Comic Story Idea

By | Wednesday, August 26, 2020 2 comments
Odd #12
This image is the cover to ODD #12, a fanzine from 1966 by brothers Dave and Steve Herring. You can see Dave's signature at the bottom of the art there. I'm posting it to show that the notion of using a time machine to go back and pick up old comics when they were new isn't new. Even back in 1966 when Marvel Comics #1 -- considered one of the rarest, most valuable comics at the time -- might command a price of as much as $250! Two hundred fifty dollars. The last one I saw at auction went of $1.6 million.

My point being that people have dreamt about using a time machine to make money selling old comics since they were barely worth the effort!

OK, now let's expand this to a story idea. Let's say a comic book fan gets access to a time machine, and they initially just use it to complete their collection of Superman. (Or whatever old title floats your boat.) They go back in time, find a newsstand, buy a copy for ten cents and zap over to a month later where they do that again. They zap over to a month later and do it yet again. Maybe they get the first dozen or two issues that way and things are going smoothly.

Then they think, "Hey, I could buy TWO copies of each issue and sell one of them at a profit!" So they go back in time again, grab another copy of Superman #1, come back to the present, and sell it for a few million. (After all, it's in virtually mint condition!) There's no authority governing time travel, so there's nothing illegal about this and the guy thinks, "No harm, no foul!"

But what if this time traveller gets greedy? What if he does the same thing for dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of old comics! Again, there's nothing illegal there, but that would seriously much up the economy! Even if you only sold one old issue at a time, you'd be throwing a huge wrench into the market, suddenly shifting tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars into a single peron's account! I honestly can't even process the ripple effects that would have!

OK, so that's going to end badly, right? So what if some other guy with a time machine, and an interest in comics, caught wind of the first person's plot? So this second guy takes it upon himself to try to thwart the other's plans! But because of the nature of time, the second guy can't always intercept the first sufficiently to actually catch him. So the second guy does what he can to sabotage the first's plans.

(In the Doctor Who episode "City of Death", the Doctor writes "This is a fake" in marker on the backs of additional Mona Lisas that da Vinci was being forced to paint. I'm thinking similar tricks could work here.)

So the overall story becomes this game of cat and mouse. Something like a cross between Doctor Who and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego. So there's the idea. Open for use by any comic creator looking to play around with something different.

Oh, and hey -- if you're looking for a character design for the hero? A quirky adventurer type who's into comic books? I'll just say that I've done a bit of time travelling in my comic book research (see below!) and would be up for an another adventure! 😊
Adventurer Kleefeld
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Matt K said...

What if so many people are doing this that it changes history: publishers receive noticeably fewer returns, increase the print runs in response, and the first speculative bubble in comics blows up before speculative comics purchasing even existed?

This has real story potential I'm thinking!

Saaaay, you know there's that whole mystery around who found all the original art to Amazing Fantasy #15 and donated it to the Library of Congress a few years back? Maybe that was the hero, thwarting folks trying to do the same thing in the original comic book art market!

Plenty of potential here!