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Friday, May 27, 2011

Modern Comic Investing - A Good Or Bad Choice?


Despite the dispute of when the Copper Age ends and the Modern Age of comics begins, I'm going to give the dates that the Copper Age starts around 1984 and the Modern Age of comics begins around 1992 until now.

Before I get into whether modern comic investing is a good or bad choice, it's imperative to know the difference between the two eras. Copper Age comics are modern comic books, but there's a distinct difference in why Copper Age comics are more collectible.

I started collecting comics around the Copper Age of comics as a kid, and back then, comics were still considered kid's stuff. I bought comics and read them...over and over. Many of my friends who also collected comic books did the same.

Around this time, people started to understand the value of taking care of their books, but it wasn't as widely known as it is today. So, even though there are still quite a few high-grade books floating out there - a lot more than bronze, silver, and golden age books - key copper age books at high grades are more rare than Modern Age Comics.

This has to do with the widespread knowledge during the 90s that comics can be quite valuable if taken care of. So everyone jumped on board and started to put freshly bought copies in protective sleeves with backing boards.

Another factor during the 90s was the growth of the Speculator Market in comic books during the Modern Age  of comics. Speculators bought multiple copies of issues, hoping they'd be valuable someday. In turn, the comic industry began over printing issues, as well as pumping out variant covers and foil covers.

One key principle was forgotten during this time - A comic is valuable due to it's RARITY and DEMAND! The aftermath of the Speculator boom created the comic book crash of the late 90s, and sales and prices plummeted. With millions of comic printed for many modern age comics, the result is thousands of high grade comics floating around even today.

So you ask if Modern Comic investing is a wise choice? I've made it quite clear in other posts about my fear and disdain in investing in Modern comics. If you want to read them for the enjoyment of their great stories and art, by all means buy them.

However, if you're speculating as an investor about Modern Age comics, it's a very bad risk to take. Too many copies are printed, and too many people know the knowledge of keeping them at high grades = even high grade modern comics are not rare! You would be better off investing in silver age and bronze age key issue comics.



The Walking Dead #1 cover image
However, that isn't to say that no comics from the Modern Age of comics aren't worth collecting. There are! You just have to make wise choices. Remember, many independent comics came out during the 90s and even today  with very, very low print runs.

One of the low print comics of recent times was the Kick Ass comic series, which popularity rose even higher when the film came out. Another example is The Walking Dead, in which the T.V show's popularity kicked the #1 issue into high demand.

Learning from the comic book market crash, the industry kept variant covers but limited them to a very small number of copies printed. However, I consider most variant covers a bad investment to get. You can see my example of Superior Spider-Man variant cover and how prices for that fell pretty sharply.

To check out a list of valuable modern age comics, click the link and learn what some of the good choices to make in Modern comic investing.

6 comments:

  1. I started collecting in the early nineties and have kept my books in great condition both out of love for them and as a future investment. Is there any hope that it will be worth it within my lifetime?

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  2. The problem with 90s comics is that there are way too many high grade copies of them floating around, as well as the demand for them really sucks. Alot of these books, are going well below their cover price, because people are trying to get rid of them and people don't really want them. Certain issues may be valuable within your lifetime, but the majority wont...unless a huge natural disaster takes place and wipes out most of the comics from the 90s...but let's not hope for that.

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  3. If your investing in comics, my personal thought is that anything published after 1975 is a very bad risk. People have been stockpiling comics way before the 80's & 90's. The stockpiling of then current comics began in/around the mid 1960's, right around when you first started seeing ads in comic books from people who bought and sold old comics. Books from the mid 60's and up are in plentiful supply because of this. The reason that 60's books haven't lost value is because of one thing: demand. If demand significantly decreases, prices would plummet on common silver-age titles.
    However, the stockpiling of comics in the 1960's was nowhere near what happened in the 80's and 90's, that's when it went into overdrive with people buying crateloads of current comics.

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  4. I agree to an extent...the stock piling of comics in the 60s may have occurred, but a lot less than the 80s or 90s, but the market has changed considerably since the 60s until now. Then, many kids and teenagers read comics. Today, not so much, and as we all know, most kids don't keep things nice and neat. Today, mostly adults are reading and buying comics and many of them are speculating as well. What I'm saying is that in the future, you will have a lot more high grade modern comics...especially with CGC changing the market drastically in this area...while with many Silver Age...high grade copies will still be quite small.

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  5. One thing I have been hearing recently is that modern books have a much lower print run and the logic from many people is that there could be a new "silver age" of comic book investing right now! I don't personally believe this. When the average person thinks of Batman, they think of either the movies or the cartoons, or the licensing (like a Batman on a T-shirt). News anchors still reference the Batman TV show from the 1960s!! Pow. Wham. Good Lord. So no one is going to care 20 years from now about the 1980s or 1990s Batman comics (or modern day "new 52" Batman comics). They are all disposable. However, stuff that transcends the comic book world (like "Dark Knight Returns" or "Watchmen" COULD be valuable someday... but nothing like a 1960s-era Marvel or DC comic in my humble opinion. - Wiebes

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    1. Modern comics do have a lower print run nowadays, which is true. However, I don't agree that this is the new silver age of comics. For one, too many speculators nowadays are basing value over low print run and not popularity of a character or comic title.

      Will these new titles gain enough of a fan base, or is it just speculators driving up all these new titles? If there isn't a large enough fan base that grows for these new titles for Image, Vertigo, Valiant or whatever, will anyone really care for them 10 or 20 years from now? I highly doubt it.

      In the long run who really cares about "sold out" or "low print run" if the comic has really no fan base? I don't trust Modern Comics for this very reason - "sold out" means nada to me and low print run without somewhat of a natural demand means zip to me as well.

      Some Copper Age comics will sustain as quite a few first appearances of characters have been fan favorites for quite a long time...Deadpool, Venom, Teen Age Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gambit, or Cable just to name a few. Those first appearances have stuck with fans since, so I don't think all the 80s or 90s comics will be completely worthless.

      Also the mid 80s was the rise of independent comics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was one as well as The Crow and those characters are part of pop culture. I do agree that Silver Age keys will definitely stay great investments...especially for Marvel since they introduced so many new and fan favorite characters during that time...more than any era including Bronze and Copper.

      Thanks for the comment Wiebes...always great to hear from ya...and great points!

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