Oh When the Saints…

‘Twas the post before Christmas and all through the shop, goodwill reigned, let it never stop.

Allow this goodwill to others you now feel in your heart, to take root and grow, let this be the start.

The new year is upon us, let’s all lead the way, for better tomorrows let’s begin today.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I have to keep it to the preamble this week as I could not get the time to start on next week’s eBay auction pile of comics because my St. Nicholas slava is today, the 19th. Trust me when I tell you the “honey do” list I had devoured most of my weekend, lots of prep for these feasts. I’ll be attacking that comic pile hard on Tuesday though, that’s if the HINE cognac doesn’t do too much damage. We usually go a little light with the auction listings at this time of year anyways due to people taking a few days off to enjoy the holidays.

We’ve had more than enough December sales data come through to see that the comic book price correction is still pushing values south. Yes, there are a few strong sectors, like Pre Code Horror, but it’s clear the most heavily traded titles and issues of the Silver, Bronze, Copper and Modern Ages are still taking their lumps. Those 2020 GPA averages look more and more like the latest sales figures and that kind of makes sense. Comic values in the first half of 2020 were for the most part at historic highs, our hobby enjoyed the best decade it ever had between 2010 and 2020. All of a sudden the world gets turned upside down and comic prices double, sometimes triple over the course of a year. Looking back on it all now we see the folly of it and time will allow us to make sense of it, to come to terms with the fact that what we are going through right now is the price we have to pay.

The books that intrigue me are the ones that gained so much but have not settled back down yet. Incredible Hulk #181, for example, is showing incredible staying power, at least up to this post. Overall I think we’ll see some books sink below their 2020 averages, more for large increases in the supply of these books, a supply increase that was triggered by those abrupt price increases of 2021. Some books will somehow keep most of their gains, they will retreat a bit but will firm up a beachhead well above their 2020 averages.

I’m not sure what the “bottoming out” indicators will be, perhaps the timeline will be different for different eras and genres but eventually, we will all get the sense that we are on stable ground. I’m looking at a nice buying spree happening at that time.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1701

15 Comments

  1. Is any of the drop at all surprising?

    You had a combination of speculation (Hypno Hustler first appearance is now going for $85?!), free money and scammers take the industry by storm.
    I still shudder when I see “variant”, “key” or “Mark Jeweler variant” added to any collecting posts I see on social media.

    I cleaned out a lot of my collection during this insane period (and sold books for values I never thought I’d see) and over time I’ve come to appreciate the stuff I have kept a lot more, but unfortunately soured on the hobby. On a side note, this is one of the few sites I still regularly visit on the industry anymore and it’s mainly for the breadth of knowledge expressed in the comment sections.

    Industry wise, it’s good to see the pre-code horror and some of the true keys maintain their value. Outside of simply collecting, culturally there should be an appreciation and value given to the hobby/industry. Just not every little insane thing.

  2. Last month I saw Terry-Toons Comics 38, the first Mighty Mouse, CGC 9.6 Promise Collection, which sold for $60K in November 2021, sell for $16,800. Paying the highest price ever for a comic means you should hang on to it for 10 to 20 years before selling unless there are other reasons for selling. Not all Promise pedigrees are falling in their second sale, though.

  3. I’m with you, Alex. Day-trading comics like Promise copies, expecting to flip them months later? Come on!! I’ve managed to score one lone Promise book, an upgrade to one of mine, but have given up even bidding on copies at Heritage. Like the Mile High copies, the prices are just out of this world even for mid-grade and non-CGC books. Everyone wants them, it looks llke.

    Tim, sorry to hear you lost some interest in collecting. But enjoying the books you edited down to, that’s such a smart move. I still need to practice that more.

    I still like going out and exploring new (old) titles. Just have been enjoying picking up pre-code romance for the wild and crazy stories (Harvey had some of the most fun stories, Quality some of the steamiest, and Matt Baker’s work for St. John, the best written and best drawn both. I’ve gotten to like A Date With Judy for the good girl art and humor, ACG’s Ha Ha with wonderful funny animal work by Ken Hultgren, Jack Bradbury and the outstanding Al Hubbard. Howie Post in post-hero Comic Cavalcade.

    Even strip reprint books are fun and not terribly expensive, such as David McCay’s Magic and King Comics, with early sci fi Mandrake and Brick Bradford, the latter a very good sci fi strip that has never been reprinted, except in bad b&w versions. I just scored, buried in a vast collection of mostly junk, a copy of Fat and Slat #1 c. 1947 from Max Gaines’ EC, before Bill took over. Fat and Slat seems a poor imitation of Mutt and Jeff that I find nothing interesting about. But the back-up strip is “Comics” McCormick, “The World’s #1 Comics Fan.” Even this is a rip-off of Supersnipe. But by Ed (“Minute Movies”) Wheelan, ‘Comics’ McCormick is better drawn than Supersnipe and has real charm. It lasted for all four issues of Fat and Slat, and he even made the cover of #4. Now I need to find the other three issues.

    Nowadays, with all the reference books out there, you can do a lot of exploring and never pick up a vintage book. The brand new Twomorrows book by Jon Cooke, on the history of Charlton comics, is a good example. A wonderful, massive, highly detailed look at the Charlton founder Santangelo and his origins….he went to jail for doing song lyrics knock-offs in the 1940s, met his future accountant/cfo there, and the rest is history… He was apparently very good to his eimployees, even while paying crappy wages, he had a family organization and lots of other benefits. Dick Giordano and so many artists got started at Charlton. Steve Ditko made it a career choice to start there and come back again and again, no matter the bad pay. Amongst the chaff, and there is a lot of chaff, they did some wonderful books: Ditko’s Blue Beetle and Captain Atom, Pete Morisi’s many titles, Peacemaker which is now a big deal, it looks like…

    With so many reprints, archives and omnibuses today, anyone can read much of the better stuff at reasonable prices per issue.

    Walter, I scored another of your coverless pre-1940 books this week, this time More Fun #23….at just over half what I bid for it. Happy day! On the other hand, your 3/4 cover copy of Funny Picture Stories #1, with Brenner’s The Clock…that one got away. I bid around $475 but it went for $650. Fortunately a buddy of mine has one so I can make a point of looking at his again…for free. And in real time, moments ago as I proofed this, I scored a New Adventure #22 in GVG on Heritage. Hurray for those old, wonderful early books. Love ’em. Its fun to see thing for the very first time like these rarities…..

    Even in my limited world I’ve seen some of this price drop now, as I’ve been listing/consigning hi-grade Silver and Bronze I got in a recent collection with Mycomicshop. On the other hand, I don’t see any lower prices on pre-1960 material.

  4. Note to self: Walter is accumulating cash and sitting on his hands waiting for the market to stabilise.

    I should follow suit!!!

    I’m still very happy just finishing off my Hero For Hire run and continuing my Adams/O’Neill Green Lantern arc. Reading Avengers from Englehart’s issue #104 which is going well and going into the Perez era and finishing off with Shooter’s Korvac saga.

    So still reading and enjoying.

    Tim, I so agree, the influx of scammers and snake oil sellers has dulled the enjoyment- but you’re doing the right thing: being selective over whom you associate with!

  5. Bud, good score on that More Fun, great page quality, you’ll be pleased.

    Spider, I’d start squerreling away those jolly green giants and lobsters, somewhere safe yet accessible, be ready when that opportunity comes.

  6. Mate, my channels of purchasing aren’t showing any great bargains and high quality books seem to be scarce – perhaps the owners are holding onto them in hopes of a bounce back to April 2022 heights? I’m stacked with funds due to my lack of ability to find good books at the moment!

    (in all seriousness, mate, what do you people use as currency over there…a looney, a twooney, jolly greens and lobsters??? you people are nuts – could be the greatest avoidance of using a decimal numeric based system since the yanks got inventive!)

  7. Just for the record, love those DC 1940’s Christmas covers! Did Timley/Atlas/Marvel ever do any in the Golden Age?

  8. Boy, Gerald, that is a good question. I can’t recall any Christmas covers in the Timely superhero titles, offhand. But I’d bet they did some in the teen humor/funny animal titles especially after the war. If Michelle Nolan is reading this, maybe she can remember some…

    I’ve used a wonderful Wonder Woman Christmas cover for one of our most recent Christmas cards for my business. Back when Paul Levitz was still DC’s head honcho, I got permission from him personally for another (“just do it; if anyone from DC contacts you, tell them to talk to me”). We used an old Police Comics cover of Plastic Man and Woozy sledding down a hill in the snow. To me, snow and Christmas is hand in glove…probably thanks to all those wonderful Carl Barks stories of Donald and the kids doing winter stuff, exotic stuff to a kid who grew up far from much snow or serious Christmas weather (San Jose, CA).

    This year we’re using a Dell Santa Claus Comics cover for a virtual card. Didn’t get our act together soon enough to do a printed card like we usually do.

    A very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you — Thanks again to Walter (and Ivan Kocmarek) from bringing us together each post!

  9. I have all but six issues of all the Patsy Walker titles 1944-1967. I can’t immediately recall many Christmas covers on any Timely/Atlas humor titles, though there may have been a few. I would say they did fewer Christmas covers than any other large publisher. Dell, DC and Archie did the most by far.
    I’m not surprised to see the values come down for quite a few comics. I attended 19 shows nationwide in 2021 and 2022 and visited many other places where vintage comics are sold. I rarely had to pay much, if anything, over “normal” values. Of course, that may also be because I generally do not buy grades above Fine.

  10. That’s quite the Patsy Walker collection Michelle, I’m jealous.

    Come to think of it I can’t think of any Timely Atlas Christmas covers either, there has to be some – lets find some!

  11. Hey! How about a big CBD welcome to Michelle Nolan! I used to read Michelle’s column in Comic Book Marketplace religiously and was even lucky enough to be in the 50th anniversary of EC comics special issue with her (I wrote an article about the Canadian edition of Mad #1). There are few comic historians I have more respect for, and she just brought up the whole tone of CBD with her input. Let’s hope she joins us again soon! Frequently!

    cheers, mel

  12. Testing.

    Merry Christmas guys! My old computer isn’t accessing CBD or allowing me to leave comments. So this is coming from my phone. If it works we’ll see you more in the next year. A better year for all, here’s hoping.

  13. Merry christmas everyone!

    and a big welcome to Michelle (great manners & ideas as always Mel!), fantastic to have you here!

    also note that if you look up ComicBookHistorians and look for Michelle you get the bonus of finding a picture of Bud, circa 1982….that alone was worth the price of admission! Bud, I love the fact that the t-shirt only came in children’s sizes but it didn’t stop you wearing it!!!

  14. What can I say spider, I loved the shirt. Actually, after too many pics of me in a nasty t-shirt, I determined to switch to button down shirts (short sleave tho) at the shows. I generally hated those early pictures. But hell, now that I’m 70, my younger self sure looks okay to me. Glad you brought up Comicbookhistorians.com. Alex just recently uplated 26 video interviews that Dave Armstrong (who is a documentary maker; he did one recently on Fiction House artist Llly Renee, who just passed away at 102 years old)…they are wonderful. Many of the men interviewed are long gone: Frank Guardineer (dozens of early DC covers for Action, Adventure, More Fun), Kubert, Hasen, Infantino, Chuck Cuidera (Blackhawk), George Tuska, Jim Mooney (Supergirl), Ramona Fradon, Eisner, John Buscema…the list goes on. Absolutely amazing. The Cuidera is one of our favorites, he’s outspoken even about icons like Will Eisner, who’s studio he began his career in).

  15. Hey Walt
    Here’s a new take on CBD! An old stoner friend of mine just told me that Comic Book Daily is not the first thing he thinks of when he sees the acronym CBD! I assured him that this was the medicinal site, and, if he wants to sample something stronger, he should visit our sister site…Talking Hot Comics. Is that worth a No-prize, or what?!

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