We are getting spectacularly close to having a complete set of all the books in our corpus (indeed, I’m expecting a FedEx shipment with some of the final books to arrive either today or tomorrow). But there’s a big caveat: I think we’re getting close.
As I mentioned to Ben a couple of weeks ago, we have to anticipate a certain number of mistakes that will necessitate re-purchasing. Due to the constant renumbering and relaunching of series, and the migration of titles between publishers, errors have crept in to our buying. Not a ton of them, but enough to be annoying. Fortunately, they haven’t been too expensive, and I was even able to trade a number of the comics that were purchased in error for credit on one of our costliest titles.
I do, nonetheless, live with a certain kind of fear about mistakes in purchasing - or, worse, mistakes in our sampling frame itself. This morning kicked out one of the latter.
Comic book #2133 is X-Men #17. This is the second X-Men series, launched in late-1991 with Jim Lee as the artist. Lee had already left for his own projects at Image by 1993; this issue is drawn by Andy Kubert. As I move through the coding that we’re doing right now, I’m going backwards in time and also backwards alphabetically through the years, so this was one of our first books from 1993. Anyway, I looked at the indicia to make sure that I was in 1993 and this is what I saw:
That evinced a little panic.
It didn’t seem plausible to me, because I remember the history of the launch of these titles and the founding of Image, and I couldn’t imagine that Kubert had taken over the title by February 1992. When I looked at the front cover things got worse. That 1962-1992 Spider-man box seemed to confirm that I’d bought the wrong X-Men #17. Plausible, because if you type “X-Men 17” into the search bar at MyComicShop you get a couple of dozen hits. However, their database claims that this issue is from 1993 - contrary to the front cover and the indicia. I began to think that they had to have it wrong down there in Texas.
So I looked at the GCD - where there’s an even greater number of X-Men #17s due to international editions. They too say that this is from 1993. They couldn’t both be wrong, surely?
Overstreet notes that X-Men #1 came out in October 1991, which made sense to me - I can remember the store I was in the day that it shipped (I recall a business man buying an entire box. 100 copies? 200? MyComicShop shows them to be worth $3.20 today a gain of 45 cents per issue in inflation adjusted dollars - almost two cents per year gain!),
Finally, the Standard Catalogue noted that it was cover-dated February 1993 but that the indicia was wrong.
So, we’re using all four sources to determine that the comic book is wrong about the comic book.
Facts are funny things in the history of this industry.