Weekend Update with Nico
The following article has been written by Comic Book Speculation Dot Com writer, Nico.
This is your Weekend Update!
EC Rises Again
Big news for fans of pre-code horror and science fiction. EC Comics, the legendary horror and science fiction publisher, inked a deal with production company Hivemind to produce a television series based on the classic EC anthology series Weird Fantasy. Weird Fantasy #13 is actually the 1st issue of the series. Before issue #13 this book was a Romance comic. Weird Fantasy #18 (March/April 1953) is a particularly significant book in the history of comics and in history generally. Weird Fantasy #18 features a story called “Judgment Day,” that maybe the first comic book to subversively critique segregation and champion the values of the Civil Rights era. Hivemind is also slated to produce a biopic of EC publisher William M. Gaines. Gaines is an legend in the comics industry. He was personally targeted by seduction of the innocent censorship efforts and blamed for juvenile delinquency caused by his comic books. If you are a fan of pre-code horror/sci-fi, don’t forget about Ladies’ Home Journal (November, 1953) which is the first published account of the seduction of the innocent propaganda the notorious psychiatrist Fredric Wertham.
In the week following the Rai #0 CGC 9.8 buying frenzy, prices on this book remain high and sales continue to roll on eBay. Be aware that CGC labels added “Matte” or “Glossy” in May of 2015 and that prior to this date CGC did not recognize any distinction between the books. Also, be aware that “Glossy” copies of Rai 0 are estimated at or near a 1 in 5 ratio. I’m hesitant to report on Rai #0 sales, but last weeks efforts clearly inflated prices. It is uncertain whether these prices will stay at there current level as we approach the release of the Bloodshot movie starring Vin Diesel (famous for his classic performance in Find Me Guilty). Also note that Valiant collectors are excited about a cross promotional offer with CGC. Apparently CGC has a new “Valiant label” it is offering to customers who have the option to use it in place of the traditional universal blue label.
Beyond Batman Speculation
As most of you are already well aware, earlier this week rumor and speculation surrounding a theatrical release of an animated Batman Beyond movie was summarily dismissed by Umberto Gonzalez, the editor in chief of Heroic Hollywood. Gonzalez indicates that Warner Brothers official statement is “Not true. We are not working on an animated Batman Beyond movie.” In an effort to be completely certain that this well reported rumor was untrue Gonzalez indicates that he personally confirmed this information with both the Warner Animation Group and DC Films. Gonzalez has been a contentious figure in comic book news circles. So contentious in fact, that there is an entire Reddit thread titled How Often Has Umberto Gonzalez Been Correct.
It is interesting to observe that the rumored Batman Beyond Animated feature film was reported on by a variety of news sources just days after Kevin Smith commented on his Batman Beyond podcast that he would like to see Michael Keaton play Bruce Wayne in a Terry McGinley centered Batman Beyond feature film. Perhaps the Hollywood telephone game was at work here, perhaps there is a different explanation, but for now there is only conjecture, fantasy and speculation that supports a Batman Beyond film of any kind. Regardless of whether there is or is not a film of any kind in development, sales of Batman Beyond #1 (UPC box) remain strong and have been solid for months.
In other Bat-related news, it looks like the Batwoman pilot is going to feature Alice as the villain who first appeared in Detective Comics #854. Alice is to Batwoman what the Joker is to Batman and will certainly be integral to the plot of the TV series if the show gets picked up. As discussed on the comicwars live show, the Batman 608 Diamond RRP sales are among the strongest of any variant comic on the market today. This book should remain on everyone’s radar as continued speculation concerning the forthcoming The Batman film includes discussion surrounding the probability that it will re-tell the Hush storyline and lead into a Gotham City Sirens film creating a new cohesive Bat universe.
Variants Rule the Modern Spec Market
Speaking of variants, sales of the Jee Hyung Lee 1:100 variant to Spider Gweyn: Ghost-Spider #1 remain strong with CGC 9.6 copies selling on two separate occasions on Super Bowl Sunday for $470.00. The last recorded CGC 9.8 sale was on January 25th for approximately $1,000.00. This book is selling for as much as the Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23 Adam Hughes variant which had two sales this week in the $1,000.00 range. Many collectors are astonished that the JeeHyung Lee Ghost-Spider variant has persevered and remained at this lofty price tag when many comparably high priced ratio variants are soon forgotten by the quick learning fast forgetting speculator market. A recent example of this phenomenon is the Gammora #2 1:25 Mattina variant appear to have taken a major hit. The last recorded sale of a CGC 9.8 copy of this book was $499.00 on January 31st with CGC 9.8 copies dipping as low as $400.00. This is a sharp decline for this book which peaked at sales around the $900.00 mark in mid December.
In spite of all the criticism and controversy surrounding allegations about Francesco Mattina copying the work and/or misusing the work of other artists, The All New Wolverine #19 Venomized black and white 1:500 Mattina variant is enjoying strong sales. On February 3rd, a raw copy sold in a live auction for $565.00. This price is consistent with a $470.00 sale on January 6th and a $645.00 sale on January 20th for raw copies of this book in comparable condition. A CGC 9.8 copy also sold on February 3rd for $1,169.99. It is unclear whether this has more to do with speculators moving away from Avengers related titles towards X-Men related characters or as we approach Avengers 4: End Game or whether collectors are distinguishing between books and titles based upon far less uniform criteria. Only time will tell what the impact of allegations against Mattina will mean for the value of this books.
Newsstands Continue to Soar
The marked disparity in value for high grade newsstand variants continues. As Cloak and Dagger gets some minor buzz for its second season premiere, a live auction for CGC 9.8 newsstand variant of Spectacular Spider-Man #64 ended this week at $610.00. The last recorded sale of Spectacular Spider-Man #64 CGC 9.8 was a direct market copy that sold for $471.00. Note that there was a best offer accepted on a newsstand variant just after Christmas for a whopping $700.00.
The Mouse House
In Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) news, in a conference call with investors, Disney CEO Bob Iger recognized the “popularity amongst Marvel fans for the R-rated Deadpool films,” “We’re going to continue in that business and there might be room for more of that.” Iger said hinting that Disney is exploring the option of other R rated properties in the mouse house. Also Iger hinted that these films won’t be released under the traditional Marvel or Disney name in an effort to be certain it is “carefully branding [R-rated films]…so we’re not in any way confusing the consumer.” Interestingly, FX has acquired the rights to stream Venom and Into the Spiderverse. Captain Marvel, by contrast, will be the first property Disney withholds from Netflix for its Disney+ streaming service which is anticipated sometime later in 2019.
As we approach Disney’s acquisition of Fox, collectors continue to hoard high grade copies of Fantastic Four keys. Books like Fantastic Four #5, #48, #49 and Annual #6 continue to sell well on eBay in anticipation of the close of the Fox deal. Similarly, we’ve seen blue chip X-Men related books like X-Men #1 and Giant Size X-Men #1 with increasingly strong sales numbers. Prices on Hulk #181 continue to climb month after month. All of the aforementioned Fantastic Four and X-Men books had strong sales this week. The long term prognosis on these titles is unclear, but for the time being these issues are enjoying their time in the sun.
Fox orders Talent Series
Meanwhile Fox announced that it was developing a TV series based on the Boom comic Talent and that Fox is apparently pretty fond of the potential series, as the network is eyeing a straight-to-series order. This book promptly disappeared on eBay. Although exact direct market sales figures are not available for the first two issues of this title, it is safe to estimate the print run in the range of 1,000 to 2,500 direct market copies as this book did not make the Comicchron Top 300 list the month it was released.
Risk and Reward
Television and film speculation is risky business with few examples of long term winners. Nevertheless, it is an increasingly relevant and integral part of the hobby as Hollywood turns to the comic book industry again and again for new creative ideas. We’re all aware of the countless properties that have been optioned, but never seen the light of day. Will Image titles like Think Tank, Thief of Thieves, Cowboy Ninja Viking or Chew ever get made? What happens if they do? Will they be the next in a long line of forgotten properties comparable to comics like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and the Losers which have little to no interest and limited resale value?
No one can predict with absolute certainty how the market will respond to any of these titles. After all there are some books, like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Walking Dead and the Crow which have stood the test of time. Certainly everyone can agree that each property is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, with increasingly informed and conscientious buyers and sellers, it is important to make deliberate and calculated decisions about where to spend your hard earned money to get the most bang for your buck. Keep doing your research. 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.