Has Marvel and DC Ruined the Party?

Thanks to the success of comic book movies, the back issue market has been enjoying a resurgence. As a speculator, it’s been fun trying to anticipate and out maneuver all the rumors. I’ve been stocking up on certain books and did quite well with titles like Strange Tales #110, Tales to Astonish #27 and the more recent New Mutants #98. I gambled that the leaked test footage of Deadpool was no accident and it has really paid off for me. However, I’ve missed opportunities as well, namely Fantastic Four #45, #46 and #52. I’ve always felt these issues were undervalued and looking back, I should have made a more aggressive play for these, but with limited resources, you can only grab so many.

Rummaging through the dollar bins is also fun. I was betting on books like Nova #1, Ms. Marvel #1, Tales of the Teen Titans #44, and these have all paid off as well. I’ve also lost by betting on the on books like the Uncanny X-Men #283, the first full appearance of Bishop only, to have the market favor #282 instead, Bishop’s first cameo appearance.

Movie Schedule

By now you’ve all heard the news from both Marvel and DC. You’ve probably seen their schedule of movies slated all the way up to the year 2020 and beyond (wow, 10 movies in 2017 alone). In 6 years, I’ll be in my 50’s so that’s some thing I don’t like to think about. I just hope I make it to see Cyborg on the big screen… but, one movie at a time. As much as I look forward to all the films coming down the pipe, I feel somewhat deflated by the announcements. There is no more surprise. Now that the schedule is out, every collector has jumped on the back issues and pumped up their values. Marvel and DC have ruined the fun of trying to anticipate the next big books.

As well, I can’t help but wonder about the current speculation bubble. Make no mistake, it is a bubble and the only questions here are, when and how hard will it pop? I’m not trying to be negative by claiming that the sky is falling, but let us put our love for comics and our emotions aside for just a moment and examine the situation:

Ms. Marvel 1

I like Ms. Marvel #1 and I’m happy that they’ve decided to make a movie about her. I understand that there is a demand for a female character to take the lead and I hope Ms. Marvel does well as Captain Marvel. But, as a former 1970’s dollar bin find, I was surprised to see graded 9.8’s trading for $500… ridiculous of course, but at least it was somewhat consistent with other dollar bin finds such as X-Factor #6, Hulk #271 and DC Comics Presents #26. However, to see this book recently get jacked up into the $1000’s seem overly optimistic. The last sale, from November 9, has this book reaching $2650… USD!! And other sellers have responded in kind by raising their asking price, some as high as $3000. Yes, it’s a free market and I enjoy the game as much as anyone else but it’s difficult for me to accept this as any thing but over exuberance. Who knows how long this resurgence will last, but if we’ve learned anything from our past, at the very least, I see this as a signal to tread cautiously.

Marvel Super-Heroes 12

These days, the dollar bins have been picked clean, however, 2020 is still a ways out and both the back issue market and the movie schedule are likely to change. So, I’m still holding firm on books like Marvel Super-Heroes #12. I don’t know how a male Captain Marvel will fit into the movie universe but I feel there’s room for this book to appreciate. As well, I sold off a couple of copies of New Mutants #98 but I’ve also held some back because I can see this book going even higher closer to 2016.

Micronauts 1

Other books I like: I never pass up an opportunity to pick up a decent copy of Micronauts #1 which can still be found in the dollar bins. Yes, it’s a long shot but if you’ve ever enjoyed films like Fantastic Voyage, I think Micronauts can be an awesome picture. Currently, everyone is looking at outer space but eventually, I think the spotlight may swing toward inner space as Hollywood looks for something a little different… but let see how things pan out for Ant Man first. As well, the Hulk buster suit from Iron Man #304 is looking promising for a modern book. Although it’s already shot up in value, it still remains affordable. Speaking of armor, I think Dark Knight Returns #4 has some potential as Batman squares off against Superman in their upcoming picture. However, any appreciation here may be realized after the movie, depending on how closely it resembles Millers depiction.

Although Marvel and DC have changed the mood, there is still lots of fun to be had. I think the key is to dig deep, think outside of the box and be patient. I’d love to hear about your own winners and losers or other ideas you may have, knowing of course that my Micronauts #1 will be tough to beat. However, if it can happen for Walters X-Force #2, then why not Micronauts #1? One thing I’ve learned from books like Adventure into Fear #19 is that anything is possible in the world of comics.

Charlie Kim
Charlie Kim

Charlie Kim is a designer who is currently transitioning into teaching. While working for various companies, he helped develop many international brands such as the Hong Kong Airport identity, Lenovo’s sponsorship program for the Beijing Olympics and Lavasa, a new city being developed in India. Locally, he's also worked on the 1998 campaign for the Canadian Opera Company, the Canadian Innovations stamp for Canada Post and the terrible Grand & Toy re-brand (hey, they can't all be winners). Charlie’s love affair with art and design all began with comics.

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  1. Ditto, a lot of these recent “hot comics” will line a lot of….well, you know. Oh, I would recommend investing in one of my favorite superhero’s. a Mr. Jim Garrison, not the latest sports or u-tube pimple or pimp, i’m afraid but a very powerful figure in the fight for “Truth, Justice, And The American Way”!

  2. Charle, growing up in the ’70’s made me want to collect all of the bronze age comics I could get my hands on. I have fun collecting them but maybe these bronze age picks will actually increase my portfolios value with the speculation for the movies !

  3. how did you determine it’s a bubble? just your opinion? or some scientific evidence?

    if the market decides Ms. Marvel #1 in a 9.8 is worth $2600, why is the market wrong?

    if you say this is a bubble, that will pop, why do you even buy any comics at all? have you sold all yours?

    Canadian Real Estate is in a massive bubble. Do you own your own home? or have you sold that?

  4. Good post Charlie!

    We still have the cameos to guess at – I guess.

    Maybe Brother Voodoo pops into the Doc Strange movie?

    And how about villains? We can still spec on villains.

    There is still plenty of fun to be had playing the spec game.

    I’m more interested in how you read the horizon? Tea Leaves? Turkish Coffee residue patterns in the saucer (my wife can do that one)? Having a pen-pal deep inside Marvel?

    My pick is Dazzler.

    Oh and I could be wrong but haven’t you need saying everything is going to implode now for like half a decade?

    One last question – is there a way to “short” comics or guess which movie will bomb and make a ton of money while doing it?

  5. With all the hype from the movies, the increased speculation for the next hot book, wouldn’t it be nice to see this translate into increased sales for current comics. Will the bubble burst? I think so in many cases. It is probably as a result of having seen every other bubble burst, and then the slow inexorable rise back to a sustainable market. The key books from the Golden and Silver Age are reasonably safe bets, but when you look at the 35K to 100K sales figures of todays books and everyone bagging and boarding, there are going to be an awful lot of 9.8 slabbed books out there. What makes the Golden and Silver Age keys so valuable is the demand greatly outstrips the supply. The same cannot be said for modern books.

  6. the comic world is rich in characters and ideas. they can make movies for the next 100 years. maybe some bomb (league of extraordinary gentlemen), maybe some do exceptionally better than anyone thought (guardians).

    one thing is for sure, the internet, auction houses, and 3rd party grading have changed the industry completely. this ins’t the 90’s all over again

  7. As I mentioned, I’m looking at history as a gauge. Of course I could be wrong since it’s all opinion, but their is something to be said for the logical assessment of the conditions that define the current collecting climate.

    I’m not saying that the bubble will pop tomorrow so while there is time, my approach to buying comics is to get in on the ground floor and ride the elevator up. It could be that the elevator goes to the basement, but that’s only one level and not a huge loss. Even my dud pick X-Men #283 is worth more then the $1 that I paid.

    Yes, I still buy comics. I have a budget of about $10 for the weeklys, although I often go over. The main reason I buy new books is for entertainment, to keep up with current stuff, but mainly out of habit. I don’t expect to recoup any money here. I also rummage through bins if I have time and look for books that I feel are undervalued. I’m primarily a collector and have never sold a single book until recently. This year alone I sold over 20 long boxes of books and half of my CGC books. It takes time and effort so if the market pops, you wont have time to liquidate.

    Real Estate may be in a massive bubble but like I mentioned, you have to look at the conditions. While birth rate is down, population is growing due to the revised immigration policy, and all these people will need a place to live. Why do we have this policy? I suspect it as something to do with the baby boomers. The current generation supports the generation in front by way taxes, pensions, etc. With a declining population, where is the government gonna get the money to support all those people who are set to retire on a massive scale? They have no choice but the increase our taxes and/or open the doors. But this not the complete picture. Old people live longer these days due to medical advancements so it’s even more stress on our system. Homes are a utility so they have a function. Even if I sold my home, I have to live somewhere. Bubbles only affect speculators and I don’t speculate on homes.

    Great questions curious. At the end of the day, you’ll have to connect your own dots and determine what is right for you. If you can afford to purchase a Ms. Marvel at $2650, that is awesome. For me however, I can’t afford to tie up my money on such a risk and hope that the value holds. Yes, it may hold… but speculating is about odds and I’d rather place my bets on something with better odds.

  8. It has to be about fun for me otherwise it’s not worth effort.

    My “tea leaves” is the magic eight ball that I’ve had stored in my closet all these years. Beyond that I look to past events, the logic of knowing that nothing lasts forever, recognition of patterns, understanding human behaviour, looking at other markets, knowing that there are limits to everything, objectivity… etc.

    In the past, I sited the decline in readership, competition from video games, digital media, demographics, the rising cost of production and the lack of a succession plan from corporate as factors that will contribute to the mother of all collapses still ahead of us. But outside of that, did you not feel that the years following the US housing fiascle was an implosion? Many books were chopped in half or less. Despite the recent run up since, there are many still that have yet to recover. Those years definitely change the kinds of books I buy today. We refer to these cycles as a “crash” but in reality, it will most likely be a “whimper” as cycle fade in and out gradually. Much of it will depend on the greater economy, which determine how much disposable income people have.

    As a retailer, I realize you prefer not think about these things, but you’re smart and diversified, and the effects of the baby boomers may not be felt for decades yet. You should be able to make it to the finish line just before the real impact hits. In the mean time, consider investing in funeral homes. All the small ones in States are being bought up by a conglomerate.

    Dazzler? Hmmm… could be a great come back opportunity for Britney Spears.

  9. Be careful what you pay for an SA book as well. Current asking price for certain books is off the charts. Of course those sellers are looking for a sucker…

  10. so, what i’m reading is that you’re a speculator, who’s nervous, and is selling part of his collection off since you think the comic book market will collapse, maybe tomorrow, maybe 20 years from now, and when that happens, you won’t be able to sell anything. and your only evidence of bubble activity is Ms. Marvel #1.

  11. “One last question – is there a way to “short” comics or guess which movie will bomb and make a ton of money while doing it?”

    you could always short disney and time warner stocks, as parent companies of marvel and dc.

    but i would advise against that…..

  12. I think we did see the bubble pop. When The Sixth Gun TV show was announced as canceled back issues and new comic specution died off for a couple of months and then came roaring back. I really feel we are at a different point then we were in the 1990s when the speculation craze killed the market. First, print runs are dramatically smaller. Then we have mostly comic book fans and collectors primarily doing the speculation, where as before everyone was speculating. Finally, we have the Internet which is a constant drive of new information. Ebay wasn’t a market force in the early 1990’s like it is today.

    So while you are right a correction is coming, I think you are missing the point where the market corrects itself on a daily basis and I don’t think a full crash is coming like before. I hope not because I do not think it could survive another one. But in no way does it mean that all the books trading at their current level will remain to do so.

  13. Curious, just to reiterate… I am collector who only recently started selling. I don’t depend on my comics for income and I don’t keep all my eggs in one basket. However, since you asked, I have decided to sell my books because my collection had become too large to manage. As well, I’m in the middle of a career change and I had some time last year to dedicate to selling off my books. Selling takes time and energy. If I was working last year, I probably would not have been able to sell my books.

    Yes, the value of my books is also on my mind. Like everybody else, I would like to cash out while my books are still worth something. But like I said, I don’t see the sky falling tomorrow, or next month so I’m not suggesting we panic. As such, I still buy books but I prefer to be selective as opposed to jumping on Ms. Marvel (although if she were real…) at full pop. Ms. Marvel is the one of the books I’ve cited. There are others in my write up and even more that haven’t mentioned.

    Any evidence regarding the future is all going to be anecdotal since no one can predict it with 100% certainty. But the stats I mention are real and can be pulled from a simple Google search. How you connect those facts is up to you. But based on my own experience, based on history and past cycles I feel comfortable suggesting that the current pace cannot continue. At this rate, Ms. Marvel should be a $10,000 book in the next 5 to 10 years, a $100,000 book in 20 years. While it’s all possible, my own interpretation of the facts tell me otherwise. Obviously, the guy who paid $2650 does not agree with me so all we can do is wish him luck. Keep in mind, there are many people who bought books at the top and are unable to cash out without a significant loss. There is a guy I met on the CGC boards who is desperate to sell his Conan#1 9.8 which he purchased for $8000++ just before the book collapsed in 2009. He refuses to sell it at the current market price which means he’s stuck with it. Hopefully the market swings in his favor but even the recent Conan movie did nothing for the book. My message to collectors is…. don’t be this guy.

    I’m not sure you can “short” comics in the same way you can “short” stocks since I don’t know of anyone holding a sizable chunk of, let say… Ms. Marvel #1, who is willing to bet against or for the movie. What I usually do is simply sell the book just before the movie is released. In fact, whether the movie does well or not does not factor into my equation. I simply use the movie as leverage for my book. If the book continues to rise after the movie, that’s great for the buyer but I’m happy as well if I’m able to optimize my sale. I dumped all my Guardians material this past summer and I have no regrets about it. I received top dollar for books I wouldn’t have been able to sell if not for the movie. Don’t you see… movies have provided us with a second chance to get rid crappy books.

    I’m just one of the weather men here. I’m sure Walter, Dennis and others will have their own views on how cold this winter will be. Just be mindful of why you’re buying comics. CGC is typically meant for investing. It’s easy to jump on to an investment when it’s trending up and think of yourself as being smart, but knowing when to get off is equally or even more important. I’m not asking people to dump their books, but know your objectives. If you collect for the simple fun of collecting, then none of this will matter to you.

  14. I agree with you, Charlie. It was fun trying to anticipate the market but everyone is chasing the same FF 36. And how much longer will prices rise? This presents a new challenge, one in which I have to determine when not to overpay. But there is still joy in searching through the cheap bins and finding a Dazzler #1 in at least a 9.2 for only a buck. It replaces the worn out copy I have! My long-shot bet is New Teen Titans #26, first app of Tara. Who knows, she may appear one day one tv!

  15. Alan, I’m glad that you recognize #26 as being 1st Terra. Some people insist it’s #28, which it isn’t. I also like Dazzler #1, although her 1st appearance was in X#130, her first solo book was highly anticipated. You seemed to have stumbled on a theme here which recognizes the gender imbalance in comics. Perhaps the next batch of hot books should also include She Hulk, Red Sonja and Sheena… all of which can be had dirt cheap comparatively speaking.

    Thanks for all your comments. Whether you agree with me or not, I do enjoy talking comics!

  16. Iv been collecting comics for 30 + years and Iv done a lot of speculating with some good degree I see a lot of collectors buying up key books like Hulk 271 and x-factor 6 but I think the book that many collectors have over looked is Primer 2 the first appearance of Grendel Iv done some extensive research on this book and it has a very very low print run even lower than TMNT 1 now I know the turtles are a household name with several movies under their masks and hundreds of toys but a Grendel movie is inevitable Primer 2 is of recently just started to peak I think ,I bought a cgc 9.6 for $250 and only a few months later it jumped to 1,020.00 when this book gets some spotlight I think it will be huge it had a estimated print run of only 1,800 and the cgc data base has only 371 books registered this book is truly UNDERVALUED mark my words on this book and don’t get caught with your pants down on this one!

  17. Normally, I’m just a lurker on this and many other comic book websites. I haven’t posted my opinions on a message board for over ten years.

    However, for some strange reason, this talk of a “bubble” in the comic market has me itching to add my two cents to this discussion.

    Okay, though some of you might disagree, I’ve lived long enough to learn (the hard way) that the (4) most detrimental words to your wealth that those in power (Your Banker, Your Broker, Your Politician, Your Realtor, Your Mortgage Company, Your Government) want you to believe are these…

    “This Time it’s Different”

    Gang…It’s NEVER different. The bigger the boom…The bigger the bust!!!

    I have no doubt that if we continue on our current trajectory of price escalation, the comic market will eventually tank / bust.

    However, let’s not let fear of the possible market bust prevent us from enjoying this ride while our beloved comic market is kicking ass.

    So, if we don’t allow fear to control our decision, but instead utilize logic, then there are (2) important questions you should be asking yourself.

    1) Why has the comic market gone ballistic???
    2) How far / where are we in this bull market comic cycle???

    The answer to the first question (why has the comic market gone ballistic) is very simple. It’s called a paradigm shift. Whenever and wherever a paradigm shift occurs (doesn’t matter what industry or market), a great amount of money can be made and / or lost (depending on your point of entrance and exit).

    Now, if you look up the word paradigm shift in the dictionary, you’ll more or less see the following definition…

    – A radical change in the underlying beliefs or theory.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir, but this is exactly what has happened to the comic industry. Gang, the comic industry is “cool”. We are “it” with the X, Y, and Z generation. Not only in the US and Canada, but the comic industry and it’s characters are “da bomb” across the entire globe.

    Collecting comics is no longer only for the introverts and the nerds, but it’s growing exponentially with each and every Marvel comic movie that’s being produced.

    Please…please…please…point out to me another collectible market (coins, stamps, cards, painting, cars, etc.) that is “cool”, “It”, “Da Bomb” which has experienced the fantastic ballistic growth our comic industry has seen the past few years.

    There are none. There has never been anything like this in any of the collectible markets. Period!!!

    Here in the Central Valley of California, we have many small Mickey Mouse towns that are embracing this paradigm shift by holding Comic Cons that draws 5,000 to 10,000 or more people per day. Ten years ago, you’d be lucky to have more attendees than dealers at these shows.

    Now, for the more difficult question, where are we in this comic bull market cycle? When is the bust going to occur?

    Yes, I also definitely have a strong opinion to this question. However, because I’ve babbled long enough, I’ll go back to being a lurker and wish everyone the best of luck!!!

    See ya.

  18. Oh….One more item.

    Since it’s being discussed / sort of ridiculed on this website, I’ll make a prediction that Ms. Marvel #1 (CGC 9.8) will be a $10K comic before this bull market ride is over.

    Yes, at this time, Incredible Hulk #181 is the only Bronze Age book that can make this claim.

    However, by the end of 2020, there will be many…many…”Key” Bronze Age comics that can make this $10K boast..

    Laugh if you want, but it will happen.

    We are in the “Golden Age” of comic collecting and bull markets can get REALLY RIDICULOUS before they eventually correct / tank.

    Mark this post and we’ll meet back here on December 31, 2020 to see


    See ya.

  19. I could’nt care less if comics are “cool” so called. The issue at hand is posterity represented by increasently involvement of universities and museums globally in the rare and scarce comic books, mostly from pre’ 62 approx. That bubble will burst and many of those values of the larger print runs from mid 60’s on up will instantly plummet. Also people will want films made that are not super hero based. Heard of any of these Classics? The End Of The Road, On The Beach, Jules And Jim, The Servant, Cries And Whispers, so so many others.

  20. Collecting female characters is a recent phenomenon as you noted, something which I, too, started two years ago, partly because it was a great low-cost entry into collecting. Thank goodness I’ve held onto my Batman Adventures 12 when I bought it over 20 years ago (and thankful that my mom did not throw out my collection that’d been in my closet!). Now it’s getting really hard but as a collector, the challenge is fun. Possible indicators that the bubble may start to leak: female readership, now rising, begins to plateau or decline; Comic Con attendance begins to fall; a major Marvel movie suffers an epic fail; Walking Dead show ends. I’m not an economist, so I’m just guessing…at the same time, it’s best to keep cash on reserve and be ready to pounce when prices do start to fall! I speak, again, as a collector, not as a speculator.

  21. so, what will real comics be worth then? key gold and silver age issues? say, Showcase 4, Hulk 1, FF 1, early superman/batman/action etc etc? Captain America?… all the good stuff worth collecting.

  22. when some guy buys a Conan #1 cgc 9.8 for $8,000, and now it’s worth, less than $2k, exactly how is that an example for your argument? if someone is stupid enough to pay that much for a book, that’s their problem. or $20k for a hulk 181, or X-men 94. you’re confusing stupid people paying stupid money because they think they can make a quick buck. or are simply horny for something and want to be a top gun

    your argument completely falls apart when discussing comics in the realm of 8.0-9.2 range. with only a few exceptions, there have not been spectacular price increases in the whole comic world. key issues are key issues. first kingpin selling for $2K in 9.2 is a bubble? i don’t think so. first Green Goblin? $5-6K in a 9.2? excessive? Star Trek #1 for $1600? Star Wars #1 for $150?

    sorry. you are discussing a microcosm in the comic book world space. 9.8 idiots out there will always get the shaft. it relies on the greater fool theory. that there’s another idiot out there that will pay $10K for your conan #1. especially when a 9.2 and 9.2 go for 400-600$

  23. you’ll see recently, that comic book movie ticket sales are 2 times greater overseas than in the domestic US market. that wasn’t true 15 years ago. maybe not even 10 years ago. US box office receipts were greater, or equal to world wide results. that’s a massive change.

  24. People get jittery when the S&P drops 5%. A 20% drop is considered a crash. Beyond that we’re in a bear market. Comics don’t have an index but we should be just as mindful about our individual books.

    I’ve offered my reasons why the market is poised for a correction. Perhaps we can turn the question around to the bulls and ask why they believe comics will continue to appreciate… indefinitely? To what end?

  25. Absolutely. But if the market is continually correcting itself, would you want to be the person who pays top dollar for Ms. Marvel #1 or even a Hulk #271? I just wonder what the mindset of these buyers are.

  26. Yes, that is a rhetorical question and I have a hard time trying to understand why people are wasting their time figuring it out when there will never be a correct answer across the board. If somebody has money and they want something they will pay for it.

  27. In 2009 the 9.8’s were hit hardest but that’s typical since they were the highest on the ladder. But the market as a whole suffered as well. According to GPA data some books didn’t budge, not because the value held… but because those books were not being traded. We’re discussing 9.8’s because the value here is the most ridiculous and pronounced but check out how hot Hulk #181’s have been… at all grades. 6.0’s are trading over $1k, 9.2 are closing in on $3k.

    I’m sure the guy who bought Conan 1 at the top understands that it was a bad decision now but that’s what they were trading for at the time and this is EXACTLY what I’m talking about now. Do current buyers of Ms. Marvel and Hulk 271 feel or think the same way? You can call these people “stupid” in hindsight but actually, it’s a demonstration of over exuberance, people getting caught up in the frenzy. I would argue that these are actually smart people who simply made a bad move because that’s what emotion does to you.

    If you believe otherwise, perhaps you can offer your own evidence to support your position.

  28. “Movies have been great for comics… no doubt. But movies are not comics. I think it’s important not to confuse the two.”

    yes. and you have clearly misinterpreted the effects of comic movies on comic collecting. the first X-Men movie in 2000 saw $160m gross revenues from US movie goers and $140m revenues world wide. the last X-Men movie earned $230m US revenues and $512m world wide. Avengers grossed $600m US and $900m world wide. the last spider-man movie $200m US revenues, and $500m world wide.

    you’ve completely missed the big picture. there has been a massive explosion in overseas viewership, and so, explosion in world wide collectors. imagine if you have 1 m comic collectors in the US (just a number, no idea how many there are), and you increase that by 2 m new collectors to 3 million world wide. demand has just tripled. that’s one point.

    second point, you’ve again missed, is the use of ebay, heritage, comiclink, comicconnect, etc etc AND, PGX, CGC, and CBCS.

    the internet has allowed comics to be bought and sold much more readily than ever in the past. 3rd party grading companies have taken out the FEAR of buying off the internet. AND they do restoration checks. and provide a longer term preservation solution.

    Sellers are no longer limited to getting half or less of the value of their collections to shady comic dealers. and buyers are more sure of grading, rather than relying on someone’s “guess”. that makes buying off the internet much much easier,

    third point, comics have are now seen as an alternative investment, that will keep pace or out pace inflation. and RARITY. Rarity is key. the best copy of Action #1 sold for a whopping $3M+ .. what’s the BEST copy worth? what about those other copies? what about key Gold and Silver age comics. Real RARE books. not Conan #1s, or Ms Marvel #1s. as alternative investments, there are some really really rich people that love their comics. they see it as rare art. why buy a Van Gogh, that will cost tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, when they can buy their favourite comic character in the best condition possible, for less than $50-100k?

    even non-key non-high profile books from the gold/silver age can be considered in that category, when you consider the price of some bronze/modern age books, and factor in 70 years of wear and tear, rarity, print runs, etc.

    ” it’s a demonstration of over exuberance, people getting caught up in the frenzy. I would argue that these are actually smart people who simply made a bad move because that’s what emotion does to you.”

    no. that’s just a stupid person, thinking they are going to outsmart everyone else. same idea behind a bidding war for houses in toronto of vancouver. if the asking price is $600K, and you’re a moron that wants to bid $1.2M, you have no excuse, and nobody should feel sorry for you. there is always another house, as there is always another comic. (except of course, really rare golden age books, that almost never come up for sale). if you get caught up in a frenzy, it’s your own fault. i put it down to stupidity, not doing your homework, and as i said, feeling like a top gun (i’m being polite). the guy that paid $8K for a 9.8 conan #1 will NEVER see that money. only time will tell if Ms. Marvel #1 at 9.8 for $2600 is a bad decision or not.

    “Perhaps we can turn the question around to the bulls and ask why they believe comics will continue to appreciate… indefinitely? To what end?”

    why does the stock market continue to appreciate?… indefinitely? with market corrections along the way, but the DOW continues to go up, and will continue to go higher. as for the SP, only a speculator panics with a 5 or 20% drop. to the rest of the investment world, it’s a buying opportunity. 2008 was a once in 30+ year event. will not happen again for at least that long (hate to break the news to you). and another “recession” is many years off.


    i. millions of new and potential new comic collectors due to movies
    ii. ebay, auction houses
    iii. 3rd party grading
    iv. comics as alternative investments, akin to other collectables.
    v. rarity, rarity, rarity.

  29. So… according to curious:

    i. All you need is a good movie in order to stimulate a market. Hear that book publishers? Stats be damned! All you need is a movie about books in order to get more people to read.

    ii. We need to have more online venues so that we don’t have to deal with “shady” comic dealers who offer only half the value. Why should we care about their rent, staff and other operational costs. According to curious, venues such as ComicConnet and ComicLink and eBay don’t host shady characters.

    iii. Yes, no need to fear getting ripped off, thanks to CGC because 3rd party graders are never wrong.

    iv. Yes. Why tie up your money in shares of Apple or your RRSPs. Comics are the new Van Gogh.

    v. There are over 7 billion people in the world and only 7059 Hulk #181’s. There just isn’t enough Hulk #181’s to go around…

    But this statement is the best… and I quote:

    the guy that paid $8K for a 9.8 conan #1 will NEVER see that money. only time will tell if Ms. Marvel #1 at 9.8 for $2600 is a bad decision or not.

    There’s nothing I can add here… thanks for the clarification.

  30. How do you know if $8k will ever be seen again. In 20 years it could easily be achieved.
    Also, good movies don’t pump books. Actually, unless a movie is from the Big 2, comics rarely see an increase. Sin City A Dame to Kill For? League of Extraordinary? Etc…

  31. wait… did i just read you have apple in your rrsp? why mr. Kim, you must be a gazillionare .. what are you doing wasting your time with comic books?

  32. The discussion is more for the rest of us. The 99% who don’t have the money and who can’t afford to get burned. Most forms of investing is a “ponzi” scheme so the game is to know when to jump in, and to know when to jump out. It’s a rhetorical question that digs at the deeper issues.

  33. “ygogolak

    Poznzi scheme, haha. You know who that happens to? Disengaged and unaware investors.”

    and those who don’t actually know the meaning of Ponzi scheme….

  34. WHOA THERE!! i’ll have a side order of GA to go with my Bilderburger..a whole lot of cheese with potential gas! Hey, we are in a very fragile world( says alot when i feel more at ease with the old checks and balance of the empires of socialism and capitalism) Presently it’s Zippy Bizarro Dark Ages. we comic book people are like fire flies on a life preserver! so whether it’s rupals or dollars,real value in our little realm will always be in GA and early SA. Putin On The Ritz (I’d luv to send our fearless leader a box of L.Lulu’s. In fact to all members of Congress! It would’nt hurt! It sure beats a box of Walking Dead. HA! Maybe in 50 years Stan Lee will rule the would… would’nt it be nice.

  35. Charlie,

    I really enjoyed the discussion that has taken place after everyone read your article.

    I missed out on Strange Tales 110 and still looking for one but thanks to Walter I was able to jump on a couple of FF 45, one 46 and 52 and several other goodies. My big bet on a Golden Age comic is New York World’s Fair 1939 (First Published Sandman and Superman with blond hair on the cover). As for Silver Age, first appearance of Kang in Avengers 6 I believe. As for Bronze Age, call me crazy but I think Captain America 217 (once again, thanks to reading Walter’s Blog) will go up a great deal due to Quasar being associated to the Agents of Shield and being a Cosmic Hero. And last but not least I would add Omega Men 3 (first Lobo) and Sonic the Hedge Hog as another recent book I’d invest in.

    Do I see a comic book industry decline coming? I see it starting with recent variant/signed comics that were published within the last 5 years that are presently selling north of $200-250 here in Montreal and Laval for example. 9.8’s look like gold nuggets for younger collectors eager enough to make an investment decision without knowing all the facts. Then I see it touching the graded 9.9’s and 10’s. It will correct on issues that many young investors hoard away in bulk in the hopes of flipping them for a quick buck. Supply and demand….but don’t under estimate that popularity often enough distorts this delicate balance !

    [email protected]

  36. popularity, flavor of the moment?…nano second?Risky business. Hey Walt, we started getting “Q” on Pubic Radio(Spelling correct sir). Some excellent bands,authors,etc. Any chance you guys can be interviewed?

  37. Hi Angelo, you’ve got some great ideas there. Unfortunately for me, I sold my Omega Men #3 (way too cheap) and my FF collection went just last week. However, I’m training myself not to get to attached to my comics. One thing I’ve learned is that all these books eventually do come back around.

    It’s hard to say when the market will recede. I just don’t believe it can continue at this pace. With the stock market, there’s usually a frenzy just before a pull back occurs so keep an eye out for frothing around peoples mouths at the comic shows. Comics don’t have an index like stocks so it’s the high flying individual books that concern me. With so many Hulk #271’s around, what happens once everyone decides to sell? I’m not trying to be an alarmist, but I do think it’s wise to step back and look at the big picture. I’m pro education and I encourage making informed decisions.

    Thanks for your comment.

  38. “Q” as in Jian Ghomeshi? Some people love to hate and some people “hate love”. He who burns twice as bright… burns half as long. From the Blade Runner of course.

  39. Yeah I guess a Jian interview is now out of the question, but I’d love to get onto Q, its actually my second pick though, my first choice would be to get onto The View!

  40. Charlie, we here in S.Florida just recently got this series. I’m impressed with some of the bands . Ditto with WUVM college station. Walt USA’s The View? Or a Canadian spinoff? Any reports About That Kamikaze Con in NYC?

  41. lol.. not only comic book tips, now economic prognostications as well. lol

    we’re supposed to short the markets now, as well as our comic books? such drama that all the majour US indices closed at new all time highs.. lol

  42. I’ve never encountered any one who miss reads and misinterprets what is right in front of them, let alone trying to think critically about the issues based on social, economic and anthropological realities in order to arrive at a truth. Instead, you bolster yourself up by putting down the ideas of others, challenging their evidence with your own empty conjectures. But then I realized that this is an open forum and I’ve made assumptions of my own. It could be that we are not all adults here, which casts a new light on your approach and explains your attitude. And in this new light, I want to encourage…, as I encourage all young people to keep trying. The community needs more 12 year olds, but more importantly we need them to care. So I guess my only question is… did your mommy help you with the big words?

  43. yes Mr. Charles “Ponzi” Kim, she just tucks me into bed every night. comic book collecting is a ponzi scheme, as are most investments. they are all bubbles ready to pop.

  44. Buy low, sell high. How high is always the hardest part. No one can say when you should sell, but if you sell at a profit, don’t regret how much more you could have gained if prices continue to rise. It is a solid piece of investment advice: lock in gains. Comics, like any commodity, will rise and fall. I don’t know any more than anyone else when the down cycle will appear. I guess that’s what makes this topic so … interesting. But if there’s anything I learned from the 2008 recession, it’s that when everyone thinks they can make easy money, start preparing for the fall.

  45. It would help if you weren’t so narrow with your thinking. The ponzi concept isn’t my idea and it’s a tenet shared by many pundits when it comes to the stock market because, like comics, it fits the bill. There is only so much money in a particular market and the ones who pull it out first become the winners, which is why I stress having an exit strategy. The money has to come from some where. Stocks and comics rely on the fact that there is someone behind you willing to pay more for it. So you see, it becomes a simple game of hot potato or musical chairs…

    You’re luck to have a mom that cares enough to put up with you. Since you don’t seem to have figured it out, her tolerance has less conditions than mine.

  46. its’ quite obvious you have absolutely no clue about stock markets, let alone comic books. to equate equity markets to a game of musical chairs illustrates your ignorance beyond any question. congratulations. that’s one truly ignorant statement.

  47. The only ignorance around here are the fanciful assumptions you make. I never made any claims of expertise but the sale of Ms. Marvel is a fact and statements made by economists like Paul Kurgman in calling the stock market a ponzi market is also a fact… just like your inability to read is a fact.

    You can hide all you want behind a pseudonym like curious or ryan but other then demonstrating your cowardice with your insults, you can’t hide your nature. Being catty is one thing, but to be a internet cliche is boring. The sad thing is, you’re not even very good at being a troll.

  48. “Curiosity Killed The Cat”. Adam Smith is one thing, Wall Street and its snake oil Barkers….”Bankers Of The World Unite”….I’d say there is more honesty in core collector community of GA and early SA comic books over the past 60 years! …Charlie over here it’s the whole legacy of coke , Wackovia, a CONSTANT stream of financial commercial radio crap which makes our little world of comic collecting almost saintly in comparison!

  49. please,… oh please provide us with the evidence that Krugman made a statement that the stock market is a ponzi scheme. i need a good weekend laugh.

  50. Geez… I serve it up and now you want me to chew your food for you? The fact that you’re even asking this question suggests what a sheltered world you live in. But seeing as how inept you are, I kinda feel sorry for you so here’s the citation:

    Krugman, Paul. The Great Unravelling. Penguin, Allen Lane. 2003. Print.

    Essentially a social and economic commentary… and based on the thinking you present here… it’s way over you’re head. Not because the book is so hard to understand, but because you don’t read so good. The section you’re looking for starts on page 34. I’d lend you my copy but I don’t like you very much. Also: Google!

    Now that my pre-chewed food is back in your mouth, all you have to do is swallow. You know how to swallow… don’t you curious?

  51. That’s why they call our little hide-away a “man cave”. A little oasis away from all that you describe. No pressure, no judgement… just the drift from panel to panel.

  52. This from the guy who thinks I work at Yahoo. You misinterpreted everything on this post so why should Krugmans’ write up be any different. It’s a perspective and like I already said, it’s way over your head so don’t hurt yourself. I’d spell it out for you but whats the point.


    I think you were better thinking about comics. Here’s the real joke:

    i. millions of new and potential new comic collectors due to movies
    ii. ebay, auction houses
    iii. 3rd party grading
    iv. comics as alternative investments, akin to other collectables.
    v. rarity, rarity, rarity.

    You must at the top in your 6th grade class. Congrats.

  53. happily, you are of course, wrong, and will be show so, time and time again. best of luck hot potato Kim

  54. ya know it’s amazing how a society can be in denial concerning so many issues, and of profound nature. The JFK assassination, the draft which i and many other working and lower class kids were needlessly sent to risk our lives for human greed…..and one listens to the corporate media and hear financial gurus and advicers and planners blame the victims them selves for not keeping their money in their portfolios, piggy greedy people are not to blame, it’s those ignorant fearful ones who should have known that the citibanks, jp morgans would welcome very much socialistic bailouts coming to their rescue!! Hi Yo Silver indeed! Let them eat smart phones! Better Peace lulus and luv! And i feel comic books can serve to make it a better place. By the way, i read in K-a that there’s a comic con coming to Moscow! Wowsie how will Putin and his fellow cretins react to that?!?

  55. Don’t get me started on banks, Stephen. It’s amazing to me how an organization like the HSCB can get caught money laundering for drug cartels and no one goes to jail. Instead they get fined, a drop in the bucket of their immense wealth made off the backs of people like us. The bigger question is, why does the government enable these corporations? Who does the government serve?

    From an anthropological view, like many other hobbies, comics help to connect people. It also serves as a cultural artifact, a time capsule which can be revisited, studied and experienced. The personal connections that people make with inanimate objects is interesting in itself but I think that’s what humanity is all about. The fact that you and I have never met, having traveled through different life paths and yet we find ourselves at this moment relating through this medium of comics.

    I can’t imagine being drafted. I don’t know what’s worse… being asked to kill someone who I don’t know or being killed myself. I’d like to see the politicians send in their children to the front lines.

  56. Charlie, i have so so much to say on these extremely disturbing matters. I was on that operation depicted In O.Stones “Platoon”,along with thousands of other kids. Most everything that one sees on that screen is true but compressed in 2 hrs+ film time. I immediately joined Vietnam Veterans Against The War, but CO-INTEL, CIA, Bobbie Inman, Intel, the beginning of the war on Leftists,Liberals,and the whole Pease Movement. Who killed JFK and why? Who financed it?!!? In order to understand how we are where we are, and how we can go beyond survival mode and finally get going on Space Migration ,we must continue to not back down. ok enough this isnt a political blog.I see a bubble ahead in comics. When a Ms Marvel I fetches 12 grand, while a FN copy of ALL-STAR #3 goes for half of that amount, as it did on e-bay awhile back, well that alone sets off alarms!

  57. When I was in Singapore about 10 years ago, Lee Kuan Yew gave a speech regarding the importance of the Vietnam war. Essentially it stopped the spread of communism and without it the world would be a very different place today. It’s hard to say where we’re all headed. We have our beliefs but in the end, we’re all on the same ride…

    Quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind if the comic spec market swelled even further since I own many of the comics that are heating up and I would love to cash out higher up the ladder. I just think that believing the hype versus making conscious decisions can result in very different outcomes.

    Catch you in the next post Stephen ^_^

  58. Charlie, I know this is not the place to ask but if you’re interested in selling some of your books that have “…swelled even further…” i.e., ST 110 I’d be interested in buying and or trading for it. I’m looking for an 8.0 or higher. What else are you planning on getting rid of soon?


  59. Thanks for your offer Angelo but my ST#110 stock ranges from 3.5 -4.0. As well, I prefer to get top dollar for my books by coordinating the sale with the movie. I’ll be honest and tell you that you’ll be able to find one cheaper than what I’m asking, but you’ve got to keep an eye out and be ready to pounce. I expect this book to go even higher during movie time… so grab up as many as you can. Grab 5, sell 4 and your 5th one is free ^_^

  60. Back in the early 20th century was the Utopian Socialist era. I termed the 90’s as the Utopian Capitalist era……disillusion inevitably sets in. Charlie, i also love the comic book chase, a kinder gentler Capitalism…well, sort of. Question of the day time. How does one get a handle on census data with the addition ofCBC + other companies? With breaking out a book from one and submitting the same book to another grading/slabbing Company? Is the proper technology available? Perhaps an signal emits when a slabbed comic case is opened??

  61. P.S misread the Ms Marvel1 price,never the less my point still holds firm! In case i run out of paper towels…Ms Marvel will be there to wipe up the mess!

  62. Charlie, am i out of line in suggesting an analogy between the Nazi /Nuremberg Trail and a similar potential tribunal to try and find out as humanly possible those who broke any laws. Some of these Regulators, Firms, if found guilty, i would turn over to families who lost love ones thru suicide all over the world!

  63. Charles, first time i heard alleged charges about Mr. Ghomeshi on Public Radio news. I get your comments now..i heard the report only a few days ago!

  64. I would hardly call him nervous, since, as you identified, he is not stating an interest in selling off his entire collection. Instead, like most investors, he has a collection of assets, some of which might (very broadly) be considered blue chip while invariably others are speculative. He also gave additional examples beyond Ms. Marvel and even identified a potential strike-point for the liquidation of one of those speculative assets.

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