Thursday, October 15, 2015

Collecting Choices

If you are like me, you have a limited budget with which to purchase comics.  Many times I vacillate between just collecting vintage Star Wars comics or trying to collect modern and vintage Star Wars comics.  Late last year, I actually considered giving up collecting modern comics altogether when I learned about the number of retailer variants Marvel was planning to release for Star Wars #1.  I knew when the license reverted to Marvel, variants were going to be my Achille's heel; I'm a completist by nature and keeping up with the variants during the Dark Horse era was fairly easy.  But to be honest, the number of variants Marvel released with those initial issues earlier this year was worst than I could have imagined!  For the most part, I have a complete domestic Star Wars comic collection up to the modern Marvel run with some notable exceptions: the expensive newsstand Star Wars $0.35 issues, a handful of the Dynamic Forces Star Wars variants during the Dark Horse era, and many of the newsstand issues of the Dark Horse titles.  As you can imagine, just the fact that I am pursuing newsstand copies of Dark Horse Star Wars comics tells you the psychological problem I faced with the avalanche of Marvel Star Wars variants.

Instead of dropping all modern comics from my pull list, I dropped all modern comics except the Star Wars titles.  This meant giving up titles like Boom's Planet of the Apes, Dynamite's Battlestar Galactica and Flash Gordon, IDW's Star Trek, and many science fiction titles published by Image Comics.  Basically, I decided to go all in on just Star Wars comics for my vintage pursuits and my modern reading and collecting.  I have an extensive Star Wars trade paperback collection that I love reading and re-reading.  The first title I collected was the original Marvel Star Wars title and during the 1990s when I strayed from comics, I still kept purchasing Dark Horse's Star Wars titles.  I knew if I gave up on modern comics entirely and did not purchase and read the modern Star Wars comics or attempt to collect what I could, I would regret it.  I believe I found a happy compromise where I pursue the vintage foreign comics, pick up the occasional vintage domestic comic or Dark Horse variant, and purchase most of the modern variants.  While it does bug me from time to time knowing my modern Star Wars comic collection is not complete, I also look at this as an opportunity for my collection in the future.  I know that at some point I will grow tired of looking for elusive vintage foreign Star Wars comics.  I will no longer want to purchase the umpteenth copy of an original Marvel Star Wars issue.  At that point I imagine I will begin filling in the holes in my modern Marvel Star Wars collection.

I remember when the ratio'd variants use to be priced according to the ratio: 1 of 5 variants sold for $5, 1 of 10 variants for $10, 1 of 20 variants for $20. and 1 of 50 variants for $50.  While some retailers still use that pricing model, looking at eBay, a vast majority of those ratio'd variants are now priced at half of the ratio: 1 of 5 variants are still $5, commanding a slight premium over cover price, but so are 1 of 10 variants, 1 of 20 variants are $10, and 1 of 50 variants are $25.  Additionally, the comic market is littered with once lofty variants that now languish in value because the collecting community has moved onto the newer, hotter comic.  Logically, it makes sense that in this environment, purchasing variants at new prices is a losing proposition.  Why purchase a new variant today for $20 when it will be valued at $10 a year from now?  So, you can imagine, while I wish I could purchase every modern Star Wars variant as they are released, the prospect of me purchasing modern comic variants at a lower price in the future is appealing.

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