10/23/19: Fall Show Review!
First, I want to apologize for the delay in getting this blog post put together. After San Diego is when we really hit a long stretch of buying collections, getting prepped for shows, and maintaining the mail order side of our business. So while I wanted to maintain this more regularly, the blog unfortunately got pushed to the side while I focused on the rest of what we needed to do.
With that being said, I am going to try and do my best to recap the shows that we went to and any events that happened post San Diego Comic Con. I also wanted to say thank you to all the people who have told me that they enjoy reading these. I will do my best to keep them more consistent during our off season and will try and get them done after every show in 2020.
Without further adieu:
Wizard World Chicago // Keystone Comic Con:
For the first time ever, we did a split set up and attended two shows on the same weekend. Greg, Ginger and I went to Chicago while Alex and his wife, Ashley, went to Philadelphia. From what I remember in Chicago, attendance was down overall, but the right few hundred people made it to the show. As is true with almost every one of these larger shows, we don’t need 100,000 people in the room, just the 1,000 right people. This show was busy with lots of buying, selling, and trading happening across all 3 days. And while the show continues to become watered down in substance (I remember seeing Geico among other booths), there was still a strong representation of vintage dealers at the show. From what I heard around the room, most of the vintage dealers had a good show, while the people who require large crowds to make their money didn’t do as well. We sold more Golden Age at this show then we had in a while, and keys continuously moved off the walls as the collectors came in early and knew exactly what they wanted. We were also able to buy a substantial amount of inventory including a nice run of early Amazing Spider-Man books that were all signed by Stan Lee.
Hot books from this show:
Fantastic Four #48 + #49
Giant-Size X-Men #1
Silver Surfer #1
Amazing Spider-Man #1, #3, #5, #14
Marvel Spotlight #5
Werewolf by Night #32
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
I am reporting Key Stone from what Alex told me as I wasn’t there first hand, but this is what I remember most. After this shows debut the previous year, we were reluctant to do it again. While the first year had plenty of impressive dealers set up at the show, the convention wasn’t promoted very well and attendance was almost non existent ( you can see my write up about it here). This year, things seemed to have improved in a few different regards. One being an increase in attendance and a much improved guest list (I believe Tom Holland even came for Sunday). Second was that CGC provided on-site grading. This always improves a shows caliber because people who wouldn’t otherwise come to a show inevitably do, and the chance to buy/sell/trade graded books that would have otherwise taken months to get back makes the show much busier. While it isn’t yet confirmed, if CGC were to do on-site grading next year, I expect it to be one of the better shows to attend all year.
Obviously, since most other dealers were in Chicago, this show lacked what it had initially done right- secure great vintage vendors from the area. Next years dates fall a week after Chicago, so I believe it will see a big jump in both attendance and quality. If you are in the Philadelphia area, pencil this one in on your calendar for next year as I think it will be the start of a great show in Pennsylvania.
New York Comic Con
For the first time that I can remember, we didn’t have a convention to attend in September, so we got to enjoy the beautiful Fall weather in Maryland and spend time updating the website with hundreds of CGC and non CGC books. I remember listing several hundred raw books on multiple occasions that included huge runs of various titles and several short boxes boxes of CGC keys. This kept us busy through the month until we headed to our biggest show of the year: New York Comic Con.
New York continues to amaze me with its sheer size and scope. Every year it seems to get a little bit bigger, and when construction on the Javits center is completed late next year, this could become the biggest comic convention in the world. All of the biggest names in collectibles are there every year including massive displays from Marvel, DC, Image, Dark Horse and even brands like Lego and Dragon Ball Z. While this show continues to offer more pop culture experiences that we see at other large conventions, there are still plenty of great vintage books in the room.
The show was extremely busy from start to finish with a few exceptions. Unlike last year where I remember being swamped 24/7, this year seemed to come in waves of busyness. Thursday was very busy for us while Friday and Saturday had larger crowds but not as many comic collectors. Sunday was again very busy as we bought and sold more than any of the previous 3 days.
Hot books from this show:
Fantastic Four #5 + #48 + #49
Amazing Spider-Man #1 + #13 + #14 +#129
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1
Incredible Hulk #181
Tales of Suspense #39
Silver Surfer #1
Amazing Fantasy #15
Walking Dead #1
While a lot of these seem like “no-brainer” books to be asked for, books like ASM #129 and Hulk #181 had been asked for less frequently over the previous few months than they were at this show, and we saw multiple copies move off of several dealers walls. Incredible Hulk #181 continues to surprise and I still think is a solid investment book in CGC 9.0 and better. This makes sense when looking at the bell curve of census data we have- which shows that the most commonly graded #181 is in CGC 8.0. I believe the same to be true for the 1st appearance of the Punisher, which has a modal value of CGC 8.5. The most surprising book on this list is most certainly the Walking Dead #1, which I was asked for more than a dozen times, and I had maybe been asked for once in the rest of 2019. While I don’t know when/if we will get back to 2018 sales numbers for this book, I wouldn’t be shocked if the value slowly rises over the next few years for 9.8’s.
DC books continue to be soft, which makes it a great time to buy. Of the books that still sell well, Golden Age Batman and Superman takes the cake, followed by Silver Age Batman, Detective, and Green Lantern keys. Showcase #22 is still doing well, but anything related to the Flash seems to have slowed considerably (see Showcase #4). As I mentioned in a previous blog post, it seems inevitable that someone in Hollywood will figure out the winning formula for successful DC movies, and as we have seen with the recent release of the Joker and the past decade of Marvel movies- when a franchise is done right, collectors, fans, and investors are driven to buy the “source material”. I expect these books (especially other Batman villain 1st appearances) to start gaining some steam again in the next couple of years.
It is important to note that we also displayed a rack of graded video games for the very first time at this show! While we only dedicated one rack of space to them, we wanted to display some of the pieces that we have spent the last few years acquiring. As mentioned in our Facebook post, buying and selling video games had been a long time coming, so I will post what I said there as I think it sums up our thoughts nicely:
“It’s about time to show you all something we have been working on for a while. Similar to a lot of others in the comic industry, when we caught wind of graded video games, we were excited at the opportunity to buy and sell another collectible with so many parallels to comic books. As lifelong gamers ourselves, we knew we wanted to be involved, but also knew that we needed to start at square one and really do our homework before diving into this new industry. For the 1st time at a show, we are displaying some of our Wata games in conjunction with our graded books. And while we still have a lot to learn, we are excited to begin buying and selling games to collectors. In the coming months, we are going to be listing our graded game inventory on our website, where you can expect the same quality service you have come to expect from us with comics.”
Baltimore Comic Con
First, the bad: While Baltimore continues to be one of my favorite shows for its laid back, old school comic show vibe, I can’t help but think that this year could have been improved if a few different decisions had been made. Most notably would be making sure that there are no marathons being run on the same weekend. This hampered attendance on Saturday as the city had to close down most of Pratt St, and I heard a few stories of people simply giving up after sitting in traffic for an hour. The other hinderance was that this show continues to move dates, and it is hard for people to plan on coming back year after year when they don’t have a reliable weekend to know when the show is. I hope going forward we can lock down a consistent Fall date that avoids any other major conventions/attractions.
Next, the good: Of the people who attended, this seemed to be one of the most comic oriented crowds of the entire year. Friday started out busy with people knocking items off their want lists, and slowly tapered off through the afternoon. My experience in the past has been that there are two groups of people who come to this type of show. One is the person who has a list, and they come early to knock off some of those items. The other is someone who is attending for all 3 days, circles the room multiple times to find out exactly what they want, and then strike on Sunday for what they think is the best deal. We saw long lines at the CGC booth as people were dropping off books for on-site grading, and we had several people let us know that they were interested in trades depending on what they got back from grading.
Saturday was a little slower than years past, but we still sold a few CGC books out of the boxes and some raws to run collectors. Our $2 booth was steady throughout the weekend, and Saturday saw a steady stream of buyers completing holes in their runs with our nearly 100+ long box selection of $2 books.
Sunday was arguably our busiest day as most people got their books back from on-site grading and were looking to sell their books or trade towards a bigger key. We spent most of the day organizing deals and buying nearly 60 new graded books (all of which are now listed on our Recently Added section).
Hot books from this show:
Fantastic Four #5
Amazing Spider-Man #13 (we had 3 sell at the show)
Amazing Spider-Man #14 + #194
Iron Man #1
Fantastic Four #52
Baltimore was the last show of the year for us and wrapped up another exciting year at Reece’s Rare Comics. When I look back at our travels this year, I think not only of the places we have been, but of the people we have met along the way. Every year I am thankful to be a part of this industry and more importantly, this community. After traveling more than 50,000 miles in 2019 to buy and sell comic books, it is always the people we meet that make for the best memories. And now, I would like to offer a sincere thank you to everyone who dealt with us in any way this year. Whether it was just to say hello and talk comics, do a deal with us, send a nice message on Facebook or Instagram, write a kind email, or left us a nice review: Thank you. We couldn’t do what we do without all of you, and we are excited to do it all again next year. Keep an eye out in the following weeks for our updated 2020 show calendar!