Are We Hitting a Comic Wall?

by Mike W

080621A-1-300x157 Are We Hitting a Comic Wall?As we’ve all seen, the collectibles market has been thriving for the last year during the worldwide pandemic. Now, to be more specific, the comic market has been on an upward rise for quite some time. Do we believe this is sustainable? The question we all have going forward is, Will the boom continue? Are we hitting a comic wall?

A few other bloggers have voiced their opinions about the future of the comic book collecting market. Here’s my take.

I believe this explosion is primarily due to the success of television shows and movies based on comic book plots and has been magnified as a result of the pandemic. Just look at Marvel Comics. Their books and collectibles were already on an upward trend, but one can’t deny the effects the pandemic has had on sales. Some books have skyrocketed in value! Forecasters could never have predicted this kind of growth.

Example: Ultimate Fallout #4uf4-196x300 Are We Hitting a Comic Wall?

Let’s take a look at Ultimate Fallout #4. This comic is a modern age key with one very important detail – This issue notates the first appearance of Miles Morales. Even before the “pandemic boom”, this particular comic was priced very high. To illustrate my point, look at a timeline from March 2020 to April 2021. Each high-grade copy of this issue (8.0 to 9.8) spiked tremendously. Each grade rose over 100% over its current value during this time. A 9.8 graded copy had an increase in value of 150.3%. The craziness is that each grade had that type of increase.

The comic market for investing had been pretty steady even before the pandemic. Steady, yes, but the increase in value took place in a manner that still allowed collectors to obtain books for reasonable prices. Unfortunately, we all know what’s happened since the pandemic has landed. It’s changed the landscape of comics across all ages.

But What Changed?

As several of us have speculated, I believe the change in peoples’ lifestyles is a huge reason for the spike in prices for comics. Individuals decided to use their extra income on the collectibles genre. Generally, before the pandemic, these individuals would use their spendable money on traveling and other extracurricular activities. Yes, books such as Ultmate Fallout #4 would undergo spikes in price, as the book is a valuable key. Post-pandemic, however, it exploded. Now, it appears we are getting to the end of the pandemic. (Hopefully?) We are starting to see signs of book prices starting to flatline and even drop.

2021-08-11-7 Are We Hitting a Comic Wall?Yes, I am comparing a small sample of data, but I do feel the trend in prices does make sense. The timeframe I will be discussing is from May 2021 to our current date (07/10/2021, the time of this writing). To start, there are three grades (9.0, 9.2 & 9.6) that are showing a negative trend during this time. For example, a 9.6 graded copy of UF #4 showed a negative trend of 13.3%.

During the height of the pandemic, it was reaching prices as high as around $1,200. As we are reaching this current month, the last four sales have dropped to near $1,000. With a sale on 06/30/202 hitting this grade’s lowest sale price of $720.

Conclusion

The same reasons that spiked the prices of comics are probably the same reasons why prices are flatlining or dropping. Lifestyle. With the increase in individuals receiving the COVID-19 shots, people have confidence in traveling again. It also helps that many of the states are pretty much opened up in all aspects, at least for now. In addition, the dropping of mask mandates provides more confidence for the public to resume normal activities.

All in all, comic values should continue to go up as intended, but a spike as we have seen in the last year is probably coming to an end.  I do believe the comic wall has been hit, or is at least nearing our position. As a collector myself, that is a good thing. Prices will be affordable for me to start obtaining some key books!

What do you think? Are we hitting a comic wall? Let us know in the comments!

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9 comments

Justin August 14, 2021 - 8:33 am

July was hands down the best month to acquire books. Like record setting low auction closes. Happy but I’ve noticed an uptick in sales and final auction prices in the last 2 weeks. They’re back!

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Kenloi August 14, 2021 - 10:00 am

Generally i agree with you some comics are flatlining but with sudden jumps. The advertised $30,00 but sold $25,000 sale of Ult fallout 4 variant comes to mind. Next year (middle) this will be $50,000 plus. The pandemic has also increased people’s awareness of comics in general and which heroes and villains should be collected along with hot variant artists. If comics drop in price for a bit i believe there will be another push with sudden crazy price increases for marketed characters coming around the end of the year and beyond. The obvious RI RI, Naomi, Miles, Kamala, America, Sam Alexander, Marvel Zombies with Ult Fan Four, Champions, Young Avengers etc etc etc.People that had no interest in comics b4 the pandemic are now looking for anything, not to read but to sell which is unfortunate. In my local comic book shop queue there seems to be an appearance of new (variant) comic collectors/readers/sellers?. I now suspect due to lost jobs and income. Key collector app seems to be used by all these people and sites like yours are religiously studied now. The next push is coming after the possible incoming levelling out with certain comics going bonkers of all ages. People still believe it is going to be a dire autumn Winter in the aftermath. I truly hope not. Out of control inflation may dictate that comic prices will have to increase in the aftermarket for incredible price increases in the near future anyway.

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sin2099 August 14, 2021 - 12:39 pm

well, if Isreal is anything to go by. The delta variant can be quite tricky. WE might see a second set of restrictions if delta goes rampant. Israel was one of the fastest to vaccinate but also failed to stem it. Or more accurately stopped it stopped masks and all was fine then delta came and now they’re in lockdowns again and masking up again though vaccinated. though there no doubt reopening has moved some of the attention away from comics. but like any overheated market there will be a cooling off before a subsequent rally. namely once winter comes around again and people from their ‘summer vacation’ activities would revert back to more homely activities.

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Mike Stinson August 14, 2021 - 4:24 pm

We’ll be testing your hypothesis shortly, with this Delta surge. I, as well, am putting stock in said same hypothesis. Interesting times and interesting finding out about people’s true views now that many seem emboldened to let fly with their viewpoints. I am generally an optimist but hold out little long term hope for our species with recent displays of intelligence (sic) and lack of ability to discern fact from fiction.

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Redskydigger August 14, 2021 - 4:32 pm

You are correct in your assessment. I too, see the new watermark prices of comics as the future baseline in what people with look at for the value of that book. Very few people will sell below that price and that will become the baseline.

Now the argument for this collectible market; is it a piece of ART? (comics in general) if so, then collectors and speculators are investing and buying art NOT comics.

Andy Warhol talked in great deal about creating art for the masses. Maybe just maybe he was talking about comics.

I’m very interested in this view point. If comics have made the jump to the status of Art …watch out

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Kenloi August 16, 2021 - 2:47 pm

This is one of the major problems of the comic industry.Yes it is art, but commercial art sold for the lay person and as such doesnt have any intrinsic value other than to speculators who hike prices all the time for profit and to collectors who actually want the said profit to keep. If only one piece thats fine but when you are talking about the thousands, demand must be greater than supply and on many comics it is getting that way due to FOMO. But thats fine as prices are soaring. Pop Art is a difficult subject, is it copying or original?

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Steven Moore August 15, 2021 - 12:08 pm

Happy to kick this off. There’s an obvious negative trend for modern and late Bronze keys but prices are still increasing for the Silver Age. This is a necessary market correction and a return to business as normal for collectors. It is not, nor will it be, a speculative collapse. There’s too many new collectors, too much new money for that.

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Jay Pele August 15, 2021 - 3:30 pm

I don’t believe the rest of the comic market can be compared to UF4, its overly-inflated value relative to its high availability made it ripe for a sharp correction, and it’s not even close to finding the bottom. I expect it will give back at least another 30% off its all-time high, if not more. Literally dozens of freshly-slabbed, high grade copies go up for sale on ebay every day, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon, either.

While some sellers could just decide to hold out until they get the pie-in-the-sky BIN prices they want, others have bills and creditors to pay and more of them will just put up 7 day auctions starting at .99 and take their chances. After a few months of that kind of action we’ll see what UF4 is truly worth.

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Shoei_Otani August 15, 2021 - 9:38 pm

correct me if im wrong but id like to assume we all are hobbyist and collectors of some sorts, for comic lovers such as me , it saddens me that writers like this guy and a lot of those who comments cant admit that the boom in prices is also brought about by the subsidy people have been receiving from their govts efforts. its practical to come up with the chance to earn more in using it , in which you cannot take away that there are a number of people who buy for their own collection but most likely a lot are on it for the quick turnover and profit. i just want to say be careful also in reading the comments section, especially those who keep persisting that prices will be maintained or continue to go up due to whatever reasons they provide , just like bankers just like financial experts they cant predict , all they do is recycle news they like and say it to you so they can continue earning. i have a bet that those who claims such things are those who sells in ebay, whatever comic selling websites , IG and whatever platform. you cant possibly just listen to each one as those who right so positively without the backbone of how supporting their claim with continuous buying of comic books at extreme prices can be sustainable because you got nothing else to do but the main question is how much are you earning in the pandemic period so start with any business with how much capital you start. can you sustain your lifestyle when your livelihood change,when the subsidy stops. can you really say the people who join in the comic wagon are 85% collecting for keeps ? as a international buyer and a hard core collector ( i believe i am ) im happy its going down , we will see the dumpers and those who will panic and start jerk selling to lessen their lose due to they cant tell how much the comic can still go. all i can say is im one of those who try to sustain the market now because im still buying but at my willing price , got a harbinger 9.4 ss for the price of even less than the fmv ( blue label ) of this site , even got a shang chi 1st app 3.5 ss for even less than this sites fmv ( blue label ) , even finally got an gsxmen 1 3.0 for a bit less than this sites fmv. argue with me be it a fluke or im lucky ,the point is comic collecting will stay its a question how much each one value their hobby. for now im going to take advantage of whatever be the market being down to just negate those i bought during the over pricing. good luck and continue to enjoy collecting comics

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