Friday, October 21, 2011

Market Spotlight!

Thank you, FallCon!

I posted that picture of Fantastic Four # 45 not because of some Market Spotlighty kind of called shot (although like most key silver age books, it's certainly not a bad investment) but because I picked this up at FallCon last weekend, and I'm absolutely in love with it.

Comic Conventions, even ones in Minnesota, are still great places to find crazy good deals if you have discipline and a plan.  I found this book in a dealers "Everything in this box 50% off!" box, and the comic itself is somewhere between Fine and Very Fine condition, leaning heavily toward Very Fine.  Current Overstreet value?  Somewhere between $100-$150, depending on what grade you actually decide the book is in.  I bought it for $35, and couldn't be happier.  It's a nice book, complete with that intoxicating "old comic book" smell. 

What else did I get that I adore from that trip?  I bought a copy of Batman # 244 in Fine condition for about market value, (I paid $26 for it) but to me that's still a steal.  It's my favorite of the Neal Adams Batman covers - how are you ever going to go wrong with shirtless Batman?  I also picked up a very well loved (I still put it at VG) copy of Detective Comics # 371.  I don't know why, but I'm suddenly interested in Batgirl and Supergirl.  I could not rationalize this if you gave me a week to think about it and a cash prize.  Sometimes these things just happen.

So at the moment, my new pet project is to score a copy of Detective Comics # 359 (Batgirl's first appearance) in around VF condition for something approximating current market value.  It's not as easy to do as you might think.  Old books, particularly old DC books, are exceptionally tough to find in even Very Fine.  And when somebody has a book like that, and they know they can't easily replace it, they charge a premium.  Some would say I have a skewed view of market value, and that I should just pay up for it.  Poppycock.  What I'm seeing is a lot of "Buy It Nows" priced over the moon, waiting for a sucker.  I'm not a sucker.  I will find that book at a reasonable price, because I always win in the end.  It just takes diligence and discipline.

So why Detective # 371? It's an early Batgirl cover, and what a delicious piece of Americana it is!  "I've got a bigger problem, gents, a run in my tights!"  Absolutely priceless.  If you just love comics, you can buy fantastic issues like this dirt cheap in lower grades.  I bought my copy of Detective 371 for $4.  That's a bargain, for sure.  There was a time when I would blanch at anything under VF and consider it roach.  These days, I don't mind as long as I'm not paying up for it.

I've even turned the corner on writing on books.  That used to be a deal breaker for me if the book was marked in any way.  Now it almost seems to add character if it's not overpowering.  Nah, these days my deal breakers are tears and books that are loose/detached at the staples.  If the book has been folded in half and creased all to hell, my finer sensibilities are not affected.  But if there's a 1/4" piece missing from the corner of the cover, or the comic is detached at the top staple, it no longer feels like a comic book to me.  I'm not saying it's rational, I'm just saying that's how my brain works at the moment.  Anywho.

What's drawn my attention this week? 

Catwoman Vol 2: Crooked Little Town
ISBN:   1401200087
SRP:       $14.95
Amazon Min:     $30/$57

I've been watching this simmer for some time now, and I'm not 100% sure that I trust it yet, never having made a profitable sale on it to this point.  But it's got a couple of things going for it, not the least of which are scripts by Ed Brubaker and pencils by Darwyn Cooke.  This book is never going out of style!

The character also has a little heat on it what with the oh so scandalous Bat-sex going on with the new 52 and all.  I don't think that's what is causing the book to pop, but it certainly isn't going to hurt it.  I would advocate picking up a copy in NM or better shape, even at full retail.  I'd be a little more leery of the gently used copies, and as always, watch for new editions to crush your profits instantly.  I could definitely see DC going back to press on this at some point.

Wonder Woman:  Warkiller
ISBN:    1401227791
SRP:       $14.99
Amazon Min:    $13/$30

This is what happens when absolutely everything goes into collected form.  Nothing wrong with Gail Simone's Wonder Woman, and there will always be a niche audience for any work, including this one.  But Wonder Woman was not exactly burning up the charts in floppy form, and needless to say the collection was not mega-ordered.  Or ordered at all in most cases.

The result is that while Warkiller looks less enticing on paper, I trust this more than I trust Crooked Little Town.  There are about twenty total copies of this available on Amazon, and the book is just over a year old.  I can't see DC going back to press on this, because I can't imagine it was much of a moneymaker the first time.  My guess is that this is a book relatively easy to sell at $50 by this time next year...if you can find it.

Sleeper:  Batwoman Elegy HC
ISBN:  1401226922
SRP:     $24.99
Amazon Min:  $22/$25

This one's not quite ripe yet, but I can see the kaboom coming and I wouldn't wait.  To be clear, we're talking about the deluxe hardcover edition, not the soft trade paperback.

It's sitting right at about retail these days, but the supply is drying up, and this has "major earner" stencilled on it in bold type.  Has any artist been as highly regarded as JH Williams?  Kirby for sure, maybe Neal Adams.  I just can't imagine a world in which this book isn't easy to sell at $60 or more in the next six months.

Pick it up when you can find it sealed, while you can.  I don't do called shots often, but I'm very comfortable with this pick.

Deeper Cheaper Sleeper:  Green Lanten # 54

Green Lantern # 54 is widely available in dollar boxes across this nation.  It's on my radar now because I think the concept of  "women in refrigerators" is (for better or worse) deeply ingrained in the comic book psyche, and it all started here, and I don't think the world at large has caught on about how historically important this comic really is.

Women in refrigerators is a buzz phrase, and a movement with plenty of traction in today's comics landscape.  The reason you hear as much whinging about the DCnU as you do is directly attributable to that concept, and it all started when poor Ron Marz thought he'd add some drama to GLs life having him stumble upon his girlfriend's corpse next to the milk.

Think about it - is this comic any less relevant than Iron Man # 128, "Demon in a Bottle"?  The cover is surely more memorable, but in terms of its impact on comics, I think Green Lantern # 54 has it crushed.  Is it worth picking up out of a dollar box?  Yeah, I'd say so.

- Ryan

1 comment:

Detroit Dave said...

Ryan, I'm VERY jealous of your FF #45! I've been looking for a VF-NM copy of that book for about 5 years now (cons and shops, not internet), and I still haven't found a suitable copy. I love to collect silver and bronze Marvel 1st appearances in the VF-NM- range that are still affordable (like this one!), and this book is high on my want list. So congrats man, that's epic. And a steal at $35! Did I say I was jealous? yeah... :) Great score on the old DC books! Neal Adams shirtless Batman is definitely a Bat-porn classic. I love seeing this shit. THIS is what comics are all about. How big is Fallcon? I've been looking at taking some trips next year and hitting some cons that are still, you know, about comics (eyeballing Baltimore right now), and seeing some of the deals you got there make FallCon seem appealing. Worth travelling to for a weekend, in your opinion?