You can make the argument that comic collecting is about art, or nostalgia, or many other concepts…yet the comic book market is definitely a character driven market. A character can have increases and decreases in both actual and perceived value of their brand. For Example, Spider-Man is more valuable than say Moon Knight, but currently Moon Knight has a ton of speculation potential building and it is making the market for his brand wildly inflate. Similar to blue chip stocks versus tech start ups, potential value can be measured and perceived differently by investors. So how do you balance your comic portfolio?
Much like a stock portfolio, your comic collection should have a bit of diversification built into it. So let’s “build” a comic portfolio that would make for a smart investment collection. You will want your “large-cap” books that will be steady investments and hopefully gain value over time, these can be your Keys, rare books, and personal favorites. You also want to invest in some “mid-cap” books, these are books that have a potential to go either way on the value scale, but in general have good market appeal. Think books with both awesome covers and books that are sellable…like Hulk #340, First Appearance books, or #1 issues of characters. There should also be some “small-cap” books that are real value plays and may have some potential in the future. For example: obscure books, comics with characters that are unproven, or characters that have potential for future popularity or possibly a Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) appearance.
One of the Marvel characters that has a bunch of speculation momentum behind him right now is Nova. Richard Rider made his debut in the self-titled Nova #1 in 1976. Prices for Nova #1 have trended upwards from the $800 range into the $1300 range and have currently settled just over the $1000 threshold. There has been even more of an uptick in the overall character as there have been increased gains in all books from the Nova series that have hit the market. Nova #2 is seeing nice sales data and and the entire Bronze Age series have had nice payoffs on the market.
We are also seeing current market inflation for several other characters in the speculation queue. Adam Warlock has been popular the past few years. Recent comments about Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has the market for Quasar going nuts, as well as Beta Ray Bill. Hopefully you maintained a few of these characters for yourself before the initial rise in prices. Remember that speculation is ultimately trying to discern which characters are going to see value increases and trying to move on those opportunities when they occur. Speculation demands a bit of imagination to be successful. If you can imagine who may be the next villain in an MCU movie, or the next break-out supporting character, you will be able to out-think the room when it comes to market speculation. At the end of the day, you need to stick by your collecting or investing ethos and make sure you are doing what is right for your collection.
Who are your value plays when it comes to characters? What is your favorite “blue chip” character or series? Drop your comments and join the speculation!