How To Build A Comic Book Mystery Box
My oh so humble opinions on the matter. Your mileage may vary.
NOTE: I’m releasing this a bit earlier than I initially planned. I’m in a comic book mystery box challenge, and the people’s choice winner wins a $200 book. To cast your vote for the winner, please go to Caped Geek's Instagram before Sunday, July 24, 2022 at 9 pm PST. I’m not saying you should vote for me, but if you decide to, my Instagram is @emptythoughtballoon.
I also talk about how I built the box in a video I made here: BUILDING A $500 COMIC BOOK MYSTERY BOX
Anyway, here’s the article.
10 Steps To Making A Custom Comic Book Mystery Box
You want to make a comic book mystery box but you’ve never gone about it before? In this article, I’ll explain how I go about putting one together. It’s not rocket surgery, but there are several steps to how I do it that I think you may find useful.
1. Consider The Value.
This is the most important part of building a mystery box. Make sure that you’re providing the buyer with value. And by that I mean make sure that you’re giving them more than their money’s worth. If someone is asking you to build them a $500 box, give them a box worth more than that. Keep this in the forefront of your mind while building the box.
2. Gather The Books.
With step one in mind, put together a large stack of books. More than you’d possibly ever need for a mystery box. Books you think are interesting. Key issues. First appearances. Graded books. In this step, you’re pretty much just roughing out your idea.
3. Find Last Sold Prices.
Take that large stack of books you’ve put together and head to ebay. Yes, ebay. It may be evil, but it’s the easiest and best place to figure out what the comics are worth. Look up the last sold prices of each comic. To do this, search for the comic you’re thinking of including in the box. Then hit the ‘Advanced’ option and click the check box that says ‘Sold listings’. Take an average of the last 3-4 sales of each book and you’ll come up with a pretty accurate value. Do this for each book you’re thinking of including.
4. Start Building.
Once you’ve determined the prices of each of the books it’s time to start actually building the box. Narrow down your options to around 10 books. Start with your bigger ‘hits’. The high-value books. The priciest of the bunch and build your way down.
5. Weed Out the Garbage.
Unless you know your buyer’s taste very, very well, don’t include any obscure titles. You’re not going to be able to 100% please the buyer with the books. That said, give them books that are fairly easy to re-sell if they don’t care for them. Don’t fill the box full of random crap that may only be of value to specialists.
6. Add Variety.
Okay, since you know you’re not going to be able to please them with every book, it’s best to include a variety of titles. Don’t throw 10 issues of Superman into a box and call it a day. Especially because Marvel books generally tend to go ovIt’s the sad reality of the market right now. Mix it up a bit. Throw in a few different titles from a variety of publishers
I know I preached about not throwing in obscure titles, but don’t be afraid to add a little bit of a surprise in the middle of the box. Be it a signed book, a sketch cover, or something else unexpected. It’s the first appearance of Pickle Rick signed by the artist? Cool.
8., Double Check.
One of the first boxes I ever built was a bad box. I thought I had done everything correctly and put together a fun set of books that were way over value and were a neat little collection. I made one crucial error, though. I didn’t go through each book and make sure they were in good condition. Make sure you do this. Go over each book. Pull them out of the bags. Look them over. Make sure no pages are missing or stamps are cut out.
9. Beginning and Ending.
Now it’s time to put your box together. Start with a fun book. End with a ‘banger’. People remember the first and last things they see. The first book can be a fun, if not super valuable teaser book. The last book, though, should definitely be the biggest hit in the box. You’re building to a climax, as it were.
10. Pack & Ship It.
Once you’ve determined which books you’re putting in, package them very well and mail them out. Don’t skimp on this step. Mail them packed I’m bubble wrap in a Gemini mailer inside of a portable fire safe. Whatever it takes to get them to the buyer safely. Ship them fully insured and with tracking. Let your buyer know the tracking number as soon as you ship it. A little bit of customer service in this regard goes a long way. Oh, and whatever you do, don’t ship comic books media mail or loose inside of a manila envelope. There’s a special place in hell for folks that do that.
There are other ways to build boxes, certainly. But those are the steps I take when I build a box. Hopefully, it was helpful and at least mildly entertaining.
Thanks as always,