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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Wiebes $5,000 Comic Investment Spend Results!

by K. Wiebes

I love reading Total Comics Mayhem.  Last year I asked the TCM community for some feedback.  Quick back story: I recently sold a rental property and after years of screening tenants, painting walls and steam cleaning carpets I managed to make some profit.  I wanted to treat myself by spending $5,000 US on a key comic book.  (I am from Canada so any US money is a big deal!)
I originally asked TCM and got some awesome opinions in the comments section—thanks!  Here is what I wound up purchasing and why.  

My Original Criteria

  • Silver-Age comic or Bronze-Age comic: I don’t really like golden-age comics all that much.  I personally think the artwork is amateurish and the stories are often really terrible.  From a historical perspective they are amazing, but I don’t personally get any huge thrill from them.  
  • “Core” Super Hero books: I really like the big names like Spider-Man, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, etc.  As much as I enjoy Conan the Barbarian or Bone, I don’t think they make a particularly great investment.  (Hey I could be totally wrong.)
  • Rare: I am always weary when a key book has 18 copies on mycomicshop or 100 copies on ebay.  I wanted to buy something that was “relatively” rare.  It didn’t have to be super rare, but something that stands out.
  • High Grade: This is relative based on price point.  Some silver age books are tough to find even in 7’s and 8’s.  
  • High Demand: In 20 years, I want to sell these books.  This is why I don’t like modern books very much (for investing).  Is anyone going to care about 18 Deadpool variants in 20 or 30 years?  Maybe.  I don’t want to risk it with my money.
  • CGC: I am not spending a wad of money on a raw book.  CBCS is OK (but not my favorite) and PGX has no value (to me), and I really like CGC for the higher-end stuff.  

I finally wound up buying MULTIPLE books with the money.  I found that some higher-end books worth $5,000 sat on consignment for literally years until someone bought them.  Or they went in auction and the prices wildly fluctuated.  However, books worth $800 to $1,000 had a tendency to actually get bought and sold by normal people like me.  So from a liquidity standpoint, I like the idea of having 5 x $1,000 books rather than 1 x $5,000 book.  Besides, it was five times the fun to buy multiple books.  
I plan on holding these for about 20 years, so that factored into my buying decision.  What will be “in demand” in 20 years?  Who knows.  Again, these are just ones that I enjoyed purchasing and putting into the vault, and I am sure that everyone is different!  Plus I personally want to enjoy the books (I am not cracking slabs, but I would like to actually pull them out of the darkness and look at them once in while).  When my friends come over, it is always fun to show off the books.  Here we go!

Book #1: Green Lantern #76, CGC 8.0 White Pages

Neal Adams is in my top three favorite artists.  I was originally going to blow the whole wad on a CGC 9.8 or 9.6, but I found that “higher grade” books like 8.0 and up were consistently going up year after year.  I think the book presents well and is white pages, which I think is getting more and more rare as older books make their way from fans’ closets to the slabs of CGC.  

Green Lantern #76 CGC 8.0


  Book #2: Batman #252 CGC 9.0 White Pages

Another classic Neal Adams cover.  It’s not a “key” book in the sense that it is a first appearance, but it is consistently mentioned as one of the all-time great issues, and it is a personal favorite of mine.  Again I would have loved a 9.6 but I didn’t want to break the bank.  This one was sitting at a good price and I snapped it up.  Love the white pages.  

Batman 252 CGC 9.0

Book #3: Amazing Spider-Man 121 CGC 9.4

This is my favourite Spider-Man book of all time and I have to admit, as much as I love to crunch numbers on comics, we are humans and if it makes you happy, I say buy the damn book.  It’s not “rare” but it is a great cover and is “investment grade” at a 9.4.  The centering is really good on this book (I hate it when the spine rolls, and this one doesn’t) so I settled for “off-white to white” to get a properly-centered book.  

Amazing Spider-Man #129 CGC 9.4


Book #4: Amazing Spider-Man #129 CGC 8.0 White Pages SSx2

I wasn’t actively seeking this one but I stumbled across it and the price was really attractive.  That was a big lesson for me—if you can be patient and ready, then you can strike when a good book comes along at a great price.  Do the research ahead of time and know what you are willing to pay, and then strike.  Not only is it a Stan Lee (I personally really like the label) but I also get a John Romita signature on the Punisher’s leg as well.  White pages and properly centered as well.   

Amazing Spider-Man #129 CGC 8.0 Signature Series - 1st Punisher


Book #5: Action Comics #242 CGC 4.0 Off-White Pages

This is probably the only true “rare” book so I was happy to win this one at auction.  This where “high grade” is a relative term—there are many more 1.8, 1.5 and beat-up copies floating around, so I was glad to grab a 4.  The highest CGC is 8.5 (2 copies) and you get the first appearance of Brainiac and as a bonus, you get the city of Kandor.  Classic Curt Swan cover too (one of the all-time best).  If I hold this one until 2058 it will be 100 years old! I love 10-cent DC Comics. 

Action Comics #242 CGC 4.0 -1st Brainiac



I made sure to stick to my budget.  Ultimately, I decided to buy stuff that I would personally, truly enjoy.  There’s no point in buying a comic book of some artist or genre or superhero that you don’t even like just for investment purposes.  For me anyway.  I would rather just buy shares in Google or something if that is the case.  It is really fun to pull the books out of storage and show them off once in a while to friends, or just get nostalgic and enjoy them.  
One last thing: to anyone living in Canada, remember that with high-end books, the shipping is sometimes more expensive (depending on where you buy them).  There is also duty (about 5 per cent) so make sure to remember that if you are purchasing something expensive.  Hope you enjoyed peeking at the books and thanks again for your opinions!
Here is a YouTube video where I show off the books and talk a bit about lessons learned:


  1. Some great looking books! I've never been able to get copies of Green Lantern 76 or Action 242 yet. The other three I have or had in my personal collection. It is tough to find decent looking copies of that Action 242 anywhere.

  2. Hey Mayhem,

    guess what - just found 2 NM copies of God Country at my local comic book store! Both for cover price! Hope I can make a quick flip for 20 each :-)


  3. Congrats on the purchases! Some good books you got there. I have been a reader for sometime, but actually making an effort to save for some good keys.....hope to have some of those books soon.

  4. I really enjoyed this post! I think this sort of article does a great job of balancing between the collectonh and speculating; and while I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, the author clearly had investment as a criteria for his purchases.
    Now I wish someone (perhaps me) who didn't gave the twenty year vision in mind would make a purchase(s) with a vision for investment and not only track their value quarterly but also sell and upgrade to bigger and better books (or crash and burn) as the market fluctuates. It would be cool to watch someone buy perhaps a mid grade bronze speculation book and then sell it to purchase a lower grade silver age speculation book and track it's increasing value and see just how far it can be taken.
    Or perhaps I'm just too big a nerd, lol.
    In any case, great work here, really enjoyed following this.