Maybe you made a fortune on Apple stock. Or maybe you rode Facebook to an all-time high.
Or maybe not.
Like most forms of investing, stock investing is hardly a sure-fire path to riches, but one that seems to come close might be comic book investing -- if you invest wisely. For example, 80 out of a selected 100 comic book titles outperformed the stock market since its lowest point during the 2008 downturn until the beginning of 2016.
So just for fun -- and hopefully for profit -- I asked an expert for advice: John Dolmayan, the founder of Las Vegas-based Torpedo Comics (and the drummer for System of a Down.) Over the years, John has helped his customers make huge profits by recommending investment-quality, high-end titles with lasting value. (Check this out for an in-depth look at John's entrepreneurial journey.)
The premise was simple. I told John I was willing to invest $10,000 spread across four or five titles. His job was to advise. My job is to hunt down the books he recommends. I could have bought them from Torpedo Comics... but as John told me, the search is part of the fun of comic book collecting.
So far I've found two books for the right price at the grade he recommends: Incredible Hulk #181 (who doesn't love Wolverine?) and Fantastic Four #48.
And John is right. The hunt is a lot of fun.
Here are John's recommendations:
If you can get these books for $10,000 or less, you've done very well and are well on your way to great profits in the future. (If you were my client I would recommend buying one book with your entire budget, but that's not as much fun.)
So enjoy yourself because, after all, they're comics!
Note: CGC and CBCS are the two grading companies I trust, and are the industry standard for graded books. Do not buy ungraded books online unless you are an expert-level grader or are buying from an Overstreet advisor.
1. X-Men #1: CGC/CBCS 2.0 grade
X-Men #1 is the first appearance of popular mutants Professor Xavier, Beast, Iceman, Cyclops, Angel and Marvel Girl (Jean Grey aka Phoenix) and Magneto.
It's extremely undervalued right now, mostly because Marvel has essentially cut mutants from the current universe. I presume this is the same ploy being used to force Fox to sell back the Fantastic Four movie rights to Marvel, who have nearly erased those characters from the present Marvel comic book universe.
A 9.8 copy sold for over $500,000. Wholesale trading for a nice 2.0 copy is taking place from $1,200 to $1,500.
You can comfortably pay $1,600 to $1800, and even up to $2,000.
2. Incredible Hulk #181: - CGC/CBCS 9.0 grade
Hulk #181 is the first full appearance of the Wolverine, arguably the most popular character in the Marvel universe.
This book is one of the safest investments in comics, constantly accruing more value and always one of the Bronze Age books people ask for. Wolverine's first appearance is on the last page and last panel of Incredible Hulk #180 but issue #181 is the more sought after and valued copy.
9.8 graded copies go for as much as $18,000. Wholesale trading of a 9.0 copy range from $2,000 to $2,400. You can expect to pay $2,500 to $3,000.
3. Fantastic Four #48: CGC/CBCS 9.4 grade
This issue boasts the first appearance of both the Silver Surfer and the mighty Galactus.
This is one of the books I most recommend to my clients. Buy as many copies as you can, as it's on the upswing.
For the past decade this book has been a slow seller due to three horrible Fantastic Four movies by Fox Pictures. Sooner or later one of two things will happen: Fox will make a great Fantastic Four movie, or Marvel will buy back the rights, ensuring a terrific Fantastic Four movie, since Marvel just keeps making better and better films. Either way you win!
9.8 copies sell for $20,000. Wholesale trading of 9.4 copies range from $2,000 to $2,900. You can expect to pay from $2,900 to $4,000.
4. Hero For Hire #1: CGC/CBCS 9.2 grade
One of the hottest Bronze Age books, year in and year out, boasting the first appearance of Luke Cage, who now has his own Netflix series. This book is incredibly hard to find in grades above 9.4, and 9.8 graded copies sell for over $20,000.
Wholesale trading of this book ranges from $900 to $1,200. You can expect to pay from $1,500 to $2,000 or more.
Good luck and good hunting!