This interview series is with a life long collector and longtime comic con promoter Jesse Noble. Through various FB groups I've bought comics from him and also have been to Gem City Comiccon myself. It was a great con! There were lots of dealers and great books. It helped me fill one of my Spawn runs a few years ago. Unfortunately the pandemic hit and we all relied heavily on online sales to fill our comic urges. So after buying several books from him I asked if he'd have time to do an interview for the blog. If you're within distance, I highly recommend checking out this show as I can't wait to see what I'll be able to add to my collection this year after going!
What got you into comics?
- I inherited some comics from a family member in 1979 or so. I looked at them. I colored some covers. I didn’t read them until maybe 1983. I became a fan. I made it my purpose to read every Amazing Spider-Man. By 1990 I had them all but #1, and I sold them. I bought a guitar.
Favorite childhood memory about comics?
- Just reading them on rainy days or in bed before lights off. The first book I remember reading and understanding was ASM 137. That is a memory up there with jumping off the high dive.
What got you into doing the Gem City Comiccon?
- I tried to open a comic shop and it just never got off the ground. I couldn’t find a lease in a building that was in my neck of the woods, but I had a 100 or so boxes from a few collections I started buying. So I just headed out and started doing comic shows, Columbus, Indianapolis, Detroit. It was at one of these shows I said “I can do this”. I had a partner and we found a hall. That was 2006. We are still going.
Biggest mistake you made when you started doing it?
- There is a big list of expensive mistakes I have made over the years. I make them all the time. When I first started I tried to do it all. Not just micromanaging but literally doing it all. Over the years I have learned to delegate and let the small things go. I still get stressed out. I am really unbearable at the show. I am like a tornado that runs on red bull.
What’s your favorite character or title to collect?
- Spider-man is my number one. After that Batman and Hellboy.
Next big thing for your personal collection? Your grail?
- I deal comics. The things I started off thinking were great and “grails" are not the books I think of that way now. With few exceptions I have handled bought and sold every big book. I have learned with enough money you can get any of the grails out there. Need an Action #1? I can get you one. It is only a question of money. There are some books out there that even with a truck load of money you couldn’t get. They are not expensive, they are just rare. Find me a copy of the last Little Lulu in a Whit-man 3 pack.
Most unique or favorite thing in your collection?
- There is just never just one, right? My unbound Love and Rockets #1. My signed Visions #1 signed by Neal Adams. Books that I was drawn into. A book my friends write that I have an illustration in.
Raw or Graded? Why?
- I hear people talk about this all the time. I don’t think it is a useful conversation. People don’t get to tell me how to collect anything. I only have about 90 or so personal collection books that are graded. I have 1000’s that aren’t. If you are looking to add resale value then you have to grade them, but not all of them. The #181? Yeah! The #129 YES. The mid-grade tales 71? Meh.
Best find or score?
- Again, it's not what you think. Buying and selling comics is about percentages. I found my Love and Rockets #1 in a street sale. I once answered an ad in the trading post and found a "Blood is the Harvest”. Those are great finds but, my best score was a store that was going out of business and they offered me everything for pennies. There was no book there valued over $5, but there were 70,000 of them. That store put me on the road for 6 months and paid for my car and a deposit on the house.
Advice to new sellers or collectors.
- Sellers, You don’t need keys to start. It is easier to sell 100 $1 books than 1 $100 book. Sell stuff people want to read. Try dollar comics. I still do that. Comics are easy to buy, hard to sell. Learn to sell the cheap stuff. It will pay in the end. Don’t be afraid to be the cheapest dealer in the room. you never know what it will lead to. I sell books in a Facebook auction group and I sell those books cheap, but I have 30 want lists, those are never cheap
- Collectors, Collect what you like. You will always find value in that. Get to know your dealer or LCS person. You will get deals and little things all the time if you know how they take their coffee or their birthday. Lastly, haggle with cash. Don’t haggle a book down 10% then try to pay with a card. No one likes that person. All the dealers talk and you will get a rep for good or for bad.