Regular visitors have noticed new things happening with GoCollect. We are constantly evolving to give you what you need to know because knowledge is power! On October 15-17 I spent the whole weekend covering the Motor City Comic Con to give you an insider’s view of the event. I will reveal the con’s COVID precautions; a comic book con market report on buying trends; and then I tease future articles that have never before been presented on this site.
The Motor City Comic Con Difference
The Motor City Comic Con (MC3) has always been a favorite of mine. This is a convention that is one of the largest in the Midwest and yet it has that personal feel. The hosts go out of their way to serve their guests. Several times I approached volunteers with simple con questions. I knew the answers but I wanted to see how helpful these unpaid volunteers were to guests. On several occasions, these staff members went above and beyond to assist me.
Many people attend the con because the MC3 hosts always provide a great selection of celebrities. There is a celebrity for all fans’ tastes. My personal observation with these guests has been that the celebrities really interact with their fans at this con. One fan said San Diego may be bigger, but he had time at MC3 to talk to the celebrity guests and see all the panels.
Dealing with COVID 19
Protecting the Fans and Guests
The MC3 hosted this event later than normal because of the pandemic. Masks were mandatory for all guests. Some cosplayers incorporated masks into their costumes. The MC3 staff expanded the aisles, provided hand sanitizer stations, and downsized the convention to protect their guests. This did not impact any of the guests’ experiences. I interviewed many guests and not one had anything but nice things about the convention. That did not mean the COVID-19 effect was not present, however.
Fans still got to take professional pictures with celebrities. Clayton from POSE Photo Ops indicated that celebrities were 50/50 on use of a plexiglass barrier for professional photo ops. I observed that the divider was barely visible in the photos. Fans made the most of it. Some brought props for the wall or struck poses using the barrier as a new prop in pictures with the celebrity guests.
The strangest thing I did see was that there was no MC3 merchandise for sale on opening day. Stylin Online was the company that handled the con merchandise and was also the event’s biggest vendor. Stylin Online President James Cucchiara stated that problems in the supply chain were responsible for the lack of MC3 merchandise on the first day. This issue was repeated by many vendors at the con. The supply chain is difficult to navigate now with increased costs and logistic industry staffing issues. The items were coming, but only after the local company had to deal with finding merchandise and paying higher prices to get the items to arrive on time, if at all. Stylin Online and smaller vendors also indicated that obtaining clothing blanks was difficult and when they were able to obtain blanks the selection was limited.
Foot traffic may have been down, but fans were spending record amounts on their favorite items. There were a lot of fans that finally left their homes and wanted to spend money on their favorite character’s merchandise. Vendors said if you attend a con during these times and you see a clothing item in the size and color you want, buy it before it sells out. Supplies are limited!!!
Convention Market Report!!!
GoCollect strives to bring our readers the most in-depth coverage of the collectible markets. I spent three days at a comic con and got the scoop on what is hot and what was not among the collectors in attendance. It was difficult not to buy anything, but I was there to file a report. For three days, I worked the con to get you a sense of what was happening on the floor.
My general observations were that there was an absence of those high price items I normally see at comic conventions. There were high-grade keys and rare books, but vendors seemed to leave the higher-end products at home. My field editor indicated that he noticed more fans were spending on cosplay items than on comics. Merchandise was king, as expected, but we did see a unique lack of those middle-age hobbyists who usually come for the comics. In contrast, millennials were everywhere dressed in their costumes.
Those that were buying comics were on a mission. Dollar bin books were in higher demand than I remember in past MC3 events. I made many passes at various vendors and marked certain books on their walls that appear on the GoCollect hotlists. Higher-end hot books languished on the shelves while more modest price books saw some action. One vendor saw me and asked me if I was interested in anything and when I told him no, he just nodded and walked away. I asked him if he heard a lot of that and he repeated a mantra many vendors had about the con; that comic buyers were experiencing “buyer fatigue” from all the late-season shows.
Vendor Report on Silver and Golden Age Books
I purchased one of my first high-end books from Harley Yee of Harley Yee Rare Comics when I was younger. Harley specializes in Silver and Golden Age books and has always been honest with me in the past. He indicated that the books moving at the show were early X-Men, Amazing Spider-Man, and Thor books. He indicated that Thor books had been strong for a while. None of these higher-end books were surprises and he had no new books that should be on your radar.
He could not identify one buying trend that was new. He did say that several collectors were purchasing books to complete their series. I observed a few people reviewing his selection of these types of books. He finished by saying business was good even with the smaller foot traffic.
Vendor Report on Bronze and Modern Age Books
I also got to talk with a fellow collector Richard Hunter who was working with Keith Daggett of Daggetts Comics. Keith indicated that while the foot traffic was down, he was on target for his best show. Both men stated that people were looking for books with the right value. Deals had to be made. Even a collector that found a book he had been searching for years to find wanted a deal when he finally found his target. New Mutants #87 is a book that has experienced such a severe drop in buyer interest that even a discount might not be enough to get a sale.
In contrast, they reported Adventure on Planet of the Apes #1 was seeing some new interest. I was told of interest in this book by a buyer who attended the show and heard that comment. These guys also were talking about a website that had posted that newsstand books were the next big thing. Speculators were now chasing newsstand books and ignoring the prices of previous sales. These are the same books they could not be moved before because of lack of interest.
Top 10s on Top
Another observation of interest was that buyers were targeting all the top #10 lists of books to buy, but the next week no one was interested in these books. This is a dangerous trend in my opinion and both men were of the opinion that “every rabbit will follow the carrot down the hole” even if they were not sure where that hole would lead. Both men suggested buyers purchase what they like or were desirable even if they did not appear on a top #10 list.
The booth did report a sale for a CGC 9.8 Saga #1 that hit their $800 asking price. Recent news has renewed interest in this book and fans were looking for this book again. Finally, if you are in possession of Amazing Spider-Man #121, #122, or #129, be thankful. Both vendors stressed that buyers are ignoring the FMV and are willing to pay premiums for those books. Amazing Spider-Man #361 is the one book I squeezed out of both considered to be still undervalued. I would concur with that recommendation.
I spent the whole weekend gathering material to create future articles for you, our GoCollect readers. My editor challenged me to get all I could to bring to you, the reader. The MC3 staff saw how dedicated we were and provided us some great access not provided even to major media outlets. Future coverage will include an article on the NFT collectible market and how it might impact artists with comments from legendary and rising artists in the industry as well as insight into buying their original art. Another article will provide insight into making your meeting with a comic con celebrity guest a more enjoyable experience and who you must visit if they are at a show near you.
Finally, I conducted a very lengthy interview with a celebrity guest that dealt with their recent personal journey that left a comic con representative present speechless as well as a quote from a Marvel Comics legend on that person’s personal journey! I cannot wait to share these articles with you, the reader. It was a lot of hard work but I believe my readers are worth that price.
Did you attend any cons this season? What was the buying atmosphere like for you? Let us know in the comments!