After eight years of having them in storage, I recently got nine long boxes and two egg crates worth of comic books back into my possession. Now, it’s time to dive in and see what’s in there!
I’ve been collecting comics regularly since about 1993, getting sucked back into the world with the aftermath of the Death of Superman, which was still going on when I started buying. For a while, I kept my buying simple – the four monthly Superman comics which were shaped into a weekly storyline – before I would branch out into more.
After graduating from college, I would lug large boxes of monthly comic books and collected editions from apartment to apartment, seven in all, before I finally left them in my parents’ house when I moved to Chicago in 2009. With the impending sale of their house, they recently brought them all back to me. Props to the high school kid my dad got to put them in his car and my downstairs neighbor who helped me get them into my hall closet. Those things are heavy!
I have a fairly good idea of what’s inside the boxes, but having them back in my possession gives me the chance to go through all of them and upload each piece of my collection into a database, so I can keep track. And thus, THE LONGBOX PROJECT was born.
I decided to use Comic Book Realm, a free comics database website to help me organize the books. The service helps me keep track of what I have in my collection and gives me an estimate of what the books are worth, so all values listed here are based on what the site tells me.
The first box opened up mostly included books from 2007 and 2008, not really the most collectible of eras. But it did come up with some interesting finds.
More Bucks From The Bat
Up until the recent Rebirth era, I’ve never been a regular Batman reader, but this box included 12 issues of Batman and 10 issues of Detective Comics that provided a good amount of value.
The issues of Batman are written by Grant Morrison as he built up to Batman’s “death” – really, his time displacement – in Batman R.I.P. and Final Crisis. Eight out of12 of the Morrison-penned issues of Batman that I pulled from the box have seen some increases in value of $2 or $3 each. It’s not much, but it’s nice to see when you’re doing this sort of thing.
Detective Comics hasn’t really seen the increase in value over the cover price that Batman did, with all but one of the 10 books I found staying within a dollar of what I paid for them. The exception to this was Detective Comics 850. The issue, with a cover price of $3.99, is the finale to the “Heart of Hush” story written by Justice League cartoon writer Paul Dini with art by Dustin Nguyen, and is listed on Comic Book Realm as having a value of $30, which makes it the most valuable book in this portion of my collection so far!
What could possibly bring the book’s worth up that high? It’s not the creative team or the story, although both are top notch. No, according to the notes on the issue, Detective Comics 850 is the first appearance of the Gotham City Sirens team, comprised of Bat-femme fatales Catwoman, Poison Ivy and the ever-popular Harley Quinn. With the announcement in December that Warner Bros. would be developing a Gotham City Sirens film to capitalize on the popularity of Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, it’s no surprise that interest in this issue has gone up.
Countdown to Mediocrity
There were a lot of issues of the weekly DC Comics series Countdown and its related miniseries in this box. After the critical success of DC’s first weekly series, 52, Countdown – which was eventually renamed to Countdown to Final Crisis – was a pretty big disappointment. Despite its name change, the series really had nothing to do with the Grant Morrison-penned miniseries thanks to some editorial miscommunication. Overall, the weekly event just wasn’t very good, with stories no one really cared about.
Focusing on the newly-returned DC Multiverse, Countdown and its ancillary miniseries jumped from parallel Earth to parallel Earth for various missions. Usually, in a situation like this, you’d see the introduction or return of a popular character or concept that would drive certain issues up. Nothing really seemed to boost the popularity of these issues, though.
In fact, of the 45 or so Countdown-related issues I found in this first box, the only ones that seemed to have any value were two alternate covers to the Countdown Arena miniseries.
Arena pit Multiversal versions of DC heroes in battle, so it allowed for some fantasy fights for fans to enjoy. The main versions of the covers featured art by Andy Kubert, with variants drawn by Dale Eaglesham. While the Kubert covers haven’t gained in value, the variants all went from $3.99 to $10. Randomly, I picked up the Kubert covers for issues 1-2 and the variants for issues 3-4, so I managed to get some bang for my buck there.
With the first of the 11 boxes finally cataloged, there’s a small profit for what the collection is worth over what I paid for it, though not at all as much as I would have hoped.