We love comic books. That’s no secret really. Super heroes rule the box office and are foremost in the minds of many generations. The comic books themselves however have been valuable collectors items. Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman recently went up for auction at eBay. Within days it’s reached $1.75 million dollars online. The previous record for an Action Comics #1 is $2.1 million dollars and that was in traditional auction. Comic books can be a great investment, especially with the trend towards digital distribution growing. Printed comics are going to eventually be incredibly rare and their value will skyrocket once again. Let’s also not overlook the fact that they are also works of art. Some classic and current covers are suitable for framing and placing in your living room, if you’re so inclined.
How does one go about collecting comic books however? The obvious answer of where to start would be your local comic book store. The only drawback there is many of the issues you’ll want, they already have bagged and marked up at a price that may fall out of your budget. Going digging in the long boxes is where you’ll go mining for gold so to speak. Some issues can be had for as little as .50 but you’ll typically be in the $1-4 dollar range for back issues that are worth anything.
You’ll want to start looking at garage sales. Many older folks get rid of their kids possessions after they move out, or are tired of holding onto a collection they aren’t actively keeping up any longer. It’s here where you may hit the jackpot. Big Pimpin’ J recently found a Todd McFarlane Spider-Man #1 there for less than a couple bucks. A great find considering this book was near the height of the artist McFarlane’s popularity. There’s a lot of hit and misses at garage sales, but there’s always the possibility of luckily discovering a near-mint issue of an incredibly rare or popular issue! A pawn shop may also give you some results, but as their market is more of the electronics, furniture and jewelry variety, we wouldn’t recommend spending a lot of time looking there.
Want to future proof your collection? Stay in tune with current trends in the comic book genre and related media properties. For example, Agents of SHIELD is coming back this fall for its second season. One of the new characters is popular SHIELD agent and Hawkeye love interest, Mockingbird. Big Pimpin’ J found her first appearance at a garage sale recently in pretty good condition. He plans on flipping the issue around the time the season starts. It might net him nearly 300% in return on investment! A similar investment should be made when the time nears for Avengers: Age of Ultron and Batman v Superman. To maximize your potential profits, you should consider getting your collection professionally graded. Comics Grading is universally used by all retailers to determine any single issue’s worth. Going without the grading and taking it to a local comic shop subjects you to the whims of the comic book shop owner, who will most likely low-ball any price and take advantage of you to maximize his own profits. If you choose to get your books graded, the only place to go to is Certified Guaranty Company or CGC Comics. They are incredibly thorough and all issues in their care are insured while they have them.
Hopefully these tips will start you on your way to building your own collection! Check out the video above for more tips on collecting!