This week's column is Chapter #9 of the story of the 1985 purchase of the Mile High II
collection of 1.5 million comics.
Once I finally had convinced the seller to sign on the dotted line of the contract, I
was then faced with the daunting task of loading the entire warehouse full of comics in
a single day. Fortunately, I had already contracted for four 53' tractor trailers (at
$2,200 each) to be on call for pick-up. In a stroke of luck, there were 4 trucks that had
just unloaded cargos of frozen beef that afternoon at the terminal in Manhattan, and were
about to return to the packing plant in Colorado. The dispatchers were delighted to divert
those trucks over to my location that very same evening. With the deal signed at 5:30, I
already had trucks arriving on location by 9 PM that same evening.
The next morning I got up at the crack of dawn, and contacted the truck drivers. They had
parked overnight in a the parking lot of a newly built shopping center, about one mile
from the warehouse. I gave them directions to the warehouse, and they headed out in a
convoy to the storage unit facility. As they pulled out, I was shocked to see 72 very neat
divits in the brand new asphalt of the shopping center, exactly where the tires of the
trucks had been resting overnight. Clearly, parking tractor trailers (even empty ones) on
newly laid asphalt is a very bad idea. The good news is that the construction company still
had their roller in place, and was apparently still working on the lot, so wiping out the
divits was probably not a big deal. It was, however, a very strange way to start the day.
Once we got the first truck into place, the loading commenced. You would think that loading
a million and a half comics would take a long time, but it was actually not that bad. The
seller had brought a forklift and a pallet jack from his main warehouse. One of the truck
drivers volunteered to run the forklift, and he kept a steady stream of pallets flowing into
the back of the trucks. As the pallets were set on the end of each truck, they were grabbed
by a team inside that was working with the pallet jack. It took 26 pallets to fill each
trailer (2 rows of 13). The greatest complication we faced was that many of the pallets
were unstable, and had to be restacked. Once that task was accomplished, however, loading
the trucks was a breeze. By 6 PM, we had completely filled all four trucks, each with
44,000 pounds (20,000 KG) of comics. The drivers then headed out in a convoy toward
Interstate 80. Once they crossed over into New Jersey, the lead trucker gave me a call,
and I turned over $100,000 in cashier's checks to the seller.
The next day (Sunday) I took the two staff members I had brought with me from Colorado to
the airport. Afterwards, Mike Kott and I headed for the seller's main warehouse. He had
told us that there were a few comics, and some comics related items, still stored there,
and that we could take all that we found. It was rather eerie wandering around in that huge
building all by ourselves, but it was also a lot of fun. Mike distinctly recalls me being in
a very euphoric mood, and launching into a rousing chorus of Don Henley's "Smuggler's Blues"
when we chanced to find an unopened bundle of 300 copies of AVENGERS #32 laying in an odd
corner. It was quite giddy to have already shipped over 1,500,000 comics, and to still be
This particular warehouse had very high ceilings, mostly utilized for immensely tall
five-high pallet racking. In one corner of the building, however, there was a wooden
mezzanine. Prowling through that old attic we chanced upon a huge pile of the old Marvel
Day-Glo greeting cards that had been printed during the early 1970's. Pigeons had been
roosting above the pile, however, so we had to carefully remove the top layers of soiled
cards in order to salvage the good ones underneath. We ultimately were able to recover over
60,000 mixed cards.
While digging through pigeon dung was disgusting work, a few feet from the away Day-Glo
cards I found something far worse. Right from the beginning, the seller had been very
candid about the fact that his father was in prison for selling pornography. I had thought
that a bit strange, as selling porno is a victimless crime, and my understanding at the
time was that a (rare) porno conviction usually resulted in heavy fines and/or a suspended
sentence. I had assumed that his father may have actually had tax problems concurrent with
the porno charges, and that those were what actually sent him to jail. The 4' X 4' pallet
bin I discovered, however, was filled to the brim with what appeared to be glossy originals
of images that were far from victimless. I consider myself to be quite the defender of the
First Amendment, but if these guys had anything to do with the creation or distribution of
those vile images, they deserved to not only go to jail, but also to burn in Hell. I don't
know if I've ever been so revolted in my entire life, before that time, or in the 18 years
As with most situations, however, nothing is ever cut-and-dried. Just because a bin of
filth was sitting tucked away in a back corner the seller's warehouse, I had no way of
actually knowing if he had anything to do with it. For all I knew, it could have belonged
to the previous tenant of the warehouse. More importantly, there wasn't a damn thing I
could do about it. All I could do was to try and get out of there as quickly as I could.
I thought I could eventually forget about that damn bin of glossy photographs as the
years went by, but as it turned out, it is the single strongest single image that sticks
with me from that entire historic deal.
To be continued...
Mile High Comics, Inc.
Attn: Chuck Rozanski
2151 W. 56th Ave.
Denver, CO 80221