Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Golden Bookshelf:

Fogel’s Underground Comix Price Guide

Filling a much-needed niche in the modern-day comix collector’s market, Fogel’s guide updates pricing and content on comics published before and after Jay Kennedy’s Official Underground and New Wave Price Guide from 1982.

To the current-day comics fan, it’s hard to say which is more irritating: that the extremely successful and notorious “underground comix” of the 1960s and 70s were steadfastly ignored by the industry’s first major price guide (Overstreet) out of some weird Baby Boom-era territorial issues, or that this oversight persists to this day despite the nearly-universal consensus on the artistic and cultural importance of the underground movement.

Several recent guides, including ComicBase and the Standard Catalog of Comic Books, attempt to survey the field without prejudice. However, undergrounds have not had a resource devoted exclusively to them since Jay Kennedy’s 1982 Official Underground and New Wave Price Guide. Finally, after many years of planning and preparation, we now have Fogel’s Underground Price Guide, 2006 edition.

Fogel’s guide addresses two pressing problems since Kennedy: it updates the pricing to reflect recent market interest, and it updates the coverage to include “underground” and alternative comics that have appeared since 1982, notably from publishers like Fantagraphics, Slave Labor and various independents. There are also some good essays, full-color cover reproductions and reprints of a couple of representative stories.

Unfortunately, the first edition of Fogel’s Guide still appears to be a work in progress. The book lacks essential information for collectors trying to identify the often-confusing printing history of key titles (many undergrounds went through multiple printings over the years). Information about artists and stories is rudimentary. The black and white cover reproduction on the pages is muddy. And, absent any discussion of market analysis and methodology, even the self-serving “market reports” that appear in the front of the Overstreet Guide, some of Fogel’s pricing data seems arbitrary and subjective. But at least it’s a start. With interest growing daily in the work of R. Crumb, Robert Williams, Spain, Trina Robbins and the rest, it is essential that collectors have a comprehensive, well-researched and accurate guide for content, scarcity and demand of these important comic artifacts.

 

 

Fogel’s Underground Comix Price Guide

Hippy Comix Inc, 2006

Writer: Dan Fogel with Dan Donahue (Consultant)

$29.95

188 p. (plus adds), b/w with color cover and inserts

 

 

 

 


Rob Salkowitz is a Seattle-based writer and authority on all manner of aging newsprint. You can e-mail your comments and queries to Rob at rob_comics@yahoo.com. Use "ComicBase" as the subject line.

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