The Captain's Veranda by Joe Sarno


So we had this mountain of comics in the alley! After looking at the comics, with bundle after bundle of Charleton's that I knew I never could sell. I gave the truck driver the $100 I promised him and told him not to bother with the other two truckloads. And we had this mountain of comics in the alley; an educated guess would be well over 120,000 books. I had asked a couple of my customers to wait around for me, and I'd pay them for helping to move the stuff into the basement. It's not easy moving a mountain of comics into the celler but we did it. Joey Santagada, a regular customer who loved to hang around the store, and only about 12 years old at the time, was one of the guys I recruited, after calling him Mom and asking if it was O.K. Then we began moving those books.

There were a lot of curious passerby's wondering what was going on, and we decided early on that we'd let anyone help themselves to the bundles of the Charletons, while moving the good stuff into the basement. PeopleStarted coming with their red wagons and carting three or four bundles of Charleton Romance, Western, and War comics to their own garages and cellers. We lined one wall with stacks of comcis that people could h elp themselves to, and another wall stack to go downstairs. Somebody decided to help themselves to the wrong stack, and started running down the alley with a wagon full of " good stuff". Little Joey chased after them and made them bring the comics back. I loved it! For the next two years we had to turn away people coming into our store trying to sell us comics we had given away for free-- but we had supplied them with comics to sell in their garage sales for 2 cents a piece for the next 5 years. We worked until close to midnight that evening, but we finnally got the alley cleared. And loaded up the basement with a new mountain, floor to ceiling, wall to wall. It wasn't a very large basement, and the ceiling was only six-foot high so it didn't take much to load it up. About a year later the basement flooded, but it was O.K., cause by the time I had moved all the good stuff upstairs. But it took me a year and a half to dump all the comics that were ruined by the flood-- I had to throw them out piecemean, lining the bottom of the dumpsters with the wet books so that I wouldn't hear any complaints form the landlord or garbage men.

There weren't a lot of treasures in that buy. There were maybe four good titles with approximately 100 copies of each. These included Sgt. Fury Annual #3, Superman 80 page giant #202, Fantasy Masterpieces #10, and X-Men #6. There were a few hundred Archies, and a few decent coverless comics included Amazing Spider-man #101 ans 102. Far and away the X-Men #6 was the best book, and I sold the last of them about 10 years ago for about $10 a piece. And that's the story of the B-I-G-G-E-S-T comic buy I ever made.

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Originally published in the C.B. WEEKLY (Comic Book Collectors Bulletin) Vol 3 #80 July 11, 2001 copyright Joe Sarno and respective copyright holders 2003.