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Monday, February 2, 2015

On The Hunt Comic Buying Strategy Example

So, I thought I'd just give you an example of a comic purely meant for flipping for those interested in short-term comic investing game.

The best way for me to do this is to use personal examples. Everyone wants a one-size fits all, and it's virtually impossible to do. Every character's popularity is different, every hype is different, and every key issue or first appearance is different as well.

Not to mention that everyone's area has a different comic market or none to little at all. What works for me here may not work for you where you live.

However, like I revealed in the first part to this comic investing series, there are a set of questions I do ask myself before purchasing a comic investment to help determine if it's a speculation buy or a solid comic investment. I'll use a recent example for a comic I was on the hunt for.

If you missed Part 1 to this series, just click the link to go back and read. This example is just to help flesh out my thought process so you can better understand it:

Aquaman #29, first appearance of Orm

1. What was the demand for this key issue like before whatever hype?

Answer: Not really in-demand at all. Nobody really talking about gunning down this issue in big numbers before the hype. Not an in-demand key at all before.

2. What is the hype about? Movie, TV, etc?

Answer: Hype is for least four film appearances of Aquaman including solo movie, but Orm is still in the rumor mill. No confirmation for the character yet. May not even be in the Aquaman film. Believe it or not, determining hype can help you gauge quite a few things. I'll get into this a bit more later.

3. What era does this comic fall into? Are 9.8s really rare or is the rarity due to the fact that it was a comic not worth CGCing or slabbing before?

Answer: Silver Age, and there's a good chance that 9.8s an higher graded copies are pretty rare for this particular issue. I've yet to see one, nor could I probably afford that high of a grade either. Actually, I've yet to see hardly any slabbed copies of this issue.

Though there are not many out there in the market currently doesn't mean there aren't quite a few hiding in collector's vaults, but there is a higher possibility of rarity. Also, since Aquaman keys were not all that in-demand before, the reason for the scarcity of CGC copies could be because those who owned them did not think that issue was worthy of getting slabbed before.

Then again, they could very well be more rare. Like I said, most think the character is lame, so perhaps more comic fans back in the day used them to swat insects with, burned them, used them to wipe their asses with, or just flat out dumped them in the trash. Who knows?

All that is known now is that they're pretty scarce in the market.

4. How fast did the prices go bonkers and was it already an expensive key before?

Answer: Prices for this one did go up pretty fast. Not super fast in like a day or a week or a month, but even low grades are now fetching way, way way over guide prices online.

Alright, armed with that knowledge, I have to determine my goal of short-term or long-term. This may be different for others and others may draw a different conclusion, but for me, I labeled it short-term.

Okay, so short-term it is for me. Now, how am I going to handle this comic?

1. Research the comic on eBay sold prices.

After researching the eBay sold prices, I know that low grades are being sold for way over guide prices. On top of that, the amount of copies are pretty scarce on eBay, but are they hard to find elsewhere?

2. Research other online market places.

Didn't find any elsewhere or price already over-bloated. Not surprised.


What's the CGC situation? For some Bronze and Copper key comics, I always gauge the prices of 9.6s through 9.8s for certain key issues in this era. If 9.8s like Marvel Premiere #48, 2nd appearance of Scott Lang as Ant-Man, are going for around $50 to $150 or I can get one within that price, I'll snag me a CGC 9.8 copy online.

Why? It saves time. If a comic is in the Bronze or Copper Age or even Modern eras, I'd rather just score a CGC 9.8 online if they are:

1. Totally over-looked and under the radar.
2. I can get a good deal on them (Best Offer) or use eBay Bucks to drastically lower what I pay for it.

Best recent example I can give is the Marvel Premiere #48 CGC copy I acquired. I had an enormous amount of eBay Bucks that I had and got that comic for only $70 something. So I said, sure why not? Purely a speculation buy.

But for most key issue comics in the Copper Age and late Bronze Age, sometimes the only grades that hit a nice peak are 9.8 CGC copies. Depending on the first appearance and the hype, this sometimes trickle down to 9.6s as well. For some, I prefer to keep the hunt online.

However, let's get back to the Aquaman #29 example. When I was researching this comic, the market on eBay was hot for that Aquaman key issue. There were not very many copies in that market place and most were dropping way over guide for even low grade raw copies.

Not very much, if any, CGC copies, and because the market place was hot for this key issue, I would've paid some dollars for even a low grade or mid-grade slabber. Also, I didn't find any copies elsewhere online, and even if I did, they may have been over-bloated prices as well.

Armed with that knowledge, I decided to take the hunt offline. Time to pound the pavement.

Now, I want to make it very clear that this can only be done depending on your area. I am fortunate that I have quite a few comic shops within 15 to 40 minutes away, and I mean quite a few.

In a 50 mile radius, I have about 14 comic shops in my general area, and those are just the ones I know about and doesn't include San Fran. So I have a pretty nice hunting ground to take things offline.

If you don't have a local or if you have only one that's like 40 minutes away, your options are pretty limited and you may be restricted more to the online market or a few comic cons if your area has them.

You can try Craigslist, but in my area, those selling comics on there are usually asking ridiculous prices for mostly junk comics. You can try yard sales also, but once again, it's mostly junk comics people are trying to get rid of in my area at yard sales. Your area may be different, so at least give it a looksie if it's a viable hunting option.

I prefer to laser target my hunt for specific key issue comics I'm gunning for if I know the market online is too hot for a speculation buy. Why? Saves time.

Sure, getting bulk comics for cheap are great, but often times, you get more common issues or plain junk that are harder to get rid of than actual in-demand key issues. Once again, depends on your area and your comic networks, but from my experience, I've traveled 30 minutes to 2 hours to look at more junk collections than I can count back in the early 2000s.

Anyways, back to laser targeting. There are some comic shop dealers who are very in tune with the hype speculation prices and there are some who could care less about it. Yes, there are some comic shop dealers who still go by guide prices.

These are the comic shops I want to find. These are the dealers at comic cons I want to find.

Recently, I've begun to take the most recent Overstreet Price Guide with me when I'm on the hunt offline, or I take a printed out list of the most recent grade values for several key issues I'm on the hunt for. Yes, it does take a bit of time to make these lists, which I basically copy from guide onto Microsoft Word, but it is well worth it.

Now, with my latest Aquaman #29, I tracked that one down last week and got a slightly better than VG, at least a VG/FN, copy for only $17. I can take a gamble on $17 or even $50, but $100 and up? I'd rather not for a speculation comic.

Am I done with that speculation key issue? Not in the least. There are other shops and comic cons in my area that I am going to hit up and if they have any copies that are decent and at or around guide prices, I'll snag them.

The same for Aquaman #11. I got Gerry a copy for his birthday, but I'm still on the hunt in my area for those as well, and he knows it was a speculation buy. I don't have to spell it out for him, and I intended that if he wanted to, he could flip that sucker now. 

Hording it's called and I don't mind hording if I've originally planned it as a short-term comic investment and for flipping. Some even horde more solid comic investment key issues.

Of course, I've already set aside a budget for speculation comics like these already. If I can get them cheap at or around guide prices, knowing that the market on eBay is hot for those keys, I can spare $100 on multiple copies concerning two or three specific key issues.

If you're unsure about whether a Speculation Comic will turn into a solid investment comic in the future, buy two copies if you can get them cheap or reasonably priced. One is for flipping at a peak and the other is to keep around a bit longer and gauge how well it performs after movie hype.

Of course, this is just an example to show how I actually implement my thought process when buying. It's also just one example or buying strategy if you're looking for comics to flip. Once again, this only pertains to if you have a wide array of comic shops in your surrounding area and if you have the time to do so.

This also does not just pertain to speculation comics as well. You can do this when buying more solid keys also. You just need to find a source that still adheres to guide prices and try to haggle down and take a risk on a raw copy, or you can get comics that are over-looked.

Best example I can give personally is Tales of Suspense #52, which was CGC graded 5.5 and only $75 right when it announced Black Widow would be in Iron Man 2. Although, I have to admit comics online are getting harder to find at prices like that, but still possible. Not to confuse anyone, I did get that particular comic at one of my locals back in the day.

Nothing extravagant about this example. Chances are you probably already do this. Very basic and sometimes basic is all it takes.

Just want to make something clear here. I have no problem with flipping or those who flip comics or those who want to learn it. Flipping has been part of the hobby for quite some time and it will remain part of the hobby.

The big boy dealers and small time comic dealers do this all the time. It's always best to get in early before hype. I don't care if you're looking for long-term or short-term. That's just the way it's always been.

And you can go around peaks if the option is viable for you. If there's money to be made, neither you nor I will be able to stop speculator demand and over-bloated prices. It all depends on whether you want to cash in on what's going on or not, and there's nothing wrong with earning extra cash for bills, food, or to go into your retirement.

Comic investing is comic investing and that includes both short-term and long-term. You have a comic in your collection that you don't really want and a peak happens for that comic? Dish it off. Nothing wrong with that. Nobody here is saying you have to keep some comic you don't want.

As Clint Eastwood in the Unforgiven said, "It ain't about deserve." This comic doesn't deserve a peak or that comic deserves a peak. The fact of the matter is that comic is in a peak, ridiculous prices are being paid for it.

If you think those prices won't sustain, dish it off if you have it. If you think it will or will continue to grow in value, hold onto it. If it's out of your price range, pass on it or trickle down to a grade that has potential growth.

All I'm saying is that now you have to watch the market more closely. You have to find not only over-looked keys but over-looked grades as well. And because this site was started to help and provide a resource for comic fans and those wanting to learn a bit more about investing in comics, it does mention over-bloated prices out there in the market.

For those who've yet to find this site or don't like it, not much I can do when it comes to bringing that to their attention. So, we really have only two options: Cash in on it or don't cash in on it.

A lot of 2nd appearances are over-looked. Some are already up there, but quite a few are over-looked, and a few will take some time to catch on. Dude, even some Golden Age comics are over-looked right now in the market.

What are collectors going to gun for next when first appearances are out of reach? What are speculators going to gun for next? This is all comic investing, the whole spectrum.

I may be completely wrong about Aquaman keys being short-term. They just may in fact be good long-term comics to invest in. Hence, multiple copies.

In the next part to this series, I'll give my comparison of the positives and negatives for various comic market places offline to snag comics to invest in. See ya soon.


  1. Lol snagged this baby yesterday. I believe its the same grade as yours but I beat the price you paid though ;) not a bad deal I would say haha. Hope all is well with you. Cheers and you rock. Thank you for this information.

    1. Nice one, Sid, congrats on the snag and good to hear from you and rock on!

    2. Yeah man. Lucky I would say lol. It was just lying in one the bins and nobody noticed it given the store was crowded as crazy. I picked it up and walked out quietly (so much win in my mind). Umm just wondering if I should get it slabbed by cbcs. You think its worth it?

    3. Too early to tell now as the Aquaman movie is in the distance. I'm waiting until their is confirmation for the character. Then I'll send in my copy to get slabbed and then see how much I can sling it for.

    4. Actually, scratch that. I know my curiosity will win me over, so I'll probably submit it before then. I'm thinking I'll do it during the summer time, depending what raw copies are dropping for during that time. I think I'm gonna CBCS it this time.

    5. Lol yeah man. Once I get my books back from CBCS (Sent in like 20 books lol) I will send in my next batch of books, will be probably summer haha.

  2. Man you are on a roll! Cash in or don't. It's a tough call sometimes. Will it go higher? Will it fizzle?
    Well, on the positive side. I would rather be in the 90's Speculation Market than what followed.
    It was a long cold road back to interest in comics...and those of us that stood firm in the 15 year drought know what I'm talking about. OK, so you have a Punisher 1-10 collection and you say it's worth $100. Here's $10, and that's only in store move along. ; )
    At least now, things are moving and our comic stash is again DESIRED!
    The thing about comics that separates it from other collectibles is ...............................
    "They are Cool, Have Style & Never Let us Down". Unfortunately, the Baseball Card Industry
    is based on REAL Players, who can let us down by bad behavior...Steroids,Bad Attitudes, Drug & Alcohol, Spousal Abuse.etc..etc.." Comics hold their cool. Beanie Babies, Pogs, Hess Trucks, are only fads and when the hype dies, you are left holding overpriced bean bags, cardboard cirlces and metal trucks with lights (still pretty cool). Incredible Hulk #1 is HISTORY!! Anytime I get to purchase a 1st (or 2nd) appearance of my favorite Superhero, It's way beyond Nostalgia.
    I want it regardless of it's "current market value". Spawn and any Mcfarlane is the Coolest Art on the planet, whether the rest of the world gets it, or not. But, when his next (oh, it's coming) movie comes out and Spawn is painted in the right light, the rest of the world will suddenly "get it". We are all just ahead of the curve.....ROCK ON!!!lk

    1. I would choose this market well over the 90s speculation market, where most collectors couldn't even sell their comics for decent prices and we were mostly totally at the whim of dealers. At least the playing field is more level now.

      Man, comics are always cool. It's been 70+ years for superhero comics, and they're still cool. They're not going anywhere in pop culture, and even if there is a down period, they always come back.

      The whole sports collectible thing is weird to me. Player gets busted for steroids, his rook goes down. Player gets busted for smacking his wife in an elevator, his cards go down.

      Man, Nikki Sixx or Tommy Lee does some whacked out shit, their album sales go up!

      Comics are definitely in a league of their own, and will continue to be. There are still collectors and long-term investors out there. There always will be. For example, despite the 90s crash, I still have a lot of the comics I bought as a kid.

      I'm not worried about the speculators or whoever driving up prices to ridiculous amounts. I got in early on my long term comic investments and they'll stay in my vault despite whenever this boom hits a cooling off period or not. I'll still be on the hunt and collecting.

      As for Spawn, how long has McFarlane been working on that script? I know he said it would be a low budget movie, but I'm extremely interested in the reboot and getting a bit impatient. Keep it rocking LK.