Monday, January 23, 2012

Market Spotlight:!

Let's start with one of the craziest goddamn things I've ever witnessed in my time as a Gamer:

Batman: Black Mirror HC
ISBN:  140123206X
SRP:      $29.99
Amazon min:  $45+

 This book JUST CAME OUT.  The listed launch date on Amazon is December 16 and yeah, that sounds about right.  We're talking about a single month on a Batman title from a fairly significant comics publisher - and it appears completely out of print.

It's not available.  Amazon is out of its stock.  Barnes & Noble says it has some, but it also has that "usually available in 1-2 weeks" nonsense attached, which would read "don't hold your precious breath" if it were at all honest.  Instocktrades?  Nope.  None at Lone Star or Mile High, either.

If you want this Batman book, the one that came out a month ago, you have to go to the secondary market.  IDW thinks that's fucked up.

I just don't understand it.  I mean, I guess people might be finally catching on to the idea that Scott Snyder is putting down a seminal run.  I guess the New 52 might have a few extra people interested.  But how would that catch DC by surprise?  We didn't know people would want the really good Batman book???  It not compute.

At any rate, I"m not suggesting you back up the truck if you see this on your LCS shelves, but then again, I'm not suggesting you don't.  My assumption is that this is is a hiccup quickly remedied.  But ah, my assumption is that the thing wouldn't be effectively out of print 30 days after launch, either.  So my predictions are a bit lacking.

This I do know - Black Mirror is a fantastic read, I believe it ages well, and I'm certainly glad that I got a copy.  If for some reason DC doesn't go to press on this again in short order, this could be a huge earner.  This whole situation.....I've never seen anything like it. Stay tuned!

Dead Space # 1-6
Image Comics
SRP:   $3/per
Going rate for the set:  $50+

In 2008 Image went to market with this as a prequel story to the video game.  Said video game is pretty popular, the print runs on this are extremely modest, and this is that classic wheelhouse situation where a niche audience really needs something it can't easily find.

Because print runs are so tiny, the odds of you finding stacks of these at your LCS are not good.  On the other hand, I went searching for Dead Space issues a few days ago and found 1 full set and 2/3 of another, all for cover price or less.

This is significant because the going rate for complete sets of the Dead Space mini is $50 or better.  If you can score the Dead Space Extraction one-shot (previously featured on Market Spotlight) you can sometimes reach $100 for the works.

Those are nice margins, and it's good to break out of my continuous "TPB or bust" mindset.  There's lots of earners out there, especially in little niche markets like Dead Space.  Take this next book, for example....

Art of Dead Space HC
ISBN:   0811866122
SRP:   Free (declared $10 value)
Amazon Min:  $45/$250

This adorable little hardcover (it's practically the size of your wallet) was given away for pre-ordering the Dead Space video game at places like Game Stop, Best Buy, or Game Crazy.  It came with a pair of 3D glasses, and it's important to have them intact and included for collectors.  And if you're selling this thing for $50 or better, you can bet your ass you're selling to a collector.

I just bought one of these on eBay for $13 and flipped it for $50 the very same day I posted it.  This is what the pros call arbitrage.  I almost feel guilty pulling shit like that, but whaddyagonnado?

The key is to think outside the box.  I stumbled upon this when I discovered the Image Dead Space comics doing well.  What else is out there for Dead Space that I can sell?  I ran a completed search on eBay for Dead Space and just started looking for things that appealed to me.  That hardcover looked interesting, so I typed it into Amazon.  Oh look, min is $50, that's interesting.

And listen, these are always experiments with some degree of risk.  I believe in it now, because when I sell something quick like that it shows active interest.  At any rate, it's a strategy to add to your tool box.



Web Wreckage Stephen said...

"IDW thinks that's fucked up."



The funny thing about the Black Mirror HC is that, according to, I can still order it for around $22 -way below Canadian cover of $35. Funny that. I have also already read the single issues so I did not feel the urge to pull the trigger on it otherwise I might have ordered a copy. Also, my LCS owner says he has it on back order and supposedly coming in the next few weeks. We shall see.

I am starting to think that is the best kept secret on the continent. I have put my single issues of the earlier Scott Snyder Detective issues up on and had not a sniff. Albeit they are listed as used and in VG condition, but still they are being offered for cheap.

As for Dead Space? Funny you should bring that one up. The HC has lost a lot of heat in the last year. My first copy went quickly for near $100, but the second sat around until I dropped the price down to around the $60-$70 mark. I recently came across the first couple issues of the original mini as well as the SDCC alternate cover version of Extraction in someone's $1 bin all in average condition and put them up for sale on and sure enough: no interest. I could not even get my LCS owner to take them off my hands in trade. This all has me shaking my head over the money people will throw at stuff on ebay even before shipping costs are factored in. Funny how things go.

PS. Looks like people will pay $10 a copy for Prophet 21 on ebay, but not $7 a copy on my little corner of amazon. At least they are willing to pay for that Hedge Knight TPB...

Jesse said...

I had a lot of success with the Dead Space single issues last year. I never had a full set to auction off, but listing each individually on Amazon for $17-$25 worked really well for a while. I suppose it's time I check my inventory and see what I can sell these for.

DJ said...

A note for something that comes out tomorrow.

Avatar: the promise Vol. 1 (based on the cartoon not the movie with blue tree people), It's a steep guess at $10.99 but I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is worth buying and flipping for 2 reasons.

1.) Avatards (fans of the cartoon) The number of fans for this series probably outnumbers the entire active comic buying communuity so regardless of the fact that it's a comic fans of the show will be willing to pay for this.

2.) There's a spinoff cartoon of the origional series coming out this fall and this book will act as somewhat of a bridge between the origional 3 seasons and this upcoming show. My guess is that if the print run is even slightly on the low side this book will fall well into Ryan's 3:1 profit sweet spot, maybe higher.

Chronic Insomnia said...

Stephen - When I was checking the Dead Space completed listings, I definitely noticed a wide variance on that Dead Space HC. It closed between $30-$100, and that's pretty crazy.

If I had access to a nice copy at full retail, I wouldn't mind having one in stock. Certain items turn, but don't turn quickly. Avengers Assembled HC 2, as an example. If I stick to my guns, I know I'll get at least $150 for it with a little patience. My guess is that the Dead Space HC is like that - eventually you'll find at the high end.

Of course, you've been teaching us that is its own kingdom with its own rules. I find it fascinating.


PS: I was in a Half Price books the other day, and they had some Thunder Agents Archives behind a locked case. Alas, no Volume 1...I'm starting to wonder if that book actually exists!

Chronic Insomnia said...

Jesse - you know I always forget that it is possible to deal floppies on Amazon, too, thanks for reminding me of that fact.

Looks like the going rate on Amazon for the Dead Space singles is $10-$15, with issue # 5 way up in the stratosphere for some reason. If I can't get $50 for my complete set, I think I'll piece them out on Amazon.

Chronic Insomnia said...

DJ - I like your thesis a lot. Never looked into any Avatar material, but I know lots of folks who swear by the manga. And actually, I think the $10.99 price tag makes it pretty attractive. The great bulk of my sales happen in that $28-$35 range. Obviously my biggest scores have higher ticket prices, but those are few and far between.

I like where your heads at, and I'll be looking into Avatar material and that book in particular. Thanks for the heads up!


Evilsqudomics said...

Diamond claims to have the black mirror HC in stock. Of course, this is diamond we are talking about.

Chronic Insomnia said...

Yeah, they must have something left on a pallet somewhere, because Amazon has it in stock again. Very weird, though.


David Ferguson said...

It's also on