As I teased in last week’s column, the title we will focus on this week is one that has been dubbed “The Next Walking Dead” by the comic community almost since its arrival on the scene two years ago. A lot of books draw you in off the rack with their awesome covers; this one does too, but it isn’t the art that first draws you in, it’s the sensational title: Something Is Killing The Children. Usually, when the stakes involve the death of children, the hero saves the day and after a while you become desensitized to the danger. That is pretty common among Marvel or DC titles. But with this title, you know right off the bat there has already been loss. Whether you were intrigued by the title or offended by it, either way you didn’t forget it.
From the moment I read an advance PDF of issue #1, I was hooked both as a reader and an investor. This title was a major pre order play for me. I was championing this title before its order cutoff window with Brian Wood, on his popular YouTube Channel Simplemans Comics. While many jumped on board, some were still skeptical. That sentiment seemed to dissipate in the weeks and months after the release of Issue #1. It seemed like absolutely anyone who read it loved it and instantly became a buyer. Copies dried up and now we are on the 8th printing of #1. Every issue printed in the series thus far has seen secondary market demand with some variants hitting 4 figures due to scarcity and demand alone.
If you’re looking for the next The Walking Dead, check out what’s next up for the original! One of the most popular characters in The Walking Dead Universe is a character who hasn’t been on the big screen for the last decade, nor did she ever appear in the comic series. I am of course referring to the popular video game protagonist Clementine. Skybound Entertainment recently announced the launch of Skybound X, a new series celebrating Skybound’s 10th anniversary, with issue #1 featuring the 1st appearance of Clementine in a comic book as well as two variant covers with her front and center.
This book launches in July and if you are a believer in The Walking Dead as a long term IP (I am!) then this is a great buying opportunity. This book is inside the pre order window so comic shops can order an unlimited amount until the final order cutoff date 23 days before the release of the book. Most shops give major discounts to pre order and some even offer 9.8 slab pre sales. While there is a ton of money to be made in the back issue market, I love keeping an eye on the future and making a play in the pre order market as well.
I have often made the comparison between the sports card market and the comic book market, stating that the card market is 2-5 years ahead of the comic market but operates largely the same. To this effect, I was not surprised to see CGC’s announcement that they were increasing grading costs across the board as well as eliminating a tier and discount options. This is largely due to their backlog of grading and their recent expansion bringing in dozens of new employees and moving into new facilities. This move seems like a logical first step in the progression of the comic book market.
My next observation this week and is about the difference in returns from sales of a graded book from two different companies as well as the difference an auction platform can make. This past week two different 9.8 copies of Giant Sized X Men #1 sold at two different auction sites from two different grading companies, and they brought two different prices. A CGC 9.8 from ComicConnect sold for $60,000 while a CBCS 9.8 sold just a few days later on eBay for $49,100. This has raised a lot of interesting questions in the community such as: With the market being up as a whole, why did these books underperform a previous high sale? What accounted for the price difference between the auction house or the grading company? Did the fact that the eBay copy ended a few days after the ComicConnect copy negatively affect its final price?
The truth is we don’t have the answers to those questions, only hunches and assumptions. As this market continues to grow, it will be interesting to note these trends and see which way things lean. At the end of the day, those are two staggering totals that have most comic collectors excited for where the market is heading.
So join me next week where we take a look at what is almost assuredly going to be yet another action packed week in the comic book market.