I did hear that Marvel tried to artifically create speculation in their comics. What happened to comics? Why did the bottom just fall out?
In the nineties, you mean? Well, when Image Comics was formed by - and I had to look this up - Lee, McFarlane, Larsen, Liefield, Silvestri, Valentino and Portacio, the market boomed, and they all sold millions of copies. That brought in speculators to the industry, who bought multiples of all the "rare" variant covers and special issues, not knowing that all the big publishers were printing hundreds of thousands of copies of each one. And so, anyone who wanted to make big bucks soon had a huge pile of comics, but no one to sell them to at a profit, because, of course, everyone else had an absolutely identical huge pile of the same comics. Upon realizing that all their comics were actually worth nothing without anyone to sell them to, all the speculators left the market, leaving only the actual fans, who couldn't realistically support all the new titles that were being published. So long, comics industry. Now Marvel underprints to prevent the exact same thing from happening, which I guess would artificially create that speculator value, but I doubt anyone will fall into that trap again.