Writer Wars Round 3: Collector’s Corner by Inty M. Cubillo
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Let’s take a stroll down memory lane – The year is 1988 and it’s spring in San Francisco.
Growing up outside of the city, there was only one thing that any of us kids cared about and that was…Baseball. We played, watched, and more importantly collected baseball cards with every penny we could find. Why the fascination? It’s simple, the Bash Brothers! Having Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco playing in your city during their prime years created an unreal amount of excitement and speculation. Heck even as a 10-year-old boy, I was already speculating on being rich with my various Rookie baseball cards (too bad for the baseball card investment bubbles). Watching our local team the Oakland A’s head to 3 straight World Series was the height of my 10 year old life and all I could dream about was being the starting shortstop for the A’s! When we weren’t watching baseball on TV or sitting outside of the fields, baseball cards provided all of numbers and statistics I needed to keep me entertained.
Trips with my family were rare as we did not have a lot of money, however, during the Spring of 1988 we were lucky enough to make a trip out to Lake Tahoe. As we headed out of town, my parents stopped at a local super market in hopes of finding something outside of the baseball realm to keep me busy for the four-hour drive. Options were limited…..Mad Magazine’s were always fun, Activity Books took a while to complete…and then as if I had just seen that gorgeous girl that I would end up marrying…something caught my eye that would forever change my life….COMICS! That day marked the start of my love affair with Comic books and my farewell to baseball cards and other hobbies.
As I stood in front of the magazine rack I was presented with the following options:
Don’t get me wrong I had seen comics before, but they never caught my attention like this. It was love at first site. My first comic ever was Amazing Spider-Man 298! That white dynamic cover, striking art, black costume, and a story that left me wandering who’s black fist is that? I was hooked on that Amazing 298.
I recall reading it countless times during the car ride… especially because I could only convince my parents to buy me three comics at the time. I had read it so many times, I had moved on to spending hours trying to recreate the pages with my own stories and as a newbie, I had little to no knowledge on how to take care of my new precious mementos (might need to break this sentence up). My idea of preserving the Amazing 298 was to use other comics as the back and board, trying to keep the precious pages from collecting stains and new creases. My makeshift covering didn’t last as long as I had hoped but it didn’t matter because I was convinced my Amazing 298 had super powers as it survived camping trips, 10 year old hands, a move across country, and many sleepovers. Even though its not in pristine condition today, I still have the copy and see it as one of my cornerstones– my own personal Key Issue – I equate it to my Lucky Penny just like Scrooge McDuck.
Amazing Spider-Man 298 was the catalyst to my collecting habit for the better part of 30 years. I have been able to compile a respectable collection that has brought me a lot of enjoyment. The value of my collection can be measured in dollars and cents but it really is the intrinsic value that makes them worthwhile; one example being that they have set the stage for my daughters to be more open to reading at an early age, as they could enjoy the stories, art, and heroes all in one place.
What followed in Amazing Spider-Man after that March date was unlike anything we’d ever seen as Todd McFarlane and David Micheline took the character, villains, and his webs to new heights.
Since we love to speculate on comics, I wanted to show the finances of Amazing Spider-Man 298 and the subsequent McFarlane run.
|#||Cover Price||Estimated 9.8 Raw Copy|
A Raw 9.8 of that 31-year-old book purchased for $.75 easily will sell for at least $100! When you break down the math consider the following:
- That is an Annualized rate of return of 17% (That is AWESOME – and better than most stocks during that time frame)
- Imagine if you invested $100 in an investment in 1988 that provided you with a 17% return annually – your investment today would be $12,994.56
After Amazing Spider-Man 298, we were treated with what is the most prosperous run of Amazing in the last 30 years (excluding variants)…and maybe the most prosperous run of any title during that span (25 issues+).
McFarlane mania took hold and has never let go; these are still hot books and sell very well. Here are the fantastic returns from that run.
Prices from Overstreet Price Guide.
|#||Cover Price||Estimated 9.2 raw copy||Annual Rate of Return||Total Profit
- The entire McFarlane run lasted 29 issues and if all purchased at cover price (A BIG IF) you would have forked over $29.
- Those $29 dollars’ worth of books would now be valued at $975 according to Overstreet. This represents an annualized rate of return of 10.46% starting in March 1988. Amazing Spider-Man 298 came out in March 1988 and McFarlane’s last work was Amazing Spider-man 328 in Jan 1990.
- To put this into perspective if to took $1,000 and received the same return we would have made over $900k! Enough for some awesome Key issues and a little for retirement.
We love comics, that is a given and its why we come to CBSI. As a collector, I want to be able to tap into the community and write articles about how we buy, sell, track, showcase, hunt, and store our collections. My goal would be to create articles which measures the hard and soft costs of collecting while providing people with different views on best practices. My call to action to you dear reader is this…do you recall your first ever Comic Book? Did it become a key, do you still have it.