Comics 101: Basic Collector Tools and Tips

by Norman Robinson III

78-1-207x300 Comics 101: Basic Collector Tools and TipsPart of the reason I love comics is the people. In anything you do full time, you are surrounded by folks from all walks of life. If you are in construction you will spend at least 8-10 hours a day around construction workers. If you are in trucking, you will talk to dispatchers, truck drivers, and occasionally customers. What you do, is who you are. Who you are is determined by those you spend time with. The comic book collecting world is no different.

Comic book nerds are a wide range of truly eclectic folks. The variety of backgrounds that you meet and develop working relationships or even friendships with is broad. Take your average comic book shop, it has role players in one corner, card collectors at the counter reviewing binders of cards and comic book fans of all stripes and sizes milling about the store. Furthermore, the people that move through the shop can be avid fans, collectors, investors, completists, though most of them are only hobbyists.

The typical comic book collector has a multitude of interests that vary. They can like art, fantasy, movies (usually), Sci-Fi, comics, collecting, investing, speculating occasionally, pure speculation, and even flipping books on a daily basis. Furthermore, comic book nerds are either “Wars” fans or “Trekkies” (Sorry, I refuse to acknowledge the term: Trekkers!) and this makes for even greater commonalities. Basically, it is “Land of the Nerds” and it is so much fun. This is why I have always suggested buying from your local comic book store and building those relationships and even friendships. If you are new to the comic collection scene; then it is very helpful to learn from other folks who have been collecting most of their lives.




Amazing-Spider-Man-300-6-1024x721-1-300x211 Comics 101: Basic Collector Tools and TipsBasic Collector Tools and Tips:

  • Buy what you enjoy, from there you can learn to be a better collector or speculator.
  • If you are a collector who likes to invest in comics occasionally, be sure to use as their slab market rates are right on target.
  • Don’t use regular tape
  • Don’t use reusable sticky bags, some professionals in the industry have found they are acidic and the sticky portion can eat through plastic.
  • When buying raw comics, actually open the comic and inspect it before purchase
  • Meet and utilize professionals when and where you can. Some examples: pressers, graders, CGC, CBCS, signature verification and so on


Woody-Harrelson-is-Carnage-300x170 Comics 101: Basic Collector Tools and Tips

  • If you are creating a collection of value, stay away from recent variants. The jury is still out on these, but I have yet to see any of them hold value beyond the initial rollout.
  • Decide which age of comics you want to learn about and stick to it. I prefer the Bronze Age as it is still reasonably priced.



  • Use the industry-standard supplies
    • The latest version of Overstreet Guide (Don’t kid yourself, the internet is nice but this book has a vast amount of info, and I am not talking pricing.)
    • Comic boards (acid-free)
    • Comic bags (acid-free)
    • Reusable tape
    • Cleaning tool non-abrasive and industry standard for dirt
    • Comic boxes (note: the long boxes become cumbersome over time. You may want to stay with short boxes for easy maneuvering)
    • Comic book dividers
    • Comic title dividers
    • Comic book folio for travel

142771_f0655e9dcb15bdeb34c33ff5c14af087dd6ea3db-196x300 Comics 101: Basic Collector Tools and TipsAmazing Spider-Man #300

Since we are providing tips to the newbies among us, what better first comic to buy than the first full Venom appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #300. This multigenerational anti-hero is incredibly popular and probably still will be 20 years from now. In addition, this comic is constantly at the top of the ranking for the Modern Age. In fact, I have yet to see it not in the top 5-10 comics of the Modern Age. Finally, this comic is a multi-key making it the safer purchase: it is the first appearance of Venom, the first issue inked by Todd McFarlane and Spidey’s 25th-anniversary issue. What kind of long-term returns can you expect?








  • Grade 9.8 $2,300 last sale 1-5-20 returned positive +37.9%
  • Grade 9.2 $349 last sale 12-25-19 returned positive +12.8%
  • Grade 7.0 $250 last sale 12-30-19 returned positive +4.5%


maxresdefault-1-300x169 Comics 101: Basic Collector Tools and TipsConclusion:

Long-term investment in Amazing Spider-Man #300 is a winner to be sure. It is the most popular key, and the movie Venom was only moderately popular but did not slow down this book. For the new collectors, buy as high a grade as you can comfortably afford, I suggest a 9.2 grade around $300.

The next movie Venom 2 will have a popular character named Carnage. He should really increase the value for this comic and his own first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #361. Why not buy Carnage too? With two top suggested purchases and a host of tips, you are on your way to comic collecting bliss, happy hunting! Welcome to the ever-expanding family of comic book collectors.



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jim5150 January 14, 2020 - 5:49 pm

Nice write up πŸ™‚

Norman Robinson III January 16, 2020 - 1:10 am

Thanks for reading Jim. Happy 2020!

jim5150 January 14, 2020 - 5:51 pm

Although I am a collector I don’t consider myself a nerd! Ok I work in IT and I love Sci Fi , and computer games ……….alright then I’m a nerd , but nerds rule the world right !! πŸ™‚

Norman Robinson III January 16, 2020 - 1:11 am

“Wars” or Trek?

Josh January 14, 2020 - 11:08 pm

ha!! yes!! short boxes are the way to go. I find as I get older the long boxes are a pain. I am in the process of switching anything in a long box to a short πŸ™‚

Norman Robinson III January 16, 2020 - 1:11 am

In with the short box out with the long boxes. Thanks for reading.


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