This month Mike McLeod takes a look at JC’s Comic Collection Page, Spider-Man Collectibles, Airsickness Bags, and Antique and Vintage Cameras.

Readers who would like to share interesting websites with Mike may contact him via email at: mikemcl@mindspring.com.

JC’s Comic Collection Page
www.chivian.com/chivian/Comics.shtml


JC’s favorite character is the Silver Surfer, seen here in his premiere issue in 1968.
JC’s favorite character is the Silver Surfer, seen here in his premiere issue in 1968.

In this 1941 Marvel Comics issue 27, the Human Torch takes on the Nazis.
In this 1941 Marvel Comics issue 27, the Human Torch takes on the Nazis.

Sometimes, collection websites are just for exhibition, and they speak for themselves. This is one of those. JC has cataloged much of his collection online, probably thousands of comics. JC has been collecting for 25 years, and he says of his collection, “Most are worth a dollar or so, some a few dollars, others a few hundred, and I even have a couple worth a few thousand. As you can imagine those are among my most treasured possessions and [they] live in my safe deposit boxes (where it’s nice that they’re safe but a drag that I can’t get them out to admire when I want).”

JC’s collection includes: Marvel Comics (Avengers, Defenders, Fantastic Four, Fantasy Masterpieces, Infinity, Silver Surfer, Sub-Mariner, Tales to Astonish, X-Factor, etc.); Independent comics from various companies, including Cerebus, Eyebeam, Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, Fat Freddy’s Cat, Hepcats, Smokey the Bear, Warpwalking, etc.; Valiant; and Dark Horse, including Next Men and Concrete. Yes, the Concrete comic character is made of cement – which must have been really tough on his joints.

Obviously, JC has some obscure comics – some might even say wacky comics – in his collection, which is fine since he collects what appeals to him. But whether or not you appreciate his collection, you can appreciate JC’s love for it. It took hours for him to scan all these comics and create this webpage, which was above and beyond the call of duty of most collectors.

The U.S. Post Office has also taken notice of the popularity of comic characters. It is issuing stamps this year featuring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Green Arrow, Flash, Super Girl, Plastic Man, Aquaman, Green Arrow, and so on.

I just have just one question for JC from my boyhood days: how does the Silver Surfer stay warm out in space in those silver shorts?



Spider-Man Collectibles
http://www.spidermancrawlspace.com/Weird/weird.html


The Spider-Man Vu-Writer for writing or “…viewing action pictures.”
The Spider-Man Vu-Writer for writing or “…viewing action pictures.”

You’ll just have to indulge me this month as I live out all my juvenile fantasies. Spider-Man was another boyhood favorite of mine. Every pre-teen and teen boy could relate to Peter Parker – being picked on by bullies and not being one of the popular kids. And then, he gets all these neat powers and super strength. To be like Spider-Man was every teenager’s dream. Well, maybe the comic-book-reading teenagers.

So naturally, a website devoted to Spider-Man collectibles and paraphernalia would interest me. Who knew that Spider-Man and the Hulk (another interesting character) were made into so many interesting items, like a Spider-Man Vu-Writer? This is a pencil that you can write with or look into it to view pictures.

Some other items pictured on the website include: Spider-Man asthma inhaler cover; Spider-Man cookies; Hulk ice cream bar (green with gumball eyes); Spider-Man guitar, (valued at $2,000); Spider-Man toothbrush; Spider-Man bank, pencil case, sheets, telephone, gumball machine, underwear, bobblehead, binoculars, hand puppets, valentines, and the list goes on.



Airsickness Bags
http://www.airsicknessbags.com/


A KLM bag from 1985 “For that clean feeling.”
A KLM bag from 1985 “For that clean feeling.

And now from the “Strange Websites” file, a collection of airsickness bags. It’s hard to top this collection. As the anonymous website owner writes, “One can tell a lot about an airline’s image from their Air Sickness Bags. Some barf bags are no more than a baggie with a twist tie, while other sickbags could win international design competitions. Are they art? I think so. You decide.”

Click on “See Every Bag” to do just that, and don’t forget to purchase a poster there depicting a colorful selection of bags.

And then you decide – art or strange collection?



Antique and Vintage Cameras
www.photographica.nu
www.vintage-cameras.com


Mars Detective Camera, circa1893, by Emil Wünsche, Dresden, Germany. This mahogany box
Mars Detective Camera, circa1893, by Emil Wünsche, Dresden, Germany. This mahogany box camera held twelve 9x12 cm plates, which are moved to and from the focal plane in the thin wooden plateholder on the top of the camera. (All photos, courtesy www.photographica.nu.)

Circa 1894 La Parisiennne from Carette, France; a small and simple folding camera.
Circa 1894 La Parisiennne from Carette, France; a small and simple folding camera.

A stereoscopic camera, the Stereo Merveilleux, circa 1890, by J. Lancaster & Son, Birmingham; plate size, 8 x 17 cm. A stereoscopic camera, the Stereo Merveilleux, circa 1890, by J. Lancaster & Son, Birmingham; plate size, 8 x 17 cm.

Photography developed (no pun intended) around the mid-1800s, and toward the end of the century, cameras were manufactured and sold to would-be photographers, entrepreneurs, and to hobbyists. At this time, the materials to make them from were limited, particularly since plastic was still in the near future. The result was that wood became the material of choice for the early makers, which has left collectors today with beautiful cameras to capture.

The two websites listed here are from Sweden (owner: Ake Borgstrom) and France (owner: Jean-Pierre), respectively. On both you will find some excellent examples of early wooden cameras. (You have to wonder if termites were a problem for the early nature photographers.)

Jean-Pierre has been collecting since he was a kid when, “…I was lucky to find a wet plate collodion wooden camera in the flea market in Paris ‘Puces de Clignancourt’…. With 10 Francs from the old times, I bought this camera, which became the first piece of my collection.” Since then, he has continued to expand his collection of 19th-century cameras. On his website, www.vintage-cameras.com, click on “My Collection” to see Jean-Pierre’s collection of wooden cameras, a wet plate camera, daguerrotypes and accessories.

He also offers some good advice for beginning collectors: “…decide on the theme of your collection first, and try to stick to your decision. Collecting cameras is a very wide domain, and you could easily be very defocused. Another basic rule is to be very hard, or even uncompromising, on quality. A camera in poor condition is a bad investment, and the time will come when you will decide to sell it, which will then be very hard.

Ake has an expansive collection of grand old cameras. In addition to lots of cameras with accordion folds, there is also a stereoscopic camera for taking for double photos for stereoscopes. Click on “Camera Collection,” and then each photo you click on goes to an enlargement with a description of that particular camera. Dozen of wooden cameras – impressive.

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