Don't blindly buy comic book key issues as a potential investment, or "living the dream", before you consider what ELSE you could invest the money into.
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THIS or THAT presents... the alternative to investing in the key issue you want with one of our alternative ideas to park your money.
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This one blew our mind. You can step down just ONE grade in your Hulk #181, and add a Hulk #180 9.4. There will be enough change to take your wife out for dinner!
While you can "only" afford an Avengers #1 in 1.8, that can be a very respectable-looking copy. And it's a book that is more than 50 years old.
There are 76 1.8s in the census. Compare that with the 2,320 NM98 9.8s in the census!
Yes, Venom is a key villain, and soon to appear in a dedicated movie. BUT the Green Goblin is THE Spidey villain, and owning a 7.5 is well above average for this classic first appearance.
First appearance of Harley Quinn: definitely cool.
First appearance of Poison Ivy: MUCH cooler, way rarer in high grade, and 30 years earlier!
Walking Dead is dropping in value all the time (though a new season will bump it back up in value), while Turtles #1 is a classic 1980s key issue, printed in low numbers, and hotter than ever, with new records being set in most grades!
Yes, everybody wants to own a first appearance of Spidey. But... do you want to own a dog? Really? When you could have a really nice VG copy of his first dedicated series book?
ASM #1 is rising in value as people are getting priced out of the AF #15 market. It's a great time to get your copy.
We decided to stick to a grand Space Opera theme with this comparison.
Yes, Star Wars has (so far) been a more consistent presence in popular culture than Silver Surfer, but it only takes a Fantastic Four equivalent to Spider-Man: Homecoming for Marvel to get its ducks in a row on the herald of Galactus.
There are 435 9.8s of SW #1 in the census. Compare that with 169 SS #1 8.5s, and you can see which book is scarcer.
Less than 10 years separate these books in the Marvel universe, but Star Wars feels like a 'warehouse' book -- while Silver Surfer seems scarcer and more desirable.
Sure. The first appearance of Star-Lord is huge in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie series, and it's a desirable book to own.
Magazines by their nature tend to survive the ravages of time better if well cared-for, and the 76 copies certified by CGC (so far) in 9.8 show Marvel Preview #4 is far from scarce in top condition.
Contrast this with the first appearance of Groot, the talking tree. Published in 1960, this Atlas title has only 226 copies certified in ANY condition.
Owning a book in the 4.0 to 4.5 range means you won't have a dog -- and the return on your investment is highly likely to be better in the long run, especially as Groot seems destined for standalone projects.
The relaunch issue that brought X-Men out of retirement, and introduced Wolverine to the super-team of mutants, is undeniably a vastly important book.
Buying a 9.6 puts you in the top bracket of ownership in this key issue, without exposing you to the extreme cost of a CGC 9.8.
But can even the X-Men #94 be anything like as important or desirable as owning the book which begins the series? Not in our opinion.
A nice copy in the VG range means you'll be able to truly appreciate the joy of owning a true Marvel mega-key.
Another cunning switcheroo play sees you able to own a high-grade copy of the SAME book -- plus another key issue in the ASM run!
Yes, the first appearance of the Punisher is a huge key, and should be on everybody's want list. But do you really need to tie up all your money in a CGC 9.8?
Buying a 9.2 gives you a gorgeous-looking copy. PLUS you will be able to own a 9.4 of the first appearance of Kingpin -- perhaps not quite the same magnitude of villain, but certainly a rarer and earlier issue which seldom turns up in nice shape.
Anybody with means can write a check. It takes brains to think of different ways to spend the money. This is one great example of a compromise that doesn't feel like one.
Ra's al Ghul has had his time in the limelight with the Dark Knight movie series.
While this classic Neal Adams cover is great to look at, there is so much more potential in the first appearance of Barbara Gordon as Batgirl.
Batman #232 was one of the biggest losers of the Bronze Age implosion (click to read more), while Detective Comics #359 is rising fast in value.
Here's a great way to leverage a high-end investment in a character.
Doctor Strange #169 is a rare book in CGC 9.8. Owning a copy would be undeniably awesome.
But his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 is much scarcer.
With only around 130 copies graded 8.0 or above, this book is more often seen in GD-VG shape and covered in creases.
A character's first appearance, 99 percent of the time, is going to be of greater lasting interest than any high-grade example of other key issues they appear in.