About that Impending Crash…


It’s hard to be a comic book speculator these days. Folks love to make extra dollars every week on the latest hot book. Problem is, there usually isn’t one, not every week anyways. People seem anxious, desperate even, for a hot book. Is this realistic? Is this healthy for the hobby? I don’t have a ton of new insight, just my observations from week to week.

In the last year or so, we have started to see a glut of “manufactured collectibles” in the form of store variants. It was cool at first, when it was a quarterly thing. I loved the Dell Otto “Pink Harley” as well as the Dell Otto Iron Fist, there were others that I didn’t care for so much, but, whatever, it was all fun and the Harley book hit some uniquely high prices.

Fast forward to today and it’s a freaking jungle glut of new Venom covers, homage covers, store variants, etc. every single week. (I debated putting graphics here to illustrate my contempt, but I am not going to dedicate time to it – just not worth it.) It used to annoy me, but I’m getting numb to it and I don’t think I’m alone. Personally, I’m picky as hell and I’m not real impressed with what is coming down the pike week in and week out. I think variants can be fun, we all do, but when you force feed all of this product it gets nauseating. Things have to happen organically and glut won’t sustain itself. Comparisons to the 90s, talk of the impending market crash, etc. are starting to make the rounds.

Having said all that, I’m optimistic. While “spec talk” is, frankly, boring me lately, there are a ton of books worth reading out there. Monstress, Wonder Woman, Black Hammer, Slots, Southern Bastards, Hillbilly, Ice Cream Man, Kill or Be Killed, Redneck and Thor have all been tremendous titles and there are a lot more I’m leaving out.

So, yeah, I think for folks who are reading comics there is a lot to enjoy. Again, I’ve not said anything new here, but I think you can sense my enthusiasm. So here’s a bit of a PSA: grab a beverage of your choice (“Comics and beer, y’all!”) and read a comic today! For those of you who are pure speculators, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know when I say it’s a jungle out there.


I will leave you with some bullets:


  • I think talks of an impending market crash are, quite frankly, wrong.


  • I do, however, think folks who are desperate for that “hot” book every single week are going to be disappointed. These things happen organically, there is no gravy train.


If you have read this far, thank you; I don’t have any expert knowledge…but I have been out there for a good 10-15 years buying weekly books and enjoy any discourse.


  • Gary Nusser

    I totally agree Dan. I think with the guidance of groups like this one and others that highlight the egregious practices of some companies and stores, we are actually working tord preventing what some see as an impending crash.

  • Skot Whitman

    I’d agree with this for the most part. I believe change is coming… weather it’s a full blown crash or not remands to be seen. I think there will probably be a crash of the manufactured collectables side of things. As we’ve seen for the past few years, on the store exclusive side, there’s waves of new people buying in when more experienced collectors turn their sights on other books.

    The nice thing about any type of crash is it weeds people out, but the comic industry doesn’t die as a result because the people who love actually reading comics keep it a float.

  • Avatar

    Sometimes comics give me a headache … fantastic article 🙂 ……. too much of anything and and overwhelming sea of options of materials variants sucks … “organic” is the key word …. nice commentary on something that can transcend the comic book world/market

  • Avatar

    There are 1:100 variants that sell for a handful of bucks… “Chase” tired of that world…. I’ve bought store variants because of emotion (not good for a buyer) and the Fear of Missing out…. Those store variants flooded the market and are now selling for less on ebay than what I bought them for originally from the online retailer…. I don’t do that variant nonsense anymore unless its cover price cheap…. remember when comics were affordable… a stack of 4-5 comics is nearly $25 with tax

    • dpiercy

      Yes, price points concern me. My stack of 5 books cost me almost $20 with a 20% discount last week and I can easily buy 10-12 books on any given Wednesday. Everything is getting more expensive, though.

      There have been a couple of times when I have brought a car load of kids with me on a weekend trip to the LCS and they are just mesmerized to be there…just looking through everything. Gives me hope and is really cool.

  • Earlybird

    A crash is coming! and it’ll be of the store variant, stores will have bundles they can’t shift, as more and more collectors become tired of the continuous multi variants, and excessive titles, people will not sustain the cost for to long, we are already seeing people move onto the next variant to chase, after only a week, and the books that were hot a week earlier, starting to sit on EBay, take Black Panther #1 for instance, a shed load of covers, that killed the In-Hyuk Lee ratio Variant which to me is a beast, classically over ordered. And Spider-man 798 speaks for itself, an issued that had key spec potential killed off with overkill ( the story in itself was good)
    I understand publishers have got to make money, and stores too, but I hope we get back to an A + B cover with some ratios thrown in, and get back the collectibility, because it’s that what has kept comic books alive.
    Wow apologies for the rant 🙄😉

  • Earlybird

    BTW…. Thanks Ben great read, and great work on CBSI , appreciate all your time and efforts. 👍👌

  • Avatar

    As I stated before ..I dont blame the stores and the people doing store variants..I blame Marvel for allowing them to get the incentives ..Its killing the product ..I love variants but if a store has done a variant for a certin book..i dont even go to chase the incentives cause i know i can get it in a year when someone has a blow out sale of stuff they could not sell when it was hot

    • Avatar

      I’m with you and I blame marvel for letting everyone do these. I think that is the only way they’re keeping up with other publishers in sales right now though so until people stop buying them they will keep allowing them. I would like to say that will be soon but I think with the shift to artists just drawing covers and selling them as variants I think it might be awhile. There are a lot of people buying those because they want to support their favorite artist and in many ways I understand that.

  • Avatar

    Great article and it’s true: a crash just might be lukrking.

  • Avatar

    I’ve always treated spec differently than my personal collecting. I’m sort of new to the spec game I suppose but right now I view it simply as an enterprise to find my personal collection and maybe if I’m lucky make a couple bucks.

    I think in upcoming years we may see more of shift than an industry wide crash. Store variants, books getting 13 covers, and all that will lessen if or more likely when fatigue for all the movie and shows sets in. Until then I’m riding the wave fueled by this content. Lol

  • Avatar

    I recommend East of West paired with Yuengling.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.