First Appearances – Probably the most important features to look for in a comic is the first appearance of a character. While some important new characters are revealed right away (Riri Williams), others may take over a decade to increase in value. For instance, who would have thought in 2001 that the first appearance of Negasonic Teenage Warhead, only appearing in two pages before dying, would eventually double or even triple in value?
#1 Issues – While Marvel has made a mockery of the #1 issues, they still do have their value. While visiting your LCS, you may notice that a good number of that week’s new issues are #1 issues in a series, even if you’ve seen that character(s) in hundreds of other issues. I do not recommend going out and buying all #1’s you see every week (unless you’re really into it), I do recommend knowing what to look for in a new series. Common features of important new series include, the character, the likelihood this series will continue past five or six issues (preferably well past 20 issues), the writer (the better writers assigned to titles demonstrate the publishers willingness to give the series a chance to become successful), the characters (the bigger names are more likely to succeed), and likelihood this series is tied into something bigger, such as a larger storyline, or possibly a movie tie-in.
Cool Covers – Yes, even common covers can look good and increase in value based on their covers, however, their commonality does hurt their value.
Mistakes – While uncommon, mistakes in comics are a significant investment. The problem is often finding them before the store is forced to take them off the shelves, or other customers pick them up first.
Crossover Events – While fans have begun hating the trend of comics creating crossover events, which often take months of higher cost issues and dozens of tie-in issues only to be stuck with a poor storyline (Civil War 2) or a giant letdown at the end of the series (Inhumans v X-Men), these issues, especially the main series, are often worth the investment as they are often made with the intent to made into movies within the next decade. The Age of Ultron comic series was published in March 2013, while the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron was released April 2015. While the movie was based entirely on the AoU series, the title alone gave the comic series (and all of its variants) an added boost in price.
Graphic Novels – Rarely do graphic novels ever increase in value. They’re typically sold like all other books; continually produced and upon demand, unlike individual comics that have a specified number of issues printed at once and only reprint them for second, third+ printings, which have different values than first printings. Graphic novels are great if you want to read an entire series, but don’t want to pay for each individual comic in the series. Just don’t expect a positive return in your investment.