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!
Record Braking Modern Sales
This week we saw huge sales for both Immortal Hulk and the Batman Who Laughs. A CGC 9.8 copy of Teen Titans #12, the 1st appearance of the Batman Who Laughs hit an all time high.
We’ve seen the Batman Who Laughs become a premiere villain in DC continuity and many collectors are convinced that he is a fixture in the DC universe from this point forward. He is featured prominently in DC’s Summer event series “The Year of the Villain” and Teen Titans #12 is seen by many as solid modern spec because there are no variant covers, no store variants and the book has a comparatively low print run in relation to many other modern books. This week a CGC 9.8 copy of the A cover of this book sold for a whopping $699.99 on eBay. A comparable copy sold for $660.00 on March 15th. These sales represent all time highs for this book and demonstrate broad appeal for this character. High grade raw copies of Teen Titans #12 are routinely moving in the $100.00 range and are quickly drying up on the secondary market.
Also this week we’ve seen a ton of action on the Immortal Hulk and an overwhelming amount of “speculation” on titles related to the Immortal Hulk series. In a record setting live auction on eBay, a copy of the 1 in 25 Zaffino variant of Immortal Hulk #2 sold for $760.00. This is an astounding number for this book that is leaving many collectors scratching their heads. The last recorded eBay sale was on March 10th where a comparable copy moved for little more than $500.00.
Speculators are grabbing up copies of perceived 1st appearances of almost any red Hulk and/or red She-Hulk in hopes that they will be featured in Al Ewing’s ongoing series. Some of the more heavily speculated books are Hulk #2 (2008) (1st A-Bomb a/k/a Rick Jones’ red hulk); Incredible Hulk #604 (1st Harpy, the Marlo Chanler-Jones incarnation); Incredible Hulk #168 (1st appearance of Harpy, the Betty Ross incarnation); Hulk #14 Variant (1st cover Red She-Hulk, Betty Ross incarnation); Hulk #15 and Hulk #15 variant (1st full appearance of Red-She Hulk); and many other books. Some speculators are snagging up copies of the Joe Fixit (Hulk #347) because of rumor and conjecture surrounding his return in the Immortal Hulk series.
Before you invest your money in the Immortal Hulk series, I would encourage you to strongly consider the analogy between Al Ewing’s Immoral Hulk run and books like Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye run or even Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing run. If Ewing’s run is not regarded as comparable to Peter David’s classic run on the Hulk, but is instead elevated to the level of Alan Moore’s run on Swamp Thing, what is the future value of these books? This week there were two copies of Alan Moore’s first work on Swamp Thing sold on eBay. On March 17th a copy described as VF/NM condition sold for $9.50 and a copy described as NM High Grade sold for $39.99. I am as guilty as anyone of buying hot books when they are least expensive and if you are like me, please go into these purchases with your eyes wide open.
Hot New Modern Books
We’ve seen a handful of modern books start to get really serious attention from speculators and collectors alike. The leaders of the pack are the titles Die and Naomi. Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans have fans drooling over this title. We’re at issue #4 and the 1st issue has four printings (and a fifth on the way). Unbelievably, the 4th printing of the 1st issue is both sold out at the distribution level and selling at a premium online. Some speculators are comparing this book to Saga because of its immediate appeal to collectors while naysayers are likening it to Seven to Eternity and waiting for the floor to cave in on current prices.
One thing is for certain, fans of this book are rabidly enthusiastic about the title and issues of the series are moving with haste online. The Stephanie Hans Black store variant of #1 A is trending around $200.00 raw and has a recorded sale of $800.00 in CGC 9.8 condition on eBay. Collectors are going to have to decide whether they would prefer 10 copies of the A cover to one copy of this store variant that is reportedly limited to 800 copies. It appears that the stigma surrounding store variants has waxed and waned over the years and that presently store variants are more accepted by collectors than in recent memory. It will be interesting to see where that trend goes in the future.
The other monster new title is Naomi from DC. This title is on issue #3 and it is sold out at the distribution level and commanding a premium online. All three issues of this series are moving well online and commanding a premium above cover price. Speculation is rampant that the lead character, will be the first woman of color to sport the Super-man insignia on her chest. Brian Michael Bendis has indicated on more than one occasion that DC has big plans in store for Naomi and fans are eagerly picking up this title in anticipation of the same. The series is beautifully illustrated and has been well written thus far. I for one am eager to see where it goes from here.
Dark Red #1 from Aftershock is getting some action. These books are selling well online. There are a ton of variants including a 1:10 variant that was previously discussed on our Instagram page. There are also a number of other variants, including a Shannon Maer Bloody store variant from Sad Lemon Comics and C2E2 variants. The Shannon Maer variant is sold out but has some big online sales. Raw copies of the set of trade dress and virgin covers Maer Bloody covers are moving consistently around $200 with a CGC 9.8 remarked SS copy appearing to have pre-sold for $500.00.
Pre-Code Horror and Good Girls Shine
One of the most coveted books by Golden Age Pre-Code Horror collectors is Black Cat Mystery #50. This book features one of the most shocking covers in comics – a man’s face and hands melting from radiation poisoning. Comic book collectors and the Overstreet Price Guide have long attributed the story art solely to Sid Check, but it seems more probable that Frank Frazetta at least did the ink work on this beauty if not more. On Wednesday a raw copy of Black Cat Mystery #50 sold for $3,250.00. This is an amazing appreciation from the last recorded GPA sale of a CGC 2.5 at a price tag of $1,700.00 in January of 2018. We are seeing many younger collectors continue to turn their investment portfolios away from books like Hulk #181 and toward these Golden Age classics. Only time will tell to what extent this trend will continue.
Golden Age Good Girl, Bondage and Headlight covers continue attract major attention from serious collectors. This week, we witnessed a couple big sales that demonstrate this point. For example, a Wonder Comics 13 CGC 9.0 sold in a live auction for $3,250.00. This Alex Schomburg classic cover checks the right boxes and is in high demand. Similarly, we saw a CGC 6.5 of Planet Comics 39 sell for $1,477.00. Good girl covers remain favorites of collectors for their eye appeal and are generally perceived as blue chip investments in comic collectors
They claim “We’ve Got This Covered?” I’ll Reserve Judgment
Early this week, We Got This Covered reported that Sony was developing an Agent Venom television series. If this is happening keep your eye on out for Amazing Spider-Man #654 2nd prints which are particularly hard to find in high grade condition because of the black cover. There has been no confirmation regarding whether or not this is an actual project in development at Sony, and I would encourage you not to overpay for this or any of the other Agent Venom key books. The obvious other choice is Secret Avengers #23 (1st and 2nd prints), but keep an eye out for Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 (which is also affordable), Amazing Spider-Man #574 (which tells the story of how Flash Thompson suffered the service related injury resulting in his double amputation) and be on the look out for newsstand editions which command a substantial premium on the secondary market but remain an unknown phenomenon to many dealers and retailers alike.
Later in the week this same news outlet reported that Spider-Man 2099 was receiving his own spinoff series and that Spider-Man Noir would receive the same treatment. If you are returning to this article for your second week, you may recall that We Got This Covered reported last week that DC was in early development of a Doctor Fate feature film. Only time will tell if this news source is a trusted source for insider scoops or not. Please be cautious with your hard earned dollars if you are speculating on either of these titles.
Power of the Pump?
This week The Wrap reported that Sony’s Masters of the Universe reboot film may cast Noah Centineo, as He-Man. As previously reported here, the film will be directed by Aaron and Adam Nee, the screenplay was written by Matt Holloway and Art Marcum, and it will be produced by David Goyer. Last Friday we saw nearly ten slabbed copies of DC Presents #47 (the first appearance of He-Man in comics sold on eBay it what some were describing as the same kind of buying behavior that pumped up the price on copies of Rai #0 just a few short weeks prior. Unlike copies of Rai #0, it appears that prices did not move sending a warning signal to others attempting this kind of market manipulation in the future.
Tokyo Ghost coming to the Big Screen?
Fan favorite, Sean Gordon Murphy, posted on social media that he can neither confirm nor deny that Tokyo Ghost was headed to the big screen and copies of this book are disappearing online. There are a couple harder to find variants of issue #1 that you should keep an eye out for in the event that you can pick them up at a reasonable price. Specifically, there is a retailer exclusive variant of the B cover and a SDCC exclusive of the A cover. Both variants are black and white and copies promptly disappeared on eBay after Murphy’s tweet. His post was so tongue and cheek it is unclear whether or not he is in discussions with anyone to transform Tokyo Ghost into a major motion picture. Fans of Murphy’s work are anxiously awaiting his return to Batman the White Knight which DC told fans would be released under its Black Label imprint later this year. Murphy has indicated that the sequel will feature Azrael in it and fans are hopeful for a swift return of the two Harleys (Dr. Harleen Quinzel and Marian Drews). In light of all the commotion created around the DC Dark imprint, DC corporate suggested that the Dark imprint was going to tone down it’s adult oriented content. This is particularly confusing for those of us who are enjoying DC’s streaming service which features adult oriented television programing. I will be very interested in seeing how exactly this is reconciled and remain optimistic that adult readers will be able to enjoy the adult oriented titles we’ve been looking forward to for some time now.
Multiple news outlets reported that Jeff Wadlow ( the director of Kick-Ass 2) signed on to direct the feature film adaption of J. Scott Campbell’s beloved Danger Girl. This information was first reported by Variety. If you are not well versed on Danger Girl comics, be very careful before you shell out big bucks for the wrong book. Image produced a ton of versions of issues #1 and #2 of Danger Girl. The most scarce of them all is the Ruby Red Smoking Gun red foil logo variant of Danger Girl #2. There is a reported 400-500 copies of this book. Note that there is a a regular “smoking gun” variant, which is reported to have a print run of 4,000 copies and a platinum foil logo variant (1,000 copies).
As with all alleged “print runs” these numbers are the numbers reported by the publishers and are at best a rough estimate of actual prints. If you are interested in reported prints, and there validity and usefulness – keep an eye out for the forthcoming video on our youtube channel, which is coming soon! We will be discussing the “reserve copies” kept by publishers, “warehouse finds,” the refusal of Marvel and DC to cooperate with comicchron to report actual numbers from the printers, Diamond randomly distributing “scarce” variants at its retail breakfast months after collectors have paid exorbitant prices for copies of comparable copies of these books on the secondary market and a variety of other thought provoking topics which you should use to think about when considering the usefulness of reported print run information.
Thank you all for your continued support and comments. They are much appreciated. That’s all for this week. I’ll be back next week with more news and original content. In the interim, “Happy hunting! You bunch of savages!!”
– Nico, Esq.
Teen titans #12 has more than 1 variant, not counting the multiple printings. The regular variant dc put out and more recently there was convention variant. The regular cover sells for much more than the variant given BWL appears on the cover. Although I think the variants a much better cover.
Thank you for your comment. Perhaps Jimmy can add the word “incentive” so that it is more clears. I am referring to incentive, ratio, retailer exclusive(s), and/or store variants which drive down the price not cover “B” which generally improves prices and/or the foil variants which have been poorly received by the secondary market. I’m actually surprised the foil variant didn’t drive people towards the B cover. At least for the time being it seems that foil covers re-energize sakes of the first prints.
Wow!! What a great article you post every week. You’re developing a great format and I appreciate the professionalism you put into your work.
Your market breakdowns and insights are top-notch.
I have a question about the paragraph above that compares DC PRESENTS #47 and RAI #0.
You mention the prices being pumped and people attempting to manipulate the market. I am curious as to what you may be saying here. Do you believe there is a buyer or buyers who buy out all copies on EBay when some news is announced in order to “corner the market” so to speak in hopes of spiking the price and then dumping the copies?
That’s very similar to some methods in stock trading.
Of course, I don’t believe this is the case on all new hot books as the majority of the time I think it’s the natural law of supply and demand.
Any further insights you have on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for your time and keep up the great work!
Krypt, I don’t think it’s nearly as helpful to assume buyers motives as much as it is to analyze their behavior. So out of the blue one day a few weeks ago, there was a run on Rai 0 and it absolutely changed the market. The book went from being tepid to luke warm at best to being red hot over night. One of my prior articles discusses actual numbers and sales data. The same thing happened with DC Presents 47. As described in the main article, one day last week a person or group of buyers snagged about a dozen copies of this book on eBay, but the hype didn’t catch on so the attempt at creating a run on the market for these books didn’t succeed. In fact, people started listing them rather than buying them or pulling their copies. This is the exact opposite of what happened with Rai 0 and I believe strong evidence that the comic buying market is getting more and more sophisticated. What precisely occurred and why it happened is the subject of a lot longer analysis, but your analogy to the stock market is a good one. Look at the historical example of the Hunt brothers Silver buying as I think it’s also illustrative. It will be interesting to see whether the comic market sees a prosecution for securities fraud over some of the shenanigans that transpire behind the scenes. I’m sure we’ve all heard rumors and rumblings about those with Hollywood tipsters. I am also waiting for big money corporate sharks to decide to start throwing their weight around our beloved hobby (if they haven’t already). One thing is for certain, we’ll be here to cover it for you as it transpires in real time. Thanks for your comment.
That black cat comic is an absolute beauty. Anyone could appreciate that iconic horror. Excellent article. 👍🏻
Spot on nico,
In reply to Krypt, I absolutely believe their are people trying to corner the market on short run comic titles.
I enjoy getting your article evety week, nice to hear what others are thinking and keeping up with all that is going on. Thanks again.