Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Maybe We Should Have Put All That Stock Money In Comic Books Instead

So your stocks have crashed.

Well, don't panic; stocks go up and down.  That's their nature.

Of course, there are other things to invest in.

And, of course, everything's risky.

Some of the other investment vehicles are more fun though such as comic books.  Now, most comic books aren't worth anything monetarily.  There are too many copies of them, and no one really wants them.  Older comics, however, are a different story.

The oldest ones are Golden Age comic books from the 1930s and 1940s (there are some precursors beforehand, and the Golden Age stretches into the early 1950s, but we'll leave those topics to the comics historians for now).  The reason the Golden Age comics are rare is that there aren't many of them.  First of all, they were viewed as disposable like newspapers are, so many people who bought them just threw them out after they were read.  Second of all, most people who read them were kids, and they had fun with them, so they beat the crap out of them.  Many copies just were wore out by rereadings and play.  Third of all, when the war came, drives were held to collect and recycle materials for the war.  One of those was paper, so many comics ended up in the scrap pile for paper recycling.  Then, came the hysteria about juvenile delinquency after the war, when comics were viewed as dangerous corruptors of youth.  This was led by Fredric Wertham, who later sort of apologized in his book The World Of Fanzines).  This, just a few years after fighting the Nazis, notorious for burning books, led to Americans burning books, comic books.  Then, came time, some of the surviving books just rotted away if they weren't cared for (some literally turned to dust given the environmental conditions they were stored in--collectors who buy these books find they have bought a bag of paper chips).  As a result, the surviving books are rare.  Initially, comic book collectors just wanted to read these old stories because they weren't often reprinted.  Since then, fortunately, a lot of this material has been reprinted.  But, by then, people were already paying huge sums of money to compete for the remaining copies.  The result eventually led to a book selling for ten cents on the newsstand now going for over a million dollars.  Those kind of prices attract attention, so now some investors buy comics just as an investment.  Comics even get sealed in plastic boxes and graded by a professional grader, so people are buying comics they will never read (they can't even open them without destroying the plastic seal, which means they would have to get the book graded again).  It gets crazy.

Not that I am complaining.  I am happy to sell you a comic book for however much you want to spend on it.  In fact, I have some for sale here.

Are comics a good investment?  Maybe, maybe not.  It all depends if someone later on still wants the comic and is willing to pay more than you paid for it (also, you have to factor in inflation and other monetary changes over time as well as the expenses of money and time in maintenance and whatnot).  I do find comics fun though.  And, unlike stocks, even if no one wants this copy of a Porky Pig comic, then I can always get a chuckle out of rereading the story where Porky Pig and Sylvester The Cat get a pet octopus:

Classic, I tell you.

You can't quite get the same joy out of a penny stock certificate.

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