The thing with markets is that you want to buy low and sell high.
One thing I’ve noted about speculators is that they tend to jump on the same books. Some are more prescient than others, of course, but there’s a lot of follow-the-leader in the comic book speculation game. We see a lot of buying high in an attempt to sell for higher.
It mostly works like this: Ultron is announced as a villain in an upcoming Avengers movie, everybody goes looking for the first appearance of Ultron. Netflix and Marvel strike a deal, everyone goes crazy for Luke Cage. Speculators start making money off of other speculators. Somebody buys Preacher #1 for $20, then sells it a few weeks later for $150 to someone else who hopes to flip it for $500 once the AMC series hits the air.
I’m a total amateur at this; so take what I say with a grain of salt. But I’ve been trying to identify books that aren’t trendy yet, but might one day be trendy. I’m talking dirt cheap books with no buzz. This is not a good way to make a quick buck. It’s a long-game – decades long. But a good collector, and investor buys low and waits while their assets mature.
So here’s one avenue I’m pursuing: Onslaught, the mega-villain who rocked the X-universe in the summer of 1996.
Onslaught is one of those gimmick characters like Doomsday, whose origins are tied to a massive crossover event. Because people are often resentful of crossovers – they cost too much and the substance of the story never seems to match the marketing hype – these characters are rarely well received… at first.
As we’ve seen with Bane, and as we’re now seeing with Doomsday, gimmick characters can become fleshed out over time. Nostalgia for 20-year old stories also tends to increase the value of books. Maybe we won’t see the same results with Onslaught, but the X-Men are a blue-chip franchise, like Batman and Superman.
One problem is that Onslaught’s first appearance is a little hard to pin down. He technically first appears in X-man #15, but it’s one of those silhouette jobs, but he does have a “speaking part”; it’s more than just a one-panel cameo. Onslaught appears again, more clearly in X-Men #54. Both books can be had for a few dollars today. I’m betting, a decade from now, that won’t be the case.