Investing Or Collecting?

by Matt Tuck

Fantastic-Four-1-200x300 Investing Or Collecting?Investing in comics has a stigma attached to it. The critics say that viewing comics as investments is destroying the comic industry, and investors are often demonized in comic circles. It’s time for that perception to change.

The first comic I recall saving up to buy was New Mutants #87. I had only recently discovered Cable, and his first appearance was about a year old at that point. Being a kid, it carried what seemed like a lofty price tag somewhere around $25 at a local comic show. If memory serves, I ended up making a trade-plus-cash deal, and I still have that comic to this day. The bigger picture for me was that NM #87 is when I became a comic collector.

As an adult, I am very much a comic fan, first and foremost, but I also see myself as a collector, which in many ways also makes me an investor. That last part is what can rub people the wrong way. In fact, there’s quite a bit of hate that comes with referring to myself as an investor. Many people don’t see investors as fans, but any of us that call ourselves collectors are investing just the same. As a collector, you are investing your time and money into these comics. Your local comic shop owners? They’re investors (the shop is there to make a profit, right?), but I’d argue that they’re fans first.

Of course this is the internet, and extreme comments go with the territory. When I posted about The Incredible Hulk #181 a couple weeks ago, one person went so far as to refer to investors as “soulless scumbags.” That’s where I think it’s time to clarify what it means to invest in comics. Spoiler alert: we’re not soulless scumbags.

A friend of mine said it best: Collect comics the way you want. I collect comics that I enjoy as a fan, and I love collecting key issues and creator signatures. When I get my comics signed, I like them graded and encapsulated. I love the old silver and golden age comics, and I do, in fact, read the comics I buy (I particularly enjoy the classic ads). When I buy those keys, I do my research, and I decide whether or not it’s worth the investment. Some of those investments I keep, and others I sell so that I can pay for those grading fees, trips to comic conventions, and, most importantly, to buy more keys that I’ve been wanting my entire life. When I put money into a key, I want it to be worth more than what I paid, so I guess that makes me an investor.

Some of the feedback I’ve read is that comics are only meant for reading and enjoying, period. I believe it’s up to each collector to decide how to enjoy those comics. One of my personal “holy grails” is Fantastic Four #1. If I ever get my hands on that one, of course I’m going to handle it delicately. Sure, I’m going to flip through it, but that’s not a comic anyone would toss around like yesterday’s newspaper; I don’t treat any of my comics so casually. I want them to remain in the best condition, and that means handling them as little as possible.

None of us are going to get rich investing in comics. I believe that for most of us, investing in something we love and watching the market is just part what we enjoy about comics.

You may also like

%d bloggers like this: