How Much Would It Cost to Buy Every Marvel Comic?

Alongside DC Comics, Marvel Comics is America’s biggest comic book publishing house, taking up the majority of the comic book market. Most of Marvel’s comics are about superheroes, but that’s not really the whole roster, which means that Marvel’s complete roster includes a variety of different stories and titles. Not all of them are equally popular, Marvel’s comics are certainly a large collection that would make up for a very nice personal library. Also, a very diverse one at that. That is why have decided to dedicate today’s article to all the collectors out there who are looking for a complete collection of Marvel’s comic book publications. 

There are around 40,000 Marvel publications, and taking into account that the lowest price of a Marvel Comic was 10¢, while the highest was $1.26 million, the price for the whole collection would be somewhere between $4,000 and $50.4 billion. Considering the average values, the realistic price would be around $20 million. There is however a potential “cheat” allowing you to read almost every Marvel comic for less than $100.

In today’s article, I am going to give all the necessary information for current and future Marvel collectors. You’re going to find out just how many comics there are today, how much it would cost to buy them all. You’re also going to find out whether anyone has the whole collection and what are some good places you can buy old issues online. 

How many Marvel Comics are there?

Marvel Comics has been around since 1939, which is a long period of time. Okay, from 1939 to 1947, they were known as Timely Comics, and from 1947 to 1961, they were known as Magazine Management, but both these publishing houses are considered to be predecessors to the modern-day Marvel Comics, which was founded in 1961. 

As for the total number of Marvel’s comics, I have already done an article on that topic, so you can check out the exact numbers and calculations there, but I’m still going to give you a short overview of the math behind this in this article as well. 

The first thing you need to know is that there is no official record of all of Marvel’s publications so the numbers presented in my earlier article, and summarized here, are just estimates. Pretty precise ones, though, but still estimates. 

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In 2009, Marvel Comics published an official index, listing a total of 32,000 publications under its banner. This compiled all the publications from 1939 to 2009. If you consider these numbers, you get an average of 475 comics per year, which is a rough estimate for sure, but it’s certainly not far from the correct average. Now, taking into account the time passed and the numbers we have, there are around 38,000 Marvel Comics, which we could round up to 40,000, considering that there surely are variations in these numbers. 

So, to sum things up, there are roughly around 40,000 Marvel comic books published since 1939 and that is the final number I am going to use in the calculations that follow. 

How much would it cost to buy all the Marvel Comics?

Now, in order to answer the most important question of this article, I am going to do some math for you, taking into account the known numbers and prices. 

We know that the lowest price for which you can get a Marvel Comics’ publication is around 10¢. The highest price, that of Marvel Comics #1, was an incredible $1.26 million. Now, if we consider that you could get the entire collection for the lowest price, it would cost you around $4,000, which is a reasonable price for roughly 40,000 comic books. On the other hand, if all of these comics cost like the most expensive one, you would need a mind-blowing $50.4 million to buy the entire collection. 

As it usually is with numbers, the truth is somewhere in between and I am going to try and give you a more precise estimate of the total price. 

Now, we can assume that only a small amount of Marvel’s comics (let us say 0.01%, i.e., around 3-4 books) cost a million dollars (which would amount to a total of $4,000,000). Let us then say that about 0.01% of the rarest issues cost around half a million dollars (amounting to a total of$2,000,000). 

Additional statistical estimets will give us the following numbers: 0.03% cost around a quarter million dollars (amounting to $3,000,000 in total); some 0.05% are probably around a hundred thousand dollars (totaling to $2,000,000); 0.1% are around fifty thousand each (also $2,000,000); some 0.2% are twenty five thousand apiece (yet again $2,000,000); an additional 0.2% cost arond ten thousand dollars each (totaling to $800,000); some 0.4% are around five thousand dollars (also $800,000); 2% are probably around one thousand dollars (also $800,000); some 3% are only 500 dollars (totaling to $600,000); 4% are around 250 dollars (totaling to $400,000); around 10% go for 100 dollars (also $400,000); another 10% just 50 dollars (amounting to $200,000); an additional 10% go for just $25 (amounting to $100,000); yet another 10% go for $10 apiece (amounting to $40,000); and 50% go at around five dollars or less (adding up to a maximum of $100,000). 

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Okay, I know this is a lot to take in if you’re not a math prodigy, but that is why I am going to do the final calculation for you, so you don’t have to bother yourselves with the numbers. If we take into account these statistical estimates, you’d need around $19,240,000 to buy the whole collection. This is a relatively realistic estimate, seeing how many comic books there are and how the values of some old(er) issues are determined. 

(There is a cheaper option, though, if you won’t mind having access to just 28,000 issues. Namely, you can pay a $9.99 per month subscription fee to Marvel Unlimited, which gives you access to the aforementioned database that includes a little less than 30,000 titles. This is, by far, the cheapest option, since it costs only $69.99 per year.) 

Now, to give you some interesting pieces of information here. In 2016, a comic book retailer from Kansas City offered to sell the complete collection of all Marvel Comics’ publications since 1961. The price? Only $200,000 (well, it’s not only, but when compared to the almost $20 million we got from our numbers, it’s very cheap). Commentators stated that it was a great price, estimating the whole collection to be worth around $400,000 (realistically), but the retailer also offered the collection for $50,000, if you didn’t care for the 100 most valuable issues. 

I don’t know whether someone bought this collection and for what price, but it’s certainly an interesting thing to know in the context of this article. 

Does anyone own every Marvel Comic?

Owning the complete collection is, probably, impossible. Why? Well, some editions are quite old, a lot of them are out of print and there are no copies left, probably because these old copies have been lost or destroyed with time. Now, Marvel Comics probably has all the scans and copies, but reprinting these issues would cost a lot of money and wouldn’t actually be affordable, which is why it’s unlikely to happen. 

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This is why there is no one, as far as it is known, that owns all the comics published by Marvel Comics. Steve Geppi, the owner of Diamond Comics Distribution, a company that distributes comics to comic shops, is known for having an exceptionally large collection of both DC Comics and Marvel Comics publications and we do know that his collection is almost complete. But even he doesn’t have all the comic books ever, which is why I really presume that it would be impossible to own all these publications today.

Best places to buy Marvel Comics online

In this final section of today’s article, I am going to bring you a list of some of the best places where you can buy comics (physical and digital copies) online, so if you want to enrich your collection, you can check these sites out:

  1. Amazon, probably the best and most reliable source you can check. The site doesn’t really require further introduction; 
  2. Book Depository, has a big collection of both older and new editions of comic books, but it doesn’t sell digital copies, only physical ones. Also, it only sells the collected volumes and not individual issues; 
  3. Kindle Unlimited, owned by Amazon, has a large and reliable database of e-comics but doesn’t sell physical copies. It also offers other books alongside the comics; 
  4. ComiXology, also owned by Amazon, specializes in comic books and doesn’t offer anything else. Also, it only sells digital copies.
  5. Marvel, which is kind of logical, but we do want to stress out that the publisher also has a store that sells both physical and digital copies of its comics; 
  6. Mile High Comics, although it looks like it’s from the 1990s, is very well-equipped but focuses mainly on older issues and used comics, rather than on newer publications.
  7. eBay, Facebook Market and other online markets are great places to look for secondhand comic books – though of course you can not guarantee you will find the exact issue you may be looking for.