Sunday, October 18, 2015

Hunting for Bargains Among Amazing Spider-Man Issues

This year has been another banner year for the comic book industry. The yearly comic collecting cycle seems to culminate in the comic convention circuit during the summer and the release of the new Overstreet Price Guide at around the same time. And the current Overstreet Guide has shown another string of strong price jumps among the key Silver Age Marvel comics. Chief among them is Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man), which has surged to $240,000 for a near mint- (9.2) copy. That’s a quarter million dollars! Other popular and early Spider-Man keys also saw substantial price gains. For example, Amazing Spider-Man #2 (first appearance of the Vulture) now fetches more than $12,000 for a 9.2 copy and Amazing Spider-Man #3 (first appearance of Doctor Octopus) checks in at $9,700 for a 9.2 copy.

Clearly, that’s a lot of money to spend on one comic book. Spider-Man is one of the most popular characters in the comic book world so it’s no surprise that his early key issues are worth so much money. So rather than spend a large chunk of one’s bank account on only one issue, I propose that we look at the overlooked Amazing Spider-Man books that can still be considered bargains. Here are four Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) issues that are still considered bargains…

Amazing Spider-Man #10 (first appearance of Big Man and the Enforcers):

Ok, this early Spidey key is not much of a bargain. A 9.2 copy fetches $2750 and even a well-worn 2.0 copy is worth about $100. But, it is cheaper than ASM # 9 (first appearance of Electro) and it’s cheaper than comparable issues such as ASM #13 (first appearance of Mysterio). Another bonus is that this issue also routinely sells for less than guide price on eBay and at conventions. I also like the potential of these villains because the Spidey universe is now available to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). These characters are under-utilized and they could be a hit as modern gangster characters in an MCU movie or tv series.  Read more >>

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Barnes and Noble Still Hanging On, as Graphic Novels/Paper Comics Are Selling Well

Recently, the Barnes and Noble bookstore chain announced in a press release that it would expand its selection of Graphic Novels and Manga to double the size at all of its nationwide stores.   The company explained that the "expansion is due to strong customer demand and the growing popularity of these genres".  Furthermore, "Barnes & Noble says some of the best-selling graphic novels in its stores are Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen and Walking Dead Compendium, Volume 1."

Photo by S. A. di Nicolao (Creative Commons license)

This is definitely a good sign because it indicates that paper formats like graphic novels and paper comics are here to stay.  The paper medium of comics has widespread appeal compared to digital comics because of the collectibility of paper comics (just think of collecting comics in different conditions and think of the demand for variant covers), and also collectors appreciate the ability to touch printed comics.

One consultant suggests that this is also a good strategy "to reach out through stores to manga fans, who are largely female and under the age of 22, as they may be more comfortable going to a traditional bookstore rather than a comic-book store".

On the other side of the print/digital divide, Amazon's purchase of Comixology has made big waves in the industry, but it's safe to say that print comics are here to stay.  While digital comics may allow artists to present comic stories and comic book panels in new and interesting ways, print comics are still valued by fans for their collectibility and because a printed comic is actually owned by the buyer after its purchase.  Digital comics offered by Marvel and DC still have DRM (digital rights management) restrictions, such as the requirement to read the comic through an online account or smartphone app, so a purchase of a Marvel or DC comic does not confer ownership of a comic book to the buyer.  So, here's hoping that local comic book stores and Barnes and Noble stores can continue to make money by selling printed comics and graphic novels.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Fan Expo Vancouver 2015

I had a fantastic time at Fan Expo Vancouver last weekend (April 3-5). It was another awesome event, and I was able to take in two days of the show. The highlights included the Warner Brothers Games booth which showcased new video games such as Batman Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X; the Lego display; and the artists alley, where I had a chance to chat with comic book artist Mike Zeck.

I also got glimpses of the stars who made my favourite tv shows, including Chad Coleman and Scott Wilson from the Walking Dead.  William Shatner was there on the second day of the show and he drew long lines for autographs and photos.  Here are some photos of celebrities who attended this year's event in Vancouver:

Chad Coleman taking a sip of water.

Chad Coleman (Tyreese) & fellow W.D. cast member Scott Wilson.

Stephen Amell signing an autograph.

Star Wars cos-play spectacular!

Do not feed the Tauntaun.

A re-enactment of Batman's origin story.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Review of Superior Spider-Man Issues # 22-26

It has been two years since Marvel “killed off” Spider-Man by causing a “brain switch” that put Doctor Octopus’ mind inside the body of Peter Parker. Naturally, this created a lot of havoc in the life of Peter Parker, the Amazing Spider-Man, including plenty of unheroic behaviour, conflicts with the Avengers, and an “on-again, off-again” romance with Mary Jane Watson. As I didn’t have a chance to read all the issues featuring Doc Ock as Spider-Man, I decided to read the “Darkest Hours” story arc (Superior Spider-Man #22-25) and also part of the “Goblin Nation” storyline (Superior Spider-Man #26) from last year. This was one of the last “Doc Ock as Spider-Man” stories before the return of Peter Parker last year.

I have to say I was quite impressed with the quality of this story arc. Dan Slott, Christos Gage, and Humberto Ramos do a nice job of portraying the chaotic world of Otto Octavius inhabiting the body of Peter Parker. There are the personal conflicts such as Aunt May’s discomfort with Otto’s new girlfriend Anna Maria and Mary Jane’s suspicions towards Peter Parker’s unusual behaviour. Also Otto Octavius as Spider-Man is a demanding and fearsome boss of Parker Industries.   Read More >>