Frequently Asked Questions
Key Collector Issue Submission Guidelines
Key Collector Comics is a database focused on key issues of importance like first appearances, iconic covers, valuable issues, etc. There are a number of full databases that have existed for years and oftentimes, using these resources can feel overwhelming which is reasonable considering the comic book industry has been publishing on a monthly basis for nearly a century! If you feel there is an issue that should be considered for the database, please take a look at the criteria below to see if your suggestions fits:
A Key Issue refers to something significant about a comic book that makes it more collectible or desirable than other issues. Examples include, but are not limited to character first appearances, early appearances, origins, first meetings, first battles, first cover appearances, iconic covers and important events related to a character's development or that affects the universe in which they exist. Our database also includes issues that resell for higher than other issues published during the same timeframe. This could be due to it being a scarcer issue, a comic that is difficult to find in higher grade condition, historical context or another reason that will be cited in our descriptions.
Not all first appearances will be found in this database since there are a greater percentage of published comics that introduce a character and oftentimes, they’ll appear once or only a few issues and never appear again. Though these issues might fit the Key Issue definition, they are rarely sought after. Characters must have had a consistent presence in comics appearing in at least 15 issues. Exceptions to this rule are new characters, characters who have had a significant impact in few appearances or if the issue is valued higher than others that were published during the same time frame.
First, make certain you search the TITLE. Once you find and click the title, you can search by issue number. Or you can use the search ISSUE option to find individual issues. If you are looking for an independent issue, a title not published by Marvel or DC try using the CATEGORY search and type INDIES. Chances are you'll find what you're looking for there. Newly published issues may be found in the Future Keys categories or featured in the Keys This Week category but could be hidden from the database search if they fail to attain Key Issue status. You will not find every issue in the Key Collector Comics database. Please review the section titled What Is a Key Issue?
Key Collector Comics is selective about which variants make it to our database. There are extreme cases where an individual issue could exceed 100 variant covers. Even issues without a major event could have anywhere from 3-5 variants. For back issue variants to be added to the database, they must show a consistent history of sales for $25+, ungraded. Newsstands, Mark Jeweler ads, Canadian Price Variants and other variations to the standard Direct Edition of a comic book will be added if there is a history of consistent resale transactions significantly higher than the standard issue. Keep in mind, nearly every DC and Marvel comic book had a Newsstand edition also published for over three decades. Newsstands published prior to 2000 are desirable by some collectors only when found in very HIGH GRADES. After the year 2000, there are some Modern issues that command a higher dollar amount due to scarcity but demand is decided by the resale market and if transactions show a premium paid for Modern Newsstands. If there is a history of higher sales for a Modern Newsstand then they will be added to the database. Store Exclusives are added on a case-by-case basis but generally considered if they resell for higher than their initial cost.
Most price guides strive to provide top dollar values but Key Collector Comics is an acquisition resource, meant to help you build a better collection. Our concept fails if the values displayed are the market cap sale and your collection has little to no investment value in it. Our values are determined by analyzing secondary market sales of ungraded comics to determine the average dollar amount paid for up to 10 transactions within a one-month timeframe. Once that amount is determined, we reduce it by approximately 10-15% to the corresponding LOW / MID / HIGH range of condition of a comic. Our LOW / MID / HIGH designations are not meant to correspond to specific grades. The average comic book collector is not versed in how to determine the professional grade of a comic book but knows when a comic looks to be in poor, decent or great condition by looking at it.
There is no standard definition to label a first appearance as a cameo or full appearance and no two comic collectors will give the exact same explanation on the subject. You may encounter a listing that has a different description for a character's appearance than a grading company or price guide. We are not saying that their way of labeling is incorrect since there is no set definition but that we follow a framework to make these decisions. This framework is inspired by the most debated of all cameo/first full appearance debates, the Incredible Hulk #180 where Wolverine is introduced on the final page. Wolverine is fully seen in one panel but it is a brief appearance. With that, we are defining cameo as a brief appearance - one in which the character is seen as a teaser for a future issue. We believe that cameo and full as appearance designations are used as introductory labels. These terms will not be used once the full appearance has been identified. There are instances when this criteria does not help to arrive at a conclusion but decisions must still be made. Issues that experience a higher frequency of disputes regarding the labeling will include an explanation of the debate in the description.