Covering The Spread 20: Cycles

Hello CBSI, welcome to Covering the Spread on an all new night and time.  I wanted to take a brief moment before we get into my article to say I am very saddened by the news of Stan Lee's passing.  I grew up reading Stan's Soapbox and he is a man that I idolized in many ways.  I'm the first to say he wasn't perfect, but he was absolutely the greatest cheerleader Comic Books have ever had.  I would not be doing this and sites like this would not exist if it weren't for Stan Lee.

Rest In Peace

Moving On

I often say that I think some of the best spec is actually just what everyone else has moved on from.  There is a bit of a cycle that I think many of us in the community refer to a lot.  The way I see it when you are looking at a book that is being driven by media spec that cycle goes like this:

The Option/Announcement

There is a big surge of buying and a big price increase here.  It's important to remember though that an option is just that – an option.  The studio reserves the option to make something based on that property, but often nothing happens.  Also projects that are announced don't always see the light of day.  Remember when the Inhumans were going to have a Marvel movie?  I strongly advise against investing at this point because it's rare that the project will move forward.

The Big Nothing

Often this is all you'll see after an option. Nothing.  Eventually people who bought in during the option hype will give up and sell their copies.  A lot of the time people will forget the book ever got optioned!  This is a good time to buy books.  If you're really a believer in a book wait for the prices to go down in this period and buy it then.  If things progress you'll get a good deal and if not, at least you didn't pay peak prices.

Casting/Directing

This is the next logical step in the hype machine.  If a popular actor or director is at the helm of course there is a better chance your property will succeed.  But remember actors and directors sign on and leave projects very frequently.  This is what I would call good news if you already bought in and you'll see a slight price bump.  If the returns are worth it sell here, but never buy.

Production Lull

This period extends from that casting/directing hype up until filming wraps.  It sounds silly that a film being in production would be a lull but for the market this seems to be the case.  There's no flashy castings happening anymore and other than the occasional set photo not a lot for people to get hyped about.  This is my favorite time to buy, and the worst time to sell.

Trailer Hype

As Jim Cramer would say, “Sell, Sell, Sell!”  People get beyond excited about trailers, and I don't blame them.  You finally get to see a glimpse of this thing you've been waiting for all this time.  Prices really start to spike here.  For example this years Into the Spider-Verse movie.  Who gave a hoot about Peter Porker before they saw that trailer? But now, everyone wants one. If you've been playing the game right, you should sell here.  Never buy.

Release*

Once your project actually releases 99% of the time prices will go down.  People got so excited about the trailer that almost everyone who wants the book already has it.  So even if the movie is good you will see a decrease in prices.  Most people only want one copy so the demand just isn't there anymore.

Option B for release, the movie stinks.  Disillusioned investors will flood the market with the copies.  But just like in our other scenario, people got so excited about the trailer that almost everyone who wants the book already has it.  Except now there are less people who still want the book.  Prices are going way down.  This is why I recommend you sell at the trailer.

The Ship Has Sailed

You really held on too long.  The movie has come and gone.  The market is buzzing about new projects.  No one wants your 9.8 Kick-Ass 1 anymore.  Prices have gone down and usually they will keep headed that direction.

Captain America 6

So let's look at a book as an example.  Which part of the cycle are we in?  There was a new TV series for Disney+ so you might be tempted to say we're at the start.  Except this is a sequel.  Remember that when the original trailer hype came around the demand was probably met.  In the case of this movie (Winter Soldier) it was very well received. I would bet that most people still have their copy and aren't looking for more.
But what do the numbers say?

Without Pressing:

Average Raw Price 41.38
10 Copies 413.75
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 71.33
Total Costs 765.08

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2 Av Price(EST)
123.55 73.60 51.60 39
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
247.10 220.80 206.40 39 713.30

Well I do have to use an estimate for 9.2 prices so that could play a factor here.  No 9.2 sales in the past 2 years?  Anyway we're looking at an initial investment of $693.75 and we would be tossing $51.78 down the toilet.  That could just be me estimate for the 9.2 copy weighing us down but at best we would be breaking even.  I think this book is far from a good investment right now.  But who knows maybe once we hear that filming has started I will be interested again.

San Diego Comic-Con Comics 2

Alright one more example.  Where is this in the cycle? Well we recently had some casting news about this villain for the new Hellboy film that caused that book to spike after I had recommended it (yeah I'm tooting my own horn). Then there was some excitement around a poster released. Since then nothing.  So we should be in the production lull.  The movie is being released in April next year so I would expect a trailer to be coming out fairly soon; most likely in time to be shown in theaters for Christmas. (if they know what's good for them anyway) So is now a good time to buy?

Without Pressing:

Average Raw Price 235
10 Copies 2350
Shipping Fees (EST) 100
Grading Fees (EST) 180
Selling Fees 371.01
Total Costs 3001.01

 

9.8 Av Price 9.6 Av Price 9.4 Av Price 9.2 Av Price
722.90 334.99 264.63 200.84
2 Copies 3 Copies 4 Copies 1 Copy Total Value
1445.80 1004.97 1058.52 200.84 3710.13

So before anyone says it I'm well aware the odds of someone finding 10 raw copies of this issue are slim to none.  But this is still a good way to estimate whether not it's a good investment or not.  Also the two raw sales I was able to find were a little interesting.  I included one sale for $275 that bundled issue 1-3.  We also might be cheating on grading fees here but it's worth submitting under the modern tier and just seeing what happens.

We would have an upfront investment of $2630 and profits of $709.12.  That's a nice spread of +70.91 and an ROI of 27%.  That's actually a pretty low ROI but the price for the copy that wasn't bundled would've put us at 42% which is much better.  Either way I think it's safe to say it's worth the investment to buy raw copies of this book to grade.

Wrap Up

What does everyone think of the speculation cycle?  Is this the next TTOM? I would've loved to cover more books but I've kinda been hitting the media spec well hard in my past articles and I didn't wanna repeat books.  I may come back to this at some point next year to see how things are still holding up.  Thanks as always to the Comic Spec Guide app for all of our pricing data!

I'll see you all in a week!

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