How To Handle an Over-Heated Comic Market

by Daniel Hatch

668501_darth-vader-3-198x300 How To Handle an Over-Heated Comic MarketIf you are anything like me, this over-heated comic market is both exciting and discouraging. I am stoked to get my Darth Vader #3 (4th printing) back from CGC. I am bummed that I won’t be able to purchase a collectible copy of Marvel Super Special #16 anytime soon. The copy I bought off the newsstand at the drug store as a kid has the cover detached.

What I’m Thinking

I don’t like to chase things. I understand the FOMO is real, but my instinct is to sell rather than buy at prices I’m not comfortable with. Obviously, I could be wrong and maybe these prices will look like bargains a few years down the road. But wrong or not, I’m going to proceed with caution. I’ve come up with a few pointers on how to handle this environment, so here you go.

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Pull and Pause

  • Make sure your pull list is working for you. If you find yourself chasing the latest issue of Batman or Daredevil when news hits about them, save yourself the trouble and have your local shop order these automatically for you. Talk to your shop about the final order cutoff (FOC). Good chance they have a service you can log into and see what’s available to order. Mine uses Comic Hub.
  • Press the pause button on buying back issues. This is a great time to take a breath and think about what you want to build with your collection. You want to finish that run of Transformers? Awesome. Want those Fantastic Four Silver Age keys? Even better, but take a moment to figure out what you really want.

Trade Up

  • Ask yourself what you have that you can live without. All of us end up with a lot of comics that don’t quite fit the vision we have for our collection. I’m talking about stuff that you would have no trouble letting go of if the price was right. Well, guess what? Good chance the price is right! It’s a great time to trade a hot book or run for something special. If you are so inclined, sell it outright. Doing so lets you participate in this exciting market and protects you from overreaching on a purchase.
  • Books that were on your, “I’ll get to it someday,” buy list need to be put on hold if they’ve taken off. For me, that’s the Marvel Super Special #16 and The Empire Strikes Back. As I said, I bought it off the shelf and read it till it fell apart. (Actually, I bet it was my brother who ripped the cover off – I was always careful!) I’ve had that book on my buy list for a long time. I knew it was the first appearance of Yoda and Boba Fett years ago, but since few seemed to agree with me, there was no urgency. Sadly, that ship has sailed. Lesson learned.
  • Keep your eyes open for books that fit your core collection that haven’t rocketed out of your price range. If you find one, go ahead and pull the trigger. Feel free to adjust as well. For example, look for 2nd appearances if the first appearance is out of reach.

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Final Thoughts

Now is a great time to reflect on what you enjoy about this hobby and to position yourself for long term success as a collector. Accept that you probably missed out on some great comics. But that’s always the way of it, right? Take heart in knowing that there are more gems out there to be discovered. This over-heated comic market will eventually cool. Or, at least, cool down a little.

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4 comments

Nick February 2, 2021 - 2:58 am

Solid advice! I like the idea of using the time to prioritize collecting goals.

Reply
Daniel Hatch February 2, 2021 - 10:56 am

Thanks Nick!

Reply
Pop Sequentialism February 8, 2021 - 10:15 am

I don’t know that the ship hasn’t even left the dock on Marvel Super Special #16. The fact that Clone Wars #1 is routinely selling for $500 raw and that Marvel Super Special #16 isn’t over $300 in CGC 8.5 yet showcases how much room to grow there is here. Even with 9.6 copies finally priced closer to where they should be at $1600-$1800, considering the scarcity of 1970s Magazines in high grade, those are still way undervalued.

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Daniel Hatch February 8, 2021 - 12:24 pm

That’s a solid point and I will reconsider that book. The price has appreciated a great deal however. I could have bought a high grade raw copy for $50 when I began taking a look a few years ago. I grant that there might be room to grow but it clearly isn’t the after thought type book it was a few years back. That’s why I am kicking myself, I felt strongly about the book and didn’t act when I had the chance.

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