What do you think will be a hot “collectible of tomorrow?”
Hmmm, this is a tough one. The market, especially the collectibles market, is so unpredictable. You never know what people are going to latch onto years down the road (like knock off toys), or discard like old gum (I’m looking at you, carded ’90s Star Wars figures). I’m putting on my prognosticating hat and speculating on what’s going to be gold in the decades to come.
Print Comic Books
Ephemera like menus, tickets, posters, and yes, even comics, can be valuable collectibles now because they weren’t meant to be preserved. While it’s true that comics collectors bag and board their precious single issues, still countless copies make it out into the world and are not sealed in an acid-free tomb with clear tape. These copies can suffer any number of fates: being rolled up and used as a spider-smashing club (extra points if it’s a Spider-Man comic), cut up for a decoupage project, piled up in the recycling, or torture at the hands of young children not taught how to handle comics. And while we so meticulously bag and board first issues to preserve for future generations, let’s face it–most new comics, especially those printed by DC and Marvel, have such enormous print runs that it’s unlikely they will become immediately valuable. However, there are some modern comics that have already become big-ticket items. Image’s Walking Dead, especially the first six issues, are pricey in the secondary market, due largely in part to the success of the AMC show and the incredibly low print runs of these early issues.
Consider this, true believers. We are in an interesting age where print media is concerned. Publishers across the board are looking for ways to engage readers, and digital is becoming a good outlet for that. Some comic publishers are strictly digital, foregoing the print business model completely. And who can blame them? Though I’m a fan of holding an actual printed comic, I see the merits of an all-digital format. You don’t have to worry about printing anything, so there’s no lag time between the finished product and getting it to your readers. Plus, it takes limited print runs out of the picture, so everyone that wants a copy can get it as long as you make it available. So what does that mean for the secondary market? Though I don’t think it will be in the immediate future, I foresee a day when print media is all but non-existent in our culture. Inevitably, there will be a few holdouts, like Burgess Meredith in that old Twilight Zone episode, “The Obsolete Man”. (Of course, he was obsolete because people didn’t read at all. Hopefully that’s not the way we’re going.) And those are the people who will generate a great deal of revenue, buying and selling comics to one another because they like that print comic smell.
So hold on to that copy of Heathcliff #1 or Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley. It just may pay for a hovercar ride to the Shady Rest Nursing Pod facility. (Also, Godzilla vs. Charles Barkley may be one of the greatest pieces of graphic literature ever committed to glossy paper.)
Here’s what others predicted would be worth collecting in the future.