If you really want to score some discounts on comic books and make the most of the hobby you need to decide what kind of fan you really are. I think there are four basic categories. You may fit into more than one, but we’ll get into that later.
Which are you?
- The Reader – reads new comic books off the stands, may go to comic book shops, minimal interest in back issues and the value of books.
- The Speculator – in the hobby for the money. Buys multiple copies of new issues that will he/she feels will become “hot” and will sell for a profit. May dabble in back issues that may go up based on an upcoming event (think comic book movies)
- The Investor – purchases comics for investment purposes focusing on older books that have a track record of retaining their value. A lot of keys such as X-men #1, Fantastic Four #1, high-grade issues, CGC, PGX, etc.
- The Pure Collector – usually attempting to put together a run of a title or genre. Will accept any complete copy to finish their run of Wolverine or some other title. If they are a genre collector an example would be trying to piece together a collection of all good-girl art issues. Condition is many times secondary to just “having it”.
You may actually be a combination of a few of these and most people are. Looking at sales numbers the largest group would probably be readers. But since most people aren’t living under a rock, they are aware that comic books have value so they are part-time investors.
What do I mean by this? Basically they don’t fold up their comics and stick them in their back pockets. They read their books and them stack or bag them carefully and put them in storage.
The next largest group would be the collectors. But really they are collector/investors. Let’s face it, they aren’t going to put together a huge complete collection and then light it on fire sometime in the future. We all know comic books have value and they will take advantage of this in the future. Either to sell and use the proceeds to better the condition of their collection, or to use the money for something else.
The smaller groups are most likely the investors and speculators. After the implosion in the nineties a lot of speculators have left, but they’re still some out there. There are some pure investors out there, but not as many as the first two groups. We know people do invest in comic books as a part of an overall investment portfolio (maybe 5%-10%), but this doesn’t seem to be the norm.
So what are you?
In the next post we’ll talk about some tips based on your decision.