Weekend Update with Nico

The following article has been written by Comic Book Speculation Dot Com writer, Nico. Read more articles from Nico here.

 

Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back!

 

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This is your Weekend Update!

 

As con season gets in full swing and we close in on San Diego Comic Con, there are enormous buying opportunities on eBay.   Be mindful to look for opportunities to purchase books that have been forgotten in the short term, but will pay big dividends down the road.  Remember that buying books when there is an announcement is often times the worst time to buy as prices immediately inflate. Similarly remember that comic books were valuable to collectors long before they were a predominant source of material for television shows and major motion pictures.  The reality is that once a television show or film gets made, this is generally the height of a books value. This is more true now than ever, and collectors seeking instant gratification by purchasing today’s hot books will often see their investment gone in an instant.

What in the Whitman
DC Comics Presents #22

A monster sale of DC Comics Presents #22 stunned the collector’s community when a CGC 6.5 FN+ copy of the coveted Captain Comet, Whitman variant sold for a remarkable $2,295.00 on eBay.  This variant was once thought to be a myth. It wasn’t until around 2012 that it started to pop up on the secondary market. To give you some appreciation of the truly massive increase in value that this book has seen on the secondary market a raw VF copy sold for $200.00 back 2012, a raw VG+ copy sold for $403.00 about a year later in late 2013 and a CGC 8.5, sold for $1525.00 in January 2014.  Here we are a little more than a half a decade later and a CGC 6.5 copy sells for $2,295.00. The sole remaining listing for this book on eBay is for a CGC 2.5 copy and the seller is asking $1,750.00.

Die

 

Unconfirmed rumors of a forthcoming television series have caused the smouldering series Die by Kieron Gillen to catch fire and burn white hot.  The rumor was first Die #1reported publicaly as a news alert by the Key Collector App, and within an hour approximately 50 copies of Die #1 sold on eBay.  The key books for most collectors are the Forbidden Planet Limited to 800 variant, the first print of issue #1 and the fifth print of issue #1. It remains to be seen whether this news will hit main stream media and what additional impact this would have on prices on this book.

This is a book that we discussed briefly on this week’s podcast where I likened this book to the Walking Dead.  Like the Walking Dead which I believe greatly benefited from the intersection of horror fans and comic fans, I believe that the cross-over appeal of table top gaming fans and comic book fans has the potential to drive new collectors into the comic market as Die collectors.  Many of these potential buyers are already inside the four corners of comic book shops purchasing their role playing game merchandise.

Do you believe in Magic?

 

Magic The Gathering Chandra (2018 IDW) #1While I am far from knowledgeable and further away from Magic fandom than almost anyone, I’m also not scared to make a buck.  Following news of a forthcoming animated series by the Russo brothers on Netflix, speculation has been rampant regarding Magic the Gathering (MTG) comic books.  The big standout this week was Magic the Gathering – the Shadow Mage #1 (1995). This book is interesting to me to the extent that it is an Acclaim/Valiant book.  Acclaim books were not heavily printed and have generally been discarded by collectors. It is unclear whether the Russo brothers can create the same sort of energy surrounding MTG that they did around Marvel comics, but if a fraction of the interest is there – I think we can expect these books to pop.  As I discussed about in reference to the property Die, it is the cross-over appeal that is the most interesting part for me. New collectors, means new money and that always means a proportional increase in scarcity and value. The other hot book for MTG is Magic The Gathering Chandra (2018 IDW) #1. While the retailer incentives have disappeared online, the A covers for Magic The Gathering Chandra #1 (2018) and Magic the Gathering – the Shadow Mage #1 (1995) are available on mycomicshop.com for cover price.

Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan

 

Mindy Kaling posted on IG “Hi Everyone, I love Ms. Marvel (aka Kamala Khan) and the geniuses behind her … but I have no information about any tv or film adaptation!  Wish I did though, when that hits the screen it’s gonna be huge” As Sleepy Jawn explained on the podcast, Feige alluded to the fact that Kamala Kahn was already in the works back in May 2018.  Thereafter, Captain Marvel #14 9.8 went from $250 on May 12 2018 to the next sale of $600 on May 24. In a recent interview with MTV, Mindy Kaling reveals that she has talked to Marvel about what they are thinking of doing with Ms. Marvel and she says, “Now there’s, like, this streaming platform with them. It might be something like that.”  There are a ton of Kamala Kahn books to think about if you are in the market to invest in her character. I continue to be surprised by the ability of this character’s key books to persevere in a market with here today, gone tomorrow “hot books.” Some of the key books to be thinking about are:

  • Captain Marvel #14 (2013) (1st print, newsstand and 1:30 Conner variant);
  • Captain Marvel #17 (2013) (1st and 2nd print);
  • Ms. Marvel #2 (2014) (1:50 Molina variant);
  • Marvel Tsum Tsum #4 (2017) (1:25 Johnson variant); and
  • All-New Marvel Now Point One #1 (2014) (1st print, 2nd print and 1:75 McNiven variant).

 

 

The Rumors of Robert Kirkman’s demise were greatly exaggerated

 

It’s been a huge couple of weeks for creative force Robert Kirkman.  Last week Kirkman’s principal patriarch, Rick Grimes, finally passed into the great comic unknown when he died in issue #192 of the series.  Grimes was shot in issue #191 but many fans assumed the character would survive another near fatale catastrophe as he had many times in the series past.  Sales of the Walking Dead have been so strong that Kirkman decided to make Oblivion Song #1 pinkissue #193 returnable. It remains to be seen whether the renewed interest in the title is short lived and/or whether it will spark any interest whatsoever in back issues.

This week Kirkman announced that his Skybound imprint is developing a feature film adaption of Oblivion Song for Universal Pictures.  Sean O’Keefe will write the script with production credit going to by Skybound’s film team, including Kirkman, David Alpert, Bryan Furst and Sean Furst.  Universal’s Jon Mone and Lexi Barta will supervise production on behalf of Universal. Copies of Oblivion song are flying off the secondary market with a premium being paid for the collector’s edition foil cover and the surprise pink signature variant of issue #1.  Approximately 75 sales of Oblivion Song related comics happened in less than 2 hours following news of the forthcoming film. I do not see this as a long term hold, but given Kirkman’s ability to captivate his audience many speculators are hoarding copies of this title in anticipation of the forthcoming film.

 

The ongoing saga of good girls and bad men

 

Each and every week, I am trying to give readers a brief glimpse into the Golden Age market.  I have not been writing about Golden Age Super-Heros, war comics, funny animals, jungle comics and/or other sub-genres.  This is not to suggest that there isn’t an opportunity to invest and profit on these books. In all reality, there is probably an equal and/or greater opportunity to the extent that these books have not been eyed by “new money” Golden age collectors yet.  Moreover, there are a ton of amazing Western bondage covers, sexually suggestive covers and interesting books outside of Good Girl Art and Pre-Code Horror books. Nevertheless, over the course of the last few years, the Golden age market has seen an astonishing uptick in the price of GGA and PCH books.

This week’s movers and shakers include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Phantom Lady #19 (advertised as 3.0 to 3.5 but looked more like a 2.0 to 2.5) sold for $1,400;
  • Spirit #22 CGC 5.5 sold for $5,995;
  • Shock Suspenstories #6 VG raw sold for $899.00
  • Crime Suspenstories #22 raw copy that looked like a 2.0 sold for $1,300 (1/3 of spine split);

Phantom Lady #19

The reality is that the “key” Golden age books have become easier to locate than “non-key” books.  Often times there are so few copies of these books that it becomes next to impossible to find books which don’t necessarily command an enormous premium when they do come up for sale.  They just don’t come up for sale. I continue to scratch my head wondering what is happening with this market. It appears that low grade copies are now commanding prices that were once reserved for mid-grade copies and that we are increasingly approaching a time when new collectors are going to have to pry copies of out of the hands of an increasingly large number of collectors who are unwilling to part with these books under almost any circumstances.  For example, there are no copies of Phantom Lady #19 available on eBay.

 

Jaw Dropping Number for Spider-Man Grail

 

A beautiful CGC 9.2 copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man) sold for $598,000 on comic connect this week.  That is an astonishing number and I am certain that the buyer was happy with the purchase. More interesting than the figure is that this particular copy had a QES certification which is apparently the next “sticker” which certifies the exceptional nature of the slabbed treasure.  According to the listing the QES certification indicates “preferred staple placement + perfect right edge front cover + deep color strike (dark brown and red) + clear register (grey)” There is really nothing on GPA that has sold in this high of grade in years.

 

Secret Variant

 

I rarely discuss new books on the Weekend update, but I did want to give everyone a heads up to be on the lookout for more secret variants.  That Carnage splatter may include Amazing Spider-Man #24, Deadpool #14, Symbiote Spider-Man #3, Fantastic Four #11, Invaders #7, Avengers #22, Black Cat #2, Captain Marvel #8, and Immortal Hulk #20.  We’re going to have to wait and see what Marvel is going to do with these books, but we already know that they have whole heartily embraced variant covers and it appears that they are going to continue to do these kinds of unsolicited variations to help rally support for their ongoing series.

 

Locke and Key SDCC

 

As I have mentioned in the past, we are quickly approaching the drop of the teaser trailer to the Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez Locke and Key Netflix series.  In fact, Rodriguez hinted in a tweet that we can expect news at San Diego Comic-Con regarding Locke and Key. It is unclear whether this will mean a new series and/or information about the forthcoming television series; however, it is clear that the prices on the first issue of Locke and Key has already moved significantly.  A few short weeks ago, I suggested that you buy up copies on eBay that were available in the range of $250.00. In the span of two months, the book has doubled in price and it is now unavailable for less than $500.00 on eBay. This is certainly not a rare book, but fans of Joe Hill are loyal and spend money.

Interestingly, comic book related properties continue to excel on Netflix.  TVTime is reporting that the most-watched show on Netflix has been Lucifer for two weeks in a row.  It is far from an indisputable focus group insofar as it only tracks users of the website’s television watching activity, but it is certainly indicative of the enormous interest in comic book related media.  Let us hope that this makes television properties like Swamp Thing, Deadly Class and Happy more interesting to the streaming giant as these three shows are certainly analogous to Lucifer insofar as they have rabid fan bases but were canceled by their respective networks and are now presumably available to be picked up on the free market by Netflix.

 

Justice League Dark

 

Speaking of Swamp Thing, Business Insider spoke with seven persons close to the production of the recently canceled Swamp Thing DC Streaming series all of whom asked to remain anonymous.   The report indicates that everyone close to the production was shocked by the cancellation. It further documents suspicion regarding alleged budgetary concerns as the primary reason for the cancellation and indicates that the series was anticipated to last three seasons, roll into a Justice League Dark spinoff and/or individual projects for characters like Constantine.  These are all realities that had long been rumored and driving sales on key books in the after market. There is no telling whether DC Super-Stars of Magic #11this is the last we will hear about the series demise and/or if there is any hope for any iteration of any of the characters in the reasonably near future. Nevertheless, we’ll keep our ear to the ground and let you know what we hear.

Also be thinking about Zatanna books.  Zatanna is a character that was long rumored to receive big screen treatment, and was apparently slated for some kind of appearance in the television series Swamp Thing and/or a Justice League Dark series.  Right now she is on no one’s radar. The price tag on books like the Adam Hughes variants is way down and books like DC Super-Stars of Magic #11 (1977) are completely off everyone’s radar. Now is a great time to be picking up high grade copies of these kind of books when all eyes are elsewhere.

 

Diving Deeper into the Collectability of Foreign Edition and “non-cannon” comics

 

I am by no stretch of the imagination anything other than a neophyte to the world of foreign editions and “non-cannon” comics.  Although we’ve briefly discussed the collectability of big-booty-Gwen comics and the non-cannon Spider-Man books published by La Presna in the pages of El Sorprendente Hombre Araña, I am not in any position to discuss these books with any real confidence.  This week I learned that Marvel authorized a number of non-cannon Mexican comics and that non-cannon issues of Spider-Man, Black Panther, Fantastic Four, Shang Chi, Iron Fist, Turok, Samson, Fantastic Four (Macc) Tarzan (Novaro) and Marvel Western heroes. These books feature original stories and art and were published by a variety of publishers in Mexico.  As we’ve learned with the Gwen Stacey Spider-Man books, non-cannon Marvel comics are highly collectable and demand hefty price tags. This week we saw solicitations for two non-canon Mexican comics of Fantastic Four of Macc Division Historietas for the sum of 500 euros; and 3 non-canon Mexican comics of Black Panther by Macc Division Historietas for 1000 euros!  These books are demanding monster price tags. Following the widely publicized news that a drug smuggling ring was raided on Gold Coast that was using comic books to smuggle $1 million dollars worth of methylamphetamine (“ice”) into the United States, collectors of foreign editions fear that these books will be destroyed by customs and have been seeking increasingly large sums for copies already available in the continental United States.

Lobo getting a spinoff series following his appearance on Krypton on the SyFy network.

 

For those of us who were lucky enough to be collecting comics in the 1990’s as children – we remember a time when Lobo was as popular as Wolverine.  Believe it or not, many of us thought he was cooler than Wolverine. The Lobo that fans fell in love with was epitomized by the art of Simon Bisley and writers Alan Grant and Keith Giffen.  Today, many have long given up hope for the return of the Lobo we came to know in our childhood and the level of disappointment in DC regarding this character is at an all time high. News broke this week that the character is receiving his own series on the SyFy network, spinning out of his appearance on the television series Krypton. For those of us who knew the Lobo made popular by Bisley, Grant and Griffen, I hope we live long enough to see this character return to his former glory.

Casting Call clues to plot of Reeves The Batman.

 

Discussing Film reported first that Two-Face and the Mad Hatter will be playing a role in the events of the forthcoming Matt Reeves film – The Batman.  This news follows up recent reports that both The Riddler and Firefly would be appearing in the film. These additions come along with Penguin and Catwoman, who have been long rumored to be the subject of casting calls.  News regarding Selina Kyle has been contradictory to the extent that other news agencies are indicating that Warner Brothers has plans in store for Kyle’s Catwoman in her own solo film and did not wish to introduce her to fans in a truncated role in the Batman film.  All of these rumors arise from a series of casting calls and character breakdowns for roles in Reeves’ film which is looking to cast these characters so that it can begin production early next year.

This cast of characters has many scratching their heads wondering about the direction of the plot of the film which has been rumored to the first film in a trilogy.  To date, there have been a number of theories, dozen of alleged leaks and no real concrete definitive information about the direction of the film’s plot. If you are interested in sharing your own theories about this film, please feel free to contribute to the dialogue in the comments section below.   

 

One retailers trash is another person’s treasure

 

Time and time again you will hear shrewd speculators and flippers talk about their dollar bin finds.  I have been incredibly fortunate in this regard and I am confident that there is nothing unique or special about me or about the dollar bins I am looking though.  That being said, I travel to different shops in different locals and schedule time to dig in dollar bins. If you are fortunate enough to live in a major metropolitan area or in a place where there are opportunities to dig in dollar bins then half of the work is already done for you.  If not, then you are going to have to scout comic shops and use the internet to research shops to find opportunities. One thing that is glaringly obvious to me is that a few simple telephone calls and conversations with other customers and employees at the shops I visit have always produce new leads for better opportunities and venues to buy comics.

One of the things that I do to generate revenue is build sets of books that are easy sales on eBay or at conventions.  Many collectors will buy sets of books that they would never build for themselves. I will often do this in dollar boxes.  It keeps my investment low and maximizes my return. I am not willing to generally pull books out of dollar bins that are valued less than $20.00.  I will do this if I see that I can quickly build a set of a 6 issue miniseries where my buy in is $6.00 and the pay out is $50.00 online. As always, check the sold listings on eBay before you make any purchase.  

Weapon X is jumping

 

Marvel leaked what is dubiously described as “classified paperwork” for its Weapon Plus program with various documents referring to Captain America, Wolverine and Fantomex.  This is particularly interesting because it is indicative of the fact that Marvel may be hinting at the manner in which it intends to introduce Wolverine (and perhaps Fantomex) into the MCU.  The post on Marvel’s website is “test/DO_NOT_PUBLISH-confidential-24569“. The pages are predominantly what appears to be computer programming language; however, there are three memorandums for Weapon I (Captain America), Weapon X (Wolverine) and Weapon XIII (Fantomex) that are redacted.  The contents of the documents will be “unclassified” on Monday, June 17. Thereafter Marvel tweeted: II IV V VI IX with an aloof reference to Children of the Atom. It appears that Marvel Comics Presents 72Marvel is going to really push the Weapon Plus program and the corresponding characters.

It’s time to think about pulling Marvel Comics Presents #72 through #84 out of dollar bins.  CGC 9.8 copies of Marvel Comics Presents #72 are available on eBay at the moment for $100.00.  This storyline is near and dear to many 90’s kids who remember buying these issues in their childhood when the origin of Wolverine was one of comics greatest mysteries.  This nostalgia effect is intoxicating for many collectors and this run by Barry Windsor Smith is considered an all time classic as it was told very much in the manner of a horror movie plot.  If this storyline is adapted to television or film, these books could take off. These are very common issues so make certain that you are only buying high grade copies if you decide to speculate on this run. New X-Men 128

Similarly, no one is buying the first appearance of Fantomex at the moment.  I have pulled a ton of copies of his first appearance and second appearance out of dollar bins.  New X-Men #128 was once one of the hottest books in comics and today only a handful of copies sell each day.  Don’t forget about New X-Men #129 which is the characters first cover appearance. It is a book that may someday be considered his first full appearance in the same manner that Incredible Hulk #181 is preferred over Incredible Hulk #180.  Eyes have been off both books for some time and this is an opportune time to get deals on these books is high grade condition at a significant discount. Depending on Fantomex’s involvement in this new launch by marvel regarding hte Weapon Plus program, this book could get hot again a lot sooner than most anticipate.

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur Disney Plus

 

As usual, I will attempt to dissect some of the rumors that are being reported by self proclaimed tipsters and insiders in an effort to help you discern which (if any) bare an indicia of reason ability.  First and foremost, we’ve heard renewed reports regarding a forthcoming Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur series. Reports have been mixed regarding whether this series will be live action on the Disney Plus service and/or an animated series.  Many of you will recall that the production staff from the television series Blackish is attempting to transform this property for the small screen and that this was reported back in February of 2018. Initial reports were that Laurence Fishburne and Devil Dinosaur #1Helen Sugland, along with Cinema Gypsy Productions and Marvel Animation, were working on developing an animated series based on the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur comic book series.  There is no indication that there has been any movement on this project from an reputable news sources. Nevertheless, this is a series that has a very small print run and now is an opportune time to be purchasing these books if you are interested in speculating on this title. Similarly, we’ve seen renewed interest in Jack Kirby creations following the announcement of a New Gods film. High grade (particularly CGC 9.8 copies) of Devil Dinosaur #1 are reasonably priced in the secondary market at this time.  The last CGC 9.8 copy sold on eBay for less than $200.00. If there is news about a series in the future, you can expect these prices to go crazy! Similarly, ratio variants and other key issues in this series are slipping by under the radar. It is just a matter of time before this show gets made (although it doesn’t necessarily appear that it is going to happen over night). Nevertheless, now is the time to buy books that have fallen off collector’s radar. When the show gets green lit, make sure you are locked and loaded with the all key books (including the hard to find ratio variants) that are going to be on everyone’s want list.

 

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.

 Read more articles from Nico here.

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One comment

  • I wouldn’t compare wolverines one panel cameo in IH180 to Phantomex’s several appearances in New X-Men 128. If it was just one panel I could see it but he appears in several panels in NX 128 not just one.

    Like

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