Tag Archives: ebay

My Comic Life With eBay: A Retrospective

Today’s post comes from Mike Haynes, the founder of Panels of Awesome.

Usually, I avoid collecting comics. If a comic is really good, I’ll grab a couple issues and read them but I rarely “collect” the comics. There’s really only one title that I’ve tired desperately to collect from issue 1 to the latest issue and that, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who knows who I am, is Amazing Spider-Man.

When I got back into comics, after avoiding them for a couple of years, I grabbed the latest issue, which was probably somewhere around #519 or 520. I read it, I liked it. I had to have more of it so I started heading to my local shop and picking up back issues. This little plan worked out nicely for a while until I started finding massive gaps in my collection that would require much more effort to fill. Enter eBay. Needless to say, the website has helped me fill in the entire run from the 1999 relaunch until now, annuals included. Where would I be without it? Probably dead or crying. Here’s a couple of the rarer issues I was able to get my hands on thanks to eBay and, obviously, the people who decided to sell the comics in the first place.

Amazing Spider-Man #39 (Volume 2):
This issue, entitled ‘Nuff Said, is a fairly interesting one for the fact that there’s not a single line of dialog in the entire book aside from a quick blurb about how the issue was actually thought up as well as the breakdown of all the pages courtesy of JMS. The story shifts through the main characters as they go about their regular days. Mary Jane wakes up, shoots some photos and goes to a movie premiere before calling it a night. When we shift to Aunt May, she’s at the local library canceling her Daily Bugle subscription, because of it’s unfair coverage of Spider-Man, and is switching to a newspaper that is much more neutral. Jump to Peter and we find that he’s, as usual, being a hero. He saves a couple people from a fire before heading home and falling asleep thinking about Mary Jane, who’s now living alone in LA. It’s surprising how an issue with absolutely no words can somehow be more interesting than many issues that are filled with them.
Price payed on eBay: $3.00 (Plus shipping)

Amazing Spider-Man #30 (Volume 2):
This issue, in addition to introducing one of the most important characters in his run, is actually the issue that kicked off J. Michael Straczynski’s run on Amazing Spider-Man. The character introduced is Ezekiel, who would prove to be a very important part of Peter’s life during the run of JMS as it related to the totemic aspect to Spider-Man’s past. Aside from showing Ezekiel for the first time, the issue is fairly simple in design. It’s mostly just a “day in the life” style story as Straczynski gets his feet wet to the world of Spider-Man and shows us how Pete’s been dealing with the numerous changes to his life recently. So, while it might not be the most action-packed issue, it’s monumental in the sense that JMS’ six year run started right here. Funny story, I went into a shop and asked the owner about buying this issue and he told me that it would run me about $50. I checked eBay and, as you can see, got it for quite a bit less.
Price payed on eBay: $4.50 (Plus shipping)

Amazing Spider-Man #36 (Volume 2)
This issue, known to many as “The Black Issue”, is the comic that was released in 2001 which explored the effects of the 9/11 attacks on the heroes of the Marvel U as well as the city of New York. It’s a very powerful issue that shows the police and firefighters doing everything that they can, with a little bit of help from the Marvel heroes, to locate survivors and save the lives of those who fell victim to the horrific attacks. The best part about this issue is that, while it’s a Spider-Man comic, there are a number of cameos from different heroes and villains in the Marvel U that really give the comic book that much more impact. More importantly, instead of showing the superheroes as the ones who are rescuing survivors and saving the day, the emphasis is put on the policemen and firefighters being the true heroes. The best example of this is the great final shot of the comic in which the superheroes are placed in the background of the panel with the police and firefighters placed in the foreground indicating just how much more important their presence was at ground zero than that of the fictional superheroes. Overall, it’s a stunning issue that is easily the jewel of my Amazing Spider-Man collection.
Price payed on eBay: $35.00 (Plus shipping)

When I was looking around for issue #36, I tried the same shop as I did for issue #30 and the owner told me that the comic would run me $150.00 and that he could put me on a layaway plan if I wanted. Needless to say, looking back on this all, eBay’s been pretty good to me. It’s hard to imagine what my comic collection (not to mention my wallet) would be without it and I know for a fact that, somewhere down the road, I’ll probably require it’s services again.

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Ebay Week Day 2 – Comic Lots: Buying in Bulk

Welcome to the second day of Ebay week at Your Comic Relief! Yesterday we covered single issue purchasing, so, the logical progression from single issue comics is finding lot issues. What is a ‘lot’? A lot is several items clumped together to be sold as a group. There are two main kinds of lots, specific lots and random ones. Each has certain pros and cons that you should take into consideration before placing your bid. Keep in mind that each bid on Ebay is final. The different lot kinds may have different names depending on who you are talking to, but I will be referring to them as random and specific.

Specific Lots

Specific lots, such as this (which is a good example of niche comics being a great bargain) is a set of two or more comics that are sold together as a unit, and are clearly defined, set issues at set standards of quality. That is to say, there are certain issues that a person is selling, and you are aware up front of what you are purchasing. Specific lots are great if you are looking to purchase a run of comics, or just really like Daredevil. Important things to consider here include quality. If you’re getting an amazing bargain, at what cost to the comics is it? If the comic is listed as “Good Condition” that’s not necessarily a good thing. Comic grading is something you should definitely become familiar with before delving too much into the world of Ebay, don’t worry though, all that will be covered this week as well. Additionally, look to see if the comics are bagged and boarded already, or if you will have to do that yourself. Look for pictures, especially if you are not entirely sure about the comic grading system.

Random Lots

Random lots, as you may have guessed by now, contrast with specific lots in that they are lots in which you do not know which exact comics you will be receiving. They are usually larger; a seller is more likely to sell you a random selection of 100 comics than they are to advertise themselves as “random 5 comics.” Advantages of random lots include lower prices relative to specific lots, however, you don’t really know what you’re getting, and you could be getting 75 Star Trek comics, which are worth more as ash than as comics, or you could wind up with some great deals. If you are a collector that values the monetary worth of their comics, even if you have no intentions of selling them, one gem may make the whole purchase worth while. A few months ago I purchased 160 comics for roughly $45 US, and I got some great stuff in there, along with some complete crap.

Finding Lots

To specifically search for lots we much delve into the realm of Advanced Search. But, dear reader, do not be afraid, the advanced search will not hurt you, it is there to aid you. If you scroll roughly half way down, you will see a section called “multiple item listings” this is what we are looking for. You can define a minimum, maximum, or exact number of comics you are looking to buy at once, or just click the lot checkbox, and it will bring up anything. This will greatly aid you in your search.

Anything else?

As always, make sure to check Life of a Welshman for additional examples and links! If you have any questions or comments, leave a comment and let me know. By the way, all the pictures you see posted on these articles are off issues I have personally obtained from lots, or in yesterday’s case single issue orders. You can count on this theme to continue through the rest of the week. Specifically note how terrible the Star Trek comic is…

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Ebay Week Day 1 – Finding Single Issue Bargains

Attention all! Ebay week if (finally) underway! After many false starts, including yesterday (my job started that day and I completely lost track of time), I almost failed uploading tonight as well due to the storm, but I think I have a window of time big enough to get this post up. This week should prove to be fun, I even have a guest post from Mike Haynes of Panels of Awesome, but that’s for later. So, let us begin, how many times have you missed a single issue that isn’t in your pull box, or you have a run of old comics and are missing a few issues? Well, Ebay can be a wondrous source of single issue comics, even if you are not looking for one particular comic, but you’d like to collect some back issues anyway. While the amazing deals are out there, We, as the comic book community are still feeling the effects of the comic speculation bubble, and as a result there are a lot of overpriced comics due to overspeculation, and a lot of general crap floating around. But hopefully with these few tips will help you accurately search out what you are looking for. Before I start however, I have to say that this is merely a bargain hunting strategy, and if you happen to be looking for Ultimate Spiderman #1 Variant, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay top dollar.

Speculation, What is it, and how does it affect me?

Comic prices are very interesting, as there is no simple linear rule to defining the prices (eg, older = more expensive), as the aforementioned speculation. First though, we must address the issue of, what is speculation? Speculation, put simply, and in the context we are viewing it, is the act of speculating or guessing that a particular item, in our case comic books, will one day become valuable, or that it can be resold for more later. Speculation, literally defined means trading with the purpose of making profits, and I’m sure you’ve seen this, such as when Captain America #25 was released, and it was immediately being sold, or attempted to be sold for $25 dollars on Ebay even though my local comic shop was selling them for the standard $2.99. The first printing was fairly limited however, and they probably sold. As much as this is something that does not please me, I don’t believe my hobby should really be belittled by others for profit, it is a viable trade strategy. We saw the same attempts with the Death of Superman, but DC printed an incredibly large number of those issues, and they’re now found in bargain bins pretty much everywhere. So, the most expensive comics will be the old rare ones, followed by more recent comics being sold by people trying to make a quick dollar, but if you’re searching for something a little more obscure (ie, not a hot item), from the 70-90’s, you’re sure to find a great deal.

What should you, as an honest comic collector take from all this? The short story is, if you are hoping to pick up an important issue you may have missed, Ebay is probably not the place. Heck, the internet is probably not the place you want to look. My advice would be to check out other comic book locations in your local area. Chances are one of them heard the issue was going to be big, and ordered some extras, especially if there is a comic book store located in a cit around you, such as midtown comics in NYC, or a very small comic shop, that probably doesn’t get many patrons is also a good candidate; basically anything on either extreme if your first choices aren’t working out.

Finding Single Issue Bargains

Moving on to what Ebay and the internet can do for you, instead of what it can’t. For this installment of Ebay week, I will be giving some examples and pointers of good search methods, some of which can be applied to finding just about anything on Ebay. First off, know what you are looking for, or alternatively, know that you are not looking for anything in particular, and just browsing. If you have never used Ebay before I suggest you do some browsing, and test searches before committing to anything, it can be daunting, and you want to make sure you are getting the best deals. First off, make use of the categories if you are just browsing, but if you are looking for a particular item, it would be best to not limit your categories due to poorly categorized items, a good example of this would be listing an autographed comic under collectibles, or memorabilia. Also, while browsing/searching, be sure to look to the left hand of your screen. The upper section allows you to limit your search to categories and sub-categories, such as only silver-age comics. Below that allows you to limit or expand your search to include Ebay stores as well as those who offer free shipping. Now, onto the specifics, when searching Ebay, instead of just searching “Signed Thor comic” and taking the first thing that pops up, do alternate searches using synonyms, such as autographed, graphic novel, or include the author or illustrator. Doing this requires you to make good use of the watched items feature. Just click “Watch this item,” and come back to all your favorites later. Doing this allows you to really see what the bargains are. I’ve picked up a good number of comics for exceptionally cheap, such as Journey into Mystery #123 for about $12 US, or the occasional bargain for $3-5 US like the last issue I needed my for Official Marvel Handbook series. However, don’t be afraid to be patient, if you’re in a rush you’ll make mistakes. In my hurry to collect and read all the issues of Civil War I had missed, I ended up spending way more than I had to, and then shipping on top of that! Remember to look for deals on shipping, many sellers will offer them.

Addendum: For examples of what I’m talking about, see my other blog “Life of a Welshman” for proof that great bargains DO exist out there! Today’s entry can be found here.

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Essential Info: Ebay Week

Ebay week has been slated to start on Monday, May 26th here at Your Comic Relief, and will run until Sunday June 1st.  However, there will be Day Zero special Ebay event at Life of a Welshman, so check in there on the 25th of May, and throughout Ebay week, as there will be information there all week supplemental to everything that’s going on here.  I have some fellow bloggers who may be contributing a guest article, and they will be announced later this week.  There are still spots open in the schedule if anyone still wants to write an article, artists are also welcome to contact me if they would like to do a themed comic strip.  Personal update: 3 days till graduation…

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Happy Mday, and an Announcement

I hope everyone had a good Mday (I’m proud, I came up with that by myself).  I myself went out to dinner with my mother at a nice snazzy restaurant.  Things are getting busy for myself right now, with five (5) days left until graduation, this year has been pretty crazy.  Not that I’ll be talking about that now, I may elaborate on it in Life of a Welshman, my fairly new personal blog to discuss all that, but suffice to say I’m excited.  In addition to a diploma, I will also have upwards of 200 new comics to read.  Why 200?  Well, possibly even more than that, you see, I’ve been busy recently.  So over the past 4-7 weeks (probably since midmarch) I have not found time in my schedule to read comics, yet I have continually gone out and purchased them every few weeks, thanks to the box I have at my local comic shop.  Assuming 5-7 comics a week, that’s already around 50 comics.  I picked up another huge haul from Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd.  Then on May 4th, a town near where I live hosted its semi-annual rummage sale, where I found comics going for 50 cents a pop.  Needless to say I think I spent around 30-40 dollars there, and they were all good deals, mostly from the late 70’s to the mid 90’s.  Plus the occasional ebay shipment over the past few weeks – Ebay is a HUGE weakness of mine.

It was with this realization that I decided that next week, or the week after depending on the feedback I get (either through comments or email to yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com) will be Ebay week.  In which I will discuss the joys and possible pitfalls of Ebay, as well as elaborate for all of you my massive comic acquisitions, complete with full bodied reviews, and rapid fire review sections.  It is now that I come to ask something of you.  For this week long extravaganza, I would like to have one or two guest articles, comics, or reviews.  So, if you are interested, send me a message or an email, again my contact email is yourcomicreliefblog@gmail.com, or even just leave a comment.  Let me know if what you would like to do, and what topic you are planning on addressing.

One last thing, I have recently started using twitter.  I’d like to start using this as a feedback and discussion tool with my readers, as well as a notification system for when I post a new article.  So, go ahead and follow me, and I’ll do my best to follow each one of you.

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