What To Do With Worthless Comics You No Longer Want

At one time or another all comic readers and collectors wind up with a pile of books they don’t want any more, but know they will probably have a hard time selling.

Maybe you still have a collection of early Spawn, WildCATS, Jim Lee X-Men, redundant Batman titles, the “Death of Superman” or “Turok: Dinosaur Hunter” from the 1990s and other hologrammed, special variant and now worthless “collectors” editions printed since and you are looking to get some of your hard-earned cash back.

Batman Legends Of The Dark Knight issue 1

They are really piling up and your hopes that they might be worth something – anything – someday is beginning to fade.

You’ve tried selling them to a dealer who immediately shows you a dark, spacious, hidden back room filled with even more copies of what you are trying to sell to him.

So, in desperation, you try to unload them at a local flea market or a yard sale, but felt you were lucky just to get a quarter or two for some of them and now you are stuck with the rest.

You may be able to sell some of them on eBay or Amazon, but not without expending a lot of effort and cost which will usually exceed what they are worth. Face it, you won’t get all or even most of your money back. I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through some books stacked around the house and realized I paid $3 to $4 a piece for them and wished I had at least some of that money back.

Well, I have a few suggestions.

Listed below are a few things you can do that may help you recover some of your costs or at least make you feel better by putting those comics to good use.

First, I want to suggest donating them to a library, school or a youth center in your hometown where they will get into the hands of future, or current, comics readers that will really appreciate them. After all, you enjoyed them and so will the kids. It may take some of the edge off giving them away for free. (Scottie say: call first. It’s no fun hauling long boxes somewhere and then taking them all home.)

Get a receipt because it’s very possible you can deduct the cost of the books from your tax returns. Document you had the books and list the Overstreet value. The downside to that is you have to donate a lot of books to make a significant dent in your tax bill, but at least you have done something good for boys and girls that may become life-long comics lovers in the future and maybe someday that Spawn collection may actually be worth something.

But if you just really have to have some bucks back you can try selling at a local convention.

That’s where comic lovers gather and where there will be more people that may know the value of what you have to sell. Considering what you are trying to sell, a small, local convention would be best because the cost of going to a large convention where the table charge may cost you an arm or a leg won’t pay.

If you do try to sell at a convention, avoid allowing buyers to “cherry-pick” single books that are part of a story arc because the rest may then be hard to unload. Get what you can for them and be happy.

If you do try to sell them online, sell them as you would at the convention, in bundles or “lots.” Listing book-by-book will probably be a waste of time. Of course, you understand, I’m talking about books that are are usually worth less than the shipping price. Feel lucky if you can get anywhere near $1 a piece for them.

You can also go online to local sales and message boards like we have here in my hometown or any one of many regional online markets such as Craig’s List.

Peanuts Comic Rack

Even Facebook, where you can offer what you have to sell to potentially a large market without paying FeeBays posting charges. Shipping may not be necessary or will cost less than using the postal service.

However, if the pile is not too high, think about putting some of your favorite books away for posterity. Some of the youngsters you donated your other books to may grow up to think what you have left are golden oldies. There may be a market out there…somewhere….someday…..maybe.

Or you can pass a love for comics — and reading graphic material— on to your children, grandchildren or the teenager next door. That will be worth the investment.

For those of you that CGCed the latest hot book off the shelf and have tried to turn a quick profit by posting it on eBay for a ridiculous price only to discover you aren’t going to get half the cost of slabbing, hang the slab on the wall to remind you of a lesson well-learned and take your lumps.

Who knows, maybe you will be able to sell the slab someday.

Tom Berry
Tom Berry

I’m a career journalist with the Mayfield Messenger newspaper in Mayfield, Ky. I’ve read and collected comics since I was nine years old. I have a collection of about 1,400 books ranging from the Golden Age to some of the latest on the shelves, but primarily Silver Age because that’s the period in which I was first exposed to comics following “The Green Hornet” TV show.

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Ron Kasman
11 years ago

Nice essay. I enjoyed reading it.

Walter Durajlija
11 years ago

Giving them away to libraries and youth organizations is a great thing to do with your comics. This good karma and will only bring forward good things, everybody wins!

Tom Berry
Tom Berry
11 years ago

That’s what I do with all of mine that I know are worth less than $5. Primarily I give to the Main Street Youth Center in Murray, Ky, but I try to target other youth-oriented places as well. The libraries like the trade paperbacks only. Easier for them to catalog and deal with.