When Billy Batson cautiously wandered through the subway cavern of Shazam, he passed by the 7 Deadly Enemies of Man. You recall them: Pride, Greed, Envy, Hatred, Selfishness, Laziness, and Injustice. And I prefer the more modern interpretation: Pride, Greed, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and Lust.
In contrast, the goodness of Billy Batson despite the terrible treatment he received from his wicked uncle shined. Of course, Shazam perceived that goodness and called Billy to be his successor. So can any of us self-respecting comic collectors emulate the goodness of Billy by resisting the temptations of the seven deadly enemies? Particularly, the undeniable outcome of Greed, Envy, Lust, Gluttony, and Pride–hoarding comic books!
Now my blog title cost me about 95% of potential GoCollect readers. Then my opening paragraphs lost at least 4 of the last 5 percent. So, if you are still reading this dribble, I commend you. And I promise to entertain as best I can.
Hoarding Wars, is it a new reality TV show, or perhaps a description of what has happened in the comic book industry since the beginning of COVID? We’ve probably all seen those television news features where officials with N95 masks are wading through a house overflowing with piles of stuff. If you ever find yourself watching that news clip, and then suddenly pointing at the TV to yell, “There’s comics!”. Then, we know we have a hoarding problem!
Pandora must oppose the 7 Deadly Enemies of Man in Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1. The Seven Deadly Sins first appeared in Justice League V2 #14. Neither comic is shooting up any hot lists. Do you feel an URGE to go buy it NOW!
Get ahead–my neighbor’s shed
This next section is important, but you may want to skip ahead if it’s too heavy. I’ll start by mentioning my neighbor’s shed. The other day, I could see out my bedroom window over the block fence a building being raised. In fact, walls, door, roof, and shingles were all constructed in a single day. My daughter caught me admiring the building and accused me of “coveting my neighbor’s shed”. If you are not an Old Testament scholar, to covet is to wrongfully desire something that belongs to someone else.
Now, I didn’t feel that way about the neighbor’s shed, but I do have fond imaginations of buying a storage unit full of rare comics some day for well below market value. So maybe I covet my neighbor’s storage unit. But what self-respecting comic collector hasn’t done that? So, covet, hoard, selfish longing, these are all facets of the same bad behavior.
7 Deadly Enemies of Man Explored
Brace yourself. Let’s consider those seven deadly sins so frighteningly brought to life in Zachary Levi’s Shazam! movie. I’ll focus on five of the 7 deadly enemies of man that encourage hoarding.
- Greed: an intense and selfish desire for more than is needed. (To that I say ouch.)
- Envy: discontent aroused by someone else’s possessions. (Ewwh, that hits too close to home during many an auction.)
- Gluttony: excessive overeating, but I think it fits because it relates to not knowing when or not being willing to say ‘enough’.
- Lust: intense sexual desire, but can be applied to the psychological and illicit desire for any object.
- Pride: deep pleasure in one’s own achievements (or possibly one’s own collection).
Pride may be the most malicious of all reasons to hoard. We sometimes have a deep need to be or have the best. But each of these “enemies” can influence our collecting habits.
C. C. Beck first illustrated Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics 1. The cover art from issue 17 (1941) sold in 2004 for $23,575. It’s amazing to find Golden Age comic art by a character’s first artist. Don Newton had a lifelong love affair with Captain Marvel. His title splash art in World’s Finest 255 demonstrated his passion for the character. It sold for two grand in 2021.
More Good Captain Marvel Stuff to Buy, Buy, Buy
Did you skip the last subsection? Go back and read it!
The Big Red Cheese, who’s better known as Shazam, and rarely thought of when someone says Captain Marvel, has been around a long time. Whoooh! That was a mouthful. Bill Parker’s creation, though hugely successful, endured tough legal battles to survive 81 years. It’s a tribute to the character that Captain Marvel stood up against the Seven Deadly Sins not only in fiction but in our universe as well. (Even as a DC fan I thought it was shameful to claim Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman!)
For those who want to collect the original Marvel Family member, his Golden Age adventures in Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures appear readily available. Issues from the forties and fifties auction for reasonable prices every week at HA. Whiz Comics 22 with its classic cover sold for $1,320 in CGC 7.5 condition just this month.
Fans of DC’s Bronze Age should note that Shazam 1 has a GoCollect FMV of $750 for CGC 9.8. Issue 13 FMV is $280. If I have ANY Shazam comics in my collection, it could be a sure sign of hoarding. I watched Billy Batson tour the country in an RV righting wrongs as Shazam in the Saturday morning live action show. Yet, as a ten-year-old, I never once thought it would be a good idea to collect Shazam comics!
Hoarding Responsibly: Fighting the 7 Deadly Enemies
In the end, we’re all responsible to know when enough is enough. Is one copy of each variant cover enough? Can I get by with just one comic, period? What if I pass on this one? Would I miss it? (Instead of hoarding comics, consider hoarding original comic art with the Simple Investment Plan.) 🙂 The hoarding dilemma for collectors, speculators, and investors will rear its ugly head as long as ‘just one more’ remains. We can exercise rational buying habits and still enjoy the hobby we love. We can be happy for someone else when they win the auction or have better stuff than we do. (That hurts!) We can stand up and say, my name is Pat, and I am a hoarder!
No doubt people are already hoarding Black Adam appearances in anticipation of the movie. Shazam The New Beginning 2 in CGC 9.8 last sold for about $20.