On Business: Comics' Worth
With that in mind, how many of you have noticed this? If you're trying to track down a specific issue for your collection, you will have to pay some not-insignificant amount of money for it. How much of course depends in large part on the rarity of the issue (rarity = low supply). But even if it's a not particularly rare or collectible issue, if you want to get a copy of that one issue from six years ago that your dog tore up last week, you'll probably have to pay at least cover price to get it. Possibly also shipping or an admittance fee to a convention.
But, if you're just looking for a pile of comics and you don't especially care what issues, or even titles, they are, you can find a good number of them for free and/or exceptionally low cost. I talked almost a year ago about how I've been able to pick up about seven years of Fantastic Four issues for less than a buck apiece. I was basically just going through back issue bins and pulling out whatever cheap FF's were there. But now that I'm down to a handful of issues, they're harder to find and the more costly they are when I do find them. So far, I still haven't paid more than cover price on any of these, but three bucks for a single issue is considerably more than four for a dollar!
So what's interesting to me here is the formula at work. While any specifically cited issue has some value, comics in the broader sense are worthless. I've heard several stories in the past year or two of people trying to unload good sized collections, and getting little to nothing for them. I picked up around 6,000 books for free literally off the curb last year, and passed around 1,000 of those on to a friend's brother. People trying to sell comics in bulk are maybe given a token amount based on the weight of all the comics that are brought in, not unlike if they'd taken a truck full of scrap metal to a recycling facility. And it seems that a number of people don't feel it's worth the bother.
A comic, singular, is specific and has value.
Comics, plural, is not specific and has no value.
Just a fascinating, to me, look at the secondary market for comics. The part of me that acquired an MBA understands all of this, but my teenage self is still having difficulty processing everything.