05th Apr2019

eBuying Comics: Week 16

by Ian Wells

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It would seem there is only one place to start this week. Last week Detective Comics reached issue 1000! It is the second DC title to reach the significant landmark after Action Comics in 2017. We could argue all day about which character is more important/more popular but really we should be celebrating two icons still having such big impacts today.

I remember it being a big deal when DC launched the New 52. People were saying the company wide reboot would not be taken seriously if Detective and Action comics didn’t start with new number ones. Well the powers at be rebooted them both with new number ones and the New 52 was largely a success. If you look up the respective #1′s from the New 52 on eBay for some reason Action Comics #1 goes for under £10 but for Detective Comics #1 I found it priced at allsorts. From £4.95, to £14.99 all the way up to £35. There was even a listing for a hardcover of the first Detective Comics New 52 story arc for £53! Is it that highly sort after? When the New 52 started to get stale DC acted with ‘Rebirth’ and Action and Detective were restored to their original number so that their milestone issues would coincide with their respective 80th birthdays. Detective Comics #934 marks the return to the original numbering and this issue can be picked up relatively cheap on eBay. There are currently lots of auctions starting at 99 pence for first and second printings of this issue. The New 52 and Rebirth seemed like a more calculated approach to reboots compared to Marvel where it seems we get one every two years! It got me thinking that if a Marvel comic made it to #1000 would it feel empty? I myself would love to see Uncanny X-Men #1000 or Daredevil #1000 on comic shelves but would it feel as significant? My guy says no but of course I’m still going to buy it. Which brings me to Detective Comics #1000. I myself do not read either Batman or Detective on a monthly basis but when the issue dropped my Twitter timeline was just full of people sharing this momentous moment. Reading the reviews and seeing the images being shared I suddenly wanted a piece of it. Plus it has given me blog content!

The one hundred page comic with its standard Jim Lee cover retails for about £7.99. There are I believer twelve variant covers from a selection of stellar artists. Alex Ross, Steve Rude and Tim Sale to name a few. I don’t know how many of each variant there are, the most desirable seems to be the Alex Ross one. He has recreated the cover to Detective Comics #27 in his ultra realistic style. These are already going for over £200. Like I said this comic wouldn’t usually be on my radar and unfortunately I was out of the country when it dropped. So I started browsing the variant covers online. As talented as Jim Lee is his cover didn’t speak to me so that why I was looking at the variants. If I was going to spend some cash on this issue I wanted a cover that spoke to me. The immediate top contender was Bruce Timm with a lovely homage to the 1940 era Batman with Joker looming large over the Dynamic Duo. I have had a few ‘best offer’s rejected on this one. I know it is a key issue bout I have a limit. I have one more on my watch list and have a price in mind that I want to go to. Frank Miller is a creator I greatly admire and he has contributed massively to Batman’s history I think it would be rather fitting if his artwork represented money well spent in my pursuit of this issue. So right now all my energy is focused on finding this variant in my price range. Lastly my two back up options which are in place to keep the price donw but still give me access to the issue are the variants by Jim Steranko and Bernie Wrightson. both legends who haven’t done a ton of Batman work. If memory serves me correct Steranko hasn’t done any, where as Wrightson has done the brilliant story line The Cult with Jim Starlin. In my next instalment expect an update on what cover I ended up purchasing.

When I first starting selling comics on eBay what I was most looking forward to was receiving feedback. My first set of listings was for some trade paperbacks for which I had acquired doubles or upgraded to hardcovers. I put a lot of effort into writing detailed descriptions of the TPB’s. Like always I included the usual stuff like the creative duo, whether the story contained a key issue and if the story had any ties to current or future movies. I used the phrase ‘legendary creative duo’ a lot! My hope from all this was to receive feedback from my peers in the comic community. I had deluded thoughts of talk of my eBay listings spreading like wild fire with every positive feedback. I was expecting to see comments like ‘this guy really knows his shit!’ Needless to say my first review didn’t float my boat. It was something along the lines of ‘fast postage, top eBayer!” Did my knowledge mean nothing to these people? In my mind selling comics on eBay would open me up to a whole secret world of online comics friends. Getting to know people who are in the know. People who could track me down a Incredible Hulk #181 for a fraction of its real cost. Its good to have dreams isn’t?

I should probably point out at this point I too write the most uninspiring feedback. Always positive but so bland! So I will make a proclamation from this day forward I will write better feedback in the hope I will receive likewise! I can however end this segment on a positive. One of my earliest sales was of a double of a hardcover for Marvel’s Civil War. Of course I made mention of the fact it was the inspiration for the upcoming MCU movie Captain America: Civil War. The auction gained some followers and sold for more than what it started at. But that is not the important thing. the buyer had a username that was their surname like ‘the blank family’. What warmed my heart was the feedback. It read ‘Exactly as described. Can’t wait to read it.’ This is why I’m selling comics on eBay. Not to make a quick couple of quid but to share my enjoyment of comics. Because the username had the surname in it I pictured a Mum or Dad reading it then passing it on to their children. Comics are the most diverse form of story telling yet they still need to be shouted from the rooftops to spread the word of their brilliance. If me selling a few issues on eBay helps in anyway then I can say I done what I could to help. This all leads to what I said a few weeks back about creating a potential questionnaire I could send to buyers of my auctions. This is taking the big assumption people want to take the time to give me extra feedback than what is already asked on eBay. Anyway I have come up with five questions so far. Maybe next time I sell a back issue I’ll test the waters?

  1. What attracted you to my listing over others? (Price, P+P, Grade, Other) If other please state.
  2. Were you happy with the grade I gave the comic?
  3. If you found the condition did not match my grade what did you find wrong with the comic?
  4. Did the grade reflect the price?
  5. How was the packaging? Did it reflect the price?

I have no items for sale again this week, but with good reason. Firstly I have been away. But secondly I want to get everything in order with what I am actually selling to make it easier for me. I would like the items I am selling to link up if possible with the subject I am talking about. This won’t always be the case as sometimes a subject creeps up on me and I might not have any comics to go with it. I like to make a lot of hand written notes because I’m a bit old school. so I now have what I refer to as my ‘eBay comics bible,’ In here I will have my preferred grading system, postage rates, the character spotlight information and most importantly I will have all the details about condition and information about each issue. So I only need to look in one place when listing a comic rather than being buried in my long boxes when trying to write this blog. If I have any regular readers I hope you are enjoying the evolution I’m going through here.

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