Weekend Update with Nico
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Without further ado,
This is your Weekend Update!
Coronavirus Economy Continues
Whether you believe that we are approaching a global pandemic or that this is the only time in recorded history that compulsive hand washers are winning, there is no denying the ongoing impact of the coronavirus. Early in the week we saw the much anticipated Disney+ series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier delayed again when Prague closed schools and placed other restrictions on events and travel. Disney shut down the production in Prague and the crew returned to Atlanta. This is the second time filming was interrupted. Earlier this year, plans to film in Puerto Rico were halted following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake.
By now you have undoubtedly had some part of your daily life affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Whether home life, work life, or on the toilet. Cities and States across the globe are placing comparable restrictions on large gatherings and more than just the comic convention scene is stunned. Large conventions have been postponed or cancelled including; ACE Comic Con, Louisiana Comic Con, WonderCon etc…. Most likely conventions local to you have been cancelled or postponed as well.
As the week creeps to a close, the NHL, NBA and UFC are all instituting measures to contain the virus. The Fed announced yesterday $1.5 trillion in capital injections to combat the Coronavirus fallout.
There are a number of retailers who rely upon convention sales for their livelihood. The coronavirus and the corresponding quarantines and containment efforts are a serious risk to the dealers we have all come to know and love. Some of our favorite dealers, who only do shows, who always have the best books at the best prices, are now an at risk population. If you had planned on attending a show or convention that is now not happening, consider spending some of that money with your local shop. These conventions can make or break their year and they will be affected by this.
When I initially drafted this article, I asked the question, “how long until panic sets in?” I’m afraid the answer was “before your article goes from draft to final published form.”
Whether there is cause for panic and concern over the coronavirus or not, there is no denying that it is having a serious impact on the comic community, the comic market and the economy as a whole. The extent of the impact remains unclear. As prices in the comic market soften, many collectors are taking advantage of buying opportunities while others are preparing to liquidate their assets.
I have seen many collectors comment that they are on buying freezes. I suspect that we will see some collectors refrain from buying comics online from certain “hot zone” states and cities.
I would caution all readers to refrain from making decisions rooted in fear. As the old adage goes, “scared money, don’t make money.”
Many have probably heard me say, “you can’t see the full picture when you are part of the frame.” If you haven’t then you’ve probably commented to yourself that “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” From my perspective these are axiomatic truths of life and they apply to our perspective on comics. As someone who returned to the comic market less than two years ago, I am acutely aware that my perspective on the market was infinitely better a year ago than it is today. Why do I say that? Because I had the perspective of someone who was more capable of seeing the market objectively from the outside looking in. Today, I often fear that I am too close to the market to see it objectively. That is why, for a collector, investor, speculator like me – it is essential that I have other collector’s perspectives. I try and surround myself with guys who are better than my at certain areas of the hobby. I allow myself to be acutely aware of their subject matter expertise and try and learn lessons from them whenever the opportunity presents itself.
I also take every available opportunity to learn from other collectors, content creators, writers, artists, industry professionals, retailers, vendors, investors, speculators and flippers. It is naive to think that I know best about most things in the comic collector community, it is fundamentally insane for someone to think they are right about everything. We need other’s perspectives. It is how we learn.
Last Saturday, I was blessed to be joined by Source Point Press’s own Frank Gogol on my youtube show “Nico Time”. Frank is an incredibly thoughtful and insightful author who discussed in a very open way his family history with substance abuse, challenges he faced in his upbringing and the passion he shares for our hobby. If you have an opportunity, I encourage you to listen to Frank’s heartfelt plea to pre-order comics. I hope that by taking the time to listen to Frank’s story, you will have a greater appreciation of the need to support independent creators and to add his new book No Heroine to your collection.
This week I had a really nice time visiting friends on the Simpleman’s Comics YouTube Channel. It was an honor to be an early guest on their new flagship program: Simpleman’s Comics and Friends. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I would encourage you to check these guys out. I am also a big fan of their hot and cold show where they talk about trends in the market. I am very much looking forward to having them appear on Nico Time to discuss comics, the market and listen to their thoughts about the future of the hobby that we all love. If you are familiar with the work that I do on YouTube in the community then you know how important collaboration is to me and how much I enjoy hearing different voices with different perspectives.
Spider-Man is legit AMAZING
This week, I’m going to try and encourage our readers to do one thing: go where others aren’t looking. I know I suggested a lengthy dissertation on Golden Age Batman books, and I may provide some info on that topic in a future article. But while people are paying attention to Punchline, the Three Jokers and ramping up for the forthcoming The Batman film, I would like for us to turn our attention where others are not.
If you are a retailer or vendor then you are already well aware that quietly Spider-Man sells more than any other character in comics. There are more Amazing Spider-Man run collectors than any other character, more Spider-Man lot buyers than any other character, more expensive Spider-Man variants than any other character, more first appearances of key characters in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man than any other book (including Batman and Detective Comics). I commented to a friend of the podcast that I have a lot of work to do on my Spider-Man books.
For new collectors, I would suggest that you learn your Spider-Man keys first. There may be more of them than any other book, but that also means there’s more opportunities with Spidey than any other character. In an effort to do a better job in my own collecting endeavors, I decided to look at some of the key Spider-Man books. I’m going to try and hit most of the majors in the first 300 issues of the series:
AMAZING FANTASY # 15 – First Peter Parker
A CGC 5.0 copy sold in a live auction on eBay out of Canada on February 23rd for $23,608.77.
Amazing Spider-Man #1: First Jonah Jameson and first Fantastic Four crossover
A CGC 5.0 copy sold for $8,702.00 on February 23rd on eBay. Dave and Adam’s was the seller.
Amazing Spider-Man #2 : 1st Vulture
Super cool sale of this book on February 23rd when a CGC 5.5 copy sold for $1,680.00.
Amazing Spider-Man #3 : 1st Doctor Octopus
For many die-hard Spidey fans, this is the book they want as much or more than an AF 15 or an ASM1. This book has a ton of upside because Doctor Octopus is integral to the Sinister Six and it is just a matter of time before he makes his way back to the big screen. Sales of this book are always strong, but we haven’t seen the major spikes that we’ve seen with many characters destined for the big screen.
Here’s some recent GPA data to wet your whistle: A CGC 2.0 sold in a live auction for $900 in February; a CGC 2.5 sold a live auction in March for $953; a CGC 3.0 sold in a live auction in January for $1,400; a CGC 3.5 sold for $1,335 in October of 2019; a CGC 4.0 sold for $1,497 in February; a CGC 4.5 sold in a live auction for $1,300; a CGC 5.0 sold $2,300 in February; a CGC 5.5 sold for $2,699 in December. If you are still reading then you are beginning to realize there is always data for these books, because they are always trading hands. If you look at this book at the higher end you will see that the average price of a CGC 8.5 in 2018 was $6,750 with two sales for $6,900 and $6,600 respectively. In 2019 there was one copy of this book that sold in this condition for a whopping $10,300.
Amazing Spider-Man #4 : 1st Sandman
A CGC 3.5 sold for $800 on February 29th.
Amazing Spider-Man #5 : Dr Doom X-over
This book has been moving recently. There have been a number of gorgeous copies trading hands. The February 27 auction is no exception. A CGC 7.5 copy sold for $2,250.00.
Amazing Spider-Man #6 : 1st Lizard
Amazing Spider-Man #9 : 1st Electro
A lot of collectors are already interested in whether we will see this character return to the big screen. Mid-grade copies are relatively inexpensive with a CGC 5.0 copy selling for little more than $700.00 on February 23rd while a CGC 6.5 traded hands in a live auction for $612.00 that same day.
Amazing Spider-Man #13 : 1st Mysterio
A CGC 3.0 sold for $385.00 on February 25.
Amazing Spider-Man #14 : 1st Green Goblin
Amazing Spider-Man #15: 1st Kraven the Hunter
A lot of the excitement and rumors swirling around about Kraven’s debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have died down, but that hasn’t slowed down sales of this book. Back on February 4th we saw a live auction of a CGC 4.0 bring home a $593.99 price tag, on February 10th a CGC 1.5 sold in a live auction for $256.00, and most recently there were two sales in CGC 3.5 condition for $475.00 and $455.00 respectively.
Amazing Spider-Man #18: 1st Ned Leeds
Amazing Spider-Man #20: 1st Scorpion
Amazing Spider-Man #25: 1st Mary Jane
Amazing Spider-Man #31 : 1st Gwen Stacy and Harry Osbourne
Many modern collectors gravitate towards the first appearance of Spider-Gwen and not the first appearance of Gwen Stacy. I can understand the appeal without agreeing with the decision making. To give you an idea of what kind of opportunity exists out there, a CGC 7.5 with OW pages of this book sold for $483.00 on March 1st. A CGC 9.8 Edge of Spider-verse #2 sold for $500 a week later.
Amazing Spider-Man #37: 1st Norman Osbourne
A CGC 4.0 sold for $82.00 on February 28th. If Sony and Marvel do something with this character, watch out. I am stunned by how far the prices have fallen on this book.
Amazing Spider-Man #38: Last Steve Ditko art on Spider-Man
Amazing Spider-Man #39: First John Romita art and Green Goblin revealed
Amazing Spider-Man #40: Green Goblin origin
Amazing Spider-Man #41 : 1st Rhino
A CGC 4.0 sold for $127.50 on February 27th.
Amazing Spider-Man #50 : 1st Kingpin
Amazing Spider-Man #100: one of the best black covers in comics
Amazing Spider-Man #101: 1st Morbius
Amazing Spider-Man #121: Death of Gwen Stacey
Amazing Spider-Man #122: Death of Green Goblin / Norman Osbourne
Amazing Spider-Man #129: 1st Punisher
Amazing Spider-Man #149: 1st Spider-Man Clone
Amazing Spider-Man #194: 1st Black Cat
Amazing Spider-Man #210: 1st Madame Web
Amazing Spider-Man #238: 1st Hobgoblin (Ned Leeds)
Amazing Spider-Man #265: 1st Silver Sable
Amazing Spider-Man #298: 1st Todd McFarlane art
Amazing Spider-Man #299: 1st Venom (cameo)
Amazing Spider-Man #300: 1st Venom (full)
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1: first Sinister Six
Which reminds me, we can’t possibly discuss the Silver and Bronze Spider-Man keys without thinking about Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. One recent sale of note was on February 25th when a CGC 5.5 copy with OW/W pages sold for $1,100.00.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16: first Monica Rambeau
I would caution you not to sleep on this book or worse to discard the copy or copies you may already have in your collection. I routinely pick it up in the ten dollar range which is a bet I take every time. It is stone cold right now, but we can expect this character to return in a big way in the MCU. Kevin Feige announced her casting and brought Teyonah Parris on stage to announce that she would portray Rambeau in the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision (2020). This book is a no brainer for me. CGC 9.6’s are selling for less than $100 right now (e.g., a January 19 auction ended with 23 bids at the lackluster price tag of $63.27). A CGC 9.8 hasn’t sold in the last 90 days on eBay.
Until next time, “Happy Hunting you bunch of Savages!” .
– Nico, Esq.
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