In two metal trunks in my garage are hundreds of comic books, carefully and neatly wrapped in plastic bags. This was my childhood hobby, rummaging through swap meets, purchasing the newest issues at the local drug store, even attending comic book conventions. I loved the stories but truthfully, it was the visions of untold riches that swirled through my mind as I witnessed the unprecedented rise in the value of several of my titles. At the top of the list was the story of Action Comics #1, the debut of Superman in 1938. Originally selling for 10 cents, by the time I began collecting in the 1970’s, news headlines trumpeted the sale of one mint condition issue selling for nearly $50 thousand dollars. Although most of my collection was from the 1960’s, it was already worth substantially more than when I first purchased the issues. If I could carefully preserve these issues in plastic bags, like all serious collectors, I could someday sell them and comfortably retire.
Yes indeed, and then reality intervened.
Pundits cite the years between 1993-1996 as the collapse of the comic book market. The reasons are complex ranging from the generation of numerous titles with confusing storylines, oversupply of first edition issues catering to nascent and veteran collectors, the exodus of key artists and writers to startup independent cult publishers, and the bankruptcy of one of the major comic publishers. The end result was the collapse of the extraordinary rise of the comic book market leaving many shattered dreams.
It was the classic description of a bubble. From the original tulip mania of the 1600’s, comic books, real estate, the Dot.com craze, to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies-every few years, a new bubble and trendy investment strategies emerge and the end result is always the same, a collapse and fortunes wiped out. There are certainly a few fortunate individuals who were able to time each market and sell at the top. The rest, including myself, were left with nearly worthless possessions. Most of the comic books I own are worth a fraction of their peak price.
Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.
Proverbs 1:19 (ESV)
I still own my comic book collection and occasionally wistfully view it. It was supposed to be my passport to happiness and a successful early retirement. Instead, it is exactly what it was created to be, entertaining reading printed on cheap paper. It was several years later that God entered into my life and led me to confess and repent of my sins and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. God showed me a better way to plan for my retirement, by placing my faith and trust in Him, the Word of God, not in the words of a comic book.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.