Choosing and Collecting Comics with Potential

By Michael Russell

There are thousands of comic book titles. They may be from the big dogs of the comic industry or from the small-time independent labels. Either way, all comic book collectors are biased when it comes to the title they accumulate. As a collector, you may be gathering issues of a specific title for your own personal pleasure or because it could be profitable someday. It is one thing to find the titles you like, but it is another to find titles that have good potential. With a lot of luck, you can kill two birds with one stone.


To complete your collection, there are a few steps to follow. For the first and most important, you must be updated and well informed. Read up on the subject from titles like the "Overstreet Price Guide" or the "Wizard Magazine". By doing this, you will be informed of the release dates of the issues to help you get the early releases and will also inform you of the cost and maybe even future values. When you find the title that you are interested in, do a rough estimate of the cost then go out and buy from a specialty shop, a catalog, online, or at a comic book convention. One can also buy from another collector. Good collectors prefer to sell their comics to another individual rather than to a comic shop because they get a better price. Before closing the deal, examine the comic and check its condition because in retailing, mistakes are inevitable. After carefully reading it, store properly in a safe place.

Back Issues are comics that are not presently sold on the racks and are sold separately in conditions ranging from "new/mint" to "very poor". The price is determined by the condition the comic is in. Also, it is good to shop around. You will see that shops compete and will undercut each other. You can often purchase overstocks of regular issues for half the cover price or more.

If the goal of your collection is to profit from it after a few years, you should fill it with titles that will grow in value over time. To achieve this, there are a few tricks to master. Once again, the key is to be informed. For example, Wizard Magazine enlists the top 100 selling comic books every month. The books on this list are the top sellers which mean that their characters are popular in that particular time. These books may have big potential in the future. Also, it is always good if you are able to buy first releases of the issues. Sometimes, the book publishers print the issues in different covers to promote sales. It is good to buy issues in their different covers too. One excellent tip is to know the creative teams of the comic because sometimes it is not the title that matters. A valuable issue may be due to the writer or the illustrator. Having an eye out for new and interesting material is useful because although most non-superhero books don't sell well, the interesting ones may gain in value. Getting to know your retailer can work to your advantage because their predictions of the next big thing will help you.

Remember that the comic's value is connected to its popularity. So sell with the tide. Sale does not depend on the titles you sell but on the timing as well. If for example a Spiderman movie is out, the sales of the comic books skyrocket.

Rare books also sell well. This is because the new comics are too mass-produced and anyone can get them. This results in the decrease of their value. It is advisable to buy comics with a very good storyline and exceptional illustrations. Buy books that you like because of their story and the art. Buy old books that fascinate you and try to get to know if the prices of these have already increased slightly. Be ready to pay for the best quality/grade of each issue. In choosing titles, take your time and shop hard. Remember that mainstream superhero titles are always going to be popular and buy the best of the issue. Don't listen to comic book dealers because they are often dishonest people trying to make money from children. Also try subscribing to a Comics buyer guide to learn all about the past and present issues. Lastly, learn to store your comic books properly to enjoy them for longer.

Michael RussellYour Independent guide to Comic Books.

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