Return on 401K vs Comic Books and other musings

I checked my 401K today for some random reason and it’s actually looking pretty decent, considering the state of the economy and the world. I then checked my already graded and large stack of yet to be graded comics that I purchased mostly from 2010-2018 and the percentage increase in the value of my comic books over the last ten years surpasses that of the 401K by a significant margin.

Of course this is always subject to change…the stock market could crash or the collectible comic market could evaporate at any moment, but I’ve been watching the comic market for nearly 40 years and I don’t believe it’s going anywhere (I can’t say the same for the stock market). In fact, with all of the uncertainty in 2020 during the pandemic and millions of unemployment claims, the value of the comics that I’ve checked so far have actually increased as much as 50% in the last six months alone (I use GPA, a website that tracks graded comics values for my numbers).

I can’t be sure, but I think what is happening is that while some collectors need to sell their books for much needed cash, many collectors are still working and snapping up books left and right. I know of more than several people that spent their entire stimulus checks on comics. Unfortunately I needed that money to live on and didn’t buy any comics for nearly four months. Thankfully this was during the period that the industry was basically shut down, so I didn’t miss much.

So the bottom line is: I love comics and that’s why I buy them. That I’ve been collecting for forty years and have an eye for what will increase in value over time just happens to coincide with the fact that I happen to have good taste, so all of the money I’ve spent will not have gone to waste. I’ve got around 10k of them and can tell you where I bought nearly every single one of them, whether it be at a local IGA in Lincoln, MT (Wolvie 1, Thor 337) or in an eBay auction back in 2007 (a big Sub Mariner run I got for insanely cheap). I can chronicle my entire life beginning at around age ten with the various comics I’ve acquired over the years.

One random example is on Christmas Day in 1977 I vividly remember reading Defenders 54 (along with a big stack of other Defenders issues) and listening to my new KISS Alive II LP on my new (and very cheap, I might add) record player. I was in 9 year old heaven. Another random example is riding my cousin’s bike to the local 7-11 in Tucson to buy the very first issue of Marvel’s Contest of Champions (their first ever ‘limited series’ which was a novel idea that took off in the years to come). This was in 1982, so I can tell you exactly where I was at…just as I can similarly tell you that using any comic that I own. One day I’d like to write an autobiography in comics. That might be fun to an audience of me, but that’s who I write for so…

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