Weekend Update with Nico

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Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.  If you are a first time reader, we are glad you found your way to comicbookspeculation.com and encourage you to review the wealth of content available on this site.
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This is your Weekend Update! 

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What a difference a year makes. It was fifty-two weeks ago that I began writing for comicbookspeculaiton.com.  If any of you are wondering how that happened, you can thank the all but defunct CGC Boards where Jimmy and I met a long, long time ago.  It has been an awesome year. Generating content helps my comic collecting habits and practices more than it helps my readers and I am eternally grateful for the gift my readers give me.

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Going Back In Time … 

 

In case you are wondering what was going on a year ago today, raw copies of Chamber of Chills #19 were flying off eBay for thousands of dollars, many a modern speculator was grabbing up the first appearance of Hydro-Man and/or Molten Man in hopes that they were appearing in Spider-Man: Far from Home, and many more were focused on buying as many copies of Young Avengers #1 as they could get their hands on.  Remember that this was before there was official confirmation of a Disney Plus Hawkeye series, but comicbookspeculation.com was encouraging you to grab copies of this book because we believed in the future of Kate Bishop.  This was also the first time that we discussed the possibility of the Vision and Scarlet Witch’s long lost twin children William Kaplan (Wiccan) and Thomas Shepherd (Speed) appearing in the MCU and that other sites have only recently began to explore this possibility.  One year ago, we were getting early episodes of the Sci-Fi channel’s adaptation of Deadly Class and were absolutely unaware that a show on the Sci-Fi channel would mean nothing to the secondary market for Deadly Class comics.  One year ago many in the modern comic market were still chasing DC B covers (although that trend was grinding to a halt), but Tedesco’s Harley Quinn #57 was moving regularly at $30.00 a pop.

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We’ve come a long way in a year and there is a lot to be learned by looking back.  If it has taught me anything it is that the market moves quick, rumors are only as reliable as their sources and legendary books never go out of style.

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Dollar Box Winning

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If you watch Comic Book Wars on YouTube then you know that I love dollar bins.  The best dollar bin diggers always have to essential ingredients: (1) they know the books to look for; and (2) they are meticulous when they dig.   I can encourage you until I’m blue in the face to be persistent, to look at ever book, to look in the back of bags and to be patient, but I can’t force you to cultivate that habit of excellent dollar bin diggers.  What I can maybe help a little more with is learning what covers to keep an eye out for when you are digging in dollar bins.

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When I got back in comics, after a five year hiatus, I had a lot of catching up to do.  A lot happens in five months in the comic market. Over the course of five years, the volume of information is profound.  I’ve mentioned time and time again about my commitment to devouring comic related information. If you want to be one of the best, you need to learn from the best.  Ask people about books they pull out of runs. Learn the key books that others are grabbing and model collecting habits that work.

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I want to talk to you about some of the books that I still routinely find in dollar bins that get ignored by most collectors.  I go for low hanging fruit. I like Adam Hughes covers on Classic X-Men issues #71 to #79 and Wonder Woman issues #141 to #146, #150 to #161, #164 – #174, #176-#178 and #184.  Hughes also drew issues #1-#6 of Rose & Thorn (2004); Legionnaries #7, #13, #14, #16 and #50; Justice League of America (1989) #31 to #52; Fairest #1 to #3; Catwoman #44 to #82 and countless other legendary covers.  Learn to spot his art when you see it and don’t pass up high grade copies of these books when your buy in is a buck. These books sell individually, they sell in sets and a short box of Adam Hughes covers is a beautiful thing.

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Todd McFarlane has drawn more than Spider-Man and Spawn in his career.  I love McFarlane covers. Books like Detective Comics #576, #578 and #579 pop up in dollar bins, but they are going to start to disappear again as we approach the release of Matt Reeves new film.  Haunt #1 to #7 aren’t bad buys out of dollar bins, but remember that McFarlane did the cover to issues #13, #16 and #18 as well. I routinely find Incredible Hulk #341 to #346 in dollar bins and grab them every time I see them.  Some of my all time favorite McFarlane covers are his work on Marvel Tales. These books are undervalued and underappreciated, but they will have there day in the sun. Be on the look out for Marvel Tales #223 to #239. These are some of my favorite covers in comics, they are tough to find in high grade generally, but routinely show up in dollar bins.  Quasar #14 is a personal favorite (although some collectors clown this cover, I am not one of them). Another one that is an easy find if Marvel Age #90.

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If you want to be a real dollar bin aristocrat, then remember to look for things like Jenny Frisson’s Hack and Slash books like Hack/Slash (2007) #14, Hack/Slash (2011) #5 and #25 and My First Maniac #1. I like Red Sonja (2013) issues #1 to #18 and Vampierlla (2014) #1 to #13.  Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and find a Voltron: A Legend Forged #1C or an Astonishing Antman #10 Frisson variant while you’re at it.

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For many of you, I know it goes without saying, but let me again remind our readers that I give the advice I need to hear.  Check the UPC Boxes. Whether its a DCU variant, Books a Million Marvel 2012+ newsstands or the Sandman #75 2nd print – there are a multitude of awesome books than can be discovered merely by looking deeper in the boxes.  Sometimes I think about schrodinger’s cat when it comes to these oddities and rarities, but they are just the kinds of scores that you can make at a Half-Price-Books or a 2nd and Charles if you have the patience to look at little deeper than the average collector.

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Learn the covers, learn the artists and your comic game will improve.  One suggestion is to use mycomicshop as a photo journal. Think of it as a resource as much as it is a store.  Do the same thing with sold listings on ebay. See what books are actually selling and commit the covers to memory.  I have learned so much the resources that are available to me, it is almost unbelievable to me that I did comics without these tools.  I love the CGC and CBCS forums. I may not post all the time, but I love to browse. I am fascinated by what books other people are encapsulating and what books people want to buy.  I think you’ll be shocked at how well you can do selling books you pull out of a dollar box.

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Staying Green

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There is always something to learn in comics.  Whether it is pressing, cleaning, restoration removal, foreign language comics, late edition newsstands, or romance books.  The comic landscape is ever expanding and collectors’ appetites remain voracious. One thing more than anything else that will cause a collector to fade away into comic obscurity is to convince themselves that there is nothing new left to learn.  Nothing can be further from the truth. There is always something new to explore and I will continue to do my best to help you think about new pathways for comic excellence.

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One of my favorite things to do is to buy trade paper backs of older series that I once loved and get excited about them all over again.  For example, I am a big fan of the series The Stuff of Legend. This is a book that no one has spoken about in more than a year and I plan on sitting down with an omnibus and reminding myself why I loved this title so much.  I am also looking for copies of the The Stuff of Legend: the Dark #1 (Boogeyman variants). I think now is a smart time to buy these books because no one cares about them for the moment. However, if Jeff Smith’s Bone receives the critical and commercial success that I anticipate it will receive the sky is the limit for these super rare variants.

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I also challenge myself to pick up collected volumes of series that I may never have read in the past that have been out of print for years or sometimes decades.  For example, I have never read Scalped, but I love Jason Aaron’s writing. So it’s one of the books that I am going to challenge myself to read and give myself time to enjoy.  For me it is important to do more than read new floppies that come out of Wednesdays. I need to re-invest in the books I once loved and constantly be exploring if I am going to continue to grow as a collector and continue to succeed as a speculator. Note that now is probably a great time to be buying Scalped #1 now that there are no eyes on the book and the TV deal is officially dead.  Hollywood has already pinpointed the work as something special and I won’t be surprised if Warner Media and HBO take a look at developing it now that FX has passed on the project.

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Be the Shepherd

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As we are inching ever closer to tax refund time, the comic market is poised for its seasonal rebound.  I hope you are getting your books ready for your presser, encapsulation, eBay, Instagram, etc. and thinking about your next show.  If you aren’t a full time or even a part time comic book entrepreneur, I hope you are sharpening your tools for the forthcoming convention season.  I think we are in for a doozy.

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As much as I talk about the need for mentors in this hobby, it is important for me to encourage all of you to take on collectors to mentor.  There is no experience more rewarding than passing on your trade secrets to another collector. Comic collecting, like all business, more than anything else is about relationships, and it is essential that we give as much as we get.  As we roll into 2020, please take on a less experienced collector to mentor. Youthful energy is infectious. There is nothing like the fresh excitement of a newer collector who has recently began to cultivate the joy of this hobby.

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I am one of those people who generally believes that I don’t understand something until I can explain it to someone else.  If you are as good at comics as you think you are, then you owe it to yourself and to this community to pass on what you have learned to the next generation.  In fact, it is your duty to pass on our trade to up and coming collectors to maintain the health and viability of this hobby.

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I want to thank all of the content creators and comic book enthusiasts I have met over the last year writing for comicbookspeculaiton.com.  I don’t own this website, I don’t get paid to write here and sometimes it seems that I develop more enemies than friends. But the reality is that it is a priceless privilege to have come to know the men and women that I have met in our community as a result of writing this article.  I am incredibly grateful that you have taken the opportunity to read the Weekend Update each and every week and it is an honor to serve you.

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Getting Focused

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My experience has always been that what I focus on grows.  What gets my attention, gets me. So I need to watch where I’m going, because I go where I’m looking.  I think this is a universal experience, and this explains the phenomenon that some people describe as Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).  Whether it’s a top ten list or a top twenty list promulgated by a website or an app, a piece on CBR about a forthcoming project, comic enthusiasts very much suffer from shiny object syndrome.  Getting organized, getting focused and setting goals are essential. I’m not suggesting that anyone gets rigid in 2020, but I am suggesting that aim and purpose are indispensable assets.

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I hope you enjoyed this installment of the 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!”
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– Nico, Esq.

 Read more articles from Nico here.

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