GI.Joe #1 vs GI.Joe #21: Any undervalued opportunities?

At the request of a Mewe member, I am analyzing GI.Joe #1 vs #21 to identify the investment potential of the former. The latter has been spiking pretty hard recently. Since a rising tide lifts all boats, this might to drag the rest of the GI.Joe comics along with it.

Benchmarking Analysis

Below is a table comparing some basic numbers about GI.Joe #1 vs #21. It includes pricing for different conditions as well as their census data.

IssuesSupplyNm Raw 9.8 Direct
9.8 Newsstand
9.6 Direct
9.6 Newsstand
GI.Joe #21357,468*$180$2,600
GI.Joe #1No Information$120$900
*Numbers are for printed copies instead of sales. After accounting for returns by newsstands, the circulating supply should be less than the printed copies.
Links above are to Ebay. If you buy something, I will get a commission from Ebay as part of its affiliate program. If you want to support my research, using my links to buy from Ebay will be the best way.

On first glance, it seems that the price gap between #21 and #1 is pretty large so there might be some investment opportunities for the latter. However, the census gap between the 2 books is also wide.

Specifically, #1 has almost 5 times the supply for 9.8 and 2 times for 9.6 compared to #21. If we account for such census gap, the price gap seems reasonable and doesn’t highlight any misalignment of market pricing. In fact, I suspect #21 will pull away even further because 100 copies of a popular book is not that many in the grand scheme of things.

Other investment opportunities

While comparing GI.Joe #21 vs #1 doesn’t seem to yield clear investment opportunities, there seem to be some mispricing among the different editions of the same book.

  • 9.6#21 direct vs 9.6 #21 newsstand: Currently, there seems to be no newsstand premium for GI.Joe #21 9.6 grade. In comparison, there seems to be a 100% premium for the #21 9.8 grade. I believe that the premium will shown up eventually in the 9.6 newsstand so it is a good time to grab them now.
  • 9.8 #1 direct vs 9.8 #1 newsstand: Currently, the newsstand premium for the #1 issue is only about 50%. In contrast, #21 has a newsstand premium of 100%. This again shows that there might be some profits to be gained from investing in GI.Joe #1 9.8 newsstand at current prices.
  • 9.6 #1 direct vs 9.6 #1 newsstand: The same thing can be said for GI.Joe #1 9.6 grade as well. The newsstand premium in this grade is also around 50%, which should have more room to grow as the book continues to see interest.
  • 9.8 #1 direct vs 9.6 #1 direct: Usually, the pricing gap between 9.8 and 9..6 has some correlation with the census gap between these 2 gaps. (For more information, please read this article). In this case, the census gap isn’t too wide so the pricing gap between 9.8 and 9.6 shouldn’t be that wide. I believed 9.6 will catch up eventually if 9.8 maintains its current price.

A note about the usefulness of crunching numbers

While this exercise started out to examine whether GI.Joe #1 is undervalued relative to Gi.Joe #21, the process of crunching the numbers itself can lead to new insights.

In this case, the analysis shows some other ways we can invest in these 2 books by revealing potential mispricing between grades and editions.

Hence, I encourage readers to do such exercises for books that you personally find attractive. Sometimes, simply knowing the book’s significance is not sufficient to surface out good investment opportunities.

A tip when doing benchmarking analysis is to include as many variables as you can. The more variables that you can lay side by side, the more insights that can be gained.

In this case, I include the newsstand editions along with the direct. This is something I have not done before. As a result, I was able to see the mis pricing between the direct/newsstand vs 9.8/9.6.


This is a short article due to the topic. However, I hope you are able to benefit from the process as well as the eventual conclusions.

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