For one Las Vegas man, super villains don't just exist on the pages of comic books. They exist in real life as well and one is responsible for the theft of $100,000 worth of comic books.
According to News 3 Las Vegas, two suspects broke into Daniel Ballard's Life Storage unit on Thursday, December 27 and stole 12 boxes of comic books totaling around 3000 individual books, including several valuable issues.
The crown jewel of it was the Amazing Spider-Man," Ballard said. "I had the entire run, 1-170, volume one and two. I had a lot of other issues. The first appearance of Venom, Death of Captain Stacy, and the first appearance of the Punisher."
And it wasn't just Ballard’s personal collection that was stolen. Some of the books belonged to a charity Ballard works with, Critical Care Comics. The charity delivers comics to children in hospitals. Ballard told KTNV Las Vegas that the whole theft brought him to tears.
"I felt like such a dork," Ballard said. "You know, because I'm a grown man crying over comics."
Ballard also questions if the thieves, who were captured on surveillance video, knew the comics were there. He told the news outlet that the thieves were able to figure out the gate and storage door access codes, then cut their way into his storage unit door -- the only unit that was broken into.
"When they broke in, they went straight to my unit," Ballard said. "They only broke into my unit. And they only took the comics."
It's a sentiment that owner of local Las Vegas comic book store Velvet Underground Comics Steven Riddle echoed, noting that the collection contains some very valuable, sought-after books.
"I feel bad for him that he put those in a warehouse because not to save his place, but by the looks at the hole in the warehouse door it looks like people knew that those were in there," Riddler told News 3.0comments
Comic books can be very valuable items, making them something of a target for thieves. Last year, a handyman hired by Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada stole nearly a quarter million dollars worth of comics and art after being hired to repair water damage on one of Quesda's properties. Ballard, who spent more than 20 years collecting the comics and planned to one day hand them down to his son, is hopeful that someone will be able to identify the thieves in the surveillance photo and lead police to the books.
"One comic in there alone is worth five thousand dollars," Ballard said. "Just one book."