Okay, here we have some short excerpts from the market reports within Oversteet’s Price Update issue 4, from 1985. Shatter cover provided by Mike Saenz.
At this point (earlier on in its run) the OPU was only being published once a year, as a supplement to Overstreet’s huge annual square bound price guide. Then as the craziness of Copper Age era collecting really kicked-in (the mid to late ’80s), the OPU was published much more frequently, up to five times a year.
Though the issue (pictured right) was published in 1985, the retailer commentaries essentially all look back at the comic book market in 1984…
From CLASSY COMICS, in Knoxville, TN:
“1984 marked the continuance of the slow recovery of the back issue market. The market seemed to hit rock bottom in 1983. However, recent back issues seem to have taken up the slack. Mini and maxi series have really taken the collecting public by storm around Knoxville.”
From TROPIC COMICS in Plantation, FL:
“People in the last year more than ever are buying comics not for the enjoyment of them, but because they think they will become valuable. What they don’t realize is that even if you buy the ‘hot’ comics in quantity, the only way you can make money is to become a dealer and sell them to collectors, because trying to sell them to a dealer will get them about 25 percent of their value.”
From THE PAPERBACK RACK, in Claycomo, MO:
“Due largely to the influx of mini or limited series, new comic sales have been excellent. For a change, DC is about equal with Marvel in hot titles produced this past year, although the total sales of the hot Marvel titles exceed the total sales of the hot DC titles. The reprint material from both companies has bombed, in my opinion.”
From COMICS EXCHANGE, in Baltimore, MD:
“As was the case last year, the collector of today seems to be the speculator of tomorrow, with everyone seemingly collecting for the investment rather than the enjoyment.
Marvel continues to set the pace by offering more of everything — More Secret Wars, more toy-related books, more X-Men spinoffs, more, more, more! But it’s a DC title that I think differs the most from guide; it’s DC’s Masters of the Universe mini series. These do very well for me when displayed as a set for $2.00 each. The key here is in the display. I think something needed in this business is more input on display and merchandising of our product.”
From ALL ABOUT BOOKS & COMICS, in Phoenix, AZ:
“In the past year we have found that the various paraphenalia like posters, wall hangings, patches, buttons, and bumper stickers have added to our sales, and that people enjoy collecting them.
Another thing we’re finding is that more collectors are beginning to pay attention to the writer of the comic as well as the artists. For example, Alan Moore.”
From JOE SARNO’S COMIC KINGDOM, in Chicago, IL:
“First Comics are doing well, and the better First titles are outselling 70 percent of DC’s titles. American Flagg and Jon Sable continue to do very well and back issue sales of these titles are moderate. Also, the recently picked-up Badger and Nexus titles continue to be strong, and the Capital back issues of Badger are hot sellers right now.
I firmly believe that an over-saturation point has been reached, and most collectors are very selective on what they buy. They have learned to stick to the important titles and to ignore the side titles that are of no importance in either the DC or Marvel universes. The promised changes in these universes will probably have an even greater impact on these ‘unimportant’ titles.”
From COMICS FOR HEROES, in Chicago, IL:
“TV advertised comics such as Transformers and G.I. Joe are fast becoming the best sellers in comic shops. This method of advertising is bringing in more new readers to the hobby than any other method. It has the potential to greatly increase the comic book readership. With all the new readers entering the market, some of the hottest back issue activity is in these types of comics. G.I. Joe and Transformers are probably two of the hottest books in the market leading to quick jumps in price.
The use of free publicity such as newspaper articles is also introducing new readers to comic books. Shatter and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have greatly been helped by this method. The back issues of Turtles have been helped by limited supplies to meet an increased demand, even after several reprintings.”