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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

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

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Justin Walzack
Justin Walzack
Sep 06, 2019

The speculation market has made their niche corner seem more important than it is. If everyone stopped speculating would the conic indusrty feel it? Maybe. But only for a short time. The money from this small section would be swallowed up by the store variants (which is just as bad as speculation market). What really hurts speculators? Ignorant hate mongering elitists who do nothing to further the community other than to promote hate. They offer no speculation other than a “i told you this would be hot” and then complain that everyone stole their spec. Makes you wonder why they have so much hate. I have a theory that people like that are either sex offenders or plain old crimina…


most spec books don't retain their value. Remember back in 2013 when people were paying like $800 for Peter Panzerfaust #1 ? lol


Michael Leycegui
Michael Leycegui
Sep 04, 2019

I find it interesting that most of the specu-hating focuses on the new release market. I've been collecting a long-time and this segment of the market has always been a horse race, long before e-bay was a factor. I wish we had e-bay back in the day because the only way you were reading a hot new release not in your pull was borrowing your buddies copy or if you were quick thinking and could peddle a bike fast, maybe finding one at the local newsstand. I think these people are really just mad that they missed out on owning a comic book they probably would never have heard to begin with if not for the buzz. If that wasn…


Frank Somma
Frank Somma
Sep 04, 2019

I have been saying recently, there are speculators, readers, collectors and nostalgics. We all fall somewhere in that spectrum. I don't sell anything, but I like to stay ahead of the quick flip speculator so I can get a copy of Something is Killing the Children for $4 instead of $20. I read every comic I buy (except variants obviously), the collection is the stacks of white boxes, not all readers collect, alot of new readers go digital or TPB and couldn't care less about the collection. I buy a lot of variants due to nostalgia (how much money I've sent directly to J Scott Campbell, ugh). So I feel like we all purchase different comics for different reasons.…


I feel speculators help raise the value of everyone's comic collection and its lazy for a LCS our private collector to not know what they have. I have sold a few books I wish I could get back, let them go for to cheap. That's what makes this hobby so fun ,I read allot but also love to speculate with my money. Shops around here put a 1 per customer limit on hot books..

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