Modern Age Comics and the Global Recession

by Matt Tuck

ASM-300-196x300 Modern Age Comics and the Global RecessionThe market is bottoming out for high-priced Silver and Bronze Age comics, but how are the modern keys holding up?

The short answer is that modern comics are holding steady. For the most part, the more popular keys aren’t gaining value, but they aren’t losing much, either. Here’s a closer breakdown of my findings so far.

ASM-1-cover-197x300 Modern Age Comics and the Global RecessionSILVER AGE

From Amazing Spider-Man #1 to Fantastic Four #48 and Silver Surfer #1, the Silver Age market has been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic and global recession.

The thing to keep in mind is that most of the Silver Age keys are readily available on the market with higher prices. For those worthy of the “holy grail” label, it’s hard for many collectors to reach the goal of owning one. With the current state of the world economy, it’s no wonder that prices are dropping because of high unemployment rates.



Eternals-1-194x300 Modern Age Comics and the Global RecessionBRONZE AGE

The Bronze Age keys tell a similar story to those from the Silver Age.

In recent years, these 1970s and early-’80s key issues have been some of the most popular among collectors. That’s because Marvel Studios has been harvesting more stories and characters from this era, and that always turns minor keys into major keys.

Such has been the case with The Eternals. After the initial movie announcements, The Eternals #1 was the hottest comic on the market. Now that buyers are being more frugal, not only has that issue taken a hit, but traditional keys like Incredible Hulk #181 and Giant-Size X-Men #1 have dropped in value as well.


ASM-300-Venom-im-home-202x300 Modern Age Comics and the Global RecessionMODERN AGE

Much of this phenomenon comes down to the price tag. Simply put, the more expensive a key was before the recession, the less likely it is to bring that same high price. That’s where modern keys are holding their own.

Take Amazing Spider-Man #300. This is arguably the single most popular key in the Modern Age thanks to iconic cover art and the first full appearance of Venom. Even at a 9.8, this comic has never brought more than $3,500. For that same price, you couldn’t get more than a 1.0 ASM #1 or a 7.5 Hulk #181 based on 90-day averages. Basically, when it comes to grade, Modern Age comics give collectors more bang for their bucks.


ASM-361-195x300 Modern Age Comics and the Global RecessionA TALE OF DATA

Speaking of that ASM #300, more than half of April’s sales showed modest increases in values. Of the eight different grades that have sold this month, five of those brought more than their 2019 fair market values.

The case with ASM #300 is similar to other popular modern keys. Carnage’s first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #361 saw six grades trading hands since the beginning of April, but only the 9.6 increased over the 2019 FMV. However, those other five grades were only slightly behind last year’s numbers, so they’re relatively unchanged.

Then there’s Uncanny X-Men #266, which is again holding steady in terms of value. Three of those grades have sold for over 2019’s averages since April 1 with just two falling short. As with ASM #300 and #361, none of the figures changed by very much.


Just because they’re doing well now doesn’t mean the modern comics aren’t prone to being drained by the recession. In the words of Kenny Rogers, you’ve got to know when to hold ’em, and now is the time to hold ’em.

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