Comics still rule at last Wizard World Comic Con

If you had an extra $25,000 or $18,000 in your pocket and a desire for a collectible comic book you'd be in luck at the last Wizard World Comic Con held this past weekend at the Rosemont Stephens Convention Center.

There were rows and rows of top rated golden, silver and bronze comics offered for sale by about 30 comic book vendors throughout the 3-day show which ended Sunday.

And people were buying. One guy bought a coveted Spiderman for $30,000. The crowds swarmed for a bargain as they perused the shelves featuring X-Men, Batman, The Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four, Archie, Superman, The Fantastic Four comics and more.

"So far it's been pretty good as far as sales go," said one comic book vendor from Indiana. This was about his 20th Chicago Comic Con. "We enjoy coming and sales have been good. We always look forward to seeing our old customers and meeting new ones."

Throughout the year he, a science teacher, and his wife, an art teacher, look for new stock at flea markets, garage sales, communities and more.

"Each year we come back with even more stock," he noted. "This year was tough because this is the first time it's been held in October and its against two other big events, one in Indiana and the other in Detroit."

As for prices, Heritage Auctions Matthew McGee said their comic book auctions and sales went through the roof during the Covid shutdown. Heritage is based in Dallas with offices around the world including in Chicago. They had a booth at Wizard World.

Quality vintage comics are a great investment, he said.

"What you bought for 12 cents as a kid about 40 or 50 years ago could be worth millions today," he noted.

Heritage recently sold Batman #1 in 9.4 (out of 10) condition for $2,220,000, Detective Comics #27 in 7.0 condition for $1,500,000 and Marvel Comics #1 in 9.4 condition for $1,260,000. An Amazing Fantasy with Spiderman in 9.4 condition sold for $795,000 and The Avengers #1 in 9.6 condition sold for $215,100.

"People are interested in everything, including vintage artwork," McGee said. For instance, a Frank Frazetta original painting from 1969, the Egyptian Queen, just sold for a whopping $5,400,000.

When a bunch of Chicago comic book collectors got together in the 1970s to start the first comic con it began a long running trend that reaches throughout the world today. Chicago had been the second largest comic con for 40 years behind San Diego's comic con. It was bought by Wizard World in the late 90s and began to grow even more in popularity and attendance.

More venues were added including panel discussions with popular TV show actors such as Star Trek, X-Files and many more. William Shatner is one of the beloved characters that has participated over the years and drew hundreds to Comic Con this year for his talk and an opportunity to have their picture taken with him. More than 500 people paid $100 a pop to have their photo taken with the actor today, now also known as an astronaut.

Another big hit was artist alley where one could talk with legendary comic book artists including Neal Adams. One of his original Green Lantern covers just sold for $442,150, according to Heritage.

"However, over the years they have expanded a bit too much," one vendor noted. "It's not so much about the comics anymore. But I still see people walking out with bags of comics, comic memorabilia and great experiences."

As Fan Expo, a division of the UK-based global events company Informa, takes over the event for next year, those at this year' event are skeptical, but plan to try it out.

"I've been going to the Chicago Comic Con for decades to look at comics and related memorabilia. I have certain comics and pulps I look for to fill my collection holes," one customer said Sunday. "It is a little thin this year in the way of vendors, but that may be because of Covid, football and the time of year. But it is good to see all the families having fun together and to see old friends, vendors after the Covid shutdown. I

ll give it a try next year."

That's what most of the crowds and vendors were saying.

Wizard World did not have a total attendance count Sunday but said thousands had bought tickets and attended the show. And those in attendance were from far and wide, some from England, Oklahoma, California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Seattle and more.

The supply chain crisis had not hit Wizard World vendors and as the economy continues to go up and down many comic book buyers/collectors are watching the value of their comics continue to go up. Even, they say, a Superman #1 in 5.0 condition sold for $456,000. Now may be a good time to go through that old box of comics from the basement and look for treasures.

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