App for Comic Collectors (Remember Them?) Focuses on Key Issues

Key Collector Comics logo

Until I got a request for coverage about this new app, I’d almost completely forgotten that the comic industry used to be driven by collectors, speculating on which comics were worth more money and which would increase in value. I’m only interested in reading them these days, which has become much easier with the greater availability of both print and digital reprints.

Key Collector Comics is available for both iOS and Android devices and promises information on “over 7,000 key issue comic books”, including a price guide, so the user can avoid “the clutter of uneventful comics”. I’m guessing, not having investigated, that they’re covering only superhero comics (as indicated by their logo), since they focus on first appearances and other character-based events, including origin stories and deaths. (Although they also list “recalled cover” as a category.)

You can also catalog your collection, since “the ability to mingle a hobby with investment potential is a win-win in our (comic) book”, and build a want list. The app is available for free, so I’m not sure how the developer plans to make money, but perhaps that’s indicated by the “for a limited time only” note next to the price on their web page.

Of course, any time someone is advertising a reference database, especially price-related, you should ask where the data is from and how they’re sourcing their values. They nod to these questions on the site, without specifics, talking about hours of research and “data found on the web pertaining to recent sales of raw comics over a 365-day period.” They also welcome input from users.

I suspect (hope) that the pure collector market is declining, but it seems that this is well-focused for that limited audience. And if you’re investigating that market, it’s always interesting to see which issues are considered the important ones.


  • Bryan

    Why would you “hope” the pure collector market is shrinking? How is it that pure collectors are having a negative impact on pure readers? I am obviously a collector who also reads, and I don’t understand why you would make such a comment. If you are a reader only there are many ways for you to find comics to read, from trades to digital. Collectors who buy rare or key comics would have no effect on your ability to enjoy the medium. I could argue that those who read only are missing the historical value and importance of comics books in the history of art and pop culture, but you either have a grudge, agenda, or you’re jealous, not sure which.

  • I hope the collector market is shrinking because I would rather see comics be treated as a medium than a kind of oversized trading card to be sealed in little plastic coffins until their price goes up. I don’t like it when publishers put more thought into how they can wring more sales out of restricted-print exclusive variant covers than into the story under that cover. I don’t like what people chasing the latest hot issue do to comic stores when they don’t buy most of what they’ve asked to be set aside for them.

    Yeah, I’ve got an agenda. So do you, in assuming I must be “jealous” — of what, exactly? I’m sorry I seem to have hurt your feelings — although if you’re a comic reader, not just a trader, then you’re not the kind of person I was talking about, so not sure why.

  • Bryan

    I agree about your point concerning modern variants and the practices of the companies these days hurting the industry. My issue was with your using collectors as if it’s a bad word. I collect older comics and love the history of the medium. Maybe it’s semantics, but to say you hope the “pure collectors” market is shrinking is very broad. There is a robust collecting community that has no interest in modern variants and the multiple covers with weak content being pushed by the big two (although I hear that DC is doing a little better than Marvel these days). That was my real issue, now I see that you are disenchanted with the current market and publishers, and I would agree with you on that point.

  • You make a good point about there being a significant difference between those who seek out (let’s call them) antique comics and modern-day speculators. You’re right, my problems are primarily with the latter. Thanks for helping me clarify that.

  • Bryan

    No problem, and thanks for having a civilized, intellectual conversation/ debate!

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