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Friday, March 26, 2010 

Movies not helping comic sales, and collectibles still just sold for monetary value

I've complained before about how collectibility for monetary value has long taken priority over the quality of the story, and the Brandon Sun isn't making things much better by furthering that type of fluff-coated stance:
MONTREAL - So you think your pile of comics is going to shoot up in value with the next big comic-book-based movie? Maybe Iron Man really is the Golden Avenger and there's a hunk of green in Green Lantern?

Whoa, Sparky. Rein in those Richie Rich fantasies a bit. Not everything is hitting the astronomical $1-million-plus that a couple of rare comics have fetched recently.

"There's really only certain films which generate interest in characters that have translated into dramatic increases in prices," says Gareb Shamus, founder and CEO of New York-based Wizard Entertainment.

Like Iron Man, for example. His debut issue in 1968 originally cost 12 cents and now goes for $500.

"There's no question the first Iron Man movie really put Iron Man on a blazing path from a collectibility standpoint and an awareness standpoint," Shamus said.

"In comic book circles, he was a popular character but on a worldwide basis most people walking down the street wouldn't know who he is. Now he's a household name."

But nothing's a sure thing.
Nope, it sure ain't. And for heaven's sake, what about an increase in people who'd actually like to read the comic books, especially the old ones? Why is money value in discussion here instead of whether anybody's interested in the archives of all these famous figures? It won't surprise me if Wizard's worst editor cares more about money than really promoting any great comics.

And the sad thing is that, despite the success of the Iron Man movie, Shell-head is still far from a true household name if his comics aren't selling the hundred-thousands or millions. The boosts from movies have become increasingly short-term, and rising prices aren't helping.
Last month, Detective Comics No. 27 - Batman's debut in May 1939 - sold at auction for $1,075,500, breaking the record $1 million paid three days earlier for 1938's Action Comics No. 1, which featured Superman's first appearance.

Action had held the record previously, selling for $317,000 in 2009.

Comic collecting became a serious hobby in the 1960s, with book shops and conventions popping up slowly after that.

While there were blips of interest in the hobby with hit movies like 1978's "Superman," it got more attention with a speculation boom in the mid-1980s and the box office and marketing success of 1989's "Batman."
And it collapsed soon after, as this speculator market became more important to the industry than telling good stories, and the market collapsed. They must've been so desperate to sell, without considering that drops in storytelling quality were harming sales, that they didn't even try to fight to keep their products in mainstream bookstores. Or, they didn't even care that much, leading to today's situation.
The price of new comics is around $3.99 on average.

But are they a good investment?
If we're talking DC/Marvel's current output, the answer is no.
"Marvel Comics has been around for 70 years, DC Comics has been around for 75 years and there's a reason for that," he said. "These are great characters and great stories."
Ahem: they are great characters, yes. There's no disputing that. But the stories published in recent years are not great at all. This is because of how the inmates who took over the asylum have long abandoned true interest in both their core audiences and new ones. They're self-interested and have failed to learn their lessons. And that's why, until they ever wake up and smell the coffee, they won't find mass success.

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We were just talking about that last part yesterday at my LCS. The stories seem to be more like bad fanfic, set up so certain people can have "their characters" back on the shelves or raise readership by stupid gimmicks that only yield short-term results, if that.

Like Iron Man, for example. His debut issue in 1968 originally cost 12 cents and now goes for $500.

Misleading. His "debut issue," as I'm sure you all know, wasn't in 1968 but 1963 (Tales of Suspense #39), and goes for substantially more than $500.

His own title's debut was in 1968, yes.

Haven't looked at an Overstreet in some time, but even the price given on IM #1 is sorta misleading. That's probably the high-end condition. I've seen low-mid grade copies run as low as 20-40 bucks.

ToS 39, though, whooo-whee...$500 would be a pretty good deal even if somebody had peed on it.

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