Some people get into collecting comics to keep track of the stories and characters they love. Others do it because they have nostalgia for the stories they read as children and want to relive those glory days. Many, though, do it as a form of speculative investment; they attempt to predict what comics are going to go up in value over time, either in short bursts or in the long haul, and buy those comics in hopes of reselling them later for a profit.
A key part of the process for that latter group is predicting which comics are going to go up in value. There are a lot of different ways of doing this, and everyone has their own methods and factors they look at, but some are going to be more obvious than others. Let's talk about our predictions for the coming year and the lessons you can learn from them.
Before digging in too deep, remember that all of this is speculation and not financial advice. We can't see the future, so we're guessing as much as you are.
Prediction Zero: Everything Old
This one is a pretty safe bet. With pretty much any collectible market, as the years pass, the older items get more valuable. Available and extant copies of old books are scarce, and more people buy in and have the comics they plan to hold for years or decades. Freak accidents and acts of God destroy comics and collections. Even absent any news or growing interest in a given comic, there's a decent chance that it will go up in value.
That said, there are two limits to this.
The first is age. We're primarily talking about Golden and Silver Age comics here. Anything older is a crapshoot; some of them are already in the millions of dollars, and the value doesn't really matter until it goes to auction, and others are just at the peak they'll achieve due to very limited interest in things like Victorian comics. On the flip side, anything newer, in the copper, plastic, and modern ages, is so widely available that while the price might increase, a book going from $10 to $15 isn't exactly a great return on investment.
The second is inflation. Remember, with any investment, you have to balance it against inflation. The last few years have seen shockingly high inflation across the board (partially actual inflation, partially corporate greed), and all of that makes the average dollar's purchasing power a lot lower than it used to be. Comics (and other collectibles, and heck, other investments) need to beat the rate of inflation.
Think of it this way: if you buy a comic for $1 and sell it a year later for $2, but inflation means that those $2 can't buy even things that used to cost $1, you didn't really win on the deal. Economic forecasts put inflation somewhere in the 2.5-3.5% range, and while we all know what good predictions ever are, it's still a target value increase to try to outperform.
It's also possible that this year is going to be more of a market correction, similar to the second half of last year. Inflation pressures, the collapse of tech, and widespread layoffs all make it harder for collectors to speculate, and more people may be liquidating collections to make ends meet. You never know what the future holds, and a lot can change in six months.
All of this, though? It's kind of a cop-out. Making the bold "prediction" that a collectible industry will grow in value isn't really useful information. So, let's get into more tangible predictions.
Prediction One: Upcoming Media Lines
This is usually one of the safest bets. It goes like this:
- A comic storyline from the 60s to the 90s is identified and tapped for a major media project.
- A TV show or movie is announced focusing on that storyline. The project may or may not announce which storyline they're covering, but savvy comic fans can guess based on casting choices, previous media, and rumors.
- Interest in that storyline rises based on rumors, and speculators buy up the cheaper end of the comics to resell later.
- When the actual media releases and widespread interest hits, speculators resell at a profit, and prices continue to rise as late investors get in with the hopes of enduring interest.
You see this time and time again. Every time a big-budget Marvel movie comes out, the storyline it's covering spikes in comic values.
So, what media should you pay attention to?
- Deadpool. Deadpool 3 is set to release in 2024, and while very little has been revealed about its plot, the Merc with the Mouth is generally popular across the board, so the usual Deadpool key issues are likely to see a bump. That said, unless there's a specific storyline that hasn't been mined before, chances are these aren't going to be significant price increases since this is the third time it's happened.
- Agatha. The spin-off from WandaVision (and the upcoming WandaVision continuation) will likely spark interest in a few of the more minor Wanda/Scarlet Witch keys. These haven't historically been huge top-tier sellers, but they can see a nice, if niche, bump.
- Captain America: Brave New World. This upcoming movie features the Hulk villain, The Leader, in both payoffs from a 16-year-old teaser and the ever-deepening mine digging for diamonds to convert into movies. Expect some of the related keys to bump up.
- Secret Wars. The next phase of Marvel's whole everything is seemingly focused on Secret Wars, so all of the assorted Secret Wars books are likely going to see a bump through the various movies and tie-ins they produce this year. In particular, the Fantastic Four movie might finally breathe life into that shambling mound of a movie franchise and, thus, the associated comics.
- Blade. Blade is finally getting both a new movie and a surprisingly interesting new video game, both of which can potentially drive interest in Blade-related keys. It'll be up in the air, though, since the cult classic Blade films are campy schlock, which is why people love them; if the new media doesn't live up to the same kind of hype, we might end up with another Morbius… or, well, maybe not THAT bad, but we'll see. Either way, these aren't actually slated until 2025, so any price bump this year will come from early speculation.
On the DC front, things don't typically get as much hype or acclaim as Marvel's productions, largely due to their history of high-budget flops. That said, the DC animated universe tends to be higher in quality, if not in interest, and their push to rival the Avengers media franchise – in the form of Crisis on Infinite Earths – might see a nice bump in interest this year. There's plenty more coming down the pipe from DC, but nothing quite as high-profile stand-out as the Marvel slate.
Other potential titles to keep an eye out for are the Madame Web movie releasing in just a few days, the Kraven film later this year, another hit of the surprisingly-good Venom series, and a second Elseworld's Joker film.
Prediction Two: Reissues of Popular Comics
Over the years, Marvel, DC, and even some of the larger indie publishers have gone heavy into reprinting some of their more popular and iconic comics, and this can sometimes spur on interest in owning "the original" version while also making the actual storylines more accessible to people who both want to read them and don't want to buy digital copies of the comics.
One place to turn to get an idea of what might be coming up is the past. Specifically, anniversaries. With that in mind, 50 years ago, a bunch of popular comics were hitting shelves.
- Incredible Hulk #181, the first appearance of Wolverine, who also gets to feature heavily in Deadpool 3. Though, this comic got a 2023 facsimile edition, so maybe nothing so high-profile here.
- Amazing Spider-Man #129, the first appearance of the Punisher, also turns 50 this year. The Punisher is a somewhat contentious figure in our modern political and social landscape, but he's always popular with some fans, so we'll see.
- Astonishing Tales #25, the first appearance of Deathlok. Deathlok is seeing a pretty big revamp in his character this year, and a surge in interest might see his old keys spike.
There are a bunch of other comics from 50 years ago that might show spikes this year as well, though a good number of them have already been tapped for their big-budget media, like Doctor Strange #1.
Another option is to look slightly forward. For example, Hulk 181 got its 50th anniversary reprint last year, so why not look to the comics that have their 50ths next year? There are a few potential diamonds in the rough to be found in that list, too.
Prediction Three: A Note on Slabbed Comics
Before we wrap things up, there's something that needs to be addressed. At the end of 2023, a scandal started to break involving CGC and their reholdering service. An organized group was found to have been cracking slabs, swapping out lower-quality comics, and submitting worse books for reholdering to get, for example, a 4.5 sealed up in a slab meant for a 6.0, and reselling them at 6.0 prices. A potentially huge number of slabbed comics are no longer trusted, and consequently, their value has tanked.
There's a lot to shake out in this, and it's unclear whether confidence in CGC slabs is going to stay depressed or if it will just be a drop in temporary confidence and, consequently, a great time to invest. A lot depends on how well CGC handles the issues, so we'll see.
Ideally, this will just be a bump in the road. CGC being a huge authority in the comics space means they stand to lose a lot if they don't handle this right, and you can bet the other big-name grading companies want to get their slice of the pie. Of course, if it breaks that the scandal was a lot more widespread than it seemed at first, this could do some serious damage. Who knows!
Before wrapping up, we've got to say two things. First, since we're a vendor in high-profile graded comics, it's worth saying that we aren't writing this out of our own financial interest. Whether the comics in question go up or not, we're happy to buy and sell them, and we're not trying to stimulate rumors or promote specific books as must-haves when they otherwise aren't. In other words, while we have a financial interest in the rising values in comics, it's just industry-wide, not based on any of these specific books.
And second, we could always be wrong. All of this is just speculation and guesswork and, to an extent, throwing some ideas at the wall. The collectible comics market isn't always rational, and the things that spike or don't spike aren't always obvious. You never know how it's going to shake out. None of this is real financial advice. Use your own best judgment to determine if you think a comic is going to go up in value, in the short or the long term, and don't just take our word for it.
Getting the Hookup
With that out of the way… how about those comics, eh? If you're interested in buying anything on the list above – or anything not on the list, really – you can browse our store and see if there's anything that catches your eye. You can check out our new arrivals for any hot deals you can't find elsewhere.
Alternatively, if you're hoping to cash out your collection or even just offload a few of your more valuable keys, we're more than happy to give you a hand. We'll appraise collections and can even buy the ones we're most interested in, and all you need to do is fill out a quick form. Whether you want to sell to speculators before a bubble, offload an old collection for modern value, or you fear a bubble is bursting and want to exit before your value tanks, we're more than happy to oblige.