Mastering the Art of Comic Book Investments: Your Path to Financial Heroics!
You can invest in comic books and potentially even make a small profit – even if you’re a novice or casual comic book reader. There are proven and current examples of this happening. You don’t need to be a comic book hobbyist, historian, or expert to do it, although it helps to get consultation from one. You could potentially invest in a comic book and flip it for a small profit, but you must be realistic about potential gains and follow some basic tips.
In early 2023, comic book collectors made hundreds of dollars on comic book investments based on comic book film announcements. After James Gunn announced new DCU films then, one collector sold a Batman & Robin comic for $500.
After announcing a future Booster Gold film, a comic book collector sold a 1986-era Booster Goold comic book for $650.
I have been reading and collecting comic books for over 40 years, so I’m telling you this from experience. You can potentially do this without being a comic book expert or hobbyist (although it helps). Keep in mind that you won’t become a millionaire and should never look at it like a get-rich-quick scheme.
It will take time, so you will need to be patient. Still, you could potentially flip a comic book like you flip a used car.
Here are 8 tips to follow.
Source Your Comics
You need more knowledge of comic book culture before trying to buy expensive comics to flip for larger profits, so start small. The first thing you need to do to learn how to invest in comic books is to source some comic books free or cheaply.
Inquire amongst friends, relatives, neighbors, and coworkers. Look up local online marketplaces on your social media accounts to look for people giving away or selling comic book collections cheaply.
In October 2023, a Milwaukee couple discovered they owned a priceless comic book after inheriting the belongings of a deceased relative. They inherited a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15. This 1962 comic features the first appearance of Spider-Man. The comic has a collector’s market value of $35,000.
While it’s nice to be optimistic, always be realistic. You could make a few hundred, thousand, or nothing.
Itemize and Organize
You must itemize and organize all of the comic books that you sourced for free or cheaply. Make a list of all the comic book titles, issue numbers, and the name of the company that published them.
Buy mylar sleeves and cardboard backing boards. Place each comic book in sleeves to protect it from the elements. Like all paper, comic book paper yellows, discolors, and slowly disintegrates when exposed to the elements or direct sunlight.
Store them in a safe place that isn’t hot, humid, or in danger of becoming flooded.
Your next step in learning how to invest in comic books is to do some internet research. You need to learn the ballpark collectible market value of each comic book you have. And you can do it for free.
Use Online Comic Book Valuation Sites
This may seem tedious, but you need to know as much as possible about your potential investment to potentially profit later. You need to find out for yourself the basic ballpark collectible value of each comic book that you own. How else can you negotiate a price that benefits you with a potential buyer later on?
Numerous comic book-themed websites feature comic book value-gauging tools. Just enter the name of the comic book and the issue numbers and you will be given a general estimate of the value of the comic book. It’s free. Such sites include:
Remember, this is just a ballpark estimate. Numerous factors make a comic book valuable to collectors.
Additionally, read all of the comics that are valued in the hundreds, if you find any. You need to know everything you can about the comic book to sell it at a profit.
What Makes a Comic Book Valuable?
Another factor to remember when learning how to invest in comic books is that you have to know what makes a comic book inherently valuable.
Rarity is one thing. Comic books published before the 1990s tend to be rare. Key comic books are comic books where important events and stories occur. Comic books that feature the signature of famous writers or artists tend to be very valuable.
Pay attention to comic book entertainment news and announcements. The announcement of a new film or casting will sometimes whip the collectibles market into a frenzy for days or weeks based on nostalgia. As previously mentioned, collectors paid hundreds of dollars for comic books that were not on collectors’ radar until James Gunn announced the DCU in January 2023.
Many more factors make a comic book valuable. But if you are a casual, these are the basics that you should be aware of.
Consult Experts and Make Connections
Investing in comic books is not the same as traditional investment opportunities. Comic book collectibles do not gain more value after you buy them. The amount of money that you can make depends on the interest of the buyer, the condition of the comic book, and how well your negotiation stance piques the interest of the potential buyer.
If you have come across any valuable comic books after looking up their value online, then you may want to learn as much as you can about the most valuable ones. You want to learn about the story, artwork, creators, and the zeitgeist of the era when the comic was published. You will use this information later when negotiating with collectors.
Make connections with comic book collectors and experts. Try to go to small-scale conventions or comic book stores and chat with staff. You’ll need to put in this hustle if you want to make connections with facilitators and potential buyers.
Comic Book Grading and Slabbing
Comic books are fragile collectibles that slowly disintegrate when exposed to sunlight and the elements. To protect them and show authenticity, valuable comic books must be slabbed and graded before any serious collector will buy them.
A slab is a double, protective, and translucent plastic shell that entombs a valuable comic book to protect it. Before being slabbed, you can get comic book experts to evaluate your comic and give it a grade that corresponds to its value and condition.
Comic books are graded on a scale from 0.5 to 10. These metrics are many and complicated; you just want your comic books to be on a scale from 7.5 to 9.8 and the slabs to feature either a blue, yellow, or gold label.
There are many comic book grading and slabbing companies that will perform this service for you for a fee. All you have to do is mail in your comics or bring them physically to the store.
Sell Your Comics
Always remember to be realistic. You might not make any money. You have to find a zealous comic book collector who is willing to buy your comic at a price you set. This goal, which is already hard enough for experienced comic book investors, will not be a given for a casual comic book fan.
After you have your valuable comic books slabbed and graded, now you can try to sell them. You can have a slabbing and grading comic book company or comic bookstore work their connections and sell it on your behalf for a percentage of the sale or a flat fee.
You could try to sell it yourself on eBay or social media. Additionally, you can also inquire about the comic book experts, store owners, and previous connections you made to source potential buyers.
The comic book collectibles market is not the real estate market or the stock market. The comic book you sell for $100 or $500, if you’re lucky, is only valuable to another collector that you make a connection with. It could take months or more likely years. That is not easy to do if you know nothing about comic books. (It’s a hard enough feat to accomplish for avid comic book collectors.)
You need to know what you are doing, do some research, learn about comic book culture, and use that knowledge to your advantage to make a deal.
Most people who sell a valuable comic book are lucky to make a 10% profit. There is no standard system yet or stock market-like indices for the comic book collectibles market.
I’m not trying to discourage you, only encouraging you to be realistic about your chances. A collector bought Action Comics #1, an ultra-rare 1938 comic book featuring the first appearance of Superman in January 2023 for $3.55 million. You are probably not going to be that lucky; you need more advanced comic book knowledge and good connections to profit from such an investment.
However, follow the tips on this list and you could potentially invest in flipping a comic book for a few hundred with some hustle. Just remember that fortune favors the bold, prepared, and well-researched.
Allen Francis is a full-time writer, prolific comic book investor and author of The Casual’s Guide: Why You Should Get Into Comic Book Investing. Allen holds a BA degree from Marymount Manhattan College. Before becoming a writer Allen was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including saving and investing in your own small business.