Four Color #386

In the early 1990s, I was a serious collector of comic books. I was reading an issue of Hero Illustrated magazine and one of the reviews was of Uncle Scrooge #285 published by Gladstone in April 1994 and written and drawn by someone named Don Rosa. The reviewer highly praised it, suggesting that adults would enjoy it. I bought a copy of it and became a Don Rosa fan ever since. I plan to blog more about Don Rosa in the future. But before Don Rosa, there was Carl Barks.

According to I.N.D.U.C.K.S., Carl Barks “[c]reated the entire Duckburg universe (including characters such as Uncle Scrooge, the Beagleboys and Gyro Gearloose).” Although the first appearance of Uncle Scrooge is in Four Color #178 (published by Dell in 1947), his first full cover appearance is in Four Color #386 (published by Dell in 1952). (The image below was taken from here.)

Uncle Scrooge appeared in two more Four Color issues and was then given his own title, starting at Uncle Scrooge #4. So Four Color #386 is treated as Uncle Scrooge #1.

It was only a few years ago when I was researching this that I realized that I had seen the cover of Four Color #386 before. When I was a child, I had a November 1980 issue of Dynamite Magazine containing a one-page article about comic book collecting. I am no longer able to access the article, but part of its message was that comic books could be good investments. It showed a comic book dealer holding out a worn-out copy of Four Color #386, presenting it as an example of a highly collectible comic book.

Unfortunately, comic books such as these are way beyond my budget. A CGC NM 9.4 Four Color #178 was sold for $10,157.50 in 2010 by Heritage Auctions. A CGC NM+ 9.6 Four Color #386 was sold for $26,290.00 in 2012 by Heritage Auctions. (Prices here are in U.S. dollars and include buyer’s premium).

Some time ago, I discovered that the story in Four Color #386 (“Only a Poor Old Man”) had been reprinted as Uncle Scrooge #195 (published by Whitman in 1982). This issue is more affordable. A CGC NM+ 9.6 copy of it was sold for $35.00 last May 3, 2020 by Heritage Auctions. (The image below is taken from here.)

The buyer of the lot was pretty lucky considering that previous prices for a CGC NM+ 9.6 Uncle Scrooge #195 were $39 in 2010 and $47 in 2012.

Which is the odd one out?

Ever since I bought a few Matchbox 1963 Cadillac Ambulances, I’ve been searching for a Matchbox 1963 Cadillac Hearse because, according to Matchbox Cars Wiki, “In the back of the vehicle is a coffin, which has a hand coming out of the slightly opened lid!”

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DC Complete: The Ian Levine Collection

I was surprised to learn that someone had collected every comic book published by DC Comics from when it started in 1934 to the end of 2016. I was further surprised to learn that Sotheby’s is having a private sale offering where the collection is to be sold in a single lot. The offering started last March 30, 2020. Information about the offering can be found in this press release and in this catalogue. Sotheby’s also has two articles related to the offering: “How DC Ignited the Golden Age of Comic Books” and “The Rise of Batman.”

I was quite disappointed to find a few errors in the Sotheby’s documentation. An early version of one of their websites mentioned the “Green Hornet” (which is not a DC Comics character); it now mentions “Green Lantern” and “Green Arrow” (which are). One of their websites still mentions Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942) as “the first appearance of Wonder Woman,” when in fact her first appearance is in All-Star Comics #8 (October 1941). The filename of their catalogue ends with “FINAL_UPDTAED.” Finally, it is not clear what years are covered by the collection. The catalogue states that “The Ian Levine Collection of DC Comics Complete numbers comfortably more than 40,000 individual issues, comprising every single comic book published for sale by DC from New Fun #1 in 1935 through the end of 2016″ and yet that same catalogue also states “EVERY COMIC BOOK PUBLISHED BY DC FROM 1934–2014.”

Shown above is the first page of Action Comics #1 (June 1938) which contains the first appearance of Superman. Shown below is the first page of Batman #1 (Spring 1940). (Batman’s first appearance was in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939).) (I got both images from the catalogue.)

Note that the comic books in the collection are, in general, not “slabbed” (sealed in hard plastic). This allows the comic books to be read, but they are not as protected as I would like.

Tomica Pikachu & Monster Ball Car

I am not a fan of Pokémon; I haven’t played the video game, watched the anime, collected the cards, or read the manga. I don’t know much about them, but when I saw this Tomica Ride On R10 Pikachu & Monster Ball Car, I decided to buy it a few months ago because it looked like it had a lot of play value.


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Home quarantine

On January 31, 2020, the Department of the Interior and Local Government-Bicol Region issued Memorandum Circular No. 2020-018 “Guides to Action Against “Coronavirus”.”

On February 3, 2020, the Office of the City Mayor, City of Naga issued Executive Order No. 2020-004 “Creating the Infection Prevention and Control Task Force.”

On March 16, 2020, a Memorandum from the Executive Secretary on Community Quarantine Over the Entire Luzon and Further Guidelines for the Management of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation announced “the imposition of an Enhanced Community Quarantine and the Stringent Social Distancing Measures over the entire Luzon, including the National Capital Region (NCR), effective 00:00 (12 a.m.) of 17 March 2020 and expiring on 00:00 (12 a.m.) of 13 April 2020.”

Part of it states that “A strict home quarantine shall be observed in all households; movement shall be limited to accessing basic necessities; provision for food and essential health services shall be regulated; and there will be heightened presence of uniformed personnel to enforce quarantine procedures.”

On March 19, 2020, the Office of the City Mayor, City of Naga issued a Memorandum Order “Mga Bagong Panundon sa Implementasyon kan Enhanced Community Quarantine sa Naga” describing a “Home Quarantine Leave Pass.” (I am unable to translate the document to English.)

Last March 23, 2020, I received the Home Quarantine Leave Pass shown below. It is printed grayscale on glossy paper with a hardly-noticeable dry seal.  It allows me to leave my residence during given hours on three given days of the week.

Suzuki Carry Pig Carrier Truck

It’s been eight months since my last blog post about scale models, and two months since my last blog post. Since then I’ve bought a lot of scale models. I’ve forgotten when I bought this Tomica Event Model No. 4 Suzuki Carry Pig Carrier Truck. I saw it on display out of its box. I was attracted to it by its bright colors and its loose pigs, and when I saw that it was a Tomica Event Model, I knew I had to buy it.


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Winter Bash 2019

I’ve been very busy with work for the past six months, so I haven’t been blogging.

Stack Exchange Winter Bash 2019 ends tomorrow.  I was able to get five hats, and a bug let me wear (but not own) a sixth hat early.  My heavy work schedule as well as recent events on Stack Exchange have resulted in my not being so active in getting more hats.

Side Kick, Slide Kick

Some time in 1998 or 1999, before I started collecting Hot Wheels, I passed by a toy store and saw a Hot Wheels 30th Anniversary Side Kick (in metallic purple) for sale. I really wanted to buy it (because it reminded me of my childhood) but decided not to as its box was in such horrible shape.

Some time in 2001, I was able to buy a Side Kick in mint packaging. I’ve posted another picture of it below because a side view does not do it justice.

If I was asked to choose only one Hot Wheels model, I would choose the Side Kick. To me, it is the perfect example of what Hot Wheels means to me: a cool car (a wedge car!) that’s not a copy of an existing car. It also has added play value because pulling the exhaust pipes at the back brings out the driver’s seat on the side. I love the exposed engine, the rear louvers, and the hidden headlamps.

I’m sad to say that my Side Kick has a plastic base (but a metal body), unlike its previous incarnations with metal bases and bodies. Ever since I bought this 2001 model, I’d been waiting for another one, but it seems that this was the last one released as a mainline model. (The eight versions released after this one were not mainline models.)

I was a little disappointed when I saw this Slide Kick recently because it seems to me that it is intended as a replacement to the Side Kick. Gone are the exposed engine, the rear louvers, and the hidden headlamps. The Side Kick’s driver can only see what’s in front and what’s on the right, but the Slide Kick’s driver can only see what’s on the right (unless the seat is out). I bought it nevertheless because it is a first casting.

“Does it come in black?”

In the movie “Batman Begins” (2005), after Bruce Wayne first test drives the desert-camouflage-colored Tumbler with Lucius Fox, Lucius asks Bruce, “So what do you think?” Bruce replies, “Does it come in black?”

I have so many mainline Hot Wheels Batmobiles that they no longer fit in the box I have for them. I haven’t blogged about many of them, so I’ve selected a few that aren’t black. All of them are from 2019.
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ACM ICPC Philippines Southern Luzon Invitational Programming Contest 2018

For the sixth time in a row, I was a problem setter and judge for an ACM ICPC programming contest held in Ateneo de Naga University.  Last October 7, 2018, twelve teams participated and their performances are shown below.  I guess the low number of participants is due to the two-year absence of new undergraduate students (from 2016 to 2017) due to the addition of two years of senior high school in the Philippine educational system.

I contributed two problems:  Problem C: “Symbolic System” (based on the symbolic system described on page 102 of Wolfram’s “A New Kind of Science”) and Problem E: “Fibonacci Ones digit” (based on Rossi D’Souza’s “Where did/do mathematical concepts come from?” in For the Learning of Mathematics, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 25-27).  Only two teams attempted problem C; only one team attempted problem E; all three failed to solve the problems.