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!
Major Complaints regarding Minor X-Men related Controversy
In what can best be described as a knee jerk reaction to the reporting of this website and many others, Rob Liefeld has taken to social media with a highly emotional response to collectors interest in Spider-Man/Deadpool #47. Robert Liefeld tweeted: “Let me tell you Spider-Man/DP #47 is in NO WAY the 1st appearance of Major X. It came out a week after Deadpool #10. I’m giving it notice by mentioning it here but I will NEVER ever sign a single copy. Deadpool #10 came out a week before as I anticipated a clown move like this.” Spider-Man/Deadpool penciler Matt Horak responded that he was “not trying to clown, [he] just liked the design and was told [he] could use whomever [he] wanted in our story.” Horak explained, “I didn’t realize it would be in stores before Major X 1. Just wanted to pay tribute honestly, no offense meant.” This is reminiscent of the Gwenpool, Lady Thor cameo in Hawkeye/Deadpool #0, but it is important to note that neither the creator of Gwenpool nor the creator of Lady Thor have made inflammatory comments about Hawkeye/Deadpool #0 or refused to sign those books.
In case you are wondering why anyone cares about Major X, Major X is apparently Cable’s son. Collectors are hungry for X-Men related spec books and have been hungry for speculative investments. For example, this week we saw a live auction of a newsstand copy of CGC 9.8 copy of Uncanny X-Men #266 end at $660.00. The disparity between newsstand copies and direct market copies of key issues continues. While there are multiple Buy It Now copies of New Mutants #98 available in the range of $900.00 newsstand copies are not available on eBay for less than $1,250.00. Keep an eye out of for high grade copies of newsstand editions of these key books. A comparable distinction occurs with New Mutants #87. CGC 9.8 copies of the direct market edition are readily available with BIN options in the range of $450.00 (and generally sell in the range of $400.00) while newsstand copies are only available in the range of $600.00. The last CGC 9.8 newsstand copy of New Mutants #87 that moved at a price point comparable to direct market copies was back in January.
Post-Apocalyptic Cyberpunks Unite
The live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s cult-classic anime Akira is green lit for production. Back in 1988, the anime film started America’s obsession with Manga and this week Leonardo Dicaprio’s production company received $18.5 million USD in tax credits pursuant to the California Film Commission’s Film & TV Tax Credit Program 2.0 for their Akira Film. According to Deadline, production is scheduled to take place over 71 days and will employ more than 200 “below-the-line” crew and more than 5,000 employees. In other words, it will be a big production! Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi is directing the film, which is set in the year 2060. There is some cool Akira spec to take a look at. All of the late issues of this series are extremely hard to find with raw sales of #38 (the last issue) in high grade condition consistently moving above $200.00, and a CGC 9.0 sold for $285.00 on April 2, 2019.
No Laughing Matter
Todd Phillips forthcoming Joker film is drawing rave reviews from the public. While many comic book insiders remain skeptical and reserved in their response to the teaser trailer released this week, the popular press is already whispering about the Academy Award potential for this film. If you are interested in making a speculative investment in response to this trailer, the first issue of the 1975 Joker series has been trending upward since early last 2018. Nevertheless, eBay sales of high grade CGC copies of this book have been relatively slow. The last 9.8 on eBay sold for $599.99 on March 20th and the most recent sale of a 9.6 was on April 2nd at $230.00. Raw copies of this book are generally available in NM condition in the $50.00 to $100.00 price range. It appears that this iteration of the Joker will be a departure from the Redhood origin which was first told in legendary fashion in the iconic fashion in Detective Comics #165. While some are critical of any departure from the source material and take exception to new writers taking liberty with beloved characters others suggest that this kind of critique is at best immature and at worst antithetical to artistic freedom and efforts to produce the best possible content. For our purposes, to borrow a line from Harley Quinn, “the proof is in the pudin.” Results matter in the world of comics and ticket sales and comic sales are the final measures of success.
Pre-Code continues to pack a Punch
This week we saw two big auctions for Pre-Code books. The real standout was Punch Comics #12. A raw copy that looked like it would grade a .5 moved in a live auction for $2,475.00. The rare 1945 classic skull cover is a grail item for virtually all pre-code horror collectors. Nevertheless, this was a big number for a big book, and this was the second week in a row that exceptionally low grade copies of exceptionally scarce books garnered big bids from serious collectors in live auctions. A CGC 1.5 copy sold in a Heritage auction back in November for $3,600.00. Copies rarely come to market in the form of a live auction. It is fair to call it a Golden Age ghost and collectors are willing to drop substantial money to secure a copy for their personal collection.
Also this week, three CGC copies of the William Gaines cult classic Mad #1 moved on eBay. A CGC 7.0 copy of Mad #1 sold for $2,177.00 on March 31st a CGC 6.5 sold for a best offer of $2175.00. More and more we are seeing collectors who are looking for unique items outside of the super-hero genre. It appears that interest in EC books generally, not just pre-code horror books, has been ticking up over the course of the last year and that much of the most recent excitement has arisen subsequent to news of a potential Weird Fantasy television series and biopic on EC publisher and icon William Gaines reported here a few months ago.
Modern Marvel Horror to Hit the Big Screen
According to Deadline rumors that Josh Boone’s feature adaptation of The New Mutants is headed straight to Hulu are false. Disney indicated in its CinemaCon presentation that the delayed Fox/Marvel movie has a release date of Aug. 2, 2019. The expectations around this film are incredibly low which sometimes is well deserved and other times results in enormous fan fair. The simple indication that the film would see a theatrical release sent collectors scurrying for copies of Marvel Graphic Novel #4 (the 1st appearance of the New Mutants). A CGC 9.8 copy of Marvel Graphic Novel #4 sold in a live auction on eBay for $721.11 on April 4, 2019. The prior day a CGC 9.6 copy moved for a best offer of $305.00.
Warner Brothers Trailers Excited Fans at CinemaCon
The trailers for forthcoming Wonder Woman: 1984 was well received by those in attendance at CinemaCon. The spec surrounding both of these films is no secret. We learned last year that Kristen Wiig would play Barbara Minerva (Chettah) who first appears in Wonder Woman #7 (1987) as Barbara Minerva and later as Cheetah in Wonder Woman #9 (1987). These classic copper age keys were written by the esteemed Len Wein and illustrated by none other than George Perez. Both books remain relatively inexpensive, but it is unclear whether or not there is any more room for them to grow. Traditionally, villain spec does not reap major rewards. Will Cheetah break the mold. For those of you who are suckers for gorgeous covers like me, you may want to take a look at Catwoman #78 which is many collectors favorite cover appearance of Cheetah. This Adam Hughes classic along with the other books in his lengthy run as cover artist on Wonder Woman are often found in dollar bins and prices on these issues range from less than $10.00 to upwards of $100.00 for issue #184. Keep an eye out for keys as we approach the theatrical release of Wonder Woman: 1984.
Those in attendance at CinemaCon were also treated with new Birds of Prey footage. The teaser footage shows Harley Quinn, not as a member of the Birds of Prey, but rather as an instigating figure. It appears that the Birds of Prey team will be composed of the Huntress, Back Canary, and Cassandra Cain. Three are a number of key Huntress books, but it appears that the one that is getting all of the attention is Huntress #1 (1989) which is the first appearance of the Helena Bertinelli as the Huntress. Renee Montoya (who later becomes the second incarnation of the Question in 52 week #48) first appears in Batman #475. Cassandra Cain first appears in Batman #567 (also look out for Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #120 where she becomes Batgirl). Dinah Lance first appears as Black Canary in Justice League of America #75 (1969). Footage shown at CinemaCon also included a look at Ewan McGregor as the Black Mask. The Black Mash’s 1st appearance is Batman #386. Expectations surrounding this film are very low and the none of these books have seen any sort of exponential growth in their sales or value since news of the film’s forthcoming release broke last year.
Jim Lee returns to Spawn
Apparently Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee had a heartfelt conversation at WonderCon and the result is a windfall to their fans. McFarlane posted on his Instagram page that his fellow Image Comics co-founder was returning to the company to draw something special for the milestone 300th issue of Spawn. If you are new to comics or haven’t had the opportunity to explore the history surrounding the formation of Image comics, please do yourself a favor and explore this milestone in comic book history. If you are interested in a neat book that is neither expensive nor well known, take a look at Marvel Age #104 which features a great cover of Jim Lee chained to a desk and a preview of his then forthcoming book X-Men #1. Earlier this week VF/NM copies of this book were available online in the ten dollar ($10.00) range. This is the kind of book that makes a lot of sense to me for the CGC Signature Series program.
Spawn comics are an unruly sort. It seems like every other week a few new Spawn books get hot while others cool down. If you are not already an ace on Spawn comics, do yourself a favor and familiarize yourself with which books are the key Spawn books to look for in retailer boxes. Spawn collectors spend money and most retailers are not sophisticated when it comes to this title. Another reasonably inexpensive Spawn related title to keep an eye out for in dollar boxes is Sam and Twitch #1. This book moves in the $20 range and is easily found in dollar boxes. If the Spawn film actually gets made and centers around Sam & Twitch’s investigation, this book will be one that you are glad you had a small stack of down the road. Special thanks to Dr. Joe for reminding us to keep our eyes peeled for Spawn #125 to #250 which have generally lower print runs as well as the following key book: #216 ($100.00 range); #219 ($50.00 range); #240 ($150.00 range); #249 ($100 range) as well as high number newsstands especially #137 discussed here last week. Some of the homage variants command a big premium as well; in particular, issue #221 which is an Amazing Fantasy #15 homage sells particularly well.
Coked up Morbius: The Living Vampire
Following Jared Leto being photographed in the outfit worn by Morbius in 2013 title Morbius: The Living Vampire, the Tomm Coker 1:50 variant cover of issue #3 has disappeared from online stores and all but sold out online. Three raw copies of this book sold on eBay in the neighborhood of $250.00 to $350.00 and no raw copies are available. The only copy anywhere to be found online anywhere is a CGC 9.6 on eBay with a BIN in then neighborhood of $2,000.00.
A number of high grade CGC copies of Amazing Spider-Man 101 (the 1st appearance of Morbius) sold on eBay this week. A CGC 9.4 copy sold for a best offer of $2900.00 on March 31st. A CGC 9.0 copy sold for $1,100.00 on March 30th.
Immortal Hulk incorporates cannon
Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk run continues to impress readers and collectors alike. This week Immortal Hulk #16 was released and fans immediately observed a color variant of issue #16A. Some copies have a purple background while other copies have a blue background. It is unclear what the distribution is on these color variations or whether the secondary market will accept this variation in the way that it has embraced color variations on books like Sandman #1 (1974) or whether this will go unacknowledged. Issue #16 introduced Betty as the Red Harpy potentially preserving the collector appeal of the Red She-Hulk and Harpy issues mentioned last week. This issue also re-introduced Joe Fix-It also referenced in last week’s article. Expect for Ewing to resolve questions surrounding A-Bomb in the weeks to come.
I hope you enjoyed this segment of Weekend Update. I’ll be back next week with more news and original content. In the interim, “Happy hunting! You bunch of savages!!”
– Nico, Esq.