Headwinds

It was a busy weekend, I had a few guys pop into the warehouse to settle up accounts, catch up a bit and talk comics. One popular topic was the state of the market, current prices and where the market will go from here. The consensus was that it will not return to the inflated levels of the pandemic, there was some differing of opinions as to when we’d bottom out and slowly get back to making some gains. I argued that this is happening in some segments of the market right now while other segments will see still more price drops. I found myself making certain generalizations that can only work if you look at the market as a whole, my theories fall apart if you start putting them beside some micro genres and niche collecting strains.

My take was that the collectible comic market is facing at least three strong headwinds, the first and biggest being the much needed covid correction. The second headwind is the sometimes not realized realization that we are no longer in a popular culture that is hungry for all things comic books. The decade of the 10s saw worldwide popular culture absolutely all in on comic book culture with the apex/climax coming with the release of Avengers End Game movie. Since then the media of TV and Film have not been able to get that mojo back, there is now fatigue where there was once excitement, there is now disillusionment with almost all the comic book properties seemingly caught right in the middle of a culture war, there is no longer awe, the thrill is gone. The industry’s ability to attract new fans in those years filtered down into the back issue market with lots of new investors. The third head wind is pure economics, things were cheaper pre pandemic, rent, food, gas, everything. Borrowing money was the cheapest, people carried mortgages at 1.8% interest, many mortgages are locked in at 3 or 5 years, this year we saw so many people refinance and having to pay an extra $1500 (or more) per month to finance their debts, next year will be the next wave and the year after that the next wave, it will take a couple of more years until we get most of us through this and adjust into the new normal. These three headwinds combined and intertwined have been bad news for collectible comic values, these values will settle where they have to settle, there is no escaping it. As I mentioned above, this is a very macro view, there are plenty of opportunities within the minutiae of the market, lets all put our thinking caps on and make the best of this.

There was a nice stack of “going to eBay auctions” comics that I went through in the weekend, I really likes this Stuntman #2 that I found near the top. Kirby is so good at motion, and who can resist those old motor bike covers, Stuntman #2 is our Cover of the Week. Truth be told, these optical illusion covers are frustrating, this book always looks crooked, no matter how straight you put it.

I’m obviously a fan of Kirby and when I started to leaf through the Stuntman #2 I was actually hoping for a two page spread splash page. I love it when a plan comes together or should I say wishes do sometimes come true.

So what happens if you pay for a year and the title only lasts a few issues? Do you contact them for a refund? From the back cover of Stuntman #2 (I’m really getting good milage out of this book!) we get this great offer for a year’s worth of Stuntman, problem is the title only lasted three issues. Maybe you get “My Young Romance” #4-7 and then “Western Frontier Cattle Rustlers” #8-12, this was the way back then.

The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #3 was a lot of fun to look through, the prices are all so ridiculously low but at the time of printing, in 1973, I’m sure they all looked so ridiculously high. Still, literally endless hours of fun referencing books in here, and don’t bother looking up Hulk #181 or even Spidey #129, they were still a year or two away from being created.

This week’s icecollectibles eBay auction ended last night, I continue to get beat up on my Master of Kung Fu run, this pretty CGC 9.8 #75 closed at $42, mathematically I think I lost $5 on this exercise. I mean, look at that cover, its good, and its a 35 center from early 1979, maybe I should have put all those things in the auction lot description. Next time.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
9 days ago

I never owned a Stuntman but did keep my copy of Fighting American #2! I kept my first Overstreet as well…#8 with the Ward cover. While I never collected any Master of Kungfu (I thought it a fad at the time) I agree that is a great cover!

David Mackay
David Mackay
8 days ago

1st time I saw that Master of fu #75 cover Walt…I must say, I love it 🙂

brian Campbell
8 days ago

Definitely felt the macroeconomic headwinds at the East Coast Comic Expo in Moncton this weekend. Despite record attendance, buyers didn’t have as much money to spend and the sellers I spoke with were not selling their “big books” unless they were in “affordable grade” or underpriced. The dealers trying to get Covid-era prices struggled. We let a few keys go at a discount and it saved our bacon. Not everyone could say the same. Of course this is anecdotal.

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
8 days ago

I could have afforded the book Walt, it would have been the shipping that would have killed me!

Spider
Spider
8 days ago

I’m seeing some prices for bronze aged high grade slabbed books like GSX#1 and ASM129 on Instagram that are deeply discounted. Not sure where the bottom is going to be, but the pool of buyers for the big books is shrinking, that’s fairly obvious.

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