How to Search for Collectible Comics on the Web
Tuesday, 04 April 2006
Looking for rare and collectible comic books? Whether you are a seasoned collector of Golden Age comics or just starting with some recent back issues, finding the comic you want, when you want it could be a daunting task.
Where to Find Comics
The two best places to find comics are the Internet and the world famous San Diego Comic-Con. Visiting the local comic store is still an option, but your changes of finding that Amazing Spider-Man #1 is slim.
In this article, we'll focus on how to find comics on the Internet. Specifically,
vintage comics that are at least ten years old. In general, comic searches will be focused on ages: Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and Modern.
Surprisingly, the large search engines, such as Google, are not the best place to look for comics. The results you'll find will be to dealer sites, but not to their constantly changing inventory. Your search will be focused on the following categories: comic book specific search engines, auction sites, dealer sites, classifieds and forums.
Comic Search Engines
Your best bet for one-stop shopping is a comic book search engine. This type of website will search as many sites on the Internet that it can find and present the compiled results to you without you having to visit multiple sites.
The largest, ComicSeeker.com, is simple to use. You type in the title of the comic you are searching for and the optional issue number. The results are then presented from various sites on the Internet. When you find the comic you want, you go from ComicSeeker.com to the site where the comic book if for sale.
Ebay. Of course, there are other auction sites out there, but for sheer volume, Ebay (http://www.ebay.com) is the leader. On any given day, there are thousands of comics for you to purchase. If you do buy from Ebay, use caution when selecting a seller and always check their feedback. It is not uncommon for the comic you purchase to be in a lower grade than described. There are honest sellers and feedback is the best way to weed out the bad ones.
There are some comic book specialty auction sites. The largest is Heritage Comics (http://www.heritagecomics.com) based in Texas. You can also bid at Vault Auctions, Hakes and OnlineComicBookAuctions.com.
Most of the major and minor comic book dealers now have websites. Some have their own search engine, making it easy for you to search their inventory. Some even let you specify a specific grade that you are searching for. Others aren't quite as advanced yet and require you to click from page-to-page to look through their inventory.
The largest dealer site isn't really a dealer, but a consignment/exchange: ComicLink. At ComicLink, you will probably find the most active trading of Gold, Silver and Bronze age comics on the Internet.
Comics are not usually sold through online classified sites, but sometimes you can get lucky. As with the auction site category, the classified category is dominated by one major site, Craigslist.
Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org) operates several local versions, so it is best to stick to searches at your local site as the comic seller may not want to ship to you. Our tip for searching Craigslist is not to search. They have deployed a new technology call RSS/XML. If you have downloaded the Firefox web browser, it is easy to take advante of this technology.
First, go to your local Craigslist and type the term comics in the search box and select the For Sale section. When the results page loads, you will notice a small icon in the right side of the location bar of Firefox. Click this and the feed will now be saved as a Live Bookmark. From now on, you can instantly see all posts at Craigslist with comics in the description.
Community forums are a great way to buy comics from other comic collectors. Some forums have specific topic areas just for people who are selling comics. However, the best tactic is to simply be active in the forum and keep your want list in your post signature.
Some popular forums are CGC Boards, CBG Extra and About.com Comics.
With so many options on the Internet, it shouldn't take you long to find the exact comic book you are searching for. By using this multi-tier strategy, you should be able to find multiple copies of the comic you want and purchase based on grade and price. Good luck and have fun.
About the Author
Ben Andrews has been collecting comics for more than 20 years. His greatest joy is finding high grade 1950's DC superhero comics, such as Superman and Batman. Ben helped to developed ComicSeeker.com to fulfill his desire to find the exact comic he wanted, when he wanted it.