Jim Wheelock's Comics Collection Stolen In Brattleboro, Vermont

10404067_968827999798769_6998796557804159219_nComic book creator and collector Jim Wheelock writes,

My storage space near Brattleboro, Vermont was robbed recently. It looks like my entire comics collection was taken. It has great personal value to me, and was also part of my retirement plans.

I'm a comics artist and illustrator, myself, best known for illustrating the graphic novel, Inferno Los Angeles. I live in Los Angeles, and am attempting to deal with things by remote control. I'm also traveling to Europe for about a week, from 1/25 – 2/3.

The culprit, identified to me as William Brown by the Brattleboro Police, was originally arrested for breaking into several units in the building. After the first break-ins, security cameras were installed, and he was videotaped breaking into a storage unit. He was released and has an arraignment scheduled. This was before I was aware of what was missing. In later interview, he confessed to stealing four boxes of comics, and claims he sold them to two dealers for very little money at a flea market in Wilmington, Vermont. He mentioned "Archie" comics specifically, and said he sold two boxes to a man, and two to a woman from New York state. He also said he sold stolen goods at flea markets in Hubbardston and Agawam, MA. He can no longer access the building.

He told police that he had a comics collection himself. Obviously, it might be mine.

I live in Los Angeles, California. I had a friend go in and dig through the rubble.

It looks like my entire collection of several thousand comic books from  the 1950s – 1990s is gone. These were in about twenty white "long boxes" about three feet long and 12 inches by 10 inches or so. The boxes had distinctive handwritten labels by me with titles (Spider-Man, Thor, etc). This includes a collection of underground comics from the '60s, including Zap Comics and others. There were also comics in shorter and odd-shaped boxes, including at least one reading "Published Work" (I'm an artist and illustrator). This includes multiple copies of the horror trade paperback, Taboo. Most of the comics were in clear plastic bags, and the boxes were lined with plastic trash bags. Some were also labelled by artist's names (Joe Kubert, Alex Toth and others).

The books largely did not have backboards. Some were packed several to a bag, and some were not in bags, As I say, the boxes would be identifiable by me. The books probably also have a distinctive "barn"  odor, making them less valuable, and possibly harder to sell.

I had some of my own artwork in portfolios. It's unclear if any of that is missing. Much of it would have my signature on it. Also some film lobby cards and posters.

My LP record collection appears to have been taken as well  about 14 crates of record albums, some of which had distinctive handwritten markings or were promotional copies. These include punk, rock, jazz and blues and some unusual records like Forrest J. Ackerman's Music for Robots.

I will be in Europe from January 25th until February 3rd. I may not be able to get my phone messages during that time, but should have access to e-mail at various points on my trip.

I suspect if someone in the Northeast U.S. approaches you with a large collection or important issues such as mentioned it may be mine. He may also be selling on Craig's List or eBay.

Here's a partial list of what's missing as best as possible at the moment.

This does amount to Grand Larceny as I understand it. Some of the books are worth hundreds of dollars each. Even if each were only worth a dollar, we're talking a couple thousand dollars. We're talking about around twenty long boxes of comics from the '60s to the '90s, most in fair to good condition.

These include The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man from #2 on, The Hulk from #3 on, The Avengers, Daredevil, Sgt. Fury, X-men, Conan The Barbarian, Dr. Strange, Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D.. and others from #1 on. Issues of Tales To Astonish, Howard The Duck, Journey Into Mystery, Tales Of  Suspense, Strange Tales including the origins of Dr Strange, Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, S.H.I.E.L.D. and others.virtually every book Marvel and DC put out in the 60s is represented by large runs.DC books include '60s on long runs of The Flash, Batman, Detective, Superman, Action, Adventure, Super-boy, Our Army At War, Enemy Ace, G.I. Combat, Sea Devils, Showcase, Brave And Bold, Star Spangled War Stories, Unexpected, Sandman and other Vertigo titles, and many others.

Comics from other companies include runs of Herbie, Adventures In The Unknown, Magnus Robot Fighter, The Three Rocketeers… the list is endless. There were also Creepy from #2 on, Vampirella and Eerie from #1 on, Also, a few 1940s books, include a Spirit prize comic, some coverless Sensation Comics, a couple of Incredible Science Fictions, a '40s issue of Detective Comics in near mint, and more. There also were runs of Dell and Charlton books.

Also missing is a box containing books with my own work, including numerous copies of Taboo.
There are a number of unusual parts of the collection: A large number of 1950s Atlas/Timely war comics, various obscure humor books, such as Superduck and the mad imitator, Eh!. These would likely identify the collection.

Again, the robbery was in the Brattleboro, Vermont area. They could be anywhere in New England,  New York or the Northeast.

I will be in Europe from January 25th until February 3rd. I may not be able to get my phone messages during that time, but should have access to e-mail at various points on my trip. My e-mail is jwhelok@earthlink.net.

If you find out anything, please contact Officer Adam Petlock at the Brattleboro Police Department — 802-257-7950 or adam.petlock@state.vt.us

Brown certainly appears to be known by police.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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