Just so we’re clear, I’ve got no problem with a Gold Lantern.

§ August 7th, 2020 § Filed under retailing § 1 Comment

A couple questions left by YOU, the readers, to my last post:

Steven R. rites in with

“So how long does the average ‘hot’ 2 or 3rd printing hold that value? Or I guess I should just ask which later printings have?”

I gotta be honest, I’ve not done a lot of research on that…nor in fact a lot of checking back to see what faddishily hot items have retained any portion of their values. I mean, I occasionally see things in collections with decade-old price stickers with enormous prices from other shops to remind me of, say, when people were knocking down doors to get the first issue of the Topps Comics X-Files. But I haven’t yet had that particular phenomenon occur in relation to the “2nd print variant” type of thing.

The first time I noticed that people were paying extremely inflated prices for recent reprints was, I think, the reissues of the early Ms. Marvels from 2014 (the first Kamala Khan run). That was during my last year at my previous place of employment (2014 in fact), when I had a rack set up for just Marvel’s many 2nd, 3rd, 18th printing, and when I noticed a specific Ms. Marvel reprint (which issue, I don’t recall) was apparently selling for a lot of money, my check of said rack revealed of course that was the one we didn’t have.

Checking on eBay now, I see pretty much all the Ms. Marvel reprints are being listed with high prices. Now, I suppose technically, from a collector’s point of view, the reprints are “scarcer” than the original printing, meaning lower supply, but I wonder if that actual demand is enough to drive up the prices quite that much. Or it may be a feedback loop, with people saying these are “hot,” people buying them because they’re “hot,” and then they become “hot” as a result. I feel like I’ve written about that sort of self-fulfilling collectible prophecy before, and I suspect it’s an aspect of the marketplace that will always be there.

Of course, I don’t have my price guide in front of me, so I don’t know if any of these Ms. Marvel reprint prices are reflected in there. The more extreme online auction house pricing often isn’t represented in Overstreet, but once I get into the store Friday morning I’ll look and update this post.

I do know I was surprised by a very high guide price being noted for a reprint of Incredible Hulk (one of the later printings of #377, I believe) and prices have been creeping upwards on the non-1st printings of The Killing Joke. So, at least for reprintings that have been on the secondary market for a while and have established a certain pattern of value, the price guide has changed to record those.

• • •

c sends the following alert message

“As a Legion fan, I don’t get the excitement over Gold Lantern. Yes, a Lantern in the Legion is cool, but what’s the huge deal? Is there something special GL related I’m missing?”

A Twitter pal asked me something similar, so I’ll paraphrase my answer here. Given the general casting about for any first appearance of anything, I would guess it has absolutely nothing to do with who or what the character is. The folks looking to “invest” in that issue of Legion, and the online sources driving that demand, don’t actually care about Gold Lantern, or Lanterns of any color, for that matter. It’s just that the comic in question fits the formula of “first appearance of [character/event] in [title] will be worth money!” and therefore must be acquired. That’s really it.

• • •

Robcat steals in on little cat feet with

“…When ordering stuff like that, do you use a Dart Board or a Ouija Board? And how many sides on the die helps when ordering? Is 6 enough?”

It…can be challenging. As I’ve noted before, I tend towards more conservative orders, as I imagine most stores do in the current marketplace. I try to order what I think my customer base can use, and not much more. Trying to guess which of these reprints or whatever will be “hot” is kind of a mug’s game as said hotness almost appears to be random. I mean, sure, you can look at something and think “okay, this might sell more because of that cover,” or other standard considerations when placing orders, but that gives you incentive for slight bumps, not “instant sellout, should’ve ordered thousands” numbers since again, who knows if that’s going to happen.

An example would be the first issue of Wolverine: Infinity Watch, where I saw the cover and thought “that’s gonna sell itself.” I didn’t order crazy numbers, but I ordered a bit more than I normally would have on a Wolverine comic (surprise, oversaturation has killed Wolverine’s sales, go figure) and it turned out I got it pretty much right. Sold a lot right away, had a few left over that eventually sold through over the rest of the month.

In contrast, there was literally nothing about that issue of Legion of Super-Heroes with the Gold Lantern that stood out to me when I was placing orders. By this point, Legion had found its sales level, and there was no reason to think it was going to change. Yes, there were characters making first appearances in this issue (not just Gold Lantern) but characters make first appearances in comics all the time, and not all of them get the Fickle Finger of Finvestment pointed at them. Ordering twice my normal order could just as easily left me stuck with unsellable copies. I think my one concession was that I kept my order numbers where they were for this issue, instead of dropping them down a wee bit as sales at that point would have warranted. So I didn’t raise orders, exactly, just lowered later than planned.

In conclusion, this is why your pal Mike’s hair is occasionally grey, when it’s not mysteriously dark brown again.

One Response to “Just so we’re clear, I’ve got no problem with a Gold Lantern.”

  • GoldLantern says:

    I’m going by Gold Lantern from now on.

    Just because I can.

    Oh, and pick up extra copies of Progressive Ruin Aug. 7, 2020 because this is my first appearance….