Weekend Update with Nico
The following article has been written by Comic Book Speculation Dot Com writer, Nico. Read more articles from Nico here.
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– This is your Weekend Update!
Big Numbers bring Big Books to the Pre Code Horror Market
The last few months have seen more copies of big Pre-Code Horror (PCH) books hit the market than all of calendar year 2018. Among the usual suspects are books that we routinely discuss on the Weekend Update, including but certainly not limited to: Black Cat #50; Crime Suspenstories #22; and Chamber of Chills #19. This week multiple copies of Crime Suspenstories #22 popped up on eBay in live auctions. On Tuesday we saw the first live auction for a CGC 4.0 copy sell for $2,900.00. This book is arguably the most recognizable cover in the genre and is generally the first big PCH book that
collectors getting into PCH invest in. I think of it as the Hulk #181 of PCH books. Also this week a raw copy with heavy water damage sold in a live auction for more than $1,000.00.
A raw copy of Chamber of Chills #19 listed as being in VG+ condition, in an auction that had no pictures of the inside cover and no picture of the centerfold, sold for a whopping $4,200.00. Presumably bidders requested and received photos of the same, but these are the things that Golden Age collectors automatically inspect to look for any indicia of restoration and to determine whether the book is complete. Similarly, a BIN CBCS copy in 1.0 that was restored sold for $1,699.00.
Currently the hottest book in the PCH collectors market is Black Cat #50. There is a live auction on eBay for a restored CGC 2.5 copy. It is unclear where this book will land following the May 15th sale of a raw restored copy that ended at $4,192.43. Suffice to say,
the prices on these books are booming, buyers and sellers are taking notice and there is no indication that the market is cooling down any time soon.
The heat from these bigger books is pushing other great PCH books to market. This week there was also a CGC 3.0 copy of Haunter Thrills #13 that sold for $495.00 in a live auction. This is a sharp book that features a gorgeous cover of a skeleton cab driver that’s truly haunting. Similarly, another notorious cover, Underworld Crime #7, listed in Fair to Good condition moved in a live auction for the sum of $693.00. This book features a classic bondage/torture cover where criminals are threatening to burn a young blonde woman. The cover is truly chilling.
Tom King’s run on Batman is done.
Tom King’s run on Batman is easily one of the most contentious times in the history of the character. King has been lauded, praised, vilified and ridiculed, sometimes by the same person in the same breath. We have not seen the end of Tom King on Batman. It appears that he will be finishing up through issue #85. DC’s Dan Dido announced to retailers in the DC retailer facebook group that King would continue telling his batman story in 2020 – however, he did not make it clear why there would be delay. It is unclear what precisely King had in store for the caped crusader, but it appears that Warner Brothers corporate and King were not able to come to terms regarding the plot development. A new unannounced creative team will be taking over the book starting at issue 85. It is unclear what impact this may have on speculation regarding Batman as many speculators are turning their attention to Matt Reeves related Batman speculation. It is important to note that the sequel to Batman: the White Knight is being solicited at this time and that as we’ve discussed in prior Weekend Updates, Azrael will feature prominently in the new book.
Both issues #1 and #2 feature Azrael on the B covers and his first appearance in Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 is easily found in dollar bins at this time. Also expect their to be a lot of interest from readers in Snyder and Capulo’s The Last Knight on Earth. It is unclear whether retailers slept on this title in the same manner that many did with Batman: Damned, but it is certainly a book that Batman fans are looking forward to and Snyder and Capullo will be bringing their A game to this title.
Everyone’s favorite Hell Spawn is heating up!
As we approach the 300th issue of Todd McFarlane’s Spawn, collectors and speculators are taking note. Newsstand copies, the homage issues and a number of other key books have been increasing in prices for the last year. Expect for interest in the title to crescendo as we approach the issue #300 when Greg Capullo makes his return to Spawn for the series’s milestone. Issue #300 is a major achievement as only one other independent comic book managed to publish 300 consecutive issues. McFarlane revealed that a number of other artists working on the anniversary issue including regular Spawn artist Jason Shawn Alexander, J. Scott Campbell (Danger Girl, Spider-Man), and Jerome Opeña (Uncanny X-Force, Seven to Eternity). It also appears that writer Scott Snyder (Batman, Metal, Wytches) is contributing to the issue.
As I have repeatedly stated, Spawn collectors are sophisticated buyers. Most have been collecting comics since the 90’s and are aware of the market. If you are looking for Spawn speculation the books to look at are generally the issues between #150 and #265, newsstand variants and 2nd prints and short print books. If you looking for something outside the box, think about the first and last issues of the Sam and Twitch series. Sam and Twitch are the detective team that have long been rumored to have their own television series in development at the BBC and who were once suggested to be the cornerstone of the Spawn live action film. Both issue #1 and issue #26 are $20.00 books, with issue #26 being particularly hard to find in high grade condition. With respect to the film, it sounds as if McFarlane is being very honest with fans about the status of the film and that there’s sufficient money to make the movie but that the players involved have not agreed upon a script.
Jonathan Hickman disclosed at this weekends Diamond Retail Summit that the Powers Of X mini-series will have, “the most important scene in X-Men history.” Marvel is making a big effort to get the House of X in order prior to Disney launching X-Men related content. Like many collectors I grew up reading the Dark Phoenix Saga, Days of Future Past, X-Tinction Agenda, X-Cutioner’s Song, Age of Apocalypse, and the Onslaught Saga, and long for compelling X-Men stories. I’ll be very interested in seeing what Hickman has in store for us.
For whatever reason, many collectors and speculators spent a considerable amount of money on the first appearance of Major X in hopes that they were purchasing the first appearance of the next Deadpool. The most frustrating part of this spectacle for me was the number of self-proclaimed “experts” on the comic book market that championed the first appearance of Major X as some sort of investment book. There is little to no chance that Major X will ever achieve any where near the commercial success of Deadpool. Deadpool’s success is a direct result of the character being re-imagined by Joe Kelly in his classic run which began with the 1997 ongoing series. In that series, Kelly transformed Deadpool from a one dimensional villain into the forth wall breaking, psychiatric, anti-hero that we all know and love. As people begin to unload books in preparation for the costs and expenses associated with Summer vacations and con season, CGC 9.8 copies of the newsstand editions of Deadpool’s first appearance have been popping up on eBay and selling in the $900.00 range. The newsstand 9.8’s don’t last for long on eBay, but they are no longer the ghosts they once were online.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, there are a ton of opportunities to invest in X-Men related characters before Disney starts to introduce these characters on television and on the big screen. Of course the biggest book of them all is X-Men #1 (1963). The interesting thing about recent sales of this book is that low grade copies move proportionally higher than mid grade copies of this book and it appears that the price starts to explode for copies graded 4.5 and above. This is a summary of the recent GPA sales data:
May 11th a CGC .5 copy sold for $1,400.00;
May 13th a CGC 3.0 copy sold for $4,100.00;
May 14th a CGC 1.8 copy sold for $3,000;
May 16th a CGC 4.5 copy sold for $6,405.00; and
May 20th a CGC 1.5 copy sold for $2775.00.
The other major player in X-Men speculation is Giant Size X-Men #1. This book, like X-Men #1 (1963), has been exploding in price for about the last year. Last weekend alone there were a half a dozen copies that moved online.
Here’s the spread:
On May 18 a CGC 6.0 copy sold for $1,531.00; a CGC 5.5 copy sold for $1,100.00; and a CGC 9.2 copy sold for $4,050.00.
On May 19th a raw copy that was listed in Good condition sold for $736.00; a raw copy listed as VF/8.0 sold for $1,925.00; and a CGC 5.0 copy sold for $1,400.00.
While it has long been my experience that professional and amateur dealers almost uniformly over grade their books, the best graders I know routinely undergrade giant size books like Giant Size X-Men #1. CGC has been uncharacteristically kind to production errors on the spines of giant size books in general and particularly kind to this book. I believe there are opportunities to make money buying this book raw and submitting it to CGC. If you are experienced with CGC submissions, you may be pleasantly surprised at the results you receive on this book.
Obviously there are a ton of opportunities for longer term plays on X-Men related keys. Books like X-Factor #6 (the first appearance of Apocalypse) and Uncanny X-Men #266 (the first appearance of Gambit) have been luke warm for years. Other key first appearances of A list characters like Kitty Pride and Emma Frost (Uncanny X-Men #129), Dazzler (Uncanny X-Men #130), Psylocke (New Mutants Annual #2 or Captain Britain #10 (1976); Rogue (Avengers Annual #10) and Mystique (Ms. Marvel #18) are very attainable. Now is an opportune time to look for people trying to unload high grade copies of these books because they are looking to move onto the next hot book and don’t have the patience to wait until these characters are re-imagined by Disney. There are also a ton of other characters whose first appearances are incredibly affordable right now.
Alex Summers (who first appears back in X-Men #54 (1969)); Hope Summers (who first appears in X-Men #205); Mr. Sinister (Uncanny X-Men #221)Domino (X-Force #11); Jubilee (who first appears in X-Men #244); Fantomex (New X-Men #128) and Bishop (who first appears in X-Men #282) are a few names that immediately come to mind. The nicest thing about X-Men related Disney speculation is that there is no rush because Kevin Feige has repeatedly stated that these characters will not hit the big screen for a minimum of five years.
Akira plot synopsis surfaces
As those of you who routinely read this article are well aware, a live action Akira film is set to start filming in a few short months. This week a plot synopsis surfaced online. If the synopsis accurately reflects the substance of the script, then screen writers have taken some major liberties with the classic Manga plot. This is the synopsis for those who are interested:
“When a young man’s telekinesis is discovered by the military, he is taken in to be turned into a super weapon and his brother must race to save him before Manhattan is destroyed by his powers. Kaneda is a bar owner in Neo-Manhattan who is stunned when his brother Tetsuo is abducted by Government agents lead by the Colonel. Desperate to get his brother back, Kaneda agrees to join Ky Reed and her underground movement who are intent on revealing to the world what truly happened to New York City 30 years ago when it was destroyed. Kaneda believes their theories to be ludicrous, but after facing his brother again is shocked when he displays telekinetic powers. Ky believes Tetsuo is headed to release a young boy. Akira, who has taken control of Tetsuo’s mind, Kaneda clashes with the Colonel’s troops on his way to stop Tetsuo from releasing Akira, but arrives too late. Akira soon emerges from his prison courtesy of Tetsuo as Kaneda races to save his brother before Akira once again destroys Manhattan island as he did thirty years ago.”
In a stunning turn of events, a CGC 9.8 copy of Akira #7 listed as the only copy on the census and a “file copy” sold in a live eBay auction for a startling $565.00 on May 16th. Concomitantly, a CGC 9.8 copy of Akira #18 (listed as 1 of only 3 on the census) sold for $357.50 on May 16th. A CGC 9.8 copy of Akira #3 sold for $338.33 on May 16th (listed as 1 of only 2 copies on the census). There are merely 38 issues in this series and the fans of this title are rabid collectors many are accustom to spending hundreds of dollars on statutes and other Akira related merchandise. Do not be surprised to see collectors attempting to complete raw sets and/or graded sets of this book, particularly if the film’s trailer is well received. Akira is the #1 Manga film of a generation and a lot of fans have been waiting patiently for decades to see this animation transformed into a live action film. According to the Hollywood Reporter, we can anticipate Akira to be on the big screen nationwide by May 21, 2021.
Disney Streaming News
According to a report Monday from Deadline, the 6-part Falcon and the Winter Soldier streaming series has secured Kari Skogland (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Rook, NOS4A2) as its director. Deadline is also reporting that we will see the return of Daniel Bruhl who played Helmut J. Zemo and Emily Van Camp who played Agent Sharon Carter in Captain America: Civil War. The return of Baron Zemo is causing many to conclude that the Thunderbolts are inevitable. It is unclear which iteration of the Thunderbolts we may see. If we’ve learned anything from MCU films, its that the story and plots are rarely congruent with the comics. More often than not, screen writers and directors mishmash together multiple plot lines and ensemble casts to put their own spin on our beloved characters. It also appears that we may be treated to this series as early as next Summer.
La Republica is reporting that Gwen Stacy and Harry Osborn will be introduced in the mid credits scene of Far From Home. This is causing some to speculate that we may see a Spider-Gwen appearance in the MCU and/or the Death of Gwen Stacey on the big screen. It is unclear whether there is any validity to this rumor at all.
Over the weekend many comic boook “news” sites reported that the Black Widow film takes place after Captain America: Civil War. The alleged news arose from a Tumblr post that discussed an interview with Sebastian Shaw (Winter Soldier). There are a total of no recordings or videos of the interview that have surfaced online and this is not news. As we’ve reported in the past, many are speculating that Yelena Belova will take over the mantle of Black Widow in this film. Copies of her first appearance in Inhumans #5 had disappeared online, but are now listed around $35.00 on eBay. Again, this is all rumor, conjecture and innuendo.
A number of other rumors regarding the MCU have surfaced online. Some are suggesting now that Feige and Marvel generally are averse to villain movies, particularly in light of the recent acquisition of Fox properties. As a corollary, these sources are indicating that we should not expect to see any iteration of the Thunderbolts on the big screen, and that at best we will see these characters as a villain team appearing on the streaming service. These same sources are indicating that Disney has no interest in a Dark Avengers film. In what we described as conjecture regarding the future of Avengers Tower being replaced with Ozcorp Tower, the same sources who once reported this are now reporting that Marvel will unveil the Fantastic Four at San Diego Comic Con.
In other MCU related speculation, a number of news sources are reporting that Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) is negotiating with Kevin Feige to play Namor. Johnson, who has always championed his Hawaiian island roots, may be the victim of celebrity casting posing as insider information. However, reliable sources did report that he met with Kevin Feige. Nevertheless, no one actually knows the substance of that meeting until it is disclosed by the participants.
There are a number of other rumors circulating around the internet including a forthcoming Man-Thing film from Disney and that the fourth Thor film will feature Hercules. As many of you are already well aware, there has been discussion about the introduction of Hercules in the Eternals film for almost a year now and no confirmation regarding this whatsoever. It is unclear whether these rumors are instructive and/or the product of social media influencers trying to unload failed Hercules spec books, but the voices championing these rumors are increasingly loud and I would feel remiss not to share them with you if for no other purpose than to indicate that none of the information in the Rumormill section has been confirmed by reliable journalists.
Knights of the Old Republic
Buzzfeed is reporting exclusive knowledge (and three independent sources) which confirm that Laeta Kalogridis (Avatar, Altered Carbon) will be writing the script for a live action Knights of the Old Republic movie. Kathleen Kennedy indicated that such a film franchise was in the works earlier this year and it appears that Disney is committed to the success of the multi-billion dollar franchise in a real way. I am not a Star Wars comic book collector and never have been. Therefore my knowledge is limited. However, Star Wars comics are big business and collectors are rabid in their pursuit of exclusive variant covers and key comics. The break out character of the Knights of the Old Republic video games appears to be Darth Raven Malek who first appears in the Dark Horse comic Star Wars Tales #23. I’m confident that there are countless other first appearances of critical characters from this video game series, if you decide that you want to go down this rabbit hole, but there is no guarantee that this film will be made or that if it is made that the film will utilize these characters. Accordingly, I suggest that you proceed with caution. Copies of the Knights of the Old Republic / Rebellion #0 flip book are dollar bin books and certainly are the safest and easiest speculative move to make on this potential film series.
I hope you enjoyed this installment of Weekend Update. 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.