Preacher #1 vs Outcast #1 (feat. Aspen’s Batman #1)

riskWhen to sell and when to hold? This is one of the most important factors when it comes to flipping and speculating on comic books. In this sense, comic books are very relatable to the stock market. Let us first examine what does ‘hold’ mean: hold is an analyst's recommendation to neither buy nor sell a security, which in layman's terms means to stay put (neither buy nor sell a comic). You are in a holding pattern until some more data to support buying or selling comes to the market.

Here are two of the biggest factors to look at to help decide when to sell or hold:

Sales Growth

Sales growth is defined by the amount by which the average sales volume of a comic has grown, typically from year to year but can be applied to shorter time frames. When looking at sales growth, we look at the number of units sold to determine the activity on the book. Is the sales growth real, or related to one-time events? This is going to be a real difficult decision especially when it comes to options on comics and character announcements. In the comic world, we see a lot of starting and stopping on books (i.e. Gambit movie), which, when it comes to holding, can make this market pretty volatile. Do you hold for the next announcement or do you sell when the first news breaks?

Improving Margins

This means the sales line of a comic book is improving, i.e. how much difference (profit) between cost and proceeds is being generated on average for each sale. Is it because of an announcement or premiere of a comic appearing on television (i.e. Preacher and Outcast) or is it a market correction? A market correction can occur due to factors such as an increase in price due to inflation catch up for a older, mega-key (say Fantastic Four #1).

In the case of mega-keys, you can think of them almost like gold and silver – if you hold on to these precious gems every year, they grow older and the market will correct itself, but not in a huge influx (think of these books as a 401K: every year they grow and grow and maybe one day they could be a nice retirement fund). So it may not be the best idea to sell them simply due to a market correction.

So are there any hard and fast rules to determine when to hold or sell? Not really. What is a good time for one speculator may not apply to the next. It really depends on your comfort level. However, I have provided below three books that we can use as case studies.

Preacher #1

Preacher #1Preacher has been blowing up to sky-high levels because of the new show on AMC. Reviews of the first episode were positive and encouraging. I do believe that the casual viewer could get lost with the storyline of three different characters jumping around though. The show will have to be reviewed again after 5 or 6 episodes to see if it has staying power.

On a side note, I'd like to point out that I have gravitated away from gocollect to GPA. I think it presents better and has a better feel of ups and downs per grade. This is all based on slab values and not raws.

With Preacher #1, you can see that we are at the $1,000 mark in May for a 9.8 slab. It has slowly climbed from $817 over a 12 month period. I do not think this will reach the Walking Dead #1 profit margin but I could see a slight increase with the pending season. Other grades have been in the same slope with increasing sales of 1.5X. I think these will still be obtainable, dare I say it's a poor man’s Walking Dead #1?

I personally would sell this now if you got a good deal on yours a year ago. If you just acquired it recently at around market value, it will be a tough sell to make some profit. I would hold if that is the case and wait for a chance of maybe making 10% profit. Here is where the margins will make the decision to hold or sell sufficiently apparent.

Outcast #1


Another book, another show comes along…the surprise scary show on Cinemax is Outcast. I expected (with this coming out in 2014, not in the horror centric 90’s/early 00’s) to see a bump but not to this degree. This is in the same vein of Preacher with it rising in popularity due to a TV series. I would probably sell this book as the value is high enough to constitute that this book will be a long-term keeper for the prospective buyer.


As you can see we are getting a slightly lesser slope when it comes to sales. 9.8 grades are now at a selling price of $120, showing an incline from a 3 month average of $93. This is still a book to sell and not to hold. There is nice profit for this book if you have it slabbed or raw.

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You can see the Outcast has been selling almost 2 to 1. This might have to do with the value each book is selling for in the market. Outcast #1 9.8 is selling for $130 and Preacher #1 9.8 is $1,000. As you can see, Outcast #1 has the edge in sales growth because it is the lowest cost book.

Batman #1


This book has garnished some heat for no reason besides it being a cover by the late great Michael Turner. I believe this book might have hit on the nostalgia factor (like if a forgotten single by Tupac was resurrected). As mentioned on Trey’s Hot10, this book sold out in 24 hours and is now at almost double the original cost of the book. Sometimes the market can make a surprise movement as it has with this book generating massive sales growth . DC Rebirth Batman #1 is going for around $200 on preorder on Ebay. All signs point toward this book increasing in value maybe only a couple hundred dollars with slabbing. I would move this book now – as of next week, it could be just another dust collector of a Wednesday warrior adventure.

For 2 of these 3 books, improving margins are easy if you got these books early (Preacher and Outcast). But the surprise book may be Batman #1. Even though you can not get a Turner autograph, I can see a lot of people putting this book in a yellow slab with a David Finch signature on the cover. It is the perfect homage for Turner and Finch fans to come together. This could increase the comic book’s margins if you get the book early and turn it around as a signature series book.

Regardless of how you read the signs, If you pay close to market for a book (unless it is an ultra mega-key), holding can lose you a lot of money thinking the market will hand out some type of return. In the same breath, even if you get a good deal on a book, the holding cost of the book (i.e. where your money is held up in inventory) could cost you money on other books that you could have gotten to turn around for quick and easy cash . Like with all things, if you are being greedy trying to make an extra buck, you could be the one holding the bag at the end.


  • Avatar

    Outstanding work brother

  • MZircher

    Great info Deno, thanks.

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    This is a great a great article. Unfortunately there is no crystal ball or absolute rule, as you mentioned.
    One other thing to consider now that the shows have aired is how do they perform during the first two months of release? Typically this is when you see a market dump and prices go down. No saying they can’t jump back up however.
    Alias is one I am keeping an eye on and how prices are reflected when the second season gets closer to being released.

  • ECooper

    Great article Deno. I really enjoyed the way you broke it down.

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    While I completely agree with your Preacher speculation I respectfully disagree on Outcast.

    Before the first show aired Cinemax had already renewed the show for a second season. I guess the execs where just that impressed with the show and the producers direction. I do think it suffers from not having a “Talking Outcast” type show on the air. People have begun to expect that since Talking Dead has done so well.

    I think the Outcast regular cover has almost topped out. I don’t think that will reach more than maybe $200 at the most. The SDCC Variant, the Skybound black and white and Blue line variants have a lot more room to grow. I’d expect the Blue line to reach $1000 eventually due to the limited number and based on the positive reviews of the show.

    just my 2c

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    I think Outcast 2 is vastly undervalued since the big bad guy for the comic appears in that issue and appears for the first time in tonights show. Outcast 1 regular cover 1st printing has a lot of room to grow. $24.95 seems dirt cheap for a kirkman comic that’s guaranteed a 2nd season. I think you need to give the show a few more episodes of new characters to increase the buzz for the comics.

  • Alondo

    Being a numbers guy, I articles that merge my love of data with my love of comics. Well done, sir.

  • Chrizm

    Deno! Fantastic piece, well written, very informative and with the data showing to back it up. Thanks for a great read, sir!

  • Skot Whitman

    Great article! Even, truthful and realistic analysis.

    Since the Turner Batman sold out so quick I’d still keep an eye on Aspen website. Who knows, they may dig up some other Turner art for something like a Supergirl variant.

  • Avatar

    Preacher is my favorite comic of all time, but this show has so far been a pale, tone-deaf, imitation. The Jessie-Cassidy relationship is the only part that really captures the comic’s unique feel. I was optimistic after hearing what a big fan Seth Rogen is and how he crusaded to get this made.. The show that I finally got to watch offers very little of the comic’s unique charm and it gets Tulip so so soooooo wrong. The script was crass, jokey, and poorly structured. If these first 2 eps are any indication of whats to come, I wouldn’t hold. Hope the show proves me wrong

    Outcast’s TV adaptation, however, get’s EVERYTHING right. It’s very well acted, especially by the lead actor and the reverend. It nails the feel of the comic, and is genuinely terrifying. Because it’s Cinemax, people are underrating it. What they don’t realize is that HBO owns Cinemax and even went so far as to air episodes of The Knick on their network, as well as on Cinemax. I expect them to do similar cross-promotion work with this show which is why I think folks are placing the ceiling a bit low for Outcast.

  • Scott Robertson
    Scott Robertson

    Nice article Deno! Can’t wait for the next one.

  • accustomfigures

    Great article. Thanks for taking the time.

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