Artist releases his 2nd volume; first volume is in its 3rd printing
PROVO — Steve Glenn had a chance to buy a first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon for $100 in 1960, but the then-Brigham Young University student didn’t have the money to snap up what he believed was a bargain.
Glenn still can’t afford to buy one of the original copies of the book, which now fetch about $60,000 each. Instead, he’s decided to settle for 60 first-edition copies of the comic book version of the Book of Mormon.
“They will appreciate in value,” Glenn said. “Anything first edition appreciates in value.”
Sales of the first volume of “The Golden Plates” series exceeded expectations and is already in its third printing. Acclaimed comic book artist and LDS Church member Mike Allred last week released the second volume, subtitled “The Liahona and the Promised Land,” and it is selling fast, too.
“It’s done incredibly well,” said Dave Landa, owner of Dr. Volts Comic Connection in Salt Lake City.
Allred released the first volume in late October. He doesn’t plan to wait seven months between releases again, said Douglas Dial, who sells the series at his Pleasant Grove shop, Fantasy Rules, and serves as an assistant editor on the project.
“The reason for the delay between Volume 1 and Volume 2 was Mike’s contractual obligation to finish a Batman story for DC Comics,” Dial said.
That story will appear in a special comic book DC Comics will release to celebrate Allred and his work.
Allred doesn’t know how many of the 64-page volumes it will take to complete “The Golden Plates” series, but Glenn will buy 60 first printings of each. The LDS memorabilia collector will then have 60 complete sets.
“I’ll make a limited edition Book of Mormon out of it,” Glenn said. “This will pay for the grandkids to go to college and on (LDS) missions.”
The series is being published with glossy, card-stock covers and full-color illustrations. Each volume sells for $7.99, about $4 more than the average comic book.
Landa sold 200 copies of the first issue, five times his initial order for his Salt Lake shop, where the best sellers are usually the Ultimate Spider-Man, the new Green Lantern series and Superman-Batman books. He increased his initial order on the second volume to 100.
“We’ve had a wide range of buyers,” Landa said. “Some are regular customers, but there have also been a lot of people from the neighborhood who don’t usually read comics. I have a lot of people giving them as gifts.”
Dial has sold nearly 2,000 copies of the first volume from his Pleasant Grove store, including mail orders placed by phone or via the Internet. He took a shipment of 500 copies of Volume 2 on Monday and another 500 on Friday.
“We get people who say they never thought they’d come into a comic book store but think this is so much fun,” Dial said. “We get people of all ages in a mostly LDS demographic.”
The first volume covered the first 14 chapters of the Book of Mormon. The second volume picks up the story in 1 Nephi 15 and continues through 2 Nephi 27, and it includes the story of Nephi breaking his bow.
Dial said Volume 3 probably will be released by September.
Allred, who started out in the business drawing Spider-Man, Superman and the X-Men, is self-publishing the series, and his Web site hypes the series with the bold strokes and capital letters typical of comic books: “The Breathtaking Adventure, Romance, Terror, Joy, and Power of THE BOOK OF MORMON Begins Here.”
It’s just the thing for Glenn, whose great-great-great-grandfather joined the LDS Church two years after the Book of Mormon was published but somehow didn’t think to pay $1.20 for an extra copy to hand down to his great-great-great-grandson.