In the Limelight

Since Gemstone Publishing recently announced which characters will appear on the cover of The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide #49, we thought it was a good time to go inside its pages. Gemstone Assistant Editor Carrie Wood is instrumental in the Price Guide’s evolution from start to finish, so she gave Scoop her inside perspective on what to expect in the 2019 edition.

Scoop: Can you start by telling our readers what you do for the Price Guide?
Carrie Wood (CW): Sure thing. I wear a few different hats when it comes to the Guide, which include duties such as writing for and editing the editorial section, proofreading market reports, and being the point of contact for a lot of our advertisers. It’s definitely a bit of a juggling act, but I get a lot of satisfaction out of contributing to a book that’s been so important to collectors for so many years!

Scoop: What trends did you notice as you were reading through the market reports?
One that really stood out to me was how Venom’s appearances, particularly his debut, seem to have really trended up. I don’t think many people considered Sony’s Venom film to be remotely in the realm of masterpiece cinema, but it was certainly a wild ride that’s sparked new interest in the character. I think we have to consider even critically poor films when it comes to what’s going to have a long-term impact on the comic market.

Scoop: Movies certainly have an impact on the secondary market. What are some of the factors advisors usually consider?
A lot of the consideration certainly seems to be dedicated to which character is going to be a smash hit on television or film next, and there’s a lot of people who will base their buying and selling habits off of that sort of speculation. I don’t know that many people would have predicted Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series to be as popular as it’s been, or CW’s Riverdale to be the latest big teen drama, but both series have clearly been having an impact on overall Archie collecting as of late.

There’re some things that are sort of a given when it comes to Marvel and DC, especially since we generally know pretty far out in advance what movies are coming out and when. The recent developments with Marvel, such as Disney acquiring 21st Century Fox and gaining the rights to the X-Men and Fantastic Four back, will likely have an impact on certain comic prices. There’s a ton of room for speculation here, of course. We don’t know what the MCU is going to look like post-Endgame. Sure, comic collectors can try getting ahead of the curve by stocking up on key issues for characters rumored to be making a big MCU appearance in the next few years, like Nova or Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel. But the only thing that can really be for sure is that when those announcements are made, the market will see certain books immediately trend up.

Scoop: What surprised you, in regard to advisors’ findings on the market?
Don’t get me wrong when I say this, because I think that our advisors do a fantastic job at keeping their eyes on the market. But I am a little surprised to see that there largely seems to be a blind spot when it comes to video games. The Spider-Man PlayStation 4 game was one of the biggest titles of 2018, and shined a spotlight on some Spidey-related characters that don’t typically get a lot of attention, like Mr. Negative and Silver Sable. The game certainly caused some renewed interest in those characters, so I’m surprised to see that there weren’t too many advisors taking advantage of that interest. I hope that this changes in the future – comic book stories exist beyond the popular films and television shows!

Scoop: What character anniversaries can readers expect to see?
As always, there’s quite a lot, but there’s some significant Golden Age anniversaries happening this year – the original Sandman, Flash Gordon, and even Blue Beetle. I don’t want to spoil the whole section, though!

Scoop: Which features did you write?
In addition to the aforementioned Blue Beetle anniversary piece, I also got to delve into the histories of Quicksilver and his sister, the Scarlet Witch, Namor, and Hal Jordan! It was a pretty good lineup for me this year!

Scoop: Each year creators are added to the Overstreet Hall of Fame. What are some factors that determine induction?
Ultimately, I believe it boils down to what kind of lasting positive impact that these folks have had on the comics industry, whether it was by creating key characters or revolutionizing the art medium itself. Over the last few years I’ve been pleased to be able to start inducting various manga creators – manga is ultimately just a different style of comic book, and it’s one that has held worldwide appeal for decades now, so I thought it was seriously overdue. I was able to continue that trend this year as well!

Scoop: What kind of feedback have you gotten since adding some of those manga creators?
Well, if anyone’s had anything negative to say, I certainly haven’t heard it. I think most people have realized now that manga isn’t just a passing trend in the U.S., and that those stories are going to be here to stay. We have a whole generation of American comic creators who have regularly cited classic manga and anime series as inspirations to how they approach their writing and artwork. To deny that manga is a worthwhile form of comic art is to be willfully ignorant of the truth at this point.

Scoop: What is your favorite aspect of this edition of the Price Guide?
As a writer and editor I have to stay true to myself and say that my favorite part of this Guide, and every Guide, is the editorial section. Providing the historical context for why these characters have been around so long is essentially providing the core explanation as to why so many comic books are so valuable. Amazing Fantasy #15 wouldn’t be worth what it is if Spider-Man turned out to be a dud of a character. It’s important to take a look back and analyze what makes these characters so appealing!