The Treasure Vaults of Fandom
Let me make a prediction: The next boom market for collectors--still far enough down the road that we have time to get in close to the ground floor--will be fanzines.
Though copies aren't offered for sale on a regular basis and the auction houses haven't discovered them yet, old issues of The Burroughs Bulletin, ERB-dom, and Erbania are already going for fair amounts of money. This isn't really surprising. After all, these magazines are already highly prized by the collectors who own them. You think $1,800 is steep for a first edition of Jungle Girl? Wait till you start seeing hundred-dollar issues of The Burroughs Bulletin!
I won't try to guess how far away we are from that day. Most of the highly priced Burroughs first editions are more than fifty years old now, but they were produced in editions well exceeding the print runs of the ERB fanzines. It isn't unlikely that fanzine prices will start to escalate by the late nineteen nineties.
"But," you say, "it's already difficult to acquire those old issues." Exactly the point, and it isn't going to get any easier.
And even if you can't find multiple copies of ERB-dom #1 to invest in, new ERB fanzines continue to be published--Erbania, Tarzine, The Edgar Rice Burroughs News Dateline. They're available at reasonable prices, too.
It continues to amaze me that these secondary source materials have not yet been acknowledged by academia. Some resistance to them is understandable, I suppose; after all, many of the scholarly journals really aren't anything but glorified fanzines themselves, and their inevitable comparison would constitute an embarrassment that Academia may well wish to avoid. The forty-year wealth of material about ERB and his creations contained in those amateur publications represents a scholar's dream. I feel reasonably confident, especially now that ERB has a toe-hold in a few of our universities, that this treasure trove will eventually be recognized--and the demand for these publications will increase.
The rarest of all the fanzines, and
the one most likely to escalate in value and be rabidly sought after in
future years, is in your hands at this moment. Fifty copies. No more; that's
all there are. If you don't already have them, the chances are you'll never
find copies for sale. Yes, I refer to our own ERB-APA, and once the broader
reaches of fandom discover this cornucopia--watch out! Fifty dollars a
mailing? A hundred? More than that? (Pardon me while I go lock up my copies.)
Concerning this business of restricting
contributors to the single topic of ERB: As I understood it, and as it
was spelled out in the original flyer that John Guidry sent to prospective
members, we are each expected to contribute two pages per mailing concerning
our favorite author; after that, however, we are free to add as many more
pages as we please concerning anything we care to write about--Burroughs-related
or not. After all, we're paying for the printing, so it's our prerogative.
There is a check on this freedom of expression, of course; we must be willing
to endure the brickbats of our fellow contributors if they find us dull
or distasteful. In other words, we have to adhere to community standards,
My day-to-day existence has been brightened
by the appearance of the new Gladstone line of Disney comics--reprints
of the wonderful Carl Barks stories, colored reprints of the marvelous
Mickey Mouse daily strips by Floyd Gottfredson, which I was not previously
familiar with, and newly translated stories from other countries. (Having
an excuse to purchase such items is one of the perks of fatherhood.) This
company, organized and run by fans who convinced the Disney organization
to license them the rights, is producing superb newsstand comics that are
clearly works of love. It looks like they're going to be successful and
stay in business for a long time. They deserve to, because for once someone
is doing it right. The Gottfredson stories are real eye-openers, showing
just how well dailies can be reproduced in this format. As far as I can
tell they are not edited or abridged.
--December 10, 1986