A Comic Book Market Snapshot

A Comic Book Market Snapshot

Comic Character Collectibles
By J.C. Vaughn
In keeping with this issue’s special focus on comic books, it seemed like an opportune time to check in with two of the comic book industry’s leading figures, ComicLink’s Josh Nathanson and Metropolis Collectibles’ Vincent Zurzolo. Both operate in the highest ranks of dealers or comic book-centric auction houses, and they each have decades of experience in dealing with high grade, rare, vintage comic books and original comic book art.
Josh Nathanson – President, ComicLink – www.ComicLink.com
What are some of your recent high profile comic book sales?
A Comic Book Market SnapshotJosh Nathanson (JN): Action Comics #1 CGC 7.0 Conserved ($450,000), Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 9.0 ($415,000), Fantastic Four #1 CGC 9.0 ($182,500), Detective Comics #31 CGC 5.0 ($135,000), Captain America Comics #1 CGC 2.5 ($90,000), Fantastic Four #52 CGC 9.8 ($90,000), Fantastic Four #1 CGC 8.0 ($76,000), Showcase #22 CGC 8.5 ($64,575), Incredible Hulk #1 CGC 7.5 ($62,500), House of Secrets #92 CGC 9.8 ($44,999), Marvel Super-Heroes #18 CGC 9.8 ($42,000), Incredible Hulk #181 CGC 9.8 Signature Series ($30,000), Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #1 CGC 8.5 ($25,250), Chamber of Chills #23 CGC 9.0 ($8,850), Witches Tales #25 CGC 8.5 ($7,100), X-Factor #1 CGC 9.9 ($5,775), and Conan #1 CGC 9.8 ($5,500).
What’s your overall view of the health of the market for back issue comics at the moment?
JN: The vintage comic book market is as healthy as I’ve ever seen it since I started ComicLink back in 1996! It’s firing on all cylinders, really. Issues from all eras, dating back to the beginning of comic books in the 1930s, to the modern era keys and rare variant issues, are performing extremely well. There have been times in the past when comic books from one period stagnated while others increased in price. That has not been the case of late, as items from the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Copper/
Modern Ages are all trending up.
What particular segments of the market do you see as the most volatile at present?
JN: Right now, there are no particularly volatile segments. In the past, we have seen enormous spikes in super-high grade examples where an item is the single highest graded, only to have the price drop precipitously when another copy or two come out in the same grade. Now, however, there are enough high-end buyers that a few more can come out, and the price can even go up in value.
If you had collectors who were new to comics, in what direction would you point them?
JN: It would depend on their budget of course, and their interest level. But purely from the standpoint of investment, I would point them to the most popular key issues as demand rules the day; Batman #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, Incredible Hulk #181.
What comics excite you personally right now?
JN: Personally, I love Golden Age keys and high-grades, classic Golden Age covers, and extremely high-grade Silver Age that is still rare in 9.6 to 9.8 condition. There is nothing more beautiful in comic books than seeing a Near Mint/Mint 9.8 from the early 1960s or prior.
Vincent Zurzolo – Chief Operating Officer, Metropolis Collectibles/ComicConnect – www.ComicConnect.com
A Comic Book Market SnapshotWhat are some of your recent high profile comic book sales?
Vincent Zurzolo (VZ): We are very well known for Action Comics #1. We’ve sold several copies over the last few months including Action Comics #1 CGC 5.0 ($815,000) and Action Comics #1 CGC 5.5 ($450,000). We also sold a few other great comics for record prices, including Marvel Comics #1 CGC 6.0 Twilight pedigree ($215,000), X-Men CGC 9.4 ($153,134.00), and Sensation Comics #1 CGC 8.5 ($153,000).
What’s your overall view of the health of the market for back issue comics at the moment?
VZ: The market has never been stronger or more robust with an amazing depth of diverse buyers collecting and investing in everything from modern variants to golden age greats. I have been in the market for 33 years and this may be the strongest I’ve seen it.
What particular segments of the market do you see as the most volatile at present?
VZ: I think there is a lot of speculation on bronze and copper age movie related comics. I would be careful you are not buying at the top of the market. Of course, if you like the comics, don’t worry about it, but if you are only investing then be careful. I was concerned about the modern variant market as well, but the low print runs and intense investing in these could make them last.
If you had collectors who were new to comics, in what direction would you point them?
VZ: My opinion is to buy what you love. Figure out your budget and focus on the issues you want. Collecting shouldn’t be only about making money. If you are an investor, then obviously you should be more aware of values. But as a collector/investor myself I am fine with paying aggressive prices to get the great books I want.
What comics excite you personally right now?
VZ:
I love comics from every time period. I really enjoy new comics like Saga and The Walking Dead. I am a huge Groo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan as well. From the Bronze Age, I love Marvel Team-Up and X-Men. Silver Age means Spider-Man and all things Marvel! 1950s horror is still one of my favorite genres to collect. I especially love L.B. Cole and Bill Everett covers. From the Golden Age I have grown very fond of Lou Fine art since we auctioned off the Jon Berk Collection, but also really enjoy Captain Marvel, Jr. and Captain America. Basically, I love comic books!
J.C. Vaughn is Vice-President of Publishing for Gemstone Publishing.

A Comic Book Market Snapshot