long before the calendar looked to 2020, a whole economy and ecosystem revolving around comic books appeared on Instagram. The visual nature of the popular app makes it a logical place for collectors and sellers to showcase their collections, offer books for sale, ask for advice, and track sub-genres of characters or books. The hashtag feature allows any user to follow ultra-specific parts of their comic interests such as #WakandaWednesday, #Comics4Trade, or #SplashPages, just to name a few.

In the year or so because I have chose to create a separate Instagram profile exclusively dedicated to comics, it has been a remarkable experience for me, and I know I am far from the only one. in that time, I have bought, sold, traded, showcased books, as well as joined various groups to keep up with relevant news and trends around the country. With what I feel now is a firm grasp of the inner workings of comic books on Instagram, what follows is guidance for those interested in getting involved with the app’s passionate community.

Dig in with me and feel totally free to ask any questions you have in the comments or on my Instagram page @kirkseycomics.

The Good

Community: When I talk about “community,” I imply it in the truest sense of the word. It is so much much more than just a force of the unnoticeable hand drawing buyers to sellers, deliberating to find a fair market value. This community – overwhelmingly – cares about the well-being of those within its walls.

I have seen users purchase expensive books just to gift them to someone who couldn’t afford it. I have seen someone in the community or their family member pass away, and their followers organize a sale where the proceeds all go to the affected family. I have seen accounts who, with no incentive whatsoever, track down particular copies of a book at a good value just because another member expressed an interest in owning one.

I am on much more group chats than I can remember and through those have developed friendships with people I would have never met otherwise, except for the fact that we share a love of the same hobby. On a couple of occasions, that has translated into getting to meet fellow Instagram comic lovers who live near me. In one example, we completed a transaction and chose meeting up at a comic shop to do the exchange would be much more interesting.

Availability: It’s safe to say that literally any book, publisher, or genre you might be interested in can be found on Instagram. Whether you choose golden Age DC, modern Age Image, or NSFW comics, there are going to be thousands of people who share that interest.

Shortly after the new year, I created a post detailing how I wanted to complete a Daredevil #1-191 run in 2020. Within a day I had a couple dozen people direct message me with thoughts or provides on every book in that run whatsoever price points and all grades. I scored a Daredevil #43 for $10!! earlier in 2019, I put some Bronze Age Batman books (for example Batman #268) up available for sale and someone reached out to me because they were the exact books they were searching for to complete a run of their own.

Whether you are hunting for a hard to find variant cover or a rare Silver Age appearance, it’s all at your fingertips on the app.

Direct Communication: Too typically on sites like eBay, it is a complicated, arduous process to try and communicate with someone who is purchasing or selling a book, and the communication should be done on the third-party site. On apps such as Mercari, their algorithm monitors buyer/seller communication and deletes any messages when they discover any form of personal information is shared.

On Instagram, it is exactly the opposite. simply go to someone’s account and hit the “Message” button and you can communicate or work out with them directly and confidentially. As discussed before, it’s not just one-to-one, but group chats and Instagram live videos are also available forms of communication.

The Bad

Repetition: A terrific example of what I imply by repetition happened on January 13. That morning, the trailer for the new Morbius film dropped, much to the delight of numerous in the Instagram comic community. As you can imagine, for two to three days after that, half of the messages I scrolled through were collectors showing off their copy of incredible Spider-Man #101 or providing it up available for sale (at slightly higher rates than market value; think of that).

Similarly, I should have seen Beta Ray Bill’s face about 8,000 times on Thor #337 when Christian Bale’s name started to be attached to the character.

Any time news breaks within the MCU or the DCEU, Instagram becomes flooded with messages about the relevant books or characters, practically to the point of wishing there was a mute button for certain comics or characters for a short time. Also, on Wednesdays, be prepared to see nothing but messages of the same 15 comicnull

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