STEVENS POINT, Wis. — Holy auction block, Batman!
Comic book collector and industry legend Maggie Thompson of Wisconsin has decided to put some 500 pieces of her personal collection up for auction over the next few months.
The first wave alone includes the first issue of “The Avengers,” “Journey Into Mystery” No. 83, which features the first appearance of Thor, the first issue of “The Incredible Hulk” and the original cover art for the fourth issue of “Conan the Barbarian.”
The books are in exceptional condition; auctioneers expect the total collection could fetch $1 million by the time sales wrap up next year.
Comic book collections going for $1 million aren’t unheard of, said J.C. Vaughn, vice president of publishing for Gemstone Publishing, which produces a comic book pricing guide. But it’s rare to find books from such a respected collector and in such good condition, he said.
“What is unique is to get a pedigree collection from somebody of Maggie’s stature within the industry,” Vaughn said.
Thompson, 70, has been collecting comic books since the 1940s.
She married another comic book collector, Don Thompson, in 1962.
Twenty years later they left Ohio, where Don Thompson had worked as a reporter, for Wisconsin to take over editing duties for an industry magazine, Comics Buyer’s Guide.
They spent years working on the magazine. It grew into a paper-and-ink equivalent of a Facebook page, connecting comic fans, distributors, writers and artists across the country.
Don Thompson died in 1994, and CBG folded in January. But Maggie Thompson still blogs about industry happenings and can talk for hours about how comics have evolved from something parents abhorred to a part of mainstream culture.
She doesn’t know exactly how many comic books she has but estimates it’s tens of thousands. She used money from selling “Amazing Fantasy” No. 15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, and the first 100 issues of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” to build a vault-like storage addition on her home east of Stevens Point.