Weekend Update with Nico
The following article has been written by Comic Book Speculation Dot Com writer, Nico. Read more articles from Nico here.
This is your Weekend Update!
Not even Forrest Gump could interfere with this Black Panther party.
The week started off with a bang when Black Panther won Academy Awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Original Score. Black Panther earned seven Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture. While the film didn’t take home the top spot, it is the first superhero flick to ever get nominated for best picture.
There were a number of sales of Black Panther’s first appearance on Oscar Sunday; A CGC 6.5 of Fantastic Four #52 sold for $1,050.00 BIN; and a CGC 7.0 sold for $1,250.00 in a live auction. That same night a CGC 7.0 copy of this book sold on Heritage for $1,920.00 (which is inclusive of Heritage’s 20% buyer premium). A comparable auction on comiclink ended on February 27th with a CGC 7.0 copy selling for $1,250.00.
Captain Marvel Conundrum
Prices on Captain Marvel comics continue to confuse many collectors and dealers alike. High grade, Kamala Khan variants continue to bring top dollar while the price tag on Carol Danvers’ key books continue to slide. For example, this week two CGC 9.6 copies of Ms. Marvel #1 (1977) sold in live auctions for $560.00 each. This book was selling for $700.00 in this condition as recently as December. Similarly, back in December we saw CGC 9.8 copies of Avenging Spider-Man #9 fetch $575.00 in eBay BINs. One sold today for $460.00.
By contrast, Kamala Khan prices are solid. Most recently, a raw copy of a Captain Marvel #14 (2013) 1:30 Conner variant sold for $1,525.00 on February 21st. Similarly, Captain Marvel #17 2nd prints have been selling strong at big numbers. This week alone we saw two CGC 9.6 copies sell for $700.00 and $800.00 respectively. As we approach the March 8, 2019 release of the Captain Marvel film many are scratching there head wondering the fate of Carol Danvers keys.
Allegations of fraud and other criminal conduct made against Valiant’s parent company
Chris Fenton, the former head of DMG Entertainment’s motion picture group, has filed a lawsuit alleging fraud against the Chinese parent company for Valiant Comics. Fenton, now a senior advisor at IDW is credited with facilitating the acquisition of Valiant. According to Variety, Fenton’s suit alleges, among other things, that “the founders [of DMG] borrowed hundreds of millions of dollars secured by DMG stock and used the funds to buy a $20 million mansion in Beverly Hills, multiple airplanes, including a $30 million Bombardier jet, and luxury vehicles, including Rolls-Royces, Bentleys and Ferraris. The suit says that the founders also took on millions in debt to pay for experimental regenerative medical treatments.” Fenton alleges SEC fraud and details an alleged fraudulent scheme whereby it was suggested that he propose to A-list actors, directors and producers that DMG would give the artist $45 million over three years and in exchange, the artist would give DMG $30 million over the same period. The cost to DMG would be hidden, while the money received would be booked as revenue. It is unclear if the Plaintiff alleges that this was intended to inflate stock prices, the perceived wealth of the corporation or for some other purpose, etc., but according to Variety, the Plaintiff admits to making this offer at the direction of DMG. Variety reports that the suit describes the goal of the arrangement as intended to “take advantage of the company’s high stock multiple.” The variety exposé indicates that Fenton’s suit says “he actually tried to pitch the deal to one A-list actor and a producer, but that an attorney for the actor told Fenton it did not ‘pass the smell test.’” It is unclear whether this lawsuit will have any impact on the sale of Valiant comics and/or the forthcoming Bloodshot film, but if the allegations are true they constitute criminal conduct and may catch the eye of the Department of Justice who prosecutes violations of federal law. The Department of Justice has recently been involved in high profile prosecutions of a number of celebrities for securities fraud and appears to be charged with a mandate to specifically seek out celebrities who engage in conduct that is unlawful. Recent high profile prosecutions for securities fraud include Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled who were both charged by the Securities Exchange Commission.
More angsty teen Titans
This week Joshua Orpin was cast as Superboy, also known as Kon-El or Conner Kent on the DC streaming show Titans. This iteration of Superboy’s first appearance was in Adventures of Superman #500. Don’t forget there is a platinum variant if you are interested in investing in this property. 9.8 Graded copies of the Platinum variant are in short supply from online sources and few copies appear to have remained in their black and silver polybag. This book also features the first appearance of Steel. Conner Kent first appeared on the season one finale with his dog Krypto by his side. Krypto is a long time fan favorite and writer/director James Gunn once pitched Krypto as integral to his involvement in a Superman theatrical movie. Krypto first appeared back in Adventure Comics #210. The last recorded sale of Adventure Comics #210 was on February 10th when a copy described as being in “G/VG 3.0 (cover detached at top staple)” sold for $1,600.00.
Amazon Streaming Sci-Fi original
In anticipation of the forthcoming East of West original series on Amazon, speculators have been hoarding copies of the East of West #1 Diamond retailer reward program (RRP) C2E2 variant. Many are hot on TV speculation for the first time in years thanks to the recent success of the Umbrella Academy on Netflix. While sales of slabbed copies of the East of West #1 C2E2 variant have been extremely slow, raw copies have sold well. The last CGC 9.8 copy sold on December 6th for $360.00. This week an eBay auction for a high grade raw copy ended at a staggering $385.00 which is a marked increase from all prior auctions. Prior to this sale raw book were barely breaking the $200.00 mark. In other Amazon news, Rebecca Hall (Vicky Christina Barcelona) was cast as the female lead in the forthcoming series, Tales From the Loop, based on the science fiction artwork of Simon Stålenhag. Stålenhag’s last kickstarter project raised well over a quarter million dollars. It will be interesting to see if comic speculators transition to more traditional modern print art as a result of this property.
Dazzling numbers for Dazzler
In the early hours of March 1st a CGC 9.8 newsstand copy of the 1st appearance of Dazzler in X-Men #130 sold for $712.65. A Buy it Now Auction on ebay for a comparable direct market copy sold for $675.00 the same day with a prior best offer accepted at $652.05 on February 27th. Many collectors are bullish on her books as a result of her forthcoming Hulu animated series and the rumor/conjecture surrounding Lady Gaga’s prospective involvement in a future project after the two were spotted standing next to one another in the Academy Award class photo. Remember there are some amazing Dazzler Bill Sienkiewicz covers that are hard to find in high grade. For many years, the gem of that run has been the homage to the Michael Jackson Thriller album; however, in light of the recent attention by the public and media surrounding allegations of child sex abuse by Jackson this may become a very controversial cover. All of these Sienkiewicz covers, including the Triller homage, are incredibly affordable at the moment and the art is stunning.
Vertigo Spin Cycle
Doom Patrol is a hit with fans and Warner Brothers is spending big advertising dollars pushing this property. This week we saw two copies of the first appearance of Doom Patrol in My Greatest Adventure #80 sell on eBay. A CGC 6.0 copy sold for $850.00 and a raw copy described as being in VG condition sold for $250.00. There has been little increased interest in modern key issues such as #26 (1st Mr. Nobody) and issues #35 and #36 (1st Flex Mentalo and Danny the Street) despite positive reports about the show. Similarly, it’s been a couple weeks since the 1st appearance of Beast Boy in Doom Patrol #99 sold. The last sale was on February 18th when a CGC 7.0 that sold in a live auction for $426.00. Only time will tell if the television series will inspire new readers of Grant Morrison’s stories or collectors of Simon Bisley artwork. Either way, the vast majority agree that there landmark run was one of modern comics best. In a market dominated by “cover buys” it may not be too long before collectors get hip to Bisley’s work and begin snatching up these books for the artwork alone.
In other Vertigo news, Production Weekly reports that Jeff Lemire’s beloved title Sweet Tooth has a firm start date of May 21st of this year with filming taking place in New Zealand for the Hulu pilot. The listing indicates that filming will last until June 19th and that additional episodes of the series will apparently be filmed in Vancouver. There has been little action on Sweet Tooth or any of Lemire’s books recently; however, if you like Lemine spec, look out for the Black Hammer: Age of Doom #1 C2E2 variant. Like the SDCC variant it was limited to 500 copies, and it enjoys beautiful cover by fan favorite Raphael Albuquerque. You can generally find this book between $25 and $75 raw.
New Line Cinema’s The Kitchen has been pushed forward six weeks to a new August 9 release date, according to Deadline. This is six weeks earlier than the previously scheduled September 20 theatrical release date. Some speculators have high hopes for this property because of the strength of the cast including A list, mega-star Melissa McCarthy other voices liken this property to The Losers and countless other forgotten comic properties that had mild to moderate success at the box office and then faded into comic obscurity.
Walking Dead trudges along
AMC confirmed yesterday during its quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analyst that a new spinoff of The Walking Dead is in the works. There are no known details about this prospective forthcoming television property, but AMC is reportedly very excited about it. The Walking Dead #1 CGC 9.8s are trending in the $2,000 range and have sold for that amount as recently as February 26th in a live auction with a CGC SS 9.8 selling $2,650.00 BIN on March 1st. It appears that collectors are almost uniformly are waiting for the price to bottom out on this book before buying back in, but the Walking Dead continues to hover around this mark. Interestingly, there were two big sales of CGC 9.8 copies of Walking Dead #19 (the 1st appearance of Michonne) this week for $695.00 and $689.99 on February 25th and 26th respectively.
Newsstand Price Explosions
Perhaps the least discussed, most interesting trend in modern comics is the power of newsstand variants to impact the desirability and value of modern books. This impact is the strongest as we get closest to the end of the newsstand era and that factor alone is often proportional to the rarity of these most sought after books. If this trend continues, it presents an incredible opportunity for collectors. This week for example, we saw an Amazing Spider-Man #607 – CGC 9.2 – $3.99 Newsstand Price Variant signed by J. Scott Campbell with a green label sell for $450.00. To put this in perspective a gold label in comparable condition signed by Stan Lee and Joe Kelly just sold for $250.00. NM raw copies of this book are trending in the $50 to $60 range. Many shrewd collectors have been securing newsstand copies of Spawn books for a considerable amount of time because of there comparative rarity. When you are out in the wild, looking at books, be mindful to search for newsstand variants. They are routinely the difference between trash and treasure. In an age where collectors do not trust self-reported publishing numbers and alleged ratios to determine the relative rarity of incentive variant covers or store owners to truthfully report the number of store variants that were printed, newsstand variants are an increasingly appealing alternative to many collectors. Keep your eyes peeled for these potential prizes!
That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next week with more news. In the interim, “Happy hunting! You bunch of savages!!”
– Nico, Esq.