I was talking comics with the gang on the weekend and the topic of August came up. August 1st is here and that means we’ll soon have August sales data popping up on GPA. In a volatile market, whether it’s up, down or all around, people look more and more for trends as a new month dawns. What did they teach us back in economics class – that two quarters in a row of negative growth means we are in a recession? Can we make some similar definitions around comic book prices? I think it was June when people started seeing a lot more red down arrows on the charts, July was much the same and now the collecting community is nervously awaiting the August numbers.
The comic book marketplace is full of variety in eras, genres, publishers and countless collecting strains that have their own market trends often independent and sometimes impervious to trends affecting other segments of the market. I’d like to know whether large swaths of the market suffering could actually help other segments of the market. Perhaps we are seeing it in the health of the raw market, especially in the $10 to $50 books. Perhaps collectors are selling their mid-grade Marvel Bronze Age keys and buying truly scarce Golden Age? We’ll need a lot more data to get a good read on this but personally, I know a couple of guys selling off their more common comics for scarcer ones, thinking that scarcity could offer more growth and less volatility.
I was writing up a Captain Canuck lot for next week’s eBay auction when I spotted this ad, in Captain Canuck #14. Doug Sulipa’s Comic World out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, threw an ad in for their comic subscription service. Captain Canuck #14 was published back in 1981, that’s 41 years ago and I shudder to think how many comics Doug Sulipa has delivered to the collecting community. His ad boasts over 650,000 comics in stock! Mr. Sulipa is a national treasure as far as I’m concerned, he’s made so many collectors happy over the years and he’s made his fair share of comic investors some handsome returns over the years. Hats off to Doug Sulipa.
My cover of the week ended up being a toss-up between a Joe Maneely Kid Colt Outlaw cover and Bob Brown’s great cover to Challengers of the Unknown #62. I think the ghost of Chris Meli scared me off the Kid Colt as it was more a standing-around cover. Here I love the use of the light from the fire, I love the composition and I love the strong colours. Great cover.
I found this funky Steve Ditko splash in Tales of the Mysterious Traveler #11. I kept staring at it trying to figure out where the portal begins so I figured I’d let you stare at it too. Ditko splashes are generally a bit more simplistic from this era so I’m enjoying the extra work he’s put in.
Our weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange eBay auction ended last night and I was amazed at how well this run of Fantasy Masterpieces #1 to 8 did, fetching $143.50. It wasn’t too long ago these books were in my bargain bins.
“I’m not dead yet!” “Oh don’t be such a baby!” Anyway much better choice than a standing around cover. It is interesting to me how different emphases the Code decayed at different rates. This looks a lot like a PCH cover, but by then I guess this level of supernatural horror was acceptable. How about skulls – could you use skulls by this time?
My take on the market is that it is definitely moving in different directions depending upon the era/scarcity/subject. I don’t see much decay in Golden Age, and some seems extraordinarily strong (say Captain America and other Timely war covers). However a lot of stuff seems to have dropped back to 2018 levels – which is not terrible, because at the time those were very strong prices. I think the picture for the near future is still good unless we see some serious unexpected global effect: another pandemic, war, etc. I don’t think just a recession at this point will look like 2012 for this market, I don’t think people are giving up on comics like they were then. (If we get enough Disney clunkers we might head back that way.) People got overenthusiastic especially about plentiful higher mid-grade books. I notice silver/bronze 9.8s hanging in there well and in many cases hitting it out of the park (espceially some DC books), but common Marvel 9.0s have been in trouble.
The Ditko splash is cool. That kind of thing bothered me as a kid – I think that’s why I didn’t like Ditko at the time – gave me existential heebie-jeebies.
For a guy who likes his 9.0 raw Marvels…I’m having a ball!!!! I’ve bought more in the past week then in the previous 3 months…
lots of high grade stock coming onto the market and a lack of nutters buying them at ridiculous prices means my reading box is coming along very nicely, books purchased in the last week:
Astonishing Tales 28,30,33
Avengers: 110,112-118, 164,165
Fantastic Four: 168 (Luke Cage!), 205 (nova corp)
Tomb of Dracula; 7,8,14,28
X-Men: 109, 128, 137
and that’s the last week!!! It’s a buyers market…and I’m buying!
Good pick ups Spider, and I agree, its a great time to pick things up at what seems sane prices.
Chris! I didn’t mean to shock you whith the ‘ghost’ term, we all know you’re still going stong, especially digging out those nice Romance books. I tend to agree with your assessment of the market, I think there are a lot of participants but like you I also think Marvel/Disney have to keep sending us the next wave of new collectors so lets hope their next phase is a good one.
From what I have seen so far Marvel/Disney’s “next phase” is pretty dismal and not likely to attract many new fans. Black Widow, Shang Chi and Eternals were, in my opinion dismal. Action galore and no heart. Spider-man: No Way Home was pretty good, but Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness seemed like about ten movies struggling to get out. Good lord, choke! Sorcery, witchcraft, monsters, zombies, and the good doctor didn’t even know the name of Shuma Gorath, for cryin’ out loud! An “ocotpus?!” It’s frickin’ Shuma Gorath!!! And how did Wundagore, home of High Evolutionary, become the repository for the Darkhold?! I guess I expect a higher degree of respect for the original material, since I am a comic book collector first and foremost, who happens to like some of the films.
I just did a bit of digging about Shuma Gorath, and it turns out Marvel doesn’t actually own the rights to that name! That’s why Doctor Strange calls it an “octopus” even though he has encountered it numerous times in the comics and should recognize it. So, despite the fact that the “octopus” looks exactly like Shuma Gorath, it isn’t! So don’t go getting excited about that issue of Marvel Premiere #10 which Overstreet cites as the “1st app. of Shuma Gorath.” Apparently, despite what anybody calls it, or whatever it might resemble, it’s just an octopus.
Agree on your commentary Mel!
Shang Chi was such a disappointment – it was obviously just a blatant attempt to get into Chinese cinemas, really big market there that Disney needs to address – but talk about using the name only, I was shaking my head the whole time thinking ‘what has this got to do with the actual character?’…it’s such a shame too as the original material would have made an amazing movie that would have actually made sense. I can understand how culture has shifted and some aspects of the books aren’t as sensitive as we’d like to be and could be enhanced…but then they just ‘throw some dragons at it’ which seemed like the exact kind of racial stereotyping that they wanted to avoid. The whole thing was seemed like a marketing exercise. It was all a giant cringe to me.
I’m personally of the opinion that whilst the MCU may have contributed to a general rise in Marvel back issues however it is also a fantastic destroyer of value in books to due to their numerous failures. Can anyone name a book that has sustained it’s higher value after a trailer/movie, to my knowledge they all return to where the market was with some of them dropping even further after the vandalisation of the character.
Mel, I have homework for you: I’m thinking of nominating Daredevil #193 into our ‘great bargain books’ column…it’s a stand alone, with a great little plot. Klaus pencils, Larry Hama plot…it’s certainly not a #191 or Harlon Ellison’s #208 but it’s pretty good!
Spider, I am so with you on that Daredevil! Janson is, quite honsetly, the main reason people rave about Frank Miller. Many of the issues of Daredevil which they “collaborated” on were from very rough layouts by Miller, brilliantly brought to life by Janson. I don’t want to knock Miller, but, seriously, the artistic genius in that run was not the one most people credit.