There is a discussion that pops up every so often on many comic book collecting forums. That question is will comic book values crash?
There is no arguing that comic book sales are nowhere near their peak in the 1940’s, or even the 1980’s and 1990’s. In the 40’s – 70’s most people read comics, they didn’t collect – at least not for investment. They were entertainment. Those readers now have a lot of disposable income and we have seen comic book values from those decades explode. Most of those books were thrown away so we have low supply + high demand = high prices. But will this continue?
The 1980’s and early 1990’s were driven by extreme speculation and subsequently crashed. Anything marketed as “collectible” usually isn’t and will lose value as soon as the crowd moves on to the next thing.
Comic book sales are trending up, but lets face it, who knows what the future will bring. The average comic book reader is somewhere in their twenties. If the high prices of back issue gold, silver and bronze issues are driven by nostalgia there is little hope for today’s comics to be worth much. I can speak from experience, the things I am nostalgic about from my twenties have nothing to do with comic books.
Let’s address the main question, will the high prices we see in Gold, Silver and Bronze age comics continue? There is no way we can know, but if I were to hedge my bets, I think some will do well, but others will have a hard time. Why? My opinion is based on what I see with my own kids.
Two of my kids are old enough to read comic books but they want nothing to do with them. They are not interested. But, and this is a major point, they love the characters! They like the comic book movies I let them see and they beg to see the movies that are off limits. They would probably watch comic book heroes on television as much as I would let them.
So here is the point, the medium may change, but the core characters live on! Comic book movies have obviously had great success in exposing the masses to these characters. Television cartoons do the same to a younger audience. We are just starting to see online comics. Who knows what the future will bring? If these characters survive, and I think they will, then there will be people who want to collect their earliest appearances.
In the future I think certain books will still be valuable and others, well, not so much. In the February 14th edition of the subscriber newsletter I discuss what books I think will hold up, and the ones that won’t.