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!
Don’t follow the shiny object
This week everyone was running to their local comic book store to buy copies of Marvel Comics Presents #6. The book has been selling for as much as $25 online and is sold out at many comic book stores. The price tag on the book exploded on Wednesday morning following news that this issue features the first appearance of Wolverine’s child. The previous issue, Marvel Comics Presents #5 has started selling for $20 and is being labeled a first appearance cameo of the character.
No, I’m not talking about X-23, Daken or Jimmy Hudson. In fact, come to think of it – there have been a lot of Wolverine offspring over the years. There’s Kirika on Earth-295, Brian and Mari on Earth-1298, Scotty & Jade on Earth-90210, his son Raze on Earth-13729. His daughter Torrent on Earth-9811, Cannon Foot, Erista who is the son of Wolverine & Gahck, Gunhawk who is the son of Wolverine & Dolores Downing, there’s that character Saw Fist who is also the son of Wolverine, then there’s Scotty Logan, also a son of Wolverine and Maureen Logan on Earth-90210, Avery Connor who is a female genetic clone of Wolverine, then there’s Fire Knives also a daughter, Jade Logan who is a daughter of Wolverine & Maureen Logan on Earth-90210, Kirika who is a daughter of Wolverine & Mariko Yashida on Earth-295, Mari Logan who is a daughter of Wolverine and Mariko Yashida on Earth-1298, Shadow Stalker
who is a daughter of Wolverine, Torrent who is also a daughter of Wolverine and Storm on Earth-9811, Wild Thing who is the daughter of Wolverine & Elektra on Earth-982 and I would definitely include Rancor who is the great-great-great granddaughter and Talogan who is the great-great-great-great grandson of Wolverine on Earth-691. I would hate to have to administrate this will.
What’s my point – this is flash in the pan spec. Jonathan Hickman is re-writing and resolving the insanity of x-men related continuity and no one will care about this character in a very short amount of time. If you are expecting this book to be the next Naomi, please allow me to dissuade you from the notion that there will be an opportunity to sell a $500 CGC 9.8 copy of this book. That’s not going to happen either. If you are still sitting on the fence, here’s one last fact: marvel is already publishing a second print of this issue with a 1:25 variant. The spec is already dead. Some buyers just haven’t figured it out yet.
When everyone is buying, I’m usually selling
Time and time again we hear seasoned speculators talk about the risks associated with FOMO (fear of missing out). I have a friend who laments that the only way to have a popular YouTube show about comics is by telling people what to buy which to his credit he refuses to do. I think there’s a lot of truth in both of these ideas and that there is a real opportunity to make money selling to buyers who are chasing this week’s hot garbage. The most recent example that has certainly left a bad taste in countless collector’s mouths is Naomi #1 CGC 9.8. There were two sales of the A cover early this week. One copy sold on Sunday for $120.50. A second copy sold for $122.50. Frankly, I think these were smart buys. Raw copies are now selling for little more than $50. This is a fraction of the price that these books were selling for just a few short months ago when the vast majority of the collector community was speculating that Naomi was going to be an African American Super-Woman. When that didn’t materialize the vast majority of the speculation was over. Compare this book to Teen Titans #12 which also sells in the range of $50 for raw NM copies. The interesting thing is that CGC 9.8 copies sell for $350.00.
The simple rule of thumb, to be selling when everyone else is buying is far from a universal principle but it is a much better starting point than the all too natural instinct to follow other buyers like a lemming off the edge of the comic book cliff. Certainly there are counter-examples. Books like Shang-Chi’s first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15 is a prime example of a book that has enjoyed consistent growth over the course of the last six to nine months that is now at an astounding value.
What is the difference between Shang-Chi’s first appearance and Naomi’s first appearance. I’m not going to patronize you by listing them insofar as they should be clear to anyone who is serious about comics. But it is astonishing that some collectors paid the same price for a CGC 9.8 copy of Naomi #1 as others were paid for CGC 9.4 and CGC 9.6 copies of Marvel Special Edition following news of the Shang-Chi film.
Is eBay the new destination for Big Book sellers?
Traditionally auction houses like Heritage and to a lesser extent locations like the CGC message boards, comic connect, comic link and mycomicshop have been the destination for sellers to move their biggest books at top retail. As comic books have become increasingly mainstream, eBay is becoming the premiere destination for sellers to secure top value. This week was no exception. On Wednesday we saw a Hulk #1 (1963) CGC 6.0 copy sell for $24,600.00 in a live auction. Habitual readers of the Weekend Update may recall that I am strong advocate for Hulk #1 as a monster Silver Age blue chip investment because of its relative rarity compared to other Silver Age keys. There are approximately half as many copies of Hulk #1 on the CGC Graded comic census compared to the coveted Amazing Fantasy #15. It’s no secret that this book is hard to find in any condition and whenever they become available they move with haste back into private collections.
If you are watching the comicbookwars podcast, you heard us discuss the importance of being aware of prices on all the auction houses whether you are buying a big book or selling a big book. The short take away is that sometimes particular books or particular kinds of books sell for more/less money on one forum than on all of the others. This week’s sales of Out of the Shadows #8 illustrates this point. A CGC 2.5 sold on eBay in a live auction on Sunday for $797.00. Meanwhile that same night over on Heritage a CGC 4.0 copy sold for $999.00.
Fact of the matter is that there are two classes of buyers when it comes to GA books. There’s the newer buyers who are paying outrageous prices from more seasoned collectors and these more experienced collectors are taking their money and buying better stuff with it. Shop around. Look on comiclink, look on comic connect, look on the CGC boards, Hakes, eBay and elsewhere. The lesson here is not that comics are cheaper on Heritage than they are on eBay. The lesson is that some books sell for more on eBay, others for more on the CGC boards, and so forth. Learn what books move in what markets so you know where to buy and sell. For whatever reason these are like little isolated communities and you need to visit all of them as you are buying and selling your goods along your comic collecting journey.
Excitement continues regarding Yelena Belova
Late last weekend, photos of stunt dummies/dolls for Florence Pugh and Scarlett Johansson were posted adjacent to an apparent set photo of the wooden crates the stunt dummies/dolls were shipped in that were labeled “Natasha” and “Yelena.” Speculators have already been hoarding copies of Yelena’s first appearance in Inhumans #5 and Black Widow #1 (June, 1999). Note that the B cover of Black Widow #1 is getting the most attention followed by the Dynamic Forces variant of Black Widow #1 which many are pushing as a first “full appearance” following CGC’s labeling Black Widow #1 as Yelena’s first appearance. Clearly, Yelena’s first appearance is in Inhumans #5 and I will not belabor that point. It is unclear whether or not this character will replace Johansson in the MCU or occupy a recurring role in the MCU, but collectors and speculators are clamoring for copies of the key books many of which still exist in dollar bins and back issue bins at or around cover price. While the window is closing to secure these books at bargain low prices, it still exists and I am continuing to find these books in the wild in the one to ten dollar range.
DC Horror comes back from the dead
Here comes Joe Hill. Following the decision to dissolve DC’s Vertigo imprint, DC announced that it was publishing a “pop-up” line under DC’s Black Label called Hill House Comics. The forthcoming titles are as follows:
- Basketful of Heads, by Joe Hill and Leomacs
- The Dollhouse Family, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
- The Low, Low Woods, by Carmen Maria Machado and Dani
- Daphne Byrne, by Laura Marks and Kelley Jones
- Plunge, by Joe Hill and TBA
There’s a ton of collectors who believe that as Golden age horror comics become increasingly expensive and disappear into private collections that Bronze age horror comics will see a huge price correction. It is already difficult to find key Frank Frazetta, Bernie Wrightson and Neal Adams covers in high grade, and we are all too familiar with the mega-keys of this era. Here are a few key issues to think about looking for in high grade:
- Adventure Comics #431 through #440 ( Michael Fleischer’s the Spectre);
- Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1, #5 (becomes Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion);
- Ghost Castle #1 (first Lucien the Librarian);
- Ghosts #1;
- House of Mystery #174 (1st new format); #175 (1st Cain), #179 (1st Wrightson, obviously all Bernie Wrightson covers are sought after, but pay particular attention to issues #236 and #290 (1st I, Vampire));
- House of Secrets #81 (1st New format, Abel is host), #92 (1st Swamp Thing), all Neal Adams covers especially #88 and certainly all Bernie Wrightson covers especially #100;
- Sinister House of Secret Love #1, #5 (becomes Secrets of Sinister House), #6 (Cain, Abel, 1st Eve);
- Secrets of Haunted House #31 (1st Mister E);
- Weird Mystery Tales #1 (1st Destiny Endless / Sandman), #21 (fantastic Wrightson werewolf cover);
- Weird War Tales #1, #8 (Neal Adams cover), #93 (1st Creature Commandos); and
- Witching Hour #1, #5 (Wrightson), #85 (final issue).
As collectors gravitate more and more to gorgeous covers, these books will be more and more sought after. Keep them on your radar. I still pull bronze age horror books out of $3.00 and $5.00 bins, and I’m generally a buyer for ultra high grade copies of key bronze age horror books.
Spider-Man Far From Home
No I’m not here to ruin the movie for you. For those who have problems with delayed gratification and need to know what is going to happen, the spoilers are all over the internet. I am not going to do that to anyone. I will say that it certainly sounds like this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship between Disney and Sony. In other words, it certainly sounds like the film has been well received by all involved and that Spider-Man related content will continue in the MCU as well as outside of MCU continuity. Again, this is my plea for you to pick up underpriced Spider-Man related materials form sellers, collectors, retailers and fellow speculators who are short sighted in their perspective.
For example, this week alone we saw 19 copies of Amazing Spider-Man #328 sell on eBay. “Which issue is Amazing Spider-Man #328?” That’s the McFarlane cover where Cosmic Spider-Man punches the Hulk into space. At best it is a minor key, but the reality is that Spider-Man always sells. This particular issue may be near and dear to my heart because it was one of my favorite comics as a child, but it probably has no real importance to 95% of Spider-Man collectors. Nevertheless, 19 copies of this book have sold so far this week. More copies of this book sold this week than copies of Eternals #1 (which sold 18 copies), The Boys #1 (which sold 17 copies), or Inhumans #5 (which sold 15 copies). The fact of the matter is that Spider-Man sells and Spider-Man collectors are fanatical.
This brings me to El Sorprendente Hombre Araña. While I may get some flack from the guys on the podcast about these books, I am a true believer in the power of non-cannon Spider-Man comics and to a less extent the other non-cannon comics I mentioned in last weeks article. For those of you who are interested in this subject, there are non-cannon Silver Surfer comics that I will discuss if the interest is there.
Nevertheless, I am far form alone in my interest in El Sorprendente Hombre Araña Mexican Gwen Stacey books. This week the flood gates opened up and for the second time in more than a year a collector unleashed copies of the key books form this run on the market. The premiere book from this run is issue #128 which is the oft discussed wedding cover. A copy of this book with a significant spine roll, staining on the back cover and what appears to be a pen mark sold for $1,395.90. All of the issues with Good Girl Art (GGA) covers sold for well over $200.00 with both the Satanna and Vamperilla covers selling in the $500.00 range. The non-cannon comics that did not feature GGA sold for around $100.00 a pop. These auctions were poorly listed. They did not include the name of the title of the books (El Sorprendente Hombre Araña) in the title/description and were from a seller out of Mexico. God only knows what these books may sell for if they were slabbed and sold by a trusted American auction house and/or on a trusted eBay seller. I am of the opinion that there is still an incredibly large number of Spider-Man collectors who don’t know these books exist. Also, I am trying to buy a copy of a number of these issues, including the Wedding issue – so don’t go telling everyone about our little secret (at least not until I finish the run).
The fact of the matter is that Spider-Man key books always sell and they always appreciate in value organically for the most part so if you are investing in Spider-Man you rarely have to worry about the roller coaster rides that we experience with books like Naomi #1. The other thing that I like about Spider-Man speculation is that when there is a price correction, books like Amazing Spider-Man #300 CGC 9.8 go from being a thousand dollar book (where it sat patiently for five plus years) to a two thousand dollar book.
As we approach the Far From Home film and you are laying your bets on the future of the Spider-Man film franchise feel some level of comfort that you are not flushing money down the toilet. The first appearance of Norman Osborn will always be a classic key. The first appearance of the Sinister Six will always be a classic key. The first appearance of Kingpin, Venom, Carnage, Doctor Octopus, and any of the classic Spider-Man villains will always be amazing additions to your collection that will appreciate incrementally and organically over time. Similarly, you will never be sad out purchasing the first appearance of Black Cat or Silver Sable, about having Spider-Women keys or the first appearance of Miles Morales.
Clearly as the hype over the film approaches its peak, now is far from the opportune time to buy. But as the hype dies down, before the next wave of excitement and the announcements about the Sony Spider-verse projects cause the next wave of Spider-Man books to heat up, think about which books you may want to invest in. Insofar as it is being reported that Sony Pictures will be skipping a Hall H presentation at SDCC this year, there is no real telling when we will get news about projects in Sony’s forthcoming extended Spider-verse.
Spider-Man is such a strong property that J.J. Abrams and his son Henry, who is 20 years old are writing a Spider-Man comic where are introducing a new villain (Cadaverous) in a five-part mini series that is being released in the Fall. The book is illustrated by Sara Pichelli with colors by Dave Stewart. Abrams indicated to news sources, that “the story shows Peter Parker in a way you haven’t seen him before,” and if anyone can accomplish that task it’s Abrams. Perhaps take a harder look at some of old web-head’s keys in the coming months. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
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.