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!
Grabbing Spiderverse books while collectors chase this week’s hot garbage
As you are aware, Sony inked a nine figure deal with the Into the Spiderverse creative team and has every intention of launching Spider-verse related properties in film, television, live action and in animation. Nevertheless, many comic buyers are quick to chase the book of the week rather than shrewdly speculating on books that have fallen off people’s radar.
For example, about two years ago, a raw copy of the 1:50 Dave Johnson variant of Spider-Gwen #16 sold for a thousand dollars. Admittedly Diamond unloaded an unknown number of these books, but this book is unquestionably a highly sought variant and coveted by many collectors. In fact, the comicbookwars podcast crew discussed this book with Mel V. just this weekend live on his YouTube channel, later in the week, Mel again highlighted this book on his “easel of elevation” on the UnpressableDefects podcast. Thursday a CGC 9.8 copy sold on eBay in a live auction for $229.49 less than half what the cheapest copy of that book is currently available for on eBay as a BIN. There is no question that this book has cooled down and is off people’s radar, and it’s important to think about opportunities to secure key books like this when they have slipped off most collector’s radar.
There are certainly a number of other key variants and first appearances that have fallen off people’s radar in relation to the spider-verse characters. Keep these books on your radar and look for opportunities to purchase underappreciated copies from collectors who are moving their money into the next hot book. When Sony transforms these characters on screen – these books will pop and you will have the opportunity to double and triple your investment. Focus in on classic books that will not lose their re-sale value but have significant upside. The time to buy a book like Amazing Spider-Man #300 is not when people are talking about the sequel to Venom, it’s when people are focusing on other properties. Spider-Man is the safest buy in comics as his books are easier to re-sell than any other title.
Some key books to be thinking about are
- Edge of Spiderverse #2 (no one is talking about Spider-Gwen);
- Ultimate Fallout #4 (newsstand copies are out there and sell for an awesome premium online);
- Silk #1 (the Comicspro variant and the Ramos variant are stone cold right now)
- Marvel Spotlight #32 (Jessica Drew was rumored to star alongside Silk and Spider-Gwen);
- Marvel Tails #1 (copies are cheap and high grade copies are rare);
Obviously there are countless other characters like Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Punk, Penni Parker, Julia Carpenter and dozens of villains who are arguably spec worthy. The point is not that this is an exhaustive list or that this is where your focus should be, but that this kind of analysis is the heart and soul of comic speculation.
Two fan favorites, Brian Michael Bendis and Brian K. Vaughan teased forth coming news regarding two of their respective titles this week. ComicsHeatingUp broke news that Bendis hinted in the letter pages of Pearl to expect movie news in issues #10. Vaughan on his Instagram feed indicated that “big news was coming” in reference to Paper Girls. Both books had been stagnant since they were released and both books were energized by the prospect of television/film news.
We are increasingly settling into a comic market where comic books are being utilized as pre-made story boards for television and film producers to scout for potential new projects. Speculation has become all but interchangeable for television/film news and this leaves many traditional collectors with an unsettling feeling. Some suggest that this is bad for the comic market and see comic collecting as somehow separate and distinct from Hollywood. I suggest that this is an incredibly naive way to see comic collecting and the interconnectedness of Hollywood and comic books. Certainly there are no plans for Grendal to appear anywhere on television or in film. Nevertheless, we are seeing an incredible resurgence in interest in this character by copper age indy collectors who are hopeful that Comico Primer #2 is the next Albedo Anthropomorphics #2. Similarly, there is no prospect on the horizon for the Cosmic Ghost Rider or the Batman Who Laughs to appear on television or in film and these are two of the most popular new characters in years. More than anything, I hope that you make decisions about where to put your money in an intentional, thoughtful and deliberate way that invests in characters that give you joy. Hopefully you are able to make a little money, buy better comics and have a ton of fun in the process.
I for one am a big Joe Hill fan. On Sunday we received the full season of the AMC television series, NOS4A2 by Hill. For those who are unaware, Hill is Stephen King’s son and he both penned the original novel and is the executive produced (EP) of the television series. The show stars Ashleigh Cummings and Zachary Quinto (who many hopefully remember for his work on the series Heroes). Tale Kari Skogland (Handmaiden’s Tale) is directing the first two episodes of the 10 episode series.
Zachary Quinto plays the NOS4A2, Charlie Manx, an novel re-imagining of a thirsty vampire who feeds off the souls of children. Manx then deposits their perverted remains into Christmasland. Cummings’ character, Vic McQueen, is a young artist whose trauma and creativity somehow awakens her ability to find lost things including the lost children kidnapped by Manx and taken to Christmasland.
As you may recall, the prequel to the series was generated in comic book format by Hill under an IDW imprint and this book has a ton of variant covers. There are two schools of thought on the future of these books. Some liken them to the Strain books and suggest that there is a very short window of time to be buying and selling these books. The Strain was also a property that was initially a book and thereafter a comic and television series, and this is a reasoned analogy. Others suggest that Hill’s ties to the comic book community and roots in projects like Locke and Key give Wraith a substantial advantage over The Strain in the long term. These same proponents of the spec play on Wraith champion the fact that the Wraith comic series is a prequel and will be the basis of any sequel green lit by AMC. AMC more than any other studio appears to stand behind there properties so I anticipate that if Joe Hill and company is agreeable, this may not be the last time we see these characters in live action.
Django Zorro to the Big Screen?
Back in 2014, Quentin Tarantino in conjunction with DC and Dynamite produced a comic book sequel to his beloved film Django Unchained. The plot of the book, like the film, has Django delivering evil men to justice. In the sequel, Django leaves his beautiful new wife Broomhilda at their new home outside of Chicago and encounters Zorro (Diego de la Vega). Thereafter Zorro joins Django on a crusade to free local indigenous people from slavery (Zorro also acts as Django’s bodyguard on their journey together). Now Collider is reporting that Tarantino is working with scriptwriter Jerrod Carmichael to write a screenplay based on this storyline.
Comicbookspeculation.com reported this news earlier in the week, but I want to delve deeper into some of the issues that are at play with this book. First and foremost, those of you who were collecting are well aware that the first round of Django books went no where on the secondary market. Sales were lackluster at best. I think that there are some important distinctions between this series and its predecessor. Secondly, there appear to be a number of people who are under some missimpression that this is not the kind of movie that will get made.
Like Wraith, many distinguish the Django Zorro books form the original Django adaption to the extent that it is original content and not an adaptation or retelling and more importantly it is the basis for the sequel. Also, please allow me to dissuade you from the notion that this project is unlikely to actually get made. Tarantino is an avid fan of comic books, science fiction and pulp fiction. This fits squarely within his wheel house, and he is an artist who is known to finish the projects he starts. In fact, Tarantino’s commitment to his art is so substantial that he revealed in an interview that he’s made a 200 minute directors cut of his 2012 film Django Unchained. He also transformed his 2015 film, The Hateful Eight, into a four part mini-series. Suffice to say, if he believes that there is more to the story of Django, I will be surprised if he doesn’t make this film.
It didn’t take long for the speculation market to spike the price of the Django Zorro book as prices were hitting $25.00 to $35.00 for high grade copies of the A cover. For my money, I would focus on the two key variants that stand apart from the rest of the books if you decide to make a spec play on this title. The first is the 1:50 Retailer Incentive “Black & White” Cover by Jae Lee. It is clearly the most rare of all the books and the highest price of all the variants. The other key book is the Limited Edition “Virgin Art” Cover by Jae Lee & June Chung. The prices on the LE Virgin Lee Chung cover are tracking at about half the price of the 1:50 cover. Although upon closer examination with the team at comicbookspeculation.com it appears that our initial statement that it is a 1:25 incentive may not be strictly correct, a 1:25 ratio is as close an approximation as we can make regarding the distribution numbers of this cover extrapolating from historical sales figures and prices. Remember that when you are dealing with IDW ratio variants, hitting the ratio allows retailers to order an unlimited number of the variant cover. However, it is a safe bet that a limited number of retailers were ordering anywhere near 50 copies of this title. Regardless, these are the covers you want, if you decide you are going to speculate on this book.
More interesting than the fact that this project will probably get made is that it is another clear demonstration that Hollywood is committed to comics as a way to pilot projects, generate story boards and preliminary content, and conduct focus group regarding prospective projects before commissioning script writers. If Tarantino, who is an icon in tinsel town, is embracing the medium in this robust way, I think its safe to conclude that this trend will continue in the future, and we will see more novel concepts and independent titles get a closer look by directors and film producers.
Another monster week for PCH Books
If you were watching us on Saturday night on Mel V.’s YouTube channel, then you will recall my excitement about prices in the Pre-Code Horror (PCH) market. On that show, I identified a handful of PCH books that were getting a lot of attention on eBay. Those auctions ended with a bang. Among the monster results:
- Weird Mysteries #5 (CGC 3.0) sold for $4,150.00
- Tales of Terror Annual #1 (CGC 2.5) sold for $6,900.00
- Mysterious Adventures #13 (CGC 5.5) sold for $2,239.22
- Chamber of Chills #23 (CGC 5.5) sold for $3,300.00
- Blue Bolt Weird Tales #114 (CGC 7.5) sold for $4,391.00
- Shock SuspenStories #6 (CGC 8.0) sold for $2,875.00
Simultaneously there were monster auction results on Heritage for less well known books like This Magazine is Haunter #10 which sold in CGC 6.5 condition for $1,440.00 and This Magazine is Haunter #16 which sold in CGC 4.5 condition for $2,880.00.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I can not decide whether I should be buying or selling PCH books. That being said, no one can deny that it is an exciting time to be a collector of Pre-Code Horror.
Kickstart the speculation
We’ve seen a number of different online speculation “gurus” suggest that reprints of kickstarter projects are long term holds over the course the last few months in particular. In fact, comicbookspeculation.com has given its readers the heads up on most, if not all, of these projects months in advance. As titles like White Widow, Radically Rearranged Ronin Ragdolls and most recently Wailing Blade continue to get published and pop in the secondary market – it is becoming increasingly important to be aware of what is happening on Kickstarter. There are two really interesting Kickstarter projects that standout this week. Both books have been discussed in some detail by comicbookspeculation.com earlier in the week, and both books deserve some additional attention here.
The first book to keep an eye out for is Outcasts of Jupiter. This is a project that launched back in 2014 and but just won the Creators for Creators grant! Creators for Creators is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization intended to encourage, support, and promote original works through grants and education. Contributors include, but are not limited to: Kelly Sue DeConnick, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, Jonathan Hickman, Robert Kirkman, Rick Remender, Scott Snyder, and Brian K. Vaughan. This book could be a monster.
The second book is Graveyard Slaughter which is a Cullen Bunn horror anthology with a VHS twist. I really like this book because of it pays tribute to the grindhouse and horror flicks that crowded video store shelves in the 1980’s and 90’s before Blockbuster Video was a memory of the past. This book checks all the boxes for me and supporting these kinds of projects is a type of service that I believe we should make an effort to perform to give back to the creative community that has given so much to us. This project is a no brainer for me and I am really looking forward to seeing this get made. Graveyard slaughter has already been getting serious attention from sources like SyFy.com and BleedingCool. I anticipate that this is just the beginning for this book.
When bidding goes bananas
A Strange Tales #178 CGC 9.8 auction on comiclink is the talk of the comic community. On May 29th the auction jumped from $2,713.00 (a number that is squarely within GPA for this book in this grade) to $5,200.00 with the second highest bid being $5,100.00. The price for high grade copies of this book may never be the same. There has been some renewed interest in this title to the extent that many speculate that we will see Magus appear in the MCU insofar as Warlock was not featured in the Thanos / Infinity Gauntlet storyline. There doesn’t appear to be any other story to tell in relation to Warlock other than Magus. That being said, I think most would agree that Fair Market Value for Strange Tales #178 has been in the neighborhood of $2,500.00 to $3,000.00 and that this auction result is truly shocking. Please understand, I am not suggesting that this book is anything other than notoriously hard in high grade, but this is a massive sale by anyone’s yard stick.
The other monster auction result this week is the Startling Comics #49 CGC 1.0 eBay auction that ended at $3,100.00. This book is very divisive among Golden Age collectors as traditional collectors of Golden Age books find the prices to be outrageously high and newer Golden Age collectors (who tend to be bigger fans of Futurama than Alex Schomburg) clamor to secure a copy of this book for their collection.
What it is becoming increasingly apparent is that collectors are paying mid-grade prices for low-grade copies of books they want for their personal collection. We have seen this happen with Black Cat #50, Chamber of Chills #19, and Crime Suspenstories #22 in the last few weeks and are seeing this trend across the Golden Age genre as more and more collectors are entering the market for these older books.
Supergirl headed to the Big Screen
According to a report from Forbes a Supergirl movie is set to begin production during the first quarter of 2020. If this is true, we should expect casting in the news as we approach San Diego Comic Con. That being said, Warner Brothers is apparently not going to appear in Hall H for the second year in a row and will focus on promoting the New Line Cinema film It: Chapter 2.
It’s hard to speculate on a classic character like Supergirl without spending a boat load of money. Nevertheless, if the escalation in prices on the Golden Age first appearances of Wonder Woman are any indication of what a blockbuster film can do to bring new money into the market, now may be the last time to add a copy of Supergirl’s first appearance to your collection without breaking the bank. Action Comics #252 is a silver age classic with two notable recent sales. On June 2nd a CGC 1.8 copy sold in a live auction for $561.00; and on May 30th a CGC 4.0 copy for $1,800 in a live auction. This is a rare book with only 891 copies on the CGC census more than half of which are graded at or below VG 4.0 condition with the 3 highest graded copies NM 9.2 condition.
The other major Supergirl book is the ultra rare modern variant Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #23. The most recent sale was $600.00 for a CGC 9.2 copy with the cheapest 9.8 copy being sold by mycomicshop on eBay for $1,350.00. Expect for this book to also see major renewed interest when casting info drops. Remember a few weeks ago when a CGC 9.8 copy of this book was available for $850.00 on eBay, and I suggested that it would double in price over the course of the next year or two?
There has been no news regarding potential villains, but if news of the New Gods film is an indication that these characters may be popping up in DC films, there is at least an outside chance that we may see Supergirl’s nemesis Twilight appear. Twilight is a New God and her first appearance is in Supergirl vol. 4, #15 (November 1997). The safer bet for a villain is Silver Banshee (Siobhan McDougal) who first appears in Action Comics #595 (December, 1987).
Rick Grimes is Dead
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Rick Grimes dies in issue #192 of the Walking Dead. The story was picked up by the New York Times and is receiving a reasonable amount of attention in the popular press. Grimes character has been disfigured, his wife and child were murdered and he’s seen his arch nemesis assume the role of father figure to his oldest son. Frankly, there wasn’t much less to do to torture the patriarch of the Walking Dead universe. Copies of issues #191 and #192 have seen some heat in last several weeks, but the title has never returned to its once iconic status. AMC and creator Robert Kirkman have championed the vitality of the television franchise and the Image comic relentlessly over the course of the last year. In fact, AMC has green lit a third television show which is currently in production. Nevertheless, comic collectors remain luke warm with respect to the series and once classic books in the run are now tough sales. Among the most notable fallen stars:
- Walking Dead #33 2nd print; (Governor gets tortured by Michonne
- a NM raw copy of this book sold a live auction in May for $83.83
- Walking Dead #100 2nd print (1st Neagan)
- a CGC 9.8 copy sold in April for $59.95
- Walking Dead #27
- a CGC 9.8 copy sold on May 28th for $190.00
Very few Walking Dead keys have retained there value over the course of the years since the show catapulted prices into the stratosphere. Certainly the first issue of the series is the gem of sought after by most Walking Dead collectors. Issue #19 which features the 1st appearance of fan favorite Michonne is another key book that has retained its value. Similarly universal blue label copies of the regular and foil variant the retailer incentive issue #100 (referred to collectively as the Lucille variants) are highly sought after. Also the hero initiative sketch covers are very pricey and are popping up on eBay in record numbers. As Walking Dead collectors unload all of these books, keep your eyes peeled and you may be able to score some underpriced and/or undervalued books. It is unclear to what extent Walking Dead collectors will continue to covet any of the key books in the future, whether the death of Rick Grimes will encourage old and new readers to start picking up back issues and/or the weekly title and what direction the series will take in the future. However, as we approach the 200th issue, I fully expect for Robert Kirkman to do his best to shock and entertain his fans and attempt to drive fans to pick up this title by any means necessary. Looking forward, I expect there to be a significant uptick in interest. Pay particular attention to Walking Dead issue #194 which features the introduction of Sheriff Kapoor (first name unknown) who is featured on the cover.
Note that retailers have a mere 5 days to order copies 2nd print tribute cover of issue #192. Kirkman will not do store variants unless they are for a signing opportunity and there have been no indications that we will see anything of the sort in reference to the death of Rick Grimes. While there is certainly a risk of multiple additional printings of issue #192, expect that there will be significant interest in this cover.
Forthcoming Books that should be on your Radar
Two books to be looking for and thinking about pre-ordering if you haven’t already are Champions #6 which is Inhyuck Lee variant featuring Spider-Man stealing pizza from children and Tony Stark Iron Man #13 which is a Clayton Crain variant featuring Galactus wreaking havoc. Another book that is on my radar is the first appearance of Meowes Morales in Spider-Man Annual #1 1:50 hidden gem variant. It has one tragically ugly cover, but I think there’ll be a lot of talk around Meowes Morales as an analog to Spider-Ham.
Looking down the road to Fall, DC announced Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity written by New York best selling author Kami Garcia (co-author of Beautiful Creatures) and artists Mike Mayhew and Mico Suayan. This book is slated to be a nine-issue psychological thriller that will apparently follows Harley Quinn, as a young and brilliant forensic psychiatrist and profiler consulting for the Gotham City Police Department (GCPD), as she pursues a vicious killer terrorizing the city. She has no idea the investigation will bring her face-to-face with the most notorious serial killer in Gotham’s history—the Joker. The series will debut October 2, 2019. I will be shocked if this book isn’t massively ordered by retailers. That being said, retailers tend to sleep on a lot of books that I assume everyone saw coming from a mile away. I suspect that if this book is as well executed as it appears to have been planned, it will be an instant classic.
Space Bandits and theft of an intellectual property
Magdalene Visaggio writer of the comic Kim & Kim has stated publicly that she perceives visual similarities between Space Bandits and Kim & Kim which are problematic. We’ll let you be the judge for yourself, but seeing as how Netflix is a very solvent, target defendant, I do not suspect that this will continue to go unnoticed. It remains to be seen whether Image comics will publish the first issue of the series and/or to what extent they may attempt to remedy the situation to avoid litigation. Insofar as the controversy is bound to continue, I would encourage you to apply the lessons learned recently from the series Dead Rabbit when you make a decision about when you should be buying copies of this book and when exactly is the best time to unload copies of this book on the secondary market.
Swamp Thing is cancelled?
A number of news outlets are reporting that DC Streaming can canceled the Swamp Thing television series. This is profoundly disappointing for fans the character. Initial reports of the cancellation indicated the decision was rooted in differing opinions regarding the creative direction of the series, the performances, and the budget. While the decision has not been made official by WarnerMedia and AT&T, I am afraid that the show is for all intents and purposes dead and buried.
In the coming months, I expect that we will see a number of collectors attempt to unload copies of House of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing #1 and other key books from this run. This may also spell doom for Swamp Thing #37, the first appearance of John Constantine, who was rumored to be receiving his own small screen series as a spin off from this show. All three of these books are classic keys with long term investment potential. As the prices on these books de-escalates following the cancellation of this series, it may be an opportune time to add high grade copies of these books to your personal collection. While there is an outside chance that DC is planning a big screen adaptation of these characters (and we’ve seen failed television series like Supergirl get big screen movies), I am confident we will see a drop and less confident that we will see Swamp Thing (or John Constantine) on the big screen any time in the near future.
The most recent reports indicate that DC intends to shut down its streaming service and relaunch as part of a larger WB streaming service. Note that we have seen a comparable consequence for the Netflix Marvel shows in light of the Disney plus streaming service. This is particularly disappointing for fans of Titans and Doom Patrol as well as for those who were looking forward to the adult oriented Harley Quinn animated series. There has not been an official announcement that this is happening, but various sites are reporting this is happening and you should prepare accordingly.
Each week we are presented with a half a dozen or so recycled rumors and inferences which masquerade as hard news stories. I can’t encourage you enough to refrain from falling prey to these rumors. Allow the people who think “speculation” is about buying dollar books hoping to strike it rich and who think “investment” is about paying GPA and sitting on a book for the next 25 years to chase these rumors. I share them merely so that you can sell books to the people who bad mouth speculation and flipping because they don’t understand it. Without further delay, here are this weeks rumor, innuendo, gossip and conjecture.
MCUCosmic is reporting that Blade and other Marvel horror characters are coming to Netflix. This is a particularly disappointing rumor because it talks about Glyph as “a rumor” and reports as news that Spirits of Vengeance was trademarked for a show when Glyph was trademarked at the same time as Helstrom, Spirits of Vengeance and Ghostrider. I can’t tell if the article was inartfully worded, rushed, ill prepared or if the author is still trying to buy copies of the first appearance of Glyph. Whatever the case may be, a forthcoming Blade live action television series and/or any other forthcoming Marvel horror television shows are no more or less probable than they were last week. However, this week there are people talking about the prospect of a Blade television series because of MCUCosmic.
Another MCUCosmic rumor is that the forthcoming Fantastic Four film is slated for a 2022 release date and that the film will be set in the 1960’s. Geeks World Wide is reporting that Peyton Reed (Ant-Man), pitched a Fantastic Four movie set in the 1960’s to Fox prior to them making the Tim Story version. Again, this appears to be an inference made by the reporting staff at these respective “news” outlets and not actual news.
Another product of the rumormill is the suggestion that Disney is planning to develop Two Gun Kid and Red Wolf for live action. Personally, I have no interest in these properties or faith in these titles or the sources promulgating these rumors. The same sources are suggesting that Dark Hawk is getting renewed attention at Disney and that we may see his character developed in a forthcoming role in a live action film or television series. Dark Hawk checks the nostalgia box for many collectors and has seen some renewed interest in the secondary market. I would have encouraged you to pull the first issue, the last issue and the Marvel Age preview out of dollar bins without this rumor insofar as these books sell online. I would not encourage you to invest your dollars in high grade copies in anticipation of a potential live action film or television series.
The last unsubstantiated rumor which is continuing to get circulated for the better part of a year now is that Norman Osborn has purchased Avengers tower and will featured in the post-credit scene to Spider-Man: Far from Home. Again, no one can say with any level of certainty that this rumor is true, but it makes sense to grab New Avengers #48 (1st and 2nd print) as well as Dark Avengers #1 (1st and 3rd print) out of dollar bins. It does not make sense to be paying market price for multiple copies of this book. Remember that there is a gorgeous Iron Patriot 1:50 variant of Dark Avengers #1 by Adi Granov that was very affordable when I suggested that you grab a copy six months ago. Since that time, reasonably priced copies have disappeared online. If you are still in the market for a copy of this book remember that the one you want is the 1:50 incentive variant not the midtown comics store variant. Also note that an Amazing Spider-Man #14 graded CGC 5.5 sold for $1,925.00 on June 6, 2019 presumably in response to rumors regarding Oscorp tower appearing in Spider-Man: Far from Home. Nevertheless, expect for many collectors to gravitate towards Amazing Spider-Man #37 which is the first appearance of Norman Ozborn in anticipation of his introduction in the MCU.
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.
Best column since you started paging me about it in late March/early April timeframe. Lots of useful information and excellent variety of topics.
Here’s another AMS #14 that sold on Ebay on 05/30 for $2,047.00. This may have been closer to VG grade in my opinion. This book has always been a top ten ASM, but not in this condition for those dollars.
“Amazing Spider-Man #14 FN Ditko 1st Appearance Green Goblin (Norman Osborn) Hulk (Comic Warehouse)”
You are right about the spider verse stuff. Been picking stuff up here and there cheaper now that the movie has come and gone but it will ramp up again in the future. Been looking for that UF #4 newsstand and it is no where to be found. I was lucky enough to find one a few years ago before it got hot but have seen none at any shops and only 3 have come up on ebay since March. Even with the premium it gets. Makes me think it is MUCH harder to get then I thought at first since there is only active one on ebay now and there have been no sales since March even with the price they are getting.