Pump Up The Volume

I’ve noticed more and more good books becoming available to me locally but they are all being offered at current market or above, not many deals to be had. I’m sensing a lot of people are taking stock of their collections and are opting to cash out, at least to an extent. Perhaps these folks are becoming uneasy at the rate of appreciation their collectibles are experiencing and are hedging a fraction of them ahead of a possible correction. Still, my options at what to buy locally have never been better but the prices at which they are available have never been higher.

Mining continues at the warehouse and this week we dig out a little nugget stack of Batman Beyond #1, the Free Promotional version. The Promo may not be as big as the newsstand edition but the book carries good value and we’ll chalk this little stack up in the win column.

Most of this week was taken up by clean-up and card sorting, we bought what can only be described as a full skid (pallet) of hockey cards and man are they labour-intensive. Come to think of it the whole warehouse endeavour so far has been very labour-intensive and it highlighted just how specialized mining for comics values (and card values) is.

I can’t go out and hire some young hardworking individual because without a deep and strong knowledge of the comic hobby and of the current market you’re paralyzed into thinking every single book you pick up might be worth money, or even worse, you’re throwing Del Otto variants into the $2 bins! it would take years looking up every single book for market relevance and value.

The people for the job can only be lifetime immersion comic aficionados if you want any efficiencies. We do have enough of those at Big B but alas there is a retail business and an online business to run. So far Jon and I have been carrying the load and even among the two of us, we specialize by dividing the bins with the post-2000 books to Jon, who has a strong knowledge of the era, while the old man gets the pre-2000 stuff to sift through.

Anybody need a copy of Wonder Woman #293? As I mentioned before I’m going to have to come up with a way to effectively get likes like these Wonder Woman #293 to market at fair prices and at minimal time costs. I’ve been thinking of using one stock image for the whole pile and selling them online for cheap. I’d group the grades at say ranging from 8.5 to 9.2 thus only having to do one entry for the 100 plus copies. I think My Comic Shop does something like this, I’ll have to look into it a bit more.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1688


  1. On the older material, MyComicShop doesn’t do a scan if the item is under $10 or so. Then a generic scan has to suffice.

    On your modern books, I looked. Your Wonder Woman #293 has a top graded copy of VFN for $6.20,and no scans for that or the other 3 copies inVFN or FN. #300, same case, nothing lists above F/VFN at $9.30 and there again, just a generic scan.

    Heritage auctioned four Canadian books last night, March 14, three WECA and one reprint title: two Dimes, one Wow and one Joke, all CGC graded. I won the pages-out Wow #4, otherwise in VG, for an embarrassing amount, but I don’t own a single Wow issue. This has a great cover and two-color printing inside, according to Ivan’s WECA priceguide.

    I got clobbered on Dime Comics #7 CGC g/vg (3.0 to you guys), the best of the group…another classic, great cover, but my $630 bid turned out to be pie in the sky, it went for $1500 with premium. Ivan’s price guide pegs it at $500, and a copy in 4.5 went for $900 in a 2014 auction.

    Boy, I sure wish we’d see more archives of titles like these. Wow and Dime (and Better Comics) are among the best WECA books. Or collections, like we’ve seen a couple of, featuring WECA heroes.

    Even Nelvana is virtually out of print. Amazon lists the $12 softcover from Bedside Press (Hope’ Nicholson’s archive) but that may be Print on Demand…last time that I checked with Hope, she had no copies to wholesale to a retailer like me.

    Walter, do you have ANY of WECA reprint collections in your stores?

    You proud Canadians need to step up and and collect more of this fine WECA material!!

  2. Thanks for the info on My Comic Shop, we may go that route just to be able to get the books to buyers.

    I missed the Whites, darn, but I’m glad to see prices were strong.

    I will check the shop for stuff Bud, I know I have some copies of Ivan’s book, a few copies left of our Price Guide, some reprint copies of Wow #1 and maybe a few other things. I’ll email you what I have available by the end of the week, I’m travelling tomorrow and Thursday so might not get the time I need to have a good look til late in the week

    I’m still planning a large Canadian Collectibles auction on our eBay auctions for late June to coincide with Canada Day on July 1st, I’ll have some Whites, some FECA stuff, some Cap Canuck, Orb etc with the intent of putting some of the proceeds to Ivan’s 80s anniversary virtual conference happening later this year.

  3. Please get me on your mailing list for the EBay JuneJuly auctions, would be glad to participate.

  4. With you on that Bud.

    Take. My. Money! as Fry on Futurama would say, for any Canadian archives books but there aren’t so many publishers of such, not to mention accessing collections for scanning and restoration. I know RAID is possibly doing Doc Stearne and Chapterhouse (now Lev Gleason) is doing some Captain Canuck reprinting. It’s great that the Weca went for such amounts and I’d love to participate but those amounts are well above my ability to buy.

    I should do an actual dollar count but there’s a couple of Canuck sellers on ebay with many Whites on offer from a couple of hundred $’s to $35,000. At a guess I could buy all of their stock for maybe $125-150,000??

    Hey Walt, I’m in the market for some extra copies of the Price Guide & Wow #1 reprint to give to some friends who own comic shops, Snap Collectibles just down the street and Variant Edition in Edmonton, as a way of getting a bit of publicity for our history out there.
    I’m in Alberta at: timhamart(at)gmail(dot)com. Question to self, should I get another copy of Ivan’s fab book?

  5. Thanks, Tim. Hey Walter, you take care of Tim first on the WECA archives, etc. I was actually asking how you were doing keeping those on hand in your store and by extension, if they did okay for you. I wasn’t trying to buy your stock, though I suppose I would be happy to do that too… But do take care of Tim, pushing them to comic shops is the best way to get the word out.

  6. I am running low on the Guide and the Wow reprint but Tim I will put a small bundle together, I love it when the other Canadian shops can stock stuff to promote the WECA period. I’ll reach out to your email Tim.

    Bud, I’ve always been guilty of not promoting them properly in my shop but if I did I would have been out a long time ago, I usually react to people asking about the stuff.

  7. Thanks Bud, a gentleman and a scholar. Ivan says he has some guides and another member of the canadiangoldenage board has some Wow reprints too. I remembered to check your website Walter (duh!) and will send a reminder to your email. No rush as your busy with your archeology project and running the store. Cheers!

  8. I pushed Ivan’s Heroes of the Homefront pretty hard, handled both editions. It went okay for me, not great, but it also wasn’t cheap so you had to buy into it. It eventually it did sell completely out. When I went back hat in hand to Ivan to try and get more, he wanted to keep the rest for possible distribution to librarys, perfectly understandable. Now that I think about it, my MO would be to start bugging him for an inexpensive softcover edition about now….we could reach more people that way. I hate to see a book not reach it’s full potential.

    Of course, if I was a publisher, I’m sure I’d overprint again and again, so it’s good I am not. I had my share of publishing horror stories, when I did dabble in publishing, it’s not an easy enterprise to do well with.

    Yeah, Walter, it’d be great to devote space in the store to any WECA reprints. But I know as a retailer you have to max out your space and go with what sells. Just as long as you give each book a chance and keep it on display for a while.

    In my comic shops, my guys used to put Calvin and Hobbes and other strip reprint books right up front, and in the window, so people couldn’t miss them. It was a comic shop, but we already had the collectors…this was a way to pull in people who were not collectors, or not sure we’d have anything for them. Show them right away we weren’t a “old boy” comic store, only for nerds and fanboys. A perfect cross-over book, much like Neil Gaiman’s Sandman or these days, maybe Wonder Woman and Batman Adventures, stuff for kids. We had a fancy little mall store that sold the hell out of Garfield, Rose is Rose, strip reprint books like that, for pete’s sake. Whatever paid the rent and gave us a chance to maybe get some converts into comics, long before the movies started doing that for us.

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