For you to understand from history what has worked and what hasn’t. While the major publishers have corrected many of their own errors, you can see from above many of the same marketing gimmicks that still exist and how you could fall in the trap. For instance, Batman and the Flash recently published a four-part crossover that offered both the regular cover, and for $1 more, you can pick up a lenticular cover of the issue. If you’re a collector or fan of the series and like the lenticular cover, cool, pick one up. However, do make the mistakes of the speculator and purchase as many as you can with the hopes of turning a profit in the future wit these covers. For instance, DC did this a few years ago with the Futures End and Forever Evil storylines. The market for these remain right around cover price. The Forever Evil covers are slightly over cover price as they were well done and collectors today still like to have them in their collection. The Futures End covers were kind of cheap looking, and their market value is just below cover price. The point being is that these covers did not make or break the cost of the comic, and in 50 years, the price of these comics may raise a bit with inflation, but unless they’re amazing covers, buyers will be looking for the top storylines to purchase, not gimmicky covers. Long story short, when will these aforementioned lenticular covers sell at their highest ROI? Likely the week they’re released. While many will purchase this comic in their LCS and stash away in their box of comics, the secondary market will see a mini-boom from collectors looking to get in on the issue before they believe the price skyrockets. However, history shows that issues like this begin to lose that mini-boom by the following Wednesday when the next set of comics are released and they move on to the next set of comics that they want to collect, and last week’s issues become old news.
Now, the previously mentioned Batman/Flash crossover example may still have potential to increase in price. It was the first major story arc in the successful DC Rebirth series, and if the Watchmen tie-in becomes successful and Rebirth continues to produce quality storylines, this series may increase in value. However, this four-part series was a best seller and collected by not only Batman and Flash fans, but also what I call, modern-day speculators. Modern-day speculators are typically comic book collectors who, in addition to the comic they read, will pick up a comic or series that is well hyped and they believe it can become a collector’s item, which if you are reading this, likely describes you, which is fine. You’re supporting the industry and maybe you pick up a series that you get into. However, if you purchase 50 of each of these issues, understand that based on history, you are more likely to sit on those issues or sell them at a reduced price than to ever break even. Even selling on eBay, understand that not only are you competing with many others looking to sell the same comic, you’re paying eBay listing fees, final value fees, and PayPal fees before you ever get your cut of the comic. Selling comics without a storefront is more difficult than thought. So if you’re looking into selling comics for a living, your best bet to be successful is through a store, not buying and flipping for a profit. But back to the Batman/Flash crossover example. My point is that there are many factors that play into a comic’s value, so it’s important to follow and understand all the aspects that go into it.
The first appearance of characters is sometimes harder to gauge as to when to sell. Often times you never even knew you were sitting on a first appearance of a notable character because they were nobodies when the issue first came out. The example of Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her couple of pages before she was killed off seemed like she was nothing more than a filler character. Then comes along the Deadpool movie and you have yourself a comic that was once valued at or below market value and now has value to it. There are three times in instances such as this when to sell a first appearance who become popular due to their appearance in a movie. The first is when it is first revealed that the character will be in the movie. You can sell it at an inflated price the week that their revealed to be in the movie, or roll the dice and hang on to it until the movie is released. If the movie is a success, such as Deadpool, the best time is to sell the first week the movie is released. You can roll the dice again in this instance, hold on to the issue until a sequel comes out, home it includes the character and increases the characters role, and the comics begin use the character more often. However, the third option is less likely to increase the value. Even if the character is given a larger role in the sequel, the novelty of that character will likely wane over time.
Comics’ #1 issues have diminished in value over time as the publishers have flooded the market with new series #1 issues. The long-running character or team series’ have been replaced with miniseries’, restarting series new after 15-20 issues, spinoffs, and crossover series’. However, despite this being an often complained about issue among fans, the modern-day speculators will always pick up #1’s, even if they have no intention of reading them. So more modern day #1’s are less valuable than they once were, but still may hold value. The most common #1 issues that modern-day speculators pick up are from Image Comics, hoping to one day hold the next Walking Dead #1 or Saga #1 issue. Image Comics is much less mainstream than Marvel or DC, which leads many to believe they are pick up a rarer jewel. The rights to many of these series are picked up by TV stations and movie studios sometimes as early as before the first issue has been released, which also increases the value of the comic. Image will typically let you know before the first issue is released if it’s a miniseries. They release many new titles every month; some are hits, some are big misses. So those who load up on Image #1 issues will likely be sitting on many titles that will have limited resale value in the future after a failed attempt, as Image has a short leash for less receptive series so that they can replace them with new series. Marvel is also watering down the value of #1 issues by starting series with #0 issues, which is essentially is the #1 issue, giving them two #1 titles to sell. So when should you sell that modern era #1 issue? You’ll have to look at the totality of the issue. Does the comic look like it’s going to be a long running series? Longer running series’ typically sell better after sitting on it for a while. When the issue is released, it’s often hard to gauge the length of the series, unless it’s announced ahead of time as a limited series. DC usually has longer running series than Marvel and they have fewer A-list names than Marvel, so you can likely conclude that the Batman #1 will have a longer running lifespan than a lesser-known character. Marvel publishes many more titles than DC, and many are characters that the average person has never heard of or teams that they form out of their butts.
How do movies impact the sale of comics? Read Part 3