Collectible Comic/Graphic Novel Buying Guide

When it comes to comic books and graphic novels, there can be a significant amount of information out there. The one key that you have to remember is to know what you are looking for in advance, and to know what matters. With different styles, time periods, reading levels, and etc., you will find that most graphic novels and comics are different. Therefore, understand the following so you can find a better purchase and get into a much more enjoyable hobby.

Types of Comics & Graphic Novels

Futuristic and Space Related

The popularity of things such as Star Wars, Star Trek, and Guardians of the Galaxy are just a few examples of popular franchises that have come back to life recently. Not only are these some of the top films from the last few decades, but the countless stories they have go beyond the big screen.


Where comic books all started was the super hero segment. Even though both Marvel and DC have put significant amounts of money into their respective movie and theater budgets, the stories go on and on for both graphic novels and comics alike for the big named heroes.


While the Walking Dead has taken this genre to new heights, there are many different stories about heroes trying to survive futuristic worlds. This has also been made popular by games such as Fallout and many movies as well.


The traditional comic from overseas, anything from Power Rangers to Dragon Ball Z, and what seems like one million other stories in addition to those block busters have sprung the anime stories wide open in the last few decades.


The traditional comics of the wild west provide a very simple yet powerful feeling. Heroes such as the Lone Ranger continue to make the world a place of good versus evil and right versus wrong.

Funny and Casual

These traditional comics and stories range from expanded versions of newspaper cartoons all the way down to tales of popular shows such as the Simpsons. They are more casual but no less exciting than the others.

Pay attention to

Quality of Comic

This isn't just the ratings of the specific comic, but the type of paper it is printed on as well. Old fashioned comics were nothing more than newspaper print while common books can be bound with glossy and hard pressed pages. When you want a book that will last a long time and will give you plenty of reads, you have to consider this.


The key to being authentic is that many traders can have forgeries, reprints, and even fakes. The value of certain comics is due to the rarity that they come with, and if you get stuck with a fake one you could be paying big bucks for a phony issue.

Intended Use

(Pleasure or collection) While many collectors just want to enjoy the characters, stories, and adventures in general, there are some who collect purely for the collective nature. While one group will care more about the quality and condition of the comic, others may be more inclined to just pick up a comic or a graphic novel simply for the sake of having one and reading a story. Depending upon your intended use, you can have significant differences in what you want to collect, where you can pick them up, and how you value them from a collecting point of view as well.

Is the Series New or Historic

(and will it continue) A major key is that while some collectors and readers have grown up with a series, new ones are starting constantly. There are more than enough series to check out that are vintage, and if you wanted to get started then it might be more fun to check out new comics and go along with the stories as they come out rather than just picking up on a series that has been running for ten years already (and could come to a complete stop before you know it).

Spin Off or Main Story

While some fans might just want to relive what they saw their heroes do on the big screen or in the main tale, there are far other expanded universe, fan fiction, and even different timeline stories for fans to jump into. Knowing what type of read you are looking for can seriously help you out when it comes to figuring out not only what story you want to read but also what you want to read within that story's universe.

Top Brands and Product Lines


The biggest player at the table is Marvel. The current estimate is that 45% of all English based comics are marvel, which means you can get a lot of different genres all rolled up into one brand name.

DC Comics

DC takes a close second, and they do compete with Marvel on the name brands of everyone from Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and many more classics as well.


While slightly smaller than the main two, Image comics has created a cult following of their own with heroes such as Spawn for example.


Darkhorse has mixed alternatives and genres such as Star Wars and Sin City. The reason for the lack of popularity is simply due to only being a few decades old in the comic field.

IDW Publishing

While the newest to the game compared to the other mega publishers, IDW Publishing has gained popularity by publishing stories with big names such as Transformers and GI Joe.

As you can see, there are more than enough options available for you to check out when it comes to comics and graphic novels. The key is to know what your desire is before you start going after comics. Do you want to be a collector? Do you want to follow a specific series? Are you just looking for great art work and story lines? Knowing these in advance will make the process of picking up comics and graphic novels much easier and much more fun in the long run.