Throughout the year, GoCollect writers research many potential articles. Some of these articles are important but may not make it into the schedule to be published on the site. That does not mean they will not help the readers navigate the collector marketplace. Here are a few of those topics that the GoCollect readers should know.
I. Retailers strike back!!!
Bad comic book store retailers hurt all retailers. A narrative of poor service is created that can become the stereotypical description of ALL retailers. A recent article highlighted some of the conduct that can earn a store a bad reputation. Retailers fought back and mentioned that customers may be the cause of some of those bad sales habits. Bad behavior is a two-way street. During visits to stores, comic cons, and auctions, here are some of the customer’s bad behaviors observed:
- Customers who damage books with tape or sticky fingers and then do not complete the transaction.
- Customers who bring food with them while looking at books.
- Patrons who have pull lists but do not complete the purchase of the items.
- Buyers who offer truly low offers on books and then complain when the retailer is offended.
- Rude customers who believe yelling is a good way to get someone’s attention.
Bad comic book stores should not be supported. Poor conduct by customers should also not be acceptable. Sadly, the state of the economy sometimes forces the retailer’s hands. One day, that may not be the case and those customers may not be wanted at their LCS. Customers and store owners should treat each other as they want to be treated. It’s that simple.
2. Celebrity Sightings
Personal budgets are tight. Fans must choose wisely how they spend their money. Comic cons provide fans access to their favorite celebrities. That does not mean all experiences are equal. At the most recent Motor City Comic Con, Malcolm Goodwin (“iZombie, “Reacher”) treated fans like long-lost family members. Matthew Lillard (“Scream”, “Scooby Doo”) and Jamie Kennedy (“Scream”, “Ghost Whisperer”) were booth neighbors, dueling to see who could entertain their line better than the other.
Finally, pro wrestlers Ruby Soho and Ethan Page were true ambassadors of their AEW wrestling brand. Each wrestler was very giving to their fans and spent the most time of any celebrity with each guest. Ethan Page truly stood out, and that is because he is probably no stranger to comic cons.
Ethan Page not only worked the show, but also shopped it. Rather than taking breaks, he visited many booths looking to add to his personal toy collection. He has regularly filmed videos of his man cave full of his prized collectible. He also has videos of his friends and wrestling peers visiting stores looking for their collectible treasures.
Sometimes, people forget that celebrities are just like anyone else. The next time you see “All Ego” Ethan Page at a comic con you can ask him about not only his wrestling but also his toy collection as well. You will get a true education on the wrestling industry, but also on collecting. He is one celebrity who walks the walk of a true collector and an example that nice guys do not necessarily finish last.
3. Naming Names
Social media posts have commented that comic book articles rarely mention names of stores or auctions because writers are merely bloggers. The press has to be really covert to observe real celebrity/fan interactions. When this occurs names are mentioned. So with that said, let’s name some names…
A. Innovative Comic Book Store
Gotham Night Comics in Livonia Michigan had a very friendly owner who greeted both individuals who mystery shopped his store. The store is geared more toward fans of the current comic book genre. In general, very few older issues were found in the store. This meant that there were limited Gold, Silver, and Bronze Age books for those that sought them out.
The store does make up for that with the one-of-a-kind items available for sale. The owner directed both shoppers to neighboring comic book stores when other requested items were not available at his shop. We did find something unique to this store that made it worthy to mention. The reason this store is being named is because of the use of technology.
The store is geared to a more modern clientele. Tablets are placed in the store to assist consumers with their shopping experience. The store is paradise for the tech-savvy customers the owner targets. A television displayed one of the modern movies that have converted many fans to comic book aficionados. Online, there were posts from patrons talking about how the store converted the storefront into a temporary drive-in.
What this store lacks in stock it more than makes up for in innovation and attention to detail. The owner has identified their target market and hit the bullseye with Kate Bishop-like precision to meet their needs. All LCS should identify their target market and make the store ideal for their customers.
B. Something for Everyone
GoCollect covers a wide range of collectibles. Many retailers would not have comic books, concert posters, toys, original comic art, prints signed by Neal Adams, and other items for sale at a reasonable price at one shop. Shirk’s Auction Gallery is an exception. Many auctions feature comic books up for sale that astute collectors and investors can identify, but they usually sell at a premium. That was not the case here. Titles/descriptions may be omitted at this auction house, but pictures are provided that more than makes up for that deficiency. The auction house also provides additional information when requested on items if enough time is given.
A recent example of a hidden gem was a picture of a woman up for sale. The picture was identified by this astute writer as one of Bonnie Parker of Bonnie & Clyde fame. The picture sold for a very reasonable price. The reason this auction house is mentioned was because of the auction house’s attention to customer service and shipment of the frame. Collectibles such as comic books and concert posters lose value if they are damaged in shipment. Shirk’s shipment of two sizable picture frames was well packed at a reasonable price.
One-sheet movie posters, toys, and other collectibles regularly appear up for auction and rarely go for big dollars. Consider it a hidden gem collectors and investors may want to visit online. Remember though, that due diligence is required when bidding on items at auctions; review the items as best as possible and bid accordingly.
C. It’s All Greek to Me
Comic book ephemera is now a rage among the comic book community. The reason is that prices were soaring, yet fans wanted to still collect items. Investors too were looking for deals on items that would one day appreciate in value. These items may be out of the mainstream target for most comic book collectors and investors because…well, they are not comic books. Recently, I found a group of comic books that are still not being targeted by the vast majority of collectors and investors, but may be very undervalued and even rarer.
A Very Unique Store
Comic book popularity is a global phenomenon. Comic books have been published in various countries, but only the ones from the UK ( Ex. Captain Britain #1) and Gold Age Canadian Whites drew interest from mainstream collectors.
Shelby Ferguson of HFQComics.com believes all foreign comics should be targeted by collectors and investors. These books can sell for thousands of dollars because they are quite rare. He has in his possession an Australian one-issue combination of Strange Tales #109, 110, and 111 that is rarer than American versions of the book. He would not take less than $5,000 for that book.
Some of the foreign editions of books have cover swipes of famous scenes from their American counterparts, thus putting these issues in great demand. There are also variations of storytelling where a character may have died in the American version but was so popular they did not die in their foreign books.
Different Than US Books
Shelby stressed that these books are not to be considered variants. They are true comic book issues published in foreign countries in their native languages. These titles also have their own versions of Jack Kirby, Neal Adams, and other notable artists. Foreign books are gaining traction in the American marketplace. Some have even made their way to be graded.
The Main Problem of These Books
The difficulty is that there are no true price guides for these issues because of their rarity, but that should pique the interest of many collectors and investors. Remember, only a few years ago, comic book ads and newsletters were tossed aside, and now that ephemera is valuable to a group of collectors who consider them to be the true first appearances of some characters (think Spawn and Malibu Sun #13). Now, may be the time to target some foreign versions of your favorite titles before they rise in value.
4. Hot Comics No One Mentions
May the force be with you…
Star Wars comics were once hot. First appearances were in demand and prices were hitting new highs every day. The recent downward economy changed all that and prices started to plummet on all characters. Auctions were seeing new lower prices for once highly sought-after books. Buying on the dip may be good for some books, but the plethora of Star Wars character first appearances made this venture a risky one. Those characters that were significant to the Star Wars universe may be less risky, but those appearances came with higher prices. Prices kept dropping, but two obscure characters seemed to be avoiding that trend.
These are not the heroes you were looking for…
Star Wars: Tag & Bink are Dead #1 is the first appearance of the title characters. These two characters seem to pop up in the most unusual of places in the Star Wars comic saga. The characters were rumored to make their first movie appearances in Solo: A Star Wars Story, but their scene ended up on the cutting room floor.
Several auctions have had this book up for sale and prices for raw books are only going up. Years ago, this book could be purchased with an initial bid but lately, these titles are being scooped up raw at higher than normal prices.
In the dark on this Darth?
Star Wars: Tag & Bink II #2 is another book that is quietly being scooped up by buyers at higher than normal prices raw. The reason for these high sales is not because of the appearance of Tag or Bink. This book features the first comic book appearance of Darth Plagueis, who Emperor Palpatine described as one of the most powerful Siths ever to exist. Darth Plagueis is important both to Palpatine and the Star Wars mythology. This book also could be scooped up for pennies on the dollar, but lately, they are rising in value on the raw market.
Raw heating up because of supply chain issues?
Not many books are graded, so people could be buying hoping that the market will take off on these two books. These raw books are heating up and, yet, if you look at the slabbed sales data nothing appears on the radar. Buying raw at such low prices is one way to dip toes into investing in Star Wars’ first appearances. Does someone know something others do not? Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott Steel was code for insider trading in the movie Wall Street, so what would readers suggest as code for insider trading if something is going to happen with characters Tag & Bink or Darth Plagueis in the Star Wars Disney+ universe?
The demands of life sometimes impact stories. Writing for GoCollect requires a degree of professionalism. Research is required for all the articles produced for the site. Sometimes stories end up on the cutting room floor with the Tag & Bink footage. This does not mean that information is not useful or important. These odds and ends are a few hidden gems that needed to be shared with the GoCollect audience. Knowledge is power and now all of the readers have it.
“I have the power.”
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*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.