Eight Conventions in Twelve Weeks

I'm back in my office in Denver, after spending this past weekend attending the WizardWorld Convention in Philadelphia. That convention was my eighth show in the last twelve weekends. Suffice it to say, I'm more than a little weary. Attending convention after convention, while simultaneously trying to keep our operations at Mile High Comics on an even keel, is more than a little trying. I've made it through, however, and I have just one more show to attend (Motor City Con in Detroit), and then I'm finally off the road for a whole month (!).

I mention all these shows I've been attending because I've been engaged in an exercise in trying to gauge the current health of the market for back issue comics in the United States. What I've found is that the market is heating up very rapidly. Last Fall, after 9/11, the market temporarily showed some signs of weakness. The New York shows, in particular, were off by more than 50%. Ever since Mid-Ohio Con (Thanksgiving weekend), however, I've seen a steady increase in the number of people attending comics conventions, and a commensurate increase in the number of positive reports from dealers at those shows. Atlanta was the only real clunker, and that very well-run show was cursed with three solid days of rain and drizzle. All the other shows I attended were successful, to a greater or lesser degree.

WizardWorld was particularly interesting to me as I saw a higher percentage of young women, and teen-age boys, than I've seen at many shows in the recent past. I remember buying some comics from one dealer's bargain boxes, and I was amazed to see a woman approximately 30 years of age standing next to me, loading up on a big stack of 1970's GHOSTS from DC. The idea of a woman attending a comics show to buy a big stack of old comics to read is still a little hard for me to get my head around. That just wouldn't have happened ten years ago...

Another part of WizardWorld that I greatly enjoyed was the active participation of the elite of the comics world in the convention. On Friday and Saturday, I had the pleasure of seeing some of the most powerful people in the world of comics at the show. Gareb Shamus (publisher of Wizard) was running around making sure that everything ran right with the operations of the convention, Marvel President and COO Bill Jemas was everywhere at the show looking for ideas on how to make Marvel run better, Joe Quesada (Marvel Editor-In-Chief) was signing autographs, and looking at portfolios from prospective creators. I didn't actually see DC President Paul Levitz working at the DC booth (though I'm sure he did), but I did happen to catch him quietly going through a dealer's stock, looking to fill in his personal collection of Silver Age WONDER WOMAN comics. Isn't that wonderful? In what other industry do even the most powerful executives mingle with the fans on a regular basis. Seeing those guys out on the floor was just so cool!

Not surprisingly, the WizardWorld show was a better show for those selling media-related product, than the Silver/Golden Age dealers. Those dealers were doubly cursed, as the Silver/Golden Age buyers in Pennsylvania had split their buying between Pittsburgh (which was only two weeks earlier) and Philadelphia. In spite of this handicap, I still heard some very positive reports from both shows. Not surprisingly, all SPIDER-MAN issues are selling quite well, but they are just the tip of the iceberg. It seems that all back issues, even the most obscure, are showing surprising strength.

That same experience has been mirrored via our online sales at milehighcomics.com. This past week was the busiest week in our history, with Friday being the single highest day for online traffic (700,000 hits). While SPIDER-MAN issues have also sold well online, the diversity of products requested is staggering. We sold over 11,000 different line items during the past seven days. The back issue comics market is on fire right now!

One area where I've heard a great deal of skepticism is on the subject of recent Marvel back issues. ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #1, ULTIMATE X-MEN #1, and WOLVERINE: THE ORIGIN #1 have all eached very high prices within remarkably short periods of time. I have searched every convention I've attended for the mythical "speculators" who own all the copies of those books, and frankly, I've found practically none. We've been unable to fill so many orders on those books that I'm reverting to the strategy we last actively employed during the mid-1980's, of actually running buying ads in CBG seeking copies of those books at prices that would have been our selling prices just a few months ago. We'll see how many copies we can shake loose by offering aggressive buying prices.

My final comment on WizardWorld is to encourage everyone in the world of comics to take a moment to reflect upon how lucky we are to live when comics fandom is such a vibrant social environment. I spent some time on Saturday at the convention just watching the crowd, observing fans as they happily bounced from booth to booth. The genuine excitement and enthusiasm that everyone was feeling was very contagious. It made me quite proud to know that I'm participating in an endeavor that makes so many people happy. It's fun to be a comics dealer, again!

Next week, after some more discussions with dealers at the Motor City convention, I'll be back with an analysis of the changes to the 2002 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.

Please send your e-mails to chuck@milehighcomics.com, and your letters to:

Mile High Comics, Inc.
Attn: Chuck Rozanski
2151 W. 56th Ave.
Denver, CO 80221

Previous Next
Tales From the Database

Privacy Policy: Mile High Comics, Inc. does not share any of your information with anyone.

Captain Woodchuck and all data © 1997-2020 Mile High Comics, Inc.TM All Rights Reserved.

Mile High Comics is a registered trademark of Mile High Comics, Inc.TM.All Rights Reserved.

All scans are exclusive property of Mile High Comics, Inc.TM and
may not be used on other websites without prior authorization.
For permission please contact Lynne MacAfee at lynne@milehighcomics.com.