J.C. Vaughn had a busy year – but every year is busy for him. You might know him from The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, Gemstone’s The Scoop, all the very best comic conventions (when we have them), or maybe even his comic book work. Ooops! I almost forgot: he’s now a published mystery writer too.
I wanted to catch up with J.C. about a very cool upcoming project: The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide to Lost Universes. It’s more than just a price guide. It’s almost a passport to all your favorite comic universes. I caught up with him and this is what he had to say:
Question 1: What a great idea! How’d you come up with this concept?
J.C. Vaughn: There were four main things that went into the concept. First, we’re always looking for ways to build on the incredible foundation Bob Overstreet and Steve Geppi have given us through their combined fifty-one years of ownership of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide thus far.
Second, for whatever reason, I’m completely intrigued by the topic, which started when I got my first Atlas-Seaboard comics (Ironjaw #1 and #4) in 1976.
Third, I put a good bit of effort into helping out on a DEFIANT fanzine and spent a fair amount of time online in groups for the original Valiant, Marvel’s New Universe, and Malibu’s Ultraverse. I think these are small but hardcore, under-served groups of passionate collectors.
Fourth, with all the record prices being paid for many comics, suddenly these affordable and mostly accessible comics in finite sets are very appealing to collectors who might otherwise be priced out of the market. Put all that together, and you get The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide To Lost Universes. I think the fact that this book is also a Photo-Journal as well as a price guide means that collectors and dealers will be using it well beyond the shelf-life of its pricing information.
Question 2: What was the first “lost universe” you were most eager to research?
JCV: I’m relatively crazy for Atlas-Seaboard and have subjected most of my close friends and associates to it for years. I’ve been researching it for years. Discovering that other people shared my curiosity for it only made it worse. I’m also pretty fond of DEFIANT, since they introduced me to Bob and Carol Overstreet, but every one of the companies or imprints we covered has devoted fans, people who love the comics they produced.
Question 3: Do you feel, especially with the recent Marvel movies, that the general public understands the notion of interconnected series better than they have in the past?
JCV: It’s not as if Star Wars, Star Trek, and other franchises hadn’t introduced the concept to pop culture fans and the culture as a whole, but perhaps we could point to tighter continuity being an element significantly furthered by the Marvel films in particular. I think their financial success has certainly made the culture as a whole more aware of and more accepting of our characters, and they now have a great understanding that comic books are the source material for so much.
Question 4: Were there any lost universes that you almost forgot, but included at the last minute?
JCV: Not really because the list is still growing, and we’re already working on the second edition!
Question 5: What Lost Universe didn’t make the cut?
JCV: The only things that didn’t/won’t make the cut are things that aren’t universes. For instance, I love DEFIANT, but Broadway, which followed – and which had some wonderful comics – doesn’t seem like it was a single universe.
As far as things not being in this first edition, without a doubt this is NOT because they didn’t make the cut, but because they will be in the second edition. At 640, full-color pages, there was only so much room in the first one. The second one will include Fawcett’s Marvel Family, Timothy Truman’s Scout mini-universe at Eclipse, Marvel 2099 and Ultimate Marvel, and several others, so again we’ll be covering the Golden Age to the recent past.
And I’m sort of sketching out Volume 3 at this point, as well. More to come.
Question 5 and a Half: If you could resurrect any one lost universe, which one would it be? And why?
JCV: This is a bit like my favorite Beatles song. I could give you an emphatic answer, and then ten minutes later give you a completely different, equally emphatic answer.
EC: Thanks J.C.! We’ll let it be. Good luck with the book!
The book will be available on February 16, 2022, and can be pre-ordered on Gemstone Publishing’s website.
The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide to Lost Universes
By Robert M. Overstreet, J.C. Vaughn & Scott Braden
The highly collectible world of lost universes gets a brand-new specially focused, full-color edition of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide that also serves as a Photo-Journal of all the comics featured. From in-depth looks at the original Milestone and Valiant to Tower’s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents and Charlton’s superheroes, and from Topps’ Kirbyverse and the MLJ/Archie heroes to Malibu’s Ultraverse and Marvel’s New Universe, this full-color book dives deep into Atlas-Seaboard, Comics Greatest World, Continuity, Defiant, Future Comics, Triumphant and more. Not only is packed with images and prices, but it also includes creator and collector interviews and insights.