Buy what you like
Collecting old or new comic books or both
Where to Buy
or experienced comic book collectors will benefit from the
information on this page and on the other pages on my site.
Collecting comic books open up a wide variety of
collecting. You can go in so many ways, but the nuts and
bolts are as follows:
You can collect old or new comics or both.
You can collect a specific theme or key issues of old or new
You can collect a run or runs of issues of old or new
You can collect reprints.
You can collect slabbed comics of old or new comics.
How you decide to collect, I will provide you some guidance.
Buy what you like
important thing to remember when collecting is always
collect the items that you like.
You will see this noted in different parts on my site and
referenced in different ways.
You should never buy and collect certain comic books solely
based on the fact that someone else collects it and
therefore you should collect it.
You should never buy and collect certain comic books solely
based on the fact that itís the hottest trend going on and
you want to get in on the latest trend.
You may of course like items that are the latest trend and
you may like items that others collect, but it should never
be the factor in your decision to buy and collect.
You should not collect comics for the sole purpose of
investment. Iíve seen and experienced too many collectors
so focused on buying comics that they think will be worth
hundreds and if not thousands of dollars someday.
collectors speculate that theyíll become valuable in a short
period of time that they end up rushing out and buying
multiple copies of the same issue hoping for that lucky big
books are big business and there are many, many issues worth
hundreds and thousands of dollars so itís hard not to think
about that when looking for issues; however speculating on
an issueís future value or future increase from its already
valuable price can become detrimental to you in the long
If the issues do not perform well in the secondary market,
then more than likely itíll cause you to want to dump that
issue and chase after another potential investment item.
Having issues you collect which are worth quite a bit is an
added bonus that should come naturally and not be the
primary focus for collecting them.
After a period of time if you go after items that you donít
like, you will look at your collection very soon and realize
that you have items that you never liked and need to get rid
Itís no fun to collect something you donít like and
especially if youíve put in so much money into it for the
sole purpose as an investment and it does not perform well.
It will leave you a bad taste and a lot of heartburn.
Collecting comic books should be fully enjoyed.
obviously going to be times when you decide to collect
issues that others collect in droves. Itís a law of
should only be a result of a common thing as there are
millions and millions of collectors who love to collect
Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and Fantastic Four issues for
I personally love comics with these characters and of course
it just so happens that many others love them too, but I
donít collect them because others do and I donít collect
them because theyíre the hottest trend or believe they will
be valuable if not already.
I collect them because I love to collect them and enjoy
reading them and looking at them.
One of the greatest things about collecting is knowing
someday you will be handing down your collection to your
children or someone you know who would love to carry on your
Isnít it great to know youíre handing them something you
cherish - something youíve worked so hard to build up for a
long time - something that you truly love.
The condition of a comic
book makes a difference in desirability and value.
Although a lot of collectors love to read their books, they
don't necessarily want to purchase comics that are in very
An example would be a book that is mutilated, defaced,
heavily soiled, crumbling-brittle beyond handling, no front
or back cover, pieces cut out that affect story. You
can probably visual what I'm referring to.
These are still collected by some, but in general terms
these are conditions that make it difficult for most to want
to pull out their hard-earned money to buy.
We all want to purchase books in the best possible condition
that fits in our budget and fits in our collecting
We all can't afford MINT condition books from the 1960s for
example, but we do try and acquire books in a condition that
we find in a solid and collectible condition.
You should try not pass up bargains for example if you can
purchase a Fine+ condition book in a Good condition price.
A Fine+ book is an attractive condition and most are being
passed over since they fall right in the middle of higher
grades which cost a lot more and ones that are considered
dirt cheap say Good or Good+. That's a real shame as
prices for Fine+ books are considered for most titles a
You can review the
Comic Book Values/Grading
more details on grading definitions.
There are collectors who are very demanding on grading and
will not accept a book that is less than a particular grade,
but I will say that each and every collector has their own
tolerance for condition and with experience they create
their own standards on what is right for their collections.
They establish a range of conditions that falls in line so
their collections look consistently the same.
That is something that all collectors will learn over time.
Possibly you may purchase a copy that is less than what you
normally buy and upgrade the copy in the future, but the
copy is not so undesirable that you cannot collect it.
Through experience checking out books in various venues,
you're going to quickly learn what's available and what's
not and sometimes how long you may have to wait for the
right condition which may dictate what you will
eventually add to your collection.
Collecting old or new comic books or both
are going to be characters that appeal to you and deciding
to collect them brand new or their older versions will be
dictated by what you like and what you can afford.
There are advantages to both as you will find in reviewing
information on my site and in your own research.
From a dollar stand point in most cases older comics will be
more expensive while newer comics will be less and more
available in most cases.
The definition of old comics is debatable. Old comics
typically refers to issues from the 1960s and earlier. As
years go by the 1970s issues start to look old to a lot of
collectors. You can see a trend happening when most of the
long time dealers advertise that they are looking for issues
pre-1975 when in the past they would only be interested in
1969 or earlier.
New comics tend to fall in the category of the last 10 years
while issues earlier than that back to the 1970s is sort of
that in between time of new and old.
Batman as an example has been around since 1939 and has
several titles that he is associated with. For almost all
collectors to start collecting his Detective Comics issues
from that year to current day is next to impossible.
That title alone is worth closed to a million dollars if not
more if the conditions are in prime shape. The availability
of those early issues is absolutely difficult to find as
they were never saved due to various reasons (war, thrown
away, never thought of as worth saving) and collectors who
own a copy do not want to part with them.
Collecting his own title from 1940 on up is right there
Maybe collecting a handful of the earlier issues is not
impossible and is very realistic to collect his 1960s or
1970s issues on up to current day.
collected both old and new issues of Batman for example and
have enjoyed both old and new. I tend to lean towards the
1970s issues as being some of my favorite.
It is much easier to start collecting newer comic books that
have come out in recent years since they are more available
and typically more affordable than say 10 years ago or
The issues continue to come out on a monthly basis with so
many different titles to choose from.
I would recommend visiting your local comic book store first
to see all of the issues that are currently published and
hopefully one of them has a good selection of older issues
so you can compare between old and new.
Here on my site I have and will continue to add pages on
individual titles so you can review to get some ideas on
some of the books that are out there to collect.
I will provide places where you can buy old and new issues
so you can research all of them to find what you may be
My recommendation is to start with one title initially that
you like and then see if thatís something that you want to
It can get very overwhelming quick when collecting comics as
there are so many titles and issues and the next thing you
know you have an accumulation rather than a collection.
If the local store of yours or my recommended sources have
old issues of something you like, then start out by
acquiring one or two books to get a feel. I think often
times that collectors dive in too much into one title
without really knowing they like or it. Take your time.
If the newer items interest you, then pick up the latest
issue and see how that goes for you. Continue picking up
that titleís ongoing issues and maybe search for back issues
so you can put together a run of them after youíve gotten a
good feel for that title.
It will depend on how far back you want to go as storylines
obviously change from different eras with artists and
writers coming and going all of the time.
Iíve experienced collectors starting with old comics and
then continuing with a particular title and then going after
issues that run into the newest issues and the other way
happen to like a title that gets discontinued or was already
discontinued, thatís okay too. Thereís bound to be issues
of that title that you donít have and you may want to go and
hunt those down before you start looking at another title.
There are no wrong answers if you decide to collect old or
new or both. They both have their own appeal and itíll be
up to you on what you like and what you can logistically
Hopefully something will interest you and you become a
deciding on collecting either old or new comics or both,
there are so many different ways to focus your collecting
The preferred method would be to collect a specific title
and search for the earliest issues that youíre interested in
and can fit into your collecting spending and then work your
through the run.
This method can be applied towards old comics or new
comics. It depends on if you would prefer either one or
both and where you want to start at.
Letís say youíre into Green Lantern and you want to collect
his older issues from the 1960s. Issue #1 came out in 1960
and now has a hefty price on just about any condition copy.
If youíre able to afford this kind of a title, then go after
issue #1 and then work your back down through the run until
you reach an issue that you feel is your logical ending
point for that title.
you want to collect #1 all the way to issue #87 which is
where the title essentially stopped and took a couple of
years off. Issue #87 ended with new material by the
landmark team of Denny OíNeil and Neal Adams who came in at
#76 to revive the character.
#88 and #89 were essentially comprised of reprints with
hardly any new material. #87 could be a logical stopping
point for you or perhaps youíre very much into being
complete and you want the entire run of issues which lasted
till #224 with a slight title change to Green Lantern Corps
at #205. Picking up any of the annual issues that came out
for this run (there were 3 and a special edition issue)
would round things out for this title.
would be an impressive collection by itself.
Starting at #76 as your beginning issue in your Green
Lantern run or starting at issue #90 when the title was
revived after its first cancellation maybe more realistic as
most do not have the funds to start at #1 as the beginning
of their collection. Using any of these issues as the
beginning of your run is great too.
Donít feel compelled that your run has to begin at #1. Iíve
seen many collections that are built this way. We all donít
have the time, money and effort to get every single issue.
once youíve completed this run as best as you can, you want
to go after the other Green Lantern titles. There have been
a few since this title stopped in 1988. Itís up to you on
what you want to do.
After completing this run, maybe you decide to start to work
on Flash and then continuing with that run in the same
manner before heading onto another title run.
This is what the majority of collectors do when collecting
comics. They find a character or title and go after their
issues and building and filling in as many issues in a
consecutive run as possible.
Maybe you decide that you want to collect only key issues or
special issues from all titles.
Collecting number one issues may be your thing and you zero
in on those from all titles.
Collecting special issues like the #100th issue or the 20th
or 30th anniversary of a particular title or character.
There are quite a few issues out there for Superman, Batman,
Captain America, Spider-Man, et al.
Perhaps origin issues which contain the stories of how the
characters came to be who they are is something that
interests you greatly.
Maybe you want to grab every issue that describes how the
Hulk became the Hulk. There are several issues like that in
Perhaps youíre into a specific artist and want to collect
only the issues that he or she has drawn like John Byrne or
Barry Windsor Smith or Frank Miller
There are endless possibilities to collecting issues and
itíll depend on what interests you and makes you feel good
about having in your collection.
Thereís never going to be a right or wrong way, however you
want to be as complete as you can with your collecting
instead of just a bunch of parts that make no sense.
It doesnít make a lot of sense if you start to collect #1
issues and then all of sudden youíre buying a copy of
multiple titles which donít relate to one another at all.
Although I always say collect what you like, there should be
some kind of continuity to your collecting.
the collecting methods which often gets overlooked is
There are so many wonderful books that have come out by many
different publishers which have reprinted their own
companyís material as well as other companyís material from
the past and recent years.
Some of the issues that have made its way into hardcover and
soft cover books are worth thousands and thousands of
dollars and the scarcity of the original issues make it
virtually impossible for collectors to acquire.
Marvel have done a tremendous job in the last 20 years
putting together high quality reprints into these books
called DC Archives and Marvel Masterworks which allow all
collectors/readers to have those rare and expensive issues
at a reasonable price.
Both publishers in addition to Dark Horse and some others
have also reprinted recent issues collecting storylines from
different titles into one trade paperback for a given
This is another great way for collectors to not have to try
and search down back issues that they missed at their comic
book stores. Itís a great way to catch up on all of the
goings on in most titles.
In fact some of the publishers are so geared towards this
that they expect any storyline that runs in their title for
say 5 or 6 issues will already have its reprinted book on
its way within weeks of the last issue hitting newsstands.
Both DC and Marvel have made it almost routine.
There are so many of these trade paperbacks and hard covers
to choose from that thereís no way anyone can go bored.
Prior to these books many publishers had individual
titles-not collected trade paperbacks or hard covers act as
a reprint only book.
Marvel did that for years with titles like Marvel Tales,
Marvel Collectorís Item Classics, Marvel Super Action,
Marvel Super-Heroes, Marvel Treasury Edition, Marvel Triple
Action among others.
DC did the same too with its DC Special, DC Special Series,
DC Super-Stars and Limited Collectorís Edition titles.
Collecting reprints has become its own collecting niche
amongst collecting original material. Itís not as expensive
as buying the original issues and normally are a lot more
easier to find.
really has become a collecting niche that doesnít appear to
have any end in sight.
This may be your way of getting into the hobby and staying
for a long, long time.
Collecting Slabbed Books
the most interesting developments in comic book collecting
came in the year 2000 when an organization called CGC
(Certified Guaranty Company) was formed to help bring
stability and integrity to the grading of comic books.
Never before has there been such a service in the hobby with
all books previously graded by those who owned the issue.
That is still performed today, but with CGC in place there
is the option for anyone who owns an issue to submit it for
certified grading and for those who buy comic books to
purchase only certified graded books.
After a book is graded, it comes in its own revolutionary
sealed acrylic display holder often referred to as
More and more collectors and dealers have come to accept CGC
graded books as the industry standard with the confidence
level of all who purchase books or submitted books through
them at an all-time high.
Now collectors worldwide can purchase older comics and newer
comics that have been certified by CGC knowing that the
issues they are buying have been professionally graded.
No more guesswork and no more wondering if the book has any
alterations made. Those will all be disclosed upon
A lot of
collectors and dealers may not always agree with the grade
that CGC assigns to any book, but it cannot be contested and
we all live with the results. The only way to have any
certified book be re-examined is to re-submit the book
hoping for a better grade the second time around.
CGC competitor PGX (Professional Grading Experts) came on
the s essentially doing this because the books that you are buying
and collecting are of a significant value of $200 or more in
its original unslabbed format and you have no interest in
ever opening up the holder to examine and review the
If you ever decide to open up the holder, there is no
guarantee that should you re-submit the book again to either
CGC or PGX for re-certification that it will come back in
the same certified grade. It could come back worse.
Youíre basically accepting the fact that buying slabbed
books to add to your collection will remain in the holder
forever until you decide to part with the issue(s).
I donít recommend submitting newer issues to be certified
although there are plenty of examples on the market. Newer
issues in almost all cases are not worth as much as older
issues and the price you pay to have the book certified and
the new issuesí worth does not justify the costs involved.
I realize that there are examples where someone has
submitted a book that came out in a monthís time and then
turns around and tries to sell it for $100 or more and Iím
sure thereís someone willing to pay for it. It just doesnít
make a lot of sense in most cases.
I donít believe there are that many buyers willing to do
that over and over as they would for older issues which hold
their values more reliably than their newer counterparts.
The scarcity level for older issues is greater than newer
You are better off tracking down older issues which have a
value of $200 and more waiting to be submitted. The costs
for submitting and the time and effort involved with an
issue that holds its value and steadily increases over time
are worth it for older issues.
With slabbed books collectors accept the fact that they are
going to have to pay a premium for this. The costs involved
with submitting books and the added assurance and integrity
behind a finalized graded product means an additional
mark-up on slabbed books especially from CGC since they are
considered to be the leader in this industry.
Be prepared when collecting slabbed books for this fact.
I personally own a few slabbed books, but the only reason is
the books that I have are a little pricey and I would prefer
to have this pedigree of certification on the issue. It
will help in any future trading should there ever come a
time for that.
Where to Buy
are so many sources to find comic books all over. I will
get into more detailed specifics on my Where to Buy page,
but there are essentially three places to acquire them from
- either locally, mail order or on the internet.
Each has its advantages for both old and new comic books.
If youíre buying new comics, then buying them at your local
comic book store or store that carryís comics in addition to
their regular inventory is the best option.
definitely mail order dealers and internet dealers as well
as subscriptions direct from the publishers that can provide
you new comics, but the costs involved for shipping and the
fact that you cannot examine the condition or the check the
issuesí contents makes it best for in person buying.
missing out on newer back issues, going to the local comic
store or local comic book show to find them would make sense
Most stores still carry back issues although I am observing
that to be less and less as there are so many products in
the comic book collecting world taking up so much retail
space that some stores have downsized and even eliminated
back issue stock.
You should still checkout things at your local stores first
before venturing to the other outlets.
Going to a local comic show can actually offer you an
opportunity to pick up back issues at less than cover price
as some sellers have purchased too many copies and need to
After exhausting local options, then the internet is the
next best place and I have found a couple of very reliable
sources especially for back issues within recent years.
When it comes to older comics there are so many choices
available and they all make sense for various reasons.
recommendation is to first look for older comics locally
whether at a local comic store or comic show.
You are never going to be able to view and examine as many
issues on the internet as you would in person.
It takes way too long and it is impossible to see all of the
contents and angles of an issue on the internet. You cannot
view issues in a mail-order catalog.
You will find that you can actually bargain with people in
person than you can with those online. Most folks still
have a very difficult time communicating on the internet and
the time it takes to trade emails or even phone calls make
this almost prohibitive.
internet is still a great place to pick up older issues
nevertheless. I use it often when my local options are
dry. You can find a lot of great deals. You can find runs
and small and large lots of issues online that you cannot
find locally. Also the selections are greater since you are
now looking more than one market area and reviewing hundreds
and thousands of items from a large amount of sellers and
Mail-order dealers out there who havenít gone the route of
the internet are my last option. I used to buy from
mail-order dealers since there was no internet not that long
I have built up a nice working relationship with some and
can pass those onto you as well.
I will be more detailed about my findings on my
Where to Buy
Comics page. Check that out.