Should you collect comic books?

Some of my collection. Photo by Gabriel Espinosa

Here are some of the comic books from my collection. Photo by Gabriel Espinosa

Let’s be real here. I like collecting and reading comic books a lot. But that’s not the only thing I collect; I’ve got collections of records, video games, fresh mint tin cans and soccer player cards from previous World Cups. And I’ll be honest, my room is a mess. I have so much clutter everywhere. When I left my hometown two years ago, I left behind my comic collection and decided to start fresh here. I have multiple Cup Noodle boxes hidden in my room filled with trade paperback comic books. And that’s with only two years of collecting.

So why should anyone collect comic books?

Well, when it comes to comic books, there are usually two reasons for why individuals collect in the first place. The first, which I consider the reason why I personally collect, is that they really like the medium: the classic page setup, superheroes, graphic novels, stories, etc. The other reason is that there is no resell value on digital comic books. You don’t own the comic book, but you own a personal special reading of the book on your computer, tablet or whatever digital device you are reading it on.

Photo by Gabriel Espinosa

I sold “Edge of Spider-Verse: Volume 2” for $400. Photo by Gabriel Espinosa

If I bought comic books digitally, I wouldn’t have had the crazy chance to sell “Edge of Spider-Verse: Volume 2″ for $400 last year. It was the first appearance of Spider-Gwen in a comic book and it had only come out in November 2014. In other words, I made a small investment in a good read for an afternoon and a couple of months later, I made my money back (plus $364 extra). The reason this edition sold for so much is that Spider-Gwen’s character had recently become popular and at that point, copies were sparse.

However, old comic books can’t always turn a large profit and it’s harder than it looks. Even “World’s Finest Comics” (Batman and Superman adventures) don’t sell for much. You may have heard that a near mint condition of “Action Comics No. 1″ sold for $3.2 million in 2014, but do you know why? Not only are there are only 50 copies known in existence, but it’s also the very first appearance of Superman and the creation of the superhero genre. So, if you manage to find that specific old comic in your closet, you are sure to be a millionaire soon.

Another way to successfully sell comics is by treating them as artifacts. Recently, my roommate came across an old box of comics his dad had given him. He asked me if I could peep through them and see if there were any he could make a decent buck off of. To my surprise, there were several great comic books including a large set of DC comics, “World’s Finest Comics.” However, pages were ripped up and others had entire pages missing. I told him to frame them and sell them as decorative pieces and that he would make a better buck off of his old comics.

Other than that, if you have a box full of comic books, chances are you might only make a couple hundred bucks. Maybe you own something very rare and unique or have hopes like me that one day your collection of “Street Fighter X G.I. Joe” will sell for a high price.  

So should you collect comic books? If you’re just trying to make money by selling them, you may be disappointed. But if you’re buying comic books just for the pleasure of owning them and you love them for what they are, then I say go for it. Collections are another form of identity and I think we can agree that whatever you collect speaks to a small part of who you are.

Leave a comment with your collection habits or if you have any cool comics to share. I’d love to connect with fellow collectors.

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