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(opening jingle)
- (gasps) The death of Superman.
I can't believe I found one.
I'm going to sell it for millions and retire
early and put my kids through college.
Yeah, okay, maybe not.
(hard rock intro music)
Welcome to comic misconceptions, the show
that takes you into details about the things
you think you know about comics, I'm your host,
Scott Niswander and we're going to be doing
another kind of different style episode again,
this week because you really seemed to like
the last one we did about secret identities
and in light of this happening, I feel like
I really want to talk about it.
So, in case you haven't heard, your mint condition
of Action Comics number one, a comic book that
many would consider to be the most important
comic book ever made, recently sold for 3.2 million
This no doubt has sparked some interest in the market
of collecting comic books.
You know, like when Buzzfeed tells you that
your Game Boy color is worth over $1500 so you
search through all of your things to find it
and put it up online to find out that it's really
only worth $20.
A very similar thing happened to comic books
in the 90s and the industry almost died completely
because of it.
So first off, full disclosure, if any bias is shown
during this video because I never really got into
the whole collecting comic books thing, I'm almost
all digital for a long list of reasons that I'll
probably make a video about sometime in the future,
but the main one being that I find having a lot
of physical copies of comic books lying around
to be pretty cumbersome.
My dad gave me a chunk of his collection when
I graduated college and I really do want to read
them all and I'm going to, but for right now,
they're just kind of sitting in my closet in a couple
of long boxes taking up valuable space.
Not that I don't appreciate it, Dad, if you're watching,
I do, thank you.
But, what I hear a lot from my friends who do
collect comics, is that digital comics, unlike
their physical copies, don't have any resale value,
and yeah, that's true, most if not all digital
comic book retailer use agreements, like Marvel
for instance, clearly state that you do not own
the digital comic book you buy, but rather have
unlocked a private viewing session to it.
But that doesn't inherently mean that your
physical comic book collection will be worth
thousands or millions of dollars, in fact, there's
a great article in Business Week that says that
comic books that you have just sitting in your
basement are, to be blunt, probably worthless.
Even if they tell stories of a few people who have
collected thousands and thousands of comic books
only to turn around and sell them for just a couple
hundred dollars.
The problem is that the media doesn't really
report these things because, well, they're not
that interesting.
Instead, the media promotes these rags to riches
stories of ordinary people finding rare and valuable
comic books and selling them for millions of dollars.
And this could unintentionally warp someone's
perception and make them believe that all comic
books have a high value.
This is exactly what happened in the comic collector
bubble of the 90s, but before we get into it,
I'm going to put on my imaginary generalization
cap that will let you guys know that I might
skip over some details that you think are important,
so if I do, please let me know in the comments and then
we can all kind of learn a lot more things that I
didn't have time for in this video community.
It all starts with the creation of the first
comic book shops.
You see, comic books were originally sold
on newsstands, but in the 70s, several stores
opened up that would sell back issues of comic books
as collectibles.
It wasn't long before publishers took their new
comic books off the streets and into these
specialty comic book shops, but more on this later.
Jump to the 90s where speculators were coming in
and seeing how people were buying and selling old
issues of comic books for many times their cover price,
especially hearing stories of golden and silver age
comic books originally a few cents at the time,
now going for six figures.
To them, that sounded like an amazing investment
opportunity, so they went out and bought multiple
copies of individual comic books in the hopes to sell
them one day and become rich.
That on its own might not be that bad, but here's
where the problem sets in.
People were buying more and more of these books
because they saw value in them and because
they were buying more and more, publishers were
printing more and more, and then you're selling
millions of books to half a million readers and you're
over-saturating the market, and that doesn't
really work out so well for investments.
Strongly generalizing once more here, the value
of something is determined by its supply relative
to its demand.
So, let's take a look at these two factors of the comic
book world of the 90s.
So first off, let's look at demand.
Now there are a lot of ways to create demand, but
I want to look at another failed collector industry
of the 90s, beanie babies.
One of the key factors in creating demand for beanie
babies was that they avoided being distributed
in main stream chain retailers in favor of small
gift shops.
This helped the product seem rare and prompted
people to buy soon as they could, thus creating
a high demand.
You can't just buy Quackers the duck anywhere,
so if you find one, you better buy that thing quick.
Sound familiar?
This is exactly like those comic book shops
we were talking about earlier.
Publishers were selling their comic books through
these small specialty shops because there wasn't
really anywhere else to sell them and this might
have made them seem rare to speculators which only
drove up the perceived worth of the comics,
but the reality was that they weren't rare at all,
this is where supply comes in.
There were millions of copies of these comic books
laying around and speculators hadn't caught on yet.
Publishers started putting out these variant covers
and shiny foil editions and all sorts of nonsense
that would make you believe that your comic book
was valuable and it was going to put your kids
through college some day.
So, here's an example from the collection that my dad
gave me, this is, Venom, Lethal Protector number one
from 1993.
It's got that nice shiny cover, just the way God intended.
The cover price for this comic was $2.95, but today
you can buy it on eBay for six cents or you can splurge
and get the whole series for just two dollars, which
is still cheaper than this one comic was back
when it first came out.
The Death of Superman in 1992 was a huge contributor
to the crash of the comic book industry.
People were buying this thing, three, four, five
issues, all for themselves thinking that they're
going to hold onto it, sell it for millions
because they have the last Superman comic ever made,
but it didn't really turn out that way, in fact,
today you can get four copies of that comic book
for around 20 dollars on eBay.
Some consider this to be the big tipping point
of the comic book crash.
Speculators had all these comic books that they
thought were valuable but they couldn't sell them.
If everybody already has three copies of The Death
of Superman, who's going to buy your copies?
These comic books were everywhere and because
of that, they weren't worth anything.
Suddenly comic book were in high supply but low in demand,
these speculators who were buying four, five, six
copies of comic books suddenly stopped buying them
altogether, but the publishers were used to printing
millions of comic books, so they still printed a lot
but now nobody was buying them and they're not making
enough return on their investment and the industry
was hit very, very hard.
So, why did the birth of Superman go for 3.2 million
but the death of Superman only goes for a few bucks?
Well, it's because Action Comics number one
is genuinely rare, as are all golden age comic books.
In the 40s, during World War II, people back home
really wanted to help with war efforts in any way
they could, and one of the best ways was by donating
all of their scraps, including paper to the war efforts.
Paper drives were held and anything deemed useless
scrap paper was sent to help the efforts, including
comic books, that's why the original 200,000 copies
of Action Comics number one, less than 50 exist
to our knowledge today.
Pair that with the fact that it was no only
the birth of Superman but the birth of the super hero
genre and you get a comic book that's worth a lot of money.
So, the idea of collecting comic books nearly
killed the medium itself.
But why am I even talking about this?
Am I trying to tell you to stop collecting comic books?
Absolutely not, chances are, if you are watching
this video, you have a genuine interest in comics.
The reason the market crashed was because of these
speculators who weren't buying them because they liked
comic books, but they were only buying them
as investments, and I think that's important.
Collecting something not because you want
to make money off it someday or prove that you
were a fan to your friends because you have a certain
issue or a toy or a holographic whatever, but just
because you have a real sincere love for it.
So, I don't really have a question that I want
to ask you this week.
Instead, I just want to know your thoughts
on collecting comic books and the industry crash
as a whole.
There was so much that I had to skip over for this
video, but I want to know what your opinions are
on it and I'll be right down there in the comments
all day today just talking with you guys, so
look forward to seeing you down there.
And if this is your first time hanging out with ys
here at Nerddync, we do weekly comic book videos
every Wednesday and I don't want you to miss
out on any of it, so please subscribe.
Once again, I'm Scott and I'll see you next week
for more things you thought you knew about coms.
See ya.
Doctor Doom was created in 1962 by Stan Lee
and Jack Kirby as were probably all of your favorite
classic Marvel characters, but it seems like these
two had different opinions about what Dooms face
looks like under the mask.
I want to believe that they both started out thinking
that Doom's face is hopelessly disfigured as we
can see in Fantastic Four number 10 when we
get this reaction of Doom removing his mask.
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Why Collecting Comics RUINED the Industry! | Comic Misconceptions

29 Folder Collection
Harry Huang published on February 3, 2020
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