Comic Collecting Corner


Like a lot of people of a certain age and generation, I enjoy collecting comic books. I’m not in it to stockpile some trove of issues that may (or may not be) worth money in some distant point in time, I simply enjoy collecting pieces of work from my favorite writers and artists. Half of the fun of accruing comics is hunting for them in the backrooms of thrift stores and swap meets.

There’s nothing quite like shuffling through stacks of decades-old comic and coming across the issue you’ve spent years trying to track down. Here it is in your hands, no creases, no wrinkles, but as your eyes scan the cover you see it; a dayglow neon orange sticker loudly proclaiming $3, stuck right to the paper. Your treasure has become nothing more than bird cage liner.

Comics are a hot commodity in today’s day and age, but like other collectables, you’ll need to do some research to know exactly what you have.


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered a pile of comics at a swap meet or flea market that are all marked the same price, usually something exorbitantly high like 15 or 20 dollars. But 9 times out of 10, those comics are extremely common or, worse yet, reprints of past popular and rare comics. Doing a little bit of homework can help you accurately and fairly price your magazines. There are a number of comic book pricing websites online and there still exist, unsurprisingly considering, printed comic price guides. What you think is one-of-a-kind may turn out to be nothing more than another copy saturating the market.



What kind of shape are your books in? Are the corners dog-eared? Are the covers ripped or, in some cases, completely torn off? Have roaches and other creepycrawlers made a meal of the ancient paper your pop-culture periodicals are printed on?

Just like other items that retain or accumulate value over time, the condition of your comics can greatly effect whether or not you can collect the highest amount for your books. Most collectors encase their comics in clear plastic slip sleeves to keep them in the best condition possible. These protective pockets are available at a number of online retailers and some larger craft stores as well. Having your books stored in slip sleeves not only adds perceived value, but also protects your investments from moisture and other weathering effects.



Claremont. Kirby. Moore. Ditko. No, I’m not listing off vacuum cleaner brands. To you, these names mean next to nothing, but to a comic-collecting nerd, you may as well be listing off the gods of the Parthenon.

The artist or writer of a comic can do more to increase the value than the actual content itself, believe it or not. A comic book may have a convoluted, lackluster, or (dare I say?) boring story, but if a big name artist is attached to the book, the price could soar. This theory holds true if the art is nothing special, but the story is a linchpin in the series. It pays to do a bit of research on not only the characters and stories, but the designers and writers who craft these tales to astonish as well, because names can do more than superheroes to sell comics in some cases.



I think we can all agree that Batman and his rogues’ gallery of villains are certainly more interesting than Archie and the Riverdale gang (no disrespect to any Arch-heads out there).  Most high-priced collectable comics star the big name characters; Batman, Wolverine, Superman, Spider-man, (do I need to go on?). This is commonly the norm but as with all of the previous categories I’ve listed, there are exceptions. It pays to do a little research in order to not overprice books starring obscure characters and, conversely, to not underprice a hot collectable staring a pulp hero that you may never have heard of before. Although you may have no idea what a Hellboy is, thousands of fans would pay big bucks for those funny pages you’re holding.


In closing, this list is (of course) a bit biased, especially coming from a customer standpoint. I do hope that you’re able to take away a bit of information that will help you organize, price, and most importantly, move the comics you may have lying about. Using the binning tools available to you within PawnMaster, you can easily categorize comic books by title, character, or era. What you have marked for 25 cents could be worth $250, and without doing 10 minutes of research, you might miss out on a big payday.

And as a plead from comic book geeks everywhere, whatever you do; please stop putting stickers on your comics.