There's gold in them thar manga

It's not Action Comics #1, but right now, the first volume of The Name of the Flower is going for between $50 and $150 on Amazon and eBay—not bad for a book that sold for $9.99 new.

Daniel BT, who blogs at Sunday Comics Debt, got a note from his retailer that DC is liquidating all existing stock of CMX Manga. As you may remember, CMX ran a pretty sweet little line until the DC brass took it out back and shot it. Fans were dismayed with the abrupt announcement, as a number of series were left unfinished and several new licenses had just been announced.

Life is messy, and for whatever reasons (print runs, fan whims, gremlins) some volumes sold out before others. So you can get volume 3 of The Name of the Flower for as little as three bucks, but the cheapest copy of volume 1 on Amazon right now is $55.25. And if you want a copy of volume 6 of Emma, Kaoru Mori's highly regarded romance set in Victorian England, the asking price is 90 bucks. Asking price is not the same as selling price, but it's telling that these books aren't available much cheaper as far as I can see. Interestingly, some of the out-of-print volumes, like vol. 3 of Tenjho Tenge, are still available at reasonable prices.

This is actually a fairly rare phenomenon for manga. Four Shoujo Stories is a notorious example—the Japanese licensor forced the publisher to withdraw them from publication, so copies are rare and usually expensive. Aside from that, though, out-of-print manga don't usually fetch much on the open market, and most are readily available for free via Paperback Swap and Mangatude.

Still, this strikes me as another missed opportunity for digital; readers who are interested in the story, as opposed to a nice complete set on their shelves, would probably be happy to pay to read these "rare" volumes online or on their iPads.

So what should you check your collection for? Here's Daniel's list of the missing volumes:

  • Cipher Vol. 6
  • Emma Vol. 5-7
  • Land of the Blindfolded Vol. 3
  • Name of the Flower Vol. 1
  • Penguin Revolution Vol. 1
  • Tenjho Tenge Vol. 3
  • Two Flowers for the Dragon Vol. 5

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