29th Nov2018

eBuying Comics: Week 7

by Ian Wells

ebuying-comics-header

The 90′s are synonymous with two things in comics history. The birth of the superstar artist and the crash of the comic market. Are the two related? The polite answer is possibly. But there were many factors that contributed to the crash. Between 1993 and 1997 the comics industry hit an all time low, a low it only recovered from towards the end of the 00′s. Because of the crash a lot of comic book fans look on the 90′s with disdain. But for every fan that hates it there are two who look back at that time with such fondness.

When you think of Image Comics now you think of a publisher closest to breaking the big twos dominance. You think of consistently well told series like The Walking Dead, Southern Bastards and Saga. Series that a equal in quality of writers and artists. Though leaning more towards the writers. When Image was founded in 1992 this was not the case. The company as founded by a group of breakaway artists who had become disenfranchised with life at Marvel. The group was Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, Erik Larsen and Jim Valentino. They felt Marvel’s work for hire policies were exploitative of their creative talents. With their images being used to promote Marvel’s characters and then receiving modest compensation.

It could be argued that Marvel made these artists superstars in the first place by giving them the canvas of Spider-Man and X-Men comics to work on. Because of Marvel using these guys to sell their product the incoming crash was already in motion before the formation of Image Comics. Spider-Man #1 by McFarlane had five variant covers and reportedly sold 2.5 million copies. X-Men #1 with art by Jim Lee is still the record selling single issue also had five variant covers. X-Force with art by Rob Liefeld had one cover but was sold with 5 different trading cards to collect. Without doubt Marvel cashed in on the fan base these artists had created and the speculator boom was born. Comic book readers became comic book collectors. They brought all five covers for Spider-Man number one even though it was the same story. They thought they had a profit on their hands. But as we all know with hindsight it was a false market.

A perfect example of this is three years ago I got a X-Force #1 from a car boot sale for £1! I sold it on eBay for £1.50. This issue which was regarded as a collectors wet dream has not held its prestige. Admittedly X-Force stuff is slowly creeping up in value again after Deadpool 2. Five to ten years ago you could get this issue and New Mutants #98 in £1 boxes at conventions. This weekend on eBay I found near mint copies of X-Force #1 ranging from £2 to £5.99. Someone was even selling a complete lot of the 5 issues complete with trading cards with a starting price of… £4.99! My assumption was that X-Men #1 still held some prestige. It is part of a larger history than X-Force #1. However I didn’t find anything over £20. A lot of this is due to the fact each cover was mass produced it wasn’t  a rare comic just because it was a first issue. Throw a rock blindfolded at a comic convention in the 90′s and you could hit X-Men #1. The same thing with Spider-Man #1, nothing over £15. There were a few CGC’s signed by Todd McFarlane nearer £100. The tables have turned now and comic fans who wanted this books but were priced out of them for years are back in the game. If you a hard core Spider-Man or X-Man fan now is the time to purchase a comic that is both important in regards to it being a #1, new eras for both sets of characters, but also it represents a time of historical importance in the comic industry.

Like I said to this day the 90′s is either loved or derided. So if Marvel and to a lesser extent DC created the speculator boom the creation of Image Comics added fuel to the fire. Once these superstar artists had developed their fan base they wanted a bigger slice of the pie. So they formed their own publisher. Early on Image Comics had strict rules. All work under the Image banner would be owned by the creator. The creators would not interfere with each other on a creative or financial level. But no disrespect they were just artists, most of the first wave of Image books were not critical success stories. Weak and incoherent plotting the biggest problems, working to a deadline was another. Youngblood #1 came with a variety of covers. There is one very ambitious eBayer listing a Youngblood #1 in near mint condition for £20. You would have to be a die hard Liefeld fan to stump up the cash for that. Come on you can get a Magneto cover to X-Men #1 for £4.50, its a no brainer. Both first issues of Savage Dragon and WildC.A.T.S you can still get for the price of a comic today. Spawn #1 seems to be the only debut issue from the Image revolution that still holds any clout. It didn’t come with a flurry of variant covers and the quality spoke for itself, McFarlane at that point had done the most writing. Near mint copies are £20 and up, signed and CGC copies are £100+ depending on grade. I am not writing this piece to poke fun at the comics and the creators involved. I have huge respect for creators that want to make a difference in comics. In this time of over saturation for superhero stories more and more comic readers are turning to publishers like Image and Boom Studios. Without the superstar artists of the 90′s taking on the establishment we wouldn’t have them to turn to. So that in itself deserves some credit.

Sold

I don’t mean to brag but I actually sold something this time!

Marvel Comics Avengers Arena Vol. 1 TPB – Starting Price £2.50 + £2.50 P+P Sold For £2.50

For Sale

This will be my last selling week before Christmas. Life and the postal service just gets to hectic around this time of year. I don’t want to let people down by them receiving items late or not at all. I have relisted all the Daredevil, Marvel Knights related stuff from last time and added an assortment of independent comics I have acquired over the years.

  • Comic Set: Heroes For Hire #1-3 Marvel Comics – Starting Price £2.00 + £2.00 P+P
  • Comic Set: Doctor Strange #1-4 Marvel Comics – Starting Price £2.00 + £2.00 P+P
  • Comic Set: Shadowland Iron Fist #1-4 Marvel Comics – Starting Price £2.00 + £2.00 P+P
  • Marvel Comics The Defenders #1 – Starting Price £1.00 + £1.50 P+P
  • Marvel Comics Shadowland Ghostrider #1 oneshot – Starting Price £1.00 + £1.50 P+P
  • Marvel Comics Shadowland Spider-Man #1 oneshot – Starting Price £1.00 + £1.50 P+P
  • Mixed Lot Of Dark Horse Comics X – Starting Price £3.00 + £4.00 P+P
  • The Walking Dead #163 Image Comics – Starting Price £1.00 + £1.50 P+P
  • Bloodshot Reborn #1 Valiant Comics Variant Cover – Starting Price £1.00 + £1.50 P+P
  • Secret Weapons #1 Valiant Comics – Starting Price £1.00 + £1.50 P+P
  • 300 #3 Frank Miller Dark Horse Comics – Starting Price £2.50 + £1.50 P+P

Top Tip

When writing you listing descriptions channel your inner Stan Lee. When it came to promoting his comics and comics as   a whole Stan was the ultimate hype man. You have to do the same thing with your listing. Make it sound like the greatest comic ever made. Obviously when it comes to condition don’t over sell that, you might end up in hot water! Like Stan and his famous Soap Box column in Marvel Comics give your listings a personal touch. Always, always mention the creative teams. There are readers that follow characters and those that follow creators. Mention what makes an issue special, first appearance, event tie-ins and stuff like that. I also like to mention if the story would be good for new readers, as there are people coming to comics from what they see in movies or on Netflix. Rate the story if you want. If the quality of your listing matches the product and more importantly matches the buyers enjoyment of it you will get return costumers.

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