Comic Book Prices are Ruining My Superhero Love


Emily Rusinko, Contributing Writer

At what point does money outweigh Marvel?

I have been obsessed with Marvel for 7 years now, and it all began with The Avengers. My aunt bought my little brother the DVD for his birthday, and I have watched that movie way more than my brother. I fell in love with the visuals of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the characters’ unique stories. Before I was exposed to the MCU, I only watched Disney and Pixar films, so Marvel was a whole new territory I couldn’t get enough of. The explosions, the action, and the stunts were unfathomable in my tiny Disney-sheltered brain. Ever since then, I have become fascinated with Marvel projects and cinema in general.
After watching all of the movies and shows multiple times, I wanted to try reading the comic books. I went to Newbury Comics in the Danbury Mall and went to the far right aisle of the store. Almost the whole wall was covered in colorful book spines and a large sign hung over the shelf announcing the product: Comic Books. I reached for a comic that featured Dr. Strange, one of my favorite characters. The cover had him surrounded by his mystical rings, and my brain went like “Woahh, this is cool!” Then I flipped over the book and saw a little white sticker that read $44.99, and my brain was like, “not that cool, though.” I slowly placed the book back on the shelf hoping I wouldn’t tear a page by accident. No matter how interested I was in the comic, there was no way I was paying that much for a book I might not end up liking.
As the Marvel and DC fandoms expand, the value for anything with their logo on it has increased. Which makes total sense with supply and demand. The more Marvel fans there are, the more Marvel can charge for their goods. But if it gets too expensive, people may not try out the new stories Marvel or DC have to offer.
Comic book prices have obviously gone up since 1938 when the first comic book, Action Comics #1 was released, starring the one and only Superman. People will resell their old comic books on eBay to other collectors, not knowing just how much they can charge for their 40 cent comic. Specialty comics can be sold for millions of dollars! The most expensive comic book, Action Comics #1, went for $3.2 million dollars. If that copy was in mint condition, it could be sold for $8-10 million. Yes ,some things really do get better with age, but are collectors causing the rising costs with their demand?
In the 1970s, comic book prices started at .15 then went to .20 and rose to .40 by 1980, an increase of 167%. Now comic books are worth anywhere from $2.99 to $4.99! (Some say this is due to the special paper used to print comics.) As the pandemic progressed and inflation grew, prices went up.
The pandemic has drastically impacted the price of goods all over the world. Gas prices are up, food shopping is more expensive, and the price of cars also went up, but all of this is expected. Now we can add comic books to the list of goods that are more expensive and somewhat beyond our reach.
During the pandemic movie production was put on pause for the actors’ and production teams’ safety, but comic books were still being printed and purchased. And the saying, “the book was better than the movie” definitely applies to comic books. Marvel addicts definitely went a little crazy when production was stopped, myself included, so many fans turned to comic books to get their daily Marvel fix. But unfortunately, our budgets don’t always fit our needs.
Right now, no matter how much I want to explore the world of comic books, it logically doesn’t make sense for me. It would make more sense to spend that money on more important things than comics. Until prices go down, many fans would prefer to pay $8 dollars a month for Disney+ and have access to almost the entire MCU (and more sheltered Disney content) than $44.99 for one book.

The first appearance of Superman from 1938, one of the most expensive comics ever sold at auction.