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

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Collectibilitized | 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.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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


09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2001, Ian Shoales