• Key Collector Comics

Comic Book Specul-Haters

Comic Book Speculation ranks up there as one of the most polarizing aspects of the hobby. I’m not sure when it happened, but a line has been drawn and you’re either pro-speculation or anti-speculation. In some cases, violently anti-speculation.


The one thing that's missing from a lot of these tweets is a reason why they hate comic speculators.

Smaller publishers are up against Warner Brothers and Disney for market share. When a comic shoots up in value due to demand, it cuts through the overwhelming noise from bigger companies. It brings awareness to the publisher and creator that might otherwise not receive attention for a quality product.


Without the speculator's financial contribution, the comic book PRINT industry is going to need an ambulance.


According to a 2018 Comichron report, NEW print comic book sales are at a seven-year high, up $80 million dollars versus the previous year.


Comic stores are not experiencing an increase in revenue though. Most of the revenue is going to "book channels" like Barnes & Noble. Graphic Novel sales are booming.

Readership is increasing but they are buying outside of the comic shop.


Although not as dramatic, digital is experiencing small gains. Readers have options but they are exercising them outside of the comic shop. To discourage the speculator is to encourage the end of print comics.


Nonsense. Print runs are 1/10th of what they were in the 90s. X-Force #1 alone had a print run of 5 million copies. If you add up the top-ordered comic for every month in 2018, the sum total is 2.86 million copies.


Also unlike the 90s, there is global demand and online marketplaces to make those transactions possible.


If I were @JohnnyBullet I would've said, "comics are meant to entertain, not to be resold so you can buy a round of Jell-O shots for everyone at the bar" because if buying and selling comics is sending a kid to college, that's yet another reason to celebrate the hobby.


Publishers are taking on the narrative as well. Although not expressly negative, it does not convey an appreciation for a speculator's dollars.


The initial order for No One Left To Fight was 6,399 copies. It's risky for a new creator to alienate a group of buyers. If speculators granted the writer's wish and his small print-run didn't sell out, publishers would be less likely to continue hiring him.


July 2019 survey results when asked "why do you collect (check all boxes that apply)"

The term "speculator" has become so marginalized as to mean a person who has no interest in comics on any level except to make money. A more realistic look at the group includes those who:

  • sell comics to supplement their weekly comic buying budget

  • sell comics to purchase expensive key issues for their personal collection

  • discuss the speculative direction of the story with the comic community

  • enjoy the challenge of predicting what might become valuable

  • want to curate a valuable collection

While there is the type of seller who is buying and reselling to profit off of a sale, they are still contributing dollars to the industry and almost always reinvesting those dollars.


Encouraging customers to order in advance or subscribe to a store's "pullbox" program is a fantastic idea but to "thwart" other customers is discouraging involvement in the hobby.


One of the most annoying aspects of the Specul-Hater conversation is when a comic book reader chastises speculators as a means to announce the purity of their fandom.


A retailer's concern of what a customer does with the item they now own only makes sense for pharmacies selling Sudafed in case customers are using it to manufacture methamphetamine.


This potty-mouth is a perfect candidate for a pullbox or pre-order. In all the years I've been collecting and all the shops I've visited, I've never once been told about pre-ordering or subscribing for my books to get pulled. I rarely see stores promote this service on social media either so it might be effective to put more emphasis on this service.


Also, Naomi #4 came out the day after this tweet was posted so maybe the poster was just excited to join in on the Specul-Hating.


At first I assumed she was referring to Key Collector but Scooby-Doo Apocalypse #34 was never on the app. Scooby-Doo Apocalypse #25, The Death of Fred is on the app though.


Yes, new customers are uninformed. There are hundreds of titles to choose from and thousands of graphic novels. Characters have been around for over half-a-century and some of their history is used in today's stories. It's very difficult for new readers to get invested in comics because there is a lot to learn and there is a critical community voice for those who show their “noob” status.

Regardless of what brought a new customer into the store, it is an opportunity for an owner or employee to share why reading comics is so rewarding and make recommendations to help guide the potential customer.


For the record, its not every store that feels this way about the speculator.


Also, there are some who understand the impact speculation has on comics.


If you are a retailer and have any suggestions of how Key Collector Comics can help improve the ratio of speculators to readers, please email nick@Keycollectorcomics.com


Download the free Key Collector Comics app on Apple and Android phones or visit keycollectorcomics.com

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