This is Jeremy Waldorf’s first blog with Collection Connections…but be on the lookout for pt. 2!
- Movies and Comics: The Issue
In 2018, movies and television shows are a big part of what’s driving value on the second-hand comic book market. With an abundance of comic and superhero-based movies, as well as television shows on both cable (or satellite) and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, the mere mention of a comic being “optioned” for film literally sends speculators scrambling to the internet and eBay looking for the key issues and anything of potential value related to the title. The hope is that you’ll grab something on the cheap and make good money once the movie or show catches on, or maybe make a quick buck flipping on eBay. Sometimes it happens, and other times is doesn’t. But what are we seeing here with this relatively new comic investment “strategy”? Will movies and television shows continue to affect the value of comic books, or is this just a fad? Is there a way to actually make some money on movie speculations? How exactly can technology help you land the “big score” before the entire comic community knows about it?
I remember the very first time I heard the name “The Walking Dead”. I was at a friend’s house and they were watching the premier episode, which at the time was brand new. In my mind it was just another zombie show, but, I think like most comic collectors, I wish now that I had a time machine to go back and grab up several copies of that “little” Image Comics title. AMC’s The Walking Dead was my first memorable example of a comic book that literally exploded in value because of a leap to the big (or small) screen. The Hollywood Reporter even published an article in 2012 about the sale of a CGC 9.9 copy of The Walking Dead #1 that sold for $10,100 on eBay. They astutely noted:
“In July, its 100th issue sold 375,000 copies in its first day, making it the best-selling comic book issue of the century”. Couch, Aaron. Prometheus Global Media LLC (Nov. 2012)
We can clearly see that the success of AMC’s The Walking Dead still propels sales of the title even nine years after the debut issue was released.
In contrast- Sony’s recent announcement of the long-anticipated feature film Venom, named after one of the most popular fan favorite villains from the Spider-Man comics, once again had collectors pulling out their boxes and digging for gold. We saw all types of Venom related issues popping up on auction sites including first appearances of Venom himself, the symbiote suit, rumored antagonists, variant covers and more. However, after all the hype it seemed the critics, and even Tom Hardy himself had some early sharp words about their displeasure with the film. The next thing you know, many of those Venom keys started cooling off and some went tumbling off the radar. This seems to be a trend with many movie speculations recently.
- The Wizards of Today’s Resources
Back when I started collecting, we relied on print publications like Wizard Magazine and the Overstreet guide to help us identify key comics and get news about upcoming comic book movies. In today’s digital landscape we now have numerous apps and websites that perform many different functions for both the comic book collector, and the speculative investor. Websites and apps like Comic Book Speculation & Investing (CBSI), ComicCollateral.com, and Key Collector Comics have arguably made comic buying easier than ever with an absolute wealth of information at your fingertips and real-time notifications alerting you about the hottest bits of information as they happen. I spoke to the developers of a couple of these apps about their backgrounds in comic collecting and what they’re doing to help other collectors strike at just the right time.
Scott Robertson is the developer of the Comic Collateral website and app. He has quite a history with comics and collecting, which eventually led to the development of the app.
“I am a lifelong collector who has a background in analytics. I have been a collector, dealer, a CGC witness, a contributor to CBSI (Comic Book Speculation & Investing) as well as moderator of CBSI G+ page, a website / app developer, and I am also a speculator”, Robertson said.
“I started collecting comics in 1982, my father encouraged reading comics. He would take me to the local 7/11 and let me pick out books off the spin rack. Every week I would pick up 1 to 3 books from the local store. At the same time, many of my friends were also collecting comics. We would meet up regularly to trade comics and talk about the current happenings in the comic world. I soon began to draw the comic book characters and dreamed of becoming a comic artist. I would soon discover comic conventions. In the mid 80’s, comic book conventions were much smaller and usually held in a smoky Hotel ball room. I grew up in a small town and we only had 2 “conventions” a year, so I would save up for 6 months at a time so that I could buy back issues. Over time I amassed a large collection.
During my high school days, I started a small store at the local flea market on the weekend and sold books that I had multiple copies of in order to purchase key issues. I Learned how to grade comics from reading Overstreet’s grading guide and memorized what issues were my favorite character’s first appearances.
As I aged, comics were put on the back burner, I would still buy issues here and there but had thought that I would sit on my collection forever or at least until I retired as that was plan. In 2006, I started selling my books off, I was amazed at the high dollar that I was getting for the books that I had paid pennies for. This lead me to start flipping books on the side.
Comic Mailer CRADLE for MCOM14. 7-1/2 x 10-1/2″ inside rectangle. 9-5/8 x 10-1/2″ cradle outside dimension. 1″ flap height.
By 2013, I was flipping books regularly. In 2015, I became involved with CBSI (comic book speculation and investing). At first, I was simply a member but over time, I became a moderator of the G+ page. Through CBSI, I organized several charity events in the form of Art Challenges. I challenged our CBSI members to create a cover on blanks based on a theme I choose, we would then auction off all the books on Ebay. All the money went into a pot and the artist whose book sold for the most would choose a charity and we would donate the entire pot to that charity.
In 2016, with the help of Josue Hernandez, we started a new company called Comic Collateral. We are a Comic book vendor, a CGC Dealer, and I have also been a CGC witness for Dorkbuzz, a CGC facilitator”.
Scott’s website and app is called Comic Collateral’s Comic Guide and it has a ton of different features for collectors.
“The guide is everything a speculator will need to make informed decisions on flipping books. Users can research comics’ information and look up recent sales of graded books.
We have over 750,000 books indexed and over 500,000 sales / transactions from the last 2 years, this allow users to make informed decisions on investing in comics. Users can track the value of their graded books. This allows the user to see in real time the true value of book portfolio. We also provide news and comic book sales trends.”
The guide has several sections broken down by subject and purpose including news, sales and other tools useful tools, Scott elaborates on one important feature of the news section, the Media Buzz:
“When the news is shared it is indexed and the guide determines what the news is about. For instance, if a news article is about Venom, then it is grouped with other articles about Venom and a report can be generated as to how many times Venom was in the news this week and what books that have Venom in them are currently selling for… You will see a report that is updated in real time that shows how many times a particular subject has appeared in our news feed. You can view those articles, see a weekly report, and of course see recent sales that pertain to the subject of the news. This is one of the most useful features for people that are flipping books as it helps you determine what books are hot right now”.
The website and app also allow you to catalog and search your own personal collection based on different keywords, artists, titles or publisher. The biggest feature of Comic Collateral is the ability to lookup sales of individual books -both raw and graded- going back from 90 days to 24 months depending on the subscription.
Another amazing resource that can help collectors find out about movie announcements and jump on keys quickly is the Key Collector Comics app. Nick Coglianese is the owner of the app, and as a collector himself. With Key Collector he brought one of the fastest collecting tools to Android and IOS platforms.
“Key Collector Comics is the name of the free mobile app on Apple and Android phones and I launched it in October 2017. We’re going to be launching a website with the same information in just a few days. It might already be launched by the time your readers see this. Key Collector Comics is the world’s first resource that offers a concise and comprehensive database of key issues: 1st appearances, classic stories, iconic covers and anything that contributes to the history of comics. These are usually the one-percent of valuable or potentially valuable comics that 99 percent of collectors are interested in owning. The entire database is free but for subscribers it takes the concept one step further offering information on what’s trending in the market. Also, there’s a section that focuses on comic book speculation, what is poised to go up in value.
One of my favorite categories is the Dollar Bin Diving section that catalogs valuable comics that came out over the past 20 years that are obscure and often overlooked, usually found in dollar bins. But the real claim-to-fame of the subscription is the Key Issue Alerts. With everything going on in the movie and TV world related to comics, the news is constantly coming out and, as a collector, it’s difficult to keep up with it. Key Collector Comics sends a push notification of comic news happening now – and sometimes leaked information that comes to us early – so that subscribers can react to news before it has a chance to affect market values… Key Collector Comics database removes the hay, so, all that’s left is the needles. It’s also like a stock adviser”.
Nick says the app also offers an inventory feature for cataloging personal collections.
“Key Collector Comics allows collectors to inventory what they own and keep track of what they want for free. There is also a simplified price guide that focuses on values related to low grade, mid-grade and high-grade conditions instead of the CGC grading system which is often confusing. The resource really caters to everyone of all experience levels”.
Nick says the app is different because “… it’s the ONLY resource that focuses exclusively on identifying which comics are valuable and why they are valuable”.
In just over a year since the release of the app, it has seen some remarkable growth and changes for the better.
“Key Collector Comics launched just over a year ago and since then the growth has been consistently impressive. Without any marketing dollars (because the budget is all committed to development) the app has been downloaded over 50k times in 152 countries. It’s been in the New York Times and other media like ABC 7 News in Chicago. It is endorsed by legendary creators like Alex Ross, Neal Adams, Bill Sienkiewicz and Artgerm. And there’s more on the horizon. It’s really amazing to be a part of the comic community in this way. I don’t have to step back very often to admire the progress that’s been made but there’s always some voice quietly saying, “I can’t believe this is happening. This is awesome!”
…Be sure to check out the conclusion in part 2, when we look at more specifics in comic book pricing trends as they relate to movies and some strategies that you can employ if you decide to take the leap into movie speculation.
POLYESTER (Mylar) Sleeve. 4 mil with 2″ BEADED Flap. 10-7/8 x 14-1/8″. Use for Treasury Edition Comics. These polyester sleeves come with a closed beaded flap.