In order to get our collective hands around the comic book speculation and investment world, we have had to define and categorize the different comic book ages. The Modern Age is the largest of the comic book ages. It stretches from the debut of Image Comics in 1992 to the present day. Often to delineate different “ages” of a comic book, there has to be a big catalyst or change to the comic book industry. The Modern Age is filled with big events, but one of the biggest that standout for me is Image. Obviously, the first event is creating Image Comics by none other than Todd McFarlane and team. There were several co-founders most of whom were huge in the industry at the time: Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen, Jim Valentino, and Rob Liefeld. Now, there had been other independent companies prior to Image. However, the main difference with “Image Comics was the creators would own the material without giving up copyrights to those properties. It was very successful and remains one of the largest comic book publishers in North America. It’s best-known series include The Walking Dead, Spawn, Savage Dragon, Witchblade, The Darkness, Invincible, Saga, Chew, and Bone (source: Wikipedia).” Can you make money on the birth of the Modern Age of comics with Image?
Everyone was big into the Walking Dead at the beginning of this decade. Now it seems pretty old hat and one of the longest-running horror series online. I would argue it is probably losing steam and another couple of seasons and it has had it. That being said, one of my favorite characters is Michonne, this samurai sword-wielding sexy post-apocalyptic hot-attorney with an attitude (she absolutely sizzles on-screen). Hence, her first appearance as the featured image for this blog. With the creation of the Walking Dead money machine, this can rightfully be called the most popular comic series Image produced. Image Comics burst onto the scene in 1992 long before The Walking Dead 19 was created. This comic created by Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore with Robert Kirman’s creative script giving birth to one of the best zombie stories of all time.
The current fair market value for The Walking Dead 19 grade (9.8) is $425. The profits are starting to fall for this issue (and I suspect most Walking Dead comics). Currently, the grade (9.8) has a negative return of -8.8%, with grade (9.4) also a negative -35.8%. Even an (8.0) grade usually a stop-gap for losses is down negative -8% to date. If you going to invest in this Image Comics classic bet on grade (6.0) with positive +63.6%. This last return is at least positive and a +63% return on any investment is more than worthy of my favorite post-apocalyptic samurai-chick.
Prior to Walking Dead, the best storyline at Image Comics had been Spawn. This creature designed by Todd McFarlane; if you haven’t seen his YouTube post about his career you should check it out, an eye-opener. Spawn #1 was created by Todd McFarlane (script, pencils, and inks) with Dale Keown and George Perez helping to bring life to this undead anti-hero. Todd McFarlane created a truly unique character and a world for Spawn. This comic book has an FMV of $100 now, pretty cheap. The returns have been pretty strong with increased interest with a positive return of +81.4% in grade (9.9) and (9.4) coming in at a respectable positive +22.7% return on investment.
Spawn was a huge seller back in 1992. Todd McFarlane had just come off a big win with the Spider-Man Venom creation and was riding high with popularity. Many, Many copies of this book were sold back in 1992. To give you some idea, current CGC Census returns are 10,152 copies outstanding. Try to pick these up on the cheap, most retailers are barely even aware of the coming (supposed) movie next year or in 2020, so there is still time to buy.
Obviously, with the popularity of Spawn and other new titles previously mentioned it gave Image Comics a toehold on par with Marvel and DC Comics. Image Comics gave birth to the Modern Age of comics, which has not been defined and is going on its 26th year, hardly modern by any stretch. Many of these comics overproduced especially Spawn; therefore, don’t overextend or expect crushing returns when a movie hits or trailer drops. Buy them as cheap as possible and send Spawn #1 into CGC. Then cross your fingers and wait, the results will either be a low-grade CGC (demon from the pit of hell) or a high-grade mint sword slinging masterpiece at (9.8) grade. Good luck rolling them bones.