For most of 2019, we saw a major boom in the comic hobby due to various factors. On a sad note, the passing of Stan Lee placed much attention on the comics he created. This was reinforced by many positive and exciting moments on the pop-culture scene Stan helped influence. The mega-success of several big-budget Hollywood comic book movies had a strong effect on comic prices; enough to convince any doubters left that, for better or worse, we find ourselves in the ‘movie-age’ of comic book collecting.
So, as 2019 gives way to 2020, and we prepare for another year of comic book buying, which comics will be the most sought after?
A better question: ‘Which comics will see the biggest rise in value?’
In this post, I’ll list – in ascending order from least to most important- my top three choices for comics to watch in 2020.
What follows is pure speculation, albeit grounded on observations about the comic market throughout 2019.
What was different about 2019 as opposed to the last ten years of comic market activity was the already mentioned magnitude of the movie events. The films released were so huge, e.g. Avengers: Endgame levels of box office success, that the long sustained boost to select Marvel Silver Age comics actually saw a reverse on prices in the latter half of the year.
This slow down, of course, is still happening but comes after a long and pronounced rise in value on many books over the last ten years. Although high prices persist for select comics; and while very few major keys have fallen back to pre-2008 levels, there is still a definite softening of prices in the market right now.
Will these downward trends continue into 2020?
Looking at the pop culture landscape, there has been no real bust as of yet, although collectors should remain cautious at the beginning of 2020.
Although I think there’s a strong case to be made that the market will pick up sometime during the latter half of 2020, even if it doesn’t a down market offers good opportunities to pick up select books at more reasonable prices.
That said, here are my choices:
This year, I’m going to keep my picks as close to the comic movie scene as possible. Given the success of the recent DC films, I’ll start with what I think could really pick up in the upcoming year. With Matt Reeves’ directing, and Twilight star Robert Pattinson chosen to play the caped Crusader, the talk of the town is how this movie reboot for DC will focus on the detective angle of the Dark Knight stories. Earlier this year, that fact – along with news that multiple villains would make appearances – led to a sharp rise in sales on The Long Halloween.
There are other Bat-books that show promise, such as Batman #171 which is the first Silver Age Riddler, however, the buy-in price for the former is already high and there’s no guarantee that it won’t drop before it rises again. By contrast, The Long Halloween is currently very affordable (currently 9.8 copies have only just broken the $200.00 mark), and with 197 of these on the CGC census and an estimated original print run of 63,200, plenty of high-grade copies can be found. Remember, Batman is to DC what Spider-man is for Marvel: i.e. a perennial top seller. If any DC books can hold and gain value in 2020, you should bet on Batman.
Turning to Marvel, the biggest news of 2019 from a Marvel standpoint was their hints that a Marvel horror trend will begin with the WandaVision Disney+ program, continuing into the next Doctor Strange film. To top it all off, the return of Blade and a Son of Satan (Daimon Hellstrom) program was also announced. It, therefore, makes sense to speculate that the spike in Marvel Bronze Age horror will continue and may peak in 2020. My pick for an underrated Marvel Bronze Age horror key is Ghost Rider #1. It’s the first appearance of the Son of Satan and much more affordable than Marvel Spotlight #5, which has already surged. Keep your eyes on this book in 2020.
For reasons explained here, I think we will be seeing the Fantastic Four before the X-Men in the MCU. 2020 might be your last chance to buy up the mega-keys from the original Silver Age Lee/Kirby FF run. Of those keys, other than the Doctor Doom appearances, none show more promise than the early Surfer appearances. While FF #48 is the mega key in this story-line, issue #49 has been keeping pace. 2020 could be the year when issue #48 rises beyond reach. In that case, expect this book to peak in 2020. The first appearance of the Surfer or Galactus could do it. Both Galactus and the Surfer appear on a cover for the first time with this book. While long-term price trends are all up, in the last three months prices have dropped steeply on almost all grades. On December 17, 2019, a 6.5 sold for $340.00 (eBay fixed price). The same grade sold a month earlier (on 11/21/2019) for twice that price ($681.04). In fact, prices are down on all except 4.5, 7.0 and 7.5 grades. In other words: it’s an excellent time to buy.
Not yet a GoCollect subscriber? Subscribe today to get access to the comic book price guide!