Back in the 1970’s, there was nothing funnier than MAD magazine. In the spirit of Christmas time while playing the Golden Age classics like The Christmas Song; I felt an ode to a number one Golden Age comic would be appropriate. MAD #1 is currently top of the Golden Age popularity rankings (GoCollect). This issues art was by the team Kurtzman, Davis, Wood, Elder and John Severin all masters in the comic form. The script is by the team of Kurtzman and Gaines. Over the last six months, this issue has surged 198 spots to rank #1. This comic has edged out Donald Duck (Four Color #29) and Superman #100 to hit the top rank.
Opening this MAD #1 Christmas gift with care, we find some fascinating quantitative results: First, the last three months have only shown four sales records hardly conclusive. However, a grade 7.0 selling for $2500 two months ago shows there is still demand a seventy-year comic book. When we pull out to 12-month time frame; there is an 11.5% uptick in prices for grades very good to fine, and consistent sales across most classes. With a time frame reset for two years, fine to very fine shows a 35% increase in price. Even lower grades like 2.0 have remarkable 86% returns! Please note: that category 6.5, in very good and good minus condition have shown slight declines but none higher than 12%. Finally, at twelve year time frame, a grade of 2.0 indicates 48% return and a category 7.0 has a 17% return, with some small declines in lower categories. Mostly, these numbers tell me that supply is limited, but demand is consistent pushing prices slowly higher.
Santa Claus leaves you with one warning about this key, if demand tapers off you could see a drastic decline in prices. This is a number one book, first issue, and apparently people are currently paying thousands of dollars for a high grade copy. Consistently, throughout this blog, a category of good (2.0) has returned roughly 48% over the long haul. Currently, a fair grade (1.0) sells for $380 on eBay. Happy hunting for this rare #1 Golden Age comic, try not to be a Scrooge during the holidays and at least buy one in the lower grades.
Holy Nightmare Batman!
This comic is the first issue in the 2nd volume series Batman #1, with art by Greg Capullo and written by Scott Snyder. This has beautiful covers with four variants, and five different printings and these variants and prints are part of the problem for the return on this comic. Currently, it has surged 248 spots to 40th Most Popular comic (GoCollect). While this is a promising turn for this comics demand, I believe the number of issues and variants has handicapped this comic to an overall negative return. If we go out three months, our lower keys show declines of up to 35% in price, higher grade 9.8 indicates an 8% price decline. When we take the comic out five years; every grade shows a drop of between 11% and 46%, “Holy cow Batman!”
This book seems to be percolating over the last year or so, but its overall returns are merely too dismal in my humble opinion to attempt a long-term purchase. In order to buy a copy of Batman #1, please get it cheap. If you have to, quibble over the price if you buy from a retailer. This book is sure to turn south again. A quick resell might do the trick, but watch out for the downturn. I don’t think anyone captures this book like Robin the Boy Wonder…“Holy nightmare Batman!”
Post-Holiday Shopping Speculation:
Usually, the day after Christmas can see colossal sale discount at most retailers. This includes comic book stores. You should be ready on 12/26 to go shopping. Of particular note are the $1 bins and TPB on sale. During this sale season, it is possible to leave a retailer comic shop with profit in hand.
If you are going to attempt purchasing a high-grade key, be careful; make sure you inspect each issue thoroughly. Of particular note: often overlooked missing pages and or nice cover but the paper is yellow. A good rule of thumb is to check the back of the comic for damage. Often you can find evidence on the back of the comic. The back is usually white with an ad and more easier to spot some damage. Good luck with your shopping and Happy Holidays!