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There is a saying in the stock market: the trend is your friend. This is true for comic investment as well.
In this article, I will
- clarify how I use broad macro trends in the comic market to identify profitable entry points
- why DC comics might not be the best category to invest now
- some important comic segments to invest in
I hope this also clarifies my stance on DC comics. I don’t hate them or DC characters. However, when viewing from the macro trends len, it is best to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach before sinking your valuable cash into books that might have an ultra long holding period.
Marco trends and entry points
Marco trends are big market movements in a certain direction i.e. up or down or flat. Trends last for years and are not the short term hype that is frequently seen in today’s modern books market.
The good thing about marco trends is you have years to take advantage of it. This means you do not have to get in at the absolute ground level to make some smart investments.
In fact, the need to get off at ground zero is one of the most common arguments I heard about DC comics i.e. they are off the radar now so it is the best time to get in.
This assumes that you have to get in at ground level or you will lose the opportunity. This could not be further from the truth.
Let me use a chart to show you what I mean.
Let’s focus on the dark blue line first. This represents the growth of Marvel keys for the past 10 years. In this upward trend, you can make profitable returns if you invest in any time along the trend time.
You don’t have to start at ground zero!
Sure, you will miss the front runners like Amazing Fantasy #15 and others.
However, there will be still be plentiful opportunities in other books. The good thing is you are riding on a trend so those other books have a HIGH chance of appreciating. Take me for example. I got back in comics in 2013 but was still able to buy some solid keys that appreciate by a big margin.
Another example is Fantastic Four #1. It went on a crazy price hike just last year even though it is a very mega key. So, this is good evidence that you can make money even though you did not get in at ground zero.
What is more important is the overall marco trend is in your favor.
Contrast this with DC comics. It had a small price hike when we thought a DC cinematic universe is going to happen. It didn’t and DC books are not moving as a result.
The macro trend for DC comics is now either flat or declining. If you invest now, you have no way of knowing when the up tick will happen. It can be next year or 10 years later.
As an investor, there is too much uncertainty in the DC trend line to make any big bets.
A smarter move will be to wait for the trend line to go upwards like Marvel before investing. Sure, you will miss the obvious big keys but as Marvel has shown us, there will be plenty of other books you can profit from.
The big advantage is you don’t have to wait for an unknown period.
How to identify marco trends in comics?
The method I used is follow a group of leading keys. These are books that investors and collectors will scope up first whenever a change takes place.
The stock market example will be like your S&P 500. When this index is up, it is likely the overall market will be up.
For the overall comic market, it will be the overstreet top 20 books. When you see them popping like the Marvel mega keys, you know the market is moving in a upward trend.
Conversely, the fact that mega DC keys like Adventure Comics #247, B&B #28, Action Comics #252 are falling or flat means the overall DC market is not in the up trend.
The power of this technique is that you can apply the above to smaller segments within the market.
Let’s take supernatural at Marvel as an example. The leading books in this genre will be issues such as Marvel Spotlight #5, Tomb of Dracula #10, Werewolf by Night #32, Savage Tales #1 etc. When these books start to pop, like they are doing recently, you know the supernatural trend is here.
At this point in time, you should then be looking for books beyond this leading set of keys. As I said, the trend will ensure the whole genre benefits from its overall growth.
If you apply this technique to the different genres and segments of the comics market, you will be able identify the up and coming trends and segments you should be investing into.
3 trends to look out for
Below are 3 trends that is happening as the leading books in their genre have spiked in prices. Note: this is not a comprehensive listing of trends.
- Martial arts genre: The leading book is of course Special Marvel Edition #15. Currently, this trend is still very new as the movie is not out. However, trust Marvel to revive kung fu again. Look out for other characters and stories that shows the best in martial arts from Marvel. Iron Fist should not be ignored here. Among the 3 trends, this trend has the most undervalued books.
- Cosmic genre: Books in the Cosmic genre has been trending since Guardians of the Galaxy. However, the surface has only been scratched. With the upcoming Captain Marvel 2, FF and Eternals, this trend will be up for a quite some time. There are plenty of gems in this genre so pay close attention here.
- Young hero genre: Young avengers leads the pack here as well as individual heroes like Kamala Khan. With the old guard passing the gauntlet, there is going to be many more young heroes coming up, whether you like it or not. Pay attention to all the young heroes getting the attention. Their first appearances are worth buying as this will be another long term trend. Pair this with my PSM model and the gems will be obvious.
Comic investing can sometimes be seen as a random, which is not to say this cannot allow you to make money. However, if you want to introduce a more focus into your portfolio, or wants to bet on something that is less risky, leveraging macro trends is one approach you can consider.