Weekend Update with Nico


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This is your Weekend Update! 


You’ve heard me talk about riding the waves of the market, buying key books when they are down and the importance of investing in books when the market isn’t paying attention.  What you haven’t heard me talk about is what financial psychologists call the  Salience Property of PerceptionYou’re probably thinking, “what hell is Nico talking about, and why is he talking about himself in the third-person?”

The Salience Property of Perception is the idea that the more noticeable any information is relative to the overall market/environment, the more likely that information is to actually be perceived.  This is a seemingly common sense principle, but it is important to remember when you are thinking about what books you should be buying and what books you should be selling.

Ever notice that no matter how long you’ve known about a new title/series, TV news, or a film, the experience of reading the book or watching the show/movie tends to inspire you to think about buying the other keys related books?  Similarly, ever notice how much our mind pays attention to the desire to buy a book right now rather the need to save money for a bigger book down the road.

This is why it is important to keep notes, to keep a log/diary/journal and/or some record of the books you are actually buying, actually selling as well as the books you are thinking about buying/selling.  Be reflective to that you can make informed decisions to be proactive. Respond methodically to market forces, don’t react impulsively to your emotional impulses and the results will speak for themselves.

What’s the practical lesson.  Now is not the time to be buying Joker books, but it’s still a good time to think about buying Watchmen.  Next weekend will be the wrong time to be buying either books, but it may not be the right time to be selling Watchmen books, unless HBO and the various comic book media influencer’s have already started to talk non-stop about Watchmen.  The key to buying and selling comics is to be able to predict how other collectors are going to perceive books, perceive trends in the future and to supply the market with the best books at the best time for sellers and to refrain from our baser instincts to be buying those books at those times.

Many will call this Fear of Missing Out (“FOMO”).  Those same social media personalities tend to call everything FOMO, but that’s far too simplistic a description of what is going on.  The reason that matters is because the absolute best time to buy a book in an age where it feels like “everything has already been speculated on” is to buy the book when all eyes are 180-degrees in the opposite direction.

Some books that no one cares about

As we get closer and closer to Halloween, we are officially in the wrong time of year to be competing in live auctions for Pre-Code Horror books.  Prices will be up, eyes will be on these auctions and now is the time to unload those Pre-Code Horror Books if you want to move them. That being said, it is the most wonderful time of year to be buying Golden Age Good Girl Art.  Similarly, now is the last time to grab those Christmas covers to flip them in 6 weeks or so when they are back on everyone’s radar.

I was particularly hot on the two books that our friend Keith showed our viewers on this weeks episode of Comic Book Wars: Astonishing Tales #25 and Swamp Thing #37.  First, it’s George Perez’s first comic art and he is a comic legend. Second, Deathlock is one of the last major Marvel characters that hasn’t got a TV/film deal. Last but not least, it is an amazing cover. CGC 9.2 copies are moving for about $200.00 with CGC 9.6 copies selling for less than $500.00 routinely.

Astonish Tales #25

There price tag on Swamp Thing #37 is the first appearance of John Constantine and his first appearance is down.  This is a great spec book and it is just a matter of time before he returns to the big or small screen in a major way.  Similarly, Constantine is like Sandman and a handful of other DC books that have rabid fans who are run collectors which I believe is one of the best indicators of long term incremental growth of a first appearance book.  Right now, CGC 9.6 copies are barely breaking the $200.00 mark which is about half of what they were selling for in mid July when copies were moving in the $375.00 range.
Swamp Thing #37 CGC

I’m mad about all this pre-FOC talk – just kidding


One of the most contentious topics of 2019 is pre-FOC talk. For those who are unaware, FOC is an acronym for Final Order Cutoff.  This is a reference to the last day for guaranteed orders from Diamond. Many flippers, speculators and Wednesday warriors are bent out of shape out of shape about websites, blogs, podcasts and YouTube Channels that beginning to discuss books prior to the Final Order Cutoff giving a heads up to their listeners/viewers about these books when they are still available to order on demand from Diamond and/or their local comic shop.


Here’s what I want to encourage our readers to think about – this is inevitable.  At the rate that comic book media is growing online, it was only a matter of time before more and more websites were going to be providing this content for their fans.  That’s bad news if you are a one trick pony when it comes to speculation, but it is one reason why I try and share some of my tactics here to help collectors make better purchases to improve their collection and speculation skills.


The good news is this, either (a) this information will have a short term impact and buyers will stop paying attention this information; or (b) this information will have a short term impact because more and more content creators will begin to discuss this information and buyers will have to make more intelligent choices about what content they are consuming as an increasingly large number of FOC show, blogs and write-ups pop-up on the internet.  My understanding is that comicsheatingup.com has been generating an FOC list for a long time and while I was not aware of that this information was available on Tony Hammock’s website, it did not somehow spoil the ability of shrewd speculators to make informed decisions about the books they wanted to buy and sell.


Change is inevitable.  Those who are the best comic book speculators are those who are able to bend with the wind, adapt and overcome.  What I would encourage our readers to do is to look for the opportunity rather than focusing on the missed opportunity.  What do I mean when I say look for the opportunity?


It means that if the doomsayers are correct and pre-FOC discussion is hurting the ability to scout out books which will be under ordered by retailers then there is now the opportunity to invest that money elsewhere, to invest that time elsewhere, to look for the books that the FOC websites, YouTube shows, etc. miss.  Look for the opportunities to improvise, adapt and overcome.

THis is fine


Marvel and Sony Spider-Man kiss and make up


Last week the comic community was told that Tom Holland and company will be reappearing in two more MCU films.  Specifically, we learned that Spider-Man 3 will be set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and that Holland’s Spider-Man will be appearing in one additional MCU film.  It appears that Marvel and Sony are working to cross-over the Spider-verse characters. News of a Marvel/Sony deal followed news of a Madame Web film and many are speculating that this is the beginning stage of a live action Spider-verse.  We have been encouraging our readers to pick up Spider-Man keys since heat surrounding Spider-Man: Far From Home died down. While it is anyone’s guess whether or not part of this deal involves Norman Osborn or if we can expect to see Osborn, Kingpin or some other character assume the role of the major villain at the street level of the MCU, these characters’ stock is rising.


There have been a number of reports indicating that Kraven is the anticipated villain and these reports began to surface following Spider-Man: Far from Home.  It will be interesting to see if the game plan for the film is still the same. I suspect that we see Norman Osborn as a villain in this film, that he will purchase Avengers tower and that he will be defeated and Reed Richards and company will purchase Oscorp. Tower and the movie will end with a post-credit scene of the Baxter building.  I have absolutely no empirical support or inside information to support this supposition whatsoever. Unfortunately, in the current age of comic book news, this is the kind of story that gets recycled and re-told by enough news sources that when it then gets portrayed as hard news. This is not news, this is fantasy. It is legitimately as close to fan-fiction as it is to actual news.  It is easy to rationalize buying key books and characters we like, and then justifying the purchases to ourselves by suggesting that we are making a speculative investment, It is much more difficult to make informed deliberate decisions about key books based upon prospective developments that are probable to happen in the future. Please do not be confused by “news” sources that are successfully passing off their well intentioned fan-fiction as insider information.  They are not the same thing.


People are Strange


If you are a stranger to Adam Strange, now is the time to familiarize yourself with this character.  We are expecting Adam Strange news soon. Adam Strange first appears in the early Silver Age book Showcase #17.  The book has a gorgeous black cover and is really hard to find in good shape. As a matter of fact, the book is hard to find in any shape really.  I rarely see this book in the wild and have been hip to it for years. It is one of those key Silver Age books that hasn’t gone crazy over the course of the last ten to twenty years, but the character is a classic DC Silver Age hero.  This is a great opportunity because this book is by most estimations already an undervalued book so if the rumors which are heavily circulating do not come to fruition, you can expect to see incremental growth for this book as the years roll on.

SHowcase 17


However, DC Comics and Warner Bros have just trademarked the phrase ‘Strange Adventures’ for entertainment purposes and all indications are that we will see this announcement in the very near future.  Remember that there is a new Tom King Adam Strange project and that Jeff Lemire had a great run with this character. If the show is announced there will undoubtedly be interest in both these series. Now may be the time to think about snagging these books out of dollar bins.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure


It took about 6 months before I got comfortable digging through long boxes again.  When I first got back into comics, I did a lot of digging in dollar bins and while I don’t do as much as I once did, there is something really cathartic about digging through dollar boxes and pulling out a book that is rare, valuable and/or underappreciated by the retailer.


So I’m digging through the dollar boxes at one of my go to spots and a couple comes back and we’re all digging through the same 100 or so long boxes and I’m finding all sorts of cool stuff.  My confidence is high and I decide to introduce myself to the young couple. They are not what I would describe as conventional looking customers in the south eastern Ohio comic book shop. They are both dressed like Walker Texas Ranger with black cowboy boots, tan jackets and cowboy hats.  This is not Austin, Texas, but I’m trying to be less judgmental in my older age and if anything their attire made them more interesting to me. To this day, I can’t decide if they were Native American or Latino or what was going on exactly there, but I digress.


Suffice to say, I start chatting them up and then ask the big question: “what kind of comics are do you guys collect?”   To this day, I remain stunned by their response. They looked me dead in the eye and said, “We are Rob Liefeld fans. We are looking for Extreme Studios titles such as Young Blood and Blood Wolf.  I was shocked, stunned and somewhat dumb founded. Nevertheless, I helped him fill up a short box of Extreme Studios Rob Liefeld trash and he believes he had found the pot of comic book gold at the end of the rainbow.


The point is that there is a buyer for everything.  It may not be me and it may not be the guys who like the stuff you like in your facebook groups or other social media circles.  If this is the case, then we should try and do a better job of serving these communities I for one would love to have sold 100 copies of Extreme Studios comics at dollar a piece and we are doing a disservice to these collectors by not proving them the opportunity to own the issues that they truly treasure regardless of my personal opinion regarding the value/collectability of these books.



Bitter Root Legendary and the onslaught of coulda, shoulda, woulds spec books


Bitter Root #1

The big news on Wednesday was that Ryan Coolger (who co-wrote and produced Creed and Black Panther) has signed on to produce the Legendary Pictures screen adaptation of Bitter Root.  The first issue of this book has a couple retailer store variants and a half dozen different covers. While I would not suggest that anyone run out and pay market price for this book, I wouldn’t pass them up in boxes at retail establishments and/or stores.

This week we also heard official news that James Wan and Hivemind are joining forces to adapt the Image Comic Gideon Falls.

I suspect that there is potential for this book and that it will continue to enjoy a near cult like following from its fans.  Nevertheless, we should expect for this series to follow the same trajectory as many other series that are live action adaptations.  Following initial news the price of the books will spike, people will pay top dollar and interest will wax and wane even if there is actual casting news and then ultimately if the series gets made and is a TV hit, only expect to see the book spike for a short period of time.

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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  • Yea CHU has been doing an FOC list for over a year. Before that they did a diamond advance reorder list since 2014

  • I truly love your articles especially these weekend ones. I’m still learning the art of comic book speculating and like your tips and strategies. I’ve been trying to purchase copies of FF 48, 49, 52, 57, Submariner 1 etc under FMV hoping that they will go up further in value. My sense is if they do go up someday, I will be able to afford more expensive “out of reach” keys. I really need to be brave and try to get potential undervalued keys and hold them long term. Honestly keep up with all the social media content out there as I’m busy with family and work. Thanks for such an awesome article!

  • Lol, I love the rob fans part, that gives me hope that one day I can unload the avengelyne run I have, complete with trading cards, chrome cover and autographed bikini issue. Lol love those 90s.

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