The Rookie Collector – Advice on Where to Start for New Comic Collectors

by Ariel Lazo

rarest-comic-books-feature-min-300x282 The Rookie Collector - Advice on Where to Start for New Comic CollectorsSo you decided to make the jump and start collecting comics. The main question every rookie collector asks is, “Where do I start?”. Simple, if you remember anything remember this phrase, Collect what you love, and you will love what you collect

Comic collecting is about many things to many people. Some collect because it’s a good investment, some because they love the artwork, and others because of how they make you feel. Comics open you up to a world filled with hope and adventure. They allow you to escape to a place where you can forget everything that plagues you. Plus, they just look gorgeous as heck and can make you a nice chunk of change.

Before you jump into the deep of comic collecting, you have to figure out where to start. Since there are as many opinions as there are stars in Endgame, I can only tell you how I started and some mistakes I made.

Make a Plan

The biggest mistake I made when I first got back into comics was buying everything off the shelves. Everything that was hot or being speculated on, I bought. That lasted about a week, then my bank card started to laugh at me. One important fact you need to learn is…DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

  • Plan what you want to collect (i.e. Full Runs, Key Books, Artist runs/covers)
  • Focus on those plans
  • BUDGET for the books you want
  • RESEARCH the Fair Market Value (FMV) and what the book is currently being sold for

By knowing the trend of the book, one can somewhat gauge if the book is going up or down. Sometimes patience is key in this game.  But if you take anything from the above points, take away the budgeting part. So many times we fail to budget and go over our means of buying the books we want. Budgeting and setting a max amount you are willing to spend helps narrow down what books you can afford to obtain. Remember you do not want to be the one who bought the mansion but now can’t afford to pay for light or food.

  • Pro-Tip: Set up a separate account strictly for comic collecting. This will keep all transactions and funds in one spot. Plus if there is no money in the account, you can’t go over the limit.
  • Always use funds that you have on hand, try to avoid paying on credit. This is just advice to help you stay in budget.

Leave Emotions at the Door

Just like fear is the enemy of hope, it is also the enemy of any collector. Fear causes us to make impulse buys or sell a book that we shouldn’t have. Fear also makes us blind to some imperfections that the comic may have. You become blinded by its beauty and significance that you ignore the spine ticks and other errors. This is where the budget and planning comes in. If you set that budget and actually adhere to it, fear is less likely to affect you. There will always be another Incredible Hulk #181 or Giant-Size X-Men #1 around the corner. If you also plan accordingly you will never feel the feeling of missing out on a book you wanted.


Compare prices, shop around and do not be afraid to negotiate. One thing I have learned is to never be afraid to ask. The worse thing they can say is no. Best case scenario, you get a book at a great price! A prime example was a 7.5 graded Incredible Hulk #181 that I recently bought. Now when looking at prices I noticed that on certain sites (FeeBay or eBay for newbies) people were overpricing their books. Hype drives the prices of any book sky-high. But deals are out there for those who search. Personally, I find looking at eBay late at night to be the best of help.



Originally I was going to focus on a 5-ish grade level but when I saw so many were raising their prices I kept looking. I found the 7.5 right at FMV. Like I said, it never hurts to ask right? So I asked if there was any way that we can work together to get this book sold today. Well, after talking for a few minutes he dropped his price by almost $200. That’s $200 that went to paying the taxes and fees that I did not have to worry about or extra money to fund another great book. The key to making this work is….BE NICE! Just be polite and approach the person the same way you would like to be approached. Also, you know the worth of the book and 99% chance so does the seller.

  • By the way don’t expect to go in and ask to pay $100 for a 9.8 Incredible Hulk or Giant-Size X-Men, be reasonable. Low-balling someone by a huge amount is just rude. If you low-ball expect to get a not so nice response back.


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Yeah, that old phrase our parents taught us is back to haunt us. If it looks too good to be true, guess what genius, IT IS. When Ryan Reynolds announced that Marvel will be working on Deadpool 3 people went crazy trying to get New Mutants #98. It got so bad that people started to sell the facsimiles, stating it was the original. One of these sold for over $100 WITH A CRACKED CASE!! It was sold on 12/31/19 and you can check it here. That’s the price of a low grade original! How bad do you think that buyer felt when they finally realized what they bought?

  • Compare pictures
  • Make sure it is the book you want
  • Use sellers that have been vouched for
  • Always purchase in a way that you are protected. For example, if buying through Instagram and paying with PayPal, DO NOT PAY VIA FRIENDS AND FAMILY. You will not be protected as a buyer if you purchase through that option. Business is business.

Bottom Line

Bottom line, Plan, Budget, and Research. Investing in comics uses the same concepts as buying a house or car. In both cases, you will budget, plan and research to make sure you get the best bang for your buck. Albeit, financially it is not equal, although, with some comics, the comic will be worth more than the house or car, you should still approach it the same.

Hope this helped some of you who are new to comics or simply returning. I didn’t dive too deep into certain areas because I want you to enjoy your journey into collecting. We have all made mistakes and bought or sold books we regret, but that is part of learning. Like Thomas Wayne said, “Why do we fall Bruce? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

With that all said and done, I hope this helped some of you. If you take away one thing from here than I did my job helping. But if you have any further questions or want to add some of your own tips, please feel free to comment or message me.

Till Next Time, Happy Hunting!


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