When one says, yeah, I collect comic books, what is the general public response? Oh no, a slightly off the wall geek. Here is someone who has lost touch with reality. Or someone that is in his or her own little world. I think not. Yes, comic book collectors may sometimes march to the beat of a different drummer, but who says we all have to be cut from the same mold. Comic books are big business.
Back in the days of my youth (what, several millennia ago?), I loved reading comic books. And so did a lot of my friends. Whenever we had an extra dime or sometimes a quarter, we could run up to the local small town grocery and spend some very happy times at the comic book rack.
We would even go out and find small odds jobs for pocket change, which was enough then to purchase 2 or 3 good flights of adventure and fantasy. I can even remember crawling under our house to retrieve a cat that had the misfortune of dying there. My Dad couldn't stomach the smell and enticed my friend and I to accomplish the chore for ample pocket change. We braved the spiders and other crawly creatures to retrieve and bury the unfortunate cat. Not long after that, we were the proud owners of yet, several more intriguing comic books. Even the local bully (who was really a pretty good guy) would purchase our worn out or unwanted magazines for far more than they were worth, so we could purchase new ones.
I didn't know much about collecting then. I just liked saving what I enjoyed. I had a large cardboard box that I kept under my bed, filled with all my little treasures. I didn't realize that I had the beginnings of what could have been something very lucrative. In later years when I headed off to college, I dragged my large cardboard box with me. At one point in time, I left most of my belongings in the charge of what I thought were trusted friends. When I returned from my forest firefighting adventures, my box full of magazines were no where to be found. And needless to say, were my trusted friends either. Others had seen the value in what I had and wanted it for themselves. Oh well, live and learn. That limited collection of comic books and other magazines would have been worth a small fortune today.
Are there big bucks in the comic book genre? Just look at what Hollywood has been up to for the last few decades. As far as I can tell, the really big blockbusters started back in 1978 with the release of Superman, The Movie. And since then there has been comic book hero after comic book hero to hit the silver screen. And they all make tons of money. The Hollywood moguls may or may not be "into" the genre, but the can smell large profits. And these kinds of profits aren't harvested from a small out of touch with reality niche. It take large numbers of individuals forking out 5 to 10 dollars a pop, to accumulate the astronomical profits that Hollywood is seeing these days. Individuals who may or may not want to admit their avid interest in comic book characters. I will stand up and say, I enjoy watching these movies and have even started my own collection of comic book character DVDs. Who knows, maybe some day my DVDs will become as valuable as comic books. Probably not.
Although, not every individual's collection has magazines worth thousands of dollars, there are a sizable amount of collections that can be worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. These are not people that have lost touch with reality. A while back, the actor, Nicholas Cage, put his comic book collection of about 400 magazines up for auction. Word was that he might have realized a value into seven figures. That ain't chicken feed.
It is not uncommon for single additions to be worth several hundred to several thousand dollars. Some comic books can enter the realm of several hundred thousand dollars for one magazine. Now the owners have to be some pretty rich economically savvy geeks. Are these the types of small niche individuals who have lost touch with reality or don't want to confess they like comic books? So the next time you hear someone profess, yeah I collect comic books, you may want to look inside yourself and say, how do I release my hidden passion and start collecting myself?
Dave Gieber, a former rocket engineer, has decided to take up residency on the Internet. He is the owner and editor of several websites, one of which was built around one of his childhood passions; www.comic-book-collection-made-easy.com . You can visit here to keep up to date on the world of comic books and comic book collecting. Feel free to sign up for my comic book ezine.