Sunday, December 1, 2019

Eight things I learned selling comics

I've been getting rid of a lot of comic books in the past year or so, mainly through a local online auction site. After decades of buying these things, the collection has reached a kind of perfect equilibrium, and it's maintained through the funds generated by these sales.

But it's always a little bit interesting in seeing what people want, and what sells easily, and what doesn't. Some comics I thought I'd be able to flog off with a minimum of effort are re-listed every week, and things that I thought would be a hard sell fly out the door.

I'm still surprised every week by what does and doesn't get attention from buyers, but I have learned a couple of things:

1. Buyers can be rabidly obsessed with quality, (but I'm not)
I always list the comics I sell online as being in good condition, because I just can never be bothered about the quality - I love beat up comics as much as I love bright, shiny new ones. This has lost me a few sales, from people who only want the best quality, but I don't even bother putting my comics in bags anymore, so you're never getting quality from me.

2. Nobody wants to buy Alan Moore
Finding the bits and pieces that Alan Moore wrote during his time in mainstream comics used to be a mission, and it took me years to find those issues of Vigilante and the Green Lantern annuals that had his stories in, but duplicates are always the first thing to go. If I could get rid of them. Moore has pissed off a lot of people in a long comic career, but I don't think the inability to sell his shit is because of the long and incredibly boring fanboy backlash against the writer over the past couple of decades, which is driven by deep entitlement issues more than anything else. I just think his stuff has been reprinted so many times over the years, these stories are just not that hard to find.

3. The very easiest things to get rid of are 90s trash
Early 90s comics by Todd McFarlane and Rob Liefeld, even though they're incredibly dated and even though there were hundreds of thousands of copies sold, always sell, and always sell for way more than I ever paid for them. No problem.

4. Hellboy fans want it all
Hellboy people already have all the main series, but they want it all. There is a lot of interest in any Hellboy spin-off comic, no matter how random the issues. I've been replacing the few issues of BPRD, Baltimore and Lobster Johnson that I collected before going for the collections, and I never have any trouble selling them off. Especially the Sir Edward Grey: Witchfinder, for some reason. I had three people after the last complete miniseries I was getting out of the house.

5. Star Wars comics are nowhere near as popular as the movies
Unless they're at least 30 years old. And especially if they've got some sweet Al Williamson or Walt Simonson covers.

6. There's still some love for the aardvark (despite the misogyny)
I'm ditching the last half of Cerebus the Aardvark, when it all went so horribly wrong. But I'm surprise dhow I can always find a buyer, even for the ones put out during Sim's peak insanity. It's gotta be the art, because if you're in it for the repugnant philosophy, you and Dave deserve each other.

7. People still love John Byrne comics
Man, I had some of Byrne's Fantastic Four to get rid of, and someone put in a bid on them two minutes after I posted the auction. People still love the Byrne.

8. There's more interest in reprints than the originals
Any comic that is 35+ years old is easier to sell than something that came out in 2011, but it's a constant surprise how many local collectors are still after the trashy black and white reprints that were put out on the local market for decades. They died out in the 1980s, and you couldn't give those things away for years, but there is a real hunger for them now, and I've sold some for stupid money in the past few months. Maybe the buyers are just craving a time when these things were everywhere, and the default for superhero and horror comics in this part of the world, or maybe they just really need that one issue of the Bumper Batcomic that they need. There is some charm in these reprints, but I didn't think they were that attractive.

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