Simple Guide to Collecting Comic Books for Beginners
Comics books have been around for many generations. Comics can fuel the imagination and provides an escape into a world of fantasy. People of all ages read comics and it's never too late to start collecting them. In recent years Marvel Studios and DC Comics with their big-budget movies have reinvigorated the comic book industry.
Collecting comics can be a fun, enjoyable hobby...collecting, swapping and chasing down those rare/limited issues. This could also lead to financial gain as many comics can increase in value based on multiple factors, such as the availability of an issue, the physical condition of the book and the popularity of the series.
Comic books are not only based around superheroes such as Batman, Iron Man, and Spider-man, other topics include comedy, fantasy, horror, drama, mystery, crime and science-fiction.
The reach of the World Wide Web has made comics easy to access. You can buy comics from the comfort of your own home order online from bookshops, comic stores and even direct from the publisher. With many offering digital downloads. This takes away the fun and even value of the comic. Who doesn't like the feel of a comic book in their hands, turning the pages and that smell of a comic?
When looking for those vintage comic books check out eBay, Amazon, Etsy yard/garage sales, local markets and conventions will be your best source.
Other sites to buy from
Vintage comics are a prized possession for any collector. When buying a vintage comic be aware of flaws that can lower the grade or value of the book. You need to examine the cover and individual pages close for wrinkles, rips, watermarks or other imperfections.
Other factors include the colour of the page. The extent of yellowing can decrease the value. The spine of the book ideally should be in excellent condition. Always check the publication information to ensure it's the first edition. Beware as some sellers resort to changing the front cover to represent first editions. Be cautious before purchase, always insist on inspecting the book closely.
The four ages of Comic Book
Victorian Age, from approximately 1828 to 1899.
Platinum Age, from approximately 1897 to 1937.
Golden Age, from approximately 1938 to 1955.
Atom Age, from approximately 1946 to 1956.
Silver Age from, approximately 1956 to 1969.
Bronze Age, from approximately 1970 to 1979.
Modern Age, from approximately 1980 to today.
Many consider the Golden Age (1938 to 1955) as the best age for Comics.
Above Superman issue 1 published in 1938
Storing your Comics
It is important that you consider the environment when storing your comics. Keep the books off the ground in case of water leaks. Bagging your comics can go a long way to keep out moisture and paper pests. The temperature could also affect comics and keep away from harsh light or direct sunlight.
Like any other market, it's hard to predict the comic book market. Keep an eye out for the latest trends, which comics are in demand, and which character or publisher is selling well. Do your research talk to other collectors, and publishers and search the web for information.
Investigate the best place(s) to sell comics...online, at an event or store, will you sell the comics personally or via a dealer? Be aware dealers won't offer much as they need to make a profit too. If you selling online make sure it's a trustworthy site.
Make sure you take high-resolution photos as online buyers will need to make a decision by screen visuals. Any low resolution will not do any justice to a well preserved comic book.
Here are a few websites to help determine or evaluate the value of your comics.
Most Valuable Comics
Most recently, the first Issue of Captain America Comic Book Fetches $3.1 Million at Auction
Free Comic Books
With the power of the World Wide Web, accessing Free comics has never been so easy. Here are 8 websites offering free comics.
Dark Horse - https://digital.darkhorse.com/pages/free
Read Full Comic - https://readfullcomic.com/
Marvel Free Issues - https://www.marvel.com/comics/list/623/get_started_with_free_issues?
Comic Xtra - https://www.comicextra.com/
Read All Comics - http://readallcomics.com/
Global Comix - https://globalcomix.com/
Archive - https://archive.org/search.php?query=free%20comics
Get Comics - https://getcomics.info/
Comic Book Terms
Adzine – A magazine focusing on advertising comics and collectibles.
Big Two – A slang referral to the two giants in the comic book publishing industry, DC Comics and Marvel Comics.
Brittleness – A type of paper deterioration causing the paper to flake.
Colourist – An artist who paints colour guides for comic books. Computer technology is often used by colourists.
Comic book bag – A specially designed plastic bag used for preserving comics.
Comic book board – A cardboard rectangle used to keep a comic from bending. It is a popular method used in preserving the quality of comic books.
Con – A shortened form of convention. Conventions are popular events attended by collectors, merchants and comic book professionals.
Costumed hero – A costumed crime-fighter who has human powers but no superpowers.
Eye appeal – The overall visual impression of a comic book when held at roughly an arm’s length.
Fanboy – A staunch and sometimes obsessive collector of a particular comic book or comic book character.
First appearance – The debut or first appearance of a character in a comic book.
Inker – An artist who performs the inking for comic books.
Marvel Zombie – A fan who is extremely devoted to Marvel Comics. Marvel Comics is a giant in the comic book publishing industry.
Pedigree – A comic book is said to have a pedigree if it comes from a famous collection of typically high-end comics.
Penciler – The artist who draws or “pencils” a comic book. Comics are typically drawn in pencil, although other methods are also used to draw them.
Retcon – The controversial practice where a new writer changes the “history” of an existing comic book to accommodate a new storyline.
Supervillain – A costumed criminal exerting powers greater than those of human beings.
Swipe – A comic book panel, sequence or story copied from a previously published comic.
Variant – A comic book with alternative covers. The cover of a comic book is sometimes changed with later editions. Variant covers can also be used as a promotional gimmick by publishers to let them sell more copies of the same issue to collectors.
For more Comic book terms check out
Collecting comic books can be a fun and lucrative hobby. New comics are released almost on daily basis Be part of a growing community of collectors from around the world of all ages. Join forums, and pages, connect with other collectors and keep up-to-date with the trends. Take precautions when purchasing and selling. Don't be afraid to ask questions and insist on physically inspecting the book. Most of all enjoy searching and finding that rare gem.
Share your tips, tricks and hacks for collecting comic books in the comments section below.
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