Daniel Campbell is a man of simple means. What I mean by that is he doesn’t complicate things in his life with what is not important. It was a true pleasure to finally speak with Dan, AKA Bear Man, about his business and to get to know the man behind those famous conventions.
BU: Well, Daniel I must admit that it is very nice to finally be able to speak with you. Although we have been working with you for some time now, we just never wound up talking on the phone, so this is good! In fact, it’s great!
BU: So, let’s start with your company name; Although your name implies that you are strictly a comic book dealer, that is not the case, correct?
DC: Yes, that is correct! I guess it didn’t seem necessary to change the business name after the fact.
BU: After the fact?
DC: Well, I did get my start in comic books. I used to have a physical store in New Jersey called “Little Shop of Comics”. So, for about 10 years give or take, comic books were my main collecting interest. Although with many dealers, as you well know, we don’t just collect one thing. Lots of comic dealers also carry toys, trading cards, and other superhero related products.
BU: Understandable. But why the switch? From comics to trading cards?
DC: Believe it or not from about 1993 to 2013 I didn’t do any collecting at all. In fact, I put all my store products in storage and that was it. I was done. Well, so I thought.
BU: Yeah, that is one of the funny things about life, isn’t it? It doesn’t always go the way we think.
BU: So, what happened to change things?
DC: Oh, a little thing I call marriage. My wife and partner, Mary was the reason for my coming out of hiding.
BU: I have to laugh because that is probably one of the main reasons people make changes, isn’t it?
BU: Mary is a sweet woman and obviously smart! She married the right guy and had the foresight to push you a little…. if it’s OK for me to say that.
DC: Well, she did encourage me to start up again. Everything was in storage and I was paying monthly storage fees, and Mary felt that we should just get it all out and start up again. So, we did!
BU: Smart move. But timing is everything, right?
DC: Well, after we got it all out of storage I took a real interest in trading cards…again…Non-sports. I had always liked them, so why not? Another reason is that I was still going to shows in the interim and I noticed that pretty much every dealer had the same things. That’s frustrating as a collector dealer, however, it did give me a great idea! I was determined then to be that guy who offers something different to the public.
The stuff I liked were the cards I remembered as a kid. McHale’s Navy, Gomer Pyle, and of course, always The Beatles. (*but of course!).
DC: So, I began card collecting again and I loved it! I would pick up packs or sets that I was interested in here and there, and before long, I had a nice collection…including Howard the Duck! Haha.
BU: Yeah, Howard doesn’t have the best reputation! *smiles but he sells!
DC: Yes, if I don’t have something people are looking for, I will make a point of looking for that card, that set or pack, whatever it is, and bring it to the next show.
BU: Do you have a preference? Cards, sets, or packs?
DC: I like buying packs because it’s still fun to me to try and get a set together! Just recently I had been putting a set together…. One of my favorites, 1990 Marvel Universe. I managed to get all but two cards to make the set! But I did find them somewhere and that was a good feeling having that set completed.
BU: I noticed that at your shows, you do not allow inappropriate cards, or comics. I am sure a lot of parents appreciate that!
DC: Yes, in fact, we do charge a small fee for shows for adults, but kids always get in free!
BU: Really? Why is that?
DC: Well, Mary and I like to encourage reading in children and if a comic book will do that, then we are all for it! The shows are family oriented.
BU: So, what do kids like in cards?
DC: Mostly packs. Kids love packs!
BU: Do you see trading cards continuing as a reasonable collectible?
DC: SURE! It’s fun! They may not increase a lot in value but there are so many types of trading cards out there, I don’t see it ending any time soon. They have trading cards for just about everything…. T.V. Shows, Comics, Movies…you name it!
BU: What was the most you ever sold a trading cards(s) for?
DC: Hmmmm… a Gomer Pyle Set for about 100.00 maybe? And a Star Trek set for about 125.00. I don’t collect for the monetary value though. I really collect because I like it, and the shows we do offer a great way for a family to spend the day. We even have cosplay costume contests! The adults LOVE the prizes Bags Unlimited donates. It’s great!
BU: Do you see many people protecting their cards?
DC: Oh, yes! I see a lot of folders with the pocket pages you sell…. I am just not into the folders personally, but I certainly use your sleeves. Paper deteriorates quickly. It’s important to protect your paper collectibles. Essential, really.
BU: anything else you want to add?
DC: Well, we do support children’s charities with every convention.
BU: You can’t beat that!!
Bio: Owner/operator of Jersey Shore Comic Book Shows and non-sports cards
2013 to present