Comic Book Collecting and Investing: Key Issues and Storylines

Updated on December 4, 2017
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Having many interests and an inability to make up my mind about which one to focus on is how I came up with my screen name: ControlledChaos1

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Comic Books Are Still for Kids—the Kid Inside Us All

Due to the recent surge of superhero movies, I've recently found the joy of comic book collecting again (with about a twenty-year absence from the hobby). I still had some of my original collection and began to go through them looking for what key issues I was missing. I came up with a list and began to try and track down the comics I needed. I found out one thing very quickly: COMIC PRICES HAD GONE UP BIG TIME!

This is, of course, what all collectors want, but I found that a lot of the newer stuff (from the 1990's and 2000's) demanded lots of dollars to take them home. This fact was a little worrisome, but unless you were buying CGC slabbed high-graded issues, the prices were still manageable if you had some disposable cash laying around. The desire to read, collect and profit (every now and then) from comics was still strong in me, so I decided to do so.

This article is a bit of a selfish one, I'll admit, as the key comic issues and storylines found below are the ones that I want to get for myself. They'll have a few notes along with them and won't be in any kind of real order, but all of them are worth adding to your collection. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, and hopefully you'll get some ideas on what comics you want to add to your collection.

Comic Investing / Collecting 101

Strange Behavior?

Do you read the comics you buy?

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Fantastic Four #112 --------------- Batman Adventures #12
Fantastic Four #112 --------------- Batman Adventures #12

Key Comics To Invest In

  • Fantastic Four Vol 1 #112, July 1971 "Battle of the Behemoths": While this is not the 1st Hulk vs. Thing story (FF #25), this one does have the best looking cover in my opinion. It's fairly affordable, but because it is black, very hard to find in NM condition.
  • The Batman Adventures #12, September 1993 "Batgirl: Day One": This is the first comic book appearance of Harley Quinn. Although Harley had a solid following up until the movie Suicide Squad came out, Margot Robbie's performance of that character made the price sky-rocket. This is one that I will probably hold off on buying unless I find it for a very good price; trading for it wouldn't be out of the question, but I wouldn't give up the moon for it.
  • Swamp Thing Vol 2 #37, June 1985 "Growth Patterns": Although you'll find the first cameo appearance of John Constantine (Hellblazer) back in issue #25, this is his first full appearance. The fact that Alan Moore did the writing keeps it in demand as well. They tried to put Constantine on TV and film, but so far, it's been nothing to brag about. One day, they'll do this character right and this issue will have much more interest.

Not Interested In DC Or Marvel? Try Valiant Comics

Some Key Valiant Comic Issues

  • Archer & Armstrong #0 (1992 Series): 1st Archer, 1st Armstrong.
  • Eternal Warrior #4 (1992 Series): 1st cameo of Bloodshot.
  • Magnus Robot Fighter #5 (1991 Series): 1st Rai.
  • Shadowman #1 (1992 Series): 1st Shadowman.
  • Shadowman #8 (1992 Series): 1st Master Darque (key villain).
  • Solar: Man of the Atom #3 (1991 Series): 1st Harada (major villain).
  • Solar: Man of the Atom #10 (1991 Series): 1st Eternal Warrior.
  • X-O Manowar #1 (1992 Series): 1st X-O Manowar.

Punisher Mini Series #3 ------------ New Mutants #98
Punisher Mini Series #3 ------------ New Mutants #98

More Key Issues To Add To Your Comic Collection

  • Punisher Mini-Series #1-5, January - April 1986: As far as Punisher key issues go, this series is more desirable to me than many of his earlier appearances; second to only his first appearance in Amazing Spider-man #129 as a matter of fact. This is the Punisher's first solo self-titled comic, and one in which we don't see him co-mingling with superheroes so much. Don't be misled by issues saying "four-issue limited series", they are five. There is a trade paperback that collects these issues titled "Punisher: Circle of Blood".
  • New Mutants Vol 1 #98, February 1991 "The Beginning of the End, Pt. 1": Lots of love for this one, but you'll want to pick it up because it is the first appearance of Deadpool (and Domino, to a lesser extent). The movie made it crazy expensive, especially if looking for a CGC graded copy in the NM range, but somewhat affordable if you're willing to go for a lower grade.

You'll Almost Always Find Powerful Scenes In The Most Sought After Comic Books

Reasons To Collect

If you buy comics only for investment, keep in mind that demand for comics are fickle. No collectible is guaranteed to go up. You may not get out of it what you put into it; that's why it's good to collect for enjoyment and investment, instead of for investment alone.

Awesome Comic Covers!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Deadpool #54 (Punisher vs Deadpool)Batman #251 (The Joker)Nick Fury Agent of Shield #4Cry For Dawn #5Wonder Woman Volume 2 #72Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 (Death of Supergirl)
Deadpool #54 (Punisher vs Deadpool)
Deadpool #54 (Punisher vs Deadpool)
Batman #251 (The Joker)
Batman #251 (The Joker)
Nick Fury Agent of Shield #4
Nick Fury Agent of Shield #4
Cry For Dawn #5
Cry For Dawn #5
Wonder Woman Volume 2 #72
Wonder Woman Volume 2 #72
Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 (Death of Supergirl)
Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 (Death of Supergirl)

Some Comics Are Highly Valued By Collectors Because Of The Cover Art

  • Deadpool Vol 1 #54, July 2001 "End of the Road Pt. 1": Two very hot characters on a cover done by an excellent artist has made this one a little difficult to find at a decent price. The credit to this 2001 cover goes to artist Steve Dillon.
  • Batman #251, September 1973 "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge": A classic 1973 Neal Adams cover with the Joker.
  • Nick Fury Agent of Shield Vol 1 #4, September 1968 "And Now It Begins": This artwork by Jim Steranko is the first time I ever bought a comic based solely on the cover. I didn't even follow the series up until that point.
  • Cry for Dawn #5, January 1991: Another comic that at least partly was bought by me because of the cover (solid stories in here too). Joseph Michel Linsner introduced Dawn to the world in this short story mini-series.
  • Wonder Woman Volume 2 #72, March 1993 "The Song of Creation": A 1993 cover in which Brian Bolland draws Wonder Woman with equal amounts of sexuality and strength.
  • Crisis On Infinite Earths #7, October 1985 "Beyond the Silent Night": A 1985 mini-series in which the DC universe is turned upside down. As you can tell by the cover, one of the worst was the death of Supergirl. Surprisingly more collectors buy this key issue because of the striking artwork by George Perez.

Swamp Thing #1 -------------- Werewolf By Night #32
Swamp Thing #1 -------------- Werewolf By Night #32

More Must Own Comics

  • Swamp Thing Vol 1 #1, November 1972 "Dark Genesis": The first appearance of Swamp Thing (House of Secrets #92) is way out of reach for most collectors, but this one has a lot going for it. Bernie Wrightson's amazingly creepy artwork, along with the fact that this has the 1st appearance of Anton Arcane (major villain) makes it a buy in my mind.
  • Werewolf by Night Vol 1 #32, August 1975 "The Stalker Called Moon Knight": Moon Knight makes his debut in this one. He's kind of a Marvel version of Batman, only with supernatural overtones.

Comic Speculation Plays

Quick Picks—Key Appearances and Storylines—Get These In TPB Form or Individual Issues

  • Astro City #1 - 3 (1996 2nd Series)
  • Batman Year 2: Detective Comics #575 - 578 (1987)
  • Hellboy In Hell #1 - 10 (2012)
  • Kingdom Come #1 - 4 (1996)
  • Planet Hulk Storyline, Incredible Hulk #92 - 105 (1999 2nd Series)
  • The Infinity Gauntlet #1 - 6 (1991)
  • Watchmen #1 - 12 (1986)

© 2017 Don

Any Suggestions On Which Key Comics To Invest In (Or Collect)?

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