Monday, May 2, 2011

Reading the "Comics"

One "test" set that gets little attention by collectors is the 1979 Topps Comics. Now, there are many reasons for that. They were bought by sellers in great quantities, so they're not that difficult to find unopened. Collectors didn't really care for the artwork, despite being very colorful. And since the comics themselves were wrapped around a piece of gum (similar to the way Topps does for its own Bazooka line; in fact, the wrapper itself is identical to the "Bazooka Joe" comic), they're never found in pristine shape.

Fortunately, I'm not all that interested in "pristine" material, so I managed to get the first 11 examples when a hobby friend busted an unopened box a few years back. With 33 total examples that make up a set, they were issued 11 at a time in boxes...and the box my friend busted contained numbers 1-11 in it. Someday, I'll get the rest of the set, but I'm not in a big hurry to do so.

However, I'd like to share some of these here today for the benefit of those who've never seen them before. Here are four Hall of Famers:

Comic #9 -- George Brett, Kansas City Royals

One of the things each comic has is a blurb in the corner explaining a baseball rule. Of all the players to get this little factoid, it's Brett...the guy who came charging out of the dugout four years later when he was declared out after hitting a home run against the Yankees because Billy Martin claimed he used too much pine tar.

Comic #1 -- Eddie Murray, Baltimore Orioles

As the comic states, Eddie was Rookie of the Year in '77 and a team statistical leader in '78. In '79, he helped his team get to the World Series.

Comic #4 -- Nolan Ryan, California Angels

I really don't need to explain how Ryan's career turned out or even say how many more no-hitters he ended up tossing before he was finished. I will say, however, that the artist really could have done a better job with the Angels logo on the comic. The Orioles logo on Murray's was more of a challenge, and it looks great.

Comic #3, Carl Yastrzemski, Boston Red Sox

Yaz did much more than simply win the A.L. MVP award in '67. He won the Triple Crown and is still that last player to have ever done that. He led the "Impossible Dream" team to the World Series and will be forever beloved by the Fenway faithful because of that.


  1. I've always liked these. I've never seen them in person though.

  2. There were collectors who bought cases on speculation this stuff was a rare test issue. people were trading Babe Ruth cards just to get a hold of these cartoons....then once the market was flooded with more releases from Topps...

    People gave up even trying to give this stuff away....thats why there is no collector interest, even though younger folks have never seen this material.