Recently, Marvel launched its latest event, Infinity, the story that reestablishes Thanos as one of its biggest cosmic baddies. And, as usual, with a Big Event comic comes a whole slew of sexy variants.
The Comic Speculator is a blog written by Worthpoint Comic Book “Worthologist” Matt Baum that takes a look at each week’s hot new comics, back issues and the comic market place in general. Prices discussed here are taken from Comicspriceguide.com (CPG) and current online auction sales. Sales numbers and rankings are courtesyof ICV2.com. Listsof new comics are courtesyof Previewsworld.com and Comiclist.com. Make sure and click on the links to learn more about the titles and creators discussed here. If you want to hear what this nerd sounds like you can catch me on my podcast, the Two-Headed Nerd Comicast, where my friend Joe and I discuss the latest comic news, review some new comics, and answer your questions.
New Comics Watch for Aug. 23, 2013:
You’re ever-faithful Comic Watchmen is hard at work as usual and this week, and he comes with a warning! You’re local comic shop owner and Diamond Comics might not want you to hear this, but someone has to give you the straight dope. And that brave, young(-ish) man is ME!
It seems these days the Marvel Universe is perpetually involved in a Big Event comic. Recently, Marvel launched its latest event, Infinity, the story that reestablishes Thanos as one of its biggest cosmic baddies. And, as usual, with a Big Event comic comes a whole slew of sexy variants.
Your favorite artists drew some amazing covers for this one: some that retailers could get for ordering only 25 issues, others, upwards of 100. But the one thing they all have in common, chances are, is that they’re all over priced.
This week’s Infinity #1 has no less than eight different variants:
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Blank Variant Cover), ($5)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Party Variant Cover), ($5-$7)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Skottie Young Variant Cover), ($5). Retailers had to exceed their orders of Age of Ultron #2 with this issue before they could order these variants as needed.
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Jerome Opena Design Variant Cover), 1:50, ($8-$10)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(In-Hyuk Lee Generals Variant Cover), 1:75, ($12-$15)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Arthur Adams Hero Variant Cover), 1:100, ($20-$30)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Arthur Adams Hero Sketch Variant Cover), 1:150, ($30-$40)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Marko Djurdjevic Variant Cover), 1:200, ($50-$60)
Infinity #1 (of 6)(In-Hyuk Lee Generals Variant Cover), 1:75.
Infinity #1 (of 6)(Arthur Adams Hero Sketch Variant Cover), 1:150
You might notice that the prices I’m suggesting on these variants are low. Very low. And I assure you there’s a reason. Before I go into why, let’s take a look at what variants from the last Marvel event are doing on the back issue market.
Last summer the X-Men and the Avengers were having a tough time getting along as a part of the A vs. X event series. There were 12 issues and a million variant covers. Well, not quite a million, but a lot. And they we’re fairly hot, for a while, anyway.
Each issue of A vs. X had around the same number of variants with the same ratios, with the addition of a 1:10, which I’ll have to check, but I’m pretty sure that equals a crap-load. So where are they now? Probably sitting in comic shops everywhere with price tags that are way too high.
It doesn’t take an exhaustive search of eBay to realize if you’re in the market for A vs. X variants, now is the time to buy. Is that a “Bear” or “Bull” market? I can never remember. [It’s a Bear market, Matt, in which typically prices are falling and widespread pessimism causes the negative sentiment to be self-sustaining – Editor]
Yes, there are some CGC-graded copies still selling for $100 and up, but they’re few and far between. Right now, 1:10 variants are selling for less than cover price, 1:25s are going for $5-or-less, you can pick up 1:50s for less than $20 (and in some cases less than $10, 1:100s are going for about the same, and even the 1:200s are selling for $50 or less.
When they first hit, sure, they we’re hot (for a “hot-minute,” as my wife would say). But it quickly became apparent that there was no shortage of any of them. So what should a collector take away from this tale? WAIT! If you need, want or crave these variants, be patient. You don’t have to pay top dollar. When next month’s sales charts hit, I’m betting Infinity is #1.
Let’s look at last month’s numbers for a model. In July, DC took the #1 spot with Superman Unchained (I hate that title, not the comic), shipping 165,754 copies. Let’s round that up too 166K (’coz math is hard) for the sake of our hypothetical here. If Infinity #1 ships the same amount, that means there will be 830 copies of the 1:200 variants floating around. I know what you’re thinking, “that’s less than 1,000 copies! Great Caesar’s ghost, those are rare! This guy must be some kinda maroon?!?” I see you working and I get it, but the evidence doesn’t add up. Avengers vs. X-Men #1 was the top selling comic on the March 2012 chart shipping just over 200,000 copies, which adds up to the nice neat number of 1,000 copies of the 1:200 out there in Collector Land. Currently, you can get that 1:200 variant for $30. Seriously, thirty bucks. Retailers were asking as high as $200 when the first issue hit and now you can get it for $30.
The lesson here is, and I know I’m repeating myself (and no, I don’t get paid by the word) [Thank God – Editor], just wait. The Infinity variants are cool, but they’re not going anywhere and there’re plenty of them. Could they be worth more in the future? Absolutely! Just not anytime soon.
What to Watch:
Outliers #1 from Alternative Comics (shipped Aug. 21, $5 cover) tells the tale of a mute 12-year-old that meets a Bigfoot-like creature in the woods after a school bus crash. There’s some really good buzz behind this title from creators and reviewers alike, but there’re not many copies out there (definitely less than 2,000, but that’s just a guess) driving the price up. Way up. Copies are selling on eBay for $21 and look to be going up even more.
Penny For Your Soul Vol. 2 #1 from Big Dog (shipped Aug. 21, $3.50 cover) sees the return of the miniseries that started the publisher. The new #1 isn’t selling for more than cover yet but I’m guessing by the time #2 hits, it’ll heat up. The SDCC (that’s cool-nerd for San Diego Comic-Con) variant of Vol. 2 #1 is getting some collector attention, though. The Chrome variant was limited to 350 copies and is currently selling for $15 and is going up. I’d post a pic, but the covers are pretty racy and this blog is rated PG-13.
Trillium #1 from DC/Vertigo (shipped Aug. 7, $2.99 cover) is the new series from Jeff Lemire, creator of Sweet Tooth, and it’s amazing. Lemire wrote this time-travel-sci-fi-love-story as a flip book. Story one meets story two in the middle of the comic and you have to flip it over to continue reading. I love it! And collectors do, too. Currently first-prints are selling for $6-$8. Here’s the weird thing, it’s still in stock at Diamond. If you want a copy, just ask your retailer to order it for you and save $3-$5. But do it now; Trillium #1 will not be in stock for long.
Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the Comic Book Forum in the WorthPoint Forums, located in the Community tab. You can also reply to this article in the “leave a reply box below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers. And keep the comments coming!
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