Weekend Update with Nico
The following article has been written by Comic Book Speculation Dot Com writer, Nico.
The week in comics started off with a bang after a teaser trailer for the Birds of Prey film was released online. Sales of Batman Adventures #12 are solid and have been closing in on the $1,800.00 mark for copies in CGC 9.8 condition in live auctions. By contrast, sales of the 1st appearance of the Black Mask (Batman #386) and the 1st appearance of Mr. Zsaz (Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1) have slowed down considerably after initial excitement for these books in the wake of news confirming there relevance to the forthcoming film. Birds of Prey is already the subject of heavy speculation and will feature Harley Quinn alongside Renee Montoya, Black Canary, the Huntress, and Cassandra Cain. Expect a lot more discussions regarding Harley’s girl gang as we approach the February 2020 release date.
The Birds of Prey trailer was released the day following the much discussed Harley Quinn Frankie’s Detective Comics #1000 retailer variant. Many collectors are vocally opposed to speculation on retailer variants of any kind while others believe that high quality cover art will sustain the value of these books over time. The JeeHyung Lee variant cover is reminiscent of the Ghost-Spider #1 variant because opinions regarding the speculative prospects of this book are comparably divisive. Fans of the cover are calling it “iconic” while others liken Harley Quinn’s hands to feet drawn by Rob Liefeld. Early sales of raw copies of the trade dress/virgin variant set are averaging around $150.00.
As I am sure many of you are aware, late last weekend Stadium Comics, apparently capitalizing on the high demand for the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #1 virgin variant, issued a second surprise solicitation for a black and white virgin cover. This decision was met with disappointment, hard feelings and controversy. Some collectors who were unable to secure copies of the color virgin variant had already taken to the secondary market and paid exceedingly high prices likened Nevertheless, both the black and white virgin (reportedly limited to 750 copies) and the color virgin (reportedly limited to 500 copies) have sold out online.
There was a ton of other Batman related news this week, Matt Reeves told the Hollywood Reporter in an exclusive interview that his forthcoming Batman film will feature a noir feel, a rogues gallery of villains and focus on Batman as the world’s greatest detective. Reeves already hinted at a few of the potential villains last September when he posted photos of a number of props and costumes from the Adam West Batman TV show on Twitter (e.g., Catwoman, the Riddler, and the Penguin).
Also it appears that DC maybe in early development of a Batman Beyond Animated Film. Although this information is unofficial and has yet to be confirmed, sales of Batman Beyond #1 have been increasingly strong with a CGC 9.8 copy selling in a live auction for $412.00 on January 26th before news of the potential animated feature film became public knowledge. If you are in the market for this book, be aware that there are a number of unstamped Warner Brothers variant covers that do not have a UPC code, but instead have a blank white box that demand far less money than the regular UPC code copies of this book. These books were also given out at Six Flags and some of those copies are stamped.
In other Warner Brothers news, a press release indicates that DC it is formally negotiating with James Gunn to relaunch and direct The Suicide Squad which Gunn is billing as a re-imagining of the franchise rather than as a sequel to the first film. The Suicide Squad is slated to premier in August of 2021 and will utilize Gunn’s screenplay.
In other animation news, it appears that Marvel’s Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur may actually be developed for Disney Channels Worldwide by Cinema Gypsy Productions (led by none other than Laurence Fishburn). This is the same production company that is responsible for the hit ABC show Blackish which provides additional credibility to the project. Again, this project is early in development, but a press release from Freeform on January 28th documents that this is the series that Fisburn’s group is turning it’s attention to next.
We are approximately two weeks out from Umbrella Academy’s Netflix debut and sales of these books are up. It appears that the 1 of 1000 variant cover stands uniquely from the crowd of other books; CGC 9.8 copies are selling around the $450.00 mark with high grade raw copies moving closer to $200.00. Speculators appear to be making last minute investments before the release of the series. It is unclear whether this is the time to buy or sell Umbrella Academy, but those looking to be part of the action have an interesting decision to make as we close in on the series premiere February 15, 2019.
There are a number of other independents being developed for Netflix including October Faction, Warrior Nun Aerela and the Millar World projects. Mark Millar’s titles currently in development are as follows: (a) Jupiter’s Legacy (Steven S. DeKnight ((Marvel’s Daredevil, Spartacus, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)) will serve as showrunner / executive producer and direct the first episode); (b) American Jesus (A multilingual (Spanish/English) series); (c) Empress (writer Lindsey Beer ((Kingkiller Chronicle)) is adapting the comic book into a feature film); (d) Sharkey The Bounty Hunter (Michael Bacall ((Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 21 Jump Street)) is writing the screenplay for a feature film); and (e) Huck (Ted Melfi ((Hidden Figures, St. Vincent)) is adapting the comic book into a feature film).
Many speculators are still searching for the next Walking Dead while many others liken this sort of speculation to Ponce De Leon’s search for the fountain of modern comic book youth. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that prices on Walking Dead books did not begin to soar until season two of the famed television series. As comic book speculation becomes ever more influenced by television and film production it is increasingly important to be mindful that even completed scripts from major Hollywood players don’t necessarily make it to the screen. For example, this week Guillermo del Toro lamented his disappointment that he spent a year of his life writing a script for a Dark Justice League movie which has never seen the light of day.
Newsstand variants continue to secure astronomical prices in the secondary market. Most recently the newsstand price variant of Black Panther #5 sold for $195.00 on eBay. This book is also a $3.99 price variant whereas direct market copies have a cover price of $2.99. The newsstand variant is also distinguishable to the extent that it says “Black Panther” on top of the UPC box; direct market copies say “direct edition” on top of the UPC box. Some speculate the Shuri survived the snap, that the Russo brother’s trailer for Avengers 4: Endgame is intentionally misleading and that she will dawn the mantle of Black Panther in the forthcoming film.
Black Panther continues to thrive in awards season. This week the film won the Screen Actors Guild (“SAG”) award for Best Picture and as reported last week is the first super-hero film nominated for Best Picture. Interestingly, Angela Bassett may have teased the return of Michael B. Jordan as Killmonger in the forthcoming sequel during her red carpet interview at the SAG Awards. Obviously the veracity of this statement is undetermined and should Killmonger return to the big screen are we to expect him to take center stage or appear as an astral projection, flashback or in some less substantial manner? Killmonger first appears in Jungle Action #6.
One of the Wednesday winners this week was Wonder Woman #63 cover B by Karmome Shirahama which is selling for 2 to 3 times cover price. DC cover B’s continue to do well in the secondary market and have developed a strong following among collectors who have sometimes been grabbing these books strictly as cover purchases. For the time being, excitement appears to have peaked for the time being on the Tedesco variant cover of Harley Quinn #57 as Fast Tracked CGC 9.8 copies are hitting eBay and selling for around $100.00 each.
Earlier this week, ABC ordered a pilot for Greg Rucka’s 2009 Oni Press title Stumptown. Copies of this book promptly dried up online. This title was beloved by readers when it launched and was nominated for an Eisner award. Also a preliminary press release from Amigo Comics indicates that the horror comic Straightjacket is in the works as a television show. Details are slim, but fans of this title are very excited. Let’s hope that this announcement does not go the way of Hack/Slash and other horror titles that have yet see fruition.
The market is hungry for opportunities for speculation and recently there’s been some discussion surrounding the color of Katherine Langford’s hair in relationship to her unknown casting in Avengers 4: Endgame. It has been rumored that Langford will play the daughter of Pepper Potts and Tony Stark and her instagram post with ginger locks has been championed by some as demonstrative evidence of this fact. Others suggest this is a confirmation bias and that there is no evidence that Langford is participating in re-shoots with her new auburn hair.
As the week closed we saw more than 20 graded 9.8 copies of Rai 0 purchased on eBay. Many are already speculating about the identity of this individual and/or group. There are more than 1,200 copies of Rai 0 CGC 9.8s on the census but the number of sales today will certainly effect this book in the short term and has already created conversation surrounding this book and forthcoming Bloodshot movie. It remains to be seen whether this activity will generate buzz or if this is merely a blip on the radar. Be aware that Valiant Entertainment’s market share for December 2018 was a mere fraction of one percent or (0.70%) compared to the top three publishers (Marvel Comics’s 38.93%, DC Entertainment’s 31.32%, Image Comics 8.68%) who control more than 75% of all direct market sales through Diamond.
That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next weekend with another Weekend Update. In the interim,
“Happy hunting! You bunch of savages!!”
– Nico, Esq.