Summary: The FBI must find not only a killer but a rare comic book while investigating a robbery at a comic book convention.
Original air date: November 23, 2007 (US)
Written by: Cheryl Heuton & Nicolas Falacci
Directed by: John Behring
183: Panels of graphic art
1: Rare ashcan edition
Family Concepts: (character development)
- Charlie’s book is on the best-seller’s list and he is interviewed by Vanity Fair.
- David is an avid comic book collector
- Colby is looking to meet someone
- Larry’s favorite comic book character was Galactus (Fantastic Four)
- Ross Moore draws Larry as a super-hero named the Quantum Avenger
- Colby [regarding a suspect running in a towel]: Who’s gonna tackle this guy?
David: Who ever gets there last!
- Colby: You dropped your cape, Superboy.
- Megan: Naked car-jacking … it’s the worst kind.
- Charlie: Larry, it was never my intent to go down in history as some crack-pot expert.
- Colby [to David]: For a minute there I almost believed a man could fly.
- Alan: Charlie thinks math is beautiful and he wants everyone to love it the way he does.
- Don: We haven’t done anything outside of work for awhile.
David: There’s a life outside of work?
Colby: That’d be news to me.
A rare comic book, an ashcan edition of Ultra World number one, is brought to a comic convention by it’s owner Miles Sklar. Moments after he shows it to the gathered crowd and locks it in a case, two gunmen demand the case be opened. they steal the book and shoot two people killing one of them, a security guard. Don and David interview Seth Marlowe, a comic book artist and historian. He explains the book is probably worth two million dollars or so, if it can be shown to be authentic, Sklar has never had the book checked. Marlowe also tells David Sklar is an example of what’s wrong with comic book collecting and feels the Ultra World book should be returned to the original artist, Ross Moore.
Before the FBI can really get started finding the book, rumors surface that it’s been sold or is being sold on the black market. It turns out someone has made fourteen copies of the Ultra World book stolen from Sklar and has sold them. Charlie works out a hot zone using geographic profiling to show an area where the seller probably lives; an area that includes a comic book store. David and Colby track down Mark Vaughn, a petty grifter who bought roughly $20,000 in collectable comics and left his address information with the store. Vaughn is arrested, but he isn’t an artist and he’s not the killer type, Megan thinks he is working with at least two other people.
Charlie works out that all fourteen of the fakes were drawn by the same person and asks Marlowe for examples of other comic book artists who could draw the same was Ross Moore does, Marlowe explains the Moore inspired an entire generation of artists but does give Charlie several examples of artist who have a similar enough style to be able to forge Moore’s work. While talking to Larry about economics, Charlie figures out who the forger has to be. He explains to Don and Megan the elegantly simple solution is Seth Marlowe faked the Ultra World book for two reasons: to discredit Miles Sklar and to return the real book to Ross Moore, a good friend of Marlowe’s.
Megan and Colby track down the shooter as Gordon Garrity, a man Vaughn knew while in prison. Garrity shoots himself while trying to escape from the FBI, but the team is able to prove a connection from Garrity and Vaughn to Seth Marlowe, both of them are fans of Marlowe’s and wrote to him while in prison. Marlowe is arrested after a charity auction selling the fourteen fakes. He explains again that he wanted the book to go back to Ross Moore and is shocked to find out Sklar willingly gave the book back.