22nd Sep2020

eBuying Comics: Week 43

by Ian Wells

This week I have an interview with Ryan of Only Comics Fans. It is a site I can personally vouch for after using it very recently. It came across my Instagram timline and like all comic related things I clicked it. I’ll be honest a lot of this clicking ends in disspointment but this time I was very happy to see a new website offering Bronze Age back issues. With the Instagram link there was a 10% discount code so I picked out the three Daredevil issues they had that I didn’t. All three were very well priced pre discount code and the condition was as described. The extra care and attention to packing was well worth the price. After my purchase I thought it would be good to catch up with Ryan. In this lockdown world even though this blog is called ‘eBuying Comics’ I think it is important now more than ever to focus on the independent sellers.

Can you remember where you brought your first comic and what comic was it?

I can actually, I was around 13 or 14 years of age. I was with my best friend at the time and his mother who had taken us to a local car boot sale. My friends mom had given us both £20 to spend and allowed us go off shopping! (I guess times were different then!). I remember finding an eldery gentleman who had boxes and boxes of comics for sale. I had never before had an interest in comics but for some reason that day spent my whole £20 on a bag full of comics. Mainly X-men comic and I still have one of them to this day. X-men annual 9. 

What issue really gave you the bug for comics? First series you collected? Favourite creators?

I think the first series I really went out of my way to collect were the Neil Gaiman Sandman series. I fell in love with the cover art! I think my favourite creators right now would be Jason Aaron and Donny Cates.

What is the secret origin of Only Comics Fans? How did you go from comics fan to comics entrepreneur?

Only Comic Fans started around 2 and a half years ago as a way to raise some money by selling some of my collection. I have only used ebay until very recently when I launched www.onlycomicfans.com as a way to move forwards and grow a hobby into a business. I am a previous business owner in the retail sector and by trade I am an IT systems manager. I try to use all of my past experiences to improve onlycomicfans day by day.

I like the focus on older back issues, was this a conscious decision by you? Playing to your strengths/passions?

 Two things pushed my decision to stick to back issues. Firstly, most of the online comic businesses in the UK focus on new issues so I feel there is a gap in the market. The covid virus has prevented many comic lovers from doing what we all love, going on the hunt through long boxes! I am trying to create a virtual long box where people can search through my website and come across some real gems! 

How has the pandemic affected your business model? Has it brought any positive changes?

I certainly think that online businesses have not suffered anywhere near as much as the high Street. Brick and mortar stores have really taken a hit and it is terrible times that we all face. Personally I don’t feel that sales have increased or decreased as a result of the virus so I guess that’s a good thing? 

I’d like to say at this stage that I love on your Instagram how you highlight shops you visit. It is a great sense of community that comics fans offer each other, and is really important now people can venture outside again.

Thank you. Whenever I’ve visited a comic shop and received good service I am more than happy to post a review to give them more exposure.

When things get back to normal or the ‘new normal’ do you have plans to do conventions as a retailer?

 Unfortunately no, I will have chosen to only ever sell my books online but I do enjoy the conventions as a customer. 

Have you ever had any major key issues come your way? Is it hard to part with them or just part of the business?

I suppose everybodys view on what is a major key is different but I have had many nice books pass through my hands. The collector in me always struggles to let go! 

Do you have any tips for new collectors?

My only tip for new collectors would be collect what you enjoy. There’re no rules, you do not have to follow the latest trend. Don’t be a sheep and buy the latest hot book just because you’ve seen videos on YouTube hyping them up. For many years I never even read comics, I collected them mainly for cover art and key value. More recently I have started reading and have really enjoyed some of the more modern runs. My latest read was the Walking dead, which I am gutted has come to the end! 

As a retailer is there one issue you predict becoming hot in the coming years?

There’re many issues I would say have potential but I strongly believe that Sandman #1 has great potential to reach silly money. The audio book has received amazing feedback and I have heard that the series has the largest budget ever spent by Netflix. 

To balance the narrative, as a fan is there a issue/series you would like to see get more attention?

Difficult question as most of the series I have read have all been quite popular ones. For anybody who enjoed the Walking Dead TV series, definitely give the comics a go, you won’t regret it! 

Where do you see yourself and Only Comics Fans in five years?

I would hope that I can turn Onlycomicfans into a successful full time business as it really is a passion of mine.

Where can people find you? Plug all social media.

People can find me on ebay and Instagram under the username Onlycomicfans and now my newly launched website www.onlycomicfans.com  As an exclusive discount for any readers, please use code: LOYALTY10 at the checkout! 

Thanks Ryan  for your time and I advise everyone to head over to the site now. To close out I just want to give a little update on the trading card selling challenge. As of yet none of the sets I created have sold! They are now on their third listing. As predicted the ‘Miho’ set garnered the most attention. Over the first two listings it averaged 6 views. Out of the DC vs Marvel cards the Batman vs Captain America set got the most views first time out with all the sets getting pretty much equal attention second time round. Now on the third and final listing for a while I have reduced the prices. Sets that were £2.50 are now £2 and sets that were £1.50 are now £1. This may prove a good move as of now all the sets are at 1 or 2 views but the Black Adam/Shazam set has actually gained a watcher! If I pick up more watchers in the coming days I may relist for a fourth time. Watch this space…


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