The Rise of the Mod-Speculator

Norman G. Robinson III Mar 22, 2018
The Amazing Spider-Man #361

Modern speculation or mod-spec is a current buying and selling strategy that focuses on "in early-out early" tactics.This is not the same as buying the Amazing Spider-Man #361 (1992) done by the team of Michelinie and Bagley. This would be considered "old news" by the mod-speculator crowd and not of interest. Even though this book recently hit number five most popular comic book (GoCollect). The mod-speculators are looking at new inventory with significant volume.

Ultimately, the timing seems to be the key to investing in recent modern comics or mod-spec. I interviewed one mod-speculator who believes that recent modern comics are the "perfect investing mechanism." Furthermore, the rapid potential high yield is an ultimately lower risk than say vintage comics which cost more. That same mod-speculator posits, "dialing into the fast-paced Modern Age book investing market may very well be the perfect investing mechanism."

Modern speculation is entirely different from standard speculation in that it's focus is turn time and only recent comics. Where the standard speculator can move up and down the chain of potential products from Silver, Bronze and Modern Age; the mod-speculator stays in the most recent comics, and increases purchase volume. During my initial interview with one such mod-speculator, he gave the example of the current craze over Amazing Spider-Man #796 (second printing Hawthorne Variant). His contention was, "risk only $50 to buy 20 pre-sale second prints in near mint condition, upon release in stores. There are only 1000 prints on this issue run." According to this mod-speculator, "That book is now running about $22 for a raw copy near mint." According to the mod-spec this has returned over $400 for the 20 books. From an expense of $50 to $400 profit, this gets everyone's Spidey-sense tingling.

Mod-speculators also adhere to the concept of value inertia another element to their rationale. We could refer to this as the turn and burn sales approach to comic book retail. Just be sure this inertia doesn't drag you down to the 8th Plane of Hell along with Red Goblin! Watch out; timing seems to be a key weapon in the mod-spec arsenal. Timing to paraphrase Musashi," isn't just important; it’s everything."

Many mod-speculators see little risk with recent moderns versus a more considerable investment in vintage Bronze or Silver Age comics. For $40 they can buy ten copies of a recent comic, and that same $40 would only buy them one mid-grade key from the Bronze Age. This is the most persuasive mod-speculation argument; essentially put down less to make more, potential increased profit with less risk. Let's not forget the dark side of this theory, getting stuck with books you can’t move or sell anytime soon. Yes, that does happen, just look at the 1990's for validation as to what can go wrong. The mod-speculators argue that good intel is key to proper speculation decisions and making a profit. While true, you are dancing on the head of a pin, slip up once, and you could fall off.

I prefer older moderns for speculation, like Amazing Spider-Man #362 (1992) script by David Michelinie with Mark Bagley on art. This is the second appearance of Carnage and a proper minor key to trade in. Often you can find them discounted at comic stores. After all, with the Venom catalyst coming to a theatre near you it seems like Carnage and Venom fans are still in a buying mood. Another comic I have sold for 50% return is Web of Spider-Man #1. This is a key and later creation for the ongoing saga of the Web-Slinger first issue new titled series. Much of my speculation centers around Spidey and his fanged fiendish friends' Venom and Carnage. If you decide to do mod-speculation, remember this simple rule: "in early -out early."

Care to Speculate?

GoCollect is looking for writers to speculate on comic collecting and investing. Check out jobs page to learn more.