Last week I wrote a piece about the great comic book bubble of 1993. Today I got a note from Ron Forman, who owned one of the regional distribution companies that Diamond drove out of business, setting the bubble in motion. Ron helpfully adds that it was The Return of Superman and Turok #1—think of them as the comic book version of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers—which precipitated the collapse. Here’s Ron:
The boom hit its peak with The Death of Superman in 1992. He “died” the same day that the Malcolm X movie opened. I drove around Manhattan and the lines at comic book stores were longer than the movie lines. The Death issue was selling for $15 to $20 in one day. All of our retailers had vastly under-ordered. To make up for their mistake with the death issue, they all vastly over-ordered the four different covers of the Return issue. By the Sunday of its release week, they were selling for a quarter each at conventions.
As for Turok #1 from Valiant—it was the first #1 issue that went down instantly upon its release. It too had been vastly over-ordered.
The story of The Return of Superman was really very crazy, though. My orders were so large we could not accept delivery in our 10,000 square foot warehouse. The volume of the comics was bigger—much bigger. We had retailers coming from all over the tri-state area coming to get their orders in the middle of the night. Many of them never paid for their books . . .