I’ve spent some time reading the CGC chat boards and have come away with a cynical feeling about modern collecting. Don’t get me wrong, I won’t stop buying or reading what I love, but witnessing some of the speculation nonsense does put me off the hobby sometimes.
See here’s the thing: Skybound, a subsidiary of Image Comics, introduced an anniversary box set of comics this year at San Diego Comic Con. The box set comes with 10 comics, Issue 1 reprints of popular titles by Image Comics. There are two sets, of covers: a more common color version, and a less common black & white version. All box sets are sealed, so you don’t know what you have until the box is open. Included in each box is also a flash drive with PDF versions of all 10 issue Issue 1 books. Skybound sweetened the deal by randomly inserting “golden tickets” in some of the boxes. The “golden tickets” were bonuses which meant the possibility of an additional rare CGC 9.8 signature series book. A purchaser could potentially come away with an original issue 1 such as The Walking Dead, Clone, Thief of Thieves, Birthright or Outcast. (Use this link to see the full list of 10 comics.) The box set sold for $80/pc and was initially only available at the con. With the popularity of The Walking Dead, one can imagine the “feeding frenzy” over graded copies of the original series that appeared as a consequence of the “golden tickets” in these boxes. Enter the speculators.
Some of the “golden tickets” have been redeemed, however that one that matches The Walking Dead CGCs is not yet claimed. As a result, many fans are buying stacks of the anniversary boxes (now at prices in the range of $100 – $300) with the hope of landing a “golden ticket” for a CGC Issue 1 of The Walking Dead. Some speculators on the chat boards assume the book is so “rare,” is could easily command $10k for whoever owns it.
For my part, I purchased two boxes hoping to get one color edition and one black & white edition of the reprints for my collection. Both of my boxes were color and neither had a redeemable ticket. Since my purchases, I notice, unopened boxes are posting on eBay and disappear quickly as fans attempt to find the last elusive “golden tickets.” And because the ticket is not yet redeemed, the prices of remaining sets in the secondary market are being driven ever higher by speculator. In my opinion, it’s reaching ridiculous height. For some, this kind of marketing event generates revenue from second market sales. For others, this kind of marketing event is a complete turn off and reminiscent of events that led up to the comics bust in the 90s.
I think some speculation is good for the hobby, especially as I do believe there will never be another modern sleeper hit like The Walking Dead. However, to what end?
Images belong to Skybound.