Writer Wars Round 3: Tales from the Frontlines by Joseph Overaitis




Welcome follow collectors to my first report from the field.  After years away from the collecting comics a legal case brought me back to the hobby I love.  What I love about CBSI is the information that hobbyists and investors have at their disposal, but I wanted to go in depth on  some trends that are being reported by others in the field while finishing off each article with some insight to legal issues the the common collector seems to ignore.  

These are not small issues as the case that brought me back to the hobby involved a collection from a novice that one would expect to see on television. Tales from the Frontlines takes the reader into areas that are under reported but that should not be ignored to understand why some trends are occurring.  This will allow investors to better assess the market.


Report from the Frontlines … Live Auction in Michigan


As reported by CBSI contributor Ben Steiniger in the Top 10 (4/19/2019) one of the the hottest books we are seeing in the industry, Savage She Hulk #1 is the target of many investors.  At a live auction I attended ten days after his article appeared online I watched as 5 unslabbed copies graded by the auction house as NM sold for $550. 



Most collectors in the room were unaware of the Disney+ rumors and instead were focusing on potential MCU movies and the belief that She Hulk would appear in the next phase of the MCU!!  These speculators were looking for the next hot marvel property after missing out on Captain Marvel first appearances and this led to buyers paying double previous prices paid at this auction house for this issue.   

If the rumors are true and She Hulk is only a Disney+ show it could affect the long term investment of this book. Instead of waiting for a trailer, investors may be wise to check the Disney+ news because if the this show only appears on Disney+  this book may experience an unexpected downturn.

These very same investors were also targeting the first appearance of Carnage in high grade at this auction, but with much less hope of a high return on investment. They all believe that cinematic heroes are better to invest in than villains but hoped that with the Venom Movie this may be a safer investment  with a lower rate of return than speculating on the next great unknown MCU property like She Hulk.

Five days later at this very same auction house a four copy Lot of unslabbed Carnage 1st appearance in NM sold for $560.00 in a bidding frenzy ultimately won by an online bidder over an inhouse attendee. On 5/8/19 another bidding war started over the 1st appearance of Spider-Woman.  

Those I talked to at the auction seemed to be of the opinion that for the first time in years speculation into the MCU is now all over the place because no one knows where to put their money.

There was an interesting side note to this auction that should be pointed out.  A collection of early Buffy appearances was drawing interest from a collector I have identified as one being ahead of the curve in their comic book speculation.  The purchase price went under the radar for some but made others question if maybe this was a precursor to an increase in early appearances of Buffyverse characters.

 With news of a possible reboot is it time to start looking in those dollar bins for some hidden gems?


Finally some general personal non-legal advice to Investors from the desk of the this legal professional…


The case I handled that brought me back to the community is one that I have seen before on smaller scales, but this case was like one you would see on the silver screen. While I will not get into specifics, the story is one that should be feared by many collectors.  

Ask yourself what happens to your collection if you get sick or die. I have walked into stores that have attempted to buy collections that contained Hulk #181 and ASM #129 in VF  from widows and parents for pennies on the dollar.  



The case I was involved with made those incidents look like child’s play because the case had museum quality pieces and items you hear about but would not think you would ever see in person.  For non collectors who will handle those items at a time when you are sick or have passed on, they might only see your collection as junk.

A Frank Frazetta original drawing will be as valuable as a third graders refrigerator sketch and thus sold for a few dollars at an estate sale. As investors make it known to family or friends what should be done with your collection in the event that you are sick or have passed on so your valuable collection is not sold as trash at a garage sale.  

As investors many of you have collections that rival your stock portfolio but treat it as a hobby. You have used CBSI to find hidden treasures that most collectors dream of so why would you let that collection be not put to good use when you may need it the most. You would not trade a Batman #181 in NM for a cup of coffee, so why would you let your wife or parent make that same deal?



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    While it came out after the post deadline an interesting theory among buyers in the field was supported by the latest top 10. Buyers that are speculators have for the 1st time no real target for the next hot property in the MCU. Some out here believe that the newest X-Men film might have a MCU tie in the post credits and hoping to hit it big in a risky futures investment in X-Men 101. Others are taking the sound top 10 approach and buying key marvel books in an attempt to forego a quick buck for a safe investment with long term growth potential. Falcon and Black Widow early appearances are hot right now with this group, but for the first time buyers are forced to diversify their purchases and hitting all cosmic marvel characters. Everyone is quoting the latest rumor or easter egg reference to justify their investments. Characters rarely seen at auction or turning heads and bids are being made by some under the belief that someone else has gotten inside information that they too must act on. If I am chosen to write another article, and I hope so, I am attending an auction where some key DC Comics will go up for sale. I love writing about these auctions because I read the data but it is interesting to find out what is driving those purchases among buyers by actually talking with them. What I hope to report in the future is what one investor told me is the untapped market of DC Comics key books and how investors are so focused on certain books they are missing out on key books that are non MCU. He put me on to an auction where MCU books were being sold for top dollar and yet I saw DC Comics and Golden Age books go for next to nothing. Are we missing good investments away from the MCU? I will post in a week on this post in any event, but if I am selected I will have a new article for you on what is going on when the MCU competes with key non MCU books. We all see these books being sold but it is interesting to find out from bidders and buyers what they are thinking on the topic and by attending these live auctions and events I have been finding out information that I could never find out just through eBay sales.

  • accustomfigures

    Interesting article. I’m always telling people what to do for my dog if something happens to me, but I honestly never thought about my comics. In the spirit of posterity I’m going to say it here so it’s eternally in the internet books until Twitter explodes and kills the Earth…I want my comics sold by my brother for FMV, and the money given to my dog so she can eat cheeseburgers whenever she wants. And that is the last will and testament of Adam Crohn.

    • Martin Fairlie
      Martin Fairlie

      So noted!

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      For those that are interested….i will be attending a live auction this weekend. If possible i hope to post some interesting details about it…what is interesting about this format is when several hot key books go up for auction you truly see what people want and what surprisingly is unsold. Several months ago I seen a Hulk #181 go for a song and yet people were falling over themselves to hit any book related to the MCU. I might even do a post to see what potential readers would have bought and paid for books to see if what is happening out here on the frontlines is what CBSI readers would expect….

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    It’s been a joke in the community for a while but I hope my wife doesn’t sell my books based on what I told her I paid for them. No one really likes to contemplate illness or death but it would be wise to plan for the what-ifs just in case. Solid advice!

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