Non-Traditional Investments: American Comic Books

by Norman Robinson III

namor-wwii-300x169 Non-Traditional Investments: American Comic BooksThe next generation is forging ahead toward true investment diversification. Up until now, portfolio diversity has been a good mix of index funds, or bonds, stocks, or gold and the like. All of these have had fantastic runs in the market over time. Another often forgotten category that America is waking up to is the non-traditional investment in the collectibles market which includes comic books. As the sweep of time removes many of the familiar aspects of the 20th Century from our daily lives; this creates a nostalgia effect that leaves many wanting the items of their childhood. What could be more nostalgic than your old comic books?

Adding to this wave of popularity in non-traditional investments is the Millenials. This group appears to be “all in” so to speak on collectibles. Mostly they trade in cards, like Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, World of Warcraft, etc… The comic book retailers tell me that the cards are “more valuable than the comic books. That it is the cards truly keeping the lights on” (direct quote). This group is spending $1,000’s on collectible cards? Apparently, they have price swings, price guides, the whole enchilada much like comic books. Millennials are the ones buying and selling these adding even more options to the non-traditional investment salad bar.

Yep, non-traditional investments are becoming part of our daily investing lives. Further, in my humble opinion part of a truly diversified portfolio. What are some potential value comics worthy of a look in 2020?



saga-of-swampy-195x300 Non-Traditional Investments: American Comic BooksThe Saga of the Swamp Thing #37

This is the first appearance of that loveable pessimist John Constantine. He appeared in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 written by the incomparable Alan Moore with the pencil team of Bissette and Veitch in 1985. He is like a very physical down to Earth version of Doctor Strange but for the DC Universe. DC is planning an entire run of Justice League Dark movies or series, according to scuttlebutt I have read online. Constantine will be front and center in this line-up, long-term catalyst box, checked! 







subby-198x300 Non-Traditional Investments: American Comic BooksSub-Mariner #1

There is nothing fishy about Sub-Mariner #1 and the best part is you can buy one in near-mint minus condition for under $1,000. It was created by Roy Thomas of Conan fame and John Buscema. No wonder Subby occasionally is drawn with stances very similar to Conan. This is the first issue of the Silver Age comic series. But wait, I saved the best for last; this book has the first Silver Age Namor origin story, a very important key. Still not impressed with this fish taco yet? Ok, let’s spice it up with the numbers. This book should get even hotter when (not if) Subby appears on the screen.






doctor-strange-199x300 Non-Traditional Investments: American Comic BooksDoctor Stange #1

The Doctor is in the house, Doctor Strange that is. This is the first issue to his 2nd series, the first appearance of Agamotto’s Dimension and the first appearance of the Mighty Agamotto. The cover and pencils are all Frank Brunner’s art with help on the inks by Dick Giordano. The script was written by Steve Englehart in 1974. Can this mighty mystic provide supernatural profits? 







Title Grade Last Sale CGC Census Return Current Projected Return 2021  
The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 9.8 $895 299 +18.7% +49% (based on the return over the last four years)  
Doctor Stange #1 9.8 $1049 140 +10.5% YTD +20% (based on first movie actuals 2016)  
Sub-Mariner #1 9.6 $2475 155 -8.6% +47% to +74% (based on the return over the last four years)  


These books trade at very reasonable prices, especially a grade 9.6 Silver Age key. The character of Sub-Mariner is one of the first superheroes and has managed to stay relevant and interesting even with today’s readers. All these comics are great deals currently. In this reader’s opinion, all are undervalued. Anytime you can get your hands on near mint prints; that are 60 years old for a couple of $1000 it is time to back up the truck. Add to your investment basket some stocks, some bonds, index funds, and let us not forget some vintage comic books these are a good start to diversify your portfolio. 


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