Taking investment advice from a cartoon character may not seem the sanest of ideas. Anyone looking to Goofy for stock market tips is probably ready for a holiday in a rubber room. But there’s one character out there whose wisdom shouldn’t be overlooked.
The Simpson’s very own obsessive collector, Comic Book Guy.
Comic Book Guy may have been the butt of some fairly accurate jokes over the years, but at least (unlike Madoff) he hasn’t suffered the indignity of having to sell his underwear at auction.
In reality he’s be sitting on a goldmine of rare first issues and original artwork that could see him swap Springfield for an island in the Caribbean, whilst Mr Burns loses his fortune on a crooked Ponzi scheme.
Comic books were traditionally seen as a niche market, of interest only to dedicated fan boys, children and Nicolas Cage. But when a copy of Action Comics #1 featuring the first appearance of Superman broke the million-dollar barrier last year, a number of smart investors started to take notice.
For years the ‘blue chip’ investments of the comic book world have been characters such as Superman and Batman, created during the Golden Age of comics that ran from 1939 to the early 1950s.
Both have become ingrained in popular culture through television shows and films stretching back over 60 years, and their early issues have always been the most sought-after on the market.
But in March this year a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 sold for an equally amazing $1.1 million, making Spider-Man the first superhero from the later Silver Age to make seven figures. And the trend looks set to continue, as an army of Stan Lee’s 1960s creations including Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four have hit the cinema screens in recent years.
These films have been tent-pole releases for studios, who have watched the industry struggle since the economic downturn. They guarantee success at the box office, and the public’s hunger for comic book heroes has never been stronger. When a studio spends $200 million on a movie, you can be sure they’ve done their market research first.
2012 will see the release of ‘The Avengers’, a film which brings together some of the most popular Silver Age characters including the Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow, along with their Golden Age compatriot Captain America.
Comic book collectors are understandably excited, but anyone thinking of investing in collectibles should be too.
The movie will bring a host of characters to a new generation of fans, and as their popularity grows, the market for their comic books is likely to increase. The next few years could see Silver Age comic books catching up to their Golden Age ancestors, and in an increasingly competitive market there could be many more seven-figure superheroes on the horizon.
As Comic Book Guy would almost certainly say: “Best. Investment. Ever.”
Comic Book Guy image from Comic-Mint.com
Amazing Fanstasy 15 image from Heritage Auction Galleries.