Comic Store In Your Future – Mighty Morphin Comic Book Speculators

Rod Lamberti of Rodman Comics writes weekly for Bleeding Cool. Find previous columns here.

Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increase of just-released comics shooting up in value on the aftermarket. Titles such as Amazing Spider-Man, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Thanos, and more, right after their release, were going for more than their cover cost on the secondary market. This, of course, gets speculators into buying comics.

That Mark Twain saying “that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.” That is what is going on.

How do we try to handle sudden spikes in demand for new comics due to issues going for over double on the secondary market? I learned a hard lesson years ago, when the Death of the Family mask variants came out for Batgirl and Batman on the same day, I came in that Wednesday afternoon and my employee was excited we almost sold out of them. Someone came in and, if my memory is right about what I was told, the person bought 40 copies each of both issues. I knew something was up. Sure enough, both issues were already going for double digits on the secondary market.  It is always good to sell product of course, though the downside is now I did not have enough copies left for our regular readers of both titles.  If I had been in when the person bought so many copies, I would have limited the amount he was buying so we would have enough for our regulars.

Some people do not like that people flip comics. I personally have no issue with it since as an owner of a comic store, we are selling and trying to make money off comics.

Amazing Spider-man is a hot seller currently. The previous issues have blown out of here. There are people buying Amazing Spider-man to flip them to make money. Amazing Spider-Man has received more coverage online due to it going for more than cover. We have new readers of Amazing Spider-Man thanks to people being curious about what all the fuss is about.  We had capped the last issue to one per person to try to make sure as many people as possible have a chance to buy it.  We have sold a few of the previous issues online due to people who dropped the title or abandoned their pull boxes.  Even though the title is hot right now, there are still people who lose interest in comics.

Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25 was black bagged and had different variant covers. Boom Studios even sent the various comic stores a one-per-store variant, which was very nice of them. I put the one-per-store variant for sale online since it was clearing $50. That is a price we most likely would not be able to get instore.  We had a one copy per person limit on the issue.  We had someone call and want multiple copies because they are a “big” Power Rangers fan. Yeah, such a big fan that they didn’t have it on their pull list at another store they shop at.  I did end up opening some and putting copies up for sale online.  These black-bagged variants did a lot better than DC’s last black-bagged variants. DC really dropped the ball compared to their previous black-bagged variants, Harley’s Little Black Book.

I did have a person say to my employee, we were selling the Power Ranger issue under two different accounts online. That puzzled me. We just use one. I do not know why we would use more than one. People might check out our other auctions and buy more. Having another separate account would block that possibility.

Issue 25 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers even managed to bring in a new fan to the series. One person came in and bought their first Power Rangers comic thanks to it being black bagged. He came in again later in the week, buying all the back issues he could at the store and started a pull list for the series with us.  He had us order in what issues we could that we did not have on hand. There were actually more available through Diamond than I thought there would be. That is pretty cool.

Power Rangers #25 ended up making the store some decent money.

Has Marvel even had a non-Star Wars title get to issue 25 in years? [Rich adds: Yes, but not for long]

For me ideally, I want people to get into comics because they enjoy reading them.  I do worry that a person reading a series will miss out on an issue if someone else picks it up just to flip the comic for money.  All those years ago, I remember Silver Surfer #50 selling out before I could even get to the comic store to buy the issue. At the time, it was too expensive for me to buy since it was going for more than cover price. The issue was an important issue story wise and missing it led me to drop the series. Currently it is inexpensive and easy to get online.  Now I could easily get the issue without spending much at all.

The upside to people speculating is they are spending money. With the comic market in a slump currently any bright spots in sales I will take. Though, for the comic market to thrive and improve it needs people reading the product.

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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