New York Comic Con is the largest pop culture convention on the East Coast, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe each year.
Comics are clearly a lot of fun — but are they a good investment? Turns out they’re a billion-dollar industry — and that’s not including all the spin-off industries and products. Add the movies, toys, and games to the mix, and it starts to become clear that comic book industry is very big business.
Yahoo Finance stopped by the Javits Center to check out this year’s action, attractions, and antics, and caught up with up with two comic dealers, Dan Gallo and Vincent Zurzolo.
Zurzolo is COO of Metropolis Comics and Collectibles. The industry vet says that his business grew during the last economic downturn. “My business grew right after the last recession,” he told Yahoo Finance. “When the real estate market plummeted, and people couldn’t get mortgages, you had to become your own investor because the stock market tanked tremendously. People were looking for tangible assets. They looked to comic books and comic art and started investing in it and buying and selling and trading, and it’s built the business.” Zurzolo said.
Zurzolo added that his business has boomed ever since. “We hit a world record right after the recession. The first record we hit was for Action Comics Number #1, during the recession it was sold for $317,200 which was a world record. That same comic today would probably be worth $4 million.”
Fellow dealer Gallo had about $500,000 worth of merchandise on display when Yahoo Finance stopped by. Although Gallo doesn’t think any industry is beyond the ills of a recession, he says that his business has fared well during hard economic times. “To be fair, the industry has been recession-proof.
“Ten, 12 years ago, when we were in a financial crisis, guys in this business didn’t starve — they still made money. There were people that were tired of the traditional investments and pulling money out of their IRAs or their 401ks. They were putting it in comics and other types of alternative investments because this was fun.” Gallo went on to say that as the economy got stronger so did the comic business, which allowed people to go deeper into the business.
Gallo, however, left Yahoo Finance with some cautionary words: “So far, it’s been recession-proof, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to last forever.”
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.