More Small Screen Influences on Comic Book Prices: The Case of Crisis

by Blaise Tassone

137985_06d1abd6c7ce7b96d8f3672d28fff652b802d73a-300x227 More Small Screen Influences on Comic Book Prices: The Case of Crisis

The other day, I looked at the price spikes on sales of graded copies of The Boys by Garth Ennis. Will these prices be maintained, or will The Boys go the way of Preacher and other titles, which went soft price-wise after similar bumps from live action adaptations?

In this post, I’ll be looking at data on the upcoming CW ‘Crisis’ crossover series.

How has this affected prices on the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths comic book?

In examining price spikes on The Boys (see What’s up with The Boys?), my point was that the quality and production values of a live action show matters.

The Boys from Amazon is excellent, and the fact that prices on back issues are trending up, cannot be a complete coincidence.

This seems to point to the rather widely accepted fact –witnessed time and again over the last few years – that just because a movie or TV show based on a good comic gets made; we should not assume price surges on that title as guaranteed.

The reception and quality of the live action adaptation also matter.

Let’s turn to the case of the Crisis comics.

Following on the heels of their ‘Elseworlds’ adaptation last year, the CW is currently planning an even more ambitious undertaking: a ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ crossover mega event (see here for details). ‘Crisis On Infinite Earths’ will apparently run for a total of five hours and will encompass every Arrowverse DCEU show, including: ‘Supergirl’, ‘The Flash’, ‘Legends Of Tomorrow’, ‘Batwoman,’ and ‘Arrow’.

What is interesting is that there was a time when the introduction of a character on a CW show (Killer Frost, Black Lightening, etc), did influence prices on related comics.

That trend, for better or worse, has evidently slowed down considerably these days; arguably in connection with the decline on the quality of the CW shows (I stopped watching almost all the CW shows but originally enjoyed programs like ‘Flash’ and ‘Arrow’ in their early seasons).

Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 (March 1985) – First issue of series

Let’s turn to Crisis. There are currently a total of 1,585 copies of Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 on the CGC census. In terms of long range trends, over the last 15 years or so, this comic shows positive growth in all grades except 7.5 (down -39%, but only after 2 single sales, so not enough data for reliable numbers). When we narrow down the growth to the last three months (during which the upcoming ‘Crisis’ event has been publicized), we see that there has been an uptick on sales of higher grade copies with a total of 12 9.8 sales in the last 12 weeks (that’s 1 per week) and 9 9.6 sales over the same period.

As this is a frequently sold book however, it’s the prices that are interesting. Currently 9.8 grades are up +2.5% compared to four months ago (last sale, 07/29/2019 for $90.00 above the current FMV of $75.00 for that grade) and 9.6 sales are up +39.1% (last sale, 07/30/2019 for $62.20; also above the $42.00 FMV for that grade).

While select other issues in the Crisis series are also showing movement, including issue #7 (mixed returns but with strong gains in 9.8 of +50% in the last 12 weeks) and issue #12 (strong +32.1% roi on 9.8 grade after a sale for $105.00 on 07/04/2019 on eBay). Others are flat or trending down.

So what’s happening here?

While we can’t definitively say that the uptick in sales on Crisis #1 is due to the upcoming CW event, the evidence, going by the data, points to strong likelihood that publicity for the CW ‘Crisis’ is influencing prices in some way.

All things being equal, a well-produced and popular adaptation that gets good word of mouth should see some of the price gains stick.

I’m not terribly optimistic this will happen, since the CW is hit and miss (mostly miss) on quality. But remember (and as I’ve outlined in my post, DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths Revisited), this book has other factors going for it which makes it a good pick up.

Crisis is one of the most significant maxi-series crossover events in comic history, and its gorgeous George Perez art also makes it a winner and good long term investment.

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