2019 New York Comic Con Dealer Summary
As a dealer, my aim is to give you all unbiased raw data and observations for each show I attend as a dealer. New York Comic Con took place October 3rd to 6th at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, New York.
1. Layout of the Show: New York Comic Con (NYCC) is known as the super bowl of all comic cons for dealers, this year’s con was a massive show with 250,000 plus attendees. The show attracted tons of super-hero fans and anime fans and many trekked across the country and also from Canada, England and other parts of Europe to attend.
The show sported some of the best comic dealers from Torpedo Comics, New Force Comics, Superworld Comics and even Nerdy Girl. NYCC exclusives were all the rage for comics along with Funko Pop and Entertainment Earth selling exclusive pops, Transformers and WWE figures.
The showroom was so big that I thought I was at San Diego Comic Con. It was very overwhelming to be part of such a big spectacle. We did our best to bring our A game as this year was our 1st year dealing at this show. There is so much to go through with this show and with the climate change of the comic book market.
Behind the scenes photo for setup day
2. Pre-Show Sales: The day before the con, the hall was in a frenzy state with many vendors trying to set up in time for opening day on Thursday. We settled in at around mid-afternoon to open up for vendors. Our biggest sale of the day was an Avengers 48 CGC 9.0 White Pages for $1050 to a California dealer.
Couple other vendors almost pulled the trigger on it too but they felt it’s a trendy book that has since cooled a little since Kit Harrington was announced to play Black Knight. We also sold a couple solid Golden Age Pre-Code Horror books such as Chamber of Chills 6.
Overall we made $2,000 in sales pre-show and things looked positive going into the 4 day show.
Our NYCC Exclusive buys
3. NYCC Exclusives: Going into the show I knew I had to make up some of my overhead costs by chasing some of the comic exclusives with good speculation. My 3 targets were Spawn 300 Gold/Silver Edition, Once And Future Gold and Silver Crown covers and The Plot 1 Gold cover.
Spawn and the Once and Future had some dynamite returns from the SDCC exclusives and Plot had been getting some heat because of the potential of a great story arc. I tried to lineup at the Image booth for the Spawn exclusive and it seemed like 100 at the start of the show.
I ended up getting a Plot 1 Gold Edition (Vault Comics), Plot 1 Stephen King Homage Variant (Vault Comics), a Once and Future Gold Crown (Boom Studios) and lastly a Spider-Man 1 Black & White Mary Jane Virgin Maer variant at the Comic Mint booth. Was able to meet the owner Steven Finkel and they had a special that if you spent $100 you get a free Batman anniversary pop or a Harley Quinn PX Previews Pop.
The staff was very collector friendly and allowed me and others to pick through comics that were in the most mint condition. That was an extra bonus as some vendors these days at cons have a take it or leave it approach to their variants.
If I wanted to sell from the show, I could have flipped the Plot 1 Gold for $200, Plot 1 Stephen King for $75, Once and Crown Gold for $50 and Spider-man 1 Black & White Mary Jane Virgin Maer for $50.
We had this Avengers 8 CGC 9.4 that cannot be found on the market on our wall
4. The Chase for Big Keys at NYCC: Thursday and Friday were big days for collectors searching for big keys. The vendor feedback throughout the hall was that most people were scanning walls for grails and big keys only.
The show did not disappoint as there were copies of Detective Comics 27, Action Comics 1, Fantastic Four 1 and other grails gracing people’s walls. It was enough to many any hardcore fan think they were in comic heaven.
For us we had tons of action with our bigger keys and on the 1st day we hit a deal with an Incredible Hulk 1 FR/GD Restored in raw condition for $3,400. The second biggest book we sold was an Incredible Hulk 181 CGC 9.0 that we priced at $6300.
We also sold a hard to find Ghost Rider 2 CGC 9.8 priced at $2,000, 1st Daimon Helstrom who just casted Tom Austen to play him on the Hulu show. The other rare keys I had were seven slabbed Eternals 1 30 Cent Price Variants and two slabbed Eternals 2 30 Price Variants and those were all gone on Sunday to new owners. So why the chase for big keys?
I believe if people are going to spend for comics over guide then they are not going to spend over guide for keys that may lose heat in the long run. Lots of buyer’s remorse on people who bought softer keys like Jimmy Olsen 134s and Teen Titans 44s.
Times Square, eve of Joker Movie
5. Joker Spec Hunt: The Joker movie had a lot of hype going in to the show. We were asked a lot for Batman 251, the cover with the playing card and also a ton of inquiries for Joker 1 from the 1975 series. A con goer later told me copies were flying out and were selling for over $100 online. Pretty cool to see a bump in a book that I previously did not think would. Collectors were also seeking Joker Golden Age covers too.
6. New Sony/Disney Partnership Ripple Effect: When Sony decided to break off movie negotiations with Disney, I got a lot of feedback from collectors who thought it was bad news for Spider-Man keys. People still projected growth for the bigger keys but still wanted to tread lightly and see if a Spider-Man universe was enough on its own to justify spending big bucks on the major keys.
Now fast forward to NYCC, with Sony/Disney announcing a new partnership and it looked like all weekend that people had an urgency to see what Spider-Man keys they could find. At our booth we had a consigned Amazing Fantasy 15 CGC 1.5 for $12,500 and it was our most asked about book.
Another key that people asked about was our Spider-Man 31 CGC 9.2 as people have gotten wise to the fact it’s undervalued and some people knew that a CGC 9.4 just sold for $6,300. We did get a serious offer for it but not enough to move the needle for me to sell it.
I do think it’s on track to being on the same level as some of the 1st villains for Spidey so I was not in a rush to let it go easily.And you certainly can’t go wrong with double spec on 1st appearance of Harry Osborn and Gwen Stacy.
Of the smaller spidey keys we did sell 2 minty copies of Amazing Spider-Man 210, 1st Madame Web which many believe will help the Spidey universe unite with the MCU in a future story arc. At the time these books saw spikes to sales over $250 in a CGC 9.4 slab. Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 was also a heavily asked about book.
Venom Is Back!
7. Venom Is Back: A combination of a so far successful Absolute Carnage run and with rumors that Venom may crossover with the MCU has helped ignite another rush on Venom. The 1st two days I had a lot of con goers checking out our Amazing Spider-Man 300 NM-, 1st Venom.
Many people were trying to get it at a smaller bargain and we even had female collectors checking out our copy. Late Friday we ended up selling it for $365, which I thought was a very fair price. We also sold an Amazing Spider-Man 298 in NM+ and an Amazing Spider-Man 299 in NM+, 1st Eddie Brock and 1st Cameo of Venom.
Even his 1st full cover sold, Amazing Spider-Man 316 in VF/NM for a bargain at $55. As mentioned before in my C2E2 article in 2018, general public seems very intrigued with the anti-villain known as Venom and for some reason the character resonates with all ages and genders.
Not only Spawn variants blew out but other Image covers were
8. Dawn of Spawn: The dawn of Spawn was here at NYCC and quite literally as I met a fan who waited in line at midnight and through the crack of dawn to get buy both Spawn 300 Gold and Silver NYCC Editions.
He was fortunate to grab a Silver edition but the Gold had sold out. He did however convince another person who had an extra copy to sell him a Gold edition and Spawn Q-Egg for $200 and he ended up getting both signed by Todd McFarlane. The gold and silver editions were the talk of the con.
As mention we were not able to land either one but we did get a little bit of the Spawn heat and sold 3 minty copies of Spawn 221, 224, and 230. One attendee told me they thought Spawn is so hot that it could remain hot until the movie, which I could believe could happen.
To help fuel the buzz at NYCC Todd McFarlane made a rare appearance which he had tons of young fans and adults waiting in line to meet him and get a signature and photo.
Benny Powell with one of his covers
9. Meeting with the Co-Creator of White Widow, Benny Powell: The NYCC hall had an awesome section for Indie publishers and small press which included Absolute Comics Group and Scout Comics. I decided to see what other exclusives I could get and browsed around when I met Benny Powell, co-creator of White Widow.
Wanting to get an insight on what it took to publish an indie book, I told him I was doing an article on CBSI about vendor experiences at NYCC. He was more than happy to give me an inside scoop on how White Widow and starting the Absolute Comics Universe began.
Coincidentally, Benny told me that he, Co-Creator Jamie Tyndall and their team got on the map one year ago at NYCC. It started with a grassroots campaign on Kickstarter and people got excited on their spin of a superhero with spider-like abilities.
Fusing a hero with web slinging nano technology, science, a thrilling story and sexy covers won over many fans and it was in turn a huge hit at NYCC in 2018. Benny had told me that his team were nervous to start the comic and tempered expectations and said if they sold 2,000 copies it would be a success.
Now a year later Benny was proud to humbly tell me that they sold 65,000 copies of #1 with all covers combined with #2 selling 75,000 copies. Wow. Still wanting to stay hot and in trend with audiences they decided to hire Genzoman to give some covers a Japanese anime feel to them.
Seem like the response at NYCC was good as his variant sold out along with Jamie’s as well. It was pretty cool to get some insight on what it takes to have a successful comic book series and it seems like no small feat at all.
10. Giant-Size X-Men 1: One book to keep eyes on at the show was Giant-Size X-Men 1, one of the hottest books all year. At C2E2 literally almost every vendor had sold out of copies but in mid-summer it had dropped in price and cooled off but another spike had the book projecting upwards in recent days.
Dealers knowing this going in ramped up prices all throughout the hall by around 20%. My neighbor with the same exact grade as we did, a CGC 6.5 was $2200. But he told me he had to have it high because he had bought it for $1700. Many attendees told me our price was the best for a 6.5 at $1700, which was $50 more than the last sale.
By Sunday, one lucky person bought out 6.5 copy Another X-Men key that was hot was X-Men 129, 1st appearance of Kitty Pryde and a fan wasted no time to grab a copy for $100 at VF- condition.
11. Werewolf By Night 32: The second hottest book of the year was Werewolf By Knight 32 has seemed to hit a plateau that weekend. Not many con goers asked me for that book and some had said they were tired of seeing Moon Knight keys on walls. I did not see the book sell much around the hall too.
Crazy how the book had the second comings of Hulk 181 and has now cooled off. Collectors and vendors have told me they think the book has hit a ceiling but there was potential for the character to hit the movies as all Disney + characters can crossover as Kevin Feige said Scarlet Witch will be in Doctor Strange 2.
This OWL card was used a lot at my booth
12. Page Quality Mattered: There’s been much debate whether page quality matters in forums and such but for the 1st time in my comic career I was asked numerous times about page quality on my raws and slabs.
Page quality was a good negotiation point to buyers looking to crack and re-submit potential upgrades. It was also a point for people who just want the best quality pages for a book they desire. It was a good thing we had a lot of books with white pages and off-white pages.
Once In a Lifetime Buy of Mad Magazine 1 – 25
13. Deals at The Show: There were some pretty good deals at the show but you had to dig for them. Tomorrow’s Treasures had a 50% off sale of several short boxes of Golden Age Comics. One lucky person found a Wonder Woman 25 for $50 and I myself scored a Chamber of Chills issue for $60.
One of my helpers bought a 1 to 25 run of Mad Magazine for $2300 in mid-grade or higher, what a deal of a life time. The Mad Magazine alone is worth about $2000. My biggest buy at a booth was Four Color Comics 178 CGC 6.5, 1st Uncle Scrooge priced at $875.
Best Comics had a possibly 50 short boxes or high grade Bronze Age books for up to 50% off of guide. I ended up getting a fun Vault of Evil and a Shanna the She-Devil Issue. My cherry on the top buy was a Marvel Premiere 15 NM-, 1st appearance of Iron Fist for $160.
Loads of fans lining up to meet J. Scott Campbell
14. J. Scott Campbell: J Scott Campbell somehow remains hot every year and I noticed at this show there were a lot of fans were seeking Amazing Spider-Man 601, 606 and 607. I even had female collectors wanting big copies.
I had a feeling of this going in as I saw an Amazing Spider-Man 601 in FN condition go for $115 on the bay. This is may be a true alert to all fans that there could be another rush on these copies.
I noticed a lot of fans buying limited edition Spawn prints and also their Spawn variants. I myself was guilty in indulging and got a Black Cat Noir print.
15. Buying For Next Year: This seemed to be the method that many were employing. Like I said, the hardcore and heavily vested collectors were trying to buy big keys with staying power.
But there were also softer keys like Thor 337, 1st Beta Ray Bill, Mister Miracle 4, 1st Big Barda and Amazing Spider-Man 210 that people were buying from us and other vendors all weekend.
16. NYCC Myths Upheld and Debunked: NYCC Sunday Myth was upheld as collectors were trying to aggressively wheel to deal. Most of these collectors chose to attend Thursday and Friday to see what they can get, skipped Saturday for buying but returned for Sunday deals.
Just about every dealer I was friends with told me that Sunday was crazy busy. That one day we sold the Incredible Hulk 181, a Giant Size X-Men 1, all 9 Eternals 30 Cent Price Variants, Ghost Rider 2 CGC 9.8 and both our Fantastic Four 48s.
Another myth I was told by many vendors that NYCC is a seller’s show. Name your price and you will get it. Until I did the show, I did not know what to expect so I took that as a side note. Now that NYCC is done I must say that myth is really a myth at least for the comic vendor’s side of the table.
Thankfully we were prepared and did not upcharge too bad and presented very fair deals for the rest of our keys. That being said, we broke our company record of selling comics at a con. Woohoo. The other vendors that had fair deals also did very well too. I learned later that a vendor with good prices got bought out of all his wall slabs.
This guy had some major keys too. Madness! Other vendors with higher prices did not do as well and are likely feeling the effects of a changing con market that is gearing more for towards fairer prices at GPA.
Hasta La Vista NYCC
17. Conclusion: This NYCC was a huge success and I am very thankful to make it in the hall as a comic vendor. It was a year-long process collecting keys for this show and we were glad we did not disappoint buyers with our collection. NYCC exclusives were super-hot and marketed properly so attendees knew what to buy ahead of time. The covers seem to get more unique and better. The Strike Force 1 with Spider-Woman looked stunning with the transparent cover going through the comic. The vendors overall from comics to toys stepped up their game with hot products and the fans stepped up their game with hundreds of people waiting outside like it was the eve of Black Friday. Can’t wait until next year. Lots of true collectors coming in looking for high grade silver and bronze comics key or not. Our next and last Dealer Summary of this year will be for Baltimore Comic Con. Let’s see what else may be hot buy going into 2020.
Notable Purchases: Detective Comics 1000 (#27 homage) signed by Alex Ross, Fantastic Four Annual 6 CGC 7.0, Four Color Comics 178 CGC 6.5, Marcel premiere 15 NM-, Marvel Spotlight 5 CGC 5.0, Marvel Spotlight 5 CGC 5.5, Walking Dead 19 CGC 9.6 4 x Signed (Kirkman, Danai. Adlard, and Moore)
Notable Sales: Amazing Spider-Man 300 NM-, Avengers 48 CGC 9.0, Chamber of Chills 6 VG+, Eternals 1 30 Cents CGC 8.0 (3 copies), Eternals 1 30 Cents CGC 7.5 (4 copies), Eternals 2 30 Cents CGC 8.0, Eternals 2 30 Cents CGC, 6.5, Fantastic Four 48 CGC SS Sinnott 2.0, Fantastic Four 48 CGC 2.5, Fantastic Four 49 FN-, Incredible Hulk 1 FR/GD restored, Ghost Rider 2 CGC 9.8, Incredible Hulk 181 CGC 9.0, Marvel Super-Heroes 11 VF/NM, Savage Tales 1 VG/FN, Strange Tales 158 CGC 8.0, X-Men 4 CGC 4.0