As a dealer, my aim is to give you all unbiased raw data and observations for each show I attend as a dealer.

We were very excited to start our comic con season 1 month early this year with Reedpop’s C2E2 rolling back 1 month to March this year. Lots of dealers hedged their bets on all their buys for the past 5 months of the offseason for a good start to their year for this show. The show was packed and weekend passes were almost sold out and there was certainly a lot of competition for people armed with a tax refund looking for rare comics, toys and collectibles. We were set up across the CGC booth and saw a lot of action.  


The following were my observations of the show:

1. Pre-Show Deals: The ripple effect of the Disney acquisition of Fox showed up big time before the show started as dealers were going nuts overpaying for keys related to Fantastic Four, X-Men and other speculation Marvel keys. I saw one dealer holding a clean looking Fantastic Four 4 mid-grade overpriced at $3400 which was possibly press-able for a VF or better. I told him he better get that he responded, “yeah…, but he isn’t giving it away.” Found out later he ended up buying it. It was a bit of a madhouse with dealers paying for keys. Lots of vendors flew in from St. Lois, California and such to re-stock for the con season. I soon figured out I better jump on the train and see which keys to overpay for if I had to.



The calm before the storm on Thursday: DC and Alex Ross had a huge presence at the show

2. X-Men: An imminent X-Men heat wave is bound for earth as: X-Men 1, Giant-Size X-Men 1, X-Men 94 were highly sought out for by dealers and attendees. Giant Size X-Men 1 was the most asked about book all weekend. I made it a mission to purchase one at the show. X-Men 94 has also arrived as many high grade copies were snatched up. By day 2 my X-Men 1 CBCS 1.5 was sold to a vendor. I wasn’t going to let it go easily as mine had $3,250 price tag.  So the vendor who bought it grabbed stack of books worth $6,000 for me to move the needle significantly enough for me to sell it to him at discount. Both my X-Men 94 CGC 8.0 and raw FN/VF were gone by Saturday morning. One of my buddies scored 2 X-Men 94s in VF at the show for value. I think he paid $300 or less each. I was so happy to pick up a restored Giant Size X-Men 1 for $550 from an attendee. The original owner happen to patch up a spine split with soft glue but other than that it looked VF. I wasted no time walking over to CGC to have CCS remove the glue, press, clean and for CGC to grade it. That cost me an additional $227. Hoping it all works out. Giant X-Men 1 is shaping out to be the next Hulk 181. Get ready to pay through the nose if you want one in 2019.



Mission accomplished in acquiring a copy and off to CCS and CGC you go.

3. Hulk 181: I was really curious how prices would be for the book of 2018 that took a bit of a fall during the off season. I almost decided to not bring mine out and had my CGC 6.5 copy priced for $3200 for the show. Attendees told me there were only a hand full in the room and were priced over GPA for mid grades and above. I almost traded the 181 for a few good keys and cash but the attendee decided to go with a raw Daredevil 1 GD- for $800 with another vendor. I had other vendors tried to undercut me but I would not move much as other dealers advised me to that they think it may follow the other X-Men keys in upward trajectory. I have seen the book gain at least 10% value since the last month.

4. Captain Marvel Keys: These books were not able to shake off the current state of the market at this show. Attendees and dealers wanted raw copies of keys instead of slabs. I had on my wall a Marvel Super-Heroes 12 CGC 8.0 and CGC 4.0, Marvel Super-Heroes 12 VF/NM and FN and Avenging Spider-Man 9 CGC 9.8, CGC 9.6, CGC 9.4 plus a Sketch CGC 9.4. Only the Avenging 9 CGC 9.4 and Marvel Super-Heroes 12 FN sold. I ended up trading the Avenging Spider-Man 9 CGC 9.4 for 2 high grade raw copies of Eternals 1 and cash. To also show the true disparity between comic collectors and toy collectors, I blew out my stock of common Captain Marvel Funko Pops along with a bunch of other pop exclusives to fans. Despite a successful box office weekend, comic collectors and dealers seemed skeptical for a quick bump in price on keys. It seems they want to see more of Brie Larson in the MCU before investing heavily.

5. Umbrella Academy and the Immortal Hulk: These 2 titles were easily the hottest modern books at the show. 1 vendor I spoke to had about 8 copies of the FCBD variants of Umbrella Academy 1 and those sold out rather quickly, I also had 4 regular cover copies of my own and they were all gone by early Day 3 of the show.




This Umbrella Academy couple was easily my favorite cosplayers. Chicago locals didn’t mess around when it came to partaking in the festivities of C2E2. Dolores even had 1 arm!

Pre-show I sold out of my stock of Avengers 684. Immortal Hulk 2 was also heavily asked about and I was able to acquire 1 copy of that and 2 copies of Avengers 684 on day 2 from a fan. The newly added Immortal Hulk 2 only lasted an hour. I heard the Alex Ross booth was really busy too.



I luckily was able to get these 2 signed items for my personal collection on my trip.

5. C2E2 variants: I didn’t hear much talk about Dark Red 1 but it looks like that flipped well for people. I payed a visit to Scorpion Comics and they sold out of the Vampirella Valentines Day Special Parillo C2E2 Virgin Variant. Many people asked about it after they sold out. I also got 1 Cosmic Rider Destroys Marvel History Crain C2E2 Virgin Variant for fun. Got my friend a Spiderman City At War Virgin KRS C2E2 Variant and that seems to be flipping at about double on the bay.

6. CGC was here for onsite and tons of people showed up. For the 1st time they had a check-in kiosk. This is what my text messages looked like after I signed in:



I liked the new process; you can now have the option to shop while you wait in the virtual line.



One of my friends was so ecstatic about his FF 1 coming back a 5.0 at onsite.

I saw a lot of people slabbing a lot of modern keys, 1st Cosmic Rider to name one. I saw a little bit less action of slabbing for variants bought at the show from last year but the CGC booth overall was super busy. On Friday, the line went through half the hall as people were checking in. At least 3 FF1s were getting onsited, one of them belonged to my friend and he tempered his expectation for a 4.0. I told him a 5.0 was in reach, low and behold he got a 5.0!

7. A visitor from far far away: I had a young lad visit my booth coming all the way from London, England. I for sure used the opportunity to pick his brain at the current market for comics in England. He was totally ecstatic about the prices at the show and felt they were very reasonable. I asked him how much the disparity is between priced here and in the UK at cons. So he pointed to my Hawkman 4 CGC 6.5 priced at $650 at the show and he said a raw 3.5 would sell for 1250 easily if converted in pounds. Yikes! I then asked him about UK price variants and if they were treated the same in value of books priced in US Cents. He told me that US Cents books were way more desirable and that UK Pence books were worth about half of the value of US Cents books to them. I love con attendees from England and I hope to see more coming to this show in the future.

8. Supernatural Bronze Age Keys: I was surprised there was a good amount of supernatural keys sought after. I came into the show with 3 Tomb Dracula 10s and came home with none. My Tomb of Dracula 10 NM- and Tomb of Dracula 10 CGC 8.5 sold before the show started and I ended up trading my Tomb of Dracula 10 CGC 3.5 at the end of the show for a Showcase 79 CGC 8.0 plus cash. People told me they think Tyrese may be Blade in the Morbius movie. You got to love good spec books that have long legs. Even TOD 1 was asked about which I had no copies of. It kind of baffled me because Dracula has been used already in the movies but hey it’s an undervalued key and investors see the value in getting this key. That I can’t dispute with. To bookend my supernatural sales, I sold a very nice looking Marvel Spotlight 2 VF+ and a Marvel Spotlight 28 NM- pence copy. Was asked a ton for WWBN 32 but I sold 2 slabbed copies twice during the offseason. It couldn’t even make it to the start of the 2019 con season. Seems like ages ago that I sold my WWBN 32 FN+ for $350 last year at C2E2.

9. Recap: To say the least buying was at a frenzy this year. Vendors and collectors were willing to overpay to keep up with trending keys. The X-Men hype is real and has arrived. Last year I heard a lot of complaints that the prices were too high and many collectors circled around the hall looking for key books at bargain prices. But this year I didn’t hear many of those complaints. The hall did have 3 vendors blowing out $2 and up books but nothing that I saw was $1 or 2 for a dollar. There were still some good values at the show even on Sunday as an attendee showed off his Avengers CBCS 9.4 he got for $125.  

10. Overall Environment: It felt like Wondercon as many attendees stepped up their game for their costumes. My friend told me, “Holy crap it’s so packed it feels like San Diego Comic Con.” Saturday and Sunday was extremely busy and cellphone connection was spotty. Luckily Reedpop had a free Wi-Fi for everyone in the hall so swiping cards was not a problem. I give big kudos to the Chicago locals for representing their iteration of their favorite characters. Some fans that dressed up told me they worked on their costumes for months.



This guy nailed his Harry Potter Costume

Recap: Many comic buyers were continuing the trend of looking for books to press, clean and submit to CGC. Was also very happy to see one of my customers from Baltimore Comic Con get a Thor 337 that he bought from me as a VF/NM and he got a CGC 9.6 at onsite. I don’t think this slabbing trend will be going away anytime soon. In conclusion, I saw many happy vendors, collectors and fans at a near sellout show. We had our best show ever in sales, hats off to Reedpop for making this happen.

*Notable Sales: X-Men 1 CBCS 1.5, Tomb of Dracula 10 NM-, CGC 8.5, CGC 3.5, Eternals 2 CGC 9.4, Sub-Mariner 1 VF+, SDCC 2 NM, X-Men 129 NM-, VF+, Spider-Man 2099 1 Toybiz NM, X-Men 164 NM+, Detective Comics 298 VG, Fantastic Four 50 CGC SS Sinnott, ASM 50 VG-, Avengers 57 VG/FN, Batgirl 23 Middleton CGC 9.8. X-Men 344 VF- Claremont Signed, Avenging Spider-Man 9 CGC 9.4, Fantastic Four Annual 6 VG+, Avengers 8 FN-, Marvel Spotlight 2 VF+

** Notable Buys/Trades: Giant-Size X-Men 1 VG- Restored,  Sub-Mariner 1 FN-, Detective Comics 880 CGC 9.6, Saga 1 CGC 9.4, Popular Comics 76 VG/FN, Showcase 97 CGC 8.0, Amazing Spider-Man 298 NM+,  Amazing Spider-Man 299 NM+,  Amazing Spider-Man 300 NM-, Amazing Spider-Man 301 NM-, Thor 337 NM-, 2 copies Avengers 684 NM+, Immortal Hulk 2 NM-

It was a pleasure again to write for you all. To good start to con season 2019,

Phil Lee

Vintage Comics And Toys


A rare picture of me holding even rarer Golden Age books at the Moving Pictures Booth. Wholy Batcow, I am holding the 1st appearance of the Batmobile!


Lots of action at the CGC booth, even for a Sunday.


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