Comic Collecting 2017

By Eric S. Brown | Feb 08, 2017
Photo by: Donated photo

There are those who believe that the hobby of collecting comics is dying. It’s not.  Graphic novel and comic sales actually increased between 2013 and 2015 growing from 91.8 million sold per year to 98 million.

Heritage Auctions reported an increase from 34 million dollars in back issue comic sales to 43 million in 2016. According to Comichorn comic and graphic novel sales increased 10 percent in 2015 for a total of over $1 billion in sales in the United States and Canada. Digital comics only accounted for roughly 90 million for that figure. Comic book stores still retained the lead in overall comic sales accounting for roughly $340 million.

Graphic novels showed the highest growth of the print medium overall in the world of “books” increasing by 23 percent. So, comic sales are actually growing overall and not declining.  One only has to search for back issue comics on Ebay or other similar sites to see that there remains a community of collectors out there willing to shell out big bucks for key books or to complete their collections of whatever titles they love.

In 2016, a copy of Amazing Fantasy # 15, the first appearance of Spider-man, sold for $460,000. A copy of X-men # 1 sold for $350,000. Best of all, a copy of Wonder Woman # 1, which isn’t even her first appearance, sold for an amazing $290,000. And those are just some of the sales from 2016. There were many, many more in the $100,000 plus range.

Based on that type of evidence, comics continue to be a solid investment commodity. That said one has to really understand how the world of collecting comics works to make money at it.  Most modern books do not increase in value unless they contain a character or storyline that has either become a “key” one among fans or been adapted into a TV series or movie.  Other media, such as film, have a great impact on the value of modern comics. The safer bet for investing in comics will always be issues from the Golden and Silver ages of comic book publishing.  With each year, those issues become increasingly more difficult to find, sometimes even in any condition. Wonder Woman books are a prime example of this.  Her books from the late 30s, 40s and early 50s move for prices well above their “guide” values simply due to how rare they are.

The main reason anyone should collect comics, however, of course, is simply the love of the characters. If you collect a title or the appearances of a character you love, you can never lose the personal value of your collection whether its retail value increases or decreases with age.