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Like it or not, the most important factor when it comes to comic book prices is now movie or TV show announcements. In the 90s, it was the announcement of a new solo series that would put the spotlight on the character but this has lost its effects. If you want to make money buying and selling comics, you need to be in tune with the Hollywood side of things. That is the focus of this week’s comic investing tip.
Reasons for movie news impact
I know that a lot of the price movement is due to rampant speculation whenever a character is confirmed for a movie role but some speculation does have strong fundamental reasons. Movies have the ability to permanently change the status of a character in the comic universe. From trailers, to posters, to comics to the actual movie, the amount of media exposure for a movie character dwarfs what can be accomplished with a comic solo series announcement. In fact, the comic series might alter itself to promote the character from within the stories, thus making the movie characters even more prominent. From that perspective, it is not unreasonable to expect movie announcements to impact comic book prices.
The strongest example would be Iron Man. Who knows a successful movie can allow Iron Man to rise from a B+ character to now a strong A string. Similarly for Black Widow, Hawkeye, Guardians etc. These are all characters that will not have a strong comic book showing if not for their movie counterparts.
Decoding the impact of news on prices
Having said the above, most speculators took it too far and jump in on all movie and TV announcements. That is not really smart investing as you need to understand how different news can impact prices differently. I have boiled it down to these basic points. There are general principles and not some universal law. There will be exceptions to the following but they have served me well so far:
- TV appearance of minor characters with no recurring role (non A-class villains like Plastique) : small to no impact on prices
- TV appearance of minor characters with recurring role (Vibe, Lady Frost) : small to no impact on prices
- TV appearance of recognized characters (Flash, Constantine, Deathstroke): middle impact ( I assume recognised characters in general have recurring role)
- Movie appearance of minor characters who are not the main casts (Cosmos, Collector, Villains): small to middle impact
- Movie appearance of minor characters who are the main casts (Guardians of the Galaxy, Winter Soldier, Falcon, War Machine, Inhumans): middle to strong impact
- Movie appearance of recognized characters who are the main casts (Captain Marvel, Deadpool, Harley Quinn, Black Panther, Shazam): strong to explosive impact
Summary of tip 2: Buy undervalued characters that have a shot at being the main casts of a movie. Go for recognized characters if you want to spec on TV shows.
Undervalued comic characters
So, after the 5 year movie announcements by both DC and Marvel, the prices of all the obvious books have went through the roof. Is there anything out there to buy or do we have to wait until the 5 years is over to spec on new movies?
I believe there are still some undervalued picks even though the titles are all known as details are still scare. For example, we know there will be a Black Panther movie but who will be the female lead and supporting cast? Knowing Marvel, there will be some other characters that are secondary to Black Panther but still played an important role, just like how Winter Soldier, Falcon, War Machine etc complements Captain America and Iron Man.
Below are some initial thoughts for the 2016 and 2017 Marvel DC movies
- Captain America 3: None
- Doc Strange: Strange Tales #126 and some Marvel supernatural characters
- Batman vs Superman: Forever People #1
- Suicide Squad: Detective Comics #474, Firestorm #3
- Deadpool: None
- X Men Apocalypse: X Factor #24, X Men #221
- Sinister Six: None
- GOTG 2: Thor #165, Marvel Premiere #1, Defenders #28
- Thor #3: Journey Into Mystery #103, Avengers #83
- Black Panther: Check out my Black Panther key issues
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman Vol 2 #9
- Justice League: None
- Wolverine 3: No idea