Jewish World Review Sept. 18, 2002 / 12 Tishrei, 5763

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
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Consumer Reports

Collectibilitized


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | As a semi-avid consumer of dish, I noticed that Nicholas Cage, the longfaced movie star, got hitched recently to Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' erstwhile little girl.

I also noticed that he plans to auction off his comic book collection, including two copies of the 1939 Marvel Comics No. 1 (with Sub-Mariner's debut), a perfect copy of Captain America's Comics No. 1, of which only eight copies are said to exist, Showcase Number 5, premiering the Flash, and even (it is rumored), Action No. 1, in which pages Superman first appeared.

I used to have a copy of the very first Spiderman, which I'm told would be worth a tidy chunk of change, if the cover hadn't been ripped off within a day of my buying it, and if my Mom hadn't thrown it away back in 1964. My bad luck, I guess.

I always find it astonishing that the disposable stuff we so freely threw away, or abused abominably in our youth, now have a second life as collectibles. Comic books, especially, are the equivalent of gold.

This is ironic, considering that modern comic books, perhaps as a result of the proliferation of computer games, cable television, and DVDs, are largely ignored by pre-teen boys. Instead, the modern comic book, once purchased, never emerges from the plastic cover in which it is wrapped. It goes directly to the vault, preserving its pristine condition and thus its intrinsic value. If it is read at all, it is under strict laboratory conditions, handled by its owner with rubber gloves, and observed only through thick glass, lest the artifact be destroyed, like a sub-atomic particle, by a mere glimpse.

But why is Mr. Cage parting with his collection now? Frankly, I suspect Lisa Marie is behind it. After all, her previous soulmate for life had been Michael Jackson. She must have been knee deep in chimpanzees, carnival rides, and cosmetic surgeons --- any of which would be a deal breaker, relationship-wise, but taken together, would have a gal out the door faster than you can say "Shazam." Being a tidy sort of person (I assume) she probably just wants to nip an ephemera glut in the bud.

That would explain that. But what the rest of us? After all, we collect celebrities, in a way-- we pay attention to them anyway. Isn't there some way we can turn that into cash?

It seems a pity that old People Magazine, Entertainment Weeklies, tapes of interviews on E!, or Liz Smith columns, carefully scissored from the newspaper, can't be put in a vault and sold for millions to put our grandchildren through college. But alas, Nicholas Cage and Lisa Marie have a shelf life, just as mere mortals do. After we've finishing looking at them, they aren't worth a plug nickel, not even with the original packaging.

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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

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© 2001, Ian Shoales