Crime

Comic books like these great for meth-profits laundering

One of the more unusual aspects of the enormous meth ring authorities announced they busted yesterday was the alleged conspirators' chosen instrument for cleaning their dirty money: classic comic books. Investigators seized approximately 100 boxes of comics, including first-edition Batmans and Supermans in plastic sheaths to protect their value. As Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said at a news conference about the 41 arrests, "What we are talking about is money laundering -- a means to have something of value that can easily be converted to cash but keeps you from having stashes of cash around."

It's a smart method, since comics from the art form's golden age can go for thousands of dollars, as a quick visit to eBay confirms. Superman No. 3, seen here, is currently priced at $9,500 -- although interested parties have the option of making a lower offer. And good news: Shipping is free! Superman Annual #1 is an even bigger bargain, with a starting price of just $7,750, and free shipping, too. And for someone who wants an instant collection, issues one through twenty of Superman's 1939 run can be had for $69,999. And you thought you couldn't get those titles for less than seventy thou.

The meth kings' comic-book treasure trove was reportedly worth $500,000, and if the accused dealers are convicted, the government will likely auction off their colorful booty. For comic-book guys, the idea of such a bonanza hitting the market is more powerful than a dose of... well, you know.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts