Are VeVe & DC Digital Comics Pumping Physical Grading Sites?

by Chris Severs

122822G-1024x536 Are VeVe & DC Digital Comics Pumping Physical Grading Sites?As a comic book collector having held assets for roughly 35 years, the pace of technology adoption continues to astound and impress me.  While many of us LOVE our physical comic books and would never think of replacing them, the fact is technology has hit the comic industry full steam and is changing how audiences think about collecting. The following are a few “top-level” insights on how to see this happening in real time!

I am focusing this post primarily on the fast-growing realm of DIGITAL COLLECTIBLES.  Having written a few articles on the topic, I will keep the definition short – these are assets (such as Digital Comic Books, NFTS, Artworks, etc.) produced in digital format, sold via an app or website, and minted on a blockchain to prove actual ownership of that asset.

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Fantastic Four #1 CGC Physical Slab (Left), shown with its new sibling, VeVe’s Digital Collectible Version with Slab provided by Secret Rare Slabs

As a prior blog example, you can visit Marvel Unlimited and read as many comics online as you wish.  You can save images / screen-grab covers and so forth, but not actually own the comic book itself (cannot buy, sell, trade, etc.).  Similarly, you can walk into any comic book store, purchase your favourite book and own it.  However, you may possibly own one of 100’s of 1000’s of printed issues and depending on the price/rarity/value, etc., may not even want to read the book for fear of degrading its pages or future resale value.

Grading, storing & selling are also issues discussed in prior blogs, but affect the use case if you decide to engage in grading or selling of your item.

WHY DOES THIS MATTER TO A PHYSICAL COMIC / STATUE / POSTER, OR ANY ASSET COLLECTOR? 

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CGC Comic Book Ratings

Because data now shows the undeniable blending of physical & historical collecting systems supporting their new digital counterparts.  These two worlds are colliding quickly, allowing consumers to choose the path how they wish to enjoy their collections.

Mount your physical slabbed Fantastic Four #1 on your wall?  Sure!  Print a copy of its “Publication Date” Mint Number Digital Collectible beside it?  Yes again. Sell your asset instantly to anyone across the globe?  You get it.

Why is this happening?

Easy – since the late 1990’s society has slowly been encouraged (and educated) to do more and more online, from banking to shopping to Google Maps to streaming Disney+ on Connected-TV.  It has enhanced many aspects of our daily lives and the truth is, we are simply accustomed to it.

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Anyone under the age of, oh, let’s say 75 today is essentially immersed in hours of daily digital use. So true holds the future of collecting, and while I am by NO MEANS suggesting physical assets will lose value (IMHO they will continue to accrue it as they age and become more scarce), the reality is a new age of collecting is here, growing and bringing with it incredible opportunities.

Are you a collector?  Comic or Collectibles store owner? Maybe someone who loves to be part of a collector fandom or group?  Check out this video by MyCollectibles – a former comic store owner, collector, and absolutely positive member of the digital collecting community, which really sums up what is coming and why he pivoted to this new format.

HERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER

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The VeVe / Marvel Booth, ’22 SD Comic-Con

VeVe Digital Collectibles

This barely 2-year-old company has now generated over $1,000,000,000 in gross digital collectible revenue.  Most of it in a full-on Bear Market.  (See VeVe & Ecomi token influencer Foster Hilt’s video referencing this milestone).  It took Amazon 5 YEARS to reach this level!  Check this Fast Company list of other key companies & how long they needed to hit $1B…

As a result, this New Zealand-based company recently won the coveted Extraordinary Growth in Emerging Markets award, from the New Zealand government’s international business development agency, NZTE.  See VeVe (image above) sharing the prime real estate booth with MARVEL @ the 2022 Comic-Con event in San Diego– these fans are ENTHUSED.

Google Trends & Twitter Trends

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Run some queries for terms like digital collecting/collectibles, NFTs, etc. and it’s fun to see how search volumes change depending on what is happening in the real world.  Spikes are often noticed during movie releases, character speculation announcements, and more recently when digital collecting apps announce drops.

The big spikes when “NFTs” made headlines at their outset, were generated when many people tried to quickly learn & understand the terms being discussed everywhere or tried to take advantage of the “1st Mover / Early Adopter” timing.  Now though, the queries trend to more investigative work – usually fewer, but with deeper purpose and engagement or decision-planning reasons vs the huge rushes to Google when media goes wild.  You can also check out your favourite platform stats like Twitter Trends as well.

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Meeting Favourite Artists at Comic-Cons

Or how about researching the artists who helped shape & create these new digital assets?  Imagine finding Brian Stelfreeze at a local show where you can have his 1:1 Black Panther artwork signed – both on the physical print AND its 1:1 version of that release in the VeVe app?  Imagine how excited the artist was to meet a fan wanting to own both his physical and digital equivalents?  This is happening…more and more every day.

GoCollect

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GoCollect Current Search Trends

Everyone’s favourite resource for comic & collecting is starting to notice search volume analytics showing marked increases when digital collecting apps like VeVe or DC Comics announce their “drops’ (when a new asset is listed on the app).

Looking at some of their recent data, terms like “Superman 1, Avengers 10 & Avengers Annual 10” are nearing the top.  The DC NFT UNIVERSE dropped their 1st Digital Collectible comic, Superman 1 on October 27th – hype was enormous, and as the weeks have gone by, digital collectors continue to check prices against real world, physical values as they plan investments against other options.

VeVe dropped the Avengers Annual #10 NFT on December 1st.  Some “very keen” Marvel collectors would know AA#10 is the first appearance of Rogue…but why all of a sudden would GoCollect see a spike in traffic that grew over 5,000 queries from October to November?

CherryCharts.com 

If you are not a member of the VeVe Community on Twitter (or other social channels), you may not have heard of CherryCharts.  But as a comic collector, you would certainly know the names CGC, PBX, or CBCS identifying the grade of your asset and encasing it with a protective cover defining its value.  And boy do those look impressive on a display shelf.

With digital collectible comics (or comic NFTs), the quality is all but assured – as digital assets, they are near perfect in production on each mint, can be read an unlimited number of times, yet appear relatively similar in how their covers are viewed or “showed off.’  What makes them unique are the rarities produced (usually 4-to-5 ‘cover variants’) or the mint numbers that signify when they ‘came off the blockchain printer.’

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To enhance the appeal, showcase unique or special mint #’s, and increase fan engagement overall, CherryCharts created “digital slabs” for owners to amplify their collections.  The process is INCREDIBLY easy – simply visit the ‘Slabs’ section of their website, use their scroll-menu to select your book & variant cover, enter your special notes and click Generate Slab.

If this sounds gimmicky, consider this – the site just reached over 15,000 slabs created in the past few months, all driven by community engagement & sharing their beloved pieces on social media!

In turn, this is leading to NFT assets being repurposed into physical, print & coffee table books, T-Shirts, wall art & even AR/VR videos that generate enormous praise & applause!

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NFT Comics Meet the Coffee Table

From this, we are seeing growth in the space with a variety of slab producers that offer options “more traditional” in nature, such as Secret Rare (image below in “The Fans!”), Meta Slabs who grade NFTs, NFT Slabs who focus on sports trading cards and now, even NFT / Digital Collectible frames to showcase your prized pieces from companies like TokenFrame.

THE FANS!!!

Without a growing, passionate, and loyal community any project would be at risk.  However, the numbers we see today are compelling.  VeVe has roughly 300,000 users, with over 235,000 Twitter Fans, paired with 116,000 Instagram followers.  Rock solid growth, yet have engaged in almost no marketing outside of social influencers.  The masses are still generally unaware, but when the shift to marketing takes shape (estimates are this commences in 2023), those who are in early could potentially stand to realise enormous benefit as demand surges.

Considering DC Comics has 5.3M Twitter / 13M IG followers, Marvel with 16.8M Twitter / 67.2M IG, Disney 9.7M Twitter / 35.6M IG & Star Wars 6.2M Twitter / 15.8M IG (just FOUR examples of the 100’s of iconic brand IP VeVe has partnered with), VeVe is EXTREMELY WELL positioned with these partners to drive significant user-base growth to fans who simply love to collect assets from the brands they love.  Digital Collectibles make this very, very easy.

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WHY THIS SHOULD MATTER TO COLLECTORS & DIGITAL COLLECTIBLE VALUE CHECKING?

Let’s use Marvel Comics #1, launched August, 1939 as our first Marvel comic appearance.  The CGC rating system arrived in the year 2000.  That was a 61-year gap until a standardized grading & slabbing system was produced.  VeVe has been around for just 2 years, the DC NFT Universe less than one.  2D NFT images of monkeys, apes & creatures of all sorts hit the mainstream fast during the Covid-19 era, but without any real “valuation” system other than what the market decided.

Comic books have a system in place.  It’s trusted, proven and it works.  Yet, it will have to consider these surges in new technology.  Until then, digital collectible comic buyers are using them to help determine if a digital book is worth its asking price, seeking its real-world comparison as a guide while using these resources to learn about key information – publication dates, total print versions in circulation & how many have been graded, key issues or part of a series run, etc.

GoCollect, Amazon, eBay, Google, YouTube…all benefit from traffic growth as buyers research characters, storylines, relevant dates before hunting key mints in the app and so forth.  Rarity or total graded book info is used to compare how scarce a real-world asset is relevant to its new digital counterpart, which are also held to rare release limits.  Marvel, DC, Disney+, Netflix, Theaters, Comic Book Retailers…all also benefitting by a new resurgence in these stories, the characters, and the experiences being created as a result.  Ultimately, this holds more promise for comic collecting to surge than suffer.

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Blending Physical & Digital

Again, the worlds of physical (traditional) and digital collecting are blending.  PHYGITAL is here.  This is not about which will win or hold more value, this is about how the entire market for collecting is growing and adopting innovation, and how we can all enjoy and participate in this change along with these new opportunities and audiences.

And I have never enjoyed comic collecting as much as I do today!

footer-twitter Are VeVe & DC Digital Comics Pumping Physical Grading Sites?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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6 comments

Redskydigger January 2, 2023 - 1:01 pm

Sorry, but I’m sticking to the Real comic book. It’s more enjoyable! This market you’re promoting is for speculators and we know where that will land up. You own nothing!!

Reply
Chris Severs January 2, 2023 - 5:22 pm

Hi Redskydigger,

I do appreciate your comment. As mentioned in the article (I assume you may have missed this), I by no means depreciate the value of physical books – I even comment their digital counterparts are actually enhancing their value, while allowing an entirely new class of (comic) collectors to enter the market where they may not have otherwise.

That said, collecting is very personal and one of the biggest reasons I am encouraged by these new trends is the fact they open new avenues for storytelling and artist appreciation. The fact these assets are minted on blockchains gives unique ownership value, but I also agree – collect what you like and if you find this too speculative right now, or have not dived into how blockchain technology works, it is as easy to avoid as engage.

Thanks again!

Reply
Venomized_TB January 2, 2023 - 5:51 pm

It will be interesting to see if the digital market follows pace. I think many collectors, myself included, are more likely to spend that same cash on a physical copy rather than a digital copy – but as the market ages who knows, digital may play a role that enhances traditional collecting.

In my personal opinion, digital loses the “art” of collecting.

Reply
Chris Severs January 3, 2023 - 2:45 pm

Hi Venomized_TB,

Great comments – I do agree that personal tastes will matter forever and everyone should collect what they love & enjoy first and foremost. I too continue to hold & acquire physical comics, but my new digital (NFT) comic stack is now double that of the printed books. I could never dream of owning a Marvel Comics #1 in real life, but now own several in digital format as an example. I’ve read the book at least 5 times now too, never having to worry about degrading its value.

That seems to be catching on. IE, a digital copy of MC1, Mint #1939 recently sold for $10,000 USD in the VeVe app. Copies of Amazing Fantasy 15 (recently released on the app) are fetching buyers well over the $10k mark, and VeVe just dropped Journey Into Mystery #83 that is seeing enormous buying response, so there is definitely an audience building for this. Further, buyers are holding – there are usually less than 2% of total mints available in the secondary market.

Ultimately, I agree with you & feel the greatest value with these new formats is the continuation of the collecting experience being adopted by those who would not have done so otherwise. VeVe digital comic book buyers are now visiting physical comic stores to match their assets, attending Comic-Cons and signing up for Disney+ to watch the MCU experience or connect with characters that will define the next 20 years of growth. Think America Chavez – that show was targeted to teen girls who may watch for years to come, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that Marvel launched her comic book + character NFTs in the VeVe app at the same time. If that means more attention can be focused to this, with 100’s of new ways of finding & displaying those collections, then it can only mean the traditional, physical (IE ORIGINAL) assets will become more coveted.

One other note – VeVe has partnered with multiple physical comic designers to create “exclusive” variant covers for all their comic drops (usually known as the Rare or Ultra Rare variants). This is providing new opportunities for artists to display their talents & the response on the app has justified this. These rarities are selling for premiums, and provide additional scarcity for buyers in the app. Virtual showrooms & galleries are becoming a big thing too, so the next few years should be quite exciting in terms of how collectors can showcase their collections

Visit https://www.instagram.com/metaverselyfe/ for some incredible examples of how artists are using animation with their NFTs

I believe the ‘art’ of collecting is still at the heart of all of this…it’s just new distribution paths are opening that spurn additional interest.

Thanks for your comments too!

Reply
Ed Dee January 3, 2023 - 6:41 pm

Hello Chris. If you sell a digital item, can that payment be turned into cash?

Reply
Chris Severs January 4, 2023 - 5:43 pm

Hello Ed,

Yes it can. The VeVe app (iPhone / Android) allows you to easily create an account that you can link to your Apple Pay wallet, or use your credit card to make initial purchases. The first step is you buy in-app “Gems,” where 1 gem = $1USD. You can then hold onto anything you purchase indefinitely in the app, or resell it in the secondary market within the app.

The only stipulation currently is user accounts require a balance of $500 (gems) to move your funds back out to your bank, etc., but users feel this is a great safety feature to ensure abuse or fraudulent players, bots, etc. are heavily restricted and minimized.

When I first downloaded the app, I actually did nothing for the 1st few months…mainly just watching & learning. The community on Twitter is incredible, with many YouTube content creators & Medium.com articles to walk anyone through just about anything connected to this experience.

Hope this helps!

Reply

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