Weekend Update with Nico
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This is your Weekend Update!
It’s going to be a big weekend for comics with D23. This is probably the last major week for Marvel announcements. If you rely heavily on quick flips from MCU announcements, you are going to have to step your game up. In an effort to help our readers do that, I am going to do my best to give some practical strategies for improving your speculation skills.
In the words of Billy Maddion:
Whoa, whoa, whoa, … the part in the story I don’t like is that the little boy gave up looking … after an hour. He didn’t put posters up or anything, he just sat on the porch like a goon and waited. That little boy’s gotta think … you got a responsibility … you don’t look for an hour then call it quits
You get your ass out there and you find that dog!
Most collectors don’t grind. They won’t get on the floor at cons and dig under tables, they won’t look through dollar bins, they go to the same shop where there LCS owner preys on them like a seasoned mosquito preys on a fat kid – sucking the blood right out of him.
If you’ve made your way to comicbookspeculation.com chances are you’re not most collectors. There’s nothing wrong with being different from most collectors – remember that normal is the benchmark for mediocrity and no one wants an ordinary collection. Everyone wants an extraordinary one.
Here are some of the things I suggest that you get comfortable doing as you build an extraordinary collection:
- Join our Facebook group and participate. Don’t be scared to talk, don’t get discouraged because I don’t think Stingray is the next Venom and you do. Post books, make friends and get in the habit of talking comics. Use the site to make “comic books friends.” Comics are a team sport and it generally takes a team effort to compete at a high level. There are guys like you looking to make money working with guys like you. If you are not networking you are making a big mistake.
- Get your own CGC account. There is no benefit to paying someone else to submit your books for you. Your a mature collector. Sub your own books. While you are at it, get a CGC Board username and start reading the threads. If you were once a member and now are discouraged by the know-it-alls and the strange attitudes of many frequent posters, I get it. However, there is always something to learn from other members of the boards. I would encourage you to read about things you don’t know rather than reading about the topics you already know about. No one has ever learned anything in an echo chamber except for that they hate the sound of their own voice. Additionally, the CGC Boards are a great place to buy and sell comics. The sales threads are killer and you are doing yourself a disservice if you are not checking them out occasionally.
- Go to different shops. Get used to getting in your car and driving to hunt for comics. Get comfortable negotiating prices. Dealers respect people who ask for dealers and generally take care of new customers who spend good money with them. I will often joke about the lousy dealers and retailers who “hate flippers” and “hate speculators” etc. I get a kick out of these guys the same way it must be entertaining for Aaron Boone (manager of the New York Yankees) to listen to some failed high school athlete berate their child about their performance in a little league game. My initial reaction of disgust is gently replaced with pity and compassion as I realize that this is as good as it gets for them. That being said, there are a ton of exceptional retailers, dealers and people in the comic book community. Hunt for them with the same ferocity that you hunt for key comics. You won’t regret it.
- Listen to the YouTube talking heads. Check out the Key Collector top ten, the CBSI top ten, and pleases listen to other podcasts beyond Comic Book Wars. You can start with Unpressable Defects on YouTube. Listen to as many of them as you can. I suggest listening to Trey, Doc Joe, Sean Legg and Keith on the Collectibles (f/k/a Comic Book Wars), the guys from Tales from the Flipside, the CBSI Hot and Cold list, the Golden Guys, ComicTom101 and any other social media influencer who is getting views. Listen with a non-judgmental mindset and curiosity about why other collectors like the books they like. Speculation is about predicting the behavior of other collectors, it’s not really about what you think is cool. Listen to old podcasts from a year or more ago. Listen to the books people were talking about, where they thought the market was going to go and where it has gone over the course of the last few years. Take a step back and watch the market objectively as if you have no emotional attachment to any of them.Space
- Become a student of comics. Buy an Overstreet grading guide and read it. Check out the “Hey Buddy Can you spare me a Grade” forum on the CGC boards. Watch the books that people are buying on the CGC Boards, look at want to buy threads every chance you get. Join all of the MeWe groups and Facebook groups and lurk. Even if you unjoin them after you’ve spent some time reading the content. If you think there’s nothing anyone can teach you, you’re a narcissist and you’re wrong.
- Dig for sites to buy comics online and bookmark them. Forge relationships with online dealers. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call a comic shop on the other side of the country. The best comic speculators have the best outlets to buy comics (new and old) which is an enormous competitive advantage. I can’t say this enough – network! I’ve met great dealers and great people on Instagram, Facebook and MeWe. We are in a global comic market and social media is a tool Some people are buying from Mercari and other online shopping forums. Online websites are often hard to navigate but there’s gold on these sites.
- Don’t be afraid to let people who don’t collect comics know that you are “the comic guy.” You want them to come to you with opportunities to buy and if they decide they want to buy some books down the road, you can be their comic book mentor and their comic book dealer. Comic books are mainstream in a way that they have never been before. The Big Bang Theory was the most watched show on television before the Marvel Cinematic Universe took over the box offices and for whatever reason it’s trendy to be into comic books. Take advantage of this and cherish it because I don’t suspect that it will last forever.
- Don’t be afraid to sell comics. Set up at small shows. Start at flea markets if necessary. You are a comic book entrepreneur now and that means that you are going to need to expand your streams of revenue. Sometimes that may mean moving books on eBay or on a social media platform, sometimes it’s moving books through your Facebook or Instagram page, other times it may mean a bulk submission to mycomicshop. There are more options to buy and sell comics than ever before. Don’t be the guy who dies with a collection of books he should have sold when people cared about them. Be the collector who gets his own pedigree from CGC that astonishes the market with his or her collection. This may mean setting up a booth at a small convention and working your way towards a booth at a large convention. The point is that experimenting and evolving with the market will allow you to maximize your revenue and improve the quality of the books you are purchasing.Space
- Read. Read Previews. Read new books. Read back issues. Read about comic speculation on this website. Read old articles (and listen to old podcasts). Dig out those Wizard Magazines (and those old Overstreets and Comic Book Buyers Guides). Use all of the resources at your disposal. Utilize lyriaexchange, gocollect, covrprice and comic collateral. Subscribe for a month, cancel your subscription and buy another product the following month. If you aren’t paying for a subscription to the key collector app you are being stubborn. To hell with that. Be adventurous in your exploration of knowledge about not just comics, but about the comic collector community. Channel your own personal Indiana Jones spirit of adventure and find treasure. Be a comic book archaeologist in every sense.
- Have fun. If comics aren’t fun for you, for the love of God, go do something else that brings you joy. If you feel like this is becoming a job, remember what gives you joy about comics and do that. Celebrate this hobby, it’s truly amazing and that’s an experience that we all share collectively.
Much like the SDCC announcements, please let me encourage you to relax. If you don’t have the book by now, you will probably overspend if you are trying to grab every possible spec book that could be the subject of a D23 announcement. The probability that you will pick the exact right book to buy this late in the game is tragically low. As we’ve discussed time and again, be judicious about when you elect to be the buyer and when you elect to be the seller.
Prices rise and fall often with the speed and ferocity of the waves in the ocean. The best speculators are experts at riding those waves. When to buy and when to sell comics is like surfing the waves in the ocean. If you are targeting auctions, be careful that you don’t get under bid by other sellers who are also looking to unload. We’ve seen this practice happen with key Blade, Shang Chi, Eternals, and Jane Foster books in the days and weeks following SDCC and it is highly probable that we will see comparable buying and selling practices following any Marvel announcements at D23.
For my money, I suspect that we will see Namor announced as the villain in Black Panther 2, a Devil Dinosaur cartoon and a Kamala Khan Disney Plus series. I don’t suspect that we will hear even a whisper about Moon Knight, but I do think Disney is going to give us graphics for Fantastic Four and X-Men. I imagine that Disney is going to wait to announce Guardians of Galaxy 3, Nova or any of the other major developments. This is pure conjecture on my part and more of an effort to document my observations than anything else.
Multiple sources are re-reporting from one source that has been continually wrong that a Sony / Marvel Spider-Man deal will be done in time for D23 and Tom Holland or just “Spider-Man” will be at D23. There is also some rumbling this could be true as Tom Holland posted a picture on his Instagram with RD Jr. (Tony Stark) with a quote “We did it Mr. Stark!”. Well, I guess that seals the deal….wait, didn’t Tony Stark die at the end of Endgame. Yes, yes he did.
The Marvel panel is at 8PM Eastern and the D23 website has a page that says it will be live streamed.
Kevin Smith surprised everyone on Sunday when he announced a forthcoming Netflix anime series Masters of the Universe: Revelation. This is apparently going to focus on unresolved storylines of the classic series, picking up many of the characters’ journeys where they left off decades ago.
Long time readers will remember back in late March when we saw nearly ten slabbed copies of DC Comics Presents #47 (the first appearance of He-Man in comics) sell on a Friday afternoon in an attempt to run up the price on this book. This was really interesting at the time because it was just a few short weeks after buyers succeeded in permanently changing the market price for Rai #0. Interestingly there were very few sales of DC Comics Presents #47 (1982) following the announcement of the Netflix animated series.
Nevertheless, this is an awesome book. There are less than 200 CGC 9.8s on the census and less than 250 CGC 9.6s on the census. It is a book that was not generally taken care of and the yellow cover is not forgiving. While I am by no stretch of the imagination a He-Man homer and find his costume mildly unsettling (I can’t support the bikini briefs in good conscience), this character has an army of fans and was near and dear to my heart in my childhood.
It will be interesting to see if the same buyer and/or group of buyers attempts to move the market in the coming weeks and months. GPA Analysis of this book is really interesting because unlike most books that we discuss on the Weekend Update, DC Comics Presents #47 has been relatively stagnate for years. The average price of a CGC 9.8 in 2017 was $500 and it was less than $600 in 2018. The 12 month average for this book is $669 but prices have been down over the last 90 days with the most recent sale before the announcement of this animated series at $530.00.
There are all sorts of interesting explanations and questions which this sales data may be indicative of and I will not attempt to play telepath or clairvoyant on this complex of an issue. However, the questions that I suggest that you answer for yourself are: (1) are DC keys tragically undervalued compared to Marvel keys; (2) are buyers generally unwilling to invest high dollar amounts in comic properties that originate first in other media; (3) is this book poised for a price correction if either the forthcoming film and/or cartoon are a hit?
For whatever reasons, and many people have their own theories, the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 Wilkins Skeletor variant has become the premiere book for He-Man collectors. This book has been all over the board with the same book allegedly selling for $3,250 in May and then $880.00 in July. The certification number is 0198487008 if you are interested in this book. There are 15 copies of this book on the census in CGC 9.8 condition.
Another Big Week for Mutankind
The heat surrounding House of X #2 and reincarnation of Moria McTagert as the lynch pin plot device used by Hickman in the new X-Men series can not be overstated. House of X #2 sold a whopping 130 copies last week. Average sales for this book are just under $20. We discussed the heat around X-Men #96 last week and I don’t suspect that this book is going to cool down any time in the near future. This week a CGC 9.6 copy of X-Men #96 sold for $495.00. That’s an astronomical uptick for this book which has sold in the $350 range for years.
I would encourage you to refrain from purchasing the hot books of the week when it comes to X-Men spec. For example, there were sites that were pushing the first phalanx, Uncanny X-Men #305, and this is a dollar bin book that the vast majority of retailers aren’t going to bother to dig out of back issue bins. I suggest pulling stuff like this out of dollar bins, but feel pity for the buyers who are shelling out $25.00 for books like this because they say it on a YouTube video.
As much as personally love storyline keys when it comes to the X-Men, we operate in a market that is dominated by first appearances not key plot lines. This is a marked change from what the market looked like the last time the X-Men were this hot. When it comes to the X-Men there are not a ton of first appearances. Most are concentrated in the two major key book; X-Men #1 and Giant Size X-Men #1. After this you can really dig in and try and grab the dozen or two first appearances that shine. As always, I suggest that focus on the high grade copies and low grade copies for reasons we’ve discussed previously. There will always be opportunities to buy in after the bump at the midgrade level, press, clean, slab and take profit.
Sony and Disney hit brick wall over future of Spider-Man
On Tuesday, Deadline reported first and later Variety confirmed that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige may not produce any further Spider-Man films. That would mean that we would not see Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the MCU. Apparently the inability of Disney and Sony to agree to terms regarding co-financing and profit sharing was the impetus for the disagreement. Although there has been no official confirmation from Sony or Disney the outlook is reportedly bleak. Interestingly, the Deadline article made specific reference to Sony’s 900 character Spider-verse library, the fact that the Venom sequel, Morbius, Kraven The Hunter, Silver Sable, Black Cat, and a Sinister Six film which all were once rumored to be in production at. Sony.
If you are a long time reader, you will recall that the Phil Lord and Chris Miller, entered into a five-year deal with Sony Pictures Television to develop a suite of animated and live action projects through their company, Lord Miller Productions. It is unclear whether Lord and Miller will have any involvement with Spider-Man on the big screen following Feige’s departure.
What does this mean in terms of comicbook speculation. First and foremost, it means Dark Avengers spec is dead. If you are holding any high grade copies of Amazing Spider-Man #37 (like yours truly), you probably held onto the book too long. My hopes of Giancarlo Esposito playing “the benefactor” a/k/a Norman Osborn are shattered.
This also means that a lot of the movie spec guys are going to be less confident about future Spider-Man related movie spec. Look no further than the disparity between number of Morbius speculators and the number of collectors speculating on Shang Chi and the Eternals. Comic collectors and speculators have been burnt in the past and Feige and Marvel are seen by many as the only safe bet around. This could mean that there are high risk / high reward opportunities when it comes to Spidey spec. Before you unload all of the spec books potentially adversely impacted by this news, let’s make certain that it’s official. We’ll keep you updated as information unfolds.
In the interim, I would look for opportunities to pick up high grade copies of the first appearance of characters who Sony may develop in a live action and/or animated Spider-Man TV show and/or film. I don’t think it matters if you are picking up Books like the comicspro variant of Silk #1, Spider-Man 2099 #1 (2nd print), Marvel Spotlight #32, or your more traditional Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) keys like ASM #300, or #361. Similarly, as we get further and further away from the Edge of Spiderverse cartoon the opportunities to pick up Miles and Spider-Gwen books grow. Believe me that there will be opportunities to buy these books. This may involve buying a slabbed copy of a high end variant cracking it out of the case and selling it raw to someone looking to slab a 9.8, or it may be a situation where you see one of these books in the wild at the end of a slow show where a dealer is looking to mitigate his or her losses. But there will be opportunities before Sony starts rolling out spider-verse TV and film. Cease the opportunities and reap the rewards. Remember that late marvel newsstands are some of the most coveted books in the modern market so keep your eyes peeled for these when you are digging. It takes a concerted effort to do this, but very few people take the time to do this and this is a great opportunity to grab a hidden gem. Ultimately, the key is to be paying less than market as sellers unload their Spider-Man keys at reduced prices following the Sony and Disney separation.
Vintage Comic Market News
The biggest eBay sale this week is without a doubt the CGC 9.8 copy of Tomb of Dracula #10 that sold for $15,000.00. This book has tripled in price in the last year. In 2018 the average price for a CGC 9.8 copy was $6,241. Note that there is a CGC 9.9 copy up in a live comiclink auction and I suspect that we may see this book sell for near $50,000.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, you want to be buying at the high end or low end of the spectrum. Buyers will pay extra to just have a copy of a key book which means you will always get a premium for proving someone a copy of something they didn’t have. Similarly, there is a premium for high grade copies of comics. The market on books goes up and down, sometimes at an alarming rate, as collectors attention shifts to the next “hot book;” but prices on extremely high grade copies are the ones that enjoy the most stability because of their scarcity. My experience has been that collectors always think they can beat a seller on a raw book either because they can beat them down on the condition or because they believe they can press and clean the book and improve the grade. This is where there’s opportunity. Either be the guy selling a raw book to a buyer who overestimates their ability to clean and press a book or be the buyer who properly gauges the ability to improve a raw copy of a book with a professional cleaning and pressing.
As always, I am paying attention to the Pre-Code Horror (PCH) market. This week there was a sale of one of my all time favorite PCH books, namely Chamber of Chills #19. For those of you who are unaware, Chamber of Chills #19 is a classic cover that was used by the band the misfits on their album Die Die my Darling. This week a CGC 3.0 sold with a best offer accepted near $3,499.99. EBay continues to fail to report best offer numbers and this is causing many collectors (myself included) a headache as we attempt to discern real time prices for classic books. The other major PCH sale on eBay this week was Weird Mysteries #5. A raw copy listed in G-VG condition sold for $3,375.00. This sale follows a big sale in June when a CGC 3.0 copy traded hands for $4,150.00.
As I discussed briefly on the podcast, it is important to familiarize yourself with all of the key covers from these classic PCH runs. Chamber of Chills #19, #21 and #23 are also killer books which demand a monster premium. The recent trend has been the price tag closing on these books. There is not the substantial difference in price there was just a year ago. The same can be said for Weird Mysteries #4 #5 and #6 all monsters. I suspect that we will see this with other classic PCH titles and encourage PCH collectors to seek out what once were considered lesser (although key) books from these runs. This is where there is still opportunity in the PCH market.
This is particularly true when there is sometimes a much smaller number of the historically lesser book on the census. For example, when we compare the census for books like Tomb of Terror #15 and Tomb of Terror #16 we see that there are more than a hundred copies of Tomb of Terror #15 but only 33 copies of Tomb of Terror #16. This is an example of a book that I suspect will see a marked increase in value in the next year or so as collectors are already starting to pick up copies of Tomb of Terror #16 and discovering how difficult it is to find in decent shape. The same analysis is true for Chamber of Chills #21 when it is compared to issue #19 (long considered the premier issue of the run). There are a little more than a ⅓ as many copies of issue #21 on the census. The important thing to remember is that when we are talking about books that are this old and this rare, there are simply not that many raw copies in existence to even out the census numbers.
I hope you enjoyed this installment of Weekend Update. That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next week with more news. In the interim, “Happy hunting You bunch of savages!”
– Nico, Esq.
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