Buying Comics at the Boston Comicon

Boston Comicon 2011

I spent this past weekend scouring the bins and scanning the walls of the vintage comic dealers at the Boston Comicon. Fellow CBD writer Scott Vanderploeg was also there, check his summary of the show here.

Boston held potential for me since I was focusing on buying comics for resale and I’d heard Boston has a lot of local dealers set up. Conventions like San Diego and New York are difficult places to buy comics for the purpose of resale. Table costs are so prohibitive in these big shows that only the national comic dealers can afford to set up and the big national dealers like Metropolis are not in the habit of offering huge discounts. So Boston here we come!

First off it felt weird for me lining up outside on the street waiting to get in. I think the last time I had to wait in line to get into a con was back in the 80s. I gotta work on my dealer contacts on the Eastern Seaboard!

It was nice to see friendly and familiar dealers like Harley Yee, Ted Van Liew and Bob Storms, all swell guys that always bring quality books to market. I rarely buy off these gentlemen since like Metropolis, they successfully reach the end users and thus have no need to discount heavily to a re-seller like myself.

My focus was on the local New England dealers. I hit about a half dozen guys that carried some half decent stuff. None of them had any of the big important early Silver Age Marvels, at least they didn’t by the time I got to them. Dealers like Harley Yee are very active buyers well before the comic convention even opens. Harley will have a thorough sweep of the room during dealer set up. I can vouch for his prowess because I’ve experienced it often enough at my booth when I’m setting up at a con.

Commerce among the dealers before a show opens can be quite active. I’ve set up at cons where close to a third of my weekend sales happened even before the doors opened to the public.

Some dealers come to depend on this dealer to dealer activity. Most often local dealers setting up once or twice a year at their home town con will have their bins checked out by the dealers that travel and do shows nationally and internationally. These local dealers, especially the ones that don’t own stores, have very narrow windows for selling their wares, often only one weekend a year. Having a nationally known dealer swoop in before a show opens and make a 14 inch high stack of expensive books and ask “what can you do for me on these?” is exactly what many local dealers want to happen.

I don’t know what kind of commerce was happening before I got in, all I know is that I was very disappointed with the selection from the local New England dealers and I found some of their pricing detached from reality.

I did manage to pick up some half decent stuff including Captain America #100, Batman #155 (1st S.A. Penguin), Ghost Rider #1 and about 8 more half decent books.

For me the July Wizard World Chicago con is the best con to buy comics at. There are dozens of local dealers that bring quality comics to sell every year, so many comics that plenty get missed by the national dealer comb throughs. I’ve always had success buying at the Chicago con.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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