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Sunday, September 28, 2014 

The speculator's syndrome in a screencap

Here's a screenshot of a retweet by Greg Pak of a picture from somebody who bought eleven copies of the same 2nd issue of a Storm miniseries he wrote:
I'll give the guy credit for not being coy to admit he's a collector at all costs, but that's as far as I can go. Just look at that, ten with the same cover illustration, and one more with a variant. If each copy costs 4 dollars, that would amount to as many as forty-four dollars spent in total. Doesn't this guy have anything better to spend his money on, like a Marvel Masterworks collection of the first 10 or so issues of the 1975 revival for X-Men, where Storm first debuted? I own a paperback copy of that myself, and one copy is all I need, because I'm in this for the story merit, not the alleged fortune stemming from the speculator market.

Cover prices aside, Pak just retweeted this without any misgivings on the speculator's buying 11 issues and not leaving anything for anyone else to buy and read. Honestly, should he be this accepting of somebody who thinks this is one day going to net a fortune when the market is losing value every year? Some older pamphlets may rise in value when a movie based on their tale premieres in theaters, but it goes down again the year after. And I don't see these Storm miniseries copies gaining much lasting value either.

The lesson we can take from this is that the industry doesn't just suffer from speculators spending a lot of money all on the same products. It also suffers from the complacency of writers and artists who don't argue against this mentality that's turning comicdom into a joke. How do they expect to find many newcomers or keep the remaining audience for long if anybody thinks those still around comprise little more than just obsessive collectors?

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Just another example of the current trend. Not only are comic book sales a fraction of what they were in the Golden and Silver Ages, but even today's relatively low sales are artificially inflated, because of speculators buying multiple copies.

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