Finding Profit in Romance Comic Books

by Joseph Overaitis

204023_ff02658c661690010ec9162e260f4728a3e3e912-204x300 Finding Profit in Romance Comic BooksIf you read these blogs you see so many superhero reports that you would assume that it is the only genre of comic books you can make money on.  If you believe that then you are missing out.  For this article, I will focus on the most ignored market, but one that is full of passion.

Romance Comic Books… A genre you should love.

One of the disadvantages many collectors and investors experience in buying only through online auctions is not being able to see who is bidding on books.  When I attended live auctions I would see savvy investors and collectors purchasing books that many of the room’s bidders never even gave an initial glance.  In watching these investors and talking with them I have come to learn that that the romance comic genre is largely ignored because of the perception that these books were meant only for young girls.  That is the reason that in the past you could pick up Golden Age Wonder Woman keys for hardly anything but were forced to pay top dollar for secondary keys of minor Golden Age characters.  If you avoid the mistake of believing that these books are only “for girls” you will find new worlds to explore and invest in.

 

For Those who love Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man

237278_2621ab7c4e5e079c60f141afaa718499bd29223f-201x300 Finding Profit in Romance Comic BooksI love Spider-Man and yet when I want the early Steve Ditko books I am forced to pay a premium for what I love.  Imagine you could instead purchase the first published work of Steve Ditko for a great price.  It may not have a Ditko cover, but Daring Love #1  is rare to find making it all the more valuable.  With less than 30 copies on the CGC census I would have expected to find this book out of reach in even poor conditions, yet I managed to find a copy online for a price that really shocked me.  A piece of history could be purchased for the same price as a common Spider-Man non-key?

This book is a “must-have” for any fans of Steve Ditko.  If you find it buy it and slab it or hang it on your wall.  This issue is historic and yet for many of you reading these blogs the significance of this book is probably unknown.

 

I know who Matt Baker is but I could never afford his work

105849_9b06e84dcc476f15c1c22072483d1fd4b556da6d-206x300 Finding Profit in Romance Comic BooksMatt Baker is one of those artists who are not commonly known but people still recognize his work.  Baker is culturally important as the first significant African-American comic book artist. The one iconic cover he is known for is Phantom Lady #17 because of Dr. Frederick Wertham’s belief that it corrupted the minds of America’s youth.

His work puts him up there with the great comic book artists.  When you look at his most famous drawing you see that the cover has the subtle sexuality and classic bondage theme that makes this issue fly off the shelves.  If you want it in a high grade you may have to sell your house to afford a copy. So many of the few collectors and investors who know of Mr. Baker falsely believe that his work is beyond their reach.

 

242358_410c6a5424b763d069f02d647f9639fa5f070422-207x300 Finding Profit in Romance Comic BooksAt an auction I attended, when live auctions were being conducted, I saw a happy collector win a bulk lot that I could see no reason to justify his level of happiness.  I had to ask him why and he told me that in all the common superhero fodder was the last issue of a comic book with a Matt Baker cover.  His winning bid put the cost of that book at around the price we now pay for current books.  He was happy because he now had Girls in Love #57.  Could you identify this as a Matt Baker cover book?  I could not either but there are a lot of Matt Baker covers out there that can be bought for less than pennies on the dollar.  Do the research and you can find them too because they are more common than you would think.

 

 

 

For Our Marvel Cinematic Universe Fans

176623_262c5e95254d4f6cf1368b6340c0c834318bffb7-202x300 Finding Profit in Romance Comic BooksComic book investors seem to flock to movies when it comes to their selection of books.  Even the romance comic book genre can have tie-ins to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Night Nurse #1 is the main “romance” comic investors flocked to when it came to the meshing of romance comic books and Marvel, but what about another lesser-known character that also appeared in the expanded MCU?

Patsy Walker has been around a long time and the books in her 1946-65 run can be purchased relatively cheap, but the book that signifies Patsy Walker’s series transformation from humor to romance comic book was Patsy Walker #116. Stan Lee was involved in the scripting of this book so the stories have quality elements.  In addition, you have to appreciate a character that has been in existence as long as Patsy Walker.  Marvel fans have seen her grow up and watched later as she worked with the Avengers and married Daimon Hellstrom.

This issue is more common than the others mentioned so try to find it in a higher grade.  If you find this book most sellers do not know the significance of romance comic book fans, so if you score a good copy there is a demand for this book in that segment of the market.

 

Feeling the love

Superhero books dominate the comic book markets but those books do not define the entire market.  Romance comics were the top sellers for a period of time and many well-known superhero artists cut their teeth on romance comics.  While their books sell at a premium in the superhero genre, these artist’s romance comics seem to lag behind in price.  I believe that is because for many fans of these artists there is ignorance when it comes to their involvement with these books.

In addition, there is still is a stigma for men to purchase these books.  The irony is that this is one of the most passionate markets that is not being realized by many collectors and investors.  That leaves the playing field wide open for the savvy investor who often realizes they are the only bidders in auctions who understand the significance of this market.  Wally Wood, Frank Frazetta, John Romita Sr, Joe Simon, and Jack Kirby all worked in this field and their work sadly is largely ignored in this genre.  If you want to find some great books from iconic artists at a cheap price educate yourself on romance comics and you too can find books being sold for a few dollars because others do not know how important and valuable these books are to their fans.

FOOTER_Comic3-scaled Finding Profit in Romance Comic Books

 

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9 comments

Dave Stevens November 7, 2020 - 1:46 am

romance is the main thing I collect and there is a big group of collectors on the cgc boards. There is some incredible art in there overlooked for decades as well as the ingredients for a great investment: rarity, vulgarity, innuendo, sexuality, violence, timelessness. I don’t worry about the money I spend on romance books because I don’t see them as something that can go down. They have been overlooked for so long that their value is constantly underestimated. Still, many list at overstreet or less, which is far below market for many items, and ridiculously so for others.

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Joesph Overaitis November 10, 2020 - 12:40 am

until someone like you and me see them and bid lol. it is a very under appreciated genre that one can find treasures unseen by others

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steven Centonzo November 9, 2020 - 7:12 am

General rule i collect by. Silver age Monster, romance, war, Western were not collected and saved like superhero comics were. If I see strong copies, I grab them.

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Joesph Overaitis November 10, 2020 - 12:35 am

Steven please keep quiet LOL. Those are my next subjects on ignored sectors. I mean how many people would pass on a 1st app. of Mademoiselle Marie to buy a common x-men book. I have seen that at live auctions LOL

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Max Gottfried November 12, 2020 - 1:11 pm

I’m sorry, Joe, like Disney comics Romance comics are DOA in today’s market. I once had a collector looking for Rootie Kazootie comics and that’s it. Rootie Kazootie! Good investment? I wouldn’t put stock in Romance comics unless it’s exceptional; first issues, key comics, outstanding artists, etc. The most contemporary romance comics of any interest are Steranko’s Marvel issues. And those are 50 years old.

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Joesph Overaitis November 13, 2020 - 1:00 pm

Max

Max that is where I think you are incorrect and it comes to identifying the market. You are correct that certain books are more easily to find a market but there is a market if one can identify it. Once a seller identifies the market and the buyers you can make a profit if one puts in the time and energy and buys books at a great price. Years ago someone once told me the same thing for early Wonder Woman appearances. I founnd the a buyer who was a collector of those books and if I could find them that person would buy them. The irony is once you find the players in these niche markets you realize they pay a premium for their items. Today’s market is mostly MCU items but there is desire for other stuff as well if you but find the buyers.

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Dave Stevens November 13, 2020 - 2:18 pm

I’m literally floored at the extent to which Max is wrong… Without a finger on the pulse of the collecting world, your investment is in serious danger. First issues are seldom the most valuable when it comes to romance comics and there are few keys, in the best-understood sense. And what is his point about contemporary? The most valuable comics are anything but contemporary. I am blown away, really. Max, sell me all your romance comics…

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Max Gottfried November 13, 2020 - 3:22 pm

Certain books will always find a market. However, Romance books are a very small niche market. Who is going to buy/invest in this genre? A very, very, very tiny group of collectors. Men, generally stating, are not looking for True Confessions #11. The few and far between women collectors are not scouring boxes of back issues for Our Love. The crossover with other genres is where there may be some interest. Some artists ie; Matt Baker, Steranko, but that’s it. Even Simon & Kirby’s books don’t attract serious buying interest. In the 50+ years I have sold comics, I have never had a single romance comic collector ask for them! I can put up a wall full of romance comics and I will attract chuckles.

Carl Barks’ comics no longer command serious interest. And he’s a legendary artist. Gold Key and Whitman cartoon comics are the only thing slower than romance books.

Last December 2019, I met Barbara Friedlander who wrote many of the DC/National Periodical romance comics in the 1960s. I never knew who she was and was delighted to meet her. She signed my ‘Swing With Scooter’ comic and was happy someone acknowledged her. She had a table full of her romance titles and no one stopped by to say Hi or buy a single comic. No one.

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Joesph Overaitis November 13, 2020 - 3:54 pm

Max

Meet Dave. There are people like Dave out there who have different interests and just because you do not know know of them does not mean Dave does not exist.

Some of the collectors I have met have had books that many only would dream of owning because of their FMV is cost prohibitive to many buyers and yet these very same people have hard time filling their collections because other people did not see why people would be interested in buying these books except for Baker and other famous artist covers. Again these people are passionate about those books and you just need to find them.

The sad thing is that many fans today do not know past artists. Years ago Martin Nodell used to appear at conventions and people would ask who is he. I could walk right up to him and talked with him and he felt happy that fans remembered him.

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