Weekend Update with Nico
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This is your Weekend Update!
SDCC is over and the comic book market is Jumping
So much happened at SDCC that it’s hard to know where to begin. I’m going to try to provide you guys lists and preface my coverage with this important message. If you don’t already have these books, now is probably not the time to be buying these books. It is a rare occasion when it is a wise strategy to chase a hot book. It is highly unlikely that paying market price for hot books pans out in the short term. That being said, I have friends all across the country who are major dealers that had no idea about the books that spiked following the SDCC announcements until I told them. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t buying opportunities. I am suggesting that paying the market price on eBay right now is probably not in your best interest. Look ahead, look to the future and remember that the market ebbs and flows. Most of these books are going to come down in price. Perhaps super high grade copies won’t come down too much in price, but they may and almost everything else certainly will.
Be aware of the order of the films and television series so that you are able to anticipate the peaks and valleys in the market. Black Widow is released on May 1, 2020. It’s the first film of phase 4. The books associated with this film have the shortest purchasing window and the shortest selling window. We’ve yet to see a trailer, but expect for the books to go bonkers when the trailer drops and be ready with your slabbed copies to get them out the door. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is the first television project and its released next sometime in the fall of 2020. It will be followed by The Eternals on November 6, 2020. The following year will be Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It is released days before Valentine’s Day on February 12, 2021. The weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day are bad sales days. People are spending money on other things. If you are going to try and move Shang Chi books, under no circumstances should you wait until the movie is released.
Thereafter we won’t see a project until WandaVision is released on Disney streaming along with the Loki series sometime in the spring of 2021. The next film is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness which is scheduled to release on May 7, 2021. This will be followed by the What If? animated series in the summer of 2021. The final television project of phase 4 is Hawkeye which will be released in fall of 2021. The final film of phase 4 is Thor: Love and Thunder which will be released on November 5, 2021. Clearly there is more time to buying Hawkeye and Thor related books than any other MCU related projects. Plan accordingly.
Here’s a Run Down of the Phase 4 Films:
Soviet Spies like us
I am really looking forward to the Black Widow film. Hopefully Yelenna Belova has been on your radar for months. Florence Pugh is an up and coming actress and has a lot of potential. As we are all well aware, the first appearance of Yelenna Belova is in Inhumans #5, but CGC has labeled Black Widow #1 (MK 1999) as her first appearance and collectors have moved towards that issue as well. There is an A cover that is still relatively available in back issue bins for the time being, a B cover that is getting increasingly pricey because it features Belova on the cover and both a signed and unsigned Dynamic Forces variant. I firmly suspect that focus groups and not screen writers will determine whether Belova is a recurring figure in the MCU. This character is a gamble at best and one that may pay off, but I have not and will not be sinking big money into this character until I see the film and how it is received by audiences.
A character that is more interesting to me than Yelenna is Alexi a/k/a the Red Guardian who is played by David Harbor (Stranger Things). Harbor is suddenly an A list celebrity in Hollywood and he went from the hottest TV show on Netflix to Black Widow. I think it’s probable that we see him in a recurring role in the MCU. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Disney is looking for an international cast of characters as much as it is looking for a multicultural cast of characters to push ticket sales in foreign markets. The Red Guardian first appears in Avengers #43. There are no CGC 9.8 copies of this book and only 11 copies of this book in CGC 9.6 condition. There was one listing of a CGC 9.6 copy on eBay and in less than 24 hours it was removed from eBay, presumably for a private sale (don’t tell eBay). The asking price was just under $3,000.00 I may be a David Harbor homer, but I don’t think I am alone in that regard.
There’s a couple more books to keep an eye with respect to the Black Widow film. One that I can credit Sleepy Jawn for helping me find is the first appearance of villian Melina Vostokoff, a/k/a Iron Maiden (Rachel Weis) in Marvel Fanfare #11. This is a book that I expect to see rise in popularity following the trailer and/or video of the character. Her costume is awesome. Copies are moving in the $20.00 range on eBay and they are littering dollar bins across the country. Go find them, press and slab 9.8 contenders and wait for the trailer to drop.
The last casting announcement was O-T Fagbendie who is playing a character called Mason who is probably the Task Master. Everyone is already well aware of his first appearance in Avengers #196 (and his cameo in issue #195). There may still be copies of Ultimate Spider-Man #26 sitting in dollar bins, but I certainly wouldn’t be paying much more than a dollar for this book. There is no question in my mind that the Task Master will be a huge hit with audiences. The real question for me in the long run is whether he will be a returning figure in the MCU given the advent of Disney Plus. If Disney is moving towards an episodic frame work, then perhaps we will see more Task Master, but I am far from sold on this idea. Also, there is a chance that Mason is a red herring and that Task Master will be David Harbor.
Let’s talk first about the Eternals. We’ve been discussing the magnitude of this project here for the last six months in detail. We finally have casting news. Richard Madden, as suspected, will be playing Ikaris. He is the star of the show and his first appearance is in Eternals #1. That book sold more than 100 copies in the 24 hours following the announcement at SDCC. It is amazing to me that there was that much interest following an SDCC announcement. It demonstrates how many buyers are out there who have money to spend on comics, but aren’t aware what is going on behind the scenes. Clearly, information that is old news to most of us, is driving major sales in the market when it is made public.
Brian Tyree Henry was cast as Phastos. This character’s first appearance is also Eternals #1 volume 2. These books are out there. They are cheap and you should be grabbing them out of back issue bins and dollar bins left and right. Salma Hayek was cast as Ajak. This adds real appeal to the book she first appears in, namely Eternals #2 which also features the first appearance of the Celestials. There’s been a lot of buzz around the concept art for the Celestials that was shown publicly at SDCC driving interest in this book.
Without question Angelina Jolie is the biggest star in the Eternals franchise. She is Hollywood royalty and we’ve been under the misimpression that she was cast as Circe. The big losers of SDCC are Strange Tales #109 and Eternals #3. You are going to hear people who are financially invested in these books talk about there validity as speculative investments. The fact of the matter is, they are dead to 95% of the collectors who would have purchased them. If I am you, I would not be spending money on these books unless I was getting them at a serious discount. That being said, Circe is the matriarch of the Eternals (she was a member of the Avengers) and I personally expect a late casting of her character. However, I am risk averse when it comes to comics and she is not a character who will survive without a film iteration in any meaningful way.
One of the biggest winners of SDCC is Eternals #5 which features the first appearance of Thena, played by the magnificent Angelina Jolie. Her first appearance is Eternals #5. There are about 100 CGC 9.8 copies on the census. I have no idea how CGC will treat new submissions, but I expect they will start pouring in and I am very interested in seeing what the census numbers look like over the course of the next six months. If that number stays below 250, expect for this book to become a monster. There was a live auction for a 9.8 up on eBay when the news dropped that ended Tuesday at $911.00. Expect incremental growth for this and other ultra high grade copies of key books as they get deposited in personal collections. Lauren Ridloff was cast as Makkari and she also first appears in issue #5.
There were three other castings announced for this film: Lia McHugh was cast as Sprite. Her first appearance is in Eternals #9. McHugh is a very talented child actress and may steal the show from more seasoned veteran actors. Expect for Kumail Nanjiani’s character Kingo to get huge fan response. Nanjiani is incredibly popular among young people and comic book fans. Kingo’s first appearance is in Eternals #11. Last, but certainly not least, Don Lee, was cast as Gilgamesh, the Forgotten One. Don Lee is a big name in China and his character will be immensely popular among Chinese fans of the MCU driving oversees box office sales. Don’t sleep on this book either. Lee’s character first appears in Eternals #13.
There were all sorts of rumors regarding Hercules. Some had suggested very vocally that not only would his character be introduced in the film, but that he would be the first gay character in the MCU. For now, this does not appear to be the case. Then the question becomes, “is Hercules Spec Dead?” The answer from me is yes. Journey into Mystery Annual #1 is a great book, it is a classic book, but it is a very expensive book in high grade and not a book that I will investing in at this time. Could this character still appear in the MCU? Absolutely. Could this still appear in the Eternals film? That is certainly a possibility. Does the risk/reward analysis justify spending money on this book at this time? Absolutely not.
Do you know Kung Fu
One of the most anticipated films of phase 4 is Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu. This is a classic bronze age hero who first appeared in Marvel Special Edition #15. This book has been on fire for the last 9 months or so and many are asking “how much more can it grow?” The simple answer is that only time will tell. I do not suspect that the price tag on this monster will loosen up as we approach the release date of the film. The black cover on this book is tough to fin in high grade and collectors are clamoring for copies. Following the announcement we saw a high grade NM copy sell for over a thousand dollars raw. CGC 9.4 copies are closing in on the fifteen hundred dollar mark.
There are a number of other Shang Chi books that you may want to keep an eye out for as details regarding the film begin to trickle out of Disney. For example, Marvel Special Edition #16 is the second appearance of Shang Chi as well as the first appearance of Midnight Sun. Master of Kung Fu #17 is the first appearance of Black Jack who many are speculating will appear in the film. Another hot Shang Chi spec book is Master of Kung-Fu #26 which is the first appearance of Fah Lo Suee, Shang Chi’s sister, who some believe to be the unnamed character played by Awkifena. Keep your eyes peeled for Deadly Hands of Kung Fu magazines. A lot of them have killer covers, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris and first appearances. These books are often overlooked like other magazine sized books by retail shops and collectors and are a fertile ground for speculators and flippers.
For months now, we’ve been discussing theories that suggested the Mandarin was going to be reintroduced as the villainous father of Shang Chi. This was the logical conclusion made by many following Feige’s Ask Me Anything on reddit where he revealed that the Mandarin was returning to the MCU. Tales of Suspense #50 (1964) has always been a big book and it is tough in high grade. Copies of this book are still available for a reasonable price in my opinion. My experience has been that a lot of these books are color touched, so be careful when buying raw copies. If you believe that there will some other iteration of Ironman (e.g., Ironheart) then the Mandarin is here to stay. If the Mandarin is a recurring character, this book will incrementally grow at a higher rate than most Silver Age keys. I am not one for villain spec, but for the time being I am a fan of this book.
Multiverse Magic and Horror
I can’t decide whether the Doctor Strange film is going to develop entirely from the events in Wandavision and we are getting a modified House of M film or whether the multiverse is going to be used as a plot devise. We’ve also seen a surge in interest in Marvel Premiere #10 which is the Death of the Ancient One as some are speculating that this is a plot point in the film.
This character is really interesting to me because I loved the first film and it was well received by the public, but Doctor Strange is considered by most bad spec. For me and Doctor Strange is an interesting character, I enjoyed the Cates run and although he’s not traditionally considered an A list Marvel character he’s certainly one of the OG characters in the Marvel Universe. Nevertheless, like Daredevil, his books are relatively inexpensive. Although high grade CGC 9.2 copies of his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 sell for $10,000.00, entry level copies move closer to the $1,000.00 range. For example, following news of the forthcoming sequel a CGC 3.5 copy sold in a live auction for $1,175.00. I certainly appreciate that the price of the book is hurt by his non-appearance on the cover, but it doesn’t make sense to me why fans are so lukewarm on Doctor Strange comics and so hot on other books.
Interestingly, we’ve seen enormous interest in the first appearance of Brother Voodoo despite nothing more than rumors that he will be appearing in this film and very limited appearances in comics (by comparison to Doctor Strange). Brother Vodoo first appears in Strange Tales #169 and admittedly high grade copies are scarce. That being said, Brother Vodoo doesn’t have a monthly book or a wealth of back issues. There has been no casting information or indication that we may be seeing on the big screen but collectors continue to pay top dollar for this beloved character. Like Hercules, I do not believe this is a safe investment. However, like Hercules, if you gamble and win, there is tremendous upside on this book. If you are looking to buy, expect to spend close to $2,500.00 for a CGC 9.6.
Love and Thunder
Taika Waititi has wanted to retell a version of Jason Aaron’s Jane Foster story from the moment he was introduced to Aaron’s work. Apparently, Natalie Portman has stayed in contact with Kevin Feige and the rest is history. For those who are more amenable to vintage comics, Journey into Mystery #84 is the first appearance of Jane Foster and the second appearance of the God of Thunder. This book is remarkably inexpensive insofar as CGC 7.5 copies trade hands around $2,500.00 and low grade copies are available for a few hundred dollars a point. Interestingly, this book is not the book that people have been gravitating to following news that Jane Foster will be returning to the MCU and taking up the mantle of Thor.
Much in the same way that the first appearance of Gwen Stacey is shunned by modern collectors, we’ve seen the vast majority of buyers gravitate to What If #10 and Thor #1 (2014). What If #10 saw bigger spikes than any book on the market following this news. Everyone’s favorite speculator, Jimmy Linguini remarked to me that he sold a copy for $125.00 that was probably worth $200.00 in a matter of minutes and that he had purchased the book for $6.00 following the announcement.
What If #10 is an interesting book because there do not appear to be many high grade copies. This book already spiked a few different times in the past and CGC has already experienced an onslaught of submissions following the first Thor film and Jason Aaron’s run. Nevertheless, there are approximately 50 CGC 9.8 copies on the census. About 75 copies of this book sold on eBay following the SDCC announcement. The other big Jane Foster book is Thor #1 (2014). More than 50 copies of this book sold on Sunday. CGC 9.8’s are selling for an extraordinary price tag. They were moving as high as $450.00 but have settled in the $300.00 to $350.00 range. Be on the look out for the 1:50 Ribbic and Robinson variants which are selling for about 2 times ratio. There’s also an Alex Ross 1:75 (which does not have Foster on the cover) and a 1:300 which is a black and white of the Ross cover.
When it comes to Valkrie there is the classic debate between Avengers #83 and Hulk #142. I personally think the more interesting books are the modern books ie; Exiles #2 (the A cover and the ratio variant) and Exiles #9 (the variant with the horse). I have no idea how popular this character may become or how much screen time Waititi will devote to her character, but these books are ones that should already have been on your radar and are on a lot more people’s radar now.
Here’s a Run Down of Phase IV Television:
Falcoln & Winter Soldier:
When it comes to the Falcon and Winter Soldier television series, the biggest remaining question remains whether or not Baron Zemo is setting up a Thunderbolts angle for forthcoming projects. This remains unclear, but you should anticipate that people will be championing this idea whether it is true or not and buying books accordingly. As our friend and prior podcast guest reminds us, collectors buy what they like, speculators buy what other people like. Baron Zemo’s first appearance has not seen much movement following confirmation that he is appearing in this series. Clearly Avengers #6 is far from a cheap book, but you can definitely find cheap copies of Captain America #168 and #275. These books will see a spike be certain to be selling at the spike and buying when no one is looking.
The other issues to mediate on and discuss with your inner circle of comic book friends, include: (1) will we see the US Agent on this series; (2) Why is there a continued aversion to the first appearance of the Falcon/will that book turn around and transform into a blue chip key in the future (Captain America #117); (3) is there any place for the Winter Soldier in the MCU; (4) will we see General Ross reintroduced on this series; and (5) will we finally see prices stabilize on the first appearance of the Winter Soldier (Captain America #6 (2005))?
Through a Witches Eyes
Wandavision is really great name for a television series that is more than likely about an elaborate delusion by an immensely powerful witch who lost her one true love, an anthropomorphic android named Vision. The only comment that I’ve hear about this show repeated time and time again from those who are familiar with it is that it is “weird.” I have not come to any conclusion about the plot, although it’s been said that it will lead into the plot of the Doctor Strange Multiverse film.
Many have long believed that Uncanny X-Men #4 is an undervalued key. Following the SDCC media hype we saw the first appearance of Scarlet Witch (and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants) sell in CGC 3.5 condition for $550.00. This book is still reasonably affordable, but as we approach phase 5 and the introduction of the X-Men (“Mutants”) in the MCU, all X-Men related keys are becoming increasingly scarce.
The Vision and Scarlet Witch #1 (1982) and Vision #1 (Tom King) are both available dirt cheap. As is Marvels #13 (the Adi Granov variant) which is largely failed spec got ruined by a store variant. I imagine that we will see some resurgence in interest in this book as we approach the release of this show.
Ironically, the biggest spec to come out of the Wandavision series is the casting of Teyonna Paris as an adult Monica Rambeau. Speculators were immediately gobbling up copies of her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #16 (approximately 25 copies sold on Sunday) and many are finally beginning to appreciate that this character is poised for a powered up future in the MCU. While I will not go so far as to say that it is definite, I do suspect that it is highly likely and that the next time we see this character she will be co-starring in the sequel to Captain Marvel.
Thanks for all the news about Loki
Details were thin regarding the Loki television series. Everyone is aware of Loki’s first appearance in Journey into Mystery #1. The book will run you about $850.00 for a CGC 2.0 copy and almost $5,000.00 for a CGC 8.0 copy. I personally don’t anticipate much movement on those prices although blue chip books are always blue chip investments. The long shot remains Thor #617 which is the 1st kid Loki. There’s a 1:10 Tron variant of this book that is harder to find than I anticipated when I first started looking for it in the wild. Does it have potential? Absolutely. Is it something I’m going to be paying market prices for? Absolutely not. If you see this books in dollar bins, don’t pass them up. It is not improbable that Loki will appear as an incorrigible iteration of himself to lighten the load on Tom Hiddelston on Disney.
For those of you who haven’t heard, the What If? logo features a zombie Captain America hidden inside the lettering. This indicates to me that all of the rumors regarding a forthcoming Marvel Zombie television series were really a product of miscommunicated leaks. I do not envision Marvel doing an entire Marvel Zombies series, but I am thoroughly excited at the possibility of a Marvel Zombies What If? episode. It is unclear what else we can expect from this animated series, but I am a strong proponent of grabbing What If? books from dollar bins every single time you see them. You can never tell which book will be the next Spider-Girl, Jane Foster Thor, etc. Plus there are an increasingly large number of What If? run collectors and I imagine that this number is going to double following the release of this animated series.
Bullseye for Hawkeye Speculators
If you are one of the fortunate who have been picking up Young Avengers books out of dollar for the last year, you should wait a little bit longer to cash in. While Kate Bishop may have lit the world on fire had news of her television series been released independently, she was overshadowed, in large part, by the weight of the other announcements. Nevertheless, this is great news for those who have been speculating on Young Avengers. There are four different covers to Young Avengers #1. The A cover, the Wizard World convention variant (many of which are signed); the directors cut and the ToyBiz variant. If you’ve been reading this article since its inception, then you’ve read me writing about the rarity and impossibility of securing a 9.8 of the ToyBiz variant. CGC does not even include these books on their census, but I know they have been submitted because they gave my friend a 9.6.
I like Kate Bishop, I like the Matt Fraction Hawkeye series that was once as well regarded as Al Ewing’s run on Immortal Hulk and I would think about pulling these books out of dollar bins and make sets out of them in preparation for this show. The first issue has a ratio variant that is worth grabbing when you see it.
So everyone by now is familiar with the traditional Kate Bishop books: Young Avengers Presents #6 (which is not her first appearance as Hawkeye but is coveted by collectors); Young Avengers #10 (sweet cover) & 12 (her first appearance as Hawkeye). Many are familiar with Hawkeye #9 (2nd print) which is a scarce printing that I told everyone to buy back when they were cheap. They are still relatively cheap. The other book that you should absolutely keep an eye out for is Hawkeye #2 newsstand price variant. A copy sold for $60.00 on eBay and I think this is going to be regarded as cheap. These books are rare and this is the first time to the two team up in a comic so this book could catch fire. There’s also the David Aja variant of Hawkeye #1 (2017) (that is incidentally the first appearance of Ramon Watts a/k/a Alloy). Do I think we will be seeing Alloy on the show? Absolutely not. Do I think we will be seeing Blade on the show? Maybe.
Marvel has already revealed that Disney streaming series will delve into the Ronin story. This a golden opportunity to introduce Mahershala Ali’s character to audiences. It would also explain why Feige signed Ali to a contract years in advance and why he was the only star that was introduced an entire phase in advance. For this reason and this reason only, I would encourage you to pull New Avengers #27 & #11 which most shop owners will consider dead books (even if they don’t want to admit is outloud) and sell them to you for a fraction of their going rate. I don’t pay market price for nearly anything, so I certainly will never encourage you to pay market prices, but this is a spec that is certainly interesting and one that I think will become increasingly popular as we approach the Hawkeye television series.
Kevin Feige dropped a bombshell at the close of his SDCC presentation by announcing the introduction of Blade in the MCU. In follow up interviews he dodged a direct question about the potential introduction of the Young Avengers saying, “”It will be a very different team than we’ve seen before, that’s what [Avengers: Endgame] was all about. It will be a very different incarnation of the team with some people you’ve already met and some people you haven’t met yet.”
Feige indicated that we will see Guardians of Galaxy volume 3, Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, a Fantastic Four film and the introduction of Mutants into the MCU. If we’ve learned anything form Feige’s announcements, it’s that his statements regarding the slow roll out of Fantastic Four and the X-Men was a serious understatement of the film schedule planned by Disney/Marvel. We have at about two years to strategically purchase books before announcements about phase 5. What I suggest is thinking about a portfolio of books that you can purchase over the course of the next 18 months at low prices that will undoubtedly appreciate in value as more and more speculators dip into phase 5 speculation. This is not to suggest that there isn’t an opportunity to purchase underpriced books that you can flip as phase 4 movies roll out, it is to suggest that looking for underpriced treasure that will undoubtedly be unearthed in phase 5 is a solid strategy.
There has long been speculation that we will see Young Avengers, Dark Avengers and/or New Avengers introduced in the MCU. It is unclear whether any of these theories are accurate. However, there’s been solid evidence of Adam Warlock’s forthcoming introduction in the MCU since at least the time that hi cocoon appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy volume 2, and solid evidence of the forthcoming introduction of Beta Ray Bill’s effigy in Thor volume 3. There’s been less reliable speculation regarding the introduction of the High Evolutionary and the Living Tribunal. None of this speculation is more or less reliable now than it was before SDCC. The only difference is that in the coming months, these books will be more affordable and have less eyes on them. James Gunn is returning to the MCU following Suicide Squad 2. For those who were paying attention what will be hot instead of what is hot, there was an opportunity to purchase a gorgeous copy of the first appearance of Groot in Tales to Astonish #13. The live auction for a CGC 4.5 copy of this scarce book sold for about $2,000.00.
Black Panther 2 is coming. We’ve seen a ton of speculation around this film. Allow me to be the first person to suggest that you look for an affordable copy or copies of Fantastic Four #52.
I suspect that we will see all of the Fantastic Four keys, including the first appearance of Dr. Doom, the Silver Surfer and Galactus cool down. Collectors in 2019 have short memories, even seasoned collectors work within a budget and copies of these books are going to pop up in the market at more reasonable buy ins over the course of the next 18 months. The same is true for Giant Size X-Men #1.
There’s going to be much greater opportunity to find books like Fantastic Four Annual #2 (the first appearance of Annihilus and Franklin Richards), Giant Size Defenders #3 (the first appearance of Korvac) and key Namor books like Prince Namor the Submariner #1. These books are off many people’s radar, but again the speculation that was driving prices through the ceiling is no more or less viable now than it was before SDCC. If you routinely read the Weekend Update than you are well aware that I not a fan of chasing shiny objects, but I am much more interested in the shine from those objects when potential buyers start looking elsewhere.
Maybe the most controversial first appearance in comics is Werewolf by Night #32. Moon Knight is beloved by fans. My friend who owns more slabbed copies of this book than most national comic book vendors have owned in their career describes Moon Knight (one of his favorite characters) as a C level character. Werewolf by Night #32 is fascinating for me. Unlike Tomb of Dracula #10, this book has already appreciated in value in anticipation of a Netflix series and in response to a rabid base. Nevertheless, Moon Knight is the project that everyone is waiting for and this may be the last opportunity to purchase Werewolf by Night #32 before the next price hike. Rumors are already circulating that this is the final film that will be announced for Phase 4 at D23. I’m not suggesting that anyone jump on this book at market price, but I believe there’ll be opportunities to pay much less for this book now than there has been in some time because collectors are abandoning Mark Spector (Moon Knight) in favor of Eric Brooks (Blade). Think about the virtues of riding waves, when to float, when to swim with the current and when to swim against the current in our increasingly choppy comic waters.
Riding off the announcement of Blade at SDCC many are hypothesizing a Marvel Knights angle in the MCU. I am less than convinced, but it is certainly an interesting angle. Others are postulating that we will get a Kamala Khan TV series announcement which is an interesting prediction, but speculative and far from certain. The other big wild card is Nova. Will Nova be part of Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3. I suspect that like Batman Beyond, a lot of the wind will be let out of Nova’s sails (unless he is announced at D23) and that there will be opportunities to flip that book a few times before phase 5 is announced.
While some are disappointed (apparently because Wesley Snipes isn’t returning), I couldn’t be happier with the casting of Mahershala Ali. He is an A list actor and a force in Hollywood. It appears that I am in majority as prices on are jumpin. A CGC 9.2 copy sold for nearly $2,500.00 following news that Blade was a phase 5 film. A CGC 9.2 copy sold little more than $1,200.00 on May16th of this year. If you are under some missimpression that information is not leaking out of Marvel Studios and falling into the hands of big time comic collectors, remember that a CGC 9.6 copy of Tomb of Dracula #10 was about $2,500.00 this time last year and that the price of this book doubled over the course of a year as word leaked out of Marvel and Disney that this film was on the horizon. By June 3rd CGC 9.6 copies were already around the $5,000.00 mark. Who knows what price tag this book will command now.
These prices will come back down to earth as collectors move onto the next shiny object. If you are looking for Blade spec, my advise is to focus on villains. The biggest bad guy of them all is none other than Dracula himself who first appears in Marvel Comics in Tomb of Dracula #1 (1972). This book is completely off people’s radars right now and it won’t be for long. Dirt cheap copies of this book are available and I would encourage you to consider this book before you go picking up scraps when it comes to Blade’s minor keys. Worse case scenario you have a classic bronze age horror comic that will never lose its value, best case scenario you steal the first appearance of the major villain in the forthcoming Blade trilogy (no they haven’t announced it was a trilogy yet). The rights to Dracula are in the public domain, he appeared in Blade: Trinity and the manner in which he was depicted was disappointing. This is a book that hasn’t moved yet that will double in price if Dracula is announced as the villain in the film.
Other key Blade books include, but are certainly not limited to: Tomb of Dracula #12 (the 2nd appearance of Blade); Tomb of Dracula #13 (Blade’s origin); Tomb of Dracula #25 (1st appearance of Hannibal King); Tomb of Dracula #45 (1st appearance of Deacon Frost); Vampire Tales #8 and/or Marvel Preview #3 (is the first solo Blade story and I didn’t have time to come up with the answer to that, but both are cool books). I also like Marvel Preview #3 which has a great Blade cover and is really tough in high grade condition.
The last food for thought before we shut down this elaborate dissertation on SDCC is that the Doctor Strange Multiverse film announcement, coupled with Feige’s confirmation that we can anticipate another big event style plot down the road has many whispering about Secret Wars. This is a spec pick that I like because you can still find copies of the key Beyonder issues in dollar bins. Remember the Beyonder first appeared as an unembodied entity in Secret Wars volume 2 #2, but it wasn’t until Secret Wars volume 2 #3 that he appeared as the white track suit wearing psychopath that we all knew and loved. High grade copies of this book are cheap, 9.8s are cheap and it’s a book that you can buy for a dollar and keep as a long term investment.
New Seasons of Comic Book Television
A ton of comic book film properties were renewed for second seasons. Among the renewed projects were The Boys (which premiers on Amazon today), NOS4A2 and Doom Patrol. Also remember that we can expect a second season of the DC Streaming title Titans to drop on September 6th. That show will feature the Deathstroke family (Slade Wilson, Jericho and Rose), Aqualad, Superboy (Conner Kent) and Krypto. While DC is obviously reusing Batman in the forthcoming Matt Reeves film, it is unlikely that we will see any of these other characters on the big screen or in some other media related iteration in the near future.
One of the most interesting developments at SDCC was HBO’s new Watchmen trailer. It is unclear whether the public will respond to this series with the level of lackluster fan fare that doomed the film from sparking the magic of the original series, but fan reception to the HBO trailer has appeared more positive from non-comic collectors that cautious comic fans who I believe are cautiously optimistic but apprehensive as we approach the release of the new ongoing TV series. If you are looking to lodge a CGC 9.8 Watchman #1 in your collection, now is probably the last time to secure one of these books without paying more than $600.00.
Last, but not least, according to Den of Geek the showrunner for the Archie and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina series, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, hinted that an Afterlife With Archie-inspired Halloween episode “could be on cards” during the Riverdale panel at San Diego Comic-Con. This is clearly an indication that it is time to be stocking up on these books. I imagine that this is actually a way to run a pilot test of whether or not Afterlife with Archie will work on the small screen and really like these books as longer term spec plays particularly now that the buy in is so small on all of the related series (Jughead the Hunger and the peripheral titles). Be selective about how much you are paying and which issues you are buying, but think about the potential future for these series on the small screen and in comics.
Vintage Market Watch
Even during SDCC big books sell. There were some amazing sales in the Golden Age market this week. For example, one of the five Gaines File copies of Crime Patrol #15 (first appearance of the Crypt Keeper) in CGC 9.8 condition sold for $12,500.00. This book has been stagnant (much like Crime Suspenstories #22) for several years. Remember that Tales from the Crypt was recently abandoned by M. Night Shyamalan because the TV rights were so muddled that even high priced Hollywood lawfirms couldn’t iron out the matter. I imagine that development has kept some new investor money away from the book while other collectors have moved onto more rare Golden Age books. Nevertheless, this is a blue chip PCH key that is a gem in any horror comic collection and will always be considered a classic.
One of my favorite PCH books is Chamber of Chills #19. Most fans of PCH books and Golden Age collectors are familiar with this highly coveted book. It sports the cover that was sniped by the Misfits for the album cover to Die Die my Darling. This week we saw an absolutely gorgeous CGC 5.5 copy pop up on eBay and sell for$7,150.00 in a matter of less than 24 hours. This book is arguably hotter than Black Cat #50 based upon the length of time that listed copies last online and the number of copies listed online. It is truly like nothing I have ever seen.
One of my other favorite PCH books is Chamber of Chills #21. The cover to this book features a skeleton typing on a typewriter with a poker dealer visor. The raw copy was beautiful and listed in Fine to Very Fine condition. There were no pictures of the interior covers and/or the centerfold, but the listing did indicate that there was no restoration and that the book was complete. While some buyers (“Jimmy”) indicate that this does bother them, other buyers (like me) are generally alarmed at the idea of spending $750.00 on a book without being able to look for indicia of amateur restoration on the inside cover.
The other major PCH book that sold this week was a raw copy of Crime Does Not Pay #24. For those who are unfamiliar, the cover of this book shows a gangster burning a woman’s face and hair on a gas stove. The copy that sold was in .5 Fair condition and it legitimately looked like it was pulled out of a fire. The book sold for more than $1,500.00.
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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