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... About that Comic Book Bubble...5905

COLLECTOR JLS_Comics private msg quote post Address this user
Hello!

The looming threat of a comic book industry "bubble burst" and the inevitable comparisons to the state of the industry in the 1990s has been discussed ad nauseam for years.

Here are a couple of examples:

2 Years Ago

1 Year Ago

But here we are in 2018, enjoying comic book movies breaking $1 billion at the box office, with variants and store exclusives as strong as ever, and with (arguably)the quality of content generally on the rise.

So my question to you is: Do you still feel that there is an impending comic book bubble burst? I know it'll happen eventually as all markets tend to ebb and flow in this manner but I'm talking near-term like in the next 5 years.

If you feel one way or the other, I'm also curious as to what drove you to that conclusion.

(for full disclosure, I am working on a project focused on this topic and what went wrong in the 90s. I have my thesis already but I am sure you fine smart folks have plenty of insight and perspective that perhaps I did not consider)
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Collector Masochism private msg quote post Address this user
It's impending, but with new collectors coming to the niche every year in droves BECAUSE of these films, the bubble edges further and further away, growing bigger year after year, and it's going to be like a wedding cake with the Insane Clown Posse jumping out of it when the market shits the birdhouse.
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Collector Darkga private msg quote post Address this user
It just means we have a few extra years to cut the fat and focus our collections on stuff we actually love so that we will be bubbleproof.
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Collector VCBE private msg quote post Address this user
I'm a long time collector and they have ALWAYS said that even back in the 1970's. There was an article saying Comic Books were the best investment ever and the was in the late 1970's... Things have only grown since...
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Collector Squack private msg quote post Address this user
Burst? I don't think so. Decline, most certainly (to what point is the real question). Because of these new collectors, the hobby is too mainstream. There will always be people buying Spider-man underoos or Batman lunchboxes. That will never go away, which keeps the characters relevant and vibrant. We are already seeing declines in attendance at conventions and a decrease in sales for most vendors as a result. The market is currently shrinking, but it will expand again. Comics are too ingrained in our culture to completely go away. They are as American as baseball and apple pie.
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Collector Doc_Cop private msg quote post Address this user
I was a comic shop owner during that burst in the early 90's. Having been out of the industry for two decades, the one thing I realized is another burst will probably happen with the gluttony of variants, gimmicks and number ones being printed. However what didn't burst was simply supply and demand. In the early 90's I was buying and selling ASM 129's and Hulk 181's weekly for prices under $300 bucks! To wake up from my anti-comic coma and see that golden, silver and bronze age comics had exploded with returns greater than the stock market was intoxicating. The bottom line is a possible burst, however I truly believe that buying high graded key books from the 50's 60's, 70's and 80's will always be a good investment and worth what we are all here for.......the hunt! Nuff said.
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Collector QuaBrot private msg quote post Address this user
There are a few catagory that will perform differently in the years to come:
Blue Chip books: Key books and titles Gold and Silver Age (and a few Bronzes as well). Driven by fan base (demand), rarity (supply), and that the fan base is continually replenishing itself from young collectors who mature from collecting their favorite to collecting the "hobby" (meaning they collect books of historical value and that have meaning for comic books qua comic books, and they discover the gems of the past).
Popular titles: Batman and Spiderman are prime examples. They have huge fan bases and ubiquitous social awareness. Movies definitely help this catagory. While the run of the mill issues won't blow up, they won't suffer too much from drops since they were never really over priced to begin with.
Junk: this is the variants, the independent, the 8th X- or Spider-Man or Venom title, and the unpopular books. These suffer from speculation, which means that even if they enjoy some honest popularity and are good or well done, the speculation and overproduction makes them Spike and then become worthless (90's redux).

That's not exhastive of course, but that's my view in a nutshell.
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COLLECTOR shrewbeer private msg quote post Address this user
There IS a young generation of collectors driving the modern speculation market. When they jump ship (and they will, most of you 90s guys lived that), that bubble will explode. Variant modern books worth hundreds and thousands will be worth crap almost overnight.

The massive prices being paid for blue chips now is driven by us 90s kids who have grown up and now have the bug again with the loot to back it up. That wont burst. Decline, sure. Not burst.

20-30 years from now those kids will return and all them variants will be worth something again, just as we are seeing the 80s90s books make a comeback now.
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Collector VaComicsGuy private msg quote post Address this user
I think a big correction coming and in my opinion, it's going to be a lot like the 80's. The companies are cranking out massive amounts of variants and there's no end in sight. It seems like there is some major event on a weekly basis. I think its too much to sustain. I think the guy collecting what he likes and what he can afford will be fine. The guy thats collecting this variant and that special event, and all of the other stuff for a long term investment is going to get clobbered. Of course there will be some of these books that will be great investments but I think the overwhelming majority will not even sustain purchase price. Comics can be a great investment. But, it's like stocks and bonds. The trick is picking the winners. Right now, I think the market is so flooded, its all but impossible for most people to know which books have long term value. One of my brothers is a stock broker. He spends massive amounts of time, reading repots, studying data, gathering all the info he can get his hands on before he makes his decisions. He does pretty well for himself (and my portfolio). If someone is looking at comics as a long term investment, they need to do the same kind of legwork. This is a hobby for me. I have more of an "oooh, that's cool. I want one." kind of approach. I can't expect a long term return on that. I might get lucky every now and then but thats all it will be. Luck. I think there's people on this forum that are possitioned to do well long term but thats because of the work they put in. The great thing about this forum in particular is that most of the guys with the in depth knowledge are willing to share it to let the rest of us benefit from their hard work. That's like getting an insider tip.
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COLLECTOR drchaos private msg quote post Address this user
Right now the comic book gold rush is on.

There will eventually be a dip but now is not the time.
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Collector martymann private msg quote post Address this user
I'm glad I held onto my comics!

Marty
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Collector D84 private msg quote post Address this user
This may sound crazy to some, but when the market correction happens, the high ticket books will be hit the hardest.

I've seen Gold and Silver double and triple over the last few years, and don't see how that can continue.

The current run up in prices is because of the film industry, which is very fickle. Once these movies stop making huge profits, budgets will be cut, leading to lower quality, leading to less box off, etc. At that point, they will move onto something else, still making the occasional comic film. It happened with westerns, crime drama and will keep going that way because the industry no longer knows how to diversify.

Once that happens, a huge number of speculators (especially high end investors who consider comics a hot commodity at this time, but have no emotional connection to the material) will dump their collections.

Understand, a correction is not a bad thing. Prices will come down, and more books will be accessible to more collectors.
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Collector Lonestar private msg quote post Address this user
Question: How much did the overall economic situation of the country affect the "comic book bubble" of the 1990's? The S&L crisis started in the late 80's which certainly assisted in the recession of the early 90's. How much did this affect the comic buyers/collectors, as well as the comic book companies, distributors and comic stores?

I was never a speculator that bought multiple copies with the idea of flipping them. But the economic situation at that time did affect me and my family. I completely stopped buying comics in 1992 or 1993 and didn't start again for many years.

When I walk into a LCS and see how many different titles are being sold each month, I can't help but think that there is a glut and a correction is on the way. How soon? Not sure.

That takes me back to the beginning of my post. Do you see similar economic markers to the last "comic book bubble"? Those things will probably tell us more about when a potential bubble will happen then anything else.
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
The question, though... How much are those CRAZY expensive Venom 150's worth now? The remastered covers, etc, from 1-2 years ago? Did they retain their values and/or did they just stay steady? Are they worth their investments? If they maintain their initial worth from a retailer cost perspective, I guess that's not bad, but I'd maintain you're better off buying a lower print variant of a "hot" book (1:5 - 1:25) with a better price point than something that "happens" to be 1:500 or 1:1000 with the hopes that the rarity will drive up the value, because the chase of it is causing so many other copies of the book to be out there, sitting on the shelves OR speculators sitting on them.

I was looking at the Spectacular Spider-Man 1 Deodato Sketch "one per store" variant this morning that people were going nuts for... Recent sales were around $5 to $10. People are trying to sell them for more, of course, but, overall, people don't care.

The movies are a different discussion, I think, than the speculator boom and bubble bursting.
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Collector doog private msg quote post Address this user
I hunted on the CGC forum for some threads on this, recommended by one of our posters (wish I owned a memory). In essence, boomers will bail, flooding and driving down the market.
I could not disagree more. Interest will flag in the modern glut, and in 30 years will recover to new highs, as that generation repurchases their youth.
The only guys that did bad with silver and earlier, are those that did not keep anything, or those into niches like funny animals or Tarzan, or unpopular runs, although they have a base value too.
Those that kept high end cool books, are all wealthy, should they choose to sell. That will not change
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
@D84 Agreed! Any book driven up by current movies in development or "this character is going to be in that film" is driven up temporarily, then adjusts down. If it's driven up because of rumors of a character, same thing. Look at Batgirl. Whedon is out, so the book should tank if it hasn't. Someone else should step in soon, but that will climb to a point, but will it maintain? We'll see!

Walking Dead had a CRAZY climb, but you can buy it for a hell of a lot less than you could a couple of years ago. That was an easy call. I saw someone picked one up over the weekend (CGC 9.8) for $1800. I laughed at that one.... Got into a discussion a couple of months ago at a local shop with the owner and a guy CONVINCED he was sitting on something like $15k per book? WTF?!?!?! "Oh, the book is just going to climb, mark my words," they both argued. No.... I knew that wasn't the case even then, AND that it wasn't worth what they were saying. They were convinced it was a retirement book, while it was in serious need of market adjustment (and they were in need of a reality check.

Pop culture artificially inflates and things eventually adjust UP, but not as high as the artificial. Deadpool will stay high, but maybe not as high as it is now, for example. Cable will climb, maybe to match, depending on how well the next film does and if it springboards into X-Force and beyond. Time will tell. Eventually, there will be adjustment, but that overall adjustment depends on how high the climb is.

The others... Thanos, Infinity Gauntlet, random characters like Rocket Raccoon... God knows...
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Collector infinityG private msg quote post Address this user
I agree with a lot of the responses already given, especially the@shrewbeer post. I'm a 80/90s collector who left b/c of all that gimmicky crap. Hell, I moved my reading/collecting over to Vertigo and Dark Horse b/c i was tired of X-this, Bat-that, superheroes in general. But admittedly, I came back b/c of primarily The Avengers first movie.

The burst may happen but decline will be a sure thing. If so, I'll continue to buy key Silver and Bronze. I want to get into EC Horror too but that may be out of my league like much of the Golden Age.

One thing we don't know is what will happen after the next decline. Here's a monkey wrench - I think one of the things we are missing is print vs. digital. I have a friend who just loves reading stories and goes digital, doesnt bother with print at all.

If digital becomes the norm, a lot of the oldies may be sought after even more. And if that happens, what will the values of the variants, reboot issues, modern comics in general be?
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
@infinityG There were talks at WonderCon this last weekend about DC moving away from standard A/B Covers, which is something. Basically, the ROI isn't there to justify paying for two covers for a single book. I mean, come on, why not just put out one GOOD cover? I like what DC has been doing for the most part anyway with covers, and their A/B strategy hasn't been all-encompassing, just on their bigger titles, and they haven't been exceed variants or rare (1:5 - 1:10000), just whatever stores order, but with the extra costs incurred, they just decided not enough extra copies are being ordered overall to make it worth it. That's fine... The only things they're going nuts on (not as much as Marvel currently) are the extra covers for events and special releases, which include 1:X covers and boutique covers (web sites, store exclusives, etc). I don't mind some of them, personally, but I really pick and choose how much I get. I drool over a lot more than I buy! I've drooled over a lot more Dark Nights Metal covers than I could ever buy.
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Collector CopperAgeKids private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonestar
Question: How much did the overall economic situation of the country affect the "comic book bubble" of the 1990's? The S&L crisis started in the late 80's which certainly assisted in the recession of the early 90's. How much did this affect the comic buyers/collectors, as well as the comic book companies, distributors and comic stores?

I was never a speculator that bought multiple copies with the idea of flipping them. But the economic situation at that time did affect me and my family. I completely stopped buying comics in 1992 or 1993 and didn't start again for many years.

When I walk into a LCS and see how many different titles are being sold each month, I can't help but think that there is a glut and a correction is on the way. How soon? Not sure.

That takes me back to the beginning of my post. Do you see similar economic markers to the last "comic book bubble"? Those things will probably tell us more about when a potential bubble will happen then anything else.


An overall recession/depression will effect the comic market.

I don't have data on hand to support that position. ..and/or how to what degree the S & L butchering in the 80's and the housing crash of the early 2000's effected the comic market... but they both surely did.

The comic market was different thsn and not jacked up/ fed by movie/TV speculation,as it us now.

CGC nor CBCS were not around in those periods...except CGC for the latter but CGC was in its' infancy, as was the "movie effect" as well.

My hunch is in about a decade, when the movie boom starts to die out, along with other stronger factors....those being the 10 year temporary tax cuts on earners below 75K are renoved...and taxes go up for those under 75K...which were barely cut at all as the top 1% of the country, and large corporation had the biggest (and permanent) tax cuts....

The effect we were (the comic market) already headed towards in about a decade, will be synergistically worsened by the tax cuts to the rich, that the majority (bottom 80% of the earners in the U.S.) will bear the burden of. We already have been bearing that burden for almost 40 years but it has progressively gotten worse over those years.

Glass-Steagal repealment by Clinton , and Reagan's trickle down economics before Clinton...than more of the same Reagonomics with Bush Sr. And Bush Jr.'s terms...followed by Obama bailing out the banks and putting the burden of that debt on the shrinking middle class....whatever measly regulations, which were only half measures to begin with, Obama put in place, Trump has repealed...it all snowballs.

It is no coincidence that the wealth gap between the working poor to middle class, in contrast to the upper class, has increased exponentially since campaign finance "reform", ( see Buckley Vs. Valeo) laws were instituted which allowed corporations the ability to slam workers' unions by out sourcing union jobs to third world countries, which paid their foreign workers pennies on the dollar compared to what the middle class U.S. union workers had been paid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckley_v._Valeo

The wealth gap has exponentially grown since that time, it had been decreasing since FDR's days in office.Even the wealth divide between black and whites had become relatively small by the mid 1970's due to the after effects of the Civil Rights Act,of the previous decade.

By the time Reagon got into office, the con game was in bloom.The wealthy gained more control as both political parties in the U.S. became systematically corrupt.

Mark Blyth is the economist that predicted the rise of "global Trumpism" as well as Brexit, he is the guy you all should be listening to.

Rest assured that the market for luxury items like comic books, will be hit, as a whole in about a decade.

It won't be overnight, it will be more gradual than that. But the bell will toll the loudest it ever has, a decade from now.
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
@CopperAgeKids Well, if you're going into that side of the discussion, the biggest problem is the price of comics per issue has outpaced inflation. The comic companies make all kinds of excuses for it, mainly that the sales justify the pricing (lack of sales, so prices need to be raised to make the same amount of money), but, simply put, the price point needed to grow with inflation... period. Outpace a little, sure, but not like they have. Increase a tad with quality increases in paper stock and printing methodologies, but then decrease with other improvements along the way with automation, distribution, etc...

The largest failures of the comic book companies are price point and failure to properly continuously cultivate new readers. Regardless of the economy, comics should be at a comparable economic price point that it's not painful to purchase. When minimum wage in the late 80's was $3.35, you could buy four comics for an hour's work. In 2018, you can get two after tax.

Lack of new readers plus higher impact on our wallets (wage impact) translates to lower unit sales.

If someone wants to toss me a few million lines of data, I could prove it, but it seems fairly straightforward from a 30k ft view.

Sorry, day job is analytics.
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Collector CopperAgeKids private msg quote post Address this user
Yes, you are correct/dead on in so far as the price point of new comics being a prohibitive factor in allowing for more casual collectors to enter the hobby.

That certainly limits the back issue market, in that respect e.g. declining sales of new books with higher cover prices.

The other side to that is that virtually all new comics can be found in .50 cent or $1 boxes, within a month of hitting comic shops on a Wednesday...but rarely does that translate into new collectors entering the hobby.

Digital download codes also hurt new book sales and consequently, one could argue the back issue market, downstream.

But all of that is a much smaller part of the picture WRT high dollar books, which is primarily what drives the market.

Key books, IOW.
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Collector CopperAgeKids private msg quote post Address this user
Why is it that one of the biggest comic book dealers, and not a collector or investor per se, paid the highest figure ever for a comic book?

I'd argue it is because dealers have a vested interest in groominh, and growing,the FMV (actual or perceived, there is little difference) the biggest keys like the highest graded Action #1.

That.

And the obvious reason that owning such a book lends the rest of a dealer's inventory a certain shine and prestige. Which in turn spurs sale of existing inventory.
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
@CopperAgeKids Certain books, the keys, are like the overall stock market... over time, they'll just keep on climbing. Peaks and valleys, but the general trend is just up up up [law of averages for the Stock Market]... Artificial peaks here and there because of the pop culture phenomenon associated with each XYZ film and ABC show or rumor mill, but the general trend will just go up along that line that was started a certain number of years ago, which can be banked on. Prestige? Sure! Just stick those things someplace and let them collect some dust (the slabs, not the books).
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Collector Wraith private msg quote post Address this user
Speculating on the speculators?

There is always a booming middle class somewhere be it cashed up kids who want everything or cashed up older folk who can finally feed their childhood dreams..

With Disney making theme parks out of major comic book characters, I find it hard to think there won't be those in next generation of kids who want every issue of say - amazing spiderman same as those in generations before.. It will just be a matter of how much they are willing to pay...

Never underestimate how much money the haves actually have and what they are willing to pay for things they want.

The comic book market is in an absolute bust compared to how it was in the 80s and 90s and yet still get sky high prices on key books.
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
@Wraith Key issues with a lot of filler in between, sure.

But, the thing with a lot of speculating, just like before, is people buying up tons of copies of books that are HIGH print runs that are worth nothing. They buy up copies because of a chase, which has some intrinsic value at the time, then that drops off, and, has been brought up in other threads, "wait a few weeks" or "wait a few months" then you'll find it in a dollar bin or for much less. It all just depends on the book - is it REALLY a key or not.

The first Wolverine will always be the first Wolverine... First X-23 will always be the first X-23.... Black Costume, Venom, Carnage, Anti-Venom, Black Panther, Inhumans, Gambit, Rogue, Groot, Rocket Racoon, Thanos, Him/Adam Warlock, etc etc etc... Where they'll fall in the value spectrum depends on print run, covers, and an amount of hype.
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Collector Wraith private msg quote post Address this user
Exactly. Same as pump and dump on stock market.. DYIR.. Before spending $100 on comic for appreciation check the distribution and cgc census..

Theres plenty of fools to purchase grossly over valued items for sale ..

That by no means indicates a bubble..the 90s was a bubble.. Where average sales numbers for a comic were multiple times higher than high sales comics today
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Collector thelastbard private msg quote post Address this user
@Wraith What it does mean, though, is if people do want to get runs of ASM at some point, they'll have to pay for keys, but will be able to get large amounts of issues for CHEAP. Unlike 20 years ago, they're not at the mercy of whatever price a shop wants to charge them - they can just hit up eBay and it's all supply and demand.
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Collector Wraith private msg quote post Address this user
But that's not a bust.. There's always been a dollar bin.. And thank god for ebay I can now source comics that I've always wanted even if they are only insignificant issues for the broader market ...


Edit: when I was a kid in the 80s my first comics were 20c to $1 readers I bought at the second hand bookshop at my local supermarket which was a lottery .. Ebay allows me to search for exactly what I want..

If comic sales do ever pick up ( as they are at terrible lows at the moment) then any key issue today will probably have eye watering prices compared to 90s keys like asm 300 or spiderman #1

That's the opposite of a bubble.
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COLLECTOR Foghorn_Sam private msg quote post Address this user

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COLLECTOR Foghorn_Sam private msg quote post Address this user
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