This blog will look from a reader’s perspective at a past blog and if the author was correct with their advice. I want our readers to know I have the benefit of time on my side in this review. No reviewer can be perfect all the time. Readers, for your entertainment tonight we are reviewing…. Norman Robinson III’s After-Action Report: Amazing Spider-Man #135.
Colleges across the country are getting ready to end their school year. Final Exams have ended. This is the time when many professors are rated by their peers and students. Here at GoCollect, I am ready to do the same. I will review one of the longest-tenured “professors” here at GoCollect. He is the illustrious Norman Robinson III, Doctor of Comic Books.
Second Appearance Theory
The Norman Robinson III paper that will be up for review is After-Action Report: Amazing Spider-Man #135. Professor Robinson III produces a paper with his theory that the popularity of the Punisher should put Amazing Spider-Man #135 on the radar for speculators and investors over the long haul. He justifies this with sales data that demonstrates a better return on investment than the first appearance of the Punisher in Amazing Spider-Man #129 over almost all grades.
Professor Robinson’s theory was that this is because the cheaper prices allow for a larger pool of buyers. More buyers translates to greater room for growth over the long haul for that book. The low price point allows for additional people to purchase the book. This increase in the numbers of sales can be attributed to the low sales price and the gains the book is experiencing because of apparent demand for the issue. This is similar to a minor case of F.O.M.O. Upon reviewing the data provided it is hard to not agree with the professor.
Investors and speculators have long sought out second appearances of characters. The most justifiable reason for this behavior is that the first appearance has been priced beyond the means of most collectors and/or investors. The professor indicated that the price point is such that there are more people that can afford the second appearance than the first, and thus the reason for the better-looking trends.
New Data Numbers
Let us now determine if Mr. Robinson was correct in his theory. The start date of this evaluation begins on June 5, 2020. That date chosen was because it was one day after the article was published. The end date was May 18, 2021. This was roughly 11 months after the article was published. I will exclude the 9.9 grades because no sales have occurred since publication. Thus we have the data:
|Amazing Spider-Man #135||9.8||-4.4%||$3,400 (eBay 3/1/21)||Only 2 sales in this grade (down since article)|
|9.2||+39%||$720 (Heritage 5/10/21)||12/20-2/21 Sales roughly around $350|
|6.5||+9.9%||$140 (eBay 2/8/21)||Best Offer accepted that reduced price|
Conclusion on Issues Presented
The 9.8 grade dropped in price, but there were only 2 sales in that grade with a net increase of 3 copies in the CGC census. The 9.2 grades had a wide range of prices, with most selling for around $350 until the last sale. In conclusion, the book saw positive trends. That means, in general, it was solid advice from Prof. Robinson.
In evaluating this theory, I then compared them to two competing theories utilized by comic book investors. The first is the “Lower Grade Theory”. This is followed by the “First Issue Theory”. Both of these alternatives are used by investors when they have limited resources and must determine the best course correction from the information provided in articles. In summation, investors and collectors will read of the importance of the first appearance of a character recommended and the alternative suggested in the article. Readers will then decide how to respond to the data provided for themselves.
We will evaluate buying using the previously-mentioned alternative investment strategies. These consist of buying either the first appearance of the Punisher in a lower grade or the first issues of his self-titled book using some of the data presented by Prof. Robinson. It is his neighborhood, and we must not deviate from that place by using different data. Our goal is to see if the second appearance theory recommendation is still the best option for investors.
Alternative #1: Lower Grade
In this analysis, we are still going to focus on the first appearance of the Punisher in Amazing Spider-Man #129. The budget limit we are going to utilize is $3,800. This is the sale price of the Amazing Spider-Man 9.8 that returned a 99% return in the time frame mentioned in the first paper. Remember, the last sale on eBay was $3,400. You could have bought a nice 8.5 copy of Amazing Spider-Man #129 on eBay for $3,199 and saw a nice upward trend of +102.9%. This would have allowed you to take that extra $600 and put it in another book.
Note that two of the last three sales of 8.5 copies were at Heritage and eBay and yet both produced prices roughly around $3650. The final sale was an eBay fixed price where an offer was accepted that was below the $5,200 asking price on May 17, 2021. That price is again higher than the last two eBay sales of Amazing Spider-Man #135.
Alternative #2 First Issue
The other analysis I wanted to focus on was the first issue of the Punisher in his mini-series. This is again another option taken by investors. First appearances and first issues are both keys sought after by investors and collectors alike. The first issue is usually less expensive than the first appearance of the character. The Punisher #1 was released almost twelve years after the first appearance of our anti-hero. The first article gives us no price restriction if a person wanted to buy any grade of The Punisher #1. That is because all copies of the first issue in the CGC are below $3,800. Again we are using the same dates that start one day after the article was published and ending on May 18, 2021.
Let us now look at the numbers using the GoCollect data.
|The Punisher #1||9.8||+98.5%||$1,025 (4/12/21)||35 total sales|
|9.6||+47.0%||$270 (5/10/21)||58 total sales|
|9.4||+24.6%||$112.50 (5/17/21)||27 total sales|
|9.2||+31.8%||$121.50 (3/16/21)||9 total sales|
|6.5||+20%||$60 (5/9/21)||2 total sales|
Only the 7.0 grade was down, and that was 5%.
These two options may be indicative that buying the second appearance of a character may not be the best investment option for investors. In both examples, the data indicates that there may have been better options to invest in for the Punisher character beyond buying in the second appearance. In addition, buying the first issue of the mini-series would have also allowed for diversification of your investment dollars because of the lower sales prices.
Variable #1: The Article
Norman Robinson III has a great track record on GoCollect. He is always using the numbers to formulate his advice. We could have seen a bias of unintended consequences at play here. Once the article went to press those investors who were holding Amazing Spider-Man #135 for the long term could have seen a quick and profitable payday from the publicity of the article. These very same people could have then taken that money and invested in these other options.
I have seen this trend in person with some books mentioned in articles. Buyers are purchasing the book based upon the articles while sellers are taking those profits and investing in alternative books. This can affect the long-term viability of a book in the short term with quick gains followed by short-term dips. That may be at play here.
Variable #2: Price Point
The returns in Mr. Robinson’s first article decreased as you went down in grade. Thus, those that were priced out of the second appearance higher grade books could have sought to decrease the grade of the first appearance of the Punisher or looked at the first issue of his self-titled book as the more affordable option. These undervalued books thus price-corrected based upon the popularity of the character and grade of the book.
Variable #3: Time
This analysis was done less than a year since the original article was published. Further studies will be needed with a longer evaluation period to see if other non-comic book factors may be at play. The longer the time duration, the lesser effect these unknown variables can have on the price of these issues.
Prof. Norman Robinson III is a proven evaluator of comic book trends. He rarely deviates beyond the data in his recommendations. He is beyond reproach. In his article, he mentions a common and successful strategy of investing in the second appearance of a character for long-term growth. That recommendation, for the most part, was successful.
Further evaluation will also need to be conducted on this character and the other investment strategy options utilized by hobbyists. These other options include buying either lower-grade first appearances or the first issue of the character’s self-titled book. This evaluation should be extrapolated to determine if the second appearance investment strategy applies to such other comparable characters as Black Panther in the Silver Age, Wolverine in the Bronze Age, and Venom in the Modern Age. If time permits, extend this evaluation to even more characters and the aforementioned alternative investment strategies. Special attention should be made to the pandemic and if this impacted the data in any way.
Professor Robinson started the reader on the path, it is up to everyone reading this evaluation to continue his work.