Steve Landman, 62, had to sell his suburban Chicago dental practice after being diagnosed with anti-MAG peripheral neuropathy, an auto-immune disease that can cause muscle weakness, numbness and loss of motor skills. Due to the disease, Landman has been having difficulty walking and he hopes that his prized comic collection could pave the way for treatments.
Landman has been collecting comics since he was a boy, hunting for mint copies from local stores, reports the Associated Press. Even at a young age, Landman preserved each comic by storing it in a plastic sleeve and a cardboard backing. Over the years his collection has expanded to include more than 10,000 comics, and he is going to auction 420 titles in the hopes of raising enough money for treatments.
The auction has been set up by Comic Connect and will run until Dec. 13, but bidding for some titles will end earlier. Vincent Zurzolo, co-owner of the comic auction house, said he expects plenty of bids from fans as Landman's collection features some highly-prized titles. Zurzolo said in a blog post, "With super-hero movies like The Amazing Spider-Man, The Avengers and the upcoming Ant-Man generating incredible interest these days, we’re expecting demand to be high for all of the comics in this very special collection. A portion of the books were offered to the public at the Chicago Comic-Con in August and they sold out in a day and a half. Those books weren’t even the cream of the crop."
Despite available treatments for anti-MAG peripheral neuropathy, none have been shown to be truly effective against the disease. AP notes one type of treatment involves chemotherapy, but that dangerously weakens the immune system and may stop working for the patient anyway.
Landman hopes the attention from the auction leads to new therapy options or advice from others who have the disease. "I would love to hear from one person, any doctor ... or one patient with it who has found something that helped him in any way," he told the AP. The auction house estimates the collection to be worth around $500,000 and to date the auction has already raised more than $125,000 with more than a week left before bidding ends. For bidders, 1961's "Fantastic Four" #1 seems to be the most desirable title with the highest bid at $35,055.
A video of the auction and Landman's collection can be viewed below.