How Much Does Collecting Comics Cost?
Hey there, Silverline family. Today’s an interesting topic that doesn’t get brought up too often despite it running almost every aspect of our lives. Money. How much does it cost to collect comics?
This is one of those questions where there is no real answer. As unsatisfying as that is, it’s for a reason. Not everyone collects comics the same way. I’d wager that no two comic collections are alike. Comics are considered to be one of the more expensive hobbies for us nerds, but I know of some collections that were purchased so frugally that it’d make an extreme couponer blush.
To make matters even more convoluted, there is a multitude of different product types that are all still considered comics. Taking that into consideration and you start to see why there’s no definitive answer as to how much money you can expect to spend if you want to start collecting comics.
To start let’s learn what types of comics are out there are what they cost.
Cost of Single Comic Issues
Your classic comic is the single issue, sometimes called a floppy. This is equivalent to one chapter of a story and ranges between 18 and 32 pages depending on the publisher and how much goodwill they have with their printer. This costs anywhere between $3 to $6 for a new issue currently. You can also find old, not valuable issues in bargain bins for 99 cents around the world.
The next level up from that is a trade paperback or trade. A trade will usually collect 5 or 6 issues of a series. The average price for a trade is between $13.95 to $17.95. Of course, depending on publisher and brand value, that price could go up or down by several dollars. This serves as our smallest and most effective form of a collected book.
Cost of Collected Comic Issues
The next level from that is going to get split into two different categories. It also has the broadest range of content so getting an average is tricky. This will be our Collected Editions sometimes called Complete Series or just big books because we’re lazy. They come both in paperback and hardcover and combine entire story arcs or entire runs of a comic into one publication. This can be anywhere from 12 to 36 issues or more.
For a paperback, you should expect to spend anywhere between $20 and $40. This number can vary greatly because the amount of content inside the cover can vary greatly. A hardcover will usually run between $35 and $65. Again this number can vary greatly.
The total cost of your collection can change drastically based on what comic products you choose to pick up. If you are okay with not following a new series month to month, you could save yourself a chunk of change by waiting for it to get collected into a trade or a collected edition.
Buying Comics To Read
The next big determiner of how much money you’ll be spending is whether or not you are buying to collect or buying to read. If you are buying comics purely to read and engage with the storylines, you’re probably buying just what interests you and are not hunting down super rare back issues. This means that your cost for entry is at most going to be the market averages we discussed above.
Depending on if you prefer digital or physical comics you could get all your reading down through a subscription to an online service. Making your total cost for the hobby a monthly flat rate of $9.99 to $15. If you prefer to have paper in hand, your friendly local comic store might have sales or a loyalty/rewards program. Either way, you can greatly reduce the amount of cash you’ll be investing in the hobby while still supporting the creators and their sales/online reading metrics.
Buying Comics To Collect
If your goal is to have the biggest or most impressive collection, you’ll find that you’ll be spending a pretty penny on the hobby. Even if you are only hunting down a specific publisher or superhero, the hunt can be costly. Many comics and their creators have long and storied histories. That means a long history of books to collect. Many of these issues are no longer going to be in print, so that means you have to get into trading circles and find the collectors auctions.
Rare issues that are out of print can range anywhere from $25 to several thousand dollars. The further back you go, the more it’s going to cost.
You can also get your issues graded or slabbed. This is another investment that you will have to pay for but if you want to know that you have the best quality comics in your collections, the value could be there for you. The standard cost to grade a single comic issue is going to be around $75. To have a comic slabbed you can expect to pay anywhere between $22 to $120 depending on the value of the comic. Once you get into an issue with a value in the thousands though, the price can go up from there.
Bottom Line: How Much You Can Expect To Spend on Comics
Hopefully, now you see just how much the cost of collecting comics can vary. If you’re just a fan of the medium and want to read a storyline or two here and there. You might spend $9.99 a month, or $60 to get the entertainment you want. If you want to have the biggest collection of your favorite superhero you can be looking at $3000 plus the cost of grading/slabbing.
The cost can vary even more when you take into account Kickstarter tiers but those usually include additional rewards, so you’re getting more bang for your back in terms of total content and SWAG.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy comics. Whether you’re a trade reader or a floppy collector, you’re both engaging with this phenomenal medium. The only advice I can give is to buy what you like and buy within your means.
Until next time,
Make Mine Silverline!