Comic Book Speculation and Flipping for Newbs

So, I was chatting with somebody and they asked me what factors they should look at in deciding whether a certain issue would be a good speculative pick or flip down the road. As you can imagine, the answer quickly got out of hand.

I directed them over to the CHU forums but realized that we don’t really have a “newbie” thread. One that breaks things down and is accessible.

I thought this could be it.

Maybe some ground rules?

  1. I know we busy each other’s chops every where else on the forum, but I imagine this to be somewhere where people can ask “the stupid question” and get a straight forward answer without the attitude.

  2. Try to stick to facts and general rules of thumb. Of course there’s an exception to every rule, but I envision this thread breaking down the rules of the game before complicating things with the exceptions to those rules.

Ok, let’s see if this gets out of hand and off the rails…



1st appearance (cover or/and inside)


Aaron has done most of this research and has some very in depth articles about choosing which books to speculate on. I would suggest reading all of his “comic book investing tips” articles. When he was writing regularly, I specced on a lot of his stuff, and probably 90% increased in value, 50% significantly increased.

If you don’t want to read the entire thing, at least check out his matrix he developed:

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he updates the site any longer. I’ve heard he’s on a social media platform still speculating, but I don’t log into that site anymore.


This is probably step 1.

Like comic book collecting and speculation 101, right? These issues are like flames for comic collecting moths.

If there’s a first appearance, you start looking at the book. Whether you think that character will go anywhere or catch on in the greater pop culture is the next step.

1 Like

I think one of the first things (that I still have not successfully done myself), is to separate your collector instinct from your speculation desire. It is really easy to get attached to the books and want to hold them longer than you should. You need a good platform to purchase books, get them in your hands, and then out to people to buy.

Like I said…I still struggle with this!

Order these cut them in half makes two comic mailers from each box with 3 pieces of cardboard on each side the comic for protection, only have to make one cut then shove it in a yellow mailing envelope 10x13. Ships as safe as a Gemini costs next to nothing to ship comics and they are free. This is the best tip I can give a new comic flipper.


Lets be honest…this does cost us…there are no free lunches. Its just everyone paying for the newb’s comic flipping adventure.

1, spec on 1st apps only
2, marvel is best spec for 1st apps, DC 9 out of 10 new 1st apps flop.
3, indie spec, issue #1 only. hardly ever does an indie issue not a #1 heat up.
4, cover A and highest ratio only, only time you buy another cover is if it features 1st app characther that’s on no other cover.
5.never pay over cover price or ratio for a new release, if you miss move on.
6. for movie/tv spec sell at trailer or before release.
7. don’t become emotionally attached to a spec. (easier said than done)
8. don’t buy every 1st app, some 1st apps have higher chance of success, ff and xmen new 1st app tend to flop for example.
9. learn the creators, some tend to kill off the characters like D cates, while others like Kelly Thompson never do and tend to reuse them often. use = price increases, and higher chance of media use.
10. don’t buy store exclusives. 95% of stores lie about print runs. store variants are for pc only 99% of the time.
11. RESEARCH. most speculating success is doing the research.
12 STFU, if/when you find a place online with good deal on ratios or back issues, keep it to your self.

  1. Flip for a few bucks is not for money but for gambling IMO. But to each his own.

  2. Collect and hold. My collection has done quite nicely the last 45 years with the buy and hold mentality.


im also a long term speculator, its were the real money is. quick flipping is just nickel and diming for 10 bucks here and there


#12 lol


Learn how to do FOC’s ! I hate to hear you whine on Wednesday Night or Thursday how the comic store didn’t have it.


FOC= final order cut off. The date when publisher will lock in its print order with the printer. So, retailers need to have their order in by that time.

If you want to be guaranteed (as much as you can be) your book, you need to order it before this date.


Basically the drug dealer approach. Don’t fall in love with your product or you’re fscked! :crazy_face:


And what follows after research and getting familiar with the game is almost common sense. Use common sense tactics and approach.


Another rule to follow closely, if the publisher is pushing the new “first appearance” of a new character, then it’s likely already DOA.


My #1 tip. Keep good records for tax purposes. Well organized, etc.

My # 2 tip. If possible, avoid using credit cards to fund the hobby. Fees and interest greatly impact profit (along with seller fees).

My # 3 tip. This forum is gold for ideas

1 Like

That reminded me of another one…

Always try to get to the point where the flipping profit pays for the spec future buys, paying off the original amount from your income/salary. For instance, I don’t use my actual income to buy books anymore, the buys come from the profits from selling. It’s now self sustaining.


Don’t waste money grading books that aren’t worthy of grading in the first place (unless you are simply grading for your PC but that’s a personal choice). I hate seeing people spend money on what I consider dead on arrival comics or old news stuff.

Look to the future when buying books. I’m always trying to think 3-5 years down the road and thus far it has served me well. The characters or story arcs that nobody is talking about…are the things I’m looking to buy (If I like it to begin with of course).


Unless it’s an ongoing series, the 2nd or 3rd issue may never reach the first issue, but will be higher than cover. I’d add a 3a to this if it’s a one-shot or limited series #1 may never go anywhere.