The Value Of My Comic Collection

I’ve never really been bothered about how much my comic collection is worth; the majority of my comics and trades are from the 1980s onwards and with the exception of a few titles here and there, most of them – I imagine – aren’t particularly valuable.

There are some exceptions – I’m working at getting complete runs of the Silver/Bronze Age JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and GREEN LANTERN series and am on my way; currently 213 out of 261 for JLoA and 158 out of 224 for GL. Scattered amongst them are a handful of rare or key comics in varying degrees of condition. For example, I have issues #21 and #22 of JLoA that feature the first team up of the Justice League and the Justice Society and the first use of “Crisis” as a motif to describe the threat to both worlds; I also have #85 of GL where Speedy was revealed to be a heroin user:

Those are actual scans of my comics and, as you can see, they’re in pretty good condition on the whole. It makes sense from a collector’s point of view for these issues to have a monetary value as they’re not only relatively rare but also feature key or important stories.

More modern comics might fetch a price if they’re the basis of a popular TV show or film, or if they feature important events from comic history such as PREACHER #1 or JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #70:

Again, scans of my issues.

It makes sense to me that issues have value due to either their rarity and/or containing something significant in one way or another.

Hold that thought.

For the last fifteen years or so, I’ve used a comics database provided by the Collectorz.com company. It’s grown from being a fairly straightforward database to something much much larger – there’s an online master that you can download details from; there are mobile apps; even a web-based version so you don’t need to install anything; and the original software has long been customisable to one degree or another. I used to be one of the main suppliers of comic details such as creator credits and character appearances until they did away with the old forums and went solely to Facebook to interact with their customers – I’ve said before FB isn’t for me.

One of the things they’ve been great at is listening to customer feedback and improving the software as they go along and the latest release brings in something that many users have been asking for: automatic updates of the values of your collection. They’ve partnered with GoCollect.com and you can now download values for any comics that have been sold via auction sites.

It’s a nice, useful addition to the database, even for someone like me who’s never been concerned about the value of his comics. That said, once it’s in the database you can’t help look . . . which is why I’m writing this post. Not to brag that I have comics worth a couple of hundred quid but to offer up a word of caution and bafflement.

Like I said, significant and rare comics can easily command a good price, I understand that. But while my software now tells me that PREACHER #1 is worth $75, and JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #70 is worth $10, I cannot for the life of me understand why this comic:

has apparently sold at auction for $80. Eighty dollars?! Why? For the return of Booster Gold in the worst outfit he’s ever worn?! The Dan Vado run on the JLA in the mid-90s had nothing notable in it apart from the death of Ice, and was followed by Gerard Jones who ran it into the ground about a year later.

A quick check at mycomicshop.com shows the issue currently priced at $1.70 which is what I’d expect.

Maybe it’s just my copy, huh? Maybe GoCollect and Collectorz.com are working together and have realised that my copy of JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA #80 contains a previously unseen page where an Easter egg has been laid that reveals the identity of Event Leviathan or something?

Maybe I should put it up for auction before anyone else realises . . .

Anyone have $80 they need to get rid of?

Sunday Reviews

BLACK HAMMER/JUSTICE LEAGUE: HAMMER OF JUSTICE #1

The heroes from BLACK HAMMER are introduced before being approached by a mysterious figure; in Metropolis, the Justice League are fighting off an attack by Starro before they, too, are approached by the same figure. This mystery man manages to transport the heroes from one place to another, swapping them from one world to each other’s, with the BLACK HAMMER heroes appearing in Metropolis and the League on the Black Hammer Farm. Elsewhere, Colonel Weird is found by the Green Lantern Corps.

By necessity, there’s a bit of recapping and introduction here, more for the BLACK HAMMER characters than the League, which is understandable. It’s done well and with little preamble, though, getting into the story nice and quick. While there are no surprises with this initial swap scenario, I have hopes for more from the rest of the series.

HAWKMAN #14

Hawkman is in Kenya, hoping to find some peace and quiet in a mystical cave at the top of a mountain but his relaxation is disturbed by the arrival of one of his oldest foes, the Shadow Thief. They fight, with the Shadow Thief revealing he has new powers and abilities, and at the end of the battle, the Thief literally walks away dragging Hawkman’s shadow with him.

This is part of the Year of the Villain event happening in DC stories where, much like UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED, villains are granted new powers in order to take on their old foes. I’m confused as to why Hawkman takes so long to recognise Shadow Thief, but on the whole this isn’t a bad issue.

JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #11

As the Odyssey League feel constrained to work with Darkseid to build Sepulkore, Cyborg tries to understand what Darkseid’s doing and realises that he actually can – he shouldn’t be able to, but he can process the almost unimaginable amounts of data, much to his surprise. Darkseid isn’t surprised, though, and goads Cyborg, telling him he’s always been a machine posing as a human and that he should embrace it. The rest of the League arrive and take down Darkseid, only to find Cyborg might have taken the old god up on his offer.

Not a bad issue; this title’s come on leaps and bounds since Dan Abnett took over.

OBERON #5

Oberon and Puck battle and Bonnie is revealed to be the Lovet, the natural magician that Oberon thought she was. The Nevermen strike and Titania plots and, at the last, Oberon shows what an absolute bastard he is and just how far he’ll go to get what he wants.

It looks like this is the end of this series which is a shame – there are multiple story threads that could continue, but unless there’s a volume two coming next, this looks to be the last issue.

Sunday Reviews

Sure, there’s only three books in the picture, but it was a bumper week:

BIRTHRIGHT #36

Captured by the government, Mikey and his family learn the truth about how much the world really knows about magic and how it’s preparing for the inevitable clash between our world and that of Terrenos. And with the last page reveal, it seems that clash is coming a lot sooner than anyone thought.

Consistently one of the best looking comics I’ve ever read – and with the same team on it since day one which, these days, is kind of rare – BIRTHRIGHT takes a change of direction this issue, keeping things fresh but still in line with what’s gone before.

BLACK HAMMER ’45 #4

The mission comes to an end for the Black Hammer Squadron as enemies are confronted, civilians rescued and sacrifices made.

From one of the best looking comics to one of the worst. I think I’ve mentioned in each review of this series just how much the art of Matt Kindt doesn’t work for me. Maybe they were trying to evoke a simpler time? Maybe, but for me it just looks childish. Story-wise, then ending’s no real surprise and, maybe because of the art, it felt like something of a disappointment to me.

GREEN LANTERN #8

Green Lantern crashes at Green Arrow’s house and quickly gets involved in a case involving aliens trafficking in souls and giant extra-dimensional beings. All the while, there’s a hitman who’s been hired to wipe out the entire Earth.

This issue is clearly Grant Morrison having fun with some wacky Silver Age nonsense that nobody but him remembers, but for me it didn’t really work. Less because of the inclusion of Xeen Arrow, but more because of the relationship between Arrow and Lantern; Morrison is clearly playing in a sandbox where the 60s and 70s stories happened, Hal and Ollie are old friends who did the tour of America and became relevant for a while, and Ollie at least is easily in his 40s. And all of that jars with the current timeline. This issue felt like fan fiction where Morrison has a story to tell and to hell with anything else that’s happened between 1958 and now. I’ve enjoyed this series up till now, but this issue . . . not so much.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #25

The League fight back against the World Forger and his League led by their own Batman who, it turns out, gave Superman a way out of his prison just in time to get him back to the League in order to defeat the Forger. Striking a deal with the Forger, the League take him back to Earth where they find they’re too late – Luthor and his Legion of Doom saved the world and have made an offer to the villains of the world, giving them whatever they need to take over the world.

This issue’s big and bombastic – Superman’s return is handled really well – but it mostly feels like padding. Sure, there’s mention of the Source Wall collapsing and the Multiverse rushing towards it’s doom, but it just feels like set-up for the Underworld Unleashed Forever Evil Year of the Villain event that’s coming up in the next few months. Still, the art looks nice.

LADY MECHANIKA: SANGRE #1

After a flashback to 500 years ago in Mexico, we’re back with Lady Mechanika who has been called to Spain to help solve the case of a seemingly possessed young man, Alejandro, who’s parents have wildly different ways of dealing with the situation. His overbearing father Pedro is insistent that the church can save Alejandro, while Leonora, his mother, has called in Lady Mechanika. After speaking with the house servants, Mechanika doubts if there is even a case to solve, though her mind is changed by issue’s end.

Another good start to the latest Lady Mechanika tale; Joe Benitez seems to be easing back on the art but Brian Ching’s work is just as lovely to look at.

SHADOW ROADS #8

Kalfu and Abigail meet with the Buzzard Clan to try and find why Henry has gone missing and just where he has gone. Henry has managed to visit India, with his friend Barry following him, and manages to track down his mother.

This issue had more background, more information and so felt bigger after the last few issues which seemed to sprawl a little. As such, it was more enjoyable than those.

SHAZAM! #6

Billy and Mary set out to rescue the other members of the family, while Dr Sivana and Black Adam battle it out at the Rock of Eternity. Trying to enter one of the other realms, Billy and Mary are instead sent back home where Billy finds his birth father has returned and is on parole. Pedro and Eugene meet the wizard Shazam, and while King Kid plans a war against Earth, Mary confesses to her adoptive parents that she and the others are superheroes.

Another good issue with various pieces being put in place for the showdown that’s coming.

Mash-Up #91

Three times a week I randomly generate two dates, hunt down covers from those dates and then mash them together and force the results on you lovely people, while giving a hat-tip to the wonderful Super-Team Family blog which has been doing this for years (and a lot better) on an almost daily basis.

And I bet you can guess which of the Leaguers is going to volunteer to take one for the team from Vampirella.