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Here’s Why Geeks And Comic Book Fans Are Buying NFTs

Physical collectibles are familiar to comic book fans, whether they take the form of rare comics, trading cards, or other bits of memorabilia. NFTs, however, are very new. These digital tokens can be used to show the world that you’re the exclusive “owner” of something. Each NFT is different. Some represent a piece of art, while others might point to a song. A handful of companies offer complex NFTs, including digital trading cards like the one issued by Alabama NFL rookie Jerry Jeudy this June. As NFTs continue to grow in popularity and notoriety, old-school comic artists and big media companies are releasing new tokens, giving the public the opportunity to invest in new digital collectibles.

Original Ownership Of Original Art

For many people, the big draw behind an NFT is the ability to claim ownership of a piece of digital art. When something is drawn on paper, there’s a piece of original artwork that can be pointed at and sold. With digital art, things are less clear. Without selling their hard drive with the original digital file on it, there’s no good way to show that the digital art you purchased is an “original” and not a “print.” That’s where NFTs come in. Because these tokens use the blockchain to prove ownership in a non-disputable way, the token can be traded or sold freely no matter how many times an image is copied or downloaded.

Comic book artists have auctioned off their original paper drawings for years. Even in a digital world, artists will still draw popular characters on a physical medium so that they can sell the originals of their pages after the comic is published. In the spring of 2021, comic book artists were able to take advantage of the growing NFT craze to sell tokens depicting popular characters like Wonder Woman. This boom wouldn’t last. After only a few weeks, executives from DC and Marvel cut off the ability for artists to sell NFTs of their characters. In some cases, artists who had sold NFTs actually removed art from the links in the blockchain. The owners of these NFTs can still prove that they “own” the art, but they can’t download it anymore.

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Digital Collections

While artists themselves tend to sell NFTs of digital art, big companies sell digital collectibles instead. DC partnered with VeVe in March 2021, launching a series of digital figurines based on Batman and other famous DC characters. These collectibles can be viewed in a special app and are often sold in blind boxes. Just like some collectible trading cards, purchasers of these blind boxes don’t know exactly what they’re going to get. NFTs are tradeable, allowing owners to swap their five spare Poison Ivys for the Tim Drake that their collection is missing. In addition to figurines, the VeVe app also sells digital prints of comic books, with collectible covers available in blind boxes.

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Collectibles, But Digital

Despite the innovative nature of NFTs, both professional comic book artists and big IP holders are using new technology to sell the same sort of thing that they’ve been selling for decades. Just like you can buy an original page from your favorite comic book artist, you can purchase an NFT of that artists’ art to prove ownership and show off to your friends. Similarly, IP holders are capitalizing on their characters’ popularity by releasing collectibles in partnership with companies like VeVe, giving you the digital equivalent of the experience you’d get buying a Funko Pop or another collectible figurine. Both avenues give collectors a new avenue to buy, exchange, and display their collections, but the concepts aren’t new. They’re simply a digital twist on old ideas.

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