Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Market Spotlight: Rarefied Air!

So, I'm doing my regular research and couldn't help but notice that a copy of Darwyn Cooke's "Retroactive" just closed for $740.01 on eBay a couple of days ago. 

WOW.  Yup.  That about it sums it up!

Needless to say this is pretty rarefied air for a collection of any type.  Yes, Omnibi and Absolutes often trade between $100-$200, and I've seen signed and hyper limited editions of hardcovers approach and eclipse the $500 mark.  But $740 is quite extraordinary, and this wasn't a case where somebody's unsupervised 5-year-old accidentally hit the "buy it now" button.  There was multiple player action on this auction, 41 bids worth.

The market for trades and hardcovers is certainly maturing, but I think this says more about the level of respect and admiration Darwyn Cooke generates than anything.  He's a brilliant artist and an interesting cat.

I've had dinner with Darwyn Cooke, and by that I mean I sat at a table near his and kept my damn mouth shut and tried to absorb whatever I could while he chatted with Steve McNiven and sipped his Manhattan.  I suppose my eavesdropping could be considered rude, but then again, when would I be privy to such secret knowledge again?  Not that he's unapproachable or anything - Darwyn Cooke is a gentlemen in the best and most old school use of the term.  But he's also a Man's Man, and one gets the feeling that while he isn't particularly interested in a fight...he isn't about to run from one, and he might know where a body or two are buried.

All of that mystique makes Cooke a fairly unique figure in the comics landscape, and we're certainly seeing that elevated status in the price of Retroactive.  Incidentally that book was a tiny little 48 page hardcover released by Brand Studio Press in 2008 with a suggested retail of $24.95.  That would have been a wise investment!

Try to flip me - I dare you!
It was a pretty huge week for bigger material across the board.  Absolute Authority Vol 1 was sometimes closing for around $250, and Absolute Danger Girl broke the $300 mark two days ago.  That Danger Girl is available for $75.00 if it's gathering dust at your local comic shop.

It's not unusual for the Marvel Omnibusseseses to do well in the secondary market, but I was seeing much higher action on the Uncanny X-Men Vol 1 Omnibus than I'm used to.  That was a $200 tome before Marvel went back to press on it.  Now I'm seeing that book approach those levels again, although results are bit all over the map.  (Also understand that there's a big difference between the X-Men Omnibus and the Uncanny X-Men Omnibus before you drop a bunch of money on the wrong book and curse my name)

Even stuff like Fantastic Four Vol 2 Omnibus started poking its head out again as a big earner.  The Brubaker Daredevil Omnibus does really well, as does Tomb of Dracula, particularly the first volume, even the first Iron Man Omnibus is starting to catch some heat.  It's almost easier to count the Omnibi that don't start earning within a year of their release.

And yet, super obvious material like Spider-Man Vol 1 and Wolverine just sit there and play dead at under cover.  Why is that???  Were there that many printed?  Does nobody like Spider-Man any more.  I don't get it, folks, I just report it.

- Ryan


Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure retroactive is at my LCS but after looking through amazon and ebay for anything darwyn cooke I can't find any listings for retroactive, has the market closed for this or should I still pick it up?


Chronic Insomnia said...

Well, the short answer is that I would go pick it up. The problem with saying anything definitive about Retroactive is that it's published by a teeny tiny outfit with a teeny tiny print run. So I don't have a lot of solid info about it, other than I just saw some version of it pop for $740.

Did it go for that outrageous sum because it was a special SDCC edition? Possible, I guess. But the fact that I can't find it on Addall.com tells me that the book is ridiculously rare in any form.

Brandstudios lists a $24.95 suggested retail. It's worth that just as a cool Darwyn Cooke art book, so you're investment is minimal, and your potential gains are through the roof.