Today’s Comic Conundrum
*Warning contains some strong language
Greetings from the surf and turf of Del Mar, CA fellow CBSI members. There are many of you who have fond memories of the video game Bubble Bobble. Those dinosaur looking dudes would bounce on bubbles, some would pop, others would not, and many more would just reappear as they shoot them from their mouths. It’s funny, that’s a perfect analogy of today’s comic market.
It hit me like a ton of bricks watching the SDCC faucet turn on, and all hell broke loose. The books with cobwebs and 2 inches of dust on them suddenly became worth hundreds – yeah I am looking at you – Thor # 1 2014!?! Lady Thor, really? Maybe if Natalie could channel her inner Mathilda. Although she was only 13 at that point if you can believe it or not. So I highly doubt without a potted plant in one hand, and wearing a choker would we see that personality again.
I digress, let’s go back to the Bubble Bobble parallels. One bubble pops, another appears, one pop, two appear, rinse, repeat, recycle. Alright, so what am I getting at? Well, this may not be a popular opinion, but it’s one that needs to be discussed. There is no comic bubble that’s going to burst, because there are numerous bubbles that pop everyday, only to be followed by another one appearing.
Big picture translation – People hurry to get that bubble (a comic) only for it to pop (price goes back to reality) and the begins chase another…
If you sit back and analyze numbers and trends right now in our hobby it would astonish you just how out of whack things are during this time. A book gets hot, blows up to ridiculous levels, and then crashes relatively soon after, leaving many with lost profits. On a micro level it’s like a mini comic bubble bursting daily. I can promise you folks wait on these announced books from SDCC as example a month or so and watch the difference in price.
Why must there be a such an obsession to own things right away when they happen? In playing the game this way, it’s worse odds that walking into a casino and plunking down your hard earned money. Don’t believe me? Here’s the stats breakdown of gaming. As an example, before you even wave your hand with the intention of asking for another card playing Blackjack, the house as a 20% edge on you to win.
In keeping with this, you really think that there’s better odds on buying comics with the way things are and the buying cycles? Nope. So odds worse than gambling and it people continue to throw money at TMNT 95s at quadruple the market? Come on ladies and gents, be smarter than that.
FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
FOMO – F*cked Over More Often
I have brought this up before in previous articles, but it’s worth mentioning again.
A: How many books in the last 3 – 5 years have gone up / held value?
B: How many books are a “modern key”?
Answer A: Less than 1% of the total market
Answer B: Less than 1% of the total market as there had not time within the panels to say with absolute certainty it’s a Modern key.
Are these odds that if you knew up front were the potential payouts you would place money on? NO!
Let me be clear, this isn’t a dissertation on if comics are a bad investment, or it’s all smoke and mirrors. All I am simply stating is if you are a seller, more power to you. Get all you can. However, if you're a buyer, don’t get suckered into FOMO pricing.
It’s astonishing we get hypnotized in this Land of the Lost loop where we don’t learn from our mistakes and the same thing happens over and over again. The problem lies in there is no Uncle Jack to save us like Marshall, Will, and Holly had during their time with Grumpy, Chaka, and the Sleestak & Co.
There will undoubtedly be the questions such as “What about this variant”, or “How about NYX # 3, CM 17, or UF4?!” The “this variant” argument is part of that 1% we talked about above and really is more of a one off if you want complete transparency. Ok and the other books listed.
One out of the three is a 2nd print, and the other is 1:25 with again a smaller run. With the demand created for these books, it inevitably drives prices with an already smaller pool of books. The other NYX # 3 has a huge following, movie, and big time publicity under its, whoops I mean her belt.
It’s been flat or descending in value as of late too: With all of that said, that may be the one that stands the test of time as a true 1:1 comic. Finally, even with an average of 200+ titles that come out each week multiplied by weeks and months of just one calendar year, well you get the point.
Your odds aren’t much less than a winning lottery ticket just without the financial gain.
This is going to be one of the most transparent things that will be discussed on CBSI, so pay careful attention. The majority of us stumbled upon, or were referred to this website for comic knowledge.
In addition, many just want their info handed to them to help with purchase decisions. There are a pile of inactive accounts that don’t even muster up a +1 for a piece written or info given.
Yet this is okay, we all have done this throughout our internet days. The World Wide Web, is free and nothing is expected from anyone who uses its facilities. The question I have is why is it so easy to get data from the Top 10 to help facilitate the buying of comics, but very view listen to the advice given on things that should not be done, or taken with extreme caution?
Those topics like all the aforementioned within this article fall on deaf ears. “Hey buy this book, it’s hot” and the sheep from the outside will come out in full force”. Yet, “Hey, please be patient with your buying or don’t fall into the volatility traps” and it’s crickets from the gallery?
It’s easy for all of us to boast and throw up pictures from in the forums of recent purchases and gleam with pride. “Here’s my books I got and probably overpaid or exaggerated on just what the real price was for the transaction.” However, no one is taking panoramic shots of their long boxes riddled with bad spec to show the masses and saying “See this is how it’s done.
This is the way you throw away money, blow income from other books, or go into debt.” No, those stories are not told, yet those are the majority, not the minority, if the real truth be told. The time is now to get real people. The do’s in this hobby are no more valuable than the do-nots.
We have a valuable community here with some of the best minds in the spec world. Use all resources in place to better yourself and others around you in the comic community.
Failure teaches you in ways success can't. It shapes us as people. It makes you (me) resilient. If we can cultivate a stronger relationship with failure, we can make success that much closer as a cohesive unit within the confines of CBSI.
In conclusion, I go back to what I started with in this article – Bubble Bobble. Please etch that in your mind when you see eBay sales and transactions lighting up the scoreboard like paparazzi cameras. It’s just like bubbles bursting and new ones forming only to reoccur over and over. We can chase those bubbles like those dino sprites, or there can be discipline showed to stop the madness.
There is always two sides to every coin. In this market if you can buy low or at cover / ratio, there is a tremendous amount of money that can be made. We have all tried to rationalize why people spend the money they do on books. However, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.
As a seller get the cash while you can, even if this is expendable money for others. At some point the carrot will be dangled in another direction and the non enthusiasts will move on from comics. Let’s just not go giving our profits back to the de facto casino known as eBay. Yes, play with house money, but just don’t hand it over to pay for that new floor of rooms, or slots with hasteful decisions.
I will close with a quote from the 1988 film Colors which still holds up to this day. Yes, even Don Cheadle as the infamous Rocket looks badass! That and his iconic Buck Swope role in Boogie Nights are two of his very best!
Anyways, there is an exchange between Sean Penn and a rookie cop towards the end of Colors. It sums up a good way to look at this crazy hobby.
There's two bulls standing on top of a mountain. The younger one says to the older one: “Hey pop, let's say we run down there and f*ck one of them cows”. The older one says: “No son. Let’s walk down and f*ck 'em all”.
These two were quite a pair in Colors. The chemistry was spot on…
We can be running here, there, and everywhere like those dudes from Bubble Bobble with no plan in place. Then there’s the smart play of taking our time, acting with patience and focus. It’s up to us to decide
It always goes back to a few things:
- Buy what you like, there’s no way to go wrong with that
- Show patience, the FOMO leading to an actual comic of sustainability will only occur maybe 1% of the time. These books will come down. Yes, even Thanos 13 has shown its mortality for instance. Very, very few are bulletproof
- Stick with proven books of value, even in lesser grades. These will always move, Flip and use the revenue for higher grades or other books.
- Monitor the market and keep the sheep noise at bay. Do your homework, it’s your money remember that!
- Have fun and enjoy the hobby. Sometimes we all take in too seriously. “It’s F’in paper for God’s sake as my wife likes to say” LOL!
Feel free to drop a comment, or two. As always, thank you for reading and investing your time.