Comics and Original Comic Art as an Investment
A Brief History
Comics and its Comic Art have come a long way since their inception. They started as cheap pulp entertainment and have transformed into treasured cultural artifacts. The comic book industry began with Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson’s National Allied Publications in 1934. The company published the series New Fun Comics, the first ongoing American comic book to feature completely new material.
The Golden Age of comics (1938-1956) saw the debut of popular DC Comics characters like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The Silver Age (1956-1970) marked aesthetic progress and financial success, particularly those incorporating the superhero archetype. The Bronze and Copper ages also saw valuable comics, but they aren’t worth nearly as much as comics from past eras.
Market Overview and Outlook
The global comic book market size was valued at USD 15.35 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow to USD 22.37 billion by 2030. This is very stable growth over 8 years and would translate to about 6% annual growth rate of the comic book market.
Understanding Comic Investing Factors
The three main factors to consider when investing in comic books are age, grade, and cultural significance. Older comics tend to be worth more. For instance, Golden Age comics released between 1938 and 1956 start in the five-figure range but have reached millions of dollars in recent years. Ten of the most expensive comic book sales at auction ever, were all achieved in the past two years. This means demand is at an all-time high and the future seems bright because the demand is growing while the supply is extremely limited.
The grade of comic books is measured on a 10-point scale, where anything above 9 is considered either in ‘near-mint’ or ‘mint’ condition. Copies above a 7.5 or ‘very fine’ grade are generally considered to be investment-worthy comics.
An example of how this grade affects the value of a comic is the copy of “Action Comics #1” with a (grade) CGC score of 8.5 it fetched an impressive $1.5 Million at auction. However, another copy of the same edition “Action Comics #1” with a CGC score of 9.0 achieved a staggering $3.2 Million at auction.
Recent Auction Results
The most expensive comic books ever sold are worth far more than their weight in gold.
For instance, the “Rocket Copy” of Action Comics No. 1 (1938) fetched $3.18 million in January 2022.
Recent auction results highlight the extraordinary value placed on select comics. Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man) has fetched a record-breaking $3.6 million price at Heritage Auctions in September 2021, showcasing the investment potential within this dynamic market.
A Frank Frazetta Painting of a Brawny Warrior Sold for $6 Million, Making It the World’s Highest-Priced Work of Comic Book or Fantasy Art Ever.