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Reasons To Buy Paper Comics

Updated on November 5, 2015
The Great Comic Book Heroes Cover
The Great Comic Book Heroes Cover

My friends and I have been debating buying digital or paper comics for years. Not only do we discuss which one we prefer but also if paper comics will have a future. Here are ten reason you should stick with the classic style of paper comics and not make the switch to digital.


1. An Investment

Digital comics will never be a financial investment. Once you purchase a comic digitally you can never resell it or hope that it will appreciate in value. However, paper comics can be worth more than what you originally paid for it.

Although a new comic you buy today will probably never reach thousands of dollars, they can still go up a significantly. It is not uncommon to have a comic more than double in value. Increasing your investment twofold is nothing to laugh at. If you know a lot about comics it is possible to find great deals that will instantly pay off. I found an issue of Amazing Spider-Man #121 and #122 for $2.50 each. I knew that these issues were the storyline in which Gwen Stacy was killed by the Green Goblin and even though they were not in mint condition were still worth a lot more than $2.50. In fact, each issue was worth a little over $250, at that time. Today they are around $350 a piece. How did your Facebook stock do?

2. Community

There is a comic book culture and community that can never be replicated online. You can comment on blogs and write your own articles but there is something special about going into your comic shop and talking about your favorite books and characters. These unique group of friends allows you to fully explore your geekdom. This is where you can discover new titles you might be interested in reading, debate the best villain ever created, complain about the newest reboot, or any other comic related topic. A not so isolated fortress of Solitude where you can let your guard down and enjoy your hobby to its fullest.

3. Support Local Business

People are always talking about supporting local businesses. Stop shopping at Walmart and go to the mom and pop store down the street. You can’t get more local than your neighborhood comic shop. Comic stores are usually owned and operated by a comic fan from your neighborhood. They don’t make a lot of money but they are doing what they love. If you are a comic book collector, you will want to go to your local independent shop. They will have a better selection of titles than those found in chain stores. The issues will also be in better condition. The comics found in large stores, like Barnes and Noble, are treated like books in a library and are usually mangled before they leave the store.

Here are some fun facts that will make you look like a hero for shopping at your local comic store. When you shop at an independent brick and mortar store 68% of your money stays in the community. If you shop at a chain store only 43% of your money will return to the local economy. For those of you who shop online, less than 1% will go back to the place you live. When people ask, “How can it be that much?”, you can respond, “through taxes, payroll and other business expenses”.

4. Tangible Product

There is something special about a thing you can touch and smell. The dimensions, textures and weight of an inanimate object can give it a life of its own. The number of pages, the type of paper, the thickness of the cover all contribute to a books individuality. Perhaps not as much as the artwork and story but it is something that can’t be recreated digitally.

5. Environmental

Paper is a renewable resource. Comics can be recycled and will biodegrade over time. (That is why we spend so much money protecting them.) Electronic reading devices needed to display digital comics use rare earth metals that can seriously harm the environment if they are not properly handled in every step of their processing and disposal.

6. Borrow/Trade

There are a lot of great comics that come out every week. Most of us can’t afford to follow them all. Sacrifices have to be made. You might have to cut out your Green Lantern comics because Batman has a slight advantage. You might want to follow a storyline that runs through all of Marvel’s titles, like “Civil War” or “X-Men vs. Avengers”, but the reality is there are just more titles than you can afford. If you have physical copies of comics you can trade with your friends so you can all enjoy these great stories.

7. Autographs

Autographs can be the ultimate collector’s dream. It is an opportunity to create a unique item that only you possess. Getting that prized signature of an artist you admire and always having a reminder of that memory can’t be replicated. Some of my most cherished collector items are not expensive but signed copies. A friend of mine, who interviewed Stan Lee on the radio, got me an autographed copy of his biography and I got Bruce Cambell’s signature on my DVD copy of “Army of Darkness” from my very first San Diego Comic Con adventure. These are not valuable but to me they are priceless.

8. Decoration

Comics are more than just books to be read and put away in a box. They are works of art. They can be hung from the walls as posters or placed on shelves and tables to add character to a room. They can become talking points as much as accessories. Individual issues have a story behind them that goes much deeper than the words printed on the page. There is a mythology behind the books that can take up hours of conversation. There could even be a story to how you obtained the issue being discussed or why you decided to display that particular issue.

9. The Hunt

Part of the fun in collecting comics is the hunt. Trying to find that rare issue at an affordable price. Filling in the holes until you have the complete run of a series. Getting your hands on a pivotal story in a character’s life. It fills you with a sense of accomplishment to complete a challenging task. Although I love ebay, I do not buy my collectibles from them because it takes away from the fun of the hunt and makes it more about the amount of money you have at your disposal. Digital comics suffer the same weakness as e-bay. There is no challenge in trying to acquire those hard to find issues and thus the feeling of accomplishment is lost.

10. Memories

When you collect an item there are memories and emotions attached, which are just as valuable, if not more, than their monetary value. When you have had a comic since childhood it becomes part of that simpler, carefree time in your life. If the comic was hard to come across, you are reminded of the excitement of finally being able to add it to your collection or opening the cover to read the adventure waiting inside. Events in your life can also be tied to a particular issue. I still remember the Christmas morning when I received the missing issued needed to complete my run of Todd McFarlane’s Amazing Spider-Man. One of my groomsmen gave me a framed copy of Amazing Spider-Man: Giant-Sized Annual #21 when Peter Parker and Mary Jane got married as a wedding gift. (In case you have not guessed, I am a huge Spider-Man fan.) These memories are forever tied to the individual comics.

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Counter Argument

If you want to read why you should buy paper comics instead of digital, you can check out the article Reasons To Buy Digital Comics.

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    • Geekdom profile image
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      Geekdom 3 years ago

      Agreed. For the collector, paper is the only way to go.

    • profile image

      tonlo 3 years ago

      Lets say a digital comic has a limited edition cover for $3.00 and standard issue for $2.00 . Can either one go up in value over a course of time compared paper format of the same issues ? Can you get a digital a comic signed by your favorite artist , writer , tv or movie actor ? I feel a digital can not go up in value compared to a paper comic . Because its non-tangible . 10 years from now which one will be more valuable ?

    • cperuzzi profile image

      Christopher Peruzzi 4 years ago from Freehold, NJ

      There is something to be said about holding a comic book in your hand. While electronic comics are good for the environment, paper comic books require no power source whatsoever. You can read them over and over until the pages fall apart... and even then, you can still continue.

      I have one electronic comic subscription which I'll read periodically. However, I prefer holding issues, trade paperbacks, and hard covers because I just think they are better reading.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      I am glad you enjoyed it.

      Yes, most mass market paperbacks will probably not go up in value but I have seen lots of original released books go for a pretty penny after they have gone out of print (pulp novels) or had smaller runs (U.K. Harry Potter) before taking off in popularity.

    • bmwaylonis profile image

      Brynn 4 years ago from Central City, PA

      Great Hub! I'm not too into comics myself, but my brother is.. Scratch that, I was really into Archie and Friends when I was younger.. I still have those comics somewhere.. These reasons could also be applied to why you should get books in prints as opposed to getting an ebook. Well, I guess for books, it being an investment is questionable.

    • Geekdom profile image
      Author

      Geekdom 5 years ago

      Might be less than that for the Conan comics. Rumor is that The Legend of Conan starring Arnold Schwarzeneger is slated for 2014. Of course the sequel to Twins (triplets) is in develpoment well, so we shall see.

      I loved Heavy Metal Magazine as well. The cover art was always spectacular.

    • Steve Lensman profile image

      Steve Lensman 5 years ago from London, England

      I wish I kept all my old comics, threw so many away! The only ones I kept were The Savage Sword of Conan, loved the black and white artwork, and Heavy Metal Magazine. I have them boxed up in a cupboard. Might be worth something in another 10 years.

      Voted Up and Useful