Weekend Update with Nico
Welcome to the second installment of Weekend Update. In major news, the legendary George Perez announced that he will be retiring. He is slated to do one additional year of conventions before he formally retires from comics. Perez is beloved by fans for his
charitable contributions and highly affordable sketch drawings. Perez is perhaps most
well known for the beautiful work he did on A Lonely Place of Dying, Crisis on Infinite Earth and the Infinity Gauntlet. His first work appears in Astonishing Tales #25 which is also the 1st appearance of Deathlock.
This week in comics we saw demonstrative evidence of the power of the newsstand variant. The week opened with a live auction of a newsstand copy of Hulk #340 CGC 9.8 selling for $750.00. This is an awesome departure from direct market editions which routinely sell for little more than $400.00 in comparable condition.
As reported earlier in the week on this site, Walmart’s Superman #7 has been described by certain media outlets as offensive because of violence depicted against Lois Lane. The controversy surrounding this book resulted in a number of early sales in the $25.00 range with many speculators hoarding copies early hoping that Walmart was pulling the book from the shelves. By mid-week the price had dropped but copies continued to sell for two to three times cover price. This 100 page comic is square bound and high grade copies, particularly 9.8 contenders, will be hard to come by for obvious reasons.
Two huge sales of Spawn variants happened this week. On Tuesday the 22nd, Spawn #232 Eastern Washington University variant CGC 9.6 sold for $1,666.00. This price appears to be down from the $4,500.00 best offer that was accepted for a NM raw copy of this book back on December 16, 2018. The following day, a Spawn #185 b/w sketch variant CGC 9.6 sold for $2,700.00. I have no independent verification of these sales, but also no reason to doubt there validity.
In other live auction news, “white pages matter.” On Sunday, we saw two live auctions for New Mutants #98 CGC 9.8 (newsstand). The copy with white pages sold at live auction for over $100.00 more than the copy with off-white to white pages in auctions with the respective auctions ending at $850.00 and $740.00. Interestingly a direct market copy of this book in CGC 9.8 condition with white pages sold for $840.00 on the same day.
Comic fans were generally enthusiastic about the forthcoming Shazam film after watching extended footage released this weekend. It is clear that DC, fresh off the box office success of Aquaman, cut the Shazam trailer to capitalize on the upbeat vibe of the film. This marks a significant departure from DC’s dark and brooding film style. Hopes are high for Shazam speculators, but the market did not respond to the new footage with any significant movement on Shazam related books. In fact it appears that not a single copy of Shazam #1 (1973) sold on January 23rd a mere days after the release of the new footage.
Last weekend also saw the release of a number of Avengers 4: Endgame related toys that many believe confirm the following: (a) Professor Hulk will emerge in the new film; (b) Valkyrie survived the snap and will play an important role in the next film; and (c) that the quantum realm is a plot device used for the Avengers characters to travel back in time. None of this information is new, but the Vietnamese toys appear to confirm some of the leaks, rumors and speculation that has come to light over the last several months.
Negative attitudes about store variants could not hold back the power of Adam Hughes cover art. These books were sold for $19.99 by Stadium Comics and limited to 500. Prices on the Adam Hughes virgin variant of Sabrina the Teenage Witch #1 soared to approximately $200.00 the Monday after they were released. It is clear that the magic ingredient for any store variant in the after market is whether they are purchased by diehard collectors or speculators. The former being the magic ingredient that drives scarcity and value.
A big day on Tuesday as Black Panther was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. This is a remarkable achievement for a comic related property regardless of whether or not the Oscar is awarded to the film. The first appearance of Black Panther is Fantastic Four #52. The first appearance of Killmonger is Jungle Action #6.
Rumors continue to swirl surrounding the repeatedly delayed New Mutants film as some begin to speculate it will be released directly to Disney’s existing streaming service Hulu in an effort to maximize profit for Disney corporate. The two outstanding Fox X-Men related film properties set for release in 2019 are X-Men: Dark Phoenix slated to be released on June 7, 2019 and the New Mutants film scheduled to finally open in box offices on August 2, 2019. Many fans of the New Mutants and the X-Men generally were excited about the New Mutants film after word spread that the film would embrace the horror roots of the early comics and borrow heavily from the Demon Bear story arc. The numerous delays and Disney’s ongoing effort to finalize the merger of Fox have cooled interest in key books such as New Mutants Graphic Novel #4 which is a Magazine Size book with a black cover that has long been coveted by collectors because of the difficulty of obtaining a high grade copy of this book. Similar concerns have arisen regarding keys books associated with the Dark Phoenix film as many speculators fear a lackluster film comparable to the Age of Apocalypse and are diverting their funds to books like Giant Size X-Men number one in anticipation of the X-Men’s arrival in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
An expose’ in the Atlantic documents new allegations of sexual misconduct against director Bryan Singer. This may spell an end to his involvement with a forthcoming Red Sona film and cool speculation regarding increased demand for her first appearance in Conan 23 and 24 (both books are coveted by Conan collectors). Nevertheless, fans of Conan continue to rejoice over the writing of the Conan’s new series and the character’s increased incorporation into the Marvel 616.
The Hollywood Reporter indicates that there are major shake ups in the work at DC. According to unnamed sources “DC is laying off staff as part of an organization restructure of the Warner Bros. division that will see it focus on its original core business of publishing … Layoffs at DC, a subsidiary of Warner Bros., include high-level figures including Senior VP Sales Trade Marketing John Cunningham, VP Consumer Marketing Eddie Scannell and Senior VP Art Director Mark Chiarello.”
Wednesday saw a number of new releases garnering heat including the one per store Guardians of the Galaxy #1 premiere and party variant covers by Marquez and Deodato. This continues the trend that sees collectors and speculators alike show less desire for Marvel ratio variants whenever store variant owners receive proportional copies of ratio variants, but increased demand for incentive variants that have other qualifying purchase quotas (e.g., books like Thor #8 Angela Andrews variant, Uncanny X-Men Wolverine Finch variant).
Deadline Hollywood reported that Mark Millar and Greg Capullo’s Image title Reborn is being made for Netflix as part of the Millar World imprint. Chris McKay, who directed the Lego Batman film is set to direct the project which will be produced by Sandra Bullock and Vertigo Entertainment. Bullock has enjoyed a career resurgence after the success of her Netflix film Birdbox which has streamed into 80 million homes and counting. There is a 1:100 sketch variant of issue number 1 as well as a 1:25 McFarland and a number of other variants including a NYCC variant which many believe will be the most sought after cover of the first issue.
After years of virtual silence regarding the projects, Jason Aaron took to his internet page to announce the following:
“There … continues to be movement on a possible SOUTHERN BASTARDS TV show through producer Scott Rudin and FX, though there’s really nothing more we can say right now, other than that Latour and I both remain excited about who’s involved and how things seem to be looking.
Speaking of TV stuff, I also continue to get questions about the SCALPED series that was announced a few years ago. It didn’t happen. They shot a pilot with a really incredible cast (including Zahn McClarnon who turned heads on ‘Westworld’ this past season), but the series didn’t get picked up.”
If you are interested in speculating on Southern Bastards the Heroes Con variant of issue #1 is highly sought after by many collectors who believed the show to already be dead.
TV and Film speculation continues to be a dangerous game. Many are gun shy afer investing heavily into flash in the pan Flash villains or books related to TV series like Legion and Happy which most generally agree are good television shows. Seasoned speculators often remind newer collectors that there is currently little to no demand for books like R.I.P.D (1999). which hit the big screen in 2003 starring major film actors Ryan Reynolds and Jeff Bridges or a History of Violence (1997) which hit the big screen in 2005 and was nominated for two major Academy Awards. Nevertheless, many speculators continue to search for the next mega hit (i.e., the Walking Dead) and look to Hollywood for direction.
For those still hungry for TV spec, perhaps the most promising news came late this week when Deadline reported the second spin off of the Archie inspired series Riverdale series – Katy Keene. Deadline reports that Katy Keene will center around the budding fashionista’s life in New York City. Aguirre-Sacasa, who co-wrote Katy Keene with Riverdale co-executive producer Michael Grassi, said last summer that the new offshoot is “very different from Riverdale.” Key books include Katy Keene’s first appearance in Wilbur #5, Katy Keene Pinup Parade #1, and the gorgeous red wedding cover Katy Keene Glamour #1. These Golden Age beauties are not found in typical long boxes and may drive speculators and fans of modern Archie comics collectors crazy trying to find high grade copies of these treasures.
That’s all for me this week. I am traveling to attend a convention and will attempt to fill in the gaps in next weeks article. Thank you all for the positive response to last weeks article. I’ll be back next weekend with another update. In the interim,
“Happy hunting! You bunch of savages!!”
– Nico, Esq.