I’m sure I’ve mentioned the giant stack of Amazing Spider-Man #129s we used to have, too.

§ September 4th, 2019 § Filed under batman, retailing § 3 Comments

Used to be I’d see these on a pretty regular basis at the former place of employment…copies of Batman #181 from 1966, featuring the first appearance of Poison Ivy, used to stack up on us. They were plentiful, they were not terribly expensive (particularly in the conditions they were usually found), and generally had copies available for anyone who happened by and asked for one.

Which is why I was a tad surprised when, after I received the copy pictured above in a collection, sold it within literally a minute after posting it to the store Instagram account. But then, the time of Batman #181s aplenty that I was reminiscing about above was sometime in the early to mid 1990s. The comic was only about 30 years old then. It’s closer to a fifty year old comic now.

Age, of course, isn’t the sole attribute determining a comic book’s demand and/or value, as anyone who’s had to respond to the assertion “it’s old, it has to be worth something” knows. But age can impact availability…the more time passes, the more older comics like these get absorbed into collections, or outright destroyed. Particularly nowadays, with the new influx of collectors seeking “key” issues, items with significant importance to the hobby (like, say, the first appearance of o villain for a major superhero character) are snapped up in short order, particularly if they’re “raw” (i.e. not already slabbed in those plastic cases with an “official” condition grade) and reasonably priced (as my copy here was, in my humble opinion).

Not to say they’re hard to find, which I realize I have been saying. You probably can’t swing a dead Catwoman around on the eBays without hitting a half-dozen or more of Batman #181s, sealed up in those cases and premium-priced. But the days of finding stacks of them, unslabbed, like at my old job back in ye olden tymes, are, if not gone entirely, at least far less common than they used to be.

That’s a lot of typing just to say “tempus fugit,” but fugit tempus does, and with me entering my 31st year of comics retail this month, I just got to thinking about how things have changed in this business. I mean, not big things, like “there’s only one distributor now” and “remember when comics used to sell” but minor shifts in collecting habits and back issue supply, like I was saying in all that stuff up there.

3 Responses to “I’m sure I’ve mentioned the giant stack of Amazing Spider-Man #129s we used to have, too.”

  • King of the Moon says:

    I do not get slabbing.

    I’ve got one friend who buys all his comics at shows, runs over and gets them autographed and then locked tight in plastic forever.

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    Amen, K of the M. I hate it. I hate it. Let comics be free!

  • Chris Wuchte says:

    That’s funny – I never owned a lot of key Batman issues, but the one one I did own was 181. I thought I’d stumbled upon something rare, but now I realize they were probably pretty common back in the ’90s.

    Sold it on eBay about five years ago. Didn’t get as much as I’d hoped, ended up refunding the buyer some of the money back because they felt the condition wasn’t what they’d expected. Which ended my attempts to sell comics on eBay and led me to simply take them to the local comic shop to avoid the headaches.