Home Comics Indie Comics Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books

Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books

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Well, sort of. It’s well known that some used book prices on Amazon are just kind of…loony. Take for instance, Monsters by Ken Dahl, an excellent book about a guy who thinks he has herpes by Ken Dahl, published by Secret Acres but now out of print. (A new edition is planned for next year.) In the meantime, you can get a used copy for a mere $394.94… or brand new for $11,964.08.

$11,964.08

Is this real? I doubt it. I know most of these books mentioned below can be found placidly waiting in bargain boxes at cons. Paging Frank Santoro!

I know a lot of old manga books do legit go for some high prices. For instance, TokyoPop’s Rave Master (4,5,6,7,8,9) in a nice set, goes for $168 in library binding (that’s hardcover) and
but $8,038.21 used. And they wonder why people turn to piracy! 


Some other pricey old books: Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Volume 5 (v. 5) = $499.00

Julie Doucet & Michel Go W/DVD – $173.16

The recent Passion of Gengoroh Tagame by now defunct Picturebox is listed at $226.73 used, and $598.77 new. I know this book does have a loyal fetish following so…supply and demand.

Another Picturebox book, C.F.: Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 by Fort Thunder alum CF is listed at $134.62 used, $154.47 new. Glad I saved my copies!

Digging around some more long gone publishers, I found this from Highwater, Mat Brinkman’s Teratoid Heights at $220.00. That was a great book!

And then there’s Buenaventura Press, which published Souvlaki Circus by finnish artist Amanda Vähämäki $265.35 used, or $331.68 new/

Oddly, the book that you’d think would be the most valuable, the huge epic Kramers Ergot 7 goes for a mere $140.00 used and only $112.50 new! The retail price was $125 so this is a bargain. Some people in the comments mention copies going for $1000 back in the day—the print run was destroyed by mold under mysterious circumstances—but obviously now its just another large, beautiful object to keep around the house.

Not just out of business publishers. I checked Dark Horse and found The Hellboy Collection: The Story So Far Volumes 1-7 Bundle going for $2,881.50. I used to have all these but I think I sold them to the Strand for $20. =(

The moral of the story? Never throw anything out! I don’t!

7 COMMENTS

  1. There are Amazon marketplace sellers who routinely mark up books that are listed on Amazon proper as OOP (or ‘available from these sellers’) to ludicrously high sums in the hope that someone might need a copy in a hurry.
    I’ve seen in print copies of my own books being offered for sale a several hundred dollars. It’s just attempted opportunism.

  2. I have mixed feelings on this. There’s no doubt there are a significant number of, say, comics fanzines from the 1960s, or small press publications from the 1980s, that are very rare by any standard — a distribution of 50-100 copies when initially published. Even if most were saved (which, for the 1960s ‘zines, is unlikely), they are still rare. So, if they command hundreds of dollars today, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

    That said, it always boils down to supply and demand. Unless there are people with deep pockets looking for some of these vary hard-to-get items, they have no value. Conversely, if a lot of people want an item that is not at all rare, its price will not at all match its available circulation.

    For example, I’ll wager there are easily 50,000 to 100,000 copies of “Incredible Hulk” #181 out there, yet even a mid-grade, non-CGC copy commands several hundred dollars. High-grade CGC copies sell for thousands. Yet this book is not at all rare.

  3. Have you ever tried looking for some Theo Ellsworth minis on amazon and see them go for thousands of dollars, I just want to read some of these books, and I can’t.

  4. dang! I couldn’t believe it when a friend of mine actually sold a copy of James Jean’s process recess book for $650 on ebay about 5 years back, but it looks like the on amazon the value has dropped significantly. I’ve been looking to buy a few of the VIZ editions of Tezuka’s Phoenix, the ones I wand 1,2, and 10 I always see on amazon for around $80-$100+ which is absurd. I’ve given up and am hopefully waiting for a reprint.

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