When to hold 'em, when to fold 'em... afraid of the 90's again

Just to give some historical perspective, I was there for the great collapse of the comic industry in the mid 90’s. I’ve seen the bust and the subsequent decades to rebuild. With comics now at the highest they have ever been, I find myself wondering how long will it last? Whenever you think something will go on forever, it doesn’t. I’m looking at stacks of comics I bought doubles of 5-10 years ago that have now gone bonkers in price. Should I sell the doubles of stuff like Marvel Spotlight 28, Amazing Spider-man 194, etc? Or, should I just keep holding thinking these will be worth even more in the future? I seriously can’t believe how hot the comic market is right now. But I also don’t want to regret selling stuff and then in another 5-10 years be like “why the heck did I sell that? Look at how much more it is worth now”. I don’t NEED the money, but I would hate to watch a bubble pop and kick myself for not selling near the top. Any thoughts?


I don’t think anyone can predict anything, but it seems like collectibles are hot all around. A lot of the older generation getting into it, trying to relive their childhood, or getting their children into things they enjoyed (this is me).

I’m doing two things, trying to buy up all the characters I love, and flipping hot moderns. This forum reiterated something, “collect what you like”. I hope one day my children will take the collection and make it theirs, or sell it off for a large sum of money to enhance their own lives.

I’ll be long gone at that point so it won’t matter to me :wink:


print runs of the early 90s were 10-20 times bigger than the print runs of today. thats one of the reason the card collectors have been moving into comics. only way comic market collapses is if whole collectible market goes down


I agree to a certain degree. Print runs are not a factor now.
But, if a collapse happens again, it will be because of the grading industry. Fake grades, shady practices, misgrading, fraudulent comics (or Pokemon cases), etc will all be contributing factors.


One strategy is to sell your duplicates except for one. Keeping one for the personal collection and one as an easy resell in the event there is more upside later on down the road.

Sure it may still sting knowing you lost out on a little profit, but having that last duplicate as insurance will ease that. Also, never feel bad for buying something for $100 and selling it for $200, even if the price goes to $500. That’s the nature of things. You can’t time markets unless you are actively manipulating them in your favor.


I’ve just recently made the decision to start selling off modern stuff, and duplicates. It’s silly for me to have multiples of stuff.
I won’t be selling any silver age (or older) type stuff or even modern biggies like ASM 300, UF4, etc.
I don’t see any of the classic keys losing value. The world has changed. There will always be people with money to burn.
Just the overall system of collecting (the internet) makes comparison between now and the 90’s apples to oranges.
I sold off a few books right before the craze hit & learned my lesson as evey book I sold has basically tripled (or more) in value.
I do think it matters as to where you are at in your journey through life though. Age, health, financial status, future goals, etc. All very personal things that dictate our actions.


Depends on your overall investment diversification. I have <1% in comics so I’m never selling. It’s just a fun “alternative investment” hobby for me that won’t matter regardless of a crash. If a crash worries you, then you may have too much money tied-up in comics. I would sell if this was my case and diversify.

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Collect what you love and you’ll never get burned.

I think the only book I own more than 2 copies of is Hell Arisen 3, because I’m a Punchline nerd. I cut back and got my collection focused, I mostly only buy one copy of a book save for a first appearance or an amazing variant cover.

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Movies and TV shows have really been the catalyst. Until they stop making those based on comics I don’t see it slowing down.

Marvel is rolling, Star Wars has got a bottomless Pitt of stories and ideas. Then all these hits from IDW and Boom and the like that are destined for movies and tv also.

DC is a head scratcher in all of this.

Grading comics is another huge bump because now investors and hobbiests that can feel more secure about what they’re buying online. I’m shocked there’s still just the 3 (really 2) companies…with all the struggles with backlogs shocking someone hasn’t at least tried to get a piece of that pie.

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With DC it is due to lack of quality TV / movie content and/or the applicable hot books are ungodly expensive already.

For instance, ZSJL created a massive stir, but the first apps of all the heroes are more or less unobtainable. Who can afford Tec 27? Action Comics 1? Batman 1? You did however see a spike in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen 32 (I think?!) And Forever People 1 because those books weren’t out of sight costly and sort of obscure. Even Mister Miracle 4 got some love.

I think this changes once HBO starts pumping out their content and keep it cohesive and one continuity. I’ve heard that Peacemaker is a good show and his books have jumped. Superman 4 jumped, etc because Suicide Squad was well received. Naomi is moving nicely as well from what I see. Once DC shows get a better track record we will see DC books gain traction.

As it sits now, a lot of DC spec is based on comic book events. Joker gets a new gal pal? BOOM Batman 89 / Hell Arisen 3 skyrockets. Tim Drake bats both ways? BOOM Batman Urban Legends 6 skyrockets, ditto Superman: Son of Kal-El.

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DC needs to diversify and develop more IP. Think Naomi. Not a zillion more Bat titles.


Agreed, and I’m a Bat nerd. The last few Bat events have felt similar… Joker War shifted the status quo but Fear State was pretty lame. Trouble with Bat titled is that it is always “crazy people in Gotham”… Williamson seems to be shaking that up a little based on the last couple issues and future solicits.

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The key question is what do you collect? Assuming the answer is not the comic books you currently own, my view is that you should always try to sell off comic books that you own that are tied to the latest output from the MCU and Disney+ series, and put the proceeds into stuff you collect.

This is what I do in order to enhance my collection of original comic book art.

Consequently, I also do not own any of the classic blue-chip comic books such as Amazing Fantasy #15 as those are likely to tie up too much of the cash needed to cash in on the next MCU and Disney+ announcement.

For the same reason, I have stayed away most of the time from comic books that are “hot” only because of the cover. Unlike keys such as 1st appearance, these typically do not jump in value after the next MCU and Disney+ announcement. These do not have a natural sell-by date and tend to languish in the storeroom waiting for a clear-out.

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When you are happy with the profit you can make on selling then sell.

Too many people are focused on a what if scenario, who cares if that book ends up being worth $1000 more, if you sold it when you were happy with the profit move on to the next one. Live in the here and now not the there and what could be, especially when you have multiples of a book.


Is there any “seasonality” to comic sales? I realize when a trailer hits or a rumor pops up a book can heat up instantly, but for books with no media heat but are good books to sell… is there a time of the year that is better? I would guess around the end of the year with the holidays that would be a good time. How about tax refund season? Is there a time of the year that is stagnant?

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Stats from our store, with no data to show correlation / causation, numbers start to peak in July, taper off until November, and then start to see another trend upwards.

This data is pulled from all sales from FB, eBay and the website.


Summer is usually when comic companies run story events, plus more “kids”/whomever, have more disposable income during that time. Other than that, many factors play in, but nothing really seasonal; unless you look at movies coming out around holidays that may drive something.

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Yeah I think a lot of movies are released during the summer as well which might contribute to that factor. Good point!

Absolutely on the tax season aspect. I’ve always had better luck selling then. Lots of available cash burning a hole in pockets.

I’ve always found Late June-July to be the worst personally.



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