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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It was a slow news week, but following the massive news weeks we’ve seen over the course of last few months, this was a well deserved break for many who are suffering from speculation fatigue. As always, the things we discuss here are more often than not intended to be informative rather than that instructive. When we are attempting to be instructive, we will be explicit about our suggestions. As always, I encourage investment in comics that have low short term risk and high potential rewards. I would never encourage anyone to spend money on this week’s “hot” book. More often than not, those are the books I suggest selling when the opportunity presents itself. If there is any lesson that is clear about the current comic market, it is that what’s hot today is more often than not gone from the memory of collectors and buyers in a matter of a few short weeks/months. Rarely do we see this week’s hot book sustain peak prices for a substantial period of time. Those rare books that have done this are few and far between. Ultimately the decision about what you are buying and what you are selling is up to you, and the commitment to being methodical and making informed choices is the best defense against buyers remorse. With that being said, lets get started.
This is your Weekend Update!
Big news for fans of Red Sonja. Writer/director Jill Soloway has signed to replace Bryan Singer on the Red Sonja film. Following Singer’s ouster, many believed that the project was dead in the water. Of course, Red Sonja made her debut in Conan the Barbarian #23 and #24. If you haven’t secured copies of these books, you may have lost your opportunity. Nevertheless, there are other Red Sonja books that may be interesting cover buys if the price is right. Red Sonja #7 (2006) is a gorgeous Adam Hughes cover. Red Sonja Revenge of the God #2 (2011) and #5 (2011) are striking Parillo covers that demand a huge premium. Queen Red Sonja #23, (2011) #25 (2011) and #35 (2012) as well as Red Sonja #25 (2011) and #77 (2013) are all hard to find Parrillo cover that demands a hefty premium. These books may be dollar box fodder at certain shops that virtually discard Dynamite books. I wouldn’t suggest paying market price unless it is for your personal collection. I refuse to pay market price for almost anything unless it is for my personal collection. I would suggest looking for under-priced copies of these kinds of books. They are the kinds of books that many retailers and dealers at shows ignore in favor of traditional super-heroes.
Modern Good-Girl Art
The trend towards cover buys of beautiful women continues. While traditional hot books like Adam Hughes Wonder Woman and Catwoman have significantly cooled off over the course of the last year, a variety of other titles are hotter than ever. The one that is standout for last several weeks has been Archie related comics (Betty, Veronica, Cheryl Blossom, etc.). Risque covers and double entendres have always drove demand for Archie books, but in the last few weeks we’ve seen more and more of these books jump off eBay into the hands of collectors.
By now we are all familiar with Betty and Veronica #251 (the snow boot bikini cover); Veronica #28 (the diving board cover); Archie Comics Betty and Veronica #320 (1st Cheryl Blossom); Betty and Me #16 (beat off three guys); and Betty and Veronica #261 and #262 (Vampironica and Betty and the Vampire Hunter)
Some books to keep an eye out for in back issue and dollar bins are: Archie #511 which features dialogue on the cover from Archie indicating that his horoscope indicated he would be in the pink. This book has always been kind of hot, but if the trend towards risque Archie books continues, watch out for this particular issue. Prices could get out of control.
Some other issues that consistently sell well are Veronica #206 & Betty #192 which are matching covers depicting the women in Black Widow costumes. These covers have been dubbed the Spy Girls connecting cover set and high grade copies are in shorter supply because of the black covers. Veronica #19 (1992) is another cover that has seen moderate interest but has not taken off completely. It features Veronica bathing in a pool of cash with her legs in the air. Other prospective key issues include, but are certainly not limited to: Veronica #34 (pink flamingo cover); Veronica #197 (bikini water skiing wearing a santa hat); Betty and Veronica #269 (angel devil outfits); Archie #645 B (Tim Seely variant) Betty and Veronica #276 B (Pepoy variant); and Betty and Veronica #267 B (Fiona Staples mermaid variant); and Betty #8 (diving headlights cover). There’s a ton of these covers and they are available in shops at less than the going rate online. You may have to ask if retailers have any children books, you may have to ask for them by name, but they are still out there and they won’t be out there forever.
Archie related books are not the only modern good-girl art that is ripe for the picking. I enjoy Hack Slash with the best of them and it has a unique cult following. One book that always sells well for me is Hack Slash #14 Jenny Frison C cover. I routinely find this book at or below cover price and sell it at or above $100.00. Even midgrade copies move in the $75.00 range online. These kinds of books are out there and it is your job as a speculator to be aware of them so that when you see them, you grab them. Hack Slash has a ton of good girl type covers, it crosses over with horror fans and it has consistently had television hype. It is something that I consistently pick up. It’s a title that always sells well for me, and I rarely pay a premium for any of the books. Much like Archie books, learn your Hack/Slash books because there is money to made with these books. The Hack/Slash: My First Maniac #1 Frisson cover sells well (both the 1st and 2nd printing). Similarly, there are a ton of lingerie covers, headlights, taillights and other risque covers that command a premium online. Much like Archie books, you’ll know them when you seen them.
Bendis television is in the works
Wednesday news regarding Brian Michael Bendis securing media deals for various Jinx properties, including but not necessarily limited to United States of Murder Inc. and Pearl broke. News regarding the Pearl deal was foreshadowed by Bendis on twitter and copies quickly started to creep up on the secondary market. While details are thin regarding United States of Murder Inc. it appears that this is happening and copies of the 1:50 variant cover of issue #1 have disappeared from online retailers. It also may be time to consider whether it is better to invest capital in other Bendis properties which have potential for a future deal when securing high ratio variants of these books is profoundly less expensive than chasing books after an announcement. As always, it is imperative to decide at what price point you are buyer and at what price point you are a seller.
Gold Digging Continues
It was a big week for Pre-Code Horror comics. The auction on everyone’s radar was a Black Cat Mystery Comics #50 CGC 5.0 on eBay. The book ended at $6,300.00 and is the first live auction following the CGC 2.5 restored label auction that ended back on May 25th at $3,240.00. This is a very interesting result as it arguably demonstrates that collectors are cobbling together money to purchase low grade copies of PCH keys and paying a premium for those books, but less inclined to pay top dollar for higher grade copies which are trading hands between arguably more seasoned collectors. Note that this was also the weekend of heroes con which may have adversely influenced the final sale amount. The price trend on this book will become more clear as more sales are documented, but for the time being it appears that it pays to be selling low grade copies of this book and buying higher grade copies of this book.
A rare copy of Dead Who Walk #NN in CGC 2.0 condition sold for $787.00 with slightly brittle pages. Another couple classic PCH books came to auction this week. PCH keys are continuing to move online. A CGC 3.0 copy of Chamber of Chills #23 sold for $1,599.99 BIN moments after a big price adjustment by the seller. The first is Eerie #1(1951) which sold for $1,425.00 in CGC 5.0 condition. Vault of Horror #12 (which is the first issue of the series War Against Crime) sold for $1,027.55 in CGC 3.0 condition. This is a great result for this book and I doubt that many who were bidding on this book saw it coming.
The big shocker for me was the sale of a raw copy of Tim Holt #30 described as in VG condition which sold in a live auction for $759.00. This book is notorious for apparently being significant to the Son of Sam killer and always demands a premium, but this particular auction result is arguably a game changer for those of us who are tracking this book.
Ironheart’s future in the MCU
A tweet from Eve Ewing, who is current writing Ironheart for Marvel comics, documents that America’s real life Iron Man, Robert Downey Jr., thinks RiRi Williams should be in the MCU. Ewing introduced Robert Downey at the Gene Siskel Film Center, where he reportedly told those in attendance that he believes Ironheart should be part of Marvel Cinematic Universe. This information follows reports and rumors that an existing Ironheart script has been very well received in Hollywood. It may be time to stock up on the Ironheart key books. As you are no doubt aware, there are a number of key first appearances and some interesting incentive variants that already demand a premium. All of these books have been off the radar of collectors for the better part of the last six months when collectors quit speculating on the character appearing in Avengers: Endgame. Ironheart key books include, but are not necessarily limited to:
- Invincible Iron Man #7;
- Invincible Iron Man #7 (Women of Power variant); and
- Iron-heart #1 (1:50 Hans variant).
All of these books are stone cold right now. It is unclear whether or not this is empty rhetoric by Robert Downey, Jr. or whether or not this will inspire Hollywood to take another look at this character. However, one thing is certain, any announcement that RiRi Williams will make a debut in an MCU film or television series will cause the price tags on these books to explode. You are going to have to weigh the risks and rewards for yourself, but many believe that RiRi Williams is a safe bet and that she has a far more promising future than Arno Stark or some of the other books that have been getting attention from speculators.
Henchgirl in development
A press release from Source Point confirms that Alex Ebel is attached to adapt the book Henchgirl. This is big news for the small press title initially published as a self-published webcomic before being picked up by Scout comics and later by Darkhorse. There was a very small release with Henchgirl first appearing in a self titled book that is unnumbered. There are a number of store variant of the first issue that were published allongside the scout comics second print of issue #1 – with a Collector’s Cave variant that is a 1/500 print run and a CBFS variant that is a 1/250 leading the way. There is also a NYCC blank variant that is on some speculators radar. Not sure where this will go, but I’ll keep you updated.
Jack Kirby goodness
We’ve been discussing the speculative investment potential of Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur for months now and it appears that it is finally starting to catch on. There were more than a dozen copies of this book sold this week on eBay alone. While it is unclear whether we will see this property developed for Disney Streaming in the immediate future, it has long been reported that the Black-ish and Grown-ish executive producers Laurence Fishburne and Helen Sugland, along with Cinema Gypsy Productions and Marvel Animation, are working on a series based on the Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur comic book series. The news first came out in Feburary of 2018. This is a smart play with a $20.00 buy-in that has a lot of upside and very little downside. If you are looking for a similar speculative play, you may want to think about Jimmy’s suggestion that we take a hard look at Demon #1 (1972). This is another classic Kirby character who has potential for television/film adaptation because of his involvement with Justice League Dark and who is a stand alone creation of one of the all-time greats.
Kirkman fans love and support him in a way that is difficult to capture with words. There is no greater evidence of this than the 60+ copies of Oblivion Song #1 that sold this week. I am frankly shocked. Prior to the news regarding a forthcoming film, I couldn’t have told you whether or not the series had been canceled. For my money, I’m selling this book as quick as I get a chance to. But it is clear that there is a market for this title and a renewed interest that hasn’t slowed down in a weeks time.
Cates continues to kill it
I enjoy Donny Cates writing as much as his next fan, but I did not see this kind of prolonged interest in Silver Surfer: Black #1. The book has more store variants than I can count but continues to be selling at a high rate. I don’t believe that there is much potential for growth in value on this particular book in light of the multiple store variants, retailer incentives and now a second printing. However, it appears that we may be on the cusp of Venom #3 and/or Thor God of Thunder #6 taking off. Although the Knull related material in Thor God of Thunder #6 is lackluster at best, the book has no second printings or variant covers and has a distinct advantage in that regard. There’s not a single copy of this book available on eBay for less than $40.00. It appears that we are about to enter into the Summer of Knull with this villain front and center in the Carnage storyline and in Silver Surfer: Black. I’m not sure how high demand for any of these books will drive prices, but I would also keep my eye on both the A cover and the 1:25 variant of Venom #3.
Marvel SDCC announcements
Unless Kevin Feige is signing their paycheck, I am apprehensive about the so called Hollywood scoopers peddling information regarding Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Nevertheless, it is more probable than not that we will hear some information regarding the confirmed films during the course of Marvel’s presentation in Hall H at San Diego Comic Con. Specifically, there is little doubt that we will hear news regarding the forthcoming Black Widow, Shang Chi and Eternals films. We also believe that we will hear some information about Guardians of the Galaxy 3, Black Panther 2 and Doctor Strange 2. There have been a ton of rumors about these films, but very little solid information at all.
We’ve all heard the rumors: Nova is being developed and that New Avengers, Young Avengers and Dark Avengers are on their way. While we’ve certainly seen huge sales bumps for the related key books, we’ve not had any real confirmation about the veracity of these rumors. Assuming that all of these rumors are actually true (and I am less than convinced), I do anticipate that we will receive any confirmation about any of this stuff at SDCC.
I do anticipate that during the discussion of the Black Widow solo film, we will be introduced to Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova and that this will leave fans wildly speculating that she will assume the role of the new Black Widow. Again, I am not necessarily sold on this idea, but she is a big star and there’s no better place to introduce her to her new legion of fans.
I am expecting some information about the Eternals. I can’t necessarily say that I think we will be introduced to Richard Madden as Ikaris and Angelina Jolie as Circe, but I am hopeful. I think there’s still some opportunity with this book to secure some of the key first appearances before casting news. Depending on who is cast and the size of their prospective involvement, there is no telling what kind of spikes we will see for these characters. The days of finding high grade, dirt cheap copies of issues 1, 2 and 3 may be over, but there are other key books out there for you to bundle together and score at a reasonable price:
- Eternals #5 is the first appearance of Domo, Makkari, Thena and Zuras;
- Eternals #7 is the first appearance of the One-Above-All;
- Eternals #9 is the first appearance of Sprite;
- Eternals #11 is the first appearance of Druig;
- Eternals #12 is the first appearance of the Uni-Mind;
- Eternals #13 is the first appearance of Gilgamesh (a/k/a “The Forgotten One”)
The book that stands out from the crowd in my mind is Captain Marvel #59 which is the first appearance of Elysius. To me, this is the character (like Sersi) bears a striking resemblance to Angelina Jolie. The difference is that unlike Eternals #3, I can still generally find copies of Captain Marvel #59 in back issue boxes for about $7.00 each because the vast majority of collectors and retailers don’t know what the book is. If Jolie is actually going to be part of this film, there is no telling which character she will be playing and regardless of who is cast to play the part of the character Elysius, there is money to be made selling her first appearance as we close in on casting and other announcements.
I think we may also see some information about Black Panther 2. Whether we will see that Queen Divine Justice has been cast in the film and/or whether Doctor Voodoo is actually cast in the film remains unknown at this time. There are only a few copies of Black Panther #13 (1999) for sale online. Strange Tales #169 (1973) continues to be a monster book in higher grade. There simply aren’t that many copies of this book that have survived in high grade and with a recent sale of a CGC 9.0 copy for $699.99, I suspect that interest in this book will remain high regardless of whether there is a firm announcement regarding this character at SDCC.
Similarly, prices on Shang-Chi books have been out of control. The price on high grade copies of the characters first appearance doubled then trippled and is hard to calculate at this point. This week, on June 17th, a CGC 9.6 copy of Marvel Special Edition #15 ( the first appearance of Shang-Chi) sold for $2,800.00. Marvel Special Edition #15 may be the hottest book in the world right now. It is important to remember not to leave low grade copies of this book behind, they sell for significantly more money online than most dealers and retail shops are charging in person.
I will be very interested in whether or not there is some introduction of Donnie Yen or whomever is playing villain in Shang Chi. If this character is not introduced as the Mandarin expect for prices to level out and drop on this characters first appearance which may present a late stage buying opportunity for this book.
I think we can also expect to hear something about the Disney streaming shows at San Diego Comic Con and/or shortly thereafter at D3. There has not been a lot of interest from speculators and/or collectors in key books related to the Disney streaming Marvel television series. It will be interested to see if this changes following the release of trailers or concrete examples of the quality of the productions.
Remember that WandaVision is coming and early reports indicate that the show will draw from the influential Tom King Vision run. Copies of the Vision and Scarlet Witch mini series from 1982 are dirt cheap right now as are copies of the Vision series. I am one of the few who still believes that we will see Kid Loki on the Disney Streaming series. While the show has Tom Hiddleston out front, I imagine that Disney will capitalize on the opportunity to cast a child actor and will see the character of Kid Loki screen tested in this series in some fashion. Keep pulling Thor #617 out of dollar bins.
Much like purported “news” regarding the Dark, New and Young Avengers, the forthcoming Hawkeye Disney streaming series is pure speculation at this point. While Young Avengers books have been the subject of much speculation there are a number of reports which allege that this series will feature The Hood as a super-natural mobster villain of sorts. Copies of this character’s first appearance in the Marvel Knights series The Hood #1 (2002) are available online in the $30.00 range. The Hood’s involvement in any Hawkeye television series is pure rumor and conjecture. These are books to be looking for in bargain bins and not books that I would encourage anyone to pay market prices to secure unless you want a copy for your personal collection.
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.