By Todd Shogun
Yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Is this guy crazy?! A whole web page dedicated solely to ALBEDO Volume 1, Issue 2?!! What gives???".... Well, to tell you the truth, this was my idea, after several requests from members of the UY Dojo to have me send images and such about this particular comic book. The end result is this here page... Just appreciate it!!!
A History of Albedo Volume 1, Number 2
Published by Steve Gallacci's Thoughts and Images, Albedo Vol.1, No. 2, was his second effort in creating a successful anthropomorphic 'zine, among the likes of Joshua Quagmire's Cutey Bunny and Eastman and Laird's original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's a much coveted item among Usagi fans, as it contains his first ever appearance in the comic book scene. Extremely hard-to-find, not to mention damned expensive if you do find one, this book was never reprinted, nor will it ever be. Never, ever, EVER... that is, unless someone counterfeits it like they did with Cerebus #1 or TMNT #1.
Steve assures me that the main reason why the book will never be reprinted is that the original negatives are long lost, and most of the original art is scattered. And reprinting from an actual issue would produce a reprint much less in quality compared to the first run. So don't get your hopes up! Here's all the data:
Publishing Date: November 1984
The repro quality of the issue is basically the same as Albedo #3, which isn't nearly as hard to find. The issue also contains an Erma Felna background information page and two pages of LOCs. The inside front cover has Gallacci's usual intro stuff, and the inside back cover has ads for the Usagi Yojimbo t-shirt, TMNT, and Cutey Bunny. The back cover features Erma Felna.
Most of the material in Albedo #2 was reprinted elsewhere. The only exception is Lela Dowling's story. The Erma story was reprinted in Gallacci's Command Review Volume One collection, and Sakai's Usagi story was reprinted twice by Fantagraphics Books. It appeared as "The Goblin of Adachigahara" in the Usagi Yojimbo Summer Special and in Usagi Yojimbo Book One. However, "Goblin" did not appear exactly as it did in Albedo #2. During Stan's earliest days as a cartoonist, specifically in the first four issues of Albedo Volume 1, Stan used zip-a-tone conservatively in his artwork. Zip-a-tone is a short-cut way cartoonists use (mainly in black and white art) to show grey tones.
Basically, artists who use it apply cut-out sheets of it to certain areas of their art where they would like to show a darker shade. Stan not only used it in the original "Goblin" artwork, but also on the cover art of Albedo #2, making it difficult to scan, as the zip dots are very finely dispersed.
With Albedo #5's Nilson story, however, Stan decided to stop using zip on his artwork, and at one time later expressed its use as somewhat unartistic. Subsequent reprintings of the early Albedo stories thus have modified artwork, such as the replacement of zip with black (most notably in the Neko Ninja art of Albedo #4's story), or the total subtraction of zip in various panel backgrounds. With the exception of the zip-a-tone, the original "Goblin" artwork is basically the same as in the reprints. The only other difference is the use of Japanese characters as page numbers throughout the story, which was not present in the reprints in order to eliminate redundance.
Print Runs for issues 1-5 of Albedo Vol. 1:
Albedo NR 1 (5-color cover) June 1984 - 500 Copies
Note that the above issues were never reprinted, nor are there plans to ever reprint them!
View the ALBEDO Volume 1, Issue 2 comic page with all the covers.
Check out the Untold Tales of Albedo #2
Exactly how difficult is it to find a copy of Albedo #2 for sale?
To tell you the truth, VERY difficult.
Two-thousand copies were made, but that doesn't mean there are two-thousand available out there for sale. Stan Sakai himself has 10 copies that he will NOT sell, Steve Gallacci's probably got a few stashed away forever, and then there are other pros out there with thier issues that they will not sell (unless you ask...).
But the biggest reason why it's so hard to find is due to there being UY fans like me, who would only sell their copy for about $20,000. If that weren't enough, there are those fans out there who do not have a copy but want one so bad that they will pay up to 200% and beyond for it. And they place back orders all over the country, preventing loose issues from flowing onto any comic book shelves. Of course, you never know what you may find out there, if you look hard enough.
I myself purchased Albedo #2 at the 1989 SDCC for $100 mint, almost fifty times what it was going for only four years earlier. That's to say that at the '85 SDCC, Stan and Steve found it almost impossible to even give them away! I believe it was around '86 when its sale price went through the roof... legend has it that it was even selling for $300 in some places in th 80s!!!
I remember in '88 Steve Gallacci was selling sets of Albedo (including #2) for $300, which pretty much cleaned out his back-stock for good. It was very scarce in the late 80s, but had been spotted at various cons and sometimes at Steve Gallacci's booth for around $100-$200. All of this chaos was due to the Black and White Explosion of 85-86-87, a time of intense speculation among collectors which drove the issue into extreme scarcity.
Recently with the Internet explosion and the coming of eBay and other online auction sites, the issue has popped up for bid many times, one time reaching over $1000. Incredible, but not unwarranted. With only 2000 issues ever made, you can bet that $1000 won't be the higheest this book reaches!
What about the original artwork for Albedo Nr 2, "Goblin"? Well Stan never sells his original art, but he does sell the cover art. David "Wily Pueo" Gravatt, one of the most hardcore collectors of Stan Sakai's work, purchased the cover of Albedo Nr 2 from Stan at the San Diego Comic Con back in 2001. Here's a scan of the cover directly from the original art: