The Value Of Collecting Comic Books

Comic books aren't bought and read just for the entertainment; serious collectors buy comics as an investment.

Little boys have been collecting comic books for more than 100 years, but they aren't just for kids anymore. Today comics are a hot item among collectors; in fact, they are all grown up. Comics are a fantastic soap opera of sorts, an ongoing saga in living artistic color. Today's super heroes deal with current social issues such as divorce, drugs, AIDS, abuse, and terminal illness. Most people don't know Captain Marvel died of cancer. Comic books aren't bought and read just for the entertainment; serious collectors buy comics as an investment and they are as valuable to their owners as priceless antiques.

Comic books were introduced in the late 19th century with The Yellow Kid, a comic in the New York American Newspaper. In 1917, Clancy the Cop was popular, and by 1933, comic books were much like we know them today, selling at about 10 cents apiece. By the 1970s, comic book prices rose to 25 cents and today they range from $1.50 to $5.00. In 1938, Superman was born, published by the now famous D.C. comics, and a year later, D.C. introduced Batman. Archie comics debuted in the 1940s, offering a refreshing change from superheroes to school kids.

In 1956, The Flash was born and in the 1960s, Stan Lee brought Marvel Comics to the forefront of popularity with characters such as Spider Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men, Daredevil, and The Silver Surfer, to name a few.

The 1980s brought the advent of comic books stores. No longer were comics found only on the news-stands, and with the new availability, a new breed of comics was born. New racy, graphic and mature subject matters ignored the long standing Comic Code that held comic artists and writers to a high standard of decency. And even in the traditional super hero comics, the characters became deeper, relationships and pasts were explored, and people died. Current social issues were inserted into the story lines; super heroes became more like us. And over the past 25 years, as comics became a sign of the times, the realization settled over collectors that comic books could be an investment.

Recently, a Batman Issue #1 was sold for $135,000.00. This is unusual, but comic collecting can bring in a significant amount of money if the comic books are well cared for.

Condition is determined as follows:

Poor - damaged and unsuitable to collect

Fair - some damage, wear and tear, brown marks

Good - worn, some creases, no browning or tape

Very Good - original gloss, minor wear

Fine - flat, clean cover, no marks or staple stress, early signs of wear

Very Fine - flat, clean cover, attractive to the eye, very early signs of wear

Near Mint - nearly perfect issue, cover has only slight lack of luster

Mint - perfect, worth more than the price in comic book guides

Special bags and boxes are created for comic collectors, and the books themselves must be stored upright in a cool, dry environment. As an investment, collectors can't go wrong. The value of comic books increases rapidly and rarely goes down. The old, rare issues don't sell often, but they do sell - and for a good price. The best place to find rare or back issues are at weekend comic book conventions that take place all over the country. Conventions are also a great place to meet writers and illustrators.

Of course, for many long time collectors, personal value is more important than the money they could receive from selling their prized possessions. The characters are as real to the readers as soap characters for long time soap opera fans.

If you are in the market of collecting comic books, visit your local comic book store to find out about conventions, other local collectors, and what's new and hot. If you care for them well, you'll surely get a return on your investment.

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