The Art of Speculation: Part 1
With all the movies, video games, and toys created around almost every comic book character, it is easy to see that there is a mindset that a person can get rich quickly by buying and selling comics as they are released and sell out. I am talking about speculation, specing, slarping, florping. Well, not those last two, but anyway…
What do I mean when I talk about speculation? Well, let’s start with a definition.
Okay, so right of the bat you can see that speculation is a risky business. Investing in something with the hope of success but a risk of loss based simply on theory and no firm evidence. Sort of my own combined definition when it comes to comic book speculation.
Slow down, folks. I am not saying that this is a bad thing or a good thing. Just a thing. This happens all the time with the stock market and Christmas toys like Tickle Me Elmo or a Furby. If there is a rumor that something is going to be hot or hard to find and that people will be wanting it, you can bet there are 10 people in line at Best Buy to purchase 5 of them and sell 4 on eBay for at least twice what they paid.
Right and wrong does not even come into play in this conversation. I am just talking about opportunism and capitalism. The key to this process is looking ahead and guessing what people will buy based on trends in the market. This could be based on many things, but I think that I have narrowed it down to three main ideas that we can explore.
Everything is a popularity contest, when you get right down to brass tacks. Do you ever think about that phrase? Kind of strange. I found one source that talks about how it refers to tailors and the cloth market. I guess that when purchasing fabric the counters had small brass tacks at fixed intervals and this was how they measured out the fabric before use. An interesting way to say getting to the facts or getting right down to business or cutting to the chase. There is another one. Get over all the cloak and dagger and cut to the chase, the inevitable end of any good crime move.
Now, where was I? Oh, yes, popularity contest. Speculators look for popular characters, their first appearances, and rising interest in new movies or television shows that may spotlight or introduce a character. A good example of this was when the CW show Supergirl introduced Livewire. While a fun character, she was never a real spectacularly hot commodity in the comics world. But, as soon as it was announced that she would make her appearance in the CW-verse, her first appearance in the mainline DC universe, Action Comics #835 shot up to $30 – $45. This had been a dollar bin book before, and has since cooled off to around $15-$25, but, it is still quite a jump for this character.
This year, we have seen a lot of activity around Carol Danvers as she prepares to make her starring appearance in the upcoming Marvel film Captain Marvel. Brie Larson is set to take up the mantle and interest in the the character has sparked some major movement on her first appearance as Carol Danvers (Marvel Super Heroes #13), as Ms. Marvel (Ms. Marvel #1 in 1977), introduction of her powers as Binary (Uncanny X-Men #164), and her taking up the mantle of Captain Marvel in Avenging Spider-Man #9. All of these books have seen huge jumps, some hitting as high as $500 per issue for near mint condition.
Is this value warranted? Well, this is all about supply and demand. I always say that anyone can sell anything for any price as long as there is some idiot out there willing to pay for it. This has never been more apparent than this week. The first issue of Batman: Damned #1 hit the shelves. I do love Brian Azzarello, and this take on Batman looked sweet, but I did not stop in and get one. Little did I know that I was going to miss out on seeing Batman fully nude. Woohoo… But, this meant that the book was immediately up on eBay for over 10 times what it was selling for on the shelf. A $6.99 book that was already going for $65 to $100 just because Batman let loos the Bat-a-wang? Really? Now there may be issues of scarcity and this was a special event book and all, but it is really the threat of censorship that drives this more than anything. We were told this week that no future issues would reveal Bruce’s one-eyed trouser bat.
Let us know your thoughts on this. Tune in for the next installment where I reveal the second key to speculation so that you can all get rich on comics!!
DISCLAIMER: You will not get rich on comics from advice in this article. Comic Booked claims no responsibility for your lack of judgement in buying comics with the last of your grocery money.