Gone are the days when reading comic books would get you in trouble with the cool kids. Since the early 2000s, the industry’s popularity has shifted into hyperdrive, thanks to Hollywood and Comic-Con. In terms of numbers, the comic book industry represents a global market of approximately 6 billion euros.
Collecting comic books does sound like a fun hobby, but we’re here to tell you that it’s not all about aesthetics. With a little prudence and patience, you can build a graded comic books collection that’s worth a small fortune. Simply put, a couple of good graded comics can make you a millionaire overnight.
However, to start things on the right foot, you’ll need to brush up on the basics. Here are five top tips for collecting graded comic books.
5. Start with One Comics Series
There’s nothing wrong with having multiple favorite superheroes. But if you try to focus on five comics right out the gate, you’ll get overwhelmed in no time. With so many characters and worlds to explore, it’s easy to fall into a rabbit hole. Not to mention, there are a bunch of spin-offs and guest appearances to consider.
Instead, start slow. Stick to one character or comic series and build up from there. In case another character catches your eye, add them to your ‘need to check out’ list, but don’t change tracks immediately. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a half-finished graded comic books collection and little to no storage space. Once you get the hang of things, you can juggle two to three strips at a time.
4. Don’t Overshoot Your Budget
As with any new hobby, it’s easy to get carried away when buying graded comic books. And, while you may want to become a world-renowned comic book connoisseur, it’s certainly not worth raking up debt.
To prevent overspending on graded comics, always set a monthly budget for yourself. Compare prices and only buy the comics you need. Take a step back as soon as funds start drying up. And, most importantly, avoid being impulsive. Remember that an X-Men comic isn’t more important than your rent. There’s always a next time.
Of course, rare comic books are exceptions. Anytime you come across a unique, expensive comic, make the purchase if your budget allows it. Again, do not empty your bank account for a graded comic book. In case you want it bad, wait till it’s at a lower price before bagging it. Or, you could take the old-fashioned route and save up.
3. Understand Comic Book Grading
A comic book’s grade reflects its condition. For example, a 0.5 rating suggests that the comic has pages missing and covers torn. This is quite okay for a book from the 1930s (comics can’t beat the sands of time), but not so much for modern-age comics.
On the other hand, a grade 10 near-mint condition comic is the ultimate jackpot. Basically, this means that the graded comic book is in perfect condition, completely unblemished. Needless to say, the higher the grade, the pricier the comic.
That said, the rules are slightly different for modern comics. Anything below a 9.6 grade is bound to lose value drastically. So, if you’re buying a comic that came out post-1990, ensure that it’s at least a 9.8.
2. Look Up Popular Creators and Artists
Comic books are literal works of art, carefully pieced together by artistic geniuses. You can’t think of Marvel without Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Similarly, the revolutionary Watchmen comic was Alan Moore’s brainchild.
As you delve deeper into the world of graded comics, you’ll discover many new artists and storytellers. List their names to research the full gambit of their creations. Doing this will introduce to new characters and stories you may not have heard before. What better way to broaden your mind and find even more precious collectibles!
Here are a few better-known comic book legends to get you started.
- Stan Lee
- Jack Kirby
- Alan Moore
- John Byrne
- Neil Gaiman
- Steve Ditko
- Jim Lee
- Neal Adams
1. Only Invest in Paper Comic Books
Digital comic strips have been on the rise for a while. They’re convenient to obtain and far less expensive than their physical counterparts. The only downside? Digital comic books do not increase in value over time. You can’t sell or exchange them either.
If you’re planning to sell your graded comic book collection anytime in the future, you’ll have to shell out for paper issues. In case money is tight, opt for a trade paperback (TPB) comprising five issues in one volume. You could also choose a graphic novel that fits entire character arcs in single volumes. But then again, graphic novels rarely make big money.
Bear in mind that some comic artists only publish their work in the digital or graphic novel format. While you may love their work, they’re not the best bet for a sales-worthy graded comic book collection.
Believe it or not, there’s a science to collecting comic books, especially if you’re hoping to make money off of them. All of this may seem a little confusing at first, but with these five tips and a little practice, you’ll be able to build a jaw-dropping assortment of comic books in no time.
Scouring the net for graded comics? End your search with Wicked Monkey. Our exquisite collection of high-quality graded comic books is sure to delight die-hard comic fans. Feel free to contact us or check out our collection today.
Author Bio – Matt Shively and Matt Martin founded Wicked Monkey in 2020 in the pursuit of creating a comics shop concerned with the full “ecosystem” that exists in the cross-over between the world of fine arts, contemporary collectibles, and comics. Wicked Monkey is an online store that sells a curated collection of high-quality graded comic books from various mainstream publishers such as DC, Marvel, Boom! Studios, and specializes in independent publishers—all boasting a high CGC score, the majority being a 9.8 score out of 10.