Collecting Comic Books
Collecting Comic Books
Mark Zaid (Owner of Esquire Comics) gives expert video advice on: When did comic book collecting become popular?; How do you become a comic book collector?; Should I insure my comic books? and more...
What is 'comic book collecting'?
Comic book collecting is just that; the difference between collecting and reading. When you're buying a comic book back in the old days, you buy a comic, you'd read it, you'd discard it. Now you retain the comic for either your own intrinsic value or, perhaps, the value of that particular comic book from an investment standpoint, but you're collecting it, you're preserving it, you're taking proper care of it, obviously, whether you're reading it or you are holding it for investment purposes.
Why are comic books collected?
Well, comics are collected today because of what they represent. They bring you back not only into your childhood, but also deal with topics of adulthood. It is the gamut, and in many ways you can find yourself lost in a science fiction universe, a fantasy world, or up in space, or down in adventures with the elves and the dwarves, or fighting crime as a superhero. This offers not only the reality to some extent of what you might see in baseball cards, which is obviously real life, but it also brings into play real life events that you might see discussed in comic books, coupled with something that is fantasy at the same time. You, in comic books, can run the gamut of just about anything that you have an interest in and that you love, for whether it's a personal issue or you want to actually try and maintain an investment quality to it as well.
When did comic book collecting become popular?
Comic book collecting has had it's ups and downs as far as popularity is concerned. Certainly when comic books became extremely popular in the late 1930s with the creation of Superman and Batman, they were bought and they were primarily discarded, though there were collectors and kids who collected them. But I would say that comic book collecting really took root more in the 1960s when kids were starting to really buy them and hold on to them and the back-issue market started to develop. By the 1980s, everybody was collecting, we were collecting everything, nobody throws out anything. You always hear the stories of those from the generation, of the World War 2 generation or the baby boomers, their parents threw out comics. You don't do that now, nothing gets thrown out with our hobbies today. So comic book collecting pretty much took root, say in the 1960s, especially into the 1980s.
What is a comic book 'speculator'?
A comic book speculator is a comic book investor. Obviously there are individuals who come in to the hobby, who don't have necessarily interest in the books. They are not reading the comic books, they are looking at it from an investment standpoint. By buying this Superman 1 in this grade, for this amount of money and by going to the air, will it turn a profit? There is nothing wrong with that, there's not a lot of people who do it, a lot of people who could make a good deal about the money of it. But I would think, at least for me, the reason why I am in this, is that it's a hobby. You can make money out of a hobby, you can be both an investor and a collector. Sometimes they bang against one and other, because you have to sell the comic you love so much, but if you can understand that you re not doing it only for the enjoyment of the item of the book, but the baseball card, the stamp, the coin, but also for the investment quality, I think its the combination of the best of both worlds.
What supplies do I need to start a comic book collection?
As with most hobbies there are certain types of supplies that one will need, especially if ones going to be an investor in comic books, but also as a collector just keep your comic books safe. There are certain types of bags you're going to need, there are backing boards that you can purchase and then there are boxes, specialized boxes for the different eras of comic books. Golden age comic books are usually larger than sliver age comic books, comic books that have been independently graded, by say CGC and encased in plastic, are obviously larger than comic books that are not. And there are specialized dealers and retailers that will sell you these boxes, bags and boards, and you need to be careful to make sure that the boards are acid free boards because the type of cardboard and the chemicals within the cardboard can impact on the comic book. So these are things you can go either online to do research and purchase, or go to your local comic book store and ask the dealers, the shop owners there for examples of what supplies exist and you can purchase them either directly from the retailers or from the dealers.
Should I insure my comic books?
As with any type of hobby when you have something of value; artwork, glassware, comic books; this is something that you need to consider insuring. Sometimes your home-owners insurance may cover some of the contents of your home if there's say a flood, a fire, a theft, but these are always things you need to check with your insurance agencies as well as your attorneys to see if your specific policies will cover your collections. Other than that there are specialized insurance policies that you could obtain for your collectables; for your comics, your baseball cards, your stamps. Some of them are as easy as just saying I have this comic book collection, worth this amount, and you don't necessarily have to specify the specific comic books, you just have to be able to prove in fact you own the comic book and that will cover theft, damage by flood, and by fire. And when you're talking about it from an investment standpoint, if you have thousands and thousands of dollars of comics: this is something you seriously want to look into.
How much can I expect to spend on comic book collecting?
The great thing about comic book collecting is the budget is up to you. You can go to comic book shows and you can go into the quarter boxes and you can pull out as many as you want and come with a boxful of comics and have only spent $10. Or you can go with your credit card and spend $500,000 on a particular comic book. It all depends on what your interests are, and what your budget is, and what your spouse may allow, if you want to remain married. But this is something you need to decide: are you a collector or are you an investor? What do you want to look at? How do you budget it with what your income? As with anything, you have to budget properly. Don't put all of your income, your disposable income, into comic books. Don't put it all into artwork, unless that's something you really want to do. There are a lot of different ways to be a comic book collector, so you need to decide if you want to be a smart collector, a smart investor, or even just a reader? Go buy the comics that you enjoy and spend that money. There is nothing that will say that if you spend a dollar on a comic book, $100 on a comic book or $10,000 on a comic book, that you're going to enjoy that comic exponentially more based on the price you paid. It's what you enjoy, and that's the key to it.