Comic Retailers Market Report: Hot, Not, & Shot to Win a Key Book

by Joseph Overaitis

110222B-1024x536 Comic Retailers Market Report: Hot, Not, & Shot to Win a Key BookRecently, I was in the field listening to retailers at the Motor City Comic Con (“MC3”). The goal was to hear what was moving in sales or generating word-of-mouth interest.  The benefit of obtaining that information from conventions is that most of the buyers who come to the show are looking to buy because of the diversified offerings. This allows reporting on not only graded books that were moving, but raw books as well.

Readers will also be eligible to win a free key comic book picked up at the show from one of the retailers.  One retailer was given $25 and asked to buy a book that they thought had the potential to increase in value.  No other guidance was provided to the retailer. The goal of this experiment was to put the retailer in the shoes of comic book buyers.

The rules are simple.  Read the report and guess what retailer purchased the book for a chance to win.  If only one person gets the answer right, they win the book. If multiple people get the book right, then all of their names are thrown into a fish bowl and the winner will be selected by me.  Finally, if no one guesses correctly, then all the names of the people who participated will be thrown into the fishbowl and a winner selected.  That person will have the book shipped to them on my dime to their address. ONLY ONE PICK PER PERSON!! It is that simple, so on to the reports!

Retailer #1 Keith Daggett of Daggett’s Comics

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General Market Report

Newer books were in vogue.  The books were arranged in a way to show the covers instead of the traditional box display.  This restricted the number of books offered but allowed the vendor to have great “aisle appeal” when people walked by the booth. Many buyers were looking for books priced around $5-$10 that they were unable to get at their local comic book shop (“LCS”).  Low print runs may make these books valuable in the future.

Record sales were being reported for all days of the show.  The key to sales was finding a price point that increased the pool of potential buyers. Buyers wanted a lot of bang for their buck and they were using a shotgun approach to hit potential gems.

Book Sales of Note or in Demand

Man-Thing and She-Hulk books were in demand even though both shows were already dropped on Disney+.  These were not first-appearance books but rather issues with great covers that caught the buyers’ eye. Disney+  was also putting a fire on Star Wars keys.  Any new Star Wars book was hot at the show, with first appearances drawing increased interest.  Another book that was seeing interest, but may be under most hobbyists’ radar, was Eight Billion Genies #1 and other issues in the run.  This series was recently picked up by Amazon Studios.

Retailer #2 Lauren Becker of Comic Pop Collectibles

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Market Report

Buyers seek out specific types of books in particular markets.  A steady stream of buyers flocked to Comic Pop Collectibles’ booth looking for Marvel Silver Age keys.  In this booth, the economy was pushing more buyers away from common books to key books.  The number of books moving was very good.  Timely Marvel and other Golden Age books dotted the walls of the booth.  These books drew much interest from savvy buyers.  One buyer said he wished he brought a bigger budget to spend at this booth.

Book Sales of Note or in Demand

Daredevil #1 was asked about at this booth.  This book used to be the one iconic Marvel Silver Age key that was ignored, but not anymore. An Action Comics #52 that was raw, but attributed to be a 2.0, sold for $500.  The last graded copy for this grade sold on 2/16/17 for $305.  A graded 2.0 CGC Superboy #1 sold for $1500 at his booth. A restored Detective Comics #58 with the first appearance of the Penguin was available at this booth as well. Amazing Spider-Man was also in demand.

Retailer #3 Bryan Smith of DTown Comics

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Market Report

Marvel Bronze Age horror were the kings here.  Man-Thing, Tomb of Dracula, and Werewolf by Night were in great demand. The other horror titles from this era were in demand as well. This booth said a surprising number of wall books were in demand as they had to keep replenishing them.  Buyers were focusing on safer key books.  Golden Age books of all varieties were moving so much that boxes were half full during the show.  Pre-Code Horror was on fire.

The booth had a nice stash too of minor keys that were seeing interest. Casual observations of fans saw eyes going to the Bronze Age books.  This is one market that many fans were looking to because they were still affordable and yet offered great potential.  One fan said that Bronze and Copper Age books seem to be where the MCU is going these days and thus major and minor keys offered great investment potential.

Book Sales of Note or in Demand

An issue that might not be on most buyers’ target list but was at this booth was Supernatural Thrillers #5.  This is the first appearance of the Living Mummy. If there is a team of monsters, ala the Avengers, the Living Mummy was a book people see as having great upside. Fans were also interested in their copy of Iron Man #1.  The issue was a nice mid-copy that shows well, but buyers wanted it greatly discounted.

More savvy buyers were still looking at it for its long-term potential. One book that was seeing renewed interest was Silver Surfer #3. Some fans downplayed the rumor, saying Disney would probably include Marvel’s version of the Devil in a series. Most fans believed the rumors and were looking for lesser keys because the first appearance of Mephisto was beyond their reach.  Fans wanted high grade or none, and yet lower-grade books were there to offer great value.

Retailer #4 Matt Laskowski of Mid Michigan Comics

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Market Report

This booth had a lot to say because of the variety of product. Matt Baker romance covers were in vogue because of recent high-end auctions that were showing that it pays to look at these covers. Pre-code and Marvel Bronze Age horror also were mentioned as being on fire.  Dell funny comics, Archie Comics, Amazing Spider-Man tertiary covers, Transformers, Sonic,  and obscure books like Tank Girl were also sought after by buyers.  These are books not normally chased by buyers.  Now, these books are seeing renewed interest. Finally, Golden Age war and western comic books that filled boxes at the start of show disappeared very quickly.  She-Hulk books were seeing demand, but Sensational, not Savage issues.

Book Sales of Note or in Demand

Matt is a unique person to talk to at cons.  The only time he normally sells books is at cons.  Most of what he does from his site is buy books.  He wanted to stress that he loves to buy books, so hit him up if looking to sell. That does not mean he was not having sales at the show.  He said he sold a nice mid-grade (VG-ish) Amazing Spider-Man #129 for $1500.  The purchaser would have never been able to touch that book for that price a few months ago at the con, but now it was within the buyer’s reach.

Matt said books like Amazing Spider-Man #6, Strange Tales #169, and Silver Surfer #4 were all seeing renewed interest.  It was reported by someone in the booth that a Batman #232 that was graded roughly as a 6.5-7.0 copy sold for $600. In contrast, Strange Tales #126 was discounted and yet still very cold. There was one mega-key Golden Age Pre-Horror comic book that drew many looks from potential buyers.  It may cost a pretty penny to pry it from Matt’s hands but that collector would be a lucky one.

Retailer #5  Jamie Stewart of Phat Daddy’s Comics

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Market Report

There was a wide range of products here priced reasonably and sales were reported as good. Bronze Age high-grade horror was in demand in this booth.  Buyers were also seeking Silver Age Amazing Spider-Man and Curtis Marvel Magazines.  Books that were cold were all DC Comics, including Sandman titles.

Books of Sale of Note or in Demand

Marvel’s Werewolf by Night and Tomb of Dracula were in demand at this booth. Those were, in fact, hot at most booths.  Some lesser-known magazine titles such as Vampire Tales and Dracula Lives were also seeing renewed interest. This probably reflects some interest in the Curtis Magazines.  The booth also said collectors seeking niche items were out in force.  His booth specifically had a fan looking for Plastic Man and Elongated Man appearances. Books that should have seen some interest were 30-35 cent Marvel variants.  They sat there for all to see and yet most buyers did not understand the rarity and significance of these first types of variants.

Retailer #6 Travis Morse of Morse’s Comic Book Stash

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Market Report

This booth had an LCS vibe going that attracted a variety of buyers. They were looking to fill runs rather than buying higher-end books. The $2-$4 books were flying out of the boxes. Budget books were the focus of those that were looking to add keys. They had a very affordable Fantastic Four #52 and yet it drew very little interest, even with the Black Panther sequel hitting theaters soon. Other higher-end key books were not moving as well.

Books of Sale of Note or in Demand

A Secret Wars #8 raw attributed as VF went for $220.  Buyers also looked at Sub-Mariner #1 but it still remained at the end of the show. This was one booth that said the books in demand were all over the map. People would come in and impulse buy not only comics but also unique Funko Pop figures.  Sales again were good, but no real specific targets for buyers that would indicate a trend.

Retailer #7 Roger Petersen of The Collector’s Zone

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Market Report

Golden Age to Modern Age books filled the boxes and fans came to buy. Older Marvel Silver Age books like Tales of Suspense and Journey into Mystery featuring Loki were on the mind of buyers. Younger fans were looking for those $5 books that their LCS shop may have sold out of when they came out. This was a common theme among many booths with newer items. Many LCS were cutting their orders so non-pulled books were not available to buyers who wanted to buy based on word of mouth.  These were not hot books, but still were being sought out by collectors.

Books of Sale of Note or in Demand

Bronze Age and up were very much in demand.  Pre-Code Horror books were also hot and in demand. Many vendors were scoping out the booths to see if they could add these books to their inventory because all at the show realized that these books are on fire.

One book that piqued my interest was an Incredible Hulk #181 Mark Jewelers Variant.  I had heard there was one available at the show and this booth had it.  Normal editions of this book are always in demand, but a variant copy…wow!!! This book had some very unusual Golden Age books that may have not been what some were looking for but would draw interest from many Golden Age collectors.

Summing it Up and The Contest

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Marvel Books

In this economy, buyers were targeting their books. Marvel Bronze Age horror was the talk of most booths. Werewolf by Night was a hit and hobbyists were putting their seal of approval on that and future projects with their dollars. Traditional higher-end and mid-range books were moving too because they presented a great opportunity with the price drops.  Marvel again was king. Very little interest was mentioned in Shuri books.  Not one booth mentioned Ironheart keys.  Bloodstone books were mentioned more than Shuri and Ironheart combined. 

DC Comics

DC Comics were available but drawing very little interest.  These books may have offered better potential though because of the recent announcement for the future of DC Comic films.  These books are available in all grades for great prices yet very few buyers looked at them. Those that were buying were targeting very important keys and those books should be on everyone’s radar.

Independents

This market can be considered a nice niche market.  Fans are interested in books that have either movie or television tie-ins or announced projects. Die-hard fans, though, can drive some nonmedia books to go for higher than normal prices based on lower print runs and fewer LCS to meet those demands. Archie Comics are creeping up in demand that extends beyond the keys and sexual innuendo books.  The older the book, the better for Archies. Finally, do not sit on Creepy, Eerie, and other magazines. These books are seeing subtle but strong headwinds among buyers.  Many sellers do not realize that there is a market for them.

Contest

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The book that is being offered as a prize is Spider-Man 2099 #35 (Variant Cover). This is the first appearance of Venom 2099.  Spider-Man 2099 is rumored to appear in future Spider-Man film projects so spending a small amount on Venom 2099 might be a insightful purchase. The dealer actually placed a lot of time on the pick and believed the Spider-Man tie in as well as the first appearance of Venom 2099 made this the best choice.

Now is your chance to win.  All you have to do is guess what retailer made the pick.  The rules have already been mentioned in the beginning of the article.  Put your guess in the comments section.  The winner will be chosen 21 days after the article is published.  You may not have made it to the Motor City Comic Con but I will bring it to one lucky person.

Upgrade2_Footer Comic Retailers Market Report: Hot, Not, & Shot to Win a Key Book*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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11 comments

Akonwale November 7, 2022 - 12:25 pm

Travis Morse

Reply
Joseph Overaitis November 7, 2022 - 1:34 pm

Welcome to the boards

Reply
Brad Dawson November 10, 2022 - 5:25 pm

# 3 Bryan Smith

Reply
Scott Trudell November 7, 2022 - 3:30 pm

I’m going to say Travis Morse because of him seeing many key books being sold.

Reply
Joseph Overaitis November 7, 2022 - 3:59 pm

Scott

Welcome to the boards.

Reply
John November 7, 2022 - 4:02 pm

Retailer 5 Jamie Stewart 🤷‍♂️….fantastic article though ….. this is what makes the site so great!

Reply
Joseph Overaitis November 7, 2022 - 7:28 pm

John

Thanks for the compliment. The teams editor really has pressed us to bring the goods. We keep having to deliver what our readers need…insights in the markets and news you can use!!!

Reply
Pete November 7, 2022 - 10:09 pm

Retailer #2 Lauren Becker

Reply
Justin November 8, 2022 - 1:05 am

Matt Laskowski of Mid Michigan Comics

Reply
braschme0 November 8, 2022 - 10:53 pm

Musta been Matt Laskowski

Reply
Stone Culdesac November 9, 2022 - 7:47 pm

Keith Daggett

Reply

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