Metropolis Collectibles: Meet the Architects of the Impossible Collection
On March 23rd, the DC Chapter of the Impossible Collection, the incredible vintage comic book collection owned by Ayman Hariri, was presented for a one day viewing at the St. Pancras Hotel in London. “When I began collecting 16 years ago, it was never my goal to build a collection like this. I’ve always loved superheroes and what they stand for in the world. I was just collecting comics I liked, Batman being my first. Recently we took a look at what we had built and realized this would be something special to share with the world.”
For comic novices and collecting veterans alike, the Impossible Collection is a feast for the eyes. The crown jewels of the collection are the two highest-graded copies of the first appearance of Superman in Action Comics #1 from 1938. The complete Impossible Collection, both the DC and Marvel Chapter, will go on a public tour, beginning in London. Once the dates will be announced, details of the tour and the collection will be available through Hariri’s “True to Life” social media app Vero. The mission of the Impossible Collection is to share the importance and history of the characters created within the pages of these comic books. The ever-increasing popularity of superheroes around the world, through comic books, TV, animation, and movies like the recently released blockbuster Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, show that now is the right time for the Impossible Collection to begin its tour.
But who were the architects behind Hariri’s Impossible Collection? Fresh off the premiere of the Impossible Collection, the co-owners of Manhattan based Metropolis Collectibles, the world’s largest dealership for vintage comic books, Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo sat down to talk about the challenges of making the impossible possible.
“We didn’t start with the Impossible Collection as our goal. This was a collection of characters that Ayman liked. It was our job to find the pieces of the puzzle and put them together,” states Vincent Zurzolo, Metropolis COO. “Being in the vintage comic market for over 40 years, there is one thing in particular I learned, and that is patience,” offers Metropolis CEO, Stephen Fishler. “Slowly and methodically, we hand-picked each piece for the collection. Sometimes we waited years for the right piece to make itself available from a collector who was finally ready to pass the comic on to a new collection.”
“In a way we are treasure hunters. We scour the earth to find vintage comics. I’ve traveled to five different continents buying and selling vintage comics. It’s my passion and I feel so fortunate to be doing this for over 30 years,” adds Zurzolo. “Even with over 150,000 vintage comics in inventory we are still buying every day. I guess it’s the thrill of the hunt” states Fishler.
After 16 years, with a great sense of satisfaction, Mr. Hariri says he feels his collection is complete. “We’ve built many great collections for collectors and investors around the world, including actor Nic Cage’s, but nothing is quite like the Impossible Collection, states Fishler. “Seeing the collection on display in the amazing St. Pancras Hotel was sheer nirvana for us. The Hansom Room, with its high ceilings, gothic arches and industrial yet classic Victorian feel, was one part Hall of Justice, one part Bat Cave and one part Fortress of Solitude. Hosting the event, giving tours to hundreds of people and getting to talk comics all day and night was just such a thrill for me. I can’t wait to do it again when the tour kicks off,” exclaims Zurzolo.
“Other than the breadth and quality, what sets it apart is the fact that most collectors don’t share their treasures with the public. This is a very unique situation. The wonderful thing about bringing it from out of the shadows to the public is that this is another way to state to the world that the comic book, as an important art form, has arrived. It is hard to label comics as “just for kids” when you see a collection like this on display,” adds Fishler.