Don and Maggie Thompson have an amazing and important history as part of the comic book industry. In 1960 they put out a mimeographed one-sheet called Harbinger, it told about their upcoming project, one of the earliest fanzines called Comic Art. The fanzine ran irregularly from 1961 to 1968. In 1967 they started another magazine called Newfangles where they focus on the comic fans instead of the industry news. The two are sometimes called the “George and Martha Washington of comics fandom” for how much they brought the fans closer to the creators over the years.
The couple had started a series of fan awards that then got picked up by a publication called The Comic Buyers Guide, a trade newspaper created by Alan Light in 1971. The fan awards appeared in issue 14 and by issue 19 the Thompsons began writing a column called Beautiful Balloons that would run in alternating issues. In 1983, Light sold CBG to Krause Publication and the Thompson’s were hired as co-editors. With their hiring the production values of the paper went up, the format became more stable, the fan awards were brought back and things we take for granted now were created like a highly detailed list of what was shipping week to week.
The couple continued writing and editing for the magazine until Don’s health began to fail in 1993, writing some of his final reviews from a hospital bed. He passed away in May of 1994 at the age of 58. He had reviewed more than 10,000 comics in his career. When word of his passing got out, the first condolence note was faxed in by Neil Gaiman.
Maggie would continue editing CBG until the beginning of this year when the magazine ceased publication. She has since started writing a regular column for the San Diego Comic Con and has a website/blog of her own. http://www.maggiethompson.com/
As you would expect in over fifty years of being in the comic industry and being fans, the Thompson’s amassed an impressive collection of comics and original art. That collection is being put up for auction in two separate events, the first will be held November 21st – 23rd in Beverly Hills, CA. The second will be February 2014 in Dallas, TX.
It’s being referred to by Heritage Auctions as the $1 Million Don/Maggie Thompson Pedigree Collection and its part of the 1,700 lots of comics they’ll be auctioning off later this month. Among the pieces being auction is a copy of The Avengers #1 (CGC NM 9.4) considered one of the finest copies out there and estimated to bring in $80,000 plus.
The collection also includes the original cover art for Conan the Barbarian #4 by Barry Windsor-Smith estimated at $50,000 plus. The piece is from 1970 and was done for the adaptation of one of Robert E. Howard’s most popular Conan tales, The Tower Of The Elephant.
Some of the other significant pieces up for auction that day but not from the Thompson’s collection are: One of just four known copies of Tales of Suspense #39, CGC NM+ 9.6, marking the first appearance of Iron Man, which could sell for $200,000+, and one of the highest-graded copies of the origin of Batman, Detective Comics #33, CGC VF 8.0, estimated at $80,000+. A copy of Strange Tales #110, CGC NM+ 9.6, in which Doctor Strange makes his first appearance, is expected to bring $35,000+. Also an original painting by Frank Frazetta depicting a barbarian being jolted by a bolt of lightning from the heavens that could sell for $75,000+. An original October 20th 1968 Sunday strip from Peanuts estimated at $50,000+ Page 14 from Fantastic Four #55 by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott estimated at $50,000+ and a hand painted cover by Carl Barks for Uncle Scrooge #43 estimated at $20,000+.
For more information about the auction visit Heritage Auctions.