Friday, July 25, 2008
Here's part of a talk I had with Tom Spurgeon of ComicsReporter about comics and recessions. Some of this is stuff I've said elsewhere, but I think the general theory is true — we need to look at front-market and back-market separately, and then you need to look at how the structure of the comics market at any given time either exposes or protects the field from external forces.
Tom is a little surprised I consider the back-market in these discussions, but I think the scale of it is such that it shouldn't be overlooked. I did some figuring a few years ago, using eBay volume and some guesswork, which found it in the low single-digit hundreds of millions, comparable with what Diamond was selling that year. I no longer track back-issue sales to the degree I once had (where I used to track everything when writing my own price guide, as an Overstreet advisor I tend to focus on my specialty area, numeric supply), but I do still think it's a part of the comics economy that definitely impacts the frontmarket. Many of the dealers are the same people who sell new comics, and the health of the backmarket can also be a reflection of enthusiasm in the field.
Definitely check out ComicsReporter when you can — a great resource to have.