Comic Market Report: Deals, Inflation, & Hoarding Hot Titles

by Joseph Overaitis

060322B-1024x536 Comic Market Report: Deals, Inflation, & Hoarding Hot TitlesBloggers write their personal opinions from a safe place in their homes.  Journalists go out into the field and conduct research. This data will allow collectors, investors, speculators, and hobbyists to better navigate the worlds you travel. The following is a comic market report from the Motor City Comic Con on what buyers were thinking and how this impacts comic book markets.

Comic Book Market Report  From Buyers’ Perspective

The Right Answers

GoCollect tracks the sales data from numerous sites.  That gives you the “what” is happening in the field.  Interviewing consumers gives you the more important answer of “why” it is happening.  The Motor City Comic Con (“MC3”) is a great place to observe the fan experience.  The fans here are very passionate about their pursuits.  They also talk and share ideas.  The insights into what buyers are feeling are important to sellers, collectors, and investors.  Buyers drive the market.

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Fans Hungry

The attendance was great at this show.  Most were there to meet the celebrities in attendance, but there was a large amount that were there to buy.  The economy is down, but many fans indicated that would not stop them from buying books. Fans indicated that attending a show is different from buying online because it allows them to see the merchandise.  This was important because of the nature of their new targets.

Raw was the word

Fans were seen primarily focusing on raw books.  Volume and discounts were the keys to where they looked.  One fan who did not want to be identified because he told his boss he was sick at work stated “I want to buy, but the price of gas to get to the show limits my choices.”  A volunteer who was looking at products on his off hours said “I am like an alcoholic in an open bar.” He too said he was more a looker than a buyer. Raw books could be bought at a discount when compared to graded books.

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There were many books to choose from, but the words of the day were discount and volume. The economy was impacting buyers’ choices.  Higher-end books were not what buyers were looking for anymore, even at raw prices. The price of food and gas did not keep people away from the show, but it did impact their targets.  Low-end spec books were on everyone’s radar.  Instead of going to the front of the GoCollect data, the targets were more off-the-list books with potential or conditioned keys.

MCU Non-Factor

MC3 was held after the release of Dr. Strange 2. At past MC3 events, after a movie release, there were specific books that were targets of the fans.  This show was different.  Buyers questioned did not come out with specific MCU targets.  One buyer said about the influence of Dr. Strange 2 on their buying targets was “Fool me once.”  Another said great movie, but now they were lost as a buyer.

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The MCU hot book factor usually appears on the first day, when the hot books are scooped up, but not now.  One buyer stated, “…wait till Sunday when those books are marked down because no one wants them now.” There were a few Kamala/Ms. Marvel keys on the walls, but drawing very little interest.  Strange Tales #126 was looked at by many fans, but very few were sold.  The MCU influence is there, but the price is now of greater significance in this new economy.  FOMO is not as important when you have to make hard choices.

Be scared!

Buyers are out there, but they are now starting to redo their budgets.  Previously, comic prices were always going up and buyers had to buy them or they risked losing out on good deals.  Buyers expressed reservations at this show.  Gone were the days of spending discretionary income because, as one buyer shouted, “buy a book or fill up my car!”  Fan excitement was there. but it was redirected.  Even known high-end buyers set their sights to lower targets.  The belief is that prices will go down as demand for those books goes down as well. Buyers expressed the common belief that sellers were still pricing books as if the economy was not impacting their lives.

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Some retailers looked to move product and were swapping higher-end items for a bulk of lower-end items that they could move.  One retail worker said to a buyer something to the effect that they were there to sell and not to collect. High-end books will always be in demand, but Silver, Bronze, Copper, and Modern Age books that do not contain the first appearance of the Fantastic Fours, Wolverines, or Poison Ivies of the world may suffer. Those that were getting the higher-end books were looking at the long-term investment of the deal.

A Scoop of Pessimism.

Confidential Reports

Buyers shared more of their experiences from this show than others.  Some of them did not want to have the comments they made be attributed to them.  Journalists take these types of comments with a dose of skepticism because there is no accountability to accompany the statement.  Comments like this must be verified or at least heard from a different source.  One such story was heard from three different sources at this show that did not know each other.  The storytellers repeated a story about Miles Morales!

Ultimate Fallout?

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Ultimate Fallout #4 is a book that draws many different opinions among fans.  The FMV had kept going up because of the demand for the character.  The concern among many was always the supply numbers.  The numbers do not appear to be there to justify the high value of the book.   In addition, the people who were buying this book do not seem to fit the target audience for the book.  Buyers were older, while the suggested belief was that Miles is the Spider-Man for the new generation of comic book fans.

The question always is if UF #4 is an Amazon stock that defies logic or a Pets.com stock that had potential but busted during the dot com bubble.  UF #4 was an interesting topic among dealers at the show. There were several copies being offered below FMV but were still sitting on the walls at the close of the show. Buyers at the show said the price was too high.  One buyer wanted to buy it but not at this time for even the reduced price.  This was a first and there may have been a reason for it.

An upcoming wave

Three different comic book buyers told me the same story.  None had a chance to verify their story with the others.  They all indicated that certain stores had access to a large selection of warehouse copies of  Ultimate Fallout #4.  This is where one source told me something interesting.

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When these books were first offered, many were not distributed to comic book stores.  They sat and were then offered at discounts, so stores bought them.  Most books sold like this end up in the dollar discount bins.  The source indicated that because this was a new Spider-Man, several stores sat on those issues in hopes that they would one day be worth something.  One said they know some stores are still sitting on copies waiting for the MCU reveal. Another informant told me that they will still buy these books at a discount and sell them at a profit while they hold others for the big MCU reveal. There is a big payday coming and one informant said they want to cash in on the book when the time is right.

The problem is that the FMV is dropping for higher grade books right now.  This again may be a small decrease due to the economy, but it was not on the hot list of the buyers interviewed.  Copies are still moving in the market.  The 90 to 30-day averages for UF #4 for a 9.6 copy have dropped from $1,231 to $1,120.  That is a significant drop in the most populated grade available.

Even the 9.8 grades have dropped at the time of this report, from $3,194 to $3,009.  Buyers are still interested in this book, but at the right price.  A 9.6 CBCS copy will cost you $850. Even these books were not in great demand among buyers.

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Buyers are Changing…Should You?

Buyers are ever-evolving. Many at the show stated they were changing their buying habits.  A lot of complaints were made about Facebook auctions that were sources of fraud and scams.  eBay was an alternative, but buyers who wanted bulk and discounts said competition drives those prices up to the point they are not worth it anymore. They wanted deals, but not the risks of buying on non-protected platforms. The show offered them chances to keep active in the hobby while finding discounted books not available at their local comic book store.  Inflation is changing buyers’ habits.

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Collectors may now start to target those books that were once on their lists, but only at the right price.  Hard-to-find books will start to come to market as people make hard choices.  Other books will drop in price and now be within the reach of more collectors and long-term investors.  Dealers at the show tried not to discount their higher-end books, but how long can this continue for some?  As one buyer said, “…we can wait them out because we have the money.”

Tough choices will now have to be made.  Different opportunities will exist.  Amazing Spider-Man #129 and other blue chip books are losing some value.  Other lower-tier books are also dropping in their FMV.  Prices are not going up like food, gas, and supplies because comic books are collectibles.  Collectibles are vulnerable.  Now may be the time to evaluate if you should be a seller or a buyer.  Better to plan one day too early than one day too late!

Keep up with the comic market!

00080221C_Green-Footer Comic Market Report: Deals, Inflation, & Hoarding Hot Titles*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not reflect advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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20 comments

Alan June 6, 2022 - 7:33 pm

I really found your research helpful. Thank you!

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Joseph Overaitis June 6, 2022 - 10:46 pm

Alan

We are trying to do more for the readers. There are so many areas to draw from. I am working too on a dealers report. The report was interesting because it was more about the market and how dealers are deviating from past business practices. Information is power and we want our readers to be well armed during these interesting times.

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Kenloi June 7, 2022 - 6:36 am

Your sleuthing and detective work is what most of us are seeing. World wide inflation with no slow down. This is going to get bad for the forseeable future regarding the world situation.I predict an awful 2 years. I hope i am wrong. Comic traders will have to lower all their prices just to sell, to heat their homes and produce food on the table. Any trader who doesn’t will drop by the weyside.They can still thrive if they are canny. The desire to buy comics is still there, that hasn’t changed, the lack of cash has. I dont want to say it but anyone with surplus money and wants to take the risk it may be a brilliant time to buy and hoard. Others may well be burning their collections to keep warm. Collectors will hoard and wait. Speculators will be looking for real bargains only. This is not a comic crash as everything that runs our economies are beginning to dwindle and fade. What really matters are the survivors at the other end when daylight comes.The pandemic has triggered this situation with incapable politicians not able to react correctly and in time. Economy slow down should have been analysed and prepared for in the long term including unprepared for scenarios. Having put a damper on things, surely recovery will come and a probable result will be rising comic prices again when people have money in hand. Possibly another boom to look forward to…Good article and to the point. One last point will Marvel/ Disney, DC still keep pushing out movies if people can’t afford to view. This has potential to be the greatest superhero movie time in living history and the influences on the comic market in recent history has been sublime for them.

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Joseph Overaitis June 7, 2022 - 10:02 am

Great comments on my article! You always bring extra points to the table. If people do not have the money for extra things, it might be wise for Disney and others to maybe go for quality instead of quantity for movies. We cannot ignore it and neither can the film makers.

I think the article had to be written because of the belief that somehow comics are exempt from the global economy. I have read where people say comics are luxuries and people will still flock to them. That does not make any sense. Will the great returns we seen just a few years ago be wiped out in the short term? I value your thoughts on that my friend.

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Kenloi June 10, 2022 - 5:17 am

Joseph…Yes some returns on some books will be lowered if that book was overpriced anyway. Many of the inflated returns were great but everyone knew it couldnt last for ever.That is obvious.Books in demand will probably stabilise for a bit with minimal increases. Primarily collectors keeping that vibe active. We could say rare Adam Hughes covers, bronze Neal Adams covers, certain Jenny Frisson covers etc etc as examples. Name your favourite comic book cover artist. Hot popular storylines Secret Wars, multitude of Batman stories etc etc.Green Lantern storylines are still underpriced and that will be interesting to see any growth on certain stories. As i have said another boom will come. We always go boom and bust all the time but noone ever prepares for it myself included. The people buying and selling full time will primarily suffer the largest losses and there will be some great bargains on offer. I hope it doesn’t lead to comic shop closures but it may. Personally at present i will still buy comics on my want list as i never spend a lot anyway. Will this change? Possibly….Possibly not…Sorry for the mediocre answer….

Joseph Overaitis June 10, 2022 - 8:39 am

Nope…Great answer.. I am reading comments online from a select few who seem to believe comic books are immune from the economy. Responses like yours show what is actually happening in the market. Thanks for the share!

Kenloi June 13, 2022 - 5:56 am

Went to pay visit to my local in last week. This store is back issues only and from the front looks like a 1970s shopfront.. Get there early and it is usually empty till about 12 am. After that you get a few hardcore ebay buyers and sellers and families with speculating children.Staff are very friendly. Wall books now are generally silver age non keys in poor condition with lowish prices and 90s dross in vfn slightly overpriced or expensive. There are still many modern hot comics to find occasionally as they are not checked for what they are, just priced as cover price or less. Did find some time ago a big variant win including Ult Fallout 4 var and X23 1 dell otto nm+ for cover among many. Back to now and this store hasn’t increased prices on anything. A lot of stock is getting old and damaged due to no monitoring of removing comics from bags. I do like that amount of freedom however. They seem to be buying no collections at the moment and this has been going on since the pandemic began. Their silver age section is particularly plentiful but all in extremely poor condition with no keys, as the ebay speculaters instantly grab them. They do have a seperate undisclosed warehouse closed to the public with substantial golden, silver and all eras comic hoards and i do wish that sometimes they would open this up to us but they never will. I know this store is very popular as it does get very crowded at times as it is in a tourist area on the coast..Did find a few comics nothing to write home about but happy. I suspect if the economy does crash entirely there wouldnt be any real effect on this store but staff have gone during the pandemic closures..I get the feeling staff are worried about the future as their salaries are low and finding another job could be difficult.

GQGuyforComics June 6, 2022 - 9:14 pm

another fine write up , and thank you for sharing the comic market. being a international buyer its just gives me a bit of relief to see something like this, that someone out there is feeling what im feeling all this time and that is collecting comic books is getting too expensive. but lets dig in to certain points. it seems from your writing that mostly people come to this con to buy for profit , im sure there are hard collectors who came but if the news that comes around that those hard buyers or collectors are holding then im realizing that there is something happening about the comic market that we dont know? ( im not saying a crash ). economy is economy i get it but are we at the tail end of the comic boom ? is this the effect of knowing that the comic market isnt like 1-2 years ago that everyone knows there isnt a sure thing what they have can go up in value same as before? but still i envy you guys having a market where you can buy in bulk or raw and cons as well as getting discounts on slabs buying cash, ebay right now is a waiting game due to the prices being put up or hope that a auction comes in and you can snag one at a good price. good take on the UF4 , it just sad knowing if the movie or any news comes up you see the price goes up astronomically and just dives after ( hoping not ) , but can the NM 98 phenomenal be apply to UF4 as well? NM98 has so many prints. i do agree with your findings about certain books in every age bracket to be in demand but the question is …. what is the right price ? again thank you for this, it opens up the comic world on your part to us. more power and cheers !

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Joseph Overaitis June 6, 2022 - 10:45 pm

Thanks for the comments

There were many collectors and they were looking to add books but again the price was a major issue. Prices had been rising on some books and some of the people who were waiting for prices to drop were collectors.

In regards to NM 98 UF 4 comparison I can honestly say I am not sure. I have never heard of extra copies for that book but I always heard rumors of stores getting discounted UF4s. What was amazing was confirmation and even one person pointing me to a store that was a recipient of the deal. I will be visiting them often LOL. Finally you would be amazed at the common areas you share with many of those in attendance. The uncertainty scares them now. It makes people have to really research the market and make informed choices.

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Sean June 6, 2022 - 11:44 pm

This is the beginning of the end. All investors better dump their comic book investments right now because everything will be going down. A depression is coming that will be just as bad, if not worse, than the great depression of the 1930’s. The incompetent imposter in the White House is ruining the economy in ways that will have devastating consequenves for the American consumer. Comic books will be out in favor of surviving through an economic catastrophy. The conic book crash was coming anyway. You can’t have a house of cards based on an artificially inflated market created by people who are investors rather than the collectors who will still be there after the crash comes. No doubt, the days of insane price hikes on superhero comics related to the Marvel Cinematic Universe is coming to an end and i think it will happen sooner rather than later. It’s already begun as collectors wisely reign in their spending on things that are not necessities such as comics. And once the speculators/investors begin to leave, the whole house of cards will collapse and all that will be left will be the actual collectors with mostly empty pockets for comic books. CGC is partly to blame for the coming crash as they have really encouraged treating comic books as encapsulated investments rather than collectibles that were meant to be actually opened up and enjoyed. The most ridiculous thing is to buy an Incredible Hulk #180 and not be able to actually see the first appearance of Wolverine on the last page, which is the reason for buying the issue! It has been locked in a plastic case, but that first appearance of Wolverine is in there, even though it can’t be actually seen. What’s the point of having it if you can’t enjoy it?

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Joseph Overaitis June 7, 2022 - 10:12 am

Sean

I will leave politics out of it because that can open up a can of worms. I do agree that the MCU and speculators was a big problem. I mean one website I read had a recommendation to buy the first appearance of Prof. X’s hover chair! I also think that investors had driven the price up so high for books that collectors were forced to set their targets elsewhere. I do think now though may be a good opportunity for collectors to look for those investors to begin to sell books at a loss. I have always written that collectors and investors cannot be separated no matter how hard we try. Even die hard collectors will try to trade a book for others they are looking to add, and the market impacts those trades as well. I came to use GoCollect data because of the advantage I get knowing what is happening out there. I need to know and so do you.

I am writing an article still on CGC grading. I always believed that a book that is a 6.0 is worth X no matter if it was graded by CGC or a LCS. That said I do see one advantage in that books are preserved. You may not be able to see the 1st time the Wolverine bursts on the comic book pages but you will have that issue preserved. For everyone it is different. That is what is great about the market. That is also why people like you should keep posting. Your comments are unique but create the tapestry of the comic book market.

Sean do you think now is a time to buy or sell, both for people that may be long term investors but more as collectors? Should they wait a little bit longer? Books that were once priced out of collectors hands may not be within reach…curious what you think

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Sean June 7, 2022 - 11:47 am

Well, like i said, i believe waiting out this whole house of cards bubble is the best way to go This same buying frenzy by speculators happened in the mid 80’s and early 90’s. The result was a crash in both instances when the actual collectors refused to pay the high prices and stopped buying. I think the economy is going to get much worse very soon and that will be what drives the collectors away more and more. It’s already started. When they stop buying, the speculators/investors will follow. Rather than take a bigger loss, they will sell at a loss before the values drop more. I don’t think they will hold on to their investments UNLESS they hope that rising inflation will keep the values of the comics from dropping too much in the longer term and they won’t have to take the losses after the bubble bursts if they just wait it out for a while and hope the economy improves in the longer term. But many people will need to sell to get by and i think great deals can be had in deaperate times. I personally think Incredible Hulk #181 is way overpriced and it’s inflated value will be impacted significantly. It’s not hard to find in high grade and many will be looking to sell. And less people will be looking to buy.

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GQGuyforComics June 7, 2022 - 11:36 pm

@sean i have the same sentiments, all along im guessing those who criticize me on my former comments on other blogs of this site are those speculators and sellers. i made points like in the end of any event such as comic boom its the collectors thats going to be left behind. its human nature, when uncertainty comes in , the multitude dont dare to gamble. now that the comic market isnt as it used to be compare to comic boom. any news even an little , these people magnify it , and not just speculators but also those manipulators. but the formula isnt working so well. those who jump in before to sell for profit , once got burned probably wouldnt want to do it anymore soon. right now its selection, you see some comic prices rising and a lot are dropping. this is the new norm now i guess. the fact is we really dont know but the signs are there and those who keep saying its still going up should pls pause and start looking around and start being responsible. just because 1 golden age book sold for millions there and a silver age book sold for hundreds of thousand here that made history as all time high , they start preaching their gospel generalizing it to be the status of the whole comic market. it just sad!

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Joseph Overaitis June 8, 2022 - 10:23 am

Preach and Keep Preaching. On sites so many are calling the realists out by saying show me proof. You show them sales data and then pick that one Golden Age book that sold for a premium and use that as their example. I think our readers know more because you guys read articles and review the sales data. Knowledge is Power!!!

Jack Kornblatt June 7, 2022 - 12:58 pm

A lot of the worries about another market crush are very overblown or ignore several key differences between the comic book market of the 90s and the market of today: https://comicbookinvest.com/2021/12/09/mighty-misconceptions-is-the-comic-book-industry-repeating-the-90s/

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Patrick June 7, 2022 - 1:34 pm

Insightful as always and I love reading about comics. But again, brings up what my strategy as a collector has been since day one (for 45 years) – buy what you like – don’t worry about condition – time is always on your side – golden age and older silver age will never go out of style cause they stick in collections forever. I know this is not a great comment on an investor type site – but my collection is worth more than I could imagine and it’s 95% raw – I only grade the big ones that are bulletproof and we all know those right? This hobby is about passion, friendships and being the best caretaker of your collection till it’s passed to the next. If you are counting on these for steady income to pay the mortgage – welcome to Wall Street – cheers!

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Joseph Overaitis June 7, 2022 - 2:54 pm

Patrick

Thanks for the comment. Collectors may always buy what they like but sometimes that is out of their reach. The prices boomed and left them behind because they did not want to do battle with investors. Now those investors are left holding inventory. Are people like you smelling blood in the water and ready to make a plunge and get those Gold and Silver Age books that may be coming to the market. I saw a Gold Age book I drool over get traded for a bronze age book because the person was looking to move inventory. Might be the right time for you Patrick!!!

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GQGuyforComics June 8, 2022 - 12:02 am

patrick ! wise advise which i get from vet collectors like you who help newbies like me when i started. i really like to purchase raw books but sadly my choices arent that much where i am at right now. i wish people like you could come out more , those who are real and passionate for this hobby. you what makes comic community a great place. and again thank you joseph for writing this kinds of article so we can get to read their inisghts and somewhat like having a collectors corner get together

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Patrick June 7, 2022 - 8:28 pm

I have already begun to cash in on some pre code DC! So you are on target!!!

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Michael Oblizajek June 17, 2022 - 12:45 pm

Great article! I’m curious how the current economic trends will impact CGC and the other 3rd party graders directly — beyond revenue to CGC, will there be fewer submissions? Will the wait time decrease? Will their charges ultimately increase? If the US hits a recession, I see CGC going the to the wayside as a niche market for only those with extreme amounts of discretionary income having the ability to use it (some would argue that’s already a problem, I understand…)

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