In the Limelight

Amid the hustle and bustle of Comic-Con, Josh Nathanson of ComicLink spoke with Scoop. He talked about what his company took to the show, his thoughts on the market, and what’s coming up at ComicLink.

Scoop: What did you bring to the convention to show potential buyers?
Josh Nathanson (JN): I brought a bunch of things that’re going to be in the next auction. One thing that is already in the auction is Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 8.0 CVA Exceptional, which is up to $195,000 currently in our July Focused Auction which closes on Tuesday. [Note, the auction closed at the end of July and the comic sold for $235,000.] Our last similar copy sold for $261,000 in our May Featured Auction. We have a lot of other cool books – Phantom Lady #17 in 7.0, House of Secrets #92 in a 9.6, a bunch of really high grade late Silver Age books, a nice mid-grade Hulk #1, some nice Timelys, some Gaines File copy ECs, Golden Age DCs, we have an Archie #1 in 3.0.

We have a lot of exciting artwork. We have the X-Men #266 cover, which introduces Gambit. It’s one of the few key X-Men covers from that time period that introduces a major character. They’re talking about a Gambit movie now, so the popularity of the character could explode. Should that happen, that cover art will be even more coveted than it is now. The estimated value is in the six figures already, but think about what it would’ve been like to purchase the New Mutants #98 cover that introduced Deadpool a few years ago, considering what happened with that character and how it completely exploded. The Justice League #92 cover by Neal Adams with Solomon Grundy holding up Superman, defeated Superman already having decimated the Justice League is one of my favorite covers from that time period, so now that I get a chance to auction it is pretty special. We have a Wrightson Frankenstein plate. It’s a beautiful piece, exceptional line work. It has an image of the Frankenstein monster, which is coveted. Lots of other stuff.

Scoop: Are you having fun?
JN: I am, I’m having a great time. Personally, I only go to two shows a year now – this one and the New York Javits con. I get to see people I haven’t seen in a year. It’s nice catching up. Some of these people I’ve seen for the last 20 years. It’s good to connect with friends.

Scoop: Has it been a productive weekend for ComicLink?
JN: Absolutely, I’ve been having some good conversations, getting consignments, made a purchase or two. It’d be nicer if there were more things in the room that I’d consider good deals, but primarily the purpose of being here is to accept consignments for upcoming auctions, so we’ve been successful there.

Scoop: What’s been your most surprising sale so far this year?
I don’t think anybody expected the Amazing Fantasy #15 in 8.0 to hit $261,000. I think everybody underestimated the power of the rebooted Spider-Man franchise. Everybody just wants that book right now. That was the shocker of the year, but it didn’t mean that that wasn’t a justified price, it just means that it was time for that to happen.

Scoop: You touched on superhero movies already with Gambit and Spider-Man. With so many superhero movies out and in the works, will the market suffer from saturation?
I can’t see it. I really can’t see it stopping because every generation will be interested in this stuff. I can’t see it ever stopping. A lot of superheroes represent human potential. It’s never going to be a case when a parent introduces a child to Spider-Man, Superman, or Batman that they’re not going to get so excited and want the Halloween costume to roleplay as the character. That’s always going to turn into interest in seeing more of the character. It’ll never stop – the TV series, the movies, the video games, and the comic books. It’s never going to stop. We may get jaded as adults. There’s only so many superhero movies and TV shows I can watch until I have completely no life, so I’m not going to do that. I have to pick and choose, so there is a saturation point for me. But I think that there’s an unlimited appetite for it in younger generations. 

Scoop: ComicLink regularly offers a large quantity of comics and original art. How do you build such dynamic auctions?
Well, to a large extent it has to do with our longevity. People already know that if you’re going to sell valuable comic books and original art that we’re a strong option for that. We’ve been a draw for the last 20 years and stronger each year. I think that a lot of it is drawn to us, rather than us finding it somewhere or somewhere else out of the blue. It’s rare for us to find collections elsewhere, things elsewhere and bring them in. We’re frequently found by others. Moreover, we’re already known by others. We have relationships that we’ve built for so long so that when it’s time for people to move on with their collections, we’ll work it out with them. Our objective is their objective: to get the most for their collection so they can pay off that mortgage or send their kids to college or for any number of reasons.

Scoop: Last year ComicLink sold a number of rare Canadian Whites. Can collectors expect more of them in upcoming sales?
We’ve sold most of them, but we do have some more in our upcoming auction. The majority of them have been sold.

Scoop: You recently announced the Marge Duffy Devine Collection of original comic strips, books, and illustration art. What are some key pieces that collectors should look for?
There are three Hal Foster Prince Valiant Sundays, one John Cullen Sunday with Foster layouts, a 1921 Goldberg daily, a nice 1922 Gasoline Alley daily, Hank Ketcham Dennis the Menace daily, Gluyas Williams 1933 New Yorker cartoon, and Basil Wolverton cartoon in his classic style.