Weekend Update with Nico
Guess who’s back, back again, Nico’s back! Tell a friend!! Seriously. It’s part of a long term play to get free t-shirts from Jimmy. Quit judging me.
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This is your Weekend Update!
As promised, this week I am going to discuss some of the books that have potential real future potential that most people aren’t paying attention to right now or won’t be paying attention to in the next six to eighteen months. This is far from a comprehensive list. In fact, it is more of a thought project and an effort to help our readers get creative about their personal buying and selling strategies.
Looking to the Future – Phase 5 Speculation
We’ve heard a ton of rumors already about Phase 5. Recently we’ve had alleged leakers suggest characters like the over spec’ed Galactus, Beta Ray Bill and Adam the Blue Marvel will be making an appearance in television or film. These characters were mentioned with less well known characters Gladiator and Tyrant. Other sources have championed Kamala Khan (some specifically alleging that she was green lit as an animated series on Disney), Moon Knight (as a Hulu series or a motion picture starring Keanu Reeves as Marc Spectre) and/or Mephisto (as the villain at the end of Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness). I can neither confirm nor deny the validity of any of this information and share it for the sole purpose of informing readers that there will be eyes on these characters from this point forward.
Rather than thinking about how to grab copies of the books that are getting all the post SDCC heat, I want to think about some of the more traditional spec plays that may be overshadowed and/or forgotten about in the next 6 to 18 months. This list is far from complete, but it’s something to help you get your wheels turning so that you can think outside the box about where there is money to be made in the short and long term.
Phase 5 Marvel books
Fantastic Opportunities and Wonderful Prizes
Despite popular notions that it is too later to buy Fantastic Four keys, it is just a matter of time before there’s a wealth of opportunities for solid purchases. Now is not the time to buy these books, but there will be an opportunity in the coming six to eighteen months to make purchases of these Silver Age keys which will absolutely appreciate incrementally over time. Key Fantastic Four books are at the top of my list and at the top of many other speculators list. It is improbable that these titles will get cold before the franchise is released on the big screen, but they will cool down.
A very incomplete list would include Fantastic Four #4 (Namor’s intro in the Silver Age), #5 (the 1st appearance of Dr. Doom), #48 (the 1st Silver Surfer) & #49 (the 1st appearance of Galactus), #52 (the 1st appearance of the Black Panther); #67 (the 1st appearance of Him a/k/a Adam Warlock; Fantastic Four Annual #6 (the first appearance of Annihilus and Franklin Richards). This list doesn’t even include the first appearance of the skrulls the Frightful Four, the Inhumans or countless other key Fantastic Four books. Don’t forget about Silver Surfer #1 (1968) or Silver Surfer #3 (the first appearance of Mephisto). These are both books that have seen incredible gains in the market and have a ton of potential. One of my favorite Fantastic Four spec plays is Fantastic Four Annual #2. High grade copies are nearly impossible to find, it’s a giant size book which means that many dealers will under-grade their copies (which is a rarity these days) and I think it is a book that go bonkers as the first appearance of Doctor Doom drifts out of the price range of even the most sophisticated collectors/investors. Other Galactus books I keep an eye out for are Thor #160, #162, #168 and #169. There is a wealth of opportunity here and the key is to get in at the right price rather than paying market price.
We’ve also talked time and time again about the importance of Spider-verse speculation. The film is barely out of the box office and speculators have moved onto Shang Chi, Blade and Jane Foster. Remember that the Sony-verse is coming, that Kraven may get his own film or appear in the sequel to Homecoming, that Sony isn’t going to abandon its plan to do a sequel to Venom and that we will see other iterations of Spider-Man on the big and small screen. Also, don’t forget that Jared Leto is playing Morbius and that Amazing Spider-Man #101 has been stagnant and will undoubtedly pop the moment a trailer is released. Also, Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #76 is the 1st appearance of Crown Hunger who is the villain in the film and those books are still in dollar bins.
I could legitimately ramble on for an entire article about Spider-Man related spec books, and at some time in the future, I may. What I would encourage you to do is think pragmatically about what kinds of characters we’ve already seen and what kinds of characters we can expect to see in future Spidey films and/or in an animated and/or live action television series. Find copies of those books at less than market price so that if they don’t get made you can divest without hurting your investment position. Wait for the announcements, and cash out at the peak of the heat. I would think about major characters like Spiderman 2099, Silk, Spider-Woman, etc. rather than focusing on a bunch of the smaller potential players.
Bring a Gunn to a knife fight
Another important thing to remember is that all of the rumor and speculation that was driving prices on Guardians of the Galaxy volume 3 and Captain Marvel volume 2 are no more or less true now than they were before SDCC. For example, you can expect a lot less speculator interest in characters like Quasar (who first appears as Wendell Vaughn in Captain America #217 and then later as Quasar in Incredible Hulk #234). Obviously there are other iterations of Quasar and no one knows if any iteration will actually appear in a film, but Gunn’s reference to the character makes him highly probable in my mind and a solid spec play. People are not hip to why this book got hot and there’s an opportunity to make money buying these books when they are cold even if you decide to sell them when the next onslaught of rumors causes them to heat up again. Expect to be able to find cheap copies of Giant Size Defenders #3 as well. Michael Korvac was recently rumored to be the villain in the Captain Marvel sequel but he has been all but forgotten by the vast majority of speculators a few short weeks later.
Similarly, there are a wealth of Thor books to think about that are already getting substantially less interest than they
were just a few short weeks ago. A great example is Thor #134 (the 1st appearance of the High Evolutionary). Once rumored to be played by Mark Hammel and to be the creator of Rocket Racoon, today only a fraction of the buyers that
were once willing to shell out top dollar are thinking about this book.
While we’ve seen the cocoon in Guardians volume 2 and the corresponding spike in Fantastic Four #67 there is no Adam Warlock book that has appreciated in value like his first full appearance in Thor #165. This may be your last opportunity to pick up a high grade copy of this book without a crippling your bank account. If the rumors regarding Keanu Reeves are true (and the list of characters he’s “going” to play continues to grow), expect for Warlock to be the king of the MCU.
While there are a ton of copies of Thor #338 (the 1st appearance of Beta Ray Bill), this is a classic and beloved character and I suspect that copies of this book will again be sold at a discount and there will be opportunities to pick raw copies up at a price tag that will allow a flip down the road. Again, it doesn’t matter if these characters actually appear in a film if you buy them when they are cheap and sell them when the rumors begin to circulate again as they always do. If you have a little faith in them and wait for casting or confirmation then there is increased risk, but obviously increased reward.
Another book I wouldn’t forget about are Journey Into Mystery Annual #1 (the 1st appearance of Hercules). While I wasn’t excited about buying opportunities on this book a few months ago when it was hot as a stolen pistol, it is a much more interesting book to me now because I suspect that people will be unloading copies of this Silver Age key. I also suspect that the Rock is as likely to play Hercules as he is Namor and that there is a future for Hercules in the MCU. It’s a giant size book and a silver age key so don’t expect to get it for free, but watch people begin to unload this book at a fraction of the price they were asking before the SDCC announcements.
I also like Avengers #8 which is the first appearance of Kang and to a lesser extent issue #19 which is the first Rama-Tut. If you believe that the Young Avengers is a forthcoming MCU project then Kang is coming to the MCU. In case you’re late to the party Finkel is Inhorn, Ironlad is Kang, Kang is Rama-Tut. Sorry for the spoilers man! But I felt like it was more important to spoil the ending than to cue the crying game music on our readers when it’s too late.
Again, I’m not 100% convinced that we are going to get a Young Avengers iteration on the big screen, but if we do then those key first appearances are books to be grabbing. The nice part about this kind of speculation is that if you do it right, you can buy multiple copies of these books and sell them along the way as the books heat up, paying for PC copies or at least making certain that you are at or near a zero dollar investment in these kinds of books.
Add to the long list of books that no one cares about right now, everyone’s favorite Woman of Power – RiRi Williams a/k/a Ironheart. While her MCU arrival has been rumored and speculated on heavily since the film death of Tony Stark, we’ve seen no solid indication that she will or will not appear. As I mentioned before, I suspect that if we see the Mandarin survive the Shang Chi film, he will be utilized as the major villain in an Ironheart series. These books are increasingly affordable and worth sticking in a box and saving for later. There is little doubt that they will spike again and it is more likely than not that we will see some incarnation of her in a TV series or film. Invincible Iron Man #7 (and/or the Women of Power variant) and Invincible Iron Man #9 are the key books. I would refrain from the variant to Ironheart #1 1:50 Hans variant unless you are getting in dirt cheap. While sellers are asking at or above ratio for this book, there’s an unsold CGC 9.8 on eBay with an asking price of $150.00.
Some other women of Marvel characters to think about include: America Chavez, Ellsa Bloodstone and Glyph. All of these characters books were hot and all of these characters have potential on Hulu, Disney+ or in the MCU proper. Vengeance #1 is the 1st appearance of America Chavez. These books are solid pickups and good investment books that you can absolutely find in back issue bins for much less than they are selling for on eBay. What you are going to have a hard time finding is the Vengeance #1 Deodato variant. CGC 9.8 copies are a ghost online and the buy in on a 9.6 is upwards of $500.00 at this point.
Bloodstone #1 is the first appearance of Elsa Bloodstone and it is a book that is always tepid but rarely red hot. The original mini series has some great covers and there are very few sellers that are moving sets of the mini series online. Keep an eye out for the other issues in the mini series in dollar bins. If the book takes off, collectors will want the original four part mini series. I also suspect that as we get closer to Blade on the big screen, we will see more and more modern collectors gravitate to Bloodstone as a spec pick. Be there to sell them those books.
There are a lot of plays you can make with respect to the Spirits of Vengeance Hulu stuff. Vampire Tales #2 is an expensive book and incredibly rare in ultra high grade, but I am a fan of this book in any grade. Not every dealer is hip to it and it is one that you need to be aware of when you are looking through boxes of magazines.
I continue to believe that Howling Commandos issues #1 and # 2 are smart buys. These books have never taken off in spite of the fact that marvel trade marked this characters name for use in television or film. There is a possibility that she could show up on Hulu and an outside chance that they are saving her and the other Howling Commandos for Blade’s supernatural universe.
I’ve talked before about how I’m bullish on Tomb of Dracula #1 because it is the first Dracula in Marvel continuity. This book used to be a super heavy hitter but it has not seen an appreciation in value commensurate with other Bronze Age keys. Similarly, there’s the Marvel Spotlight #2 (Werewolf by Night) v. Amazing Spider-Man #124 (Man-Wolf) debate, and books like Savage Tales #1 (1971) (the first appearance of Man-Thing) that aren’t getting any cheaper.
X gonna give it to you
Similarly, there’s a lot of opportunity to make money flipping X-Men books. While the price tag on X-Men #1 (1964) and Giant Size X-Men #1 haven’t dipped since the announcement of Disney’s acquisition of Fox, books like X-Men #94 have not seen a proportional increase in value. It is not unwise to look for dealers who are willing to move higher grade copies of this book at a discount. They are out there. Similar to Spidey keys, there are so many key first appearances that we could devote a series of articles to mutant first appearances. Just to highlight some of the books that I don’t believe you will regret: Uncanny X-Men #129 (1st appearance of Emma Frost, Kitty Pride & Sebastian Shaw) #130 (1st appearance of Dazzler); #221 (1st appearance of Mr. Sinister) #244 (1st appearance of Jubilee); #266 (1st appearance of Gambit); and #282 (1st appearance of Bishop). All of these books are available without breaking the bank and all of these characters could skyrocket in price following casting news in the same manner that we’ve seen with books like Eternals #5.
D12 > D23
One of the most insightful observations that’s been made by anyone in the collector community was the message delivered on this week’s episode of comic book wars by everyone’s favorite disgruntled speculator James Lamborgini a/k/a Jimmy Linguini. Jimmy matter of factly observed that Power Pack is perhaps more likely to get announced at D23 than any of the purportedly leaked television series because the subject matter is congruent with Disney’s message. High grade copies of Power Pack #1 are dirt cheap and CGC 9.8 copies continue to demand top dollar in live auctions. Buy 9.8 contenders and slab these books. There are no cheap BIN copies of Power Pack #1 on eBay which is telling.
The leading contender for a D23 announcement is of course – Kamala Kahn. The problem with Kamala Khan spec is that all of her key books are expensive. Copies of her high end variants are four figure books. Captain Marvel #14 (2013) and Captain Marvel #17 (2013) are books that remain sky high at shows but fluctuate heavily online depending on the level of speculation surrounding her MCU TV and film debut. You may recall that Sleepy Jawn championed Ms. Marvel #1 (2014) in CGC 9.8 condition making the analogy to Thor #1 (2014) following the Jane Foster Thor: Love and Thunder SDCC news. While I am not as committed as Jawn is to this book, like Sleepy, I am a fan of high grade copies of her first appearance in All New Marvel Point One (and like Captain Marvel #14 and #17, All New Marvel Point One has a ratio variant that is expensive and hard to find in any condition).
Some of the other interesting rumors that have been floating around regarding D23 are characters like Sentry, Adam the Blue Marvel and Moon Knight. I tend to believe that these are more wishful thinking on the part of MCU enthusiasts than actually rooted in leaks. Certainly there is some credence to the idea that all of the Ultimates (2014) team appears to be popping up in the MCU and the notion that Blade may signal a Marvel Knights style branch of the MCU is a thought shared by many. Nevertheless, I would not run out and pay market price for already expensive books unless you want them for your personal collection. Sentry #1(2000) is the first appearance of the character. There’s an SDCC variant and not a single CGC 9.8 copies of the black A cover on eBay. Adam the Blue Marvel #1 is an incredibly expensive book and lower grade raw copies have been selling. The only high grade slabs are being sold by mycomicshop and the asking price is astronomical.
Last but not least, we discussed Moon Knight on the podcast. This is a character beloved by fans that I wholeheartedly believe will by the subject of an awesome motion picture in my life time. Do I believe that he will be rolled out at D23 with a phase 5 announcement? No. Moon Knight is too grim for Disney. However, I don’t believe that you will ever regret buying a Werewolf by Night #32. There’s always a ton of action on Werewold by Night #32 right now online. If you are a potential eBay buyer, I suggest buying this book already slabbed because raw copies tend to sell for more than they should sell for compared to slabbed copies in my experience. The same is true for many books and that is always something I try to figure out before I make a purchase.
I would suggest buying in at the lowest grade possible or at the highest grade you can afford. I believe that mid-grade copies are going to be harder to divest form and that we see sellers undercutting one another at the mid-grade level long before we see them do that at the upper and lower tiers. It’s already happening with books like Tomb of Dracula #10 and we are only a couple weeks out from the SDCC announcement. There are a ton of great Moon Knight books to think about potentially purchasing while people are paying attention to Blade, the Eternals, Shang-Chi and other books announced at SDCC. For example, books like Marvel Spotlight #28 (the 30 cent price variant is hard to find in any condition); Moon Knight #1 (1980) is dirt cheap right now; Moon Knight 25 (1st Black Spectre high grade copies only); and the Moon Knight #1 (2014)(both the Granov and Sienkiewicz variants are monsters).
Ryan Reynolds hinting at Deadpool in Phase 5
In typical Ryan Reynolds style, the actor took to Instagram to document the 5th anniversary (or as he likes to call it “phase 5″) of his ongoing investigation into leaked test footage of Reynold’s as Deadpool. The actor posted a photo of an “investigation board” which documents the primary suspects including: the film’s directors, screen writers, the duplicitous Hugh Jackman and the notorious Betty White. Deadpool books have softened online without much fanfare for the characters first appearance in New Mutants #98 or key J. Scott Campbell variants: Siege #3 (2010) and Wolverine #1 (2010). If you are a fan of the character and looking to buy these books during the news lull regarding the film franchise, I encourage you to focus on newsstand 9.8s of New Mutants #98 and/or these two variants. New Mutants #98 is not a rare book, CGC is hard on this book and the spread between a 9.2 and a 9.6 is really close. If you are not in the market for a 9.8, make sure to pick up slabbed 9.6’s because you won’t save that much money buying a 9.2. Moreover, the vast majority of ultra high grade copies have already been slabbed and dealers and collectors overprice raw copies of this book because raw copies often sell in the same range as slabbed copies in the 9.2 to 9.6 range. For whatever reason, this is one of those books that you will generally do better buying online than in person.
There are split opinions on DC books generally. They read them, they collect them, but many refuse to invest in them because of the massive returns on Marvel related characters and the lackluster comparative return on investment (ROI). Add me to the short list of people who genuinely believes that DC will rise from the ashes and bring new collectors into the modern and vintage comic markets.
The Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime
While everyone is focused on MCU spec there is an amazing opportunity to pick up key Batman books. For example, a CGC 9.8 copy of the Batman #608 RRP sold in a live auction on July 26th for $3,399.00. This is more than a thousand dollars less than the last two BIN sales. There are a ton of key modern and vintage Batman books that every collector would love to put in there collection. The list is too long for me to regurgitate here, but keep an eye out for opportunities. Perhaps it may make sense to do a deeper dive on Batman books in a future article as we receive casting information on Reeves forthcoming The Batman film. .
The Todd Phillips Joker film is getting a ton of pre-Oscar buzz from critics and film writers and I fully expect to see an onslaught of buyers flood eBay the week this film is released to purchase the Joker grail they’ve been tip toeing around for the last 6 to 12 months. Be the guy that sells them that book at full market having purchased it at a bargain price. When I think about a Joker spec play, there are two books that immediately come to mind. The first is Detective Comics #880 (note that there is a newsstand variant that has yet to really pop and it is very hard to find in high grade condition). Prices have been down on CGC 9.8 copies of Tec #880 following the release of the foil variant cover. This time last year this book was closing in on $800.00. Today it sells closer to $650.00. I fully expect a rebound following the film. The other Joker book I anticipate will pop following the film is Joker #1. This book has yet to cross the $700.00 threshold. If the film does as well at the box office as it is anticipated to do at the awards show, this will be a thousand dollar 9.8. Note that there are about a 100 copies total in CGC 9.8 condition which is about a 1/3 as many copies as there are of Detective Comics #880 which is why the newsstand version of that book is a much more desirable alternative to the direct market edition.
Women of DC
I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the appointment of Ann Sarnoff as CEO and Chief of Warner Media should signal to all those involved that female super-heroes are a smart investment play. We’ve discussed the efficacy of investing in Supergirl and Batgirl as well as Zatanna and Mary Marvel on this site many times. Don’t forget about characters like Big Barda. She is highly probable to star in the forthcoming New Gods film if it actually gets off the ground. I also wouldn’t ignore books like Hawkgirl’s first appearance in JSA Secret Files & Origins #1 (1999). Kendra Saunders is one of those characters who once was hot and now has been forgotten. There are very few people paying attention to this stuff right now, but the winds of the comic world move fast so be prepared with books in hand when the tide rises.
Don’t forget about Naomi. While I was adamantly opposed to paying market price for this book when raw copies were soaring into the $100 to $150 range and CGC 9.8 copies were moving in the $350.00 to $450.00 range, I am bullish on this book again. Raw prices are closer to $40.00 and CGC 9.8 copies are about $150.00. This is a great time to be buying Naomi books on eBay. Brian Michael Bendis is committed to this title and was recently on the Late Night talk show circuit discussing the book with Seth Myers. It is very infrequent that comic book creators make it to late night television and that is a great sign for Warner Brothers commitment to this title.
There are a ton of DC projects that have allegedly been in the works for years. I am not a proponent of sinking money in books when we have bad television shows souring characters. As we get closer and closer to the cancellation of a series, I am more likely to buy cheap copies of keys from fair whether fans are dumping key books. I would be on the look out for people dumping high grade copies of Green Lantern #76. This book was once the biggest book of an era. It is the beginning of Green Lantern and Green Arrow’s cross over, the beginning of Denny Oneil and Neal Adams run on the book and it defined an era of comics. In my mind this is already one of the most undervalued keys in comics. I have no doubt that I will see this story told in some manner on the big screen and when that happens – watch out.
This week there were a couple of different “news” sites (and I use that term loosely) reporting that J.J. Abrams was poised to oversee a Green Lantern film (and a Superman film). I have no idea whether there is any truth whatsoever to this supposition; however, it is not a logical leap that Warner Media would want Bad Robot to tend to an undertaking of the magnitude of the Green Lantern Corps. I personally preferred the previous rumors regarding James Gunn, but Abrams is an amazing talent. I think we can all agree that it is not a matter of if, but only a matter of when we will see another attempt at a Green Lantern film. That may be five to ten years down the road, or we may see an announcement at NYCC. The reality of the comic book collectors market is that we never know when it will be up ended by Hollywood. Either way, a well done Green Lantern Corp film franchise could rejuvenate the DC film universe in a way that few other films could. Think about the books you would want to have if this happened. Here are some that immediately come to mind: Showcase #22 (1st appearance of Hal Jordan); Green Lantern #7 (1961) (1st appearance of Sinsestro); Green Lantern #87(12/71-1/72) (1st John Stewart); Green Lantern #59 (1st appearance of Guy Gardner); and it doesn’t hurt to pick up the first appearances of the other characters who’ve worn the ring like Kyle Rayner and Jessica Cruz. The other Green Lantern book that I like is Green Lantern #54 (1994) which is the infamous “women in refrigerators” issue. Remember that there is a DCU variant of this book. Why do I like this book? Because it has historical significance that transcends comics and is the modern equivalent of PCH books like Crime Suspensstories #22 insofar as it was maligned as being misogynistic and/or inappropriate.
Am I suggesting that you run out and buy key Green Lantern books? Absolutely not. Am I suggesting that slowly collecting these keys when the opportunity presents itself is a smart move? Absolutely. Stuff like this is all about getting in at a price point where you can divest at any time without getting hurt. Don’t buy these books from Green Lantern fans or collectors. You will over pay. But consider asking about them when you see them because they are blue chip big books that don’t move with the haste of Spider-Man or Batman books, but have intrinsic value that will catch fire one day if they see the big or small screen. I suspect that the success of the Sandman television series will have more to do with the decision to do a Green Lantern series that anything else, but only time will tell.
Other DC Spec
Perhaps I am not the only one who believes in the power of Watchmen #1 to grow exponentially following the release of the HBO TV series, but there is an increasingly small number of us. And people are dumping Watchmen books right now fearing the worst about this series. HBO makes great TV. Watch out for the Watchmen.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, now is a smart time to think about characters like John Constantine who will appear in the Sandman television series and may see his own spinoff show.
There is no question that we are closing in on the last chance to buy Black Adam key books at there current price level. He is destined for the big screen and the moment that we see real news about a forthcoming film, those prices will jump. Mary Marvel has a ton of potential and for reasons set forth above, I am even more bullish on her books.
Now is also the time to look for inexpensive high grade copies of key New Gods related books. We’ve discussed the key Mister Miracale issues in prior articles as well as the high probability that Darkseid will be introduced. This week it was confirmed that Darkseid is in the script. There’s an immediate window to be purchasing these books while people’s attention is elsewhere.
The other major DC characters that are all but forgotten by the spec community are Wonder Woman and the Flash. While I we’ve already talked about the potential books to be looking for with respect to both of these characters, it doesn’t hurt to repeat some of the titles. Obviously Wonder Woman has a ton of high end variants that few are eyeing at this point in the game. If you’ve had your eye on one of those books for your PC, now may be the time to strike. The only books I suspect that will see a giant spike following the trailer for the 1984 film are Wonder Woman #184 (2002) and Wonder Woman #7 and #9 (1987)(the first appearance of Cheetah). If you are looking for more incremental flips and more gradual appreciation, there are a ton of Hughes covers, Bolland covers and bondage covers that you should keep an eye out for. These books generally sell well and will certainly be much more interesting to others when Wonder Woman is back in the headlines.
Flash spec is as hard as it gets. His key books are pricey. For example a CGC 2.5 copy of Flash 105 (the first Silver Age Flash) just sold for $749.00 as did a Flash 139 (1st appearance of Professor Zoom) in CGC 5.0 which moved for $400.00. Moreover, I never see books like Flash #197 the 1st modern appearance of Zoom in back issue bins. There is no doubt that Flash fans are fanatic about this character and that his TV show has brought a lot of new eyes on his books. That being said, these are the kinds of books that people will unload at a discount. The key is to be patient. Target titles that you like, keep them in your saved search history and move on them when the price is too good to pass up. In light of all the production problems with the Film, I am still apprehensive that it will happen any time in the near future so I am not in rush to pick up these books and I don’t believe it is in your best interest to be hasty in acquiring these books either. For my money, I would hone in on keys. There has been significant reader buzz around the year one story that is going on now in his monthly book and some speculate that this may be laying the ground work for a future film project. Only time will tell.
Gunn’s Suicide Squad gets no love
One of the most shocking happenings in out ‘shiny object’ spec market is that James Gunn’s cast of characters for the new Suicide Squad movie have been getting no love. We’ve been encouraging you to pick up low cost copies of these characters since March: King Shark, who first appears in Superboy #0 (there is a Zero Hour UPC logo that is hard to find) and his first “full“ appearance and cover appearance can be found in Superboy #9; Peacemaker whose first appearance in Fightin’ 5 #40 (1966) is a nightmare to find in any condition; The Polka-Dot Man who first appears in Detective Comics #300; and Ratcather who first appears in Detective Comics #585 (but has an awesome cover appearance in #586 and is a gender swapped character in the film which may adversely effect the book although that hasn’t slowed down the price tag on Eternals first appearances so who knows how the market will react). Now is the time to be buying these books because when Gunn drops a trailer – it’s lights out. The only character that is up in the air is Idris Elba’s role as Bronze Tiger. This has not been confirmed, but the price on this book has moved. Bronze Tiger’s first appearance in issue #1 or issue #18 or both depending on how you speculate has stayed in the $50.00 range for NM copies. This is a perfect book to bundle with something else. Moreover, when you explain that you are willing to take the risk on a character that hasn’t been confirmed for a discounted price, I suspect that you will be able to negotiate copies in the range of $20.00 rather paying the full market $50.00 price tag.
Jason Mamoa talks to the fishes
There’s two easy plays with respect to Aquaman. The first is to grab a half a dozen copies of Aquaman #2 at rock bottom prices. This book has never moved past the $20.00 mark and I would be shocked if you can’t find 9.8 contenders for less than $10.00 a piece. James Wann has said on multiple occasions since the news broke that the Trench film is going forward. I think this is a book that there will be an opportunity to flip down the road and I still pull them out of dollar bins and/or find NM copies at or near cover price.
The bigger investment is the first Black Manta in Aquaman #35. This book is stone cold right now and I don’t suspect that it will see any heat until we close in on the sequel to Aquaman which James Wann has suggested would be after a Trench movie. This book gets real pricey in high grade and like these other monster books, I suggest getting in as cheap as you can on the low end or trying to secure the nicest copy you can find. It is absolutely the rule that the books that see the biggest appreciation are on the top and bottom of the census. Be extra careful to look for amateur restoration efforts on this book because of the black cover.
Certainly there are other Aquaman related spec books to think about. Showcase #79 was super hot for a minute, it has cooled back down now and is off everyone’s radar. Aquaman #11 (1st appearance of Mera is also a book that is off everyone’s radar. She will undoubtedly return for the sequel and this is the kind of investment book that will always be a classic. Now that the heat is off these books and there is an opportunity to buy at less than market, it is time to think about whether or not to buy in preparation for a later opportunity to sell when the heat from the film causes prices to spike again.
Imagine all the profit flipping all the books …
East of West is cold as ice and now is probably the time to be buying copies. Following the success of the Boys on Amazon, I am much more confident in Amazon’s ability to generate quality comic book related content. Copies of issue #1 are dirt cheap. There’s a C2E2 variant that is purportedly rare, and there’s generally been a copy of that variant sold every week on eBay for the last year in the $200-$300 range. If Amazon moves on this show, this book will go crazy. East of West is Jonathan Hickman’s most beloved independent title. I suspect that Hollywood is as acutely aware of Marvel’s confidence in his work as collectors are and we should probably be taking a harder look at all of his independent work to see what has potential on the big and small screen.
I have not given up on Saga. It is a series that could legitimately change the way that the world thinks about Science Fiction, and again, I think the success of the Sandman television series will be incredibly influential in determining whether we ever see a Sandman series on television or in film. That being said, even diehard fans of Saga haven’t paid that much attention to this series in the last six months and whatever residual heat it had is gone. Now is an opportune time to think about buying that PC 9.8 of issue #1 and/or to make a play on the RRP. There is obviously the risk that Brian K. Vaughan will not return to the series, but there’s been no indication of this and Fiona Staples indicated on social media when promoting the last published hardcover that the series would return.
There are other Image titles that I would think about picking up. Books like God Country and Southern Bastards, both of which have been optioned and are purportedly in development are completely off people’s radar. Apparently the script is finished for God Country, and because Donnie Cates is better at self promotion that the Kardashian family, I expect to hear about this potential movie soon. As we mentioned on the Podcast, Jason Aaron’s involvement in Thor may breath new life into Southern Bastards. Look for the Heroes Con variant of issue #1.
I like Farmhand as spec as long as you are pulling issues out of dollar bins and I think a $10 buy in for high grade copies in about 90 days when people have already forgotten about the book is a smart play. Right now the book is super hot having sold over a 100 copies in the last seven days. I do not suspect that there will be prolonged interest in the area of shiny object speculation. I will always be a fan of Chew as a property and it is a forgotten series that would go nuclear with a television announcement. That Rob Guillory agreed to a deal with AMC for Farmhand tells me that there’s still hope for Chew. Also remember that Robert Kirkman’s Skybound productions was reportedly working on developing titles like Thief of Thieves, Think Tank, the Darkness and Nailbiter. It is unclear whether there will be more attention paid to these projects following the end of Kirkman’s Walking Dead series. Also, no one is paying attention to Oblivion Song and now may be the time to start looking for the retailer exclusive variant of issue #1.
Like Sleepy Jawn, I like Harrow County. It’s a book that I don’t see in the wild and I will probably regret not buying. I keep an eye out for Lady Killers too which is another book that I don’t see in the wild. The two titles that I think people are missing out on unless they have copies ready to go for trailer release time and/or following the release of the shows are Warrior Nun Areala and October Faction books. NM copies of the first issue of Warrior Nun Arela sells in the $20.00 range. This is a show that has already been cast, and CGC 9.8 copies are non-existent online.
October Faction was cast and is post production with filming completed, copies of the A and B cover have been selling in the $20 and again there are no CGC 9.8 copies on eBay. This is a book that I am particularly hot on because horror is hot and I am hopeful for an October netflix release date. Netflix updated its internal October Faction webpage at the beginning of this month and has long suggested that the series would debut online in 2019. In a comic book market that is mildly obsessed with the horror genre, this book is one I buy when I see it and like Warrior Nun Areala may makes sense to buy slabbed in 9.8 condition because of the highly condition sensitive black covers. That being said, the census on these books is so small, good luck prying them out of collectors hands. There are no more than 2 copies of Warrior Nun Areala #1 (1994) in CGC 9.8 condition. There is literally one copy of the subscription cover of October Faction #1 in 9.8 condition and less than 10 CGC 9.8 copies of the A cover on the census.
Don’t forget about Locke and Key. Joe Hill has a strong reputation in the comic collector community and CGC 9.8 copies of issue #1 were moving in the $250.00 range and when they dried up asking prices spiked to around $500.00. The low ask online is $385.00. There are less than 500 copies of Locke & Key #1 on the CGC census and I do not suspect that this number will drastically move no matter how successful the television series is on Netflix. If there has been any lesson from the success of Umbrella Academy on Netflix and now from the Boys on Amazon, it is that quality programming will move books online. Note that there are 300 copies of the Boys #1 in CGC 9.8 condition and that the average sale of a CGC 9.8 book in 2018 was little more than $150 and now copies are moving for at least twice this figure. There are no plays that this easy to make on the New York Stock Exchange, but collectors remain shocked that there is an increasingly large amount of new money in the comic market.
Vintage Comics are always fascinating
It was a really big week for Golden Age super hero books with a live auction of one of the most coveted keys in Golden Age Comics, namely Action Comics #23, the first appearance of Lex Luthor. As we’ve discussed previously, eBay continues to be the home for an increasingly large number of grail books that were traditionally reserved for auction houses. This is a prime example of this trend. This week a CGC 4.0 copy of Action Comics #23 which is both the 1st appearance of Lex Luthor and the 1st appearance of the Daily Planet sold for $13,198.00. That same week we saw the rare 1st appearance of Superboy in More Fun Comic #101 sold after a best offer was accepted on $2,000.00 BIN price.
As many of you are already aware, an increasingly large fued is emerging between CGC and CBCS collectors. I have certainly not taken sides in this dispute, but no one will disagree that CBCS books do not bring the attention or value of there competitors at CGC in BIN prices or live auctions. Nevertheless, a Vault of Horror #35 that was graded by CBCS in 5.0 condition promptly sold for a BIN price of$695.00. Big books don’t last long when they are appropriately priced at or around GPA.
To me the big Silver Age standout sale this week was Fantastic Four #5. A CGC 6.5 copy sold for $8,596 in a live auction. This again demonstrates that when key books move into the upper echelon (top 25% – 33%) of grades the price generally explodes. This is a prime example of what happens to a book that is a thousand dollars a point when it tip toes into the top third and/or top quartile of graded books.
No surprises here, Tomb of Dracula #10 ruled Bronze age sales with the top graded copies moving for 200%-300% of GPA in the days and weeks following the SDCC announcement. What is more interesting to me is that some of these sale prices have already started to slip backwards. For example. There were two sales of CGC 7.0 copies of Tomb of Dracula #10 last week that were in the $1,100 range. Then on Sunday July 29th we saw a live auction for a CGC 7.0 copy slide backwards and at $800.00. This is well above what this book was selling for prior to the SDCC announcement when you could easily secure a CGC 7.0 for $600.00, but it is not the explosive growth in value that many had anticipated for this book.
A comparable scenario occurred with one of the new Copper kinds, namely Eternals #1. Following the news at SDCC we saw explosive growth in this book and a sale that at $1,500.00 on July 24th. and then the book returned to earth in the thousand dollar range by Sunday. This is unlike Eternals #5 which has seen sales that have been inching upwards towards a thousand dollars in CGC 9.8 condition and a BIN sale of a $1,200 copy where a best offer was accepted. It will be fascinating following these trends as we approach the release of these respective films and trudge along towards phase 5.
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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