Sunday, August 3, 2008

Giant Batman Album #16: So scarce you wouldn't know it was scarce...

Seeing as The Junkyard is in a - well, ‘rarefied mood’, so to speak… here’s one that I don’t often hear spoken of as scarce, but I assure you it is just as difficult to lay one’s hands on a copy of Giant Batman Album #16 as it is to try and score its more famous companion in the Most Wanted stakes, Giant Batman Album #14.

Giant Batman Album #16 is unassuming. Some might even say bland. To the casual observer it looks like yet another regular instalment in a long series of US facsimiles. And so it is, being based on the US Batman #193 (aka Batman Giant #14 aka 80pg Giant G-37, July-August 1967), reprinting the complete contents apart from (Holy Smoke), the Sunday newspaper strip, and appended with “Bruce Wayne's Aunt Agatha” and “The New Batman”, both of which had previously appeared in K.G. Murray issues.

I wouldn’t be surprised if casual collectors of Giant Batman Album haven’t realised how difficult it is to find a copy of #16. I think it was only after I found my second or third copy of #1 that the absence of #16 was conspicuous. After asking around I managed to find a single collector who had a copy and was able to send me a cover scan, and that seemed to break the spell as I found a copy for myself only a few months later.

That was over 2 ½ years ago, and in the 10 years or so in which I’ve been collecting these comics, these are the only two copies I’ve come across. To put that into perspective, in that time I’ve seen more copies of the first issues of Superman’s Supacomic, Century The 100-Page Comic, Colossal Comic Annual and Giant Superman Album, just to name some of the most sought-after 100-Page K.G. Murray issues.

I have some ideas as to why Giant Batman Album #14 is so scarce, and I’ll profile this issue in a blog entry shortly. The scarcity of #16 is more difficult to rationalise.

So rather than try to rationalise it, I’ll just offer a suggestion: If anyone is considering putting together a full run of Giant Batman Album from scratch, don’t bother accumulating any issues until #’s 14 and 16 have been secured (an exception should be made for particularly well-preserved, above-average pre-decimal specimens…). Once these two are in the vault, the rest should take a serious collector not more than a few years to source.

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