Did you ever wonder what your "Cool Free Stuff" was worth?


In the summer of 1993, in the back of Todd McFarlane's Spawn #10 there was the Armature ad below. It wasn't for anything in particular, but it was a way to get Armature out to the public, and I always liked the saying, so I decided to make the ad a Public Service Announcement. Because they had a spare page in the next issue, Todd and Terry ran the ad again. Then a version with a red background ran in Rob Liefeld's Youngblood: Strikefile. In small print at the bottom, it said: "For some Cool Free Stuff, write to Olyoptics, and then gave my old address. Between those three ads, Olyoptics got nearly a thousand responses over the decade. I didn't put an expiration date on it so I still get letters occassionally. In fact, I just got a Cool Free Stuff letter three days ago (Jan, 12 2003). Nowadays I just send letters and a little sketch, since the actual giveaway is long done.


It turned out to be a lot of fun, since all sorts of people sent drawings, and great letters. With the Cool Free Stuff, I sent a little Armature flyer and we had a coloring contest that got over 140 entrants.

Later, at conventions I met some of the people who had received the Stuff. Many of them wondered what their stuff was worth.

Here are some rough ideas about values of the various things we sent.We sent out Color guides, Greylines, Bluelines, printer proofs, and printer ribbons, and a bunch of odd stuff. The value of comic color depends on a variety of factors. The most important two are the title of the comic, and the artist who drew it. Then it comes down to the art on that particular story. Was it a good page? Or was it a really boring page? Then the value comes to the color job we did on it. If it's a cool character, and a good artist, and we colored it well, then it has a higher value than an average to dull page. There are no hard and fast rules to valuation of color. Like many things, it's pretty subjective.



Greylines range in price from about $10 -$25, with a money shot going for $50. These are usually done with felt pen colors, which are fragile, and easily damaged by water. Greylines were mainly done from 1985-1990.

Bluelines are about $15-$75. They are worth more than Greylines because they are on a more stable paper, and are usually done with acrylic airbrush paint and opaque watercolor, whic har a lot more stable colors than the felt pen colors. The blueline paper is much better than the photostat paper. Bluelines date from 1986-1991.

Color Guides range from $10 per book for low-level coded guides, to $100 for a really cool money shot. Now, mind you,I wasn't sending out very many Money shots. I was primarily sending out medium to low grade guides, since I had so many thousands just sitting around. A good color guide range is $10- $50. Color guides have been done for hand separations since the 1940's. These guides were done for my computer separators. They all range from 1988 to 2000.

Printer proofs range in cost from $3 to $10. They are all from the Mitsubishi G650 printer that Olyoptics used for proofing. Many of them had our internal notes on them, s o the people who got them got a little insight into how Olyoptics worked. The last printer proof rolled off our press in 1997.


One thing we did was to work out a little "The cooler your letter, the cooler the stuff we send you" program. You see some people wrote fascinating letters and drew really great stuff. Other people would just write "Send the Free stuff to:" . After a few hundred of those, I had no desire to send them much of anything.Some people were even rude about it.The other people, however, I was really happy to send things to.


When we started to run out of things to send, we started sending out Mitsubishi G650 printer ribbons, which gave people a unique look at the 4 color process. These aren't worth much of anything except as a souvenier.