For better or worse, unbound by IP pools, internet media companies have a little more flexibility in the properties that they can adapt. Instead of stories centered on Batman’s replacement, Batman’s young sidekick, young Bruce, Bruce’s butler, Bruce’s father, etc… we get a bit of variety. It doesn’t mean that the aforementioned properties are bad or anything, but just a tad similar. In this past year, two notable releases that provided the spice of variety was The Boys and Umbrella Academy. Here we will take a closer look at the market behavior of their key comic books.
While technically the first Umbrella Academy story was an online preview released in 2006, the first printed one was “…But the Past Ain’t Through With You.” which was given out for free by Dark Horse Comics during the Free Comic Book Day event of 2007. Below is sales for the book, graded in CGC 9.8, which represents 67.7% of the census; unsurprising for a widely distributed free item.
Throughout the development of the Umbrella Academy series, there was little movement. It wasn’t until the teaser trailer was released in December 2018 that the sales prices almost doubled overnight. With the short trailer to series release window, it’s a bit surprising that there wasn’t a steady increase in sales prices; rather, the top managed to stay bound to the $200 level for weeks until the real big spike in prices occurred in the days surrounding the actual release of the entire series in Feb 2019.
The dramatic rise in sales prices is mirrored by the equally aggressive fall in sales prices since the series premiere; keep this market behavior in mind in the book examined below. Most recent sales for Umbrella Academy FCBD graded CGC 9.8 have been in the low $100s; a staggering loss of value from the $500s seen just a few months before. Future outlook for this book appears to be a race between whether or not it will break below the $100 level before the next season of the show gets released.
The Boys #1 was originally published by Wildstorm, but was cancelled after six issues by DC Comics due to the subject matter. Fortunately, the series was later picked up by Dynamite Entertainment and flourished outside the purview of DC’s limitations. Below is sales for the book, also graded in CGC 9.8, representing the top 49.9%.
The interesting thing here is that compared with the above book, The Boys #1 experienced a slower growth of sales prices in the months leading up to the series release; yes, it still spiked in the immediate days around the actual release, but much of the overall increase was absorbed more gradually by the market.
A short term peak for The Boys #1 occurred around the release of the show, but the market behavior in the weeks that followed was another aspect where this book diverged from Umbrella Academy. Sales prices fell for the next three weeks; until interestingly, the sales prices not only reversed but even increased higher than the previous highs around the series release. One has to wonder if this was a result of the stability in the months prior, which Umbrella Academy didn’t have. While a positive outlook is tempting, memories of how Umbrella Academy performed weigh heavily. On a side note, it’s curious that the other comics such as The Boys #3, first appearance of Homelander, didn’t experience favorable market conditions.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Umbrella Academy (Free Comic Book Day) – REDUCE
- The Boys #1 – HOLD. So far, prices have held much better than Umbrella Academy, but caution is advised here.
“You guys… are the real heroes.” – Homelander