What’s Worth Your Dollar?
Hey everyone, ya miss me?
There's been some crazy market activity while I took a break to help some friends in need.
Look, it’s a free country, so I can’t tell you how to spend your money. This column here’s all about suggestions to save you cash and avoidin’ getting swindled. (BTW there are good sellers and good deals to be had online. But you almost always will do better if you can find it yourself in the real world).
So when I read about folks dropping $1K+ for a 9.9 book or a “rare” variant that suddenly is very available on eBay, I can’t really tell if it means a) the economy is getting better for many folks b) a number of rich people are now comic book collectin’ c) we got a speculation bubble on our hands d) comic book collecting really is all about the covers now, nobody reads the books anymore e) some collectors are just willin' ta get soaked.
Now I’m not saying there’s no room for good cover appreciation in comic collecting. Of course there is. But really, that should be reserved for the book that has gained iconic status. So think about that before you drop rent on a book for its cover art.
An example that comes to mind: Batman #20. The real, first #20. Ya certainly know this book – bright yellow S.O.B. with the Batmobile bursting through, the first time the vehicle is ever on a comic cover. A nice mid-range, unrestored copy sold very recently for just over $850 on eBay. You tell me, which book is the better buy — which is the book people will be looking for 20 years from now, which one will be even rarer 20 years from now?
Or, to ensure a truly unique cover, why not get a commissioned work? There’s really no substitute for one-of-a-kind. And I don’t mean a quick con sketch. I remember peepin’ a one-of-a-kind Bolland artwork done for a collector in 2005 that ranks among the BEST JOKER ART EVER. I mean, it is so damn BRUTAL and yet so clean and precise a la Bolland’s pencils. After the whole Batgirl #31 mess D.C. will likely never make this one a cover and yet if it did, you all would want one. And you bet the guy dropped some cash for it. But you can see it was worth it.
However, you can find great up-and-coming artists who are doing amazing work right now too for likely the fraction of what it would cost for an original work from a bigger name. I have to feature the artwork of Rian Bow here right now. You gotta love the way she mixes up those colors an’ good lookin’ babes. That Psylocke is so damn nice! And wow, original art composition an’ concept. Who’da thunk it?
Using a little bit o’ common sense folks when you open your wallet, that’s all I’m arguing for.
All right then, preacher’s done his sermon! This week, I’ve got a few picks mixed in with the art appreciators in mind. Not all these issues are pulling in the big bucks, but your collection might just look a little better in the end, eh?
Find it now!
Superman Wonder Woman #17 digital combo pack
Did you blink an’ miss this? Yep, you probably did. Apparently the lowest print run of the last combo packs to be rolled out by D.C. — but if you ever took a gander over at investcomics.com and Topher you’da known that already. Well, this book came out very recently. Your LCS might still have one, go check now. Online at the moment, there’s four copies available: one for $3.99 from a retailer with a not so great rep, one for $14, another for $50 and then one for $75. I got my copy for cover. Now, I know some folks haven't come on board regarding combo packs, so there may be some hesitation. Which is why I am advocating you to take a moment and try your luck at finding these in the wild, before the only place you have left is online.
Avengers Vol. 3 19-22
Wow, talk about some movie speculation! Granted these were good reads, but never would they be commanding the prices that they are now online (some are listed $40+ for the complete quartet) with the new Avengers movie just around the corner. Well, for those willin’ and able, head on over to your LCS and get them for cover or cheaper, as they very well might be in the dollar bin. And for those who are into collecting for cover art, the set features some badass George Perez Ultron covers, so bonus. Another cheap cool Ultron cover worth finding is West Coast Avengers #66, which can be had for $2 or less. But extra challenge here: it’s an all black cover, so can you find one in NM condition?
Anarky Vol. 2 #8
I featured Anarky’s first appearance a couple of columns ago. Hopefully you took my advice and picked up that book cheap. So what’s next? Well, considering the upcoming events in Batman, the scuttlebutt is that Anarky could possibly take over the role Joker had. Why? Because people said he was Joker’s son. And how do we know that? Well that reveal is in this issue. I don’t know the print run of this book, and maybe someone can fill me in. But I have to say, I didn’t even know Anarky had a limited series of his own; not only that, this is the last book of the series, so I’m assuming this had a low print run to begin with. Big key? No. But a cheap book that is a fascinating footnote and an interesting read for your PC? Definitely.
Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #509
Everyone’s gunnin’ for everything Psylocke since the inspired choice of Oliva Munn for the role in the next X-men movie. Well a certain variant featurin’ the psychic sword mistress has got fan boys all hot ’n bothered, but you can definitely find this Greg Land beauty in back bins for cover price at the right LCS. Even online it’s not too expensive. My only quibble is that the lady’s … well they don’t look too natural. But the composition is still arrestin’ enough that it’s a nice add for the PC. Some folks have even turned this cover into a wall poster. Land’s done plenty of female covers, so maybe the value doesn’t stand up as much as it could. That is, of course, if you don’t count his EOSV #2 variant. Oh yeah, right? Too bad if you didn’t get that one for the $20 premium when it came out, since there are folks spendin' $1K for that one too.
Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man Vol. 1 #101
Why get this? Two reasons: A true classic black-and-white Spider-Man cover that isn’t a tired swipe of ASM #300 and a book that isn’t ridiculously priced. John Byrne used a monochromatic palette to excellent effect here, especially when you think about it. How do you show a black costumed Spider-Man out at night? The composition of Spidey as a swingin’ silhouette against a skyline of lit windows in skyscrapers is 1980’s artistry at its finest. A reasonably priced book to add to your collection — but again, challenge mode: Black cover means you’ll be hard-pressed to find one now without a single color-breaking spine tick, especially if it’s been in a bin for the past 20 years.
Uncle Sadjunk’s Crazy Dollar Bin Story
So this week, I got a tidy little yarn to make ya envious.
Mark Cook hails from Auburn, California, where the antiquing involves more than just inspectin' fine china and old cabinets, as he explains.
“I had never really explored the numerous antique stores in my town, though I had lived here for close to seven years,” Mr. Cook says. “When I realized they might have a few comics hiding in them, I decided to hit as many as I could all in one day. Pretty much struck out, not finding much of anything worth buying.”
But as I have said to you squirrels time and again, persistence is what you need when you’re on the hunt.
“Walking back to the car to leave I passed a store that I had not considered entering when I walked by two times previously,” Mr. Cook recalls. “It was called ‘The Mancave’ and sold all kinds of nostalgic items one might want to put in a man cave. As I perused the shelves, I didn't see any comics. The owner asked if I was looking for anything particular.
“When I said comics, he led me to an unlighted section of the store beneath a staircase where he had a stack of about 15 random comics. Among them were Marvel Spotlight #’s 5,7,8,9, and 10.
“I was amazed at the condition and wanted them all. When I asked how much, he said $8 each cause they were old and heard they were from ‘a set' (whatever that means).
“I only had $25 on me, so I offered it up. He took the $25 and I got my biggest budget score ever. If I had to grade the Marvel Spotlight #5, I'd say 7.0 – 8.0 conservatively.”
Well the (flaming head) spirit moved you Mr. Cook, that’s for sure! That's the kind of score I’m fine with saying I wish I had stumbled upon myself!
Remember to write to me with your haul stories: email@example.com
I do have my own good score to share with you guys. Here’s a little taste of my tale for next week:
Oh yeah! And she had a twin! That's how I like it, damn right.
As you can see … with a little discount, I bought that for a dollar!