Introduction to Comic Book Collecting
Those colorful panels, action words like ?BAM? framed by a starburst, and those witty onliners…even before I could read the printed word, being in love with those colorful panels. This being said I was clearly born a comic book collector.
Being a child of the 70s and collecting comics way before the world wide web, you actually had to have a strategy if you were to get your issues that week. Most comic books publish monthly however every week the local comic book shop would get in the new issues.
Some comic book shops offered a subscription service and would give a small discount for every title you would include. In the 80s a small town of Troy, Michigan was a great comic book shop that went by the name of COMIX. Do not ask me why maybe because it was my first time seeing this spelling but having comics spelled with an X in lieu of the CS just thrilled me beyond belief and the guy behind the counter was always willing to talk comic books and at that time it was my first serious conversation about comic book collecting that I had with an adult.
When I talked about having to have a strategy I was not joking. Back then the comic shops were notorious for running short on certain issues, and without the internet and sites like eBay, Amazon, Facebook, back issues really went for a premium as your choices were to pay the price or go with out. Buying extra issues to trade other collectors for items that for whatever reasons you could not get from the local comic shop.
Buying or Selling your back issues from or to a comic book shop was the worst place on planet Earth to conduct such a transaction, because of all the overhead of running a physical retail shop, they have to be very careful with how much they sell or buy an issue for. Making a deal with another collector will always be more fruitful as they do not have to cover a retail overhead.
Buying and selling comic books will have the same type of conditions. Before buying a comic book whether it be new or used it is very important to really study the condition. Notice any flaws i.e. any creases, a rolled spine, tanned pages, smeared print. Unlike coins or stamps publisher mistakes are also considered flaws that deter from value, so be sure the pages are cut square, there are no misprints, or double covers, the list goes on and on.
Comic book collecting you want to find the most perfect copy of the book that you can. When you try to sell a book look at it like a buyer. Notice all the flaws and ask a fair price based on all of the flaws.
Before companies Like the CGC (comics Guarantee Corporation) collectors would passionately debate whether their issues were Mint, Near Mint, Very Fine, Fine, Very Good, Good. This is due to the closer to mint your comic is the more it is worth. In fact a true mint condition comic book will fetch multiples of the price guide value.
The Price guide value at one time was based on what publishers would learn from the top Comic Book shops in the country would report on back issue sales, and availability.
Availability is the most important factor in comic book value. Yes everyone believes it is condition but condition only becomes a factor when more than one issue is in existence.
Entering the scene to completely turn comic book values upside down eBay. When comic book collectors started selling on eBay two things happened first books that were believed to be extremely rare, were coming out of the wood work in better conditions than were known to have existed. Second the collector was exposed to an entire world of other collectors that were either wanting to buy or sell comic books.
Currently Amazon & eBay are the largest marketplaces for the buying and selling of comic books both new and back issues. With all of this being said it is important to have fun and enjoy your collecting adventure.