Is the Marvel Spec Market Dying?

by Matt Tuck

092222E-1024x536 Is the Marvel Spec Market Dying?Is Marvel comic investment speculation dead? Not hardly, but you have to know how to play the game.

Marvel Studios’ Phase Four has taken the wind from the sails of many investors. Four of the past five movies have been duds, at least by Marvel/Disney standards. Black Widow, Eternals, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder have been maligned by critics and audiences.

It’s caused many dips in the market for those movie-related key issues. This has caused some collectors to question if movie speculation is a thing of the past. 

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The short answer is no, it’s far from dead. We’re not seeing quite the massive price tags from the past couple of years, but much of that is from the current economic crisis. Simply put, with ever-rising inflation all around, there’s not the budget for comics as there was during the peak of pandemic life thanks to those government relief checks.

Of course, the other factor is the current state of the MCU. The nonstop Marvel projects are flooding the market, but that is the typical Disney strategy. For that matter, the corporation is doing the same with Star Wars, and the results are similar. What would help is if Marvel would bounce back with some truly classic interpretations of comic characters. Instead, much of it is being tossed aside with satirical action-comedy fodder. 

All that being said, where is the “speculation is dead” commentary coming from?

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Love and Thunder is the likely culprit. Week after week, the key issues that were in such demand over the past year have fallen further down the investment ladder. Before anyone says, “I told you so,” hold your proverbial horse. To be fair, this is the normal ebb and flow of the secondary market in response to the MCU speculation.

If you want to play the speculation game, you have to accept that about 90% of the market revolves around movie news, specifically Marvel. Feel free to stop yourself if you were thinking about commenting to the effect of, “Investing in MCU spec is a fool’s errand.” It’s not, but you have to know how to play the game.

If you buy and sell at the right times, which by this point should be clear enough to predict the dates on your calendar, then the profits are lucrative.

Interest builds with the early gossip and “leaks.” I use quotation marks there because I’m convinced that nothing leaves Marvel Studios without Kevin Feige’s say-so; there are too many contracts in place that would warrant litigation in that event. 

Things really pick up when Marvel makes its official announcements. These always signal a large uptick in both sales volume and fair market values. Depending on how hyped fans are for the project, the first trailers can cause another spike. Of course, there will be peaks and valleys during this time, but generally, those keys stay hot to some degree. 

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It all leads to the pageantry of the world box office premiere; that is when interest and prices are at their heights. Clearly, the week of the release is your best opportunity for profits despite the fact that we should all know what’s coming next: the imminent drop. No matter how popular a movie or streaming series may be, the fickle nature of comic buyers comes into play. With so many Marvel announcements practically by the week, the attention turns to the next big thing. Thus, the aforementioned drop.

This is the case for not just Marvel but all comic-related movies and streaming shows no matter the publisher or studio. The most popular projects will see those keys take a dip in sales volume and FMVs, but not by too much. When it’s a film or series that wasn’t as well-liked, the falloff is more dramatic. Believe it or not, Marvel is capable of delivering some duds, and Love and Thunder has proven to be just that. 

The lesson here is simple.

There will forever and always be ebbs and flows in the market. The trick to scoring profits is to invest before those big announcements and sell the weekend of the movie or show’s premiere. If you miss either of those windows, your profit margins will whittle. That’s the way it almost always goes, and it’s not going to change anytime soon.

Want more MCU spec?

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7 comments

Nick September 25, 2022 - 10:06 pm

Speculation aside, the sad truth is exactly what you said here: “Instead, much of it is being tossed aside with satirical action-comedy fodder.” Marvel still has so many good stories and characters to explore through movies. I think they may have to get some fresh execs in there, but Disney will eventually see their way back to straight up superhero storytelling.

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jack alberti September 25, 2022 - 11:44 pm

The market is dying. The inflated prices of the last couple of years have popped. Anyone who didn’t see this coming is silly.

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Steve September 26, 2022 - 8:04 am

Spec market is dying because 800,000 blogs have written 800,000 articles about the first appearance, first team up, first cover appearance, and cameo of every character ever created. So what’s left to uncover? How fun is it to hunt with 100,000 people looking for the same book? And 100,000 LCS now knowing what we are hunting for? You can’t spec when there is nothing left to spec over

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jack alberti September 26, 2022 - 10:28 am

It’s not dying. It’s dead.

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Sean September 26, 2022 - 9:46 pm

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 on TV last night. It was tolerable until penises and scrotums were talked about. What the @#$%!! The movie plays like it’s written for young children, then it turns into total adult humor content! Can you imagine Kurt Russel reading his scrip? “Yes, I have a penis…and it’s not half bad.” Way to go, Disney!! That’s real classic Disney content there! Disney has to decide whether they want to produce movies for children or movies for adults. And even if a movie is rated PG-13, it can still have at least some sense of class and family friendly entertainment, and not be completely vulgar and crude. James Gunn has shown that he has a disgustingly perverted mind and it shows in his movie making. The guy is just a sleaze! Marvel being bought by “woke” Disney is the worst thing that could have happened. It’s not surprising that the comic book speculation has waned. The Thor movie was also overly silly. Too much silliness takes away from the dramatic scenes that need to be in a more serious context.

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steven September 27, 2022 - 1:45 pm

Did you know that the first time the Kree and Skrull races officially meet is in Silver Age Captain Marvel #2.? Captain Mar-Vell defeats the Super Skrull. And this is also the first appearance of Machino, The Skrull Royal Family Dog, rumored to be the villain in the upcoming Pet Avengers mini series? See? Now it’s 800.000 and 1!

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Aaron S September 27, 2022 - 1:58 pm

The death, or at least the slow down, of the “speculator” market was inevitable as soon as the pandemic restrictions were lifted and people could start spending money on stuff they couldn’t for two years. The rising interest rates finished it off. That anyone thought the crazy market would continue like it was is insane. It was unsustainable.

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