It’s odd that most comic book collectors and dealers have never heard of Pop Hollinger. This 47-year-old retired teacher from Concordia, Kansas, was the first dealer to buy and sell old novels, pulp magazines, magazines and comics. Hollinger ran his store from 1939 in Concordia, during the Depression, until 1971. Whether thousands of comic book dealers today have heard of Pop Hollinger or never, they follow in his footsteps: they sell, buy and trade them.
Mr. Hollinger started his business selling magazines in a basement under a grocery store. He sold almost everything he owned, including classic paperback novels published by Pocket Books for 25 cents each. He soon expanded his business, selling used pulp, paperbacks, magazines, and comics. He specialized in comics, which quickly became popular. After a few years, he ran a vibrant business and even expanded his business, which included as many as 15-20 stores in Concordia. Hollinger even popularized a mail order service for interested buyers across the country. Mail order sales made Pop realize there was a demand for earlier issues. To that end, he would save expenses for future deals. For 20 or 30 cents a week you could get five or ten comics, respectively. This was an unbeatable bargain when you could buy it at the local newsstand for 10 cents.
1939 was a special year for comics, which featured superheroes for the first time. No doubt he would have owned the most famous ones, such as: Action Comics #1 (Superman first appearance), Detective Comics #27 (Batman first appearance), Superman #1, Batman #1, Wonder Woman #1, All-Star, All-Flash, Timely Comics (future Marvel Comics), and Fawcett Comics. These “Golden Age” comics became “Super” sellers. But there were many others on the market as well.
Hollinger used radically unorthodox methods of preserving each of his books, knowing that children could easily tear them up, and many mothers threw them in the trash. Pop soon found that comics didn’t fare well under constant buying, selling, and haggling. So he tied the books with brown or green tape around the spine and inside to keep them from tearing apart. He also knew that comics are made of cellulose, which attracts insects, so he treated them with special chemicals that repelled them. He even removed the original staples and replaced them with new ones. Finally he flattened them with a press of his own design applying several hundred pounds of pressure. Today’s collector or dealer would never use this type of preservation because it would ruin the book’s value. Instead, dealers and collectors carefully place the books in Mylar bags and insert a cardboard backing to keep them from bending or tearing. Nonetheless, Hollinger deserves credit for developing his own method of preserving them.
By 1942 there were about 50 comic book publishers. Each publisher produced at least 30 different copies, adding up to several thousand different issues circulating each month! So Pop felt the need to publish a comic book catalogue. Comics came in all sorts of genres: sci-fi, detective, fantasy, espionage, humor, romance, and many others. He owned so many of the same issues. No wonder he thought selling comics could be profitable. According to eBay’s website, his business listings state: “Old or used comics are worth money. We pay anywhere from 1 cent to $1.00 each for certain vintage comics… Be among the first in your community to collect vintage comics.” In the same ad, Pop claimed to “stock a large selection of every comic book released.”
Unfortunately, in 1952, Hollinger’s supply took a turn for the worse. A flood had come through his area of the state, inundating his businesses and ruining most of his inventory by the thousands. Unfortunately, most had to be thrown away. To make matters worse, in 1954 many previously published comics were recalled by the US government for inappropriate content for children. But Hollinger stuck to his bargain.
From 1961 until his business closed ten years later, Hollinger began selling brand new superhero comics created primarily by Marvel Comics. In November 1961, Marvel released the first issue of the “Fantastic Four” – a group of new superheroes who became very popular. Fantastic Four No. 1 started the “Marvel Age” of comics. Other Marvel Age superheroes were soon introduced: Spiderman, Ironman, Thor, Hulk, Antman and Captain America (brought from WWII). All comics (not just Marvel) published from 1956 to 1969 became known as the “Silver Age” of comics. Today, many of Marvel’s early issues are worth almost as much as those printed in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.
Pop Hollinger was a rare businessman who foresaw the value of comics. Who knew how they thought comics were valuable to read and collect, not read and throw away? Nobody would have thought of opening such a dealership, especially in the late 1930s during the Great Depression. In fact, it would have been “weird” to open a comic book retailer. Pop beat the odds by starting a business that almost no one would ever have thought of. If you ever come across an old comic with brown or green tape down the spine, chances are you have a classic pulp gem owned by the legendary dealer himself.
This is Auto Posted article collected article from different sources of internet, EOS doesn’t take any responsibilities of this article. If you found something wrong in this article, please tell us.