Are speculators and investors buying Super Mario Bros #1 as a collectible investment? Further, what returns have we seen from this comic based on video games?

Super Mario first appeared in comics in the title Super Mario Brothers #1, published by Valiant comics in 1990. This comic book was based on the video game by Nintendo with a story written by George Caragonne and Bill Vallely. The art was by Art Nichols, Mark McClellan, and George Wildman. 

“ It’s a-me, Mario!”

Super Mario first appeared in Donkey Kong the video game in 1981. He was the protagonist trying to save Pauline from Cranky Kong. 

Popular even then, he eventually acquired his own game, Mario Bros, and then Super Mario Bros. With memorable lines like, “ It’s a-me, Mario!”, Mario's popularity quickly surpassed his Kong beginnings. He is now the primary character of the Mario Universe.

Valiant Comics

According to the Valiant Comics Database, "this was a licensed adaptation of characters in Nintendo video games started in April 1990 and ran until October 1994 - a total of six issues.”

This book appears to have a pretty strong following in the comic book world.  Super Mario Bros. #1s are fairly scarce, with even a 7.0 grade going for $150 and a 90-day average of that same grade for $305. It seems these books are suddenly becoming highly sought-after.

I can't help but wonder if this is the original source material, i.e. the Super Mario video game, is driving the value. Could collecting old video games have sparked interest in the spinoff comics from this era?

Is this possibly an example of the cart pulling the horse, so to speak?

Comic Grade Price Current Year Return
Super Mario Bros. #1 9.8 $2995 220%
Super Mario Bros. #1 8.5 $366 248%
Super Mario Bros. #1 7.0 $105 190%

super mario"Oh yeah! Mario time!"

The numbers for this comic book from the 1990s speak for themselves. But let me translate for ease of use. After all, this isn't a one-player game.

Now, 30 years later, it is hard to acquire these limited print-run books.  My guess is most of these went in the dumpster or were overlooked by stores at the time.

At the current price of $3,000 for Super Mario Bros. #1 in 9.8 grade and a +200% return over the last year, this is better than bonus points!

Super Mario/Duck Hunt Nintendo NES video game game box for sale.Collectible Genre Influence?

The apparent interest in these limited-run video game comics could have come from another collectible hobby. Perhaps, the video game boxes and components as a collectible market that cropped up a few years ago.

I'm sure collectors have been soaking up all the old video game boxes; trying to find the near-mint stuff they can pounce on. Suddenly, about two years ago, I see interest in old video game boxes as collectibles... That could have led inevitably to a collectible obsession for the comic book spinoffs for those same video games.

Super Mario - WikipediaConclusion

In simpler terms, very limited print runs have been soaking up investor interest since the beginning of comic collecting. The general public is becoming aware of these books when they weren't before.

On a side note, this could be due to a demographic shift in collectors as millennials are starting to direct the market as baby boomers bow out. Everyone knows millennials are huge fans of video games.

As far as being collectors and investors, I find them to be very savvy. Often they find other ways to seek out value, rather than just paying for it, like video game comic books, for example. It is perhaps time, as speculators, to expand our horizons to late 20th Century collectibles, like defunct video game comic books. I think it might be "Mario time" for your collectible arcade inventory.

*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent investment advice on behalf of GoCollect.