This guide attempts to develop a framework to evaluate the investment potential of 2nd print comics.
On average, most 2nd print comics are not worth anything. However, in cases where the 2nd print contain first appearances of characters, they can be worth something. In some, 2nd print can be more expensive than 1st prints.
I intend to analyze when such cases can happen so as to make the best comic book investment decisions with regards to 2nd prints.
Are 2nd print comics always worth money?
I have given evidence in my article on rare copper comic books that there are cases where 3rd or later printings are worth more than first prints.
These examples include: Spider-Man #1 UPC gold, Hulk #377 3rd print, Man of Steel #18, 5th print, Spawn #1 black and white 2nd print etc.
Yet, there are also many cases where the first print will also have higher value. For example, Spiderman #361 and many other modern titles.
So, that begs the questions: when can a 2nd print can worth more than 1st print.
When can 2nd print comics be worth more than 1st print?
After comparing the price performance of many 2nd vs 1st print comics, below are my observations on what criteria is necessary to enable the 2nd print to be more valuable the 1st prints:
Observation #1: Oversupply of the first edition helps
The first interesting observation is that first editions with too much supply tend to be overtaken by later editions. Spawn #1, Man of Steel #18 etc all falls into this category.
As a result of the large supply, collectors can easily purchase the first edition without too much trouble. Once that is done, they might gravitate towards the less common editions to satisfy their rarity pursue.
In contrast, if a first edition is expensive, most collector will tend to focus on acquiring them. They will not spend the time or money to look for the later printings.
Using this logic, here are some 2nd printing books that might heat up if there is any speculation news.
New Mutants #100 3rd printing: The first printing had sales in the 400,000k range. If MCU gets serious on X-Force, interest in this book might rise again, especially the later printings. The latter has actually been speculated before so a renewal interest is not out of the question.
Uncanny X-Men #282 2nd printing: We might see Uncanny X-Men #282 2nd print heat up if Bishop ever becomes hot again. The first edition is one of the most heavily printed comics during the 90s so anyone can easily get a copy. The gold edition has more limited supply although it is still not difficult to get one.
Marvel Secret Wars #1 2nd printing: I talked about this book before. Unlike the other 2, this one is much difficult to find. If the Secret Wars theme is used as the eventual big battle in MCU Phase 4 or 5, expect this to heat up pretty quickly.
Observation #2: The first print did not have a high price point
If the first edition does not have a high supply, another important criteria that emerged is that the first print cannot already be a valuable comic.
If you look at comics whereby the 2nd or later printings are worth more even though the first edition is not abundant, it is always because they are affordable when the latter printings caught the attention of the market.
In contrast, if a first edition has already established itself as a valuable comic, no amount of scarcity for the 2nd or later printings can dethrone it.
Some examples of this can be seen in cases such as Captain Marvel #17, Amazing Spider-Man #659, #654, Venom #3 etc. These books do not have a large supply but were overtaken by the 2nd printings.
The reason is because most of the first editions of these books have not caught the attention of the market, thus making them affordable. In other words, both first and later editions are on the same starting line.
Hence, when the 2nd edition is made known and catch the attention of the market, it will gravitate towards the edition with the lower supply.
Observation #3: The cover art lights the fire for the 2nd printings
In observation #2, we talked about the 2nd print catching the attention of the market. The most obvious way of doing so is through the cover art.
In most cases, the cover art for the 2nd printings are a better first appearance cover than the first editions. Since the first edition has not become a valuable comic, most will focus on the 2nd printing.
Invincible Iron Man Vol 3 #7, 3rd printing is such a book that is currently still affordable.
The 3rd edition shows Riri on the cover while the first edition does not. It is not a unknown book as prices have been increasing but it has not fully caught fire yet.
The sales for the third edition is 6,224. For comparison, the sales for first edition is around 51,000.
This is a book to watch out for especially if RIri makes it to the MCU. If you think Riri has a high chance of becoming a hot property, you might want to grab a few of these.
Having said, there are cases where the 2nd print overtook the 1st without a brand new cover art. All New Marvel Point One 2nd printing is a good example of this. However, bear in mind that observation #2 still holds true. If the first edition of ANMPO #1 has been a $100 or more in raw, the 2nd print might not overtook it.
If such cases become common, it will a wide open field for 2nd prints as most do not have a different cover art. Having said that, it is still early and it is best to continue watching this trend. Justice League Dark #1 2nd printing can be a good book to observe.
Are 2nd print worth anything if it cannot overtake first editions?
While 2nd print overtaking is ideal as they are harder to find and hence are ideal candidates to see crazy growth.
In most cases however, this will not be possible as the first editions have established their values in the market.
Fortunately, it is still possible to make good returns even if 2nd printings cannot overtake the first. The recent examples of Ultimate Fallout #4 and Edge of Spiderverse #2 have shown us that.
Below is a table comparing the values between first and 2nd printing.
|Issue||First Printing||2nd Printing||Percentage|
|Ultimate Fallout #4||$230||$50||20%|
|Edge of Spiderverse #2||$250||$80||30%|
|Amazing Spider-Man #361||$100||$50||50%|
The key message is there are some serious money to be made here from 2nd printing. While their prices are below the first printing, their absolute value is still high enough to warrant some kind of speculation.
Another thing to pay attention is the absolute price of the first printing. They are a good indicator of how much returns you can get on your later printing investments.
If you can see books now hovering around the $100 mark and yet have cheap 2nd printing available, they are a good spec to pick up.
2nd and later printings have gotten a lot of interest recently. The market is still developing and this is a first step to developing a more repeatable framework for picking up good 2nd printing for speculation or investments.
To summarize, look for 2nd prints when:
- First printing is readily available at cheap prices
- First printing has not established itself as a valuable book, thus enabling 2nd printing to start from an equal or easier position
- Cover art is different and features the first cover of a new character (not as important as first two)