Looking Ahead

Happy New Year everyone. I wish you all health and happiness and some great comic book finds (which go a long way to making the first two wishes realized).

I tried to crystal ball this upcoming year when it comes to collectible comics. I tried to use my lifetime of experience at playing right in the thick of it all to pull some sort of useful insight as to what we can expect in 2022 and I’ve come out with a very cloudy picture, I just can’t read where this whole market is going.

I do think interest in raw copies will increase as their supply (in key issues) shrinks. I do think the higher end of the graded CGC market will remain robust but that might not even represent 1% of the graded deals made next year, the rest of us are going to have to wade in and see what comes.

At the beginning of each year, I like to change things up a bit with my blogs, try to give myself a new challenge and hopefully contribute something worthwhile to the community while at it.

This year I want to expand on something I’ve already tried on a couple of posts over the past few months. Each week I go through the drudgery of preparing our eBay auctions for the following week, I have to skim through our stock of raw ungraded books and pick a nice mixed bag of goodies, I try to make sure there is a little something for everyone in each auction. Part of the task is page check, restoration check and assigning a grade on the raw books. In doing this I’m forced to open each book up and go through it. I can’t tell you how many cool and interesting things I’ve come across this past year while doing this work.

For 2022, I actually can tell you that I’d like to take one or two interesting discoveries from that week’s batch of books and share what I found so interesting. I may have a question on something which I hope you have the answer to, I may discover something I don’t think is widely known or I may just be a fanboy and show you how cool I think something is.

I’m excited by this project as it will make the mundane weekly task I’m stuck with into something full of discoveries. I’m extra excited because we’ve locked in a deal where we will be auctioning through a large 10,000 comic collection going back to the Golden Age, YES!

This week I have to play fanboy. I was counting the pages to a water-damaged Doctor Strange #2 when I spotted this fantastic Frank Brunner centerspread. I was not reading Doctor Strange in this series so I was unaware of this art, I’ve never seen an image of it online either. The scene looks like an old photo of a Chris Owen Christmas party. This is an original art page I would love to have.

Speaking of auctions, our weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange eBay auction ended last night and the raw ungraded issues were very strong. There was one book I was watching with extra interest. We’ve talked a lot about Qualified copies that are missing an ad page in this column these past few months, the thread was that these books are becoming more and more sought after. This qualified CGC 7.5 copy of Fantastic Four #49 sold for $1,362 making it the highest ever Qualified sale for this book. The price realized is about 38% of the Universal blue label market value. I think we are still in the upswing of the Qualified values, Ithink there is still some room. Advantage Buyer.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1702


  1. Wow… great Doc Strange splash… I am not even sure if I have that issue. Also wow on that sale of FF 49 with the missing pages… sheesh… I have 2 raw copies WITH all the pages!

  2. I love the 2022 weekly concept. The weekly splashes were already eye-openers, so I’m sure this more free-form approach will lead to even more interesting revelations.

    I not as enthusiastic about the Qualified renaissance. A missing page is a deal-breaker for me. On the other hand, unverified signatures and detached staples are quite a different manner. That these and other characteristics all get lumped in as green labels means you have to read the fine print, and I think any fine print is a red flag for many like myself. Let the adventurers sail the multicolored sea, I will stick with the blue ocean, which is surely much wider and deeper.

  3. That splash almost looks like an ad for the next Dr. Strange movie, the Madness of the Multiverse.

    I was spending a bit of time looking through eBay ads for raw comics, and noticed there were a lot of really rough shape raw comics that people wanted a lot of money for.

  4. Walter, glad to see you changing it up. I’ll enjoy seeing what you discover. Don’t neglect those cool old house ads!

    Speaking of incomplete books….I just upgraded Circus: The Comics Riot #1, January 1938, “scarce” in Overstreet. It has seminal work by Bob Kane, Basil Wolverton (Spacehawks), Jack Cole (his 2nd work in comics) and Eisner, doing two fiction strips based on famous adventure stories.

    My old copy looked not too terrible but you’d have to call poor, with badly punched binder holes and one story page mostly torn out. It went to MyComicShop on consignment…and it sold in the first hour or so after I listed it, for $500. Did I underprice it? GD guide price is $508.

    I just paid $1080 for a tightly graded GD+ copy, a bit less than two times guide. But I made $250 on my original copy (it came from Harley Yee), and I got to enjoy it (less one page) for many years and by owning it, I knew I wanted an upgrade on what I consider an important and interesting book. And I made a tidy profit on my old copy, $200 after commission. For what it’s worth…If I had held out for this better copy, I’d be down $200 and might not have bought this new one, not knowing how much I liked the contents…

    On another front….I’ve been bidding twice guide, sometimes 3x guide for vintage superhero MLJs this week, aet Heritage: Shield-Wizard, Pep, Zip, Black Hood, Blue Ribbon. Several for upgrades, others I am still missing. And I haven’t won a single book. Often I’m not even the underbidder. There continues to be a LOT of money sloshing around out there for scarcer Golden Age titles, most of the time its too rich for me. I did score a wonderful Master #4 last week in VG+ (Like Jumbo, Master was twice comic-sized for the first 7 issues), completing my run of the oversized issues….and a lovely VF (8.0 to you numbers guys) Smash #48, cover by Al Bryant with Midnight. Always a favorite cover, I couldn’t resist upgrading my old copy.

    I’m so glad I picked up many books when they were still going for reasonable prices (under $500 to $2000) for mid-grade gvg, vg, vg+ copies. Suddenly MLJ is the new Timely? But I despair at finishing my runs.

  5. Hey Bud, have you checked out that url I sent you?


    It’s full of great pulp covers and some downloadable issues.

  6. Hey Bud
    If you think those MLJ heroes are hard to come by, you should try putting together a run of the Citren and F.E. Howard Super Comics Canadian WECA reprints! These babies are ten times as rare as their American counterparts because the Canadian market has generally been one tenth the size of the American market.

  7. You might have underpriced that Circus Comics Bud, next time try going on to GPA and seeing what 0.5 copies go for, I think you’ll find them going for way more than you thought, the floor has really risen on scarce and in demand books, for a Poor you used to price at 25% of Good, now you can put 75% of the Good price and still get it. Of course there would have to be recent data, but the data could be on a 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 and 1.8 as all will be similar in price with the 0.5 obviously being the lowest.

    You are a true sailor Meli, as am I, though this year I’d like to veer off the major shipping lanes and see if I can discover some uncharted coves.

    Klaus, raws are getting more and more expensive, lets all tell Bud to hurry and find those old MLJs.

  8. If you are out shopping for raws
    High prices may give you some pause
    Because if your mission
    Is to find great condition
    You might get despondant like Klaus

  9. I have a lot of great comics with only minor flaws, so if you bring me some cash then Klaus can get his paws on some if my raws!

  10. Chris, yes, I did check it out and it looks like a fun site. Sorry, we’ve had no power at my house going on 9 days now, so my attention has been on snow shoveling, chainsawing downed trees, and getting my warehosue up and running. We had a mini-disaster snow storm here that took out a countless power poles and lines and blocked roads with fallen trees. Fortunately it came along the week AFTER Christmas, so not a disaster for my business to be down for several days.

    I sure wish we could have a Photo-Journal equivalent for pulps out there, either in print or oneline. I do find that a Google Search by date will often find what I want to see, but it’s not the same. I buy most pulps, except for a few favorite runs, by the cover. So text listings of titles just don’t cut it. I can’t go search down every one, so I don’t. Chris, I’ll spend some time on that site soon.

    Yeah, Walter, I guess I need to use GPA. I haven’t jumped into it yet, laziness I guess. But full GD price for a poor copy, hey, I won’t complain. As my partner Anne always tells me, “Hey, you sold it didnt you?”. I’d rather that than sit on something forever, so it’s always a delicate balance pricing things.

    This is particularly true in the far-less-volatile rare book market, where most of our pricing (we deal in illustrated and children’s books) is based on how many unsold copies are on the web, and what people are asking for them. There used to be auction records to refer to, but again, there is far less activity in books auctioned than in the comics market. So you price by experience, gut feeling, and who’s priced those unsold copies, are they unknown dealers, crazies, or someone who may have done their homework and you trust. With no grading/encapsulation, again, its sometimes the wild west on who’s definition of what VG or FN is. Sometimes its a shock to look at a scan of the book. “They’re calling that near fine? what that…?”

    Great limerick Klaus. Any of you remember George Scithers at Owlswick Press, and the fanzine Amra?. They used to run sword & sorcery limiericks there, spoofs of Conan, Robert E.Howard and Lovecraft, since that was the theme of Amra. Roy Krenkel, Jim Cawthorne, George Barr and even Frazetta (2 issues) contributed artwork, as weil as work from pro writers like L. Sprague de Camp. Great modest little zine. George published Krenkel’s first art book, Cities and Scenes of the Ancient World. And was instrumental reviving Weird Tales in the 1980s. 1959 was the first issue of Amra.

    According to Wikipedia:

    The term Swords and sorcery first appeared there, and Amra became a leading proponent of the subgenre. Several of the articles originally published in Amra were later re-printed as part of two volumes about Conan the Barbarian which Scithers co-edited with L. Sprague de Camp.

    Sorry guys, the limerick got me going. End of today’s history lesson!

  11. Bud, I’ll listen to one of your history lessons any day. That’s one of the reasons I was attracted to this site. Although I am an avid collector and creator, I have as much fun tracking down obscure facts about this crazy hobby that we love. And don’t get me started on the rare book market! I have met any number of dicey players in that arena. Just recently a fellow tried to sell me a mint copy of the first paperback printing of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (it does actually say in the indicia that it is a “First Printing Ocober 1958”),but this “reputable” dealer had not done his homework or he would have known that there is actually a genuine first printing from September of that year. Signets are notorious for this kind of thing and it’s something I really thought he should be looking for. HIs reaction to this information was a string of invective followed by the sound of him hanging up on me!!! Guess who just got crossed off my Christmas card list?.

  12. Bud: I was the one who sent you the pulp cover url, not Chris.

    I really like the site because it gives me the chance to see and read pulps that I’ll never see in real life. Some of the covers were really risque for the times.

    It’s almost as if the Hayes office influenced newsstand pulps the same way they cleaned up movies of the 30s and 40s.

    I read some stuff by de Camp, et al, years ago but I’m not familiar with George.

  13. Oops, thanks Klaus. Scithers was a real character. He was also into train history, and was first to introduce me to an early narrow gauage railroad in my backyard here that served the gold mines between Grass Valley and Colfax in the 1800s.

    I always enjoyed Amra. There was a spate of nice Sword and Sorcery fanzines in the seventies, such as Shayol and Lone Star Fictioneer, that did with art and articles. Some of these were almost as nice as Squa Tront and Spa Fon, which were doing the same thing for EC art and history. I loved handling these in my early catalogs. Arnie Fenner did several, who went on to found Spectrum with Cathy Fenner, and did three Frazetta art books and much more for Underwood Books. But little 24 or 32 page Amra was a reliable little treat, always fun for the Krenkel pen and ink art in most issues.

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