Collecting Tips

cb6Here are some Comic Book Collecting Tips.

Tip #1 – Protect your comic book. If you want to be able to resell your comic book at a later date, you need to protect it. That means that it needs to be placed in a bag and board after you’ve read it. Be careful, however. Bags and boards come in many different sizes because comics come in many different sizes. The comic books printed in the 1930s, for example, are much wider than the comic books that were printed today, for example. And then buy specialized boxes that hold your comics. Don’t put them in office boxes, this will ruin them!

Tip #2 – Buy older comic books. The first driver of value for comic books is age. In general, older comic books are more valuable than newer comic books because as time goes by, older comic books get harder and harder to find. There are two ways to determine the age of a comic. The first way is to open the book and look at the first page. Usually, the date is printed at the bottom of the page (where all the publishing and copyright information is). If you are looking at a 1000 book collection, however, this way of determining a comic’s age is too time consuming.

A quicker way is to glance at the cover price of the comic book. This will tell you approximately when the comic was published.

10 cents – 1935 to early 1950s – Golden Age of Comics
12-15 cents – 1955 to early 1970s – Silver Age of Comics
25 – 50 cents – 1970s – Bronze Age of Comics
50 cents – $2.99 – From 1979 on – the Modern Age of Comics
Obviously, if the 1000 book collection has a lot of 10 and 12 cent cover price comics, you are looking at an old collection of comic books, which means they could be expensive.

Tip #3 – Buy comic books in better condition. The second driver of value for comic books is condition. This is due to the fact that comic books are made of paper and paper decomposes with age. So with time, it becomes harder and harder to find comic books in excellent condition. In general, the better the condition the comic is, the more valuable it is going to be. The Overstreet Comic Book price guide lists comics in a variety of different conditions. A comic that is labeled Very Good condition (VG) might be worth only $3.00 but in Near Mint Condition (NM) could be worth $60.00.

Tip #4 – When buying back issues, buy more popular comic books (they will hold their value more). The third driver of value for a comic books is popularity. This is the demand side of the equation. Obviously, prices go up for comic books that are more popular than others. And what drives popularity? Basically, superhero books are more popular than Crime, Horror, Romance, and other types of comic books. Marvel and DC books are more popular than other publisher’s books. Certain characters are more popular than other characters. Here is list of some of the most popular comic book characters – Spider-man, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, X-Men, Avengers.

Tip #5 – With new books, don’t get caught up in the hype. When a book first gets published, there is a lot of hype. Everybody wants to buy the most popular book out there. If you can buy the book for cover price, go for it! But if you have to pay three or four times cover price, don’t be foolish. Usually, in a few years, the price of the comic collapses. I have seen books that people paid $40.00 for collapse back to $3 to $4 within a few years. This is because what may seem like a big deal in comic publishing (i.e. The Death of Superman) will seem trite and meaningless in a few years. That’s why I tend to urge collectors to collect books older than 2 years old. By that time, the hype has usually worn off.

Tip #6 – Go to a local comic book store at least once per month. This will help you determine what’s new and will also introduce you to a lot of different people who also like to talk about comics (the employees and other customers). Be aware that, stores tend to sell mostly newer comic books and graphic novels. Most stores don’t have a large collection of back issues. A good way to find stores is through the Comic Shop Locator Service. (CSLS).

Tip #7 –  Use the internet. Many online stores specialize in back issue comic books. for example – a division of Lone Star Comics – sells tons of comic books online – including many hard to find comics. Ebay and Craigslist are also great sites to buy new comic books. You can even use Craigslist as a way to buy comic books. Put a free ad that says that you are a private collector and would be willing to buy comic books. (Make sure to write down what exactly you are looking for).

Tip #8 – Go to conventions. Conventions are also a good way to buy back issues. The biggest convention of the year is held in San Diego in July every year (San Diego Comic-Con). If you can’t get to San Diego, try some of the smaller conventions held at major population centers nationwide.

Tip #9 – Try to specialize. By specializing, you’ll get to know your area of collection quite well, and you’ll be able to spot the great deals. You’ll also be building a much more interesting collection. You can specialize by time period (Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, or Modern Age). You can specialize by character (All comics about Superman, Batman, Superman, etc.) You can specialize by genre (Superhero, Romance, Horror, Crime, etc.).

Tip #10 – Have an exit strategy. At some point, you may get tired of your collection. What will you do then? A good exit strategy might be to try to sell the whole collection to a private individual through ebay or craigslist. Or, if the collection is specialized enough, maybe you could sell it directly to a library. The worst thing you can do is to spend a long time collecting something and then sell it for pennies on the dollar. So, when selling the collection, resist the urge to sell it off in pieces. Try to sell it to someone who values the time, effort, and money that it took to complete the collection.

Comic Book History

cb1Comic books today cover a variety of subjects. There are horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, real life, and many other subjects that comic books cover. The subject most comic books have become known for is superheroes.

At its simplest, a comic book is a series of words and pictures that are presented in a sequential manner to form a narrative that may or may not be humorous. Comic books today cover a variety of subjects. There are horror, fantasy, sci-fi, crime, real life, and many other subjects that comic books cover. The subject most comic books have become known for is superheroes.


The origin of the word Comic book comes from the comic strip which generally ran in newspapers. Some argue however, that the comic in its purest form has been seen in early cultures, such as Egyptian wall art and prehistoric man cave paintings. The word, “Comics,” is still associated with both comic books, comic strips, and even comedians.

According to many experts, the precursors to modern comics were the satirical works of artists like Rudolph Töpffer, Wilhelm Bush, Christophe, or Angelo Agostini (first Brazilian comic artist).

The 1895 “Yellow Kid” created by Richard Outcault has often been cited as being the first ‘real’ comic strip. The reason being is that Richard Outcault was the first artist to use the balloon, an outlined space on the page where what the characters spoke was written. However, comic strips and comic books were published before “Yellow Kid” debuted in the New York City newspaper “The World”.

Comic books were first introduced in America in 1896 when publishers started producing collected groups of comic strips that where found in newspapers. The collections did very well, and prompted the publishers to come up with new stories and characters in this format. The reused content from the newspapers eventually gave way to new and original content that became the American comic book.

A typical comic book contains everyday language, slang, and idiom, as well as colour and a sophisticated interplay between text and image—all serving a therapeutic, explanatory, and commercial purpose in American culture. Traditionally occupying the fringes of pop culture, the comic book is actually a valuable historical text that comments on how young people and adults alike identify with cultural and political issues. As such, a comic book is much more than just a series of words and pictures with marginal cultural importance.

Everything changed with Action Comics #1. This comic book introduced us to the character Superman in the year 1938. The character and comic was extremely successful and paved the way for future comic book publishers and new heroes such as we have today.

Since the 1960s the comic book industry has been dominated by the two major publishers of superhero books—Marvel and Detective Comics (DC). DC’s official name for almost 50 years was National Periodical Publication; Marvel was known as Timely Comics from 1939 to about 1950, and then as Atlas Comics for much of the 1950s.

Many comic book fans often use the concept of “ages” to distinguish periods of comic book history that share concerns, storytelling techniques, marketing strategies, styles of art and writing, and approach to genre conventions (Coogan 2006). These ages can roughly be distinguished as the Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1971), Bronze (1971-1980), Iron (1980-1987), and Modern (1987-present).




Popular Comics

cb2There have been many comic book characters since comic books first started to be printed. Some have lasted the test of time and still continue to be popular today. Listed are a group of popular comic books and characters according to genre.












Wonder Woman

The X-Men

The JLA (Justice League of America)

The Fantastic Four


Captain America

Green Lantern



Jonah Hex


The Waking Dead


Land of the Dead



Red Sonja


Y The Last Man

Star Wars



GI Joe


Comic Book Era’s

cb3With Comic Book collecting its always important to consider the age of the comic book. Older comic books are more valuable than newer comics because of both their age and their relative rarity compared to newer comics. Comics published during the Platinum and Golden Ages are particularly valuable, while comics less than 20 years old have more intrinsic than monetary value to collectors.

Comic book ages are described below, with the beginning and ending years:

The Platinum Age (1897 to 1933): These comics pre-date the superhero era, featuring characters such as the Yellow Kid, the Katzenjammer Kids, Buster Brown, and characters featured initially in comic strips and reprinted in comic book format. Only a select group of dealers deal in comics this old.

The Golden Age (1933 to 1955): While some consider the Golden Age of comics to have begun with the premiere of Superman in Action Comics #1, others begin the Golden Age sooner to include predecessors to the Man of Steel created for comic books, such as Doctor Occult, premiering October 1935 in New Fun #6. These comics are typically 4-color comics 64 pages in length, declining to 48 pages by the end of the era.

The Silver Age (1956 to 1969): Many consider the Silver Age to have begun with the premiere of the second Flash (Barry Allen) in Showcase #4 (October 1956), while others consider the premiere of the Martian Manhunter in Detective Comics #225 (November 1955) to be the starting point. Older Silver Age comics are 48-page 4-color comics, with later titles declining to 32 pages.

The Bronze Age (1970 to 1985): Comics became more mature during this period, with heroes such as Green Lantern and Green Arrow confronting social issues along with super-villains and Iron Man confronting his alcoholism instead of his heart condition.

The Iron Age or Modern Age (1986 to present): Comics became still more mature, and story continuity became more important. Comics companies increasingly turned to sweeping story arcs that crossed through their entire line of comics, such as DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour and Marvel’s Secret Wars and World War Hulk. Story arcs that encompassed only a single character or team were and are frequently collected and reprinted as graphic novels. Many comics of this era are printed on slicker, higher-quality paper than comics of the previous eras. (Some comic book historians use the term “Modern Age” to encompass both the Bronze and Iron Ages of comics.)

It’s always important to consider the historical context of the comic book when it was first published. An understanding of the time period in which a comic book was published can help you understand which comic books are more valuable than others. Captain America was predated by several patriotic-themed heroes, including Mr. America and the Shield. Because his premiere showed him punching Hitler’s jaw, he became more famous than his competitors and so became the more enduring character. Likewise, Wonder Woman’s premiere near the start of America’s entry into World War II, coupled with her powers, patriotic costume, and self-reliant attitude made her the foremost superheroine in comics, even though several superheroines predated her.