Traditional investors stick to stocks, bonds and maybe real estate, while more adventurous types try to profit off rare wines, fine art or collectible watches. But what about comic books, some of which have far surpassed gains made in the equities bull market of the last six years?
Eighty original comic books have exceeded the 39.1 percent appreciation of the Standard & Poor’s 500 from the beginning of 2008 to the start of 2016, according to a new analysis of 108 comic books from GoCompare.com and comic expert Duncan McAlpine.
Those that experienced the biggest jump in value by percentage weren’t necessarily the most valuable or the oldest comic books. Comics with the first appearance of characters, even ones who are sidekicks or secondary, often have a good return, says Alpine.
For example, the comic book with the biggest six-year percentage increase was The Batman Adventures #12, which was published in 1993 and sold at the time for $1.25. The issue, which introduces The Joker’s daughter Harley Quinn, has seen its value skyrocket 26,567 percent to $800.
Following that is The New Mutants #98, published in 1991 at $1 a copy. This issue, which debuted the anti-hero Deadpool, has appreciated 4,900 percent to $250.
Both saw their appreciation accelerate in 2012, according to the analysis, and also include characters that have or will star in upcoming films, another key reason for the increase in value, McAlpine says. Deadpool came out in February and Suicide Squad, which features Harley Quinn, will be released in August.
The Brave and the Bold #25, which introduces the Suicide Squad, saw its value increase more than sixfold from $925 in 2008 to $6,000 this year. The issue published in 1959 originally sold for 10 cents.
Not all comic books outpaced the S&P 500, though, and should serve as a warning for people who think buying an old comic book is a better bet for their retirement savings than a well-diversified portfolio. Twenty-four issues in GoCompare.com’s analysis fared worse than stocks, while one nearly matched the market’s performance.
The worst performers were New York World’s Fair Comics #1 — published in 1939 and sold for 25 cents — which lost 6 percent of its value from 2008 ($31,000) to now ($29,000), and U.S.A. Comics #1 —published in 1941 and sold for 10 cents — which depreciated 9 percent from $22,000 to $20,000.