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Have you used to collect comic books in the 1990's?

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  • Have you used to collect comic books in the 1990's?

    Have any of you guys been part of the Catastrophic Collecting Craze?

    Back in the early 1990's, the comic book collectors believed there was money in collecting comic books. Major auction galleries such as Sotheby and Christie auctioned off old comic books at high prices. Any copy of debut issues of Captain America, Spider-Man, Batman and Superman is worth tens of thousands of dollars. director Kevin Smith bought a copy of Superman #1 for $1,000,000--an amount he later admitted was a lot more than it was worth.

    And to add to the comic book collecting frenzy, newspapers and magazines including Wizard, started writing articles about the appreciable value of comic books that were more worth investing than the stocks were . So the gullible fans became avid collectors, each one buying several copies of the same issue and keeping them unread and in mint condition, waiting to be resold in the near future. Comic book publishers including Marvel, who fell victims to their own greed, took advantage of fans' naive interest by publishing a comic with multiple different covers and comic books with special holographic or foil-embossed covers also so-called "collector's editions". The fans were also under the illogical logic that any comic with issue number 1 would be the most aluable

    During the 1990's, Todd MacFarlane's adjective-less Spider-Man#1 was sold over 1 million copies. Rob Liefeld's X-Force #1 was sold at 4 million copies. Jim Lee's X-Men issue 1 was sold at about 7 million copies. Spawn#1 and Youngblood #1 were sold over 1 million. Since the fall of the speculator market, the best-selling comic books today sells no more than 100,000-200,000 copies a month.

    When the speculators finally ran out of money, they decided to resell some of their comics. That was when they gradually found the harsh truth. Old comic books are priceless because they are rare. the rarer the comic books are, the more invaluable they are. Most of the original comic books did not survive up to today because they were discarded as worthless children's waste. For example, Golden Age Captain America issues were thrown away into recycle bins to raise money to patriotically support America's role in World WAr II. Original issues of many comics such as Captain America, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense, Journey Into Mystery, Amazing Fantasy were pretty hard to find hence they were considered prized by collectors.

    And the speculators realized that their comic book copies were so common that each copy is worth one-fourth of its worth. No one would pay a premium price for something from an abundant supply. And on top of that, everyone owns each copy of the same comics so they had no new buyer to sell their "investments". So that's when the speculators, the major customers of comic book industry stopped collecting.Thus the comic book speculation market began collapsing in the mid 1990's.

    For months, collectors were trying to find a copy of Magnus Robot Fighter #12, the first appearance of Turok. The reason being, Valiant was about to launch Turok’s own comic book, and investors and speculators were looking for copies before it came out. What they didn’t know is that most dealers HAD multiple copies of it, but were hording their copies until Turok #1 came out so they could sell it for big bucks. At a comic convention in Portland, hosted by Dark Horse Comics, there were copies of Magnus #12, all having been littered all over the place. And not a single dealer sold a single copy. The investors had totally vanished from the scene. One well-dressed dealer wearing a tie was practically in tears by the end of the convention because He didn’t sell a single comic; he had a table full of nothing but recent Valiant books, and collectors already owned multiple duplicates of each issue.

    The collectors were furious at Marvel for churning out an unlimited amount of crappy comic books. (Marvel published about one hundred titles or so a month). They were furious at Dark Horse for never publishing an issue #5 (all of their movie comics were four-issue miniseries), They were furious at Image for making comics with horribly extravagant art and poor storytelling based solely on their namesake - image. They were furious at Valiant for lying about the collectable value of their comics which was untrue (Valiant did make good comics).

    There were six thousand comic book stores. Then there are only two thousand comic book stores after the collapse of the speculator craze. That meant two-thirds of stores went out of business. Many comic book publishers including NOW, Malibu, Valiant, Defiant, Eclipso etc, went out of business. Malibu Comics' owners wound up selling their company to Marvel but it didn't save them from complete extinction. Even Marvel Comics went bankrupt and ironically ended up being owned by Toybiz which Marvel once had owned. Marvel also had not only to cancel 90% of their comics including Guardians of the Galaxy, Darkhawk, Force Works, New Warriors, the 2099 comics, etc, but also laid off many staffers. Another two factors that contributed to Marvel's bankruptcy were its self distribution service and the war between Carl Icahn and Ron Perelman for control of Marvel comics company. Marvel's decision to distribute its own comics instead of relying on other distributors backfired when many comic books ended up unsold due to the waning demand and it resulted in further losses for them. When a stockholder named Carl Icahn went out to do any legal means to buy the Marvel Comics company , the outraged Ron Perelman (the owner of Marvel comics) decided to stripmine the Marvel comics company and liquidate all its assets in order to keep them from Carl Icahn.

    Marvel and DC no longer published comic books with holographic or foiled covers in around 1998. The comic book industry was almost crippled because of both the publishers' avarice and the increased customer demand.

    Last edited by Kalimutan; 10-15-2006, 03:07 PM.

  • #2
    I still collect Vampirella and Vampi which is an update anime esque version of Vampirella done by an Asian author named Kevin Lau. They are still worth money. The number 1 Vampirella which I have is going for 300 dollars. I paid 100 for it. I dont collect them to sale them though. I collect them for reading and the art. Being vampire based its rather graphic and in color.
    “If Apple made a car would it have windows?"


    • #3
      No, I definitely never collected that US comic garbage
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      • #4
        I collected all sorts of comics throughout the 90s, mostly because my uncle got me into it, I stopped several years ago when many of the comic book stores in my area went out of business. I still have most of my comics boxed my in my house. Any comic collecter now probably knows that there is next to no resale market for most comics, anyone collecting is just doing it to preserve the books and their memories like any sort of collector does.


        • #5
          stelok bought up some good economic history info, seeing which makes me glad that I never fell victim to that craze. I used to buy quite a lot of various titles, but that was when I had free cash to spend, and it was only on titles and stories that interested me personally. I never looked at it as an investment, chiefly because as was pointed out in the first post it's an item's rarity that makes it a collectable. I never saw the sense in buying multiple copies of the same story when the only difference was the cover art, or paying twice the standard price for a mediocre story that had a flashy foil cover.

          Another big element to the downfall of comic sales was that the story-telling wound up taking a back seat. Comics are a visual medium, but if the emphasis is only on fancy art and little thought is given to story and character development then most readers will eventually turn away. I don't care how sweet the pictures are, if the story isn't quality I'm going to feel like reader intelligence is either under-estimated or outright insulted. Errors in continuity, glaring plot-holes and mis-characterizations of chief/important characters will more than counterbalance zippy art alone. Marvel was notorious for this with their "X-Men" titles; X-Men books were their biggest sellers, but managerial concern with keeping the cash cow going created a situation where writers may have been tasked with (and credited for) writing dialog or coming up with plot details, but stories' main content and overall direction was determined by the editorial group. They decided what the writers could write, because the writer alone couldn't be trusted with the fate of the company's most popular franchise, and by extension with the fate of the company itself. This would create tension and resentment for writers who felt they weren't allowed to do their jobs as they saw them. So Marvel wound up having a revolving door for the X-Men writing staff, choosing to focus on keeping the artists (who they thought were the real stars of the books, anyway) happy while most of the stories wound up being created by folks whose jobs were to edit, not write, and book quality began to drop.

          Another cause in the market drop: release delays. Image had a bad track record with this, especially Jim Lee's Wildstorm imprint. Prime example: "Wetworks." Wilce Portatio created that title- it was gonna be his baby, and I have to admit that his artwork looked absolutely killer, and fit the book's initial concept perfectly. Unfortunately, in the comics industry being a great artist isn't enough. You need to able to consistently crank out not just cool visuals, but do it in a timely manner and be able to meet publishing deadlines. The more intricate and detailed the art is, the more time it's gonna take you to produce, so don't make that your selling point if you can't keep up. By issue #3 it was obvious that Portatio couldn't keep up- #2 was released weeks behind schedule, and #3 months behind its adjusted date. Portatio wound up being dropped from the book, and the various artists who came in after him quite frankly showed the same level of ability as bad 8th grade art students. It didn't take long for that book to implode, and I was sorely disappointed that it met such an ignominious end; it had been on my "interested in" list, but by the time it died I felt it was a mercy killing.


          • #6
            Nope, as a matter of fact the only thing I ever collected were warhammer miniatures. I don't color them though. Too afraid to **** it up, and leave them ending up looking like as if they fell into a vat of paint.
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            • #7
              I had a brief period of buying comics in the mid-90s not long after Image started publishing their stuff. Back then I was stuck in another state but had some extra cash to spend so I decided to spend it on some comics to read. This kinda continued after I moved into Houston but after I discovered a local store that sold the Japanese Weekly Jump, I promptly dumped the habit in exchange of getting Jump on a weekly basis (why not when I was paying ten times less money for ten times the story content). The Jump habit stopped shortly after I got broadband.

              As far as purchasing habits went, since I was purchasing as a reader than a collector, I went after whatever they said was a good read on an internet forum I attended ATT. Since the forum was composed of both serious readers and collectors, I was able to follow the rise and fall of the market in real time as well as their comments and reactions. ^^;
              Currently reading: Kumodesuga Nanika?
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              • #8
                I was only 9 years old when I started collecting comics in the 1990's and I bought them from local stores in the Philippines where the news about the the importance of comics' collectibility didn't reach. So, I had no idea that comics would be worth investing.

                I didn't seriously take care of my comic book collection. Therefore almost all of my comics are no longer in mint condition. Many of them are missing covers, because their covers are easily torn off by me carelessly moving and shuffling them through three-foot high piles or stacks of comic books. I didn't bother to put the comics inside polybags.