Even with the emergence of popular entertainment outlets such as the internet and satellite television, comic books have maintained an impressive market share of consumer spending. There simply is no replacement for the unique way a comic can present a story and engage its readers. Because of this, comic book collecting has also grown in recent years with a new generation of readers enjoying this rewarding hobby.
For collectors who are just beginning, there are a couple of different approaches to take to the hobby. Some people are simply fans of a particular hero or publisher. They purchase comics for their own entertainment and don’t concern themselves much with the after-market value of the publication. Other collectors concentrate on acquiring limited edition or rare comics for the sake of achieving a return on their investment. This form of collecting usually requires an advanced knowledge of the market as well as the necessary funds to make large purchases.
There are five distinct eras of comic book memorabilia. The Platinum Age represent the oldest time period, dating between the 1800’s and 1937. The Golden Age covers the years of 1938 to 1955. Silver Age comic books are dated between 1956 and 1969, and the Bronze Age occurred between 1970 and 1979. The Modern Age includes everything that was produced from 1980 through today. Each time period is unique and distinctive in the way the publications were written, produced, and distributed. Obviously the older periods offer the most valuable items, but there are still plenty of rare and limited comics to be found in the Modern Age.
Today’s collectors will find a multitude of outlets to help them add to their collection. The internet alone has increased the accessibility of hard-to-find comics to collectors all over the world. eBay, Craigslist, and online comic book stores make finding exactly what you want as simple as clicking a mouse. While these outlets are probably the most popular markets for collectors, there is still plenty of demand for local comic book shows and stores. Of course newsstands and bookstores remain the best source for the latest publications. Ideally, the savvy collector will be comfortable with using all of the outlets mentioned here. You simply never know where you might uncover the next hidden gem to add to your collection.
Beyond these basics of comic book collecting, there are other intricacies to learn for the new collector. For instance, collectable comic books are often graded to measure their condition in a uniform manner. This is done by a professional third-party company which will seal the comic in a protective sleeve to preserve its integrity. New collectors will need to become familiar with this process if they plan on investing in rare comics. Other essential tools include comic price guides and market sales reports which help to asses the value of a particular piece.
Collecting comic books has been an entertaining hobby for many decades, and it does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. With the continued influx of new characters and publishers, there will always be a solid foundation of new adventures to satisfy the fans. Perhaps the best part about this hobby is that there is always something new to learn along the way. By joining the legion of comic collectors around the world, you are guaranteed to have a rewarding hobby for years to come.