During Comic-Con International, Scoop stopped by the Superworld Comics booth to chat with Ted VanLiew. He talked about the company’s success at the con and shared his thoughts on the market and superhero movies.
Scoop: How are things going at the Superworld booth?
Ted VanLiew (TV): Oh, wonderfully. It’s been exciting. We’ve seen a lot of familiar faces and some new faces, which is what we always hope for. We get to reacquaint with friends. There are some people I stay in touch with over the course of the year and we get to touch base here. It’s the only place we do.
Scoop: What did you bring to the convention to show buyers at Comic-Con?
TV: It’s kind of a combination of new collections. We’ve got some Silver and Bronze collections. A lot of Marvels – Spidey, X-Men, Fantastic Four – all of that. We did get a couple of collections that did have some really rare Golden Age as well. We have more Timelys than we’ve ever had – Captain America, Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, all that stuff.
Scoop: Are you having fun?
TV: Always! It has to be coming up on 20 years that we’ve been doing this show and we always look forward to it.
Scoop: Has it been a productive weekend?
TV: Yeah. It started off with a bang. You never know what to expect. There’s always some trepidation, but as soon as we unpacked some of the dealers came over and said, “What’s new? What’s new!” So, they bought some stuff, which is always nice because it gets you off to a roaring start. On Preview night we did well with the customers. Today has been very steady, it’s been wonderful.
Scoop: The first half of 2017 is now behind us. How successful have the past 6 months been?
TV: Probably our best ever. Comic books are just… they’re bomb, man. It’s funny to think back when I was growing up and collecting comics, they weren’t exactly at the forefront of the cultural movements. It’s all just flipflopped completely, it’s like we’re at the leading edge now. I was ahead of my time!
Scoop: What’s been your most surprising sale so far this year?
TV: Most surprising sales? Lois Lane #84, Valor Comics ‒ EC Comics are good. The thing is all of these titles are cool titles, but stuff like Amazing Spider-Man is always tops. It’s never surprising when you sell a Spider-Man.
Scoop: How would you describe the current market for comics and original art?
TV: It’s heated up big time. I keep thinking, “Okay, it’s going to level off.” It hasn’t leveled off. It’s unbelievable. Now, it has to be the right area. We’ve fortunately positioned ourselves in the proper area – the higher end stuff, the scarcer stuff. It’s just been exploding. And the art, again, it’s the higher end stuff and the better artists and more famous titles. Those have just gone crazy. People from outside the hobby are buying this stuff now because they get wind of it, they hear publicity about it and they’re like, “I want to invest in that!”
Scoop: With so many superhero movies out and in the works, will the market suffer from saturation?
TV: I do think we’ll reach a saturation point, at some point. I don’t know how much harm it will do to the hobby itself. I think at some point people will start taking it more for granted. We’re in this incredible Golden Age of superhero movies because technology has caught up with the imagination. In the past, superhero movies were kind of cheesy. They just couldn’t depict it properly. Now, the effects that they can do have caught up and Hollywood has realized they can make a fortune doing it, they’ll spend the money. So, we’re in the Golden Age now, so I think we should appreciate it while we can. I have no idea when we’ll reach this saturation point, but a lot of us still look forward to the superhero movies.