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The Juiced Guide To Making Money Off Comics

July 26, 2023


Comic books have been long sought after within the world of collectables. These days comics are depicting almost everything. Despite this, however, it is still superhero comics that remain the most popular. A blend of nostalgia and increasing interest in superhero culture, spurred on by Hollywood, has seen comic books transcend from a nerdy pastime to a mainstream investment. Whether it’s Marvel, DC, or independent publishers, comic books hold a special place in the hearts of millions, and that has translated into a thriving and profitable market which we will explore today. Specifically, we will run over what makes a profitable comic and also let you know some of the key jargon you need to know in this world!

What is a profitable comic?

There is a slight misconception that the only valuable comic books are those from decades gone by such as the first Iron Man or Spiderman for example. However, this is simply untrue and comics which have the potential to be profitable are released every year. That said, there are millions of different issues produced every single year, so what makes a good one?

First Appearances: The first appearance of a character in a comic book, especially when that character goes on to become popular or iconic, is often the number one criterion when determining if a comic will be valuable as an investment. For instance, the first appearances of iconic characters like Batman, Superman, or Spiderman are all worth a huge amount. Of course, these are outliers in that they are the cream of the crop. But it’s not just about these super-popular characters; sometimes, a less well-known character can suddenly spike in popularity due to a movie announcement or some other factor, making their first appearance comic book a very profitable investment.

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Iconic Covers: A comic book with a particularly iconic or artistically acclaimed cover can also become highly collectable. This can be true even if the content of the comic book itself isn’t especially rare or valuable.

Limited Editions and Variants: As just mentioned, covers are a factor that can significantly increase the value of a comic book. However, often times there are comic books with multiple different printings and covers. This usually happens because the first edition was so in demand, the publisher republished it with a different cover. These variants are often limited and this scarcity often makes them highly collectable and potentially valuable investments.

Condition and Grading: The condition of a comic book is absolutely crucial to its value. A comic book in pristine, near-mint condition is going to be worth significantly more than the same comic book in poor condition. Furthermore, having a comic book professionally graded and encapsulated by a reputable company like the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) can add to its value hugely. The grading process gives buyers confidence in the condition and authenticity of the comic book, although it does add additional cost for you as a seller so make sure you only grade your best comics.

Historical Significance: Sometimes, a comic book can become valuable because it has some sort of historical significance. For example, it might mark the first time a particular writer or artist worked on a character, or it could be a comic book that pushed boundaries in some way or was controversial when it was released. Whilst more risky than other investments, these can prove just as profitable.

Jargon you need to know!

Now that you know what makes a profitable comic, it is time to explore some of the nerdy jargon that is necessary if you plan on buying and selling comics.

Grade: This is a measure of a comic book’s condition, from poor to mint. Many factors are considered when grading a comic, including the condition of the cover, the spine, the pages inside, and so on.

CGC: This stands for Certified Guaranty Company, a very reputable company that grades comic books. It is the biggest company when it comes to comic book grading.

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Slabbed: When a comic is “slabbed,” it has been encapsulated in a protective plastic case by a professional grading company, often with the grade displayed on the case.

Raw: A raw comic book has not been slabbed or officially graded. They are as-is from the seller.

Key: A key(or key issue) of a comic book is one that is particularly important or valuable. This could be because it introduces a new character, features a pivotal plot point, or it’s the first issue of a series, etc.

FOC (Final Order Cutoff): This is the last date that retailers can place orders for a specific comic book issue from a distributor. As such, you need to order your comics before the FOC. The FOC is typically about a month before the issue’s publication date.

Indies: Short for independent publishers, this term usually refers to comic book publishers outside of the “Big Two” of Marvel and DC.

Spec Book (Speculation Book): A comic that a collector believes will increase in value in the future. This is often based on speculation about future plot developments or film/TV adaptations.

Of course, there are many other terms we could have included but this list should be enough to get you started. If you would like to be informed of the most profitable comic releases each week then you should sign up to Juiced. Our app will also inform you of the latest sneakers, collectables, tickets, NFTs and more being released! You can sign up for free here.