black and white reprints are never ever really going to be as valuable or, going by some prices the con men have asked, twice the value. That is the pure and simple fact: the Class Comics have nostalgia value for a diminishing number of old fans –the people who know that if a Class Comic has a printed cover price of 7p is is NOT a vintage 1960s comic as claimed.

You see, Class Comics are not dated so if you see a seller stating “c. 1969” that seller had better be able to back that up.  Of course, why Class never put a date into his titles was explained in the interview I did with him.

Let me hit you with an even more brutal truth. The Yahoo group was set up in 2005 and despite all the links sent out and discussions membership totals…37.  When I set up the Face Book Alan Class group it attracted 7 members. The Alan Class blog set up in 2011 has attracted 23,796 views and only 8 followers.  Even including info on more obscure British publishers (my particular forte) the memberships never increased.

 

So, The Hooper Interviews which featured some big names and creators like Michael Cho, Yishan Li, Marv Wolfman blah blah blah blah…included the Class interview (it also featured the only interviews given by creators no longer with us).  Sales…zero. People who got review copies raved about it but comic ‘fans’ –no interest.

The Amazing Worlds of Alan Class since 2011 sold 2 copies.

No, neither publication will ever be offered as a download. The Class publication is going to see a price increase to £8.00 because it took a lot of work and the £5.00 price was a promo offer that lasted 5 years!

This shows false fandom.   It shows people who promote a publisher’s title out of greed and they exploit those who think “I’ll pay £30 and this will be worth £200 in a year or so”.  If that were true then I have a few hundred Class Comics that ought to solve all of my current financial problems! (I need to point out that is a fantasy). I pointed out to one UK You Tuber who bought a Class Comic for £1 and stated that “The seller (it was purchased from a shop) obviously had no idea what they had. It must be 1950s or early 1960s!” the cover price read “5p” so it was post decimalisation and from around 1979.  No response.  There went his cheap “big earner”.

A few years back someone was selling copies of my old Zine Zone and Comic Bits publications on Ebay.  Apparently, unknown to myself (the publisher) these were rare and vintage. Various issues sold for £20-30.  Those buyers simply had to contact me and a copy would have cost them £5.00 including postage and packaging.

These people are not fans –we tend to grab even the tatty comics because we love comics- but millenials who are bred with greed and pulling a fast one to make even more money. Dumb, yes, but they are the prey for the predators –the conning sellers. The two make up the false fandom because neither has the slightest interest in comics or comic art but want to screw every last penny out of comics.  A bit like SJWs and anti-SJWs not really being interested in comics just the trolling, arguments and amount of attention they can get.

There are genuine comic fans out there but they tend to not be very vocal and concentrate on one or two titles.  Apparently, unless it is an item in Alter Ego or Back Issue it is not worth bothering with.

When you think that a fanzine as late as the 1980s could sell several hundred copies and create a lot of discussion it can be depressing.

Anything to do with old British comics it is  “ask Hooper” but do you know what? My response these days is that I have blogs and groups and if the person asking is genuinely interested then go there and so some quick research. So many people ask questions or even lift articles I have written and use it as their own work or ‘discovery’ –no credit.  No thank you. Just grab and use and take credit.

That is false fandom. And when I am told that I need to set up a Class archive that won’t be lost I know they mean a source that can be plundered so that they can announce their ‘original discoveries’.


No freebies.  Buy the books. Join the groups.

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