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Action Comics 242 - for sale - mycomicshop
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MYSTERY IN SPACE #75
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SUPERMAN #254
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WONDER WOMAN #1
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HOW TO START COLLECTING
COMIC BOOKS

Buy what you like
Condition
Collecting old or new comic books or both
Collecting theme
Collecting Reprints
Collecting Slabbed Books
Where to Buy

New or experienced comic book collectors will benefit from the information on this page and on the other pages on my site.

Collecting comic books open up a wide variety of collecting.  You can go in so many ways, but the nuts and bolts are as follows:

You can collect old or new comics or both.
You can collect a specific theme or key issues of old or new comics.
You can collect a run or runs of issues of old or new comics.
You can collect reprints.
You can collect slabbed comics of old or new comics.

How you decide to collect, I will provide you some guidance.

Buy what you like

The most important thing to remember when collecting is always collect the items that you like.

Always.  Always.  Always.   

You will see this noted in different parts on my site and referenced in different ways.

You should never buy and collect certain comic books solely based on the fact that someone else collects it and therefore you should collect it. 

You should never buy and collect certain comic books solely based on the fact that itís the hottest trend going on and you want to get in on the latest trend.

You may of course like items that are the latest trend and you may like items that others collect, but it should never be the factor in your decision to buy and collect.

You should not collect comics for the sole purpose of investment.  Iíve seen and experienced too many collectors so focused on buying comics that they think will be worth hundreds and if not thousands of dollars someday.

Some collectors speculate that theyíll become valuable in a short period of time that they end up rushing out and buying multiple copies of the same issue hoping for that lucky big strike.

Comic books are big business and there are many, many issues worth hundreds and thousands of dollars so itís hard not to think about that when looking for issues; however speculating on an issueís future value or future increase from its already valuable price can become detrimental to you in the long run.

If the issues do not perform well in the secondary market, then more than likely itíll cause you to want to dump that issue and chase after another potential investment item.

Having issues you collect which are worth quite a bit is an added bonus that should come naturally and not be the primary focus for collecting them.

After a period of time if you go after items that you donít like, you will look at your collection very soon and realize that you have items that you never liked and need to get rid of. 

Itís no fun to collect something you donít like and especially if youíve put in so much money into it for the sole purpose as an investment and it does not perform well.  It will leave you a bad taste and a lot of heartburn.

Collecting comic books should be fully enjoyed. 

Thereís obviously going to be times when you decide to collect issues that others collect in droves.  Itís a law of numbers.

It should only be a result of a common thing as there are millions and millions of collectors who love to collect Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and Fantastic Four issues for example.

I personally love comics with these characters and of course it just so happens that many others love them too, but I donít collect them because others do and I donít collect them because theyíre the hottest trend or believe they will be valuable if not already. 

I collect them because I love to collect them and enjoy reading them and looking at them.

One of the greatest things about collecting is knowing someday you will be handing down your collection to your children or someone you know who would love to carry on your legacy.

Isnít it great to know youíre handing them something you cherish - something youíve worked so hard to build up for a long time - something that you truly love.

Condition

The condition of a comic book makes a difference in desirability and value. 

Although a lot of collectors love to read their books, they don't necessarily want to purchase comics that are in very harsh condition.

An example would be a book that is mutilated, defaced, heavily soiled, crumbling-brittle beyond handling, no front or back cover, pieces cut out that affect story.  You can probably visual what I'm referring to.

These are still collected by some, but in general terms these are conditions that make it difficult for most to want to pull out their hard-earned money to buy.

We all want to purchase books in the best possible condition that fits in our budget and fits in our collecting tolerance.

We all can't afford MINT condition books from the 1960s for example, but we do try and acquire books in a condition that we find in a solid and   collectible condition. 

You should try not pass up bargains for example if you can purchase a Fine+ condition book in a Good condition price.  A Fine+ book is an attractive condition and most are being passed over since they fall right in the middle of higher grades which cost a lot more and ones that are considered dirt cheap say Good or Good+.  That's a real shame as prices for Fine+ books are considered for most titles a great price. 

You can review the Comic Book Values/Grading page for more details on grading definitions.

There are collectors who are very demanding on grading and will not accept a book that is less than a particular grade, but I will say that each and every collector has their own tolerance for condition and with experience they create their own standards on what is right for their collections.  They establish a range of conditions that falls in line so their collections look consistently the same.

That is something that all collectors will learn over time.

Possibly you may purchase a copy that is less than what you normally buy and upgrade the copy in the future, but the copy is not so undesirable that you cannot collect it.

Through experience checking out books in various venues, you're going to quickly learn what's available and what's not and sometimes how long you may have to wait for the right condition which may dictate what you will  eventually add to your collection.

Collecting old or new comic books or both

There are going to be characters that appeal to you and deciding to collect them brand new or their older versions will be dictated by what you like and what you can afford.

There are advantages to both as you will find in reviewing information on my site and in your own research.

From a dollar stand point in most cases older comics will be more expensive while newer comics will be less and more available in most cases.

The definition of old comics is debatable.  Old comics typically refers to issues from the 1960s and earlier.  As years go by the 1970s issues start to look old to a lot of collectors.  You can see a trend happening when most of the long time dealers advertise that they are looking for issues pre-1975 when in the past they would only be interested in 1969 or earlier.

New comics tend to fall in the category of the last 10 years while issues earlier than that back to the 1970s is sort of that in between time of new and old.

Batman as an example has been around since 1939 and has several titles that he is associated with.  For almost all collectors to start collecting his Detective Comics issues from that year to current day is next to impossible.

That title alone is worth closed to a million dollars if not more if the conditions are in prime shape.  The availability of those early issues is absolutely difficult to find as they were never saved due to various reasons (war, thrown away, never thought of as worth saving) and collectors who own a copy do not want to part with them.

Collecting his own title from 1940 on up is right there too. 

Maybe collecting a handful of the earlier issues is not impossible and is very realistic to collect his 1960s or 1970s issues on up to current day.

I have collected both old and new issues of Batman for example and have enjoyed both old and new.  I tend to lean towards the 1970s issues as being some of my favorite.

It is much easier to start collecting newer comic books that have come out in recent years since they are more available and typically more affordable than say 10 years ago or earlier.

The issues continue to come out on a monthly basis with so many different titles to choose from.

I would recommend visiting your local comic book store first to see all of the issues that are currently published and hopefully one of them has a good selection of older issues so you can compare between old and new.

Here on my site I have and will continue to add pages on individual titles so you can review to get some ideas on some of the books that are out there to collect.

I will provide places where you can buy old and new issues so you can research all of them to find what you may be interested in.

My recommendation is to start with one title initially that you like and then see if thatís something that you want to continue.

It can get very overwhelming quick when collecting comics as there are so many titles and issues and the next thing you know you have an accumulation rather than a collection.

If the local store of yours or my recommended sources have old issues of something you like, then start out by acquiring one or two books to get a feel.  I think often times that collectors dive in too much into one title without really knowing they like or it.  Take your time.

If the newer items interest you, then pick up the latest issue and see how that goes for you.  Continue picking up that titleís ongoing issues and maybe search for back issues so you can put together a run of them after youíve gotten a good feel for that title.

It will depend on how far back you want to go as storylines obviously change from different eras with artists and writers coming and going all of the time. 

Iíve experienced collectors starting with old comics and then continuing with a particular title and then going after issues that run into the newest issues and the other way around.

If you happen to like a title that gets discontinued or was already discontinued, thatís okay too.  Thereís bound to be issues of that title that you donít have and you may want to go and hunt those down before you start looking at another title.

There are no wrong answers if you decide to collect old or new or both.  They both have their own appeal and itíll be up to you on what you like and what you can logistically accomplish.

Hopefully something will interest you and you become a life-long collector.

Collecting theme

After deciding on collecting either old or new comics or both, there are so many different ways to focus your collecting from there.

The preferred method would be to collect a specific title and search for the earliest issues that youíre interested in and can fit into your collecting spending and then work your through the run.

This method can be applied towards old comics or new comics.  It depends on if you would prefer either one or both and where you want to start at.

Letís say youíre into Green Lantern and you want to collect his older issues from the 1960s.  Issue #1 came out in 1960 and now has a hefty price on just about any condition copy. 

If youíre able to afford this kind of a title, then go after issue #1 and then work your back down through the run until you reach an issue that you feel is your logical ending point for that title.

Maybe you want to collect #1 all the way to issue #87 which is where the title essentially stopped and took a couple of years off.  Issue #87 ended with new material by the landmark team of Denny OíNeil and Neal Adams who came in at #76 to revive the character. 

#88 and #89 were essentially comprised of reprints with hardly any new material.  #87 could be a logical stopping point for you or perhaps youíre very much into being complete and you want the entire run of issues which lasted till #224 with a slight title change to Green Lantern Corps at #205.  Picking up any of the annual issues that came out for this run (there were 3 and a special edition issue) would round things out for this title.

This would be an impressive collection by itself.

Starting at #76 as your beginning issue in your Green Lantern run or starting at issue #90 when the title was revived after its first cancellation maybe more realistic as most do not have the funds to start at #1 as the beginning of their collection.  Using any of these issues as the beginning of your run is great too. 

Donít feel compelled that your run has to begin at #1.  Iíve seen many collections that are built this way.  We all donít have the time, money and effort to get every single issue.

Maybe once youíve completed this run as best as you can, you want to go after the other Green Lantern titles.  There have been a few since this title stopped in 1988.  Itís up to you on what you want to do.

After completing this run, maybe you decide to start to work on Flash and then continuing with that run in the same manner before heading onto another title run.

This is what the majority of collectors do when collecting comics.  They find a character or title and go after their issues and building and filling in as many issues in a consecutive run as possible. 

Maybe you decide that you want to collect only key issues or special issues from all titles. 

Collecting number one issues may be your thing and you zero in on those from all titles. 

Collecting special issues like the #100th issue or the 20th or 30th anniversary of a particular title or character.  There are quite a few issues out there for Superman, Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man, et al.

Perhaps origin issues which contain the stories of how the characters came to be who they are is something that interests you greatly.

Maybe you want to grab every issue that describes how the Hulk became the Hulk.  There are several issues like that in many titles.

Perhaps youíre into a specific artist and want to collect only the issues that he or she has drawn like John Byrne or Barry Windsor Smith or Frank Miller

There are endless possibilities to collecting issues and itíll depend on what interests you and makes you feel good about having in your collection.

Thereís never going to be a right or wrong way, however you want to be as complete as you can with your collecting instead of just a bunch of parts that make no sense.

It doesnít make a lot of sense if you start to collect #1 issues and then all of sudden youíre buying a copy of multiple titles which donít relate to one another at all.

Although I always say collect what you like, there should be some kind of continuity to your collecting. 

Collecting Reprints

One of the collecting methods which often gets overlooked is collecting reprints. 

There are so many wonderful books that have come out by many different publishers which have reprinted their own companyís material as well as other companyís material from the past and recent years.

Some of the issues that have made its way into hardcover and soft cover books are worth thousands and thousands of dollars and the scarcity of the original issues make it virtually impossible for collectors to acquire.

DC and Marvel have done a tremendous job in the last 20 years putting together high quality reprints into these books called DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks which allow all collectors/readers to have those rare and expensive issues at a reasonable price.

Both publishers in addition to Dark Horse and some others have also reprinted recent issues collecting storylines from different titles into one trade paperback for a given subject matter.

This is another great way for collectors to not have to try and search down back issues that they missed at their comic book stores.  Itís a great way to catch up on all of the goings on in most titles.

In fact some of the publishers are so geared towards this that they expect any storyline that runs in their title for say 5 or 6 issues will already have its reprinted book on its way within weeks of the last issue hitting newsstands.

Both DC and Marvel have made it almost routine.

There are so many of these trade paperbacks and hard covers to choose from that thereís no way anyone can go bored.

Prior to these books many publishers had individual titles-not collected trade paperbacks or hard covers act as a reprint only book. 

Marvel did that for years with titles like Marvel Tales, Marvel Collectorís Item Classics, Marvel Super Action, Marvel Super-Heroes, Marvel Treasury Edition, Marvel Triple Action among others. 

DC did the same too with its DC Special, DC Special Series, DC Super-Stars and Limited Collectorís Edition titles.

Collecting reprints has become its own collecting niche amongst collecting original material.  Itís not as expensive as buying the original issues and normally are a lot more easier to find.

This really has become a collecting niche that doesnít appear to have any end in sight. 

This may be your way of getting into the hobby and staying for a long, long time.

Collecting Slabbed Books

One of the most interesting developments in comic book collecting came in the year 2000 when an organization called CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) was formed to help bring stability and integrity to the grading of comic books.

Never before has there been such a service in the hobby with all books previously graded by those who owned the issue.  That is still performed today, but with CGC in place there is the option for anyone who owns an issue to submit it for certified grading and for those who buy comic books to purchase only certified graded books.

After a book is graded, it comes in its own revolutionary sealed acrylic display holder often referred to as ďslabbedĒ. 

More and more collectors and dealers have come to accept CGC graded books as the industry standard with the confidence level of all who purchase books or submitted books through them at an all-time high.

Now collectors worldwide can purchase older comics and newer comics that have been certified by CGC knowing that the issues they are buying have been professionally graded. 

No more guesswork and no more wondering if the book has any alterations made.  Those will all be disclosed upon certification.

A lot of collectors and dealers may not always agree with the grade that CGC assigns to any book, but it cannot be contested and we all live with the results.  The only way to have any certified book be re-examined is to re-submit the book hoping for a better grade the second time around.

CGC competitor PGX (Professional Grading Experts) came on the s essentially doing this because the books that you are buying and collecting are of a significant value of $200 or more in its original unslabbed format and you have no interest in ever opening up the holder to examine and review the issue(s).

If you ever decide to open up the holder, there is no guarantee that should you re-submit the book again to either CGC or PGX for re-certification that it will come back in the same certified grade.  It could come back worse.

Youíre basically accepting the fact that buying slabbed books to add to your collection will remain in the holder forever until you decide to part with the issue(s).

I donít recommend submitting newer issues to be certified although there are plenty of examples on the market.  Newer issues in almost all cases are not worth as much as older issues and the price you pay to have the book certified and the new issuesí worth does not justify the costs involved.

I realize that there are examples where someone has submitted a book that came out in a monthís time and then turns around and tries to sell it for $100 or more and Iím sure thereís someone willing to pay for it.  It just doesnít make a lot of sense in most cases. 

I donít believe there are that many buyers willing to do that over and over as they would for older issues which hold their values more reliably than their newer counterparts.  The scarcity level for older issues is greater than newer books typically.

You are better off tracking down older issues which have a value of $200 and more waiting to be submitted.  The costs for submitting and the time and effort involved with an issue that holds its value and steadily increases over time are worth it for older issues.

With slabbed books collectors accept the fact that they are going to have to pay a premium for this.  The costs involved with submitting books and the added assurance and integrity behind a finalized graded product means an additional mark-up on slabbed books especially from CGC since they are considered to be the leader in this industry.

Be prepared when collecting slabbed books for this fact.

I personally own a few slabbed books, but the only reason is the books that I have are a little pricey and I would prefer to have this pedigree of certification on the issue.  It will help in any future trading should there ever come a time for that.

Where to Buy

There are so many sources to find comic books all over.  I will get into more detailed specifics on my Where to Buy page, but there are essentially three places to acquire them from - either locally, mail order or on the internet.

Each has its advantages for both old and new comic books.

If youíre buying new comics, then buying them at your local comic book store or store that carryís comics in addition to their regular inventory is the best option.

There is definitely mail order dealers and internet dealers as well as subscriptions direct from the publishers that can provide you new comics, but the costs involved for shipping and the fact that you cannot examine the condition or the check the issuesí contents makes it best for in person buying.

When missing out on newer back issues, going to the local comic store or local comic book show to find them would make sense too.

Most stores still carry back issues although I am observing that to be less and less as there are so many products in the comic book collecting world taking up so much retail space that some stores have downsized and even eliminated back issue stock.

You should still checkout things at your local stores first before venturing to the other outlets.

Going to a local comic show can actually offer you an opportunity to pick up back issues at less than cover price as some sellers have purchased too many copies and need to sell off.

After exhausting local options, then the internet is the next best place and I have found a couple of very reliable sources especially for back issues within recent years.

When it comes to older comics there are so many choices available and they all make sense for various reasons.

My recommendation is to first look for older comics locally whether at a local comic store or comic show. 

You are never going to be able to view and examine as many issues on the internet as you would in person. 

It takes way too long and it is impossible to see all of the contents and angles of an issue on the internet.  You cannot view issues in a mail-order catalog.

You will find that you can actually bargain with people in person than you can with those online.  Most folks still have a very difficult time communicating on the internet and the time it takes to trade emails or even phone calls make this almost prohibitive.

The internet is still a great place to pick up older issues nevertheless.  I use it often when my local options are dry.  You can find a lot of great deals.  You can find runs and small and large lots of issues online that you cannot find locally.  Also the selections are greater since you are now looking more than one market area and reviewing hundreds and thousands of items from a large amount of sellers and dealers.

Mail-order dealers out there who havenít gone the route of the internet are my last option.  I used to buy from mail-order dealers since there was no internet not that long ago.

I have built up a nice working relationship with some and can pass those onto you as well.

I will be more detailed about my findings on my Where to Buy Comics page.  Check that out.

Happy Collecting!!!

Johnson's Collectibles

Thor Marvel Sixth Scale Figure

Wonder Woman DC Comics Premium Format(TM) Figure


CGC COMICS
for sale

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ACTION COMICS -1938 series starring Superman for sale
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AMAZING SPIDER -MAN Comics - 1963 series for sale
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AQUAMAN Comics - 1962 series for sale
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AVENGERS Comics - 1963 series for sale
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BATMAN Comics - 1940 series for sale
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CAPTAIN AMERICA Comics - 1968 series
for sale

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DAREDEVIL Comics - 1964 series for sale
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DETECTIVE COMICS - 1937 series for sale
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DOCTOR STRANGE
Comics - 1974 series
for sale

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DOCTOR STRANGE
Comics - 1988 series
for sale

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FANTASTIC FOUR Comics - 1961 series 
for sale

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FLASH Comics -
1959 series for sale
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GREEN ARROW Comics - 1987 series for sale
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GREEN LANTERN Comics - 1960 series
for sale

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INCREDIBLE HULK Comics - 1962 series
for sale

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IRON MAN Comics - 1968 series for sale
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JUSTICE LEAGUE of AMERICA Comics -
1960 series for sale

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LEGION of SUPER-HEROES Comics -
1980 series for sale

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NICK FURY Comics - 1968 series for sale
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NICK FURY Comics - 1989 series for sale
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SUPERBOY Comics -1949 series for sale
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SUPERMAN Comics -1939 series for sale
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THOR Comics -
1962 series for sale

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UNCANNY X-MEN
Comics - 1963 series
for sale

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WONDER WOMAN Comics - 1942 series
for sale

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Wolverine Marvel Sixth Scale Figure

Amazing Spider-Man 129 - for sale - mycomicshop
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #129
for sale - mycomicshop

Avengers 100 - for sale - mycomicshop
AVENGERS #100
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Batman 251 - for sale - mycomicshop
BATMAN #251
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Captain America 241 - for sale - mycomicshop
CAPTAIN AMERICA #241
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Doctor Strange 169 - for sale - mycomicshop
DOCTOR STRANGE #169
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Fantastic Four 50 - for sale - mycomicshop
FANTASTIC FOUR #50
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Hawkman 1 - for sale - mycomicshop
HAWKMAN #1
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Hulk 141 - for sale - mycomicshop
HULK #141
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Iron Man 128 - for sale - mycomicshop
IRON MAN #128
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Nick Fury 1 - for sale - mycomicshop
NICK FURY #1
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Silver Surfer 1 - for sale - mycomicshop
SILVER SURFER #1
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Strange Tales 167 - for sale - mycomicshop
STRANGE TALES #167
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Tales of Suspense 63 - for sale - mycomicshop
TALES OF SUSPENSE #63
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Thor 200 - for sale - mycomicshop
THOR #200
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X-Men 131 - for sale - comicshop
X-MEN #131
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X-Men 266 - for sale - comicshop
X-MEN #266
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Action Comics 285 - for sale - mycomicshop
ACTION COMICS #285
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New Teen Titans 1 - for sale - mycomicshop
NEW TEEN TITANS #1
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Wonder Woman 105 - for sale - mycomicshop
WONDER WOMAN #105
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Amazing Spider-Man 14 - for sale - mycomicshop
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14
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Avengers 57 - for sale - mycomicshop
AVENGERS #57
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Captain America 117 - for sale - mycomicshop
CAPTAIN AMERICA #117
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