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Comic Book Collecting and Investing! A Good Idea?

Updated on August 11, 2012

Ain't Kids Stuff No More

Back in the day when I was a kid, comics were still kids stuff. Hell, even in my high school years and college years, I saw a lot of one time collectors abandon their collections to pursue and afford more "adult" things and activities.

Now, however, comics are no longer kids stuff. With such comic books like the 1st appearance of Superman and Batman both breaking the million dollar marks, and many other high grade key issues breaking the six figure mark, comic books have proven to be a great investment.

Well, at least some have. Sure it's true that not all comics will be valuable someday. Comic book investors know the market and make wise decisions on which titles, books, and at which grade to invest their dollars in.

Silver age comics has seen an increase in demand, and probably will continue to do so. However, there are still affordable comics out there that are good investment choices. If you think they're just too expensive now, I'm going to reveal a few of the prices of key issue comic books one could've got in 1970 and their values today (according to the Overstreet Guide.)

Be prepared to be shocked, and if you were around at this time and old enough to buy some of these comics at these prices, be prepared to kick yourself for not seeing the potential. Ready? Let's do this!

Batman #1 (1940 series)
Batman #1 (1940 series)

Batman #1 (1940 Series)

So according to Overstreet's report, Batman #1, featuring the 1st of appearance of The Joker and Catwoman, was a whopping $175 bucks for a NM copy back in 1970. Hey, a $175 bucks was a lot of money back then in them days. However, so is $285,000 these days. That's right, a low NM copy for Batman #1 is guided at $285,000 today, and will most likely still be going up in value as this Golden Age comic book in the NM grade levels are extremely rare!

1970 Batman #1 NM Value: $175

2011 Batman #1 NM (low): $285,000

Still think comic books are kids stuff?

Superman #1 (1939 Series)
Superman #1 (1939 Series)

Superman #1 (1939 Series) DC Comics

Here's another Golden Age holy grail to own. The 1st issue to kick off Superman's very own self-titled comic book doesn't boast Supes first appearance, but it's still a key issue that many collector's and investors covet. It tells of Superman's origin.

In 1970 this book took about $250 bucks from your wallet at a NM grade. Not a bad chunk of change, right? However, in 2011 today, this very same comic at a low NM will cost you $560,000 dollars. Over half a million!

1970 Superman #1 NM Value: $250

2011 Superman #1 low NM Value: $560,000

Uhmm...forty years later and over half a million dollars. I would say that's well worth it for a book that cost around $250. Too bad my pops wasn't into comics during the 70s. He'd be a lot richer now, and he'd probably have quite a few key issues going. Well, that's if he had my brain when it came to comic collecting and investing.

Amazing Fantasy #15 1st appearance of Spider Man
Amazing Fantasy #15 1st appearance of Spider Man

Amazing Fantasy #15 (1962 Series) 1st Appearance of Spider-Man

Okay, we'll get away from those Golden Age comic books, and see what were some of the key issue values in 1970 for Silver Age books. If we're talking about Silver Age heroes, you have to mention Spider-Man. He has become one of the most popular and beloved super hero characters in the genre, and Amazing Fantasy #15 is the web head's first debut.

So in 1970, how much did a NM copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 cost? This is gonna blow your mind, but a NM copy of Spidey's first appearance cost a mere $16 dollars back in 1970!

Now, how much is this Silver Age key issue comic? A whopping $125,000 for a low NM (that's probably around a 9.0 to 9.2 according to CGC standards). Can you believe that? Imagine getting a key issue comic book for only $16, and now it costs more than some houses do?

1970 Amazing Fantasy #15 Value: $16

2011 Amazing Fantasy #15 Value: $125,000

Can we say smart investment choice? Uhmmm....I sure can...too bad I was born in 1975 and didn't start collecting comics till the mid 80's. Yikes, did I miss the boat in more ways than one. Yowza!

Fantastic Four #1 1961 Series Marvel Comics
Fantastic Four #1 1961 Series Marvel Comics

Fantastic Four #1 (1961 Series) 1st Appearance of the Fantastic Four

If we're talking about Marvel milestones during the Silver Age of comics, Fantastic Four #1 has to be mentioned. This coveted comic book has the origin and very first appearance of the FF team.

Back in the 70s, a NM copy of this very book would've cost you around $12! Wow, if you're dad said that was just too expensive for his blood back in the day, I bet he would think $80,000 at a low near mint grade would be outrageous!

It sure is outrageous, isn't it? But that's how much this coveted key issue Marvel Comic is going for these days. Perhaps, even more considering that 20th Century Fox is considering rebooting the Fantastic Four movie franchise.

Uhmmm...$80,000 is a bit too expensive for my blood, but $12! I would've been all over that like flies on doo-doo.

The rarity of this book is high, even in lesser grades. For example, NewKadia has a copy of Fantastic Four #1 at a low VG, and it's running for $4,286.08. That's before the discount they give you, of course. I believe it's 33% off with their coupon. Four grand for a low VG comic book? Imagine what that bad boy is gonna be 40 years from now in 2051.

Tales of Suspense #39 1st Appearance of Iron Man
Tales of Suspense #39 1st Appearance of Iron Man

Tales of Suspense (1959 Series) 1st Appearance of Iron Man

Going back to the very 1st appearance and origin of Iron Man, this comic has really took off in demand from the Iron Man movies and the Avengers movie coming next summer in 2012. Now, every serious comic investor either has this comic or is on the hunt for it. If only they were hunting for it back in 1970 and could grab a near mint copy of this key issue at a mere $6.

Now, it's guided at $25,000 dollars. Remember, guide is usually behind of demand. This book right now at a low near mint is going well above guide, because of the Avengers hype. The value and cost of this book will only get worse, as Iron Man 3 is scheduled to be released in 2013, and that movie will once again increase demand.

1970 Tales of Suspense #39 NM Value: $6

2011 Tales of Suspense #39 low NM Value: $25,000

mycomicshop.com has this book at a PGX 2.0. That's a straight GD (good) grade, and in comic speak, a comic graded at GD is a lower grade book, mostly called reader copies. Anyway, it's going for $999.00, which is almost a hundred dollars over guide. You can visit the link to check out mycomicshop's Tales of Suspense #39 copy for sale at their site.

Comic Books Are A Good Investment

So what's the conclusion to this lens? Yes, comic books are a good investment. However, many of the high grade near mint key issue comics from the Silver and Golden Age are just out of reach of most average collector's can afford.

However, even though the rare NM copies of these Golden and Silver Age key issues are really setting record breaking sales, I believe demand will start shifting towards mid and lower grade books, as there are still quite a few key issues at these grades that are under a hundred dollars.

If I was old enough during the 70s, and I had gotten just the books I listed at NM grades, I'd be $1,075, 000 dollars richer today with an initial investment cost of $459 bucks. Uh, I'd say that's more than spectacular for just 5 comic books, don't you think?

It's not too late, however. You can still make great comic book investment choices in silver age comics. Visit the link to check out my top investment comics for 2012.

Also, be sure to see which DC upcoming movies and Marvel Comic movies coming soon that will push certain comic demands and values up!

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