From Wikipedia, in reference to the original boom, but it still applies: “…many speculators would buy multiple copies of [key] issues, anticipating that demand would allow them to sell them for a substantial profit in the future.”
spec•u•la•tor (spĕk′yə-lā′tər) n.
One that speculates: a commodities speculator.
What does all this have to do with this particular editorial? Well, I hate speculators. I know that comes as a shock, considering the title of this editorial, but just in case you missed it, it’s worth saying one more time.
Recently, with the announcement of Valiant Comics’ big movie deal, there has been insane price increases for the not always easy to get early 1990’s issues featuring some of the characters that are likely to be featured in upcoming movies and other media. As someone who is actually trying to pick them up to read and enjoy them, it’s an absolute piss off to see people with many multiple copies that they intend to simply resell at ridiculous rates because it adversely affects the regular people.
Undoubtedly, even the convention sellers will have hiked up their pricing because of this sudden interest and with an upcoming local convention I can also see some of the issues that I’d like to buy and read slipping away. Sure, things like Harbinger #1 still command a hefty price compared to others, but I was prepared to look around this convention and wheel and deal, as one does, but now… who knows. It’s one of those things that drives me insane about comics, and regardless of how much I might bitch or how much I might hate it, it’s obviously not going to change.
Likely, no one reading this who might be part of the aforementioned group is suddenly going to have an epiphany and change their terrible ways. And, of course, I can understand where they’re coming from as far as making money is concerned. Selling stuff that, well, sells and makes money on top of your investment is just good business sense, but some of the jacked-up pricing just seems, greedy to me. I don’t like any of it—the buying many, many copies and selling them at a much higher rate—but I especially don’t like the ones you find on eBay that have, say,Harbinger #1 up for $100 while the rest have it for $50. It all falls into the same category, of course, but there are some that are worse than others.
There are also the select few that have simply been sitting on their one copy since the early 90’s and are now seeing a way to maybe unload some of their books that they might not have looked at for ten years and again, I can understand that. Most of these types of people, as least from personal experience, are not selling these books for insane amounts and are generally only looking to make a few bucks on their initial investment. These, as defined at the top, I don’t consider the perpetrators of speculation and in fact, I’ve even purchased some of my current 90’s Valiant stack from these very types.
Venting is a beautiful thing, and even if three people ever see this post, at least I got it out. The entire point of this, aside from venting, is that I am sick to death of seeing people posting about how many copies of the first appearance of Shadowman they got, or the first “real” appearance of Bloodshot, etcetera. It’s absolutely stomach-turning and I feel bad for the people that go looking for some of these issues to read and maybe just own—I mean, the 90’s ads in these books alone are hilarious, nevermind the amazing art and stories. Sure, some of the main ones you can get in the Valiant Master Collections, which is great, but there are a lot of nostalgic people that prefer the single issues so where does that leave them?
Do they, as they say, snooze and lose on these issues? Do they simply have to hope that, Odin forbid, Valiant crashes again and/or the movies fail miserably and people want to just sell off their collections? I don’t know what the answer is, really, and I really hope it’s not the latter, but I know that I hate comic speculators and I’m exhausted on this entire subject. If you’re one of those people that just want to make a quick buck over some news story, shame on you. There are still many people that want to read and enjoy these books and not everybody can, or is willing to, spend the stupid amount of money you think these books are suddenly worth. It’s breath utterly wasted, but think about the fans before you think about your wallets.