Back Issues, Fantasy Marvel Comics, and Periodicals: The August 2023 Mailbag is Here!

It’s the most fun time of the month: It’s Mailbag time! Let’s dig into your questions and my answers from the month of August. You all crushed it this time. It was a blast answering all these questions.

Do you think it is possible we hit the end of the back-issue market? There are less and less rare finds to be had. There are only a finite amount of any given comic. At some point, isn’t it possible that the vast majority of wanted back issues are claimed and in the hands of individuals not interested in resale? – Stephen Adkison

I’ve actually thought about this a lot lately. Back in the day, you never knew what you were going to find when digging through a collection. You could look through a pile of random comics in an antique store and find The Avengers #1 for $10. That’s an extreme result — although it happened to me when I was a kid! — but indicative of the potential waiting for you. Now, every collection sort of feels the same, because they’ve all been picked through and every comic of note is no longer just a cool comic, it lives in a slab as an investment. I don’t think we’ll ever reach a point where “the vast majority of wanted back issues are claimed and in the hands of individuals not interested in resale,” if only because of the natural desire to profit off collectibles by many. But I do think that the part of me that believes I’ll randomly find Incredible Hulk #181 in the wild for a reasonable price needs to die, because it just isn’t realistic anymore. It probably hasn’t been for years, though.

That said, I think the back issue market will keep going in perpetuity. It’s just going to get increasingly difficult to get anything of note without paying a mint for it, which is already the case. It makes sense, though, just from a supply and demand standpoint. It isn’t just what you said either. Chuck Rozanski from Mile High Comics has written before about how it isn’t just collectors not wanting to sell but collections being thrown out, basements flooding, fires happening, and any number of other unexpected things popping up that results in supply diminishing. That’s certainly a key factor too. A lot of these comics were rare before and they’re only getting increasingly so. That’s just the way it is!

If Hickman were to do a revamp of a DC property like he did for the X-Men who would you want it to be? – Mike Ianuzo

The simple answer is “Whatever he wants.” I’d rather he work on the project he wants to work on. We kind of already know the answer to that question, though, as he almost tackled New Gods and Legion of Super-Heroes instead of House of X/Powers of X.

But if I had to pick and Hickman had to suffer the consequences, it’d be easy: a new android Hourman series with Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia! Go big! Go crazy! Have fun! Touch on the New Gods stuff a bit because Metron was in the original series! Also, I am a lifelong lover of android Hourman, so obviously I’d be down.

You are now the EIC of Marvel Comics & you have been given the green light to create a Marvel Black Label line (which will be named after one of the old Marvel anthologies), what writer & artist (or writer/artist) are you tapping for your first book and what character/team? – Jon Auerbach

I mean, it’s obvious, but Daniel Warren Johnson would probably be my first pick, and I’d let him do a street-level Spider-Man mini-series in the vein of my favorite commission of his. I’d also hire Emily Carroll to tell a Doctor Strange story, Tillie Walden to write and draw a Runaways book, and Cliff Chiang to write and draw a Daredevil mini, and I think my focus would primarily be on single characters rather than teams (although getting Ryan North to write a three issue Fantastic Four series here with his Slaughterhouse-Five collaborator Albert Monteys on art would be a tempting pairing with his regular book, and something that allows him to get a bit more bonkers). Teams are a bit more difficult and less fun for a shorter series, I think, and the idea for this line would be for it to be creators unleashed to try and tell their defining story with the biggest icons in the Marvel universe. This would be a nice starting point, I think.

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