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!
New leadership at Warner Media
WarnerMedia has announced the appointment of Ann Sarnoff as its new CEO, marking the first time in studio history that a woman is at the helm of the company. In her new role, she will lead WarnerMedia’s worldwide operation, production, marketing and distribution of film, television and interactive entertainment. What we know about Sarnoff is that she was at BBC when it introduced the world to the first female Doctor and she is credited with building sales of Doctor Who merchandise to over $100 million. She is by all estimations profoundly influential and incredibly effective at what she does.
From a speculation standpoint, the question in my mind is to what extent will Sarnoff use her position to promote powerful women super-heroes on the DC on television and in film. I don’t believe that it is a far stretch to believe that we will see Sarnoff lead WarnerMedia in a direction where characters like Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Zatanna feature prominently on the big and/or small screen.
I am bullish on Action Comics #252. We’ve discussed in past articles the distribution on this book, I believe that it is a major key that will undoubtedly appreciate over time incrementally. A less expensive investment is Adventure Comics #381 which is the first solo Supergirl book. However, if Time Magazine is correct and DC is planning on focusing on Supergirl rather than Superman, these books have the potential to explode in value. The appointment of Sarnoff creates an environment that is conducive to this happening.
Similarly, now may be the time to hone in on a Detective Comics #359 (1967). This book has yet to really explode in price and copies routinely change hands. I suggest that you avoid raw sales of this book. For whatever reason, dealers over grade and overvalue their raw copies. Meanwhile you can secure a reasonably priced mid-grade copy of this book for well under a thousand dollars. This week alone, a CGC 6.0 copy sold for $765.00 in a live auction. A CGC 5.0 copy sold as a BIN for $595.00. Similarly, the Adam Hughes Batgirl books are cold as ice. This is a perfect opportunity to snag those books for a very small investment and hold onto them. Batgirl has a future at Warner Brothers. It is not a matter of if, but when she will make her appearance on television or in film.
If you prefer Zatanna and don’t want to go the way of Hawkman #4 (1964) which is a reasonably pricey book, copies of DC Super Stars #11 (1977) are available for the time being on the cheap. For example, someone stole a CGC 8.5 on July 2nd which sold in a live eBay auction for $67.00. Like Batwoman and Wonder Woman, Adam Hughes did some amazing Zatanna covers that collectors aren’t paying much attention to at the moment. If you love variant covers like I do, don’t forget about the 1:10 Brian Bolland variant of Zatanna #5 either. It’s a gorgeous cover and just set a GPA record in CGC 9.8 condition when a copy sold for $350.00.
Reform School Girl #nn (1951) keeps selling. Like Crime Suspenstories #22, Black Cat Mystery #50, Chamber of Chills #19 and other Golden Age ghosts, this book was usually reserved for auction houses, comiclink and comicconnect and Heritage. In the last few months, more and more copies are popping up in the eBay market place and moving online. On Sunday a CGC 3.0 copy sold for $2,700.00. Last month a comparable copy sold raw for $2,300.
There are always some interesting books in the world of good girl art (GGA), bondage and/or the women of distress niche. This week we saw a CGC 4.5 copy of Jo-Jo Comics #25 with off white pages and a classic Matt Baker cover sell for $1,400.00. This is a big number for this book and demonstrates that there continues to be an enormous demand for Baker’s work.
Much like Matt Baker, L.B. Cole continues to be one of, if not the hottest Golden Age artist on the planet. In the past few years we’ve seen more and more Cole covers skyrocket in price. One of his most classic pieces is a Pre-Code Horror (PCH) book, namely Startling Terror Tales #11, which features a cover that shows a woman in peril and spider with a skull head. This week a raw copy that was missing the centerfold sold for nearly a thousand dollars.
While there has been a real resurgence in GGA and PCH, there is only one kind of the Golden Age of comics and his name is Batman. Since news of Robert Pattison’s casting in the new film, we’ve seen more and more Golden Age Batman books come to auction. I can only assume that even the most serious collectors are looking to capitalize on the attention that Hollywood brings to the comic market. Regardless, this week we say a live auction of Detective Comics #33. This is one of the biggest and best books in comics insofar as it is the first time the origin story of Batman is told. A CGC 1.5 copy sold for $27,500.00.
Fantastic Numbers for the Fantastic Four
Over the course of the last year we have witnessed a truly phenomenal appreciation in value for Fantastic Four keys. This week we saw an astonishing sale of a CGC 2.5 copy of issue #1 reach $8,999.99 on Monday. The following day, a CGC 1.0 copy sold for $4,550.00. This book is arguably the hottest book in comics right now and it shows no signs of slowing down. Fantastic Four #5 (the first appearance of Doctor Doom) has been trending at $1k a point with issue #4 (the first Silver age appearance of Namor) is not far behind. This series introduced major blue chip heros like Black Panther (issue #52), the Silver Surfer (issue #48) and Warlock (issue #67). It is the first family of Marvel.
Dream a little dream of Dream
Described as “a massive financial commitment and DC Entertainment’s most-expensive TV foray ever” by Hollywood Reporter it looks like Sandman is finally getting a TV adaptation. It is a Dream come true for many including myself. Allan Heinberg (Wonder Woman, ABC’s The Catch, Grey’s Anatomy) is attached to the project as both writer and showrunner with the creator himself, Neil Gaiman, executive producing the series alongside David Goyer. If you are a long time reader of the Weekend Update, you will recall my suggestions to buy Sandman #1 CGC 9.8s when they were selling for around $250.00. The moment this news broke the books shot up to $400.00 and now there’s not a single copy available on eBay for less than $600.00. Thirty-six copies of Sandman #1 sold on eBay on Monday. Gaimen indicates that season one will be “Preludes and Nocturnes and a little bit more.”
Remember that the most beloved character from this book (Death) doesn’t appear until issue #8. CGC 9.8 copies are sold out in the $450.00 to $500.00 range. Like issue #1, this book is trending upward. Death was responsible for many an Emo fantasy, and the rarest and most coveted book from the run is the Karen Barger editorial variant of issue #8. There are believed to be 600 copies of this book. There is no telling what kind of price this book may demand today, or what happened to these books. According to a news article in Comic Buyers Guide (the precursor to Wizard magazine) these 600 copies were sent out for two signing sessions at Comix Experience in San Francisco and The Outer Limits in Los Angeles that Neil Gaiman was attending in California. Apparently the error was spotted at the signings, and both signed and unsigned copies were released to the public.
There are a few other major Sandman books to keep a look out for. Sandman #18 blue panel variants where the yellow and blue coloring is reversed on the first page giving it 3 blue panels instead of 3 yellow panels. Very few of these issues are in circulation. Issue #19 also has an error. Essentially, a number of copies were printed with pages 18 and 19 in the wrong order such that page 18 and 20 faced each other. This book is much more common that issue #18.
The other major Sandman book that everyone should be looking for is Sandman #75 2nd print. This book was so rare that it was thought not to exist in certain circles until collectors started scouring the country for copies. Now lower to mid-grade copies are relatively available on eBay if you are willing to shell out a few hundred dollars. The books are easily identifiable insofar as they say “2nd printing” on the UPC code, but high grade copies of this book are scarce.
Since I know we all love cheap spec – I would think about snatching about Death Talks About Life #0 (1994). It is dirt cheap and very few of these free sex education micro comics exist in high grade. The book is an awkward 90’s PSA where, among other things, John Constantine whips a banana out of his trench coat to receive a lesson on using a condom (Death later eats the banana). If Death is a fraction as popular with viewers of the show as she is with fans of the comic, she will have her own series in no time, and books like this are the kinds of books that can and do go crazy overnight. Note that John Constantine also appears in this book and many are already talking about the prospect of his character popping up on the show. Swamp Thing #37 taken a nose dive following the cancellation of the Swamp Thing DC Streaming series and now is an affordable time to buy this book.
I love Sandman and am really excited about the television series. I am probably the wrong person to give objective insight into the market surrounding these books because I basically want all of the hard to find key issues in my personal collection. Nevertheless, I will attempt to provide some insight as best I can. I think there are going to be a lot of collectors who will read this series and fall in love with it. I also think there are going to be a ton of collectors who are familiar with the source material who will be apprehensive about the ability of Warner Brothers and Netflix to translate these books into a television series. Nevertheless, we have seen how Netflix translates into comic sales with shows like Umbrella Academy changing the way that people think about comic book television. This is one to keep an eye on.
While everyone patiently awaits Disney/Marvel and their lineup, Disney Television Studios has subtlety unveiled that it will be taking over Hall H, the Indigo Ballroom where ABC will introduce Greg Rucka’s Stumptown. This is a series that has in large part slid under the radar of most collectors. Greg Rucka’s highly acclaimed series from Oni Press has oft been discussed here but has not been discussed much elsewhere. It will be interesting to see whether the main stage at SDCC will give this book the spotlight it needs to shine or whether the star studded line up at SDCC will overshadow this series.
AMC will be in attendance with a plethora of comic related television series panels, including The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Preacher and NOS4A2.
DC Streaming will have interactive fan events and showcase Titans, Doom Patrol, Young Justice: Outsiders and the upcoming adult-animated comedy series Harley Quinn. There will not be any Stargirl activities as the series is reportedly not going to premiere until next Summer. However, there will be a special booth activation that immerses fans inside the comically twisted world of the new Harley Quinn series with an Arkham interactive tour.
Swan Song for the Walking Dead
Like many modern collectors, the Walking Dead television series inspired me to pick up comics again. I am confident that is a familiar story that I share with many collectors. Some argue that the Walking Dead saved Image, saved Diamond and that it reshaped comic book history. While I am not privy to enough information to make any conclusions about its economic impact on Image as a publisher or Diamond as a distributor, there is no denying that the Walking Dead was integral in the normalization of comic books on television and in film. It is a legendary achievement for the creators and we all owe a debt of gratitude to these men for their work on the title. This Wednesday with issue #193, the Walking Dead series comes to an end.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the collectibility of this series. Many independent titles fade into obscurity following their final issue. The Walking Dead is different and always has been different than other independent books. While it may not happen over night, I believe that we will see a resurgence in Walking Dead run collectors. Nostalgia always finds a way and there are few in the comic book market that don’t have serious nostalgia for a book that inspired groups of family and friends to gather around a cable television Sunday nights for heart pounding high drama.
I am in no way suggesting that it is time to start building runs of the Walking Dead as some kind of sound business investment. However, it is naive to believe that this series will somehow fade into obscurity like so many independent titles that came before it. If anything, I believe as the years roll by, the Walking Dead will viewed fondly and with admiration as a title that changed comic history for the better.
Watchman is coming to HBO
Put me on top of the short list of speculators who has been bullish on Watchman #1 since news of an HBO series. The CGC 9.8’s have reached a year and half low and one finally sold for $500.00 on eBay. 9.6’s are criminally undervalued by comparison and trend in the $150.00 range. I anticipate that Watchman will get a lot of attention at SDCC and some are speculating that we will be receiving more and more information about this series until it is released in the Fall. Remember that Sunday night HBO is adult past time. If this series manages to capture a fraction of Game of Thrones crowd and/or the comic fans who once patiently waited for Sunday night Walking Dead episodes – this book is poised to explode.
A Wraith by any other name
While sales are slow on the IDW series turned AMC television series, sales of Annihilation Conquest: Wraith #1 are strong as an ox. Over the course of the last week more than 2 dozen copies of this book have sold. There is also a lot of interest in issue #2 which is the 1st appearance of Exelon and the Nameless. In light of the price spikes we’ve seen on books like Venom #3 and Thor God of Thunder #6, it makes sense why speculators are picking up high grade copies of this book. Although there was some interest in this character four to six months ago following his introduction in the Dark Guardians, there are certainly still copies of this book to be found in the wild.
In the category of better late than never
Apparently The Flash has found a new director, namely Andy Muschietti (who directed Stephen King’s It), and a new writer, Christina Hodson (Birds of Prey and Bumblebee), according to The Hollywood Reporter. Although nothing is final, Muschietti is in talks to direct the solo film which is reportedly going to star Ezra Miller. The Hollywood reporter is indicating that Muschietti and his wife Barbara Muschietti will co-produce the movie alongside Michael Disco. Most of you will recall recent reports that The Flash script was getting a (re)writen by iconic comic creator Grant Morrison who was working with first time screen writer (Ezra Miller). It is unclear whether Hodson will start fresh or provide yet another re-write of the long-reported “script” that has been floating around Hollywood for years.
This project began way back in 2015 with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller working to develop Flash for the big screen. Soon thereafter, Seth Grahame-Smith was attached to the project and writing a screen play based upon a treatment from Lord and Miller. By 2016 he was gone due to “creative differences.” Rick Famuyiwa was the second director tapped but he was soon leaving the project as a result of “creative differences.” In 2017, Joby Harold was then hired to do a page rewrite of the script, and the following year Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein were hired to direct the project. Soon thereafter, Ezra Miller teamed up with Grant Morrison in an effort to draft an entirely new script. Until this week, when Andy Muschietti was hired to direct the project with Christina Hodson penning the screen play.
On the one hand, it appears that Warner Brothers is committed to the film as demonstrated by the foregoing. Nevertheless, the project has been plagued for years with a dozen creative personalities attached to it at various points in time. Even if this project gets made, all of the various hirings and firings leave a bad taste in the mouth. That being said, the Flash is a beloved character and it is hard not to bet on a character that is so beloved by so many.
Flash spec is hard spec with the truly note worthy books already being high dollar items. Moreover, many collectors got burned by the “hot” book of the week in response to the television series. It is entirely unclear to what expect we may to see any particular characters in this big screen adaptation. As such, I would tread carefully before I a bunch of money on a bunch of random first appearances. If you have faith in the inevitability of this project, I would make a longer term investment play in a higher dollar item book and avoid the temptation to buy minor keys. The Flash #105 (1959) is the classic 1st Silver Age Flash in his own title and it never goes out of style. Flash #139 (1963) is the first Reverse Flash “Professor Zoom” and it will always be a major Flash key. Similarly, Flash #123 (1963) is the first time Earth II is in a comic and it is the introduction of the Golden Age Flash in a Silver Age comic. In the event that you are looking for something less pricey and more modern, CGC 9.8 copies of
Flash #197 are barely hitting the $150.00 mark on eBay and this 2003 key has potential to take off in the event that Professor Zoom hits the big screen.
Shazam! will be available via Digital HD on July 2nd, and Blu-ray and DVD on July 16th. Why does anyone care? Because a deleted scene included in this release goes a long way to set up the inevitable clash between Billy Watson and Teth-Adam a/k/a Black Adam. As I am certain you are already well aware, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has long been attached to play Black Adam on the big screen. Right now there are very few eyes on Shazam #28 (which is the second appearance of Black Adam and the first appearance of the character since his Golden age introduction. Watch out for motivated sellers who are looking to unload high grade copies of this book at a discount. The biggest book related to Black Adam is his first appearance in Marvel Family #1 which moves in the thousand dollar a point range.
Of course there are a number of high dollar Shazam keys form the Golden Age. As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of Mary Marvel. Although these books are classics and I have little fear that they will depreciate in value due to there relative scarcity, there is always the risk that this character will not get a big push on the big screen. Her first appearance in Captain Marvel Adventures #18 is a monster book and the crown jewel of any Shazam collection. However, do not forget about Captain Marvel Adventures #22 which is the first appearance of Mr. Mind.
A number of internet sources are attempting to regurgitate old speculation and when rumors get repeated, they sometimes are inadvertently considered substantiated. If you are going to avoid making mistakes, it is essential that you make well informed decisions. There are an increasingly large number of rumors and innuendo in the world of comics that are passed off as reasoned conjecture, speculation and investing strategies. The following is the former, not the later, and I will do my best to provide some information about the origin of this information.
The first rumor is as far as I can tell recycled speculation. Some sources are reporting that Damage Control is getting a second look. The first appearance of Damage Control was in Marvel Age Annual #4 (1988). This is a ten dollar book that is readily available in back issue bins. High Grade copies of Damage Control #1 (1989) are available in the same price range. Neither of these books are books I would be paying market price for no matter how inexpensive they are at the moment. This show was announced back in 2015 and production stalled shortly after the show’s announcement.
Another recycled rumor is that Marvel is producing a Dakota North television series that will focus on her private investigation career. This rumor surfaced back around Christmas time in 2017 when comicbookmovie wrote an article describing the information as a “rumor.” If you are paying money for this books (Dakota North Investigations #1 (I986)) I would suggest that you do it out of dollar bins ideally or in the five to ten dollar range to the extent that there hasn’t been anything other than a whisper campaign regarding this potential series in a long time.
Unlike Damage Control or Dakota North, there have been no rumors about a Hack/Slash television series. This book has been “optioned” several times and at one point in time was touting it’s future television series with a banner exclaiming the forthcoming series on it’s the monthly issues. Neither a film or television show was ever made, but fans of this book remain hungry for the series. This week we saw a CGC 9.8 copy of #1 sell for $500.00 on eBay.
In the world of movies that are actually getting made, remember when we suggested you take a hard look at the Joker #1 (1975)? A CGC 9.8 copy just sold for $750.00. When we suggested that you take a hard look at this book, copies in 9.8 condition couldn’t crack the $600.00 mark. I don’t think we’ve hit a ceiling yet on this book.
After Far From Home
If you haven’t seen Far From Home, and are still valiantly attempting to avoid online spoilers, now is the time to gracefully exit this article. If you’ve already seen the film or are unconcerned with the potential impact spoilers – here’s my analysis of what happened.
There are two post credit scenes. Both post-credit scenes leaked before the movie was released and both post-credit scenes are interesting for different reasons. The mid-credit scene where Peter Parker is revealed to be the angsty teenager under the mask by J. Jonah Jameson is certainly interesting and thought provoking. The first time this was done in comics was way back in Spider-Man #12 where Doctor Octopuss reveals Spider-Man’s secret identity to the police and the press. This has a classic Steve Ditko cover and is an amazing book. The average price of a CGC 7.0 is about $450, but I would expect to see a short term price spike on this book if people figure out what it is following the film. Low grade copies of this book generally sell around $100 and we’ve seen raw low grade copies of this book selling in the $200 range as interest in Spider-Man picks up.
Talos and his wife Soren appeared in the end credit scene. Most will remember that the first appearance of Talos is Incredible Hulk #418 and/or #419. When news of the central role played by Talos in the Captain Marvel film broke, there was significant interest issues #418 and #419 with issue #418 being the leader of the pack. Following the Wednesday release of the film, there were twenty copies of this book sold online. I think some speculators believe that Ben Mendelson’s character has a future in the MCU and there have been generally positive responses to the idea that the skrulls can impersonate characters without tipping off fans or other characters in the film. There are a lot of different versions of issue #418, including deluxe, regular, newsstand and ashcan editions. It will be interesting to see if any one book becomes more popular that the rest or whether attention will shift to the first cover appearance in issue #419 which some describe as a first “full” appearance (although the cameo and full designations often have little to do with anything objective in my observations).
There was no mention of Norman Osborn or Osborn tower although there is still a lot interest in Norman Osborn’s first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #37 which is selling extremely well in anticipation that Osborn will be introduced in some sort of Dark Avengers storyline. I can see how some may come to this conclusion with all the talk about the “new Iron-man” in the film lending itself to an Iron Patriot plot line, but I am far from convinced that this is the direction that the MCU will take. That being said, I am more skeptical than most when it comes to that sort of thing.
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.
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