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Encyclopedia > Comic book collecting

Comic book collecting is the collecting of comic books in the interest of appreciation, nostalgia, financial profit, and completion of the collection. The comic book came to light the pop culture arena in the 1940s due to the popularity of superhero characters Superman, Batman, and Captain Marvel. Since the 1960s, two publishers have dominated the comic book industry: Marvel Comics, publisher of such comics as Spider-Man, X-Men, and Fantastic Four, and DC Comics, which publishes titles such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Other large publishers include Image Comics and Dark Horse Comics. A comic book is a magazine or book containing the art form of comics. ... Popular culture, or pop culture, is the vernacular (peoples) culture that prevails in a modern society. ... // Events and trends World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrination, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atomic bomb. ... Superman and Batman, two of the most recognizable and iconic superheroes. ... Superman is the foremost superhero character that DC Comics publishes. ... Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-man, and still sometimes as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional character and superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. ... Captain Marvel is a comic book superhero, originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics. ... It has been suggested that Felicia (pseudonym) be merged into this article or section. ... Spider-Man swinging around his hometown, New York City. ... The X-Men are a group of comic book superheroes featured in Marvel Comics. ... The Fantastic Four is Marvel Comics flagship superhero team, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and debuting in The Fantastic Four #1 (Nov. ... DC Comics (originally called Detective Comics, Inc. ... Wonder Woman is a DC Comics superheroine. ... Image Comics is the third or fourth largest American comic book publisher. ... Dark Horse Comics is an American comic book publisher, one of the largest independent publishers behind dominant publishers Marvel Comics and DC Comics. ...


As comic books regained their popularity in the 1960s, fans organized comic book conventions, where fans could meet to discuss their favorite comics with each other and eventually with the comics' creators themselves. As of 2006, numerous conventions and festivals are held around the world, with San Diego Comic Con the largest and most well-known convention in the United States. Comic-Con International is an annual comic book convention held in San Diego, California. ...


While some people collect comic books for personal interest in the medium or characters, others collect prefer to collect for profit. In response to collectors' interest in preserving their collections, products designed for the protection and storage of comic books became available, including special bags; boxes; and acid-free "backing boards", designed to keep the comic book flat.


Price guides catering to comic book collectors interested in monetary gain became available , notably the annual Overstreet Price Guide and the monthly Comics Buyer's Guide. These further highlighted comics' financial worth, assigning value for an issue based on demand, availability, and the copy's condition. The growth of the Internet in the late 1990s, saw development of online databases that tracked character appearances and storylines, as well as creators. A price guide is a reference work that contains information about the prices of, for example, coins, sports cards, or other collectibles. ... The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide is widely considered one of the greatest authorities on the subject of comic book grading and collection values in the industry. ... Comics Buyers Guide (CBG) is the longest-running periodical reporting on the comic book industry. ... The 1990s decade refers to the years from 1990 to 1999, inclusive. ... A database is an information set with a regular structure. ...

Contents


The Speculator Boom

From roughly 1985 through 1993, comic book speculation reached its highest peaks. This boom period began with the publication of titles like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen and "summer crossover epics" like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. After Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns made their mark, mainstream attention returned to the comic book industry in 1989 with the success of the movie Batman and again in 1991 with "The Death of Superman" storyline. Speculation involves the buying, holding, and selling of stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, collectibles, real estate, derivatives or any valuable financial instrument to profit from fluctuations in its price as opposed to buying it for use or for income via methods such as dividends or interest. ... The premiere issue of the series Spoiler warning: The Dark Knight Returns (known as DKR by fans) is a superhero comic book story published by DC Comics between 1985 and 1986, starring Batman. ... Watchmen is a twelve-issue comic book written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, and originally published by DC Comics as a monthly limited series from 1986–1987. ... Chromosomal crossover in genetics is an exchange of material between two chromosomes. ... Crisis on Infinite Earths was a twelve-issue comic book limited series (identified as a 12 part maxi-series) and crossover event, produced by DC Comics in 1985 in order to simplify their fifty-year-old continuity. ... Secret Wars (full title Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars) is the name of a twelve-issue Marvel Comics comic book limited series produced between 1984 and 1985, and a Mattel toy line that reflected the series. ... Batman is a 1989 motion picture based on the Batman character created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. ... The cover of Superman #75 The Death of Superman was a comic book story featured in Superman #75 (January 1993), and the catalyst for DC Comics major universe crossover event of 1993 with the umbrella title The Death and Life of Superman, becoming a major media event. ...


Once aware of this niche market, the mainstream press focused on its potential for making money. Features appeared in newspapers, magazines and television shows detailing how rare, high-demand comics such as Action Comics #1 and Incredible Hulk #181 (The first appearances of Superman and Wolverine, respectively) had sold for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Cover of Action Comics #1, which featured the debut of Superman. ... The Incredible Hulk The Hulk, often called The Incredible Hulk, is a Marvel Comics superhero. ... Binomial name Gulo gulo (Linnaeus, 1758) The wolverine (Gulo gulo) is the largest terrestrial species of the Mustelidae or weasel family, and is also called the glutton or carcajou. ...


During this time, comic book publishers began to market specifically to the collectors' market. Technique used included variant covers, polybags, and gimmick covers. When a comic was polybagged, the collector had to choose between either reading the comic book or keeping it in pristine condition for potential financial gain, or doing both by buying two copies. Glow-in-the-dark, hologram-enhanced, or foil-embossed covers. These gimmicks were almost entirely cosmetic in nature, and almost never extended to the actual content of the comics. However, many speculators would buy multiple copies of these issues, anticipating that demand would allow them to sell them for a substantial profit at some nebulous point in the future. This article needs to be wikified. ... A polybag is a plastic bage sealed around a periodical such as a magazine or a comic book. ... A gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something stand out from its contemporaries. ...


This period also saw a corresponding expansion in price guide publications, most notably Wizard Magazine, which helped fuel the speculator boom with monthly columns such as the "Wizard Top 10" (highlighting the "hottest" back-issues of the month), "Market Watch" (which not only reported back-issue market trends, but also predicted future price trends), and "Comic Watch" (highlighting key "undervalued" back-issues). Wizard: The Comics Magazine is a magazine about comic books, published monthly in the United States by Wizard Entertainment. ...


Ironically, the speculators who made a profit or at least broke even on their comic book "investments" did so only by selling to other speculators. In truth, very few of the comics produced in the early 90's have retained their value in the current market; with hundreds of thousands (or, in several prominent cases, over ten million) copies produced of certain issues, the value of these comics has all but disappeared. "Hot" comics like X-Men #1 and Youngblood #1 can today be found selling for under a dollar apiece.


Veteran comic book fans pointed out an important fact about the high value of classic comic books that was largely overlooked by the speculators: original comic books of the Golden Age of Comic Books were genuinely rare. Most of the original comic books had not survived to the present era, having been thrown out in the trash or discarded as worthless children's waste by parents (stories of uncaring parents throwing out their kids' comic book collections are well known to the Baby Boom generation), or recycled along with other periodicals in the paper drives of World War II. As a result, a comic book of interest to fans or collectors from the 1940s through the 1960s, such as an original issue of Superman, Captain America, Challengers of the Unknown, or Vault of Horror, was often extremely difficult to find and thus highly prized by collectors, in a manner similar to coin collectors seeking copies of the 1955 doubled die cent. In many ways, with an enormous supply of high-grade copies, the "hot" comics of the speculator boom were the complete opposite. Superman, catalyst of the Golden Age: Superman #14 (Feb. ... A US postage stamp depicting the increase in birth rate that country experienced after World War II. As is often the case with a large war, the elation of victory and large numbers of returning males to their country triggered a baby boom after the end of World War II... In charitable organizations, a drive is a collection of items for people who need them, such as clothing, used items, books, etc. ... Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II... // Events and trends World War II was a truly global conflict with many facets: immense human suffering, fierce indoctrination, and the use of new, extremely devastating weapons such as the atomic bomb. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... The 1955 doubled die cent is one of the most dramatic 20th century U.S. coinage errors. ...


Bust

The comic book speculator market reached a saturation point in the early 1990s and finally collapsed between 1993 and 1997. Two-thirds of all comic book specialty stores closed in this time period, and numerous publishers were driven out of business. Even industry giant Marvel Comics was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1997, although they were able to continue publishing. It is surmised that one of the main factors in Marvel's downfall was the decision to switch to self distribution. Up until then, many publishers went through secondary distributors (such as the current and only mass distributor, Diamond Comics) and Marvel felt it could preserve some of its cash flow if it made the move to becoming one of the only publishers to also distribute directly to the comic market. This backfired terribly when the bottom fell out of the Market, as they were stocked with multiple printings of variant and "collectible" issues that were no longer in high demand and they could not cover the costs of their distribution service. The 1990s decade refers to the years from 1990 to 1999, inclusive. ... 1993 (MCMXCIII) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar and marked the Beginning of the International Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination (1993-2003). ... 1997 (MCMXCVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... It has been suggested that Felicia (pseudonym) be merged into this article or section. ... Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. ...


The bust can also be linked back to some of the series that caused the boom, a few years earlier. DC's decision to publish two blockbuster stories depicting the loss of their two major Superheroes (The Breaking of the Bat, and The Death of Superman), and their subsequent flooding of the press as to its supposed "Finality", is considered by some collectors to have started a slow decay within the non-regular buyer comic community which then led to drops in sales. Many comic retailers believe that numerous comic Speculators took the Death & Crippling of two major characters to signify the end of the Batman and Superman series. As many comic readers and retailers will tell you, very little in blockbuster stories or just comics in general stays permanent and some aspects of the original status quo are returned after the story arc is over (i.e. Superman Died, but it was followed up with his ressurection; Batman was crippled, but eventually recovered from the ailment). DC may stand for: A.P. de Candolle in botanical nomenclature Axiom of dependent choice in set theory (mathematics) Christian Democracy (Italy), a political party in Italy Da capo, a musical term Daimler-Chrysler, a car manufacturer Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire David Coulthard, British Formula One driver DC...


Many comic speculators who were only in the market to see important comics mature, then sell them for a tidy profit, didn't quite understand how quick the turn around would be on the story recant, and many rushed out to scoop up as many copies of whatever issues were to be deemed significant. Comic shops received not only staggering sales during the week that Superman died, but also had to try and meet the demand. This led to the saturation of the market and the devaluing of what was thought to be the end of an American icon. Comic book retailers and theorists deem DC's practices in the press forum and their relationship with the non-specialized consumer to be grossly negligent of the status of the market, and that their marketing campaign, whereas most likely not malicious in intent, spelled doom for the speculator market and comic sales in general.


Other publishing houses had different issues. Marvel's was self distribution, DC's was Product ramping, while newly formed publishers had a major problem with deadlines. Valiant Comics--at one point the 3rd largest comic book publisher--did not survive, and ceased publication in 1997. The miniseries Deathmate—a crossover between Image Comics and Valiant Comics—is often considered to have been the final nail in the speculation market's coffin; although heavily hyped and highly anticipated when initially solicited, the series shipped so many months late that reader interest disappeared by the time the series finally materialized, leaving some retailers holding literally hundreds of unsellable copies of the various Deathmate crossovers. Company logo. ... Deathmate Prologue, art by Jim Lee and Bob Layton Deathmate was an six-part comic book crossover between Valiant Comics and Image Comics. ... Image Comics is the third or fourth largest American comic book publisher. ... Company logo. ...


Post-bubble speculation

Since 1997, comic book sales have fallen to a fraction of early-90's levels, with print runs of many popular titles down as much as 90% from their peaks. Currently, most of the hype generated around the major companies' comics involves changes to the characters, well-known creators writing or illustrating a title, and buzz surrounding an adaptation to another media such as film or television. The one remaining bastion for comic speculation remains in online auction sites such as eBay; but even there, comic books remain a buyer's market. eBay eBay Inc. ...


List of comics collections

Many private collections of comics exist, and they have also started to find their way onto the shelves of public libraries. Museums and universities with notable collections of comics include: A museum is a non-profit making, permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education and enjoyment, the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their environment. ... Western Illinois University A university is an institution of higher education and of research, which grants academic degrees at all levels (bachelor, master, and doctorate) in a variety of subjects. ...

  • Allen and John Saunders Collection at Bowling Green State University's Popular Culture Library.
  • British Comics Collection at The British Library.
  • The United State's Library of Congress holds many collections of comic strips, comic books and periodicals.
  • Comic art collection of Michigan State University.
  • Comics Collection, including the Sol Davidson Collection at the University of Florida.
  • Comic Book Research Guide of The New York Public Library.
  • Cartoon Research Library of Ohio State University
  • CartoonHub the website of the Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent
  • Foundation & Museum Franco Fossati founded by Furio Fossati, Luigi F. Bona, Sergio Giuffrida, Alfredo Castelli, Gianfranco Goria and Liviano Riva to preserve the huge collection by the late Franco Fossati (wellknown journalist, comic-art expert and manager of Disney Comics in Italy). More than 500.000 objects (comics, originals etc.).

External links

  • How To Figure Out How Much Your Comics Are Worth
  • Comics Auction Results archive

  Results from FactBites:
 
Comic book collecting - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1178 words)
Comic book collecting is like all other collecting; while most collectors do so for personal interest in the enormous capabilities of the medium and the vast casts of characters, a few also collect exclusively for profit.
Those who read comic books in their youth but who stopped at some point and did not keep these books often want them back in their adulthood, largely for nostalgia's sake, and are willing to pay a comic book specialty dealer.
The comic book speculator market reached a saturation point in the early 1990s and finally collapsed between 1993 and 1997.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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