Weekend Update with Nico

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Without further ado,

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This is your Weekend Update! 

 

The Corona Comic Market Continues … 

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This week Bleeding Cool broke the story that Diamond Comic Distributors is closing its doors for the foreseeable future.  This is devastating for retailers who rely upon new comic sales as a primary source of revenue and income.   Steve Geppi, Chairman & CEO of Geppi Family Enterprises and Founder of Diamond Comic Distributors issued a press release stating “Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice.”

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Comic collectors, retailers and investors are scared about the future of the hobby in a world where many are uncertain if they will have a job to return to when they are released from their home to return to the workforce.  It remains unclear what the economic forecast is for America, but few would suggest that we are not destined for a major recession.

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What is the impact on a back issue market when collectors are unable to purchase new comics?  Will this drive collectors into the online back issue market? What impact will “social distancing,” the lack of a convention season and the forced closure of comic shops across the country on a fragile collectibles community?

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There are no simple answers to any of these questions and so many moving parts that it would be naive for me to speculate, but I suspect that we will continue to see major changes in the comic market for the remainder of the calendar year and perhaps well into 2021.

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Personally, I don’t understand the psychology of hoarding toilet paper anymore than I understand people who don’t flip comics to buy better comics.  What we have not seen yet, is any attempt to make a run on any particular comic online. In other words, no one is attempting to buy up every copy of any particular book to drive up the price of that book.  In a market where collectors can’t go to shows or their local comic shop to hunt for back issues, I believe we are susceptible to price gouging.

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When people are worried about putting food on the table, they are not concerned with anything else.  It is unclear whether the congressional COVID19 relief package will restore faith in the economy or bolster spending, but it certainly provides relief that is desperately needed by many Americans.  The hardest part about making economic predictions is that they are much like predictions about comics in the sense that you are attempting to predict how others will perceive something. In other words, the first step towards a healthy comic market is the belief by comic collectors that the comic market is regaining its strength.

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No one knows how bad the economy is going to get because no one can predict whether social distancing as a public health policy will be effective, what measures the government will enact to prevent the spread of COVID19 and to what extent people will do their part to combat a public health crisis.

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Each week we are seeing big books dropped on eBay in no reserve auctions that are being sold by serious collectors who are forced to part with some of the most prized comics in their collection.  Ebay is letting online retailers apply to defer their monthly bills in an effort to assist their valued customer base. PayPal is attempting to safeguard against fraud by putting holds on money paid to online sellers.  I have been subject to multiple return claims and an onslaught of unpaid items. I am confident that large retailers (as opposed to casual enthusiasts like myself) are suffering much more substantial inconvenience and hardship.  Please do your part to be a valued member of our community. It is our shared responsibility to one another that will help our hobby rebound.

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Now more than ever, the comic market is grateful for it ties to Hollywood.  Clearly the volume of revenue attached to Disney+ Marvel television shows and MCU films is more important to the future of the comic book market than ever before.  If for no other reason than my confidence in the return of comic related media projects to Hollywood, I do not fear for the long term health of the comic market. In the interim, cash is king – spend wisely.

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This is the way the world ends … not with a bang, but with a [cough!] 

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Last week, I talked about a few of my absolute favorite comics and some of my favorite writers.  This week, since many of us are doing our part to stay at home and not spread COVID19, I want to talk about some more of my favorite comics – post-apocalyptic comics.  For whatever reason, I am drawn to post-apocalyptic stories. I could tell you that they are particularly compelling because they put normal people under extraordinary pressures and give characters the opportunity to show heroism in a way that conventional plots can’t, but I would probably just be rationalizing.  The truth is, I just think they are cool as hell. I am particularly drawn to these stories under the current circumstances. Not because I fear that this is the end of the world, but because these stories remind me that what sometimes feels like the end of the world is just the first grim chapter of an amazing story.

 

These are some of the post-apocalyptic stories, I find fascinating.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 

 

Age of Apocalypse 

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Age of Apocalypse 

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Perhaps I am showing my age (90s comics raised me), perhaps I am still looking towards the future and see the light of Disney’s X-Men shining in the distance.  Whatever it may be, I loved Age of Apocalypse. This is the cross-over event that arose out of the death of Charles Xavier in the X-Men timeline where Apocalypse wins.  It is a masterpiece and pits Magneto’s X-Men against Apocalypse. If you haven’t read it – it’s awesome.

 

Akira

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Akira #32

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I’m part of the generation that grew up on Akira.  I lived for the animated film and loved the comics.  I wasn’t old enough for either of them when I was first introduced to them at a young age, but grew to appreciate them in a much more meaningful way when I was older.  Akira tells the story of two teens, Tetsu and Kaneda, who fight for their lives in a dystopian neo-Tokyo following a nuclear explosion. The series pits our reluctant slaker heros against a government agency that is experimenting on young people.  It’s a breathtaking work of art that is near and dear to my heart.

 

Crossed 

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Crossed

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Garth Ennis creator owned comic Crossed is one of the wildest comics period.  The series is not for the faint of heart and explores incredibly dark and violent themes.  Crossed: One Hundred does homage covers that are a love letter to the Golden Age and are striking.  The story is about survivors dealing with a pandemic that causes its victims to engage in their most evil thoughts. Those afflicted with the virus are the “Crossed” due to a large, cross-like rash that appears on their face.  The contagion is spread through bodily fluids like any traditional virus. If there was ever a time to read this series, now is the time.

 

Days of Future Past 

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X-Men #141

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If there was only one X-Men story that could ever be retold, I would choose Days of Future Past.  It is Chris Claremont and John Byrne at their finest. The story focuses on a future where mutants are incarcerated in internment camps.  These two issues tell the greatest X-Men story ever told.

 

DMZ

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81236-18007-105414-1-dmz

DMZ #1 (TV Show)

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Apparently I’m going to keep talking about this book.  I wish I was sitting on a giant stack of them, I am not.  This book has been up and is back down regardless of the interest in the series following news that HBO was green lighting a television series.  The book is awesome. I love Brian Wood’s work. I also enjoyed Massive and hope you check out that book as well. DMZ centers on Matty Roth, a reporter embedded on the frontline of the battleground, which readers quickly discover is New York.  After the 9/11 attack, the US was plunged into a new Civil War between forces of the United States of America and secessionist Free States of America. The book is political so be warned if that is not your thing, but it is a series that I enjoyed.

 

Hulk Future Imperfect

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Hulk Future Imperfect

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Peter David shines with the story of the Maestro.  These books enjoy pencils and ink by the legendary George Perez.  In this two part series Hulk gets slug into the a dystopian future where he is forced to battle the evil Maestros who has enslaved a population and killed all of the other super beings on the planet.  The series is fun, smart, and a classic.

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Infinite Horizen 

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Infinite Horizon #2

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Phil Noto’s artwork on this book is beautiful.  It is inspired by the Odyssey and is as dark as it gets.  It is a not unfamiliar story of a father attempting to reunite with his wife and child.  It’s worth checking out.

 

Lazarus 

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Lazarus

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Greg Ruka is at his finest penning the book Lazarus.  The central idea of Lazarus is that super elite families have a technologically enhanced protector, a Lazarus.  Carlyle is her family’s Lazarus and this is her story. The book is written in a world where super wealthy elite families own everything, including other people who basically live and work in serfdom.  It’s a great book and tells a moral story with a backdrop that involves corruption, greed, power and betrayal. It’s my kind of book. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Night of the Living Deadpool

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Night of the Living Deadpool #1

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As far as Marvel comics go, I am not going to talk about Kirkman’s run on Marvel Zombies.  I am going to suggest that you check out Night of the Living Deadpool It’s a great story and a fun read that is basically Deadpool vs. Zombies.  If you are a fan of the original George Romeros film Night of the Living Dead, I think you will enjoy this story.

 

Y the Last Man

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Y The Last Man #1

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In the tradition of the great Jack Kirby, Brian K. Vaughan writes the hilarious story of escape artist Yorick Brown.  This series is premised on the idea of what would happen if a virus killed every Y chromosome mammal on earth. Except, of course for Yorrick Brown and his adorable pet Ampersand.  This book is awesome and has some of the most beautifully illustrated cover art in comics. It is worth a read and still slated for a small screen release on FX in 2020.

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Curating your collection in a down market

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In light of the massive uncertainty felt in the comic market and in global financial markets, my advice is to take this time to curating your collection.  Select those books that are really meaningful to you, sell those books that you can do without, organize your books, make a concerted effort to decide how to display your books in a manner that celebrates their importance to you, replace old bags and boards.  Treat your collection like a personal museum – it deserves that sort of attention. Sell those books that are less meaningful to you, but only sell books if you are committed to buying books that are more meaningful to you (or if economic circumstances demand that you sell).

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I am apprehensive about moving bundling books and unloading large lots.  It is a buyers market and without new comics and comic shops to satisfy buyers’ hunger to dig for comics, I suspect that those who are able to hold onto key books or have the capital to buy discounted keys will do best in this down market.   As I mentioned in weeks past, it appears that all of the forthcoming television and film projects are on hold for the time being and the excitement around those projects is quickly fading. This is an opportune time to think about what the bottom number you believe these key books may dip to in a down market.

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For me, this is a great time to dig into historical data and analyze the trajectory of the market.  GPA and other online services document the price of books in years past. I can’t say that this is a firm indicator of where the market will go if the economy continues to recede, but it is certainly instructive evidence that we should be thinking about when we consider the future of the comic market.

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In the interim, I want to give you something to be hopeful about.  Collectors are still buying major keys and spending major money in the comic market.  These are some of the live auction results that I’ve been following that I hope you find as interesting as I do:
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Amazing Spider-Man #300 CGC 9.8 sold for $1,985.00

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ASM 300

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The Human Torch #23 1946 sold for $1,291.85

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Human Torch
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HUNT FOR WOLVERINE # 1 1:1000 B&W Sketch  CGC SS 9.8 Adam Kubert sold for $610.00

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Hunt for Wolverine

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Incredible Hulk #181 (1974) CGC 9.0 white pages sold for $5,422.99

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hulk 181

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Incredible Hulk #180 (1974) CGC 9.0 white pages sold for $1,160.00

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Hulk 180 9.0

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Incredible Hulk #180 (1974) CGC 9.6 white pages sold for $2,801.00

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Hulk 180

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Transformers #1 (1984) CGC 9.8 white pages sold for $565.89

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Transformers #1

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Action Comics #23 (1940) Restored CGC 3.0 sold for $5,356.66

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Action comics 23

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Fantastic Four #52 (1966) CGC 7.0 sold for $1,036.22

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FF 52

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Please do not delude yourself into believing that the comic market has collapsed.  We are in a recession, but big books will always sell and serious buyers will find away to buy big books.  If you are apprehensive about the future of the market, you are not alone, but this creates buying opportunities.  The great thing about fluid markets is that change is incremental. That means there’s buying and selling opportunities in bear markets and bull markets alike.  Be smart and have fun.

As always, I look forward to your comments and appreciate you spending time with me.  Until next time, “Happy Hunting you bunch of Savages!” .

 

– Nico, Esq.

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One comment

  • Last week I picked up Resistance and read the first 3 pages and put it back down and I was like.. CREEPY AS F.. but I also picked the sister stories, Red Town Hotel Hell, etc etc.. but IF comic collectors have not read it, this is a story they should read. 🙂 Not to flip but for pure entertainment purposes.

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