The Possible Death of New Comic Books and You Missed It!

by Joseph Overaitis

NFT-1-300x157 The Possible Death of New Comic Books and You Missed It!Most of the readers know that I love comic books. What many of you do not know is that I also have collected, in the past, original art, including comic book pages.  I  love true works of art.  I am now worried I just witnessed the death of the future of the new comic book industry as we know it.  Most of you probably did not even see it happen. That is not hyperbole. It is a fact and this scares me.

**Update!**  This article came out the day before this blog was published! This blog was written a few weeks ago.

Facts Do Not Lie

Unknown The Possible Death of New Comic Books and You Missed It!When I was younger, Wednesday was new comic book day.  It meant a trip to the local comic book shop and buying numerous books from the rack.  If a book was hot you would make the rounds from your home store to every other shop in hopes of snagging that key book.  Even a trip to the chain book store meant a chance of obtaining that book.  Everywhere you looked you could find comic books.  Comic books were a part of Americana.  Then, everything changed because we changed.

The comic book stores I went to as a child slowly closed.  Many were born from the comic book boom in the late 1990s and then died when the markets contracted.  Other established stores never evolved as the markets and consumers’ tastes had changed.  Stores were hurting already when the pandemic hit.  No customers and no new products were the death nail for many local comic book stores.  Fewer stores meant lower print runs.  It is hard for a company to make money if there are not a lot of consumers buying products.  In addition, let us remember that DC Comics and Marvel are owned by major corporations beholden to their stock owners.  If a division is not making money, why keep it going? Stan Lee is gone.  Now accountants call the shots.

The Magic Bullet

3122021123609-1i830o4bav-winkelmann20capture20de28099c3a9cran202021-03-1120210925-300x192 The Possible Death of New Comic Books and You Missed It!Many of you reading this blog know the legends of comic book art. Frank Frazetta, Jack Kirby, Todd McFarlane, and many others made the comic book industry.  Another name you should know is Mike Winkelmann. He may have killed the new comic book industry as you know it.  Winkelmann, also known as digital artist Beeple, on March 11, 2021, sold a work of digital art for $69.3 million dollars at a Christie’s auction.  The image sold can be copied by anyone. A quick search produces lists of websites that have copies of the image online.  I have enclosed a copy for you in this article.  That image is worth, again, $69.3 million dollars.

Many people can share that image, but only one person owns it. That is because that winning bidder owns the non-fungible token (NFT) that comes with that image.  Think of it as a fingerprint that is unique to that image.  Comic book collectors may think of it as a certificate of authenticity.  Everyone can share the image and download it, but only one person will ever have that NFT that proves they own the actual image.  This sale puts digital art on par with the works of the masters that exist on canvas.  That is the point that should scare surviving LCS and new comic book fans.

A Bleak Future?

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6IjI2MTM5MmJkLWMxNTMtNDMzNy1hOWNlLTg0Y2I5MTI2NmQ1OC5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-219x300 The Possible Death of New Comic Books and You Missed It!The market for old comic books will not die.  It will exist, just as there is demand for the canvas works of the great masters.  What should scare new comic book fans is if a comic book company starts to phase out new comic books and instead starts to produce new comic books with NFTs.  No more distribution issues.   The cost of paper and supplies would be eliminated.  Issues would be produced based upon pre-orders.  No more overprinting of books with this method.

Publisher would instead produce comic books in a digital format with a unique NFT to mark the book as an original.  Variant editions would also be produced with limited production runs and different NFTs than the regular issues. Does this idea seem far-fetched to you? Sadly this idea has already been implemented with another medium.

Family Video was the last major video store that rented DVDs and Blu-Ray discs.  The pandemic killed that company because people were not going out to rent physical discs.  Instead, people would stream them or buy digital copies.  If you look at your local Best Buy you will see that their DVD section has greatly decreased in size. That is because every square foot needs to make money and physical copies of movies are just not selling.  You can even rent digital copies of your favorite movie online.  I am a fan of discs.  Sadly, I must admit that  I found myself in a much smaller crowd than in years past on new movie release Tuesdays even before the pandemic. The movie industry had changed for many because of changing tastes and technology.

Hopes

I hope new comics books still come in the format I love.  Those paper books have character and they are collectible.  My fear, though, is that I am not the future of comics.   In addition, works of digital art are now selling for millions of dollars.  One must ask if comic books can be far behind?  Instead of having a book slabbed, in the future will I have to go to an NFT source tech and have them verify I am in fact getting a true first printing variant copy of X-Men #2500?  Even Star Trek’s William Shatner has been reported to get in on this type of sale.   I am afraid that technology just killed the future for the new comic book market and hardly anyone saw it coming.

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42 comments

steven Centonzo April 13, 2021 - 9:08 am

Everyone can share the image and download it, but only one person will ever have that NFT that proves they own the actual image. This sale puts digital art on par with the works of the masters that exist on canvas.
This just isn’t true. The amount of people who absolutely MUST have the Mona Lisa is infinitesimal to the people who are happy to have a copy. The real Mona Lisa also has tangible resale value. Does an NFT piece? The copy of the NFT on my laptop looks exactly like the original. Which one is the real one? And…What can any comic book artist create that’s worth 63 million dollars? People are getting nuts, here

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 9:53 am

Steven

It is not nuts. Who is to say that the NFT can not sell for $10 with advances in technology. Technology changes the way we do things. William Shatner started to sell his stuff with NFT. Tom Brady is getting into it as well. As the article says, if a company can use NFT to sell comic books instead of being forced to print them they do not have to worry about distribution, print runs, paper costs, and the like. Bitcoins can be traded so what could prevent you to trade NFT in the future. Again the article never says a comic book could be worth $63 millions, but that the technology is now there for artists to use to sell art. Comic books are mere collections of art pages. Also look at movies that were once delivered to us by VHS, DVD, Blu ray and now Digital. The last chain dvd rental store went out of business because it was not economically feasible to exist.

The pandemic put a hit on the comic chain of delivery. If a comic book company can distribute a book eventually for $10 with a NFT that proves it is an original, and thus collectible, there will be a market for it. Think of the profit for the company eliminating the middle man. That is what businesses want; to control the complete chain to control costs. What is nuts Steve about that?

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Jason Short April 14, 2021 - 4:13 pm

I think you are equating NFTs with digital comics. NFTs are not digital comics. For the most part, NFTs are not tied to a physical object- IE Crypto Kitties, NBA Top Shot, etc. You are also failing to account for the expense / hassle in actually creating NFTs. It is much cheaper to create digital comics than it is to create any NFT. The cost of creating what you seem to be describing- a full comic NFT would probably border on the ridiculous.

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Jason K April 13, 2021 - 10:55 am

It’s not crazy to think NFT can make a dent in the art world. As stated, they already have. However, a comic book collection is very different from collecting masterworks or even any large pieces of art. Comics have a cigar quality to them, there’s a ritual and culture attached to collecting and preserving the books. It’s the same reason why vinyl never fully died and has now made a huge resurgence.

People like to show off their collections, they like to go through them every once in a while, reorganize and even get some hermetically sealed for display on their walls. You can’t display an NFT or even a digital comic. Whatever profits the industry would see from cutting out printing and distribution, may be eliminated completely by the amount of people that would drop out of collecting. An NFT just isn’t fun. And that’s what comics are mostly about, so that’s another way they differ mightily from $63 million dollar works of art. It’s fun to post a pic of the new book you just got or make/watch a CGC unboxing video. The industry would lose all of that if it went completely digital and I think/hope they are smart enough to know not to mess with the foundation of why people collect in the first place.

Also, the DVD analogy does not fit at all because those items are mostly consumables. Once you watch the movie, the DVD’s job is finished until you want to watch the movie again. They are not collectibles (with some rare exceptions), so their digital counterparts make them obsolete. Not the case with comics. A digital copy of a comic is simply a useful preservation tool for the actual book. Think of it like when the dollar was backed by gold. The digital comic is the dollar and the actual book is the gold bar backing it up. I just do not think the community will fully embrace NFTs as the new gold bar in place of the actual books.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 11:37 am

Jason

I used to collect old books as well. People used the same argument you just did when kindles and book readers came into vogue. We used to have book cases and people would display the books they read. Now? Records have though come back but in the numbers they once existed? The reason is because companies realized they could make more money from a digital copy than vinyl or cd. It is the bottom line.

Remember to you it is a collectible but to the company it is about making money. If teens and the younger crowds start purchasing books in this say then people like you and me will be ignored if it makes financial sense. Years ago I listened as my long deceased gold age collectors would say that variants would never take hold in the market. Why would anyone pay more money for a book merely because it had a different cover. What happens if Marvel makes a limited edition NFT Avengers #1 2022 book and people buy it. What happens if Marvel realizes that people would pay $5 for a NFT new edition book that is more profitable to them than they would make to sell to people like you and me? Jason how many people do you know who collect vinyl records compared to those who purchase online songs. The technology is there and I believe that if companies can make money with NFT products compared to old versions then they will. It what makes then sites like GoCollect important because we have to acknowledge that times change. Lower print runs; fewer LCS and retail outlets selling books is now reality. Do i want to stop buying new comics on the rack…. no but I am afraid some CPA will make the decision that they can make more money targeting others than they do selling to me.

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Jason K April 13, 2021 - 1:48 pm

I understand your trepidation Joseph, I really do. Technology is a marvelous, unforgiving beast of progress and pain. However I still maintain that the comic industry is hard to analogize. Yes people collected and still do collect vintage bound books, but it never had the mass appeal and collectability of what comics were in the 90s and now today. Digital books are definitely a tour de force in todays market, but just like DVDs, they are mainly a consumable item, not a collectable one. Most people buy books to read them, a small percentage for collectability. It’s the exact opposite in the comic world. I think it would be the height of arrogance for the comic industry to think they can remove the collectability aspect of comics and still maintain sales. We all love the stories, don’t get me wrong the stories are very important, they and the art are what make the comic collectible in the first place. But if the only thing you can collect is a faceless NFT, I’m not sure the enjoyability of the hobby stays in tact. Sure, I agree with you, I’m afraid some “suit” will just ignore that fact and convince TPTB that an NFT will be just as collectible as a hard copy comic. So maybe they’ll try it, if anyone does my money is on DC. And then hopefully it will fail so hard, the idea is forever stained with a mark akin to that of a George Clooney Batman movie.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 1:55 pm

Jason

Again I hope you are right. If we see though a variant NFT edition of a new book we then know they are trying it out. If it sells out you know then it will become mainstream.

I hated variants when they first came out. Older timers told me, the young kid at the time, that this was just a fad and that if a cover was really collectible they would print it on the regular issues. It was only an attempt by greedy publishers to get a few extra bucks from gullible fans.

Quote from Wall Street’s Gordon G that Stan Lee would never follow but now?..

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed — for lack of a better word — is good.

Greed is right.

Greed works.

Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit.

Greed, in all of its forms — greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge — has marked the upward surge of mankind.

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Jason K April 13, 2021 - 2:27 pm

I’m trying to envision what a variant NFT would even be comprised of. Would it just be a digital comic with a different splash page/cover? I just don’t see how anyone can hold that up as a viable asset to their collection. Maybe you’re right, I’m just an old man yelling at the clouds. But if there’s nothing to hold, nothing to show, take a photo of, frame or display, then how can the collectible market survive? My opinion is it won’t.

Sure there will be those who take part in the NFTs for a time, but the collectability aspect will simply fade away and collectors will become disenchanted with owning nothing concrete. The golden goose of the comic industry is the collectible market. It’s the engine that churns the greed for more characters, more stories, more art and even more variants. Just as long as that “more,” is something I can hold and show the world that it’s mine.

The publishers nearly destroyed the collectible market once before and it didn’t turn out too well for them at the end of the 90s. So they had to recalibrate and start building that market back up. Now it’s at an all-time high. Can you imagine the ultimate stupidity if the publishers now decide to gamble that they can simply sell comics based on the want to read the stories alone, or that NFTs are capable of replacing the physical books as a token of collectability? They will be sadly disappointed in the outcome.

Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:55 pm

Jason

I have updated my article. A comic book company has mentioned they will be using NFT in their products. They announced it yesterday. I wrote my article before they made the announcement!!! Hit the link the updated article and read the people involved. Major players in the industry and not unknowns.

Darin April 13, 2021 - 11:28 am

There are a lot of forced parallels being brought up here to come to this conclusion. The DVD industry, similar to the music industry had very little collectability baked into it (resell wise, not obsessive/compulsive wise) and was killed from a painfully obvious delivery and cost shift for the masses that simply want to watch movies instead of own them. Comics have already weathered that, and unlike movies and music, created a completely different and unique experience that brings separate value to their digital counterparts (ever read Immortal Hulk in “guided view”?).

None of that has to do with NFTs.

While I could absolutely see NFTs trying to take a foothold in the industry, I can’t imagine it succeeding (full disclosure, I don’t see the NFT wave continuing in any sort of meaningful way after the everyone chills out a little from the non-traditional investment insanity). While it absolutely could morph and lead to a different experience for comic collectors, similar to how Topps has figured it out for trading card collectors, anything NFT related in comics would simply be a gimmick to pray on that will pass along with history’s long list of all the gimmicky comic industry killers that have come before it.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 11:47 am

Darin

Again I hope you are right but I again collected books and now I am forced to get them on kindles. In addition I see that industries such as cards being sold by celebrities with NFT is a niche market now but in the future? As I said in another post, Variants were looked upon as “gimmicks” and now because they are profitable for companies they are common. The other thing that scares me is who is for Digital versus not in this argument. I am again a mature collector who wants comics as they exist now but what happens if they start to find out that they can make more money selling new comics with NFT technology compared to what they can make from The Darins and Joes of the world. We must remember that comic book producers exist to make money and they do not get money from the secondary markets. What if Darin a new comic with an NFT is purchased by you sells for $5 but a few months later a character is introduced in that book appears in the MCU. People would want it and they might offer you $15 for that “original” NFT. That becomes what is collectible. As I said in the article, I love art and never in all my years did I ever imagine that I would see NFT art sell like the works of the master.

Times change and if you do collect modern books they might become even more valuable if print runs go to even smaller near variant numbers. It is something though we may not agree nor expect, but we should still monitor and acknowledge as a possibility.

Hope for the best but always plan for the worst!

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Patrick Bain April 13, 2021 - 12:43 pm

Darin, I kind of agree with your point on the resell value of DVD/VHS/CDs etc. for Movies and Music. Of course, one reason those things lose their collectability is because the devices to play old media like a VHS or Cassette Tape becomes antiquated/broken and so forth. With a physical comic book, as long as our eyes and mind work, we can read it.

One point on digital comics and other forms of digital media, there can be advantages to digital that physical does not have. Your example of “guided view” is a good one. Maybe technology will get to the point that the text can be read with appropriate voices by the computer, which some people may enjoy. However, these digital “purchases” (before NFTs) has the distinct disadvantage that you buy it but you don’t own it. That’s why I think NFTs actually support the future ownership of digital comics by people that prefer digital. I think that helps to keep physical collecting relevant.

Check out my GoCollect article if you like.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 1:49 pm

Patrick

My fear is that recent news reports may make new comic books distributed with NFTs closer now then ever. Marvel has announced recently they are switching to Penguin Random House from Diamond. From their own site they indicate that they distribute 70,000 DIGITAL BOOKS versus 15,000 physical books a year. Whenever I represented a company that switched to another supplier I could tell the reason why beyond what was in the contract. Here the distribution company has a very large digital footprint when compared to Diamond. In addition sports cards and NFTs seem to be here so my fear is that the next part of this is comics to eliminate physical retail outlets; paper supply chain distribution issues, and other costs. I know you are an art lover like me. When I saw a NFT word sell for great masters prices I thought could comics be next. Technology advancement could see a NFT variant of a new issue could it not? If we see that could regular issues be far behind? I am now worried the physical collecting may exist only to older works and some smaller press titles and the bigger companies may phase out of physical comics in the future little by little. What do you think on that bleak future? I am scared LOL.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:03 pm

Patrick

PS check out this site

https://finance.yahoo.com/finance/news/oasis-digital-studios-apex-comics-212400796.html

NFT and new comics was just announced yesterday. My article was written well before then LOL. I am scared more now!!!!

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:59 pm

Patrick

A company is going to use NFTs in their product lines!!! They wrote about it yesterday. I revised the article to reflect this point!!!

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Patrick Bain April 13, 2021 - 12:19 pm

Joe, I do think you are taking a pessimistic view of how NFTs may or may not impact physical comics. In my article on Comics and NFTs, I actually make the point that “digitial without ownership” is more dangerous to the long term collectability of comics. As I think about it now, if NFTs become a popular way of selling comics to the masses, (they can create as many digital copies as they like), then there could be very small physical print runs making each of higher demand. Of course, for publishers, what is their advantage in limiting distribution. Only speculators care about limited quantities. To the publishers, as long as the margin on their products is good, they could put out as many “first printing issues” as they like. By the way, check out my article: https://blog.gocollect.com/comics-and-nfts-speculation-on-non-fungible-tokens/

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Jeff Simoneau April 13, 2021 - 1:12 pm

Forgotten here… is how nearly every single comic book collector started out. Saving their weekly allowance, money from chores, mowing lawns, shoveling snow, babysitting, etc… and then heading to their local comic book shop, news stand, or mini- mart to see that month’s comic book issues. To physically see the covers, hold the books, flip through a few pages to admire the art, and then decide which characters or issues to buy with that hard-earned money. Where will the next generation of comic book fans (and die hard fans of the genre) come from once we “age out” or pass on? I don’t see any kids under the age of 13 or 14 (maybe even older) buying NFTs… and as a parent, I have no intention of spending any of MY money to buy them any NFTs.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 1:39 pm

Jeff

Do you have streaming movies? Do you have an online book reader? I know you do not have any intention of buying them but that is again my concern. That Comic book publishers could look to the future and see digital first editions using NFT technology is the future. Years ago no one dreamed of watching first run movies in their homes but that is where we are now.

After I wrote this article Marvel announced that they are switching distributors to Penguin Random House after decades of Diamond handling distribution. If this effects discounts your LCS receives how much longer can they survive after 2020? Jeff your money may go to new comic books but what if they do not exist

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Jeff Simoneau April 13, 2021 - 2:39 pm

If new physical books no longer exist, then my focus will shift to Bronze and Copper age. I don’t need new books to enjoy reading and collecting this art form. One of my favorite memories as a young kid was when one set of my grandparents would come visit every few weeks to see us. They always brought a comic or two for me and my brother. We never knew what we would receive, which only made the anticipation all that more exciting. Let’s hope the NFT thing is a niche market or phase. Thank you for the reply.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:54 pm

Jeff

I have updated my article. Guess what. A comic book company announced that they are going to use NFT!! I wrote this article a while back and it went to press today. What we fear is coming true!!1

Finally Jeff these boards are meant to hear from our readers. You would be amazed who reads them. They allow us to be more educated on the topic. That makes it a better site and the reason is because of readers like you!

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msuhu April 13, 2021 - 1:12 pm

There is validity in NFTs and the threat is certainly real, but only for future modern books whenever it begins. One will never be able to obtain an NFT of the first appearance of Spider-Man, Wolverine, or Venom. So NFTs are a threat, but a more far future threat.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 1:34 pm

MSUHU

Again welcome to the boards. I appreciate your comment so comment more. That is my fear though, that the far future may be here today soon. Marvel just switched to penguin publishing. That means lower discounts to LCS. Older comics will be safe but will the new ones be safe? Are we seeing the far future now in your opinion or how long do you think it is off?

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:58 pm

MSUHU

Read the updated article. A company announced yesterday they are going to use NFTs!!!

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Tony T April 13, 2021 - 1:19 pm

I think for many collectors without the physical copy they would stop collecting. Myself included.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 1:31 pm

Tony

Welcome to the boards Tony. I value all comments regardless of position because it helps me learn. May i ask do you consider yourself an older or young collector. Not asking exact age but curious because I am worried who the publishers target market would be if they used NFT. Also I am concerned with the recent switch by Marvel to Penguin because that means lower discounts to Local comic book shops. The final question I have is would you go to older comics or just quit collecting all together.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:57 pm

Tony

Read the updated article!!!! It is not a potential fear. Read about the players involved!!!

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 2:02 pm

GUYS MAYBE SOMEONE GOT AN ADVANCE LOOKED AT MY ARTICLE BECAUSE THIS WAS ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY !!!!! LOL

https://finance.yahoo.com/finance/news/oasis-digital-studios-apex-comics-212400796.html

Tom Defalco former Marvel Editor in Chief mentioned
Sal Buscema and Ron Frenz are also involved

Comic books with NFTs not far away.

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Ruben April 13, 2021 - 3:00 pm

Joe
I’m an historian and the one thing I know for sure is that things will change. Physical money exchange is diminishing with some stores saying they don’t take cash. The idea of no cash was hugely resisted when direct transfers were first getting going and predicted to be the norm. Leading economic experts said digital currency would die. They were wrong. It is becoming normal, with institutional entities increasingly cutting in. I had a huge physical library that I lovingly collected over a lifetime. When I retired and had to clear out my university digs, I couldn’t give stuff away. Resistance to digital publishing and reading (“There’s nothing like a real book in my hands.”) proved as futile as resisting assimilation into the Borg collective. Few people amass books any more. I still have a beloved library at home. When I’m gone, they’ll find their way into antique stores. Or not, since antique stores are declining too. The pandemic only exaggerated the trend. Younger people are increasingly not interested in antique furniture. And why should they? With the average priced home in the US now well over $400k, and far more in desirable areas, and the gap between haves and have-nots continuing apace, many younger people today do not even expect to own a home in their lifetime. Where will they put all the antique furniture, or signed first edition books, or oversized prestige graphic novels, or boxes and boxes of comics? Sadly comics were due to succumb to the digitization and subscription (rather than ownership) of all things sooner or later just like everything else. Innovators have actually headed off the fear of the end of collectibles by creating NFTs. Is a digital NFT as good as an original piece by Jack “King” Kirby? Hell no, not to me. But value has always been in the perception. And we are told NFTs have value, then they do. And if companies can do this without giant presses and scores of workers and delivery trucks, but simply “Download Now,” then no idea, or religion or power on earth will stop it. I think there will always be a collectors market, but for physical comics and art, it will probably be best to hunt for past or new grails. I can foresee a time when we who are in transition will no longer be, and new generations will only know the digital. Finally, Joe is surely right about one thing, as long as entities figure out how to make money in new schemes no matter what they destroy of what was precious about the past, they will do so with no remorse whatsoever. I do hope that picture is not as bleak as all this. But I am an historian. The one thing I know for sure is that things will change.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 4:16 pm

Ruben

Great post! If you do make a change I always hope it is to improve something rather than just for change. Apex Comic Group announced yesterday that they are going to use NFT for their line. They are set to blaze the trail. If they are successful it could be the end of new comics as we know it. I hope maybe to hear from them because the people involved with their NFT project are heavy hitters. If they are successful others wil surely follow.

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bmffrankiebuckets April 13, 2021 - 3:22 pm

NFT’s are here to stay, and that’s not a bad thing. It is an opportunity to get in on the ground floor to actually own digital comics and not just subscribe to them. I have been a big proponent of NBA TopShot, which is moments of games that are treated like trading cards. Dapper Labs came up with a way to combine basketball cards, the lottery, bitcoin, and the stock market rolled into one. Hundreds of millions of dollars of these moments are being traded every month. The players themselves are buying their most expensive moments before the prices rise even more. Even Mark Cuban is on TS buying moments. Just recently Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant and several other NBA players as a group just invested 300 million into the company. And you know what that means, there will be a Jordan rookie NFT. I can easily see Marvel doing the same thing with their entire catalog. So yeah, there will most likely be an Amazing Fantasy 15 NFT, as well as all of Marvel’s other blue chip books. I can’t think of one good reason why they wouldn’t as a company profit wise.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 4:11 pm

Frankiebuckets

Well I thought of new comics but never thought of re-issuing classic books with NFT. Very Insightful Frankiebuckets. I hope you keep commenting to these boards because sometimes our readers see things that are important. That would be a very easy way to make money off their existing line.

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Patrick Bain April 13, 2021 - 3:34 pm

Joe et. al, there’s no doubt in my mind that NFTs are coming. In fact, I also said market pressure may force companies to create the NFTs. After all, why pay $3.99 for digital that you can’t even own. Could the profit margin for physical copies be so low that corporations could make a “business decision”? That’s possible. If that happens, companies will gravitate to the suggested DC model of focusing on selling Trade Paperbacks that collect story arcs or consecutive issues. Then the trade paperbacks will be the first physical printing and the collectible for people that want that artform. On a side note, I asked Erik Larsen over Facebook and he indicated that if Image was doing anything with NFTs, he didn’t know about it. I doubt he was lying because if something super-secret was going on he could have just ignored my question.

On the topic of original art and NFTs, check out my suggested strategy: https://blog.gocollect.com/original-comic-art-nft-making-digital-art-collectable/

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 4:09 pm

Patrick

When I had reporters ask my corporate clients questions I would tell them ignoring the question might be evidence of knowledge. Better to say you didnt know LOL

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ultimate2021 April 13, 2021 - 3:46 pm

But this will eliminate most comic book stores who do not have a large back issue inventory. BUT it’s like video arcades when the Nintendo/Sega Genesis came out. Who back then thought people would pay $40+ upfront for a video game when they could just go to the arcade?

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 4:07 pm

Ultimate

Thank you for your comment and welcome to the boards. You are spot on with that comment about LCS. Many are experiencing problems and then you have that a company has already thought of this. A few days ago Marvel announced that they were switching distributors to Penguin Random House and they will not discount their comics like Diamond. This will put your LCS behind the ball even more to make money. They will either have to evolve or ?

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Matt Kennedy April 13, 2021 - 7:52 pm

I own an art gallery and I also work in film distribution. These are both careers that I’ve had for decades, so I have had a front row seat for multiple areas of this conversation.

Physical media sales have been up – way up – for the last year. July 2020 was one of the biggest months of physical media sales in over a decade. The pandemic didn’t kill DVD or Blu-Ray or 4K UHD sales, it increased them. It also increased streaming service subscriptions and sale of digital rentals and digital ownership of films and TV shows.

NFTs have been a good investment already for many different kinds of media. Anybody who bought the original NBA NFTs can flip those for hundreds of times what they pay for them, so the proof of concept is there – that people are buying and reselling NFTs as collectibles. The same pride of ownership that motivates people to buy books instead of going to library is inherently in the mindset fo people buying NFTs.

NFT buyers and physical art buyers are not necessarily the same consumers YET, but there is a little crossover and that will expand. I have bought and sold NFTs and I buy and sell analog art. I have not stopped buying physical artworks and have no plans to stop. But I have and will continue to purchase NFT artworks.

If comic books eventually go completely digital, just as some digital artists make mono-prints as a means of providing a unique totem of their original art pages now, NFTs will be an even more provenanced way to track ownership of the art and the comics themselves. This is an improvement over the current digital subscription version of ownership which provides no means of increased value for one’s investment.

Everyone should be embracing this. This is bad news for any LCS that can’t evolve, but this is nothing new. Every business needs to evolve to thrive. This creates an opportunity for every shop-owner unhappy with the prospect of merely surviving. Your new LCS can be a zoom meeting, and so you aren’t locked into availability by region which is actually quite egalitarian.

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Joseph Overaitis April 13, 2021 - 10:02 pm

Matt

I love your post because you have experience on the topic in a real world setting.

I have to ask you do you think that move could be because Penguin Random House does publish books in a digital format and probably is more ready for NFTs? I know that Diamond may have had other negative aspects but I wonder if PRH’s technological component may have played a factor in this decision.

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Matt Kennedy April 15, 2021 - 10:13 am

@Joe, I think it speaks to market share. Random House has seen the long line of decline on physical sales on books without the blip that film companies have seen, and every publisher of books, novels, etc. is looking for a way to escape the Kindle monopoly. Kindle requires proprietary file delivery that only works for Kindle, so it’s a single-use expense with a high distribution fee. I’m sure they’re looking at any new method of getting a (mostly) full share. The mark-up on hardcover and even paperback books is much tighter than the mark-up on comics, btw. So they see comics as a lower circulation property with which they get less margin. If they can forego LCS to get direct to consumer they will absolutely try. All media producers have been looking for a way to minimize resale, but comic collecting is an industry built on increased value of resale. NFTs have a hard-wired resale royalty built into them. This has been a big part of the sales pitch to artists who have seen their work sell on the second hand market (for way more than they were paid), without that increase in value generating any additional revenue for the artist. A smart publisher could use this resale royalty to attract and keep better talent, but I predict publishers will use it as a way to either share that new revenue or keep it completely. I don’t know that PRH is any more technologically advanced than any of the hundreds of publishers just learning about NFTs, but they certainly have a budget to throw at it. In the NFT space, content creators are king and distributors are moot. Diamond does not create.

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steven Centonzo April 14, 2021 - 7:53 am

This great article lead to all this great discussion. If I may add 1 outside the box question…
In a ever increasingly dangerous word, what happens to a 6 million dollar piece of NFT artwork if an enemy detonated an EMP over California, for example?

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Joseph Overaitis April 14, 2021 - 8:16 am

Steve

You would have a nice $6 million dollar screen saver. Get it endorsed by Lee Majors!

PS When we were talking about this topic we actually had to update it to include a comic book company that was already implementing something like this. What scared me was that it involved industry veterans and not newbies. Ouch!

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steven Centonzo April 14, 2021 - 9:36 am

but if the EMP destroys the computer hard drive, would the NFT be unrecoverable?

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Matt Kennedy April 15, 2021 - 10:17 am

@Steven NFTs are decentralized. The blockchain doesn’t exist on a single computer or even a single network in the classical sense, but the blockchain address and the actual artwork are two different things. If the artwork itself isn’t actually embedded in a blockchain (and very few are), then the file is subject to loss, just as any physical object is subject to physical destruction. FACT: more objects in a fire are destroyed by the water used to put out the fire than the fire itself.

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