Buying Comics in a Seller’s Market

by Joseph Overaitis

051721E-300x157 Buying Comics in a Seller's MarketComic books are selling at record prices.  Every day, the sales prices of certain books keeps going up.  FMV is all but ignored.  As an investor or collector, you have to ask yourself, is now the right time to buy books?  The answer is yes, but only if you buy wisely.  These are some of the rules I follow for buying comics in a seller’s market.

Rule #1: Movie News vs Movie Speculation

Observation

All collectors should understand the difference between movie news and movie speculation.  Information not previously known to someone that has been verified is movie news.  The sources of verification are very important. Two websites reporting that they heard something is NOT verification!!!

In contrast, movie speculation blogs are articles based upon rumors, intuition, and guessing by the writer.  Those reasons are why hobbyists purchased Captain America #323 and the first appearance of John Walker long before he was announced to appear in the MCU. It is how you use speculation and news that will be indicative of your success in buying books right now.

Undervalued Movie Books

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImQ2NjU0NGQ2LWNlMWUtNDUzOC1hY2MxLWM4ODE0M2NkOGI4Ni5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-208x300 Buying Comics in a Seller's MarketIf you watched the DCEU movie Shazam, you saw a little worm in two key scenes.  Usually, you get a character reveal at only the mid-credits scene, but this worm also appeared at the Rock of Eternity during the main film.  David F. Sandberg, the director of Shazam and its future sequel, served as the voice actor for this character.  Two key scenes with the character are old news.  The director of an announced future sequel possibly voicing the character is both fresh news and fuel for intuition.

My thought process involved using old news, intuition, and reviewing the data to get me interested in Mr. Mind.  First, he has already appeared in the DCEU film.  Next, my research indicates that the character’s first DC universe appearance is in Shazam #2.  At the time I am writing this article, the FMV for a 9.8 copy of this book is ONLY $110!  I’ve seen fans more interested in Polka-Dot Man and his anticipated appearance in The Suicide Squad film than for Mr. Mind. Finally, I have to determine if the book has a chance for appreciating in value.

Investing in villains is not as lucrative as heroes, but a 9.8 copy of the first DC appearance of Mr. Mind that is over forty years old should be selling for more.  I would even state that Mr. Mind’s first appearance in the Golden Age book Captain Marvel Adventures #26 is also probably undervalued, but good luck finding a copy for sale.  Even that book, though, is not as undervalued as is Shazam #2.  This book is in reach of most collectors right now, but how long will this hold true? Filming for Shazam 2 starts May 2021.

Rule #2 Use the Force

Observation

Star Wars-related property sells for a premium.   First issues sell for top dollar.  If the book is rarer, then it also sells for a premium.  The market is crazy for Star Wars, and yet there are books that people seem to be missing out on that you may want to consider as long-term holds.

Undervalued Star Wars Books

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImI1ZjNlOGJhLWU1MmYtNDNlNS1hMjExLTFiOGY5NzVjZGE5ZS5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-193x300 Buying Comics in a Seller's MarketI want to tell you all a little secret.  Two iconic Star Wars characters have two appearances in first issue books that are over 25 years old and yet 9.8 copies of these books have an FMV less than $120 at the time I am writing this article.  Furthermore, the most recent sale occurred the day before I am writing this article and it was the lowest sale of the year.  The characters I am writing about are R2-D2 and C-3PO.  The two issues I am talking about are Star Wars: Droids #1, from Dark Horse that was published in 1994, and Droids #1, published by Star Comics (Marvel Comics imprint) from 1986.

These books are not canon issues to the saga.  These books targeted a much younger audience who were droid fans.  That opinion should still not distract you from the fact that these books are affordable older Star Wars books that have long-term potential.  At the time I am writing this column, both books combined have fewer than 350 copies total in the CGC census.  I believe both books are undervalued, but if I had a choice I would be much more interested in the Marvel comics version.  The reason I believe more in this book is that it was geared to younger readers.  Mature hobbyists were not buying this book and preserving it with bags and boards.  As a result, it may be difficult to find a high-grade copy.

Finally, you will not find these books in dollar bargain bin sections because investors and collectors probably have purchased them already.  I mean, these are old Star Wars books we are talking about here.  I have observed that more copies have been coming on the market in recent months.   Hobbyists are making room for their more in-vogue purchases and thus, these Star Wars books are being sacrificed to make room for inventory and to raise buying capital.  You can find great copies raw though for prices that are beyond ridiculous.

Rule #3  Know What You are Buying

s-l1600-11-206x300 Buying Comics in a Seller's MarketObservation

Writers here at GoCollect take the time to research and prepare our topics.  We then write the articles and get them ready for graphics.  Editors then review our articles.  We are not a fly-by-night operation that takes an article and writes it yesterday so it can go to print today.  GoCollect readers deserve better than that.  The irony I see is that investors and collectors sometimes put less time to buy books than it takes me to write an article suggesting books to buy.

I recently observed two auctions where I questioned the knowledge of the bidders. These auctions were not part of the auctions used by GoCollect to formulate their data.  In one auction, bidders were going crazy over Batman #181. The problem was that it was Batman #181 (Facsimile Edition).  I also observed Silver Surfer Fantasy Masterpieces being bid on as if they were original story Silver Surfer books in another auction.  These books were priced beyond what the normal reprints would bring, thus one could assume people were bidding as if they were getting a deal on Silver Surfer books at a great price.

These inexperienced buyers are driving up the prices of comic books’ FMV across the board. Prices are booming and everyone wants to get in on this action because buyers believe there is no way they can lose money.  Everyone wants to buy, but you have to be careful not to overspend.

Undervalued Silver Surfer Books

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImY3NTdjMDc0LTgwZTEtNDU1MC04ODUwLWY2MGFhOTVkNjU0ZS5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-201x300 Buying Comics in a Seller's MarketI think Silver Surfer is a great character and there are books that I believe have value.  Instead of paying for reprints, I would look at his first series to invest in.  I like all the issues in the series except the first, third, and fourth issues if you are a buyer looking for value.  What I see as the best value is Silver Surfer #14.  This issue features a classic Spider-Man/Silver Surfer cover.  I love all the grades to invest, but a 9.4 with an FMV of $525 is not out of reach of most collectors.

The reason I love this book is that I compared it to Silver Surfer #4 with the Silver Surfer/Thor cover.  I always liked the Spider-Man cover more.  Then I looked at the FMV, and if I wanted a 9.4 copy of Silver Surfer #4 it would cost me $7,000 at the time I write this article.  Think of all the great books you could buy with that price difference.

Conclusion

Now is a crazy time to be a buyer.  The comic book marketplace is on steroids.  Everyone is in a frenzy to buy because investors are afraid to miss out on owning books that “can only” appreciate in value. Books released a few days ago are selling for top dollar.  Landmark issues are selling for all-time highs.  Everything is in favor of the sellers.

That does not mean that there are not deals out there in the market for buyers.  Key books do exist that are not getting the attention that other books are receiving and that can mean long-term opportunities for you.  Be smart and avoid FOMO and you can find those gold nuggets others are ignoring.

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10 comments

Eddie May 19, 2021 - 10:23 am

Hello Joseph, I do enjoy reading your blog posts. I would have to agree with you as far as purchasing comics during a sellers market. Where I differ from you is which books to purchase and for why. The options that you selected, although are great comic books, I would not choose. The reason being the possibility of a future appearance in any movie show or anything for Mr.Mind, Spiderman and the silver surfer or Thor and silver surfer to me at least it’s not truly exciting. It would be exciting to watch on the big screen sure but not exciting enough for me to purchase first battle appearances of certain characters. However I do agree with you that there are some of those gold nuggets you mentioned that haven’t really been talked about and in my opinion could potentially show itself in future movies. Let’s take first appearance of the scarlet spider which is web of Spiderman 118. Current FMV at 9.8 is $475. I believe within the venom franchise there potentially could be an appearance of a scarlet Spider. Since the venom movie has an alternate origin story why not provide an alternate Spiderman character. Then that leads me to the potential for spider Carnage to show up which is seen in amazing Spiderman 410. Current FMV for amazing Spiderman 410 is $150. My next example, due to the success of Deadpool, could be the first appearance of Fantomex which is new X-Men 128. Fantomex could truly be a standalone film just like Hitman. Current FMV at 9.8 is $180. So these are just some of the examples that I feel could potentially be more marketable and exciting for fans/investors/speculators and have room for growth without spending over $1000 especially for a 9.8. Lastly, this one is a little bit more of a biased choice for me and it is X-Men number 12 the first appearance and origin of juggernaut and origin of Professor X. I purchased a 5.0 for $375 a couple of years ago that same grade current FMV for 5.0 is around $1150. All it’s going to take is for someone to introduce juggernaut the correct way and then manner in which he is truly showcased and I believe that this book even at a grade of 5.0 still has room for growth. Thank you.

Reply
Joseph Overaitis May 19, 2021 - 11:26 am

Eddie

Thanx for the comment. The movie reference was only for Mr. Mind. The other ones were trying to see patterns and then extrapolate it to other books. The Silver Surfer/Thor book is so in demand now and yet the Silver Surfer/Spider-Man is not. I agree with you on some of your selections of undervalued books. The one though that I think is really like is Juggernaut’s first…Never done correctly it should be a great subject of the MCU.

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Gavin May 21, 2021 - 3:32 pm

I really believe Fantastic Four 67 (First Appearance of HIM / Adam Warlock), New Mutants 100 (First appearance of X-Force), X-Factor 1 (First Appearance of X-Factor), and X-Factor 6 (First Appearance of Apocalypse) are very undervalued and great buys. Adam Warlock is likely going to be a major focus in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 and I would be shocked if he did get his own series and/or movie. X-men Apocalypse did not do justice Apocalypse and is the new perfect villain for X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force, and/or a solo Cable movie. Also, it’s very likely we will see standalone X-Force and X-Factor movies and/or series in the next 10 years; this is one reason why Disney isn’t rushing releasing a new X-Men movie.

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Joseph Overaitis May 23, 2021 - 3:31 pm

Gavin

Welcome to the boards. I do think the first issue of X-Factor is undervalued. Fantastic Four 67 was hot a while back for the HIM appearances but I have seen raw copies sell for fractions of previous prices. You are faced with early FF buyers. Better get them now or pay the price later.

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Nick May 25, 2021 - 2:48 am

You just have to be opportunistic as a buyer right now. Check the raw books at your local LCS. Look for great cover art featuring prominent characters (like your Silver Surfer,- Spider-Man example), look for runs of certain miniseries (Vision and Scarlet Witch), look for untapped franchises (I bought first 10 issues of New Teen Titans as F or better condition last year), Spec on fan favorite characters and teams (FF in the negative zone, death of Mar-vell, etc.), or buy anything old and cool that’s at a good price.

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Joseph Overaitis May 25, 2021 - 2:50 pm

Nick

I love that advice. I wonder why so many people are afraid to buy raw comics.

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Pugilisticphilosopher June 3, 2021 - 2:17 am

Great article. I noticed that old DROIDS comic a few years ago and realized it was under the radar so I snapped up a couple of copies. I also agree with you on the Silver Surfer 14 – one can rarely go wrong with a Spidey appearance.
It is tougher to buy in a sellers market but it can be done. Take advantage of your LCS when they have their 1/2 price back issue sale week, or check out the $5 bins where gems can be unearthed. I have pulled many rabbits out of these hats over the years. Speculating on movies and shows is great but as you pointed out, be sure the information you are acting on is reliable and get AHEAD of things. Gretzky was the greatest offensive player in the game because he had the ability to recognize where the play was GOING TO BE 5 seconds before everyone else on the ice. Hobbyists who want to make money need to use their intuituons and experience to recognize trends and hotspots before the masses catch on. Above all, let’s enjoy ourselves ! Comic book culture has hit the mainstream and while this has its downside – it is also fantastic that we are able to see our favorite heroes and villains come alive in ways that generations before us were never able to. Its a great time to be a comic lover !

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Joseph Overaitis June 3, 2021 - 12:07 pm

Every day is a great day to be a comic lover LOL

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Gavin June 3, 2021 - 1:28 pm

What do you guys think is the best site to buy investment comics? I used Ebay in 2017 and got some lucky great finds (Amazing Spider-Man #300 signed by Todd McFarlane 9.4 CGC signature 9.4 grade for $400, Star Wars #1 1977 9.4 grade for $200, and New Mutants 98 9.4 grade).

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Joseph Overaitis June 3, 2021 - 6:29 pm

Gavin

There are plenty of spots. eBay is is a common site but you would be amazed at other places that have great books. Heritage has some books that you may never see on eBay. Also look at your local comic book stores. Also talk to other collectors. Your investment tastes may differ and thus provide you both opportunities .

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