Good Morning Paul!
Hope you’ve had a good week, let’s get interviewing.
So Paul you obviously love all things Marvel, Spider-Man is Stan Lee’s most famous character, is he yours as well?
Of course, Spiderman is Marvel’s poster boy and I have been a big fan from a very early age. I’m an 80s baby and always remember watching the animated series as a child and also buying comics as a child (I just wished I had kept them in better condition). I also have very fond memories of playing with the action figures as a child and recreating scenes from the comics.
I’ve read many articles about Stan Lee’s thought process behind Peter Parker and the character he built. He always created ‘flawed’ heroes. Everyday people who had everyday problems. Peter Parker has the ‘Parker Luck’ where everything that can possibly go wrong for him does. This is why he is a relatable character and readers buy into him. I’ve enjoyed reading about Peter at different stages of his life and I feel that I speak on behalf of many fans when I say the more interesting stories evolve around Peters personal problems rather than those of Spider-Mans.
You couldn't have described Peter Parker any better, he is so relatable. You have a crazy amount of Spider-man things in your collection but what would you say is the pinnacle of your collection?
This is a difficult question! There are two books which are very dear to me that I do not think I could part with. The first is my birthday book. It’s from November 1984 and it’s signed by Stan Lee. The grade is near flawless at 9.8, it has a lovely sized and perfectly placed signature. It also helps that the cover has great artwork too. I love that the book grows old with me each year and I also marked the birth of my son with a copy of Amazing Spider-Man from May 2020.
The second book is the 1970s Spiderman #692 variant. It shows Peter holding Gwen after her death at the hands of the Green Goblin. It’s such a simple yet emotive cover and I got Stan to sign it when I met him a few years back. I have such fond memories of that day and it was an honour to have met him.
We have a lot of Stan Lee signed comics and memorabilia but to have got it personally signed in person must make it even more special and your birthday book sounds like something every collector should own. I love asking this question, these are your favourites but all roped together, roughly how many pieces would you say you have in your Marvel collection?
I don’t think I should answer that question as my wife might kill me! All I can say is that my collection has been forged over many years and many hours have been invested into the search of specific items. Currently, I am honing in my collection as it is very easy to get distracted as a collector and buy pretty much every piece of Spiderman memorabilia.
My main focus now is the original Amazing Spiderman run from 1962. I am trying to collect as many first appearances as I possibly can.
We definitely will get along just fine as first appearances in comics are our specialty. Checking out your Instagram you have some stunning steelbooks, would you like to explain to our readers why they’re so special compared to a normal DVD/Blu-Ray case?
Yes, steelbooks are another one of my addictions! As a collector you crave rare items and steelbooks are another collectible. Even within the steelbook community there are limited edition books which can fetch hundreds of pounds. I have the whole Marvel cinematic universe in steelbook format and it displays beautifully. It’s madness but I have multiple copies of the same film but with different covers. As with a lot of collectors, it is the artwork that is created for item that is too tempting to pass up. I guess the same could be said about variant covers. The amount of money I’ve spent to own the same book but with various cover art is far too much!
I never realised there were multiple releases of the same movie and like you said it's so tempting with the sexy artwork but you also have an impressive collection of slabbed comics as well, nearly as impressive as ours, do you read comics or graphic novels yourself?
Thanks! I started by reading individual comics as a child/early teen and then in my late teens I got into graphic novels as I enjoyed having a story arch in one complete book. It was not until mid-20’s that I started buying some of the older first appearance comics and then it spiralled out of control in my 30s. I love the artwork of the original comics and they have incredible history to them. In some cases, some of the books I own have been handed down within generations of families. Comic book culture has such an incredible identify and I count myself lucky to own the collection of books I have. For me, it is like having a framed piece of artwork on display.
It really is the age of comic book culture. We talked before about your favourite signed comics, as a collector do you agree getting a signature from a person you admire for their writing or artwork makes it just that little more special?
Of course, I was luckily enough to meet Stan Lee and Dan Slott in 2014 and the books I got signed that day are very personal to me. They may not be the rarest of books but the fact they signed the book for me personally adds a cost which cannot be totalled. Dan talked to me at length about the story lines he had created and how he was sent death threats when he ‘killed off’ Peter Parker in #700 which shows how much of an impact these characters have on people. I asked him to write ‘With great power must also come great responsibility’ which I thought was apt for the artwork on the book.
It makes you realise how down to earth and humble these writers are when they really invest everything in their characters. Last thing before you go, what is the ultimate grail? The one item that would make your collection complete/perfect?
This is an easy one. Amazing Fantasy #15. It is the first appearance of Spiderman and featured as a short story within the comic book in the summer of 1962. It was so successful that Spider-Man then got his own run from it. Sadly, it has shot up in value over the past couple of years and is now at a price point that I could never justify spending on a single item. I tried to buy a single page from the book recently and even that went for thousands of pounds!
A close second would be Amazing Spider-Man #1 which I nearly bought from The World of Superheroes earlier this year but sadly I had to put the purchase of a new family car first! Luckily, I know the new owner of the book so I know it has gone to a very good home.
Ah sorry about that! They are such sought out comics and a rare find in good condition. Keep your eyes peeled, you never know we're always getting new comics in. Thanks so much for chatting with us Paul! Good luck with your collection, let us know what you get next!