An Insightful look into the world of speculating comics from the number one comic book speculation website; InvestComics (est. 2005).
An educational guide to speculating comics.
Art is subjective. Some see a work of art, while others could simply see ‘meh’. Eye appeal is everything. It is one of the foundations of marketing. One must have something eye appealing to keep a potential customer on board. Eye appeal works with aesthetics in the sale of a home, car, boat, phone, etc. The clamored appeal usually comes with a price. Higher than usual if the visual appeal is above average. Here is the thing, just because a higher price tag is attached, does not always make the selling item a collector’s piece. The higher price tag is not a guarantee to increase the value later on. How could this be? There is a reason(s) why an investment, collector’s piece, an impulse buy would not increase in value. We are going to correlate the value of a car, boat, etc. to a variant comic book. Here is how…..
As most of us get older, we look for ways to invest our earnings. One route some may take is to purchase a home, 401k, etc. So many factors go into the purchase of a home. The condition, the surrounding area, the schools, taxes, and the size, to name a few. If things line up properly, doing your homework, you will get a return on your investment in many years’ time, maybe in less time, maybe right away if you’re flipping. How are you almost guaranteed to make a return and then some? Validity will always be your go-to to make money. Validity is the essence, the embodiment of a sale. Once you establish the validity of your item, you are almost certain to make a profit. The proof of reselling a home for more money is easily proven. A newly updated kitchen, bathroom, new plumbing, new windows, you get the idea. So, let’s incorporate these ideas with the variant comics, shall we?
A variant comic is made to be visually appealing. That is the MAIN objective. Without the visual appeal, it is not going to sell. Once the visual appeal is established, the next step is to make it limited. This creates the basis for pricing, its VALIDITY, and its importance. Just like the purchase of a starter home, a beater car, one must build the brand and have selling points for a profit. A new engine, paint job, spoiler, rims, and an updated audio system will help to sell that beater car, right? What about that $75 virgin variant you may want to purchase? Let us dive a bit into that.
InvestComics has had what we call ‘the right corner test’. For years we have promoted this mindset to collectors, and it has worked in making them wiser and privy to some craziness that occurs during unprecedented upticks of new graded books. If ever you see a graded comic selling for a bit more than you see fit, the very first thing to do is a glance at the upper right-hand corner (CGC). If this space is a big empty blue spot, well, you are usually getting a pretty cover for a high cost. That is it. The visualization and hype are driving the comic and you really do not want to get caught up in this. There could be other mitigating factors pertaining to the book, but if it was that important, there’d be something in that corner. This area is the most important area your eyes should always dart to before making a purchase on that variant graded cover. This is called validation. Why or why not this comic could be going for a premium. Validity. A low-printed run comic is not valid. So, we hear the collective sighs regarding low-print run/scarce/rare comics. There have been many low-print comics over the last 80 years or so, this is a marketing ploy from collectors today trying to pawn off a 234th Harley Quinn appearance in a rare Scooby Doo comic. Remember that? No one cares about that comic anymore. Ever notice how most of the rare comics that get hot these days are moderns or brand-new released comics? Returning readers know that InvestComics has said countless times in the new Covid-19 comic book era that ALL new comic releases will be rare. It’s an obvious conclusion given the fact that many local comic shops have closed, reopened with fewer dollars to spend, less readership/collectors because of lost jobs, no new comic book movie releases, unemployment benefits are lower premiums now, and 55 million are unemployed. This all trickles down to your local shop ordering less. This equals fewer comic books printed. And yes, numbers will be fudged to make it seem like everything is just dandy. It’s not. Not trying to be the grim reaper, but we must get with reality here.
Followers of InvestComics may already know most of what we will touch on, but it is important during these times of 55 million people being out of work right now to be a bit wiser with your money. Below we will give a list, in no particular order of what questions you need to be asking yourself while thinking about purchasing that variant comic. Whether you are purchasing a brand-new variant cover comic for $19, $75, $149, or an aftermarket graded one for $700. It beckons the questions as to why you should maybe make your purchase. This said, remember this, a variant comic is a special cover with the same guts (story) inside. Nothing different in the least from a variant cover or a regular cover, but one piece of paper. Is this one piece of paper worth 300%, 500%, 1500%, or 5000% more than its original purchase price?
Limited variants – Is the variant limited? If so, do I want something 499 others have? Or 999 others have? Rembrandt paintings are one of a kind (bids at auctions dictate the price. Collectors stop bidding, most of the time because they arrive at their limit of their worth. It is no longer sustaining its value to their liking). The original Amazing Spider-Man #300 cover art is one of a kind. One must put things into a bit of perspective when it comes to limited variant runs. Granted, 1000’s of collectors with only 500 or 1000 variants available, but remember, these are COLLECTORS. These comics will not be thrown around, rolled up in someone’s back pocket, and certainly mom won’t throw them away. In today’s climate, these copies will be well taken care of and stored away, and a 9.6 or 9.8 grade will never be a hard find. Never.
Checklist of questions below regarding a new variant you’re about to purchase. All of these questions will not pertain all the time. This is just a guide to help with the process of your purchase. And ALWAYS do your OWN homework. Never let someone dictate what is a good buy or not.
– What is truly unique about this comic?
– Does this comic contain a first appearance?
– Is there a special status quo moment to a major character that will change them forever or long term?
– What is driving the market now for this comic? A movie announcement? A television announcement? A cartoon announcement? A video game announcement?
– Is the announcement verified from a trusted source?
– Does this new character have longevity?
– What are the grades coming in? Are they all high-end? 9.6’s? 9.8’s?
– Will the character appear in ONE movie? A one and done? Will Whiplash ever appear on screen again?
– Most television first appearance characters do not sustain their value as does a film. Do I want to risk investing? Does the potential exist to further the character’s appeal from a television show? Will the third-rate villain ever be a factor after a couple of appearances on a T.V. show?
– Is the speculation via a rumor or a thought of something to maybe occur? Will it ever come to fruition? *Squirrel-Girl.
– Does the different color lettering on a title warrant its uniqueness? Is there more VALIDITY for the comic being priced out at such a high amount? Limited? Does this truly factor into the asking price? Once again, too many high grades available?
– What warrants a second print to garner more money? If it is stated rare, are collectors going to only produce 9.6’s and 9.8’s? It now becomes common in high grades. Regarding a first appearance second print book, it is not usually a true first appearance of a character, but in some cases, it could be a first cover appearance. Thus, going back to the guaranteed high grades available. Nothing rare in finding high grades.
– Is the market driving the price up simply due to its nice cover? Where is the validity of this? A pretty cover? Remember, most of the time, high grades are readily available. Are pretty covers a sustainable factor in today’s market with so many hyped covers coming out? There is only one Amazing Spider-Man #300 cover. This cover is iconic and will always be paid homage to. Will your pretty cover variant stand the test of time and be paid homage to?
– Review the sources claiming a variant comic is hot. Is there an agenda? Do your homework.
– Will this comic sustain the current high value due to its lack of validity?
– Does the cover relate to the story? If not, what validity does this pose, if any?
These are all validation questions as to why you should or should not take that leap of faith and slam down some serious cash for a variant comic in today’s modern market. There are probably even more validating questions, but you can take the initiative and figure out the rest yourself.
Use your money wisely. InvestComics is not here to tell you how to spend it. Our mantra (Icon) says; Invest Wisely, Read Comics. Cannot be clearer than that. We are here for the simple reason to try and help, and educate collectors to make smarter choices.
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