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Overstreet’s Price Update 10

Paul Chadwick's Halloween-themed Concrete cover, for the OPU's October 1989 issue.

Paul Chadwick's Halloween-themed Concrete cover, for the OPU's October 1989 issue.

Okay, comic book retailer reports that were written late summer 1989, for publication in the October 1989 issue of Overstreet’s Price Update.

These are select short excerpts (by far not complete) from some of the market reports. Interesting to compare what was forecasted to happen, to what happened in the short-term, then to what happened in the long-term…

…but great collecting (speculating) nostalgia from a snapshot in time! Here we go…


“The price limit for most comic buyers appears to be $1.50. Any comic which costs below $1.00 is more likely to sell in greater quantities than those at $1.50 or more. New comic sales may be good, but most of the sales come from those priced less than $1.50. Thus, more copies of Spider-Man are being sold at $1.00 each than new issues of The Question at $1.75.

The threat to the comic market is that with more and more expensive comics being released, comic buyers will not have enough money to buy it all. An excellent example of this was the prestige format glut last December.”

From SUPER GIANT BOOKS & COMICS, in North and South Carolina:

“What we do see is an increased emphasis on buying a comic after it has increased in value. It seems to a lot of buyers, a new comic for $1.25 or a back issue for a buck is ho-hum stuff. But let that comic go to five bucks, and suddenly they are interested. Some of these folks are speculating the $5 comic will climb to $10 or $20.”

From CLIFF’S BOOKS, in Deland, FL:

“Well, the summer of ‘The Bat’ is winding down, and what a summer it was. The movie had only been out for a few weeks and things were really getting stupid at my shop. People were buying ‘Bat’ anything in a frenzy reminiscent of sharks feeding on fresh chum.

Independents. Dark Horse has definitely taken over the top spot — outselling everyone else (even the Turtles) 5 to 1. I have had sellouts on both the Predator books as well as the second volume of Aliens. Predator #1 is selling briskly for $5 and Aliens Vol. II is moving well at $4. All the back issues of Aliens Vol. 1 have been doing well.”

From KEITH CONTARINO in Powder Springs, GA:

“Recent Marvel Back Issues: Punisher, War Journal, Wolverine, and Spider-Man continue to sell well. War Journal #6 has settled at $8 and #7 at $4. We sold many Spider-Man #’s 298 and 300 at $12 at the Fantasy Fair. We had over 40 copies each of 301-310 in our retailer boxes and are now almost wiped out of those numbers.”


“Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s Arkham Asylum will be THE hot item this fall with a story even better that the Dark Knight (Denny O’Neil said it in Atlanta.) Of course, interest in the Asylum is very high…the $24.95 cover price is not bothering anyone — people are requesting multiple copies. Another book to watch back-issue tables for is the ‘prelude’ to Arkham Asylum, McKean and Neal Gaiman’s excellent Black Orchid, as interest may spill over into this mini-series.

Investors are also saving up for the release of Legends of the Dark Knight. With this new book being more affordable (if you’re buying multiples), it should disappear quickly. With high interest in the movie still prominent, retailers are gearing this comic up to be a record setter. Sales reaching one million copies? Possibly. If DC has writer Denny O’Neil unleashed for the first five, it will be one great story and one certainly to keep an eye on.”

From ALL ABOUT BOOKS & COMICS, in Phoenix, AZ:

“Without sounding redundant, this has been the season of Batman, and in eight years of business, it has given us our best season to date. Batman products alone have provided huge gross sales, but the picnic on the non-comic Bat merchandise has definitely come to an end. However, Batman comics and trades are stronger than ever. “

From RICH’S COMIC SHOPPE in Middletown, OH:

“Hot Comics: Batman continues to be the hottest new comic going. This title has finally overtaken sales on both X-Men and Wolverine and is continually growing. However, there seems to be a wariness among some dealers as to whether or not Batman will retain the popularity he currently holds in the marketplace.

I, for one, am not going to worry about it. The people that are causing Batman to be overwhelmingly popular aren’t hyped up civilians that are here today and gone tomorrow, they are either die hard comic book fans developing an interest in Batman or the mini market investor / collectors that buy new in quantity. I think I speak for a majority of my clientele in stating that if DC continues to publish high quality Batman books, then they will continue to buy them.”


“Marvel Predictions: Spidey will grow even HOTTER with ‘Acts of Vengeance’, but after McFarlane leaves, be careful! The Fantastic Four are getting Simonson, so that is going to be hot. Other than that, Marvel will just keep its lion’s share of the market.”


“Marvel is still the market leader as a whole with X-Men, X-Factor, and Excalibur, but activity has been slowing recently on both new and back issues of these titles.

Amazing Spider-Man, on the other hand, has been steadily rising in sales every month, as both a new and back issue. It will not surprise me in the least if / when this title overtakes X-Men as best selling Marvel title. Spider-Man #298 easily brings $12, and #300 is bringing 10.”

From 1,00,000 COMIX, in Montreal, Canada:

“It is true that an Amazing Spider-Man #1 did retail only 17 years ago for around $20! Why has that (as well as many other) Silver Age comic books gone up so vigorously?

Reasons include: 1) Baby Boomers coming of age, 2) True scarcity of early Marvels, only now coming to be really appreciated, 3) More new collectors are entering the field on a seemingly daily basis, all wanting key books at the same time, 4) The Overstreet Update, too, has been a prime player in determining what goes up and how quickly (which is why prices must reflect changing conditions, and must go down as quickly as up, something not always reflected), and, 5) Popular culture, i.e., yuppies exploiting childhood memories into film (Batman, Superman, etc.)”

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