Weekend Update with Nico

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This is your Weekend Update! 


Comic book Epistemology

 

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We are all hungry for the truth.  As comic collectors we need to be able to separate what is factually accurate from what is inaccurate.  But don’t be seduced into believing that everything is this simple.

How do we know what is real? I’m certain most of our readers have heard the story of a group of people who are blind describing an elephant.  Each person describes the animal from a different perspective. One person, fees the elephant’s tail, and describes the animal like a rope. Another, arms encircling a leg, says the majestic animal is like a pillar or a tree. And so on. Every viewpoint is a view from a point. The more ways of knowing we use, the closer we come to understanding, and yet the full picture will always elude us.

Don’t believe comic book collectors, retailers, news sites, speculation sites, buying groups, podcasts or anyone for that matter that says there’s one way to do this – my way.  That kind of arrogance is blind to the complexities of the world and to the comic book market.

I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how I speculate on comic books.  I have a unique style that is all my own. Other speculators, collectors and resources have their own unique style.  Everyone of us has something to teach and everyone of us has something to learn. More than anything, I suggest that you make a commitment to developing and refining a style of collecting that is unique to your interests, passions, the resources available to you and your goals.

There are two principles (personality traits) that I really believe separate people who are good at comics from people who are great at comics.  More than anything else, I suggest that you hone and develop (1) humility and (2) wonder. First, stay humble about comics. Appreciating that there is always more to learn will keep you growing and maturing as a collector.  It will keep you from suffering big losses and cement the idea that this is a team sport. We can’t do it alone, at least not at a high level. Second, continue to develop a sense of wonder, curiosity and awe for this medium, this mode of storytelling, this art form.  Remember what it was like when you were utterly and totally in awe of comics. Perhaps you were a child, maybe an angsty teenager? The point is that nurturing that childlike joy for this medium is at the heart of remaining passionate about this hobby.

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Dysfunction in Comics
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Hostile people live in a hostile world.  Hopeful people live in a hopeful world. Same world – different perspective.

For whatever reason, sometimes it seems like there are an inordinately high number of dysfunctional personalities in the comic book community.  Perhaps comic books are to a large degree a refuge for the alienated, the awkward, the outcasts; perhaps the loudest voices are simply the ones that get heard.  Again, it is hard to see the picture when you are smack dab in the middle of the frame.

Here’s my call to arms – embrace other collectors.  Embrace the guys who don’t sell their books (even though you like to flip comics to buy bigger and better comics).  Embrace the guys who don’t believe in professional grading or encapsulating comics (even though you have boxes of graded books).  Embrace the guys that don’t have pull lists, that don’t read weekly books that see comics as a commodity (even though you don’t). Embrace collectors who do things different than you, celebrate differences in our community they truly are one of the most beautiful things about the hobby.  There is no place more sacred to comic collectors. In the world of comics – everyone is welcome.

What I have and will continue to do is encourage comic book collectors to not take any of this stuff personal.  If a dealer or buyer thinks you overgraded a book – let them. Someone is going to eventually buy that book, the price is going to change, it’s going to get professionally graded, etc.  The possibilities are endless. It’s not that big of a deal. Some people are really convinced that Incredible Hulk #180/#181 is (a) the first appearance of Wolverine; (b) a good/bad investment.  It’s really not that big of a deal.

You don’t need other people to agree with you to be right.  You don’t need to prove your point. What I have and will continue to do is encourage comic book collectors to look for the win-win.  We are all in this together. Look for the retailer/dealers/customers that value you and show them that you value them in your business relationship.

The comic book community is a community and we share a responsibility for other members of the community. We are not crabs in a bucket, stepping on each others heads trying to get ahead of the competition.  We are responsible for how we treat one another. Those of us who are more experienced collectors have a duty to shepherd newer collectors. It is our duty to guide them through the woods not to prey upon them like wolves.  We are comics!

[steps off soapbox]
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D23 is over and business is booming

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All sorts of big news came out of the D23 celebration.  I will refrain from beating a dead horse when it comes to the clear big books to keep an eye out for online and at shows.  Remember that the most important thing to do now is get the time line of the television film release schedule down so that you can plan what books to buy and predict the peaks and valleys associated with the prospective prices of the key books.

 

Moon Knight

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werewolf by night 32

For most of my friends, the only news that anyone cared about was Moon Knight.  Werewolf by Night #32 is a great book and it has been pricey for years. I don’t suspect that we will ever see this book come down in price.  Perhaps there will be a wave of undercutters but that wave will not last long. The reality is that we are years away from this property hitting the big screen.  If you are not sitting on copies of Moon Knights key books, now is of course the worst time to buy. However, many fear that the price on these books will only appreciate incrementally over time.

Moon Knight #1 1980

This has not been my experience with the modern comic market.  My suggestion for those interested in buying a Werewolf by Night #32 and/or one of the high end ratio variants (i.e., the Moon Knight #1 Sienkiewicz, Granov and/or Finch variants) – wait.  The time line show at D23 has Moon Knight hitting TV screens after Phase 4 following the Kamala Khan series and I suspect that we may be 3 or 4 years away from the show. That probably means we are 2-3 years away from casting news and substantive details.  Collectors have short attention spans and there will be an opportunity to find the right copy at the right price over the course of the next year or two when those holding onto these books decide to move on to the next shiny object.

Moon Knight #25For those looking for an opportunity to make some cash on Moon Knight books, think about books like Moon Knight #1 (1980) which is the first appearance of the Bushman and Moon Knight #25 which is the first appearance of the Black Spectre (those who are already hip to this book know that it demands a big premium in high grade and that there is a mildly controversial white dot variant.  Note that this is the second iteration of the Black Spectre and that the first iteration who did not battle Moon Knight appears in Daredevil #108 (this book is comparable to the not first appearance “first appearance of Valkyrie” and I would steer clear).

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Also keep your eyes peeled for the 30 cent price variant to Marvel Spotlight #28 and #29.  These books are incredibly rare and ghosts in high grade. They will get a lot more attention when people go nuts over the Eternals price variants as we approach the release of the Eternals film.
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The book that is still really interesting for me is Marvel Spotlight #2.  There are zero copies in CGC 9.8 condition and the census is tells the tale of low grade giant size books that weren’t taken care of for decades.  I love this book in high grade but you are going to get what you pay for. This book is a big book, but there is still meat on the bone prior to an official announcement.  If this book cools down before official news hits, I would think about buying the book.

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Savage She-Hulk

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The big surprise for many speculators, including me, was the announcement of a forthcoming She-Hulk live action series on Disney Plus. Most of us were under the misimpression that the rights to the She-Hulk character were tied up at Universal and that Universal had to specifically authorize any solo television series or film, but that the character was permitted to appear in a team up and/or ensemble with other Marvel characters.  Good for Marvel for sneaking one past the goalie. I honestly think that this series could be wildly successful. She-Hulk is the kind of character who was built for a transactional episodic TV series. Her background as an attorney is integral to the character and could make for some exceptional TV. I am really interested in how they will deal with her origin, whether she will be replacing Mark Ruffalo and suspect that we may see her in some capacity teaming up with the Fantastic Four as we’ve seen in the comics.
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She-Hulk #1     There are a number of interesting issues beyond the characters first appearance in the Savage She-Hulk #1 (1980).  Similarly, the Sensational She-Hulk #40 (1992) nude jump rope book is poised for another price spike. It was just a few short months ago I rejoiced at the opportunity to flip these books for prices which seemed utterly irrational to me.  The crown jewel of any She-Hulk fan is unquestionably the rare Siya Oylum 1:100 She Hulk #1. But She-Hulk is a character that has been the object of dozens of awesome good girl art covers, high ratio variants and hilarious plot points that are absolutely worth thinking about adding to your collection.  Rather than attempt to list them all, I will try and highlight a few that I like. Incredible Hulk #441 has an awesome pulp fiction Mia Wallace homage cover and this book is every bit as cool as the jump rope book in my mind, but I’m also a Pulp Fiction homer.

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Kamala Khan is Ms. Marvel

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Big thumbs up to Disney for green lighting Kamala Khan.  I am really excited to see what they have in store for this series.  Unfortunately, like Moon Knight, there isn’t a lot of meat on the bone for those looking for a short term investment in this character.  Her books have been incredibly expensive for some time as collectors have been waiting for her to her to be transformed into a live action project.  I want to talk about my top ten Kamala Khan books:
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 (1)    The newsstand price variant of Captain Marvel #14.  This is a book that was only available on the newsstand at books a million at the end of the newsstand era.  It is arguably the top Kamala Khan book and certainly a ghost.


(2)     All New Marvel Point One #1 McNiven (1:75) variant.  There are only eleven copies in CGC 9.8 condition on the census.  This book is a monster.


(3)    Captain Marvel #14 Conner (1:30) variant.  Like the books mentioned above, it is a ghost.  There are a total of 12 copies on the census in CGC 9.8 condition.


(4)    Captain Marvel #17 (2nd print).  There is something magical about this cover.  I love this book.


(5)    Ms. Marvel #2 Molina (1:50) variant.  Arguably the best cover of them all.


(6)     Captain Marvel #14


 (7)    Captain Marvel #17 (1:25 Thor variant)


 (8)    All New Marvel Point One #1 (1st print).  I don’t know if people are going to pay attention to the 2nd print the way that some want collectors to pay attention to the second print.  I am not real excited about it, but I wouldn’t pass it up if I saw it cheap.


 (9)    Captain Marvel #17


 (10)    Ms. Marvel #1 (2014).  It’s a classic book with a classy cover.


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Don’t get too excited, you won’t see too many “top ten lists” from me or comicbookspeculation.  There just happened to be ten key Kamala Khan books that stuck out like a sore thumb.

 

Kamala Khan fans are ruthless and fanatic.  They love her books and pay top dollar for them.  The good/bad news is that they are so damn expensive because fans are so incredibly loyal there is a high probability of incremental growth.  The bad news is that they are so damn expensive already, there isn’t much room for explosive growth. IF you are looking to speculate on this character.  I think the only shot is that newer collectors gravitate away from her cameos in issues #14 and #17 and towards her first full appearance in All New Marvel Point One #1.  We’ve been talking about this book for weeks on the podcast in anticipation of this news at D23 and uniformly agree that the book is a nightmare in high grade. This is a book that I can see enjoying sustained growth at a rate higher than her earlier cameo appearances.  The problem, as we’ve previously discussed, is that when collectors pay a high premium for a book it is rare to see them acknowledge that they paid too much or that another cheaper book is the better book. Think about the inverse situation with Hulk #180 and Hulk #181 where Hulk #181 is the “it” book.  We don’t see the value of this book diminishing. However, what we do see is Hulk #180 increasing in value proportionally and driving up the value of Hulk #181 in the eyes of collectors. I imagine that we will see the same thing happen with the price of Kamala Khan’s books.
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Eternals

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Marvel announcing all kinds of updated casting news related to the Eternals franchise.  The biggest news was the casting of Game of Thrones” alum Kit Harrington as the character Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight.  In other major casting news, Gemma Chan was cast as Sersi. These were both logical moves. Sersi is the matriarch of the Eternals franchise and an Eternals film didn’t make sense without her character.  As most are already well aware Sersi’s long time love interest is Dane Whitman and many have speculated that we would see this romance take shape on the big screen and that ultimately both Sersi and the Black Knight will transition to some sort of role with the Avengers as they did in the comics.

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     Avengers #47 the first Dane Whitman and Avengers #48 the first appearance of the Black Knight have seen significant gains this week in the secondary market.  Admittedly, both of these books have been spiking for the last year or so. Rumors originally started to leak out of Marvel that the Black Knight was going to appear in Avengers: End Game after an easter egg of a medieval castle was spotted in the microverse in Avengers: Infinity War.  This is a really interesting development that has a lot of potential opportunities for speculation picks. If you are late to the Black Knight party one book that hasn’t gone completely crazy is Marvel Super-Heroes #17 (1968). Like other Giant Size books (e.g., Fantastic Four Annual #1, Silver Surfer #1) while not a first appearance, these books are highly sought after and incredibly rare in high grade.  Also, I don’t think anyone does a good job of grading Giant Size books so be careful. Also, keep an eye out for the ratio variants to Black Knight issues #1, #2 and #3 from the 2016 series. Like Avengers #47 and #48, these books were speculated on to some extent, but there’s still a lot of copies of these books out there. For my money, I would rather be buying Dane Whitman books than once and future books and I am shocked that a lot of the market hasn’t figured that out yet.

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As far as the Matriarch of the Eternals franchise goes, Sersi is an interesting character to speculate on at this point.  Opinions are split regarding her first appearance and I imagine that has more to do with whether or not someone is holding a copy of Strange Tales #109 (1963) or Eternals #3.  At this stage of the game it is obviously going to be difficult to find these books without paying market. The one other piece of new casting new was Barry Keoghan will play Druig (Eternals #11 is Druig’s first appearance as we should all be well aware by now).

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If you are hell bent on Eternals speculation at this late juncture the one book that I think still has real potential is Eternals #6.  There was a massive push following the revelation that there was only one 9.8 copy on the census and there are now 12 copies. It is strictly a cover buy, but it is without a doubt the best cover of any book in the run and it is still in back issue bins.

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There are a lot of people who have a lot of money invested in Eternals comic books, a lot of seasoned speculators who have lots of reservations about this film and a lot more new collectors and new speculators who still don’t know what the hell they are doing.  It’s pretty later in the game to be getting involved with the Eternals. If you are committed to trying to make money on these books, you’re going to have to work for it. Think about trying to secure a bulk deal in person for all of a retailers key books rather than trying to pluck raw copies off eBay and enduring the shipping associated with multiple purchases.  I for one am very excited about the property and have a lot of hope for a Hollywood blockbuster.

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Kevin Feige confirmed that The Eternals will feature a major gay character who is simply living his life as anyone would, married and with a family.  The identity of this character is unconfirmed, but some initial reports suggest that the character is Ikaris. You may recall that Hercules was once rumored as a forthcoming MCU Phase 4 gay character.  It is unclear what exactly is happening at this point, but if you have faith in Hercules as a character who is destined for an MCU appearance, his first appearance in Journey into Mystery Annual #1 has been trending downward.

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What If

 

I buy What If books out of dollar bins if they are in high grade condition and throw them in my show boxes.  What If is one of those series (like Amazing Spider-Man, Spawn, etc.) where there are serious run collectors who are willing to buy stacks of books when they see them in high grade.  I suspect that we will see more and more What If run collectors and that interest in this series will continue to grow as time goes on. I also suspect that every time a storyline is borrowed from one of these comics, we will see shiny object speculators chase these books for the next seven to ten days.  You’re going to need to already have those books to make those sales. There’s absolutely an opportunity to make money on these books, but I think it’s a hard path if you are attempting to pluck key books in anticipation of specific episodes. Kevin Feige’s has been alluding to the fact that the episodes of this animated series will correspond to the films.  This signals that the opportunity is not in key issues but in increased attention on the series as a whole.

 

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur
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Moon_Girl_and_Devil_Dinosaur_Vol_1_1

I was pleasantly surprised that Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur are headed to Disney Plus and not ABC.  It is unclear to me whether that means they couldn’t close the deal on the project or there is a different show in the works for ABC.  Either way, I am excited to see Moon Girl get her day in the sun. This is a series that does not sell a lot of issues on a monthly basis.  I would think seriously about grabbing these books now. Issues #1, #2, #3, #13, #14 and #19 each have ratio variants. Issue #32 features the first appearance of Princess Fisk, issue #28 features the first appearance of Omnipotentis and  issues #33 and #34 are the first appearance(s) of Devin Dinosaur. Devil Dinosaur #1 is still cheap as I am writing this. You can find CGC 9.8 copies of issue #1 for about $250.00. This isn’t going to last for long.

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Where does Marvel go from here

 

Our insider was right about: Moon Knight, Blade, Kamala Khan, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, the Black Knight, Ghost Rider, Damien Helstrom, and Satanna. Will he be right about these other characters?  We frankly don’t know; however, if you have faith in him then this is the suggested shopping list:
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Dracula: Tomb of Dracula #1 is the first appearance of Dracula in Marvel comics and it is an awesome book.  I suspect that we will get a Blade trilogy and that Dracula will be the major villain. Don’t sleep on this book.  You will regret it.

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Lilith: Giant-Size Chillers Featuring The Curse of Dracula #1 (June 1974) is one to buy.

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Brother Voodoo: Strange Tales #169 is the first appearance of Brother Voodoo.  The prevailing winds suggest that the character is coming to the MCU. Benedict Cumberbatch is not going to stay in this role forever.  This book has been expensive for some time, but it is a rare silver age book and highly sought after in high grade. When people lose faith, be the investor willing to rescue them from the purchase and reap the reward when the book goes crazy following casting announcements.

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Mephisto: Silver Surfer #3 is a monster book.  If you can afford to put one in your collection, you won’t regret it.  I suspect that Mephisto is the villain in the forthcoming Doctor Strange film.

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Enchantress: There are two iterations of this character and I do not know which one is headed for the MCU, but insiders indicate that this character is coming.  The Silver Age big book is Journey Into Mystery #103. This book is pricey and it is uncertain when or if this character is going to appear in comics. The second iteration of this character is Dark Reign: Young Avengers #1 (July 2009), where she was confronted by the Young Avengers.  This is a much less risky investment, but clearly doesn’t have the upside of the Silver Age big book. Nevertheless, you can absolutely find these books in dollar bins.

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Jennifer Kale: Adventure into Fear #11(1972) is the book to grab and all the copies have disappeared from eBay.  There are a couple of beat up books on eBay international. This is a character who is absolutely integral to the Hulu Adventures Into Fear style shows.  I suspect that we will see her there. Don’t forget about Topaz. Topaz, Jennifer Kale and Satanna were all in the series Witches and have a history together.  The first appearance of Topaz is Werewolf By Night vol.1 #13 (January 1974). Don’t forget about Glyph who first appears in Howling Commandos of Shield #1 and #2.

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Clea: Strange Tales #126 (1964) is the first appearance of Clea.  This book is also the first appearance of dormammu. It’s not incredibly expensive insofar Dr. Strange keys simply don’t get the love that other MCU heroes generally enjoy.  Look for her in the new film.

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Elsa Bloodstone: Bloodstone #1. I love this character, but as we discussed on the podcast, Elsa Bloodstone has not enjoyed a lot of action in Marvel Comics.  I suspect that we will see her in the Blade film and that we will all regret not having a stack of CGC 9.8 copies.

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The Blue Marvel: Adam the Blue Marvel #.:  Good luck trying to find a CGC 9.8 for less than a grand.  The 9.6’s are disproportionately low and there will probably be a price adjustment. I think there’s still an opportunity to grab these books raw, but it is a nightmare to find these books in high grade.

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The opportunity has arisen for Spider-Man

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I’ve been talking about the virtue of Spider-Man comics for months and how they are easier to sell than any other character.  I personally collect non-cannon Mexican Spider-Man books and Japanese Playboys from the 1970s that reprint Spider-Man in them.  Perhaps I am a little bias. Nevertheless, as collectors get a bad taste in their mouth over the apparent split between Disney and Sony, there is no better time than the present to pick up books that oher collectors,  dealers and retailers are unloading in fear of a pending doom.

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In the past few weeks, we’ve seen continued interest in Kraven related books with his first appearance continuing to climb.  Other websites and/or YouTube personalities have been championing the virtue of books related to the clone saga. While I can’t saw that I am necessarily willing to pay current prices for the clone books, the pre-spike prices where abundantly reasonable.    Again, I continue to see opportunity with first appearances of spider-verse heroes. Characters like Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Woman, Spider-Girl, Silk, Spider-Man 2099, Ben Riley, Miles Morales, Spider-Gwen, Superior Spider-Man, etc. are all interesting options.  I would think about the spider-verse characters that Sony owns the rights to and the viability of these characters on the big and small screen and make purchases accordingly.      

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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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5 comments

  • Surfer 3 for Mephisto, not 4.

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  • Mephisto’s first app is Silver Surfer 3, not 4. I’d imagine you just slipped up on that one. Great article Nico!

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  • Can someone tell me what the lure of the Blue Marvel is? Those books are pretty hefty, price-wise and I was out of collecting for a very small window, so I don’t get why they’re so popular/pricey since the character really isn’t around at current.

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  • Tons of good stuff!

    My perspective on the Eternals is a bit different than someone just trying to jump in. I bought so many of every issue prior to even the rumors that the whole thing could take a nose dive and I would still be able to profit. That being said I do hope Marvel gives us a really good story first and foremost instead of preaching political correctness, social justice activism or whatever Hollywood is calling it these days. Inclusion is nice and needed, but these days it seems to be a bit force fed to the masses. If overdone I don’t think it will play well with the average movie goer, especially in foreign markets. Just my two cents. I could be wrong. No matter how it is received, again hopefully well, I am still keeping a 9.6 set for myself just for the Kirby goodness!

    The whole Circe is or isn’t Sersi is debatable I guess but seeing that Sersi from Eternals #3 belongs in the 616 as does Circe of Strange Tales #109 even if reconnected it still is what it is. Doesn’t hurt that Kirby was part of the creative process on both issues …and of course he created the Eternals. For me that’s all I need to know. Also, CGC lists that Sersi used to be Circe on Eternals #4. I haven’t seen any newly graded ST #109s out there to see if that lists as Circe’s first or not.

    There have been other articles out there that state the Circi that later becomes Sersi should have her first appearance recognized from when she appeared in Venus comics back in the Golden age (late forties to mid fifties). It is true that a few Atlas era characters did make their way over to Marvel and the 616 (such as Fing Fang Foom and Groot) but from what I have seen and to be honest it hasn’t been much, the Greek and Norse Gods portrayed in the Venus comics bare no resemblance or even act the same as those who were created after 1962 that reside in what we all know as the 616. There is always room for argument/debate but until the market tells me otherwise I will go with Strange Tales #109 as Circe’s first 616 appearance. Even f it is just a brief one panel appearance.

    On a side note I do have quite a few Eternals #3 from 8.5 to 9.8. I only have a few issues of Strange Tales #109, none in high grade and what I do have I got cheap so it’s not like I have a ton of money invested in the argument to make ST #109 her official first appearance. To me it just seems to fit. If the market and certification companies prove me wrong, no biggie. I’ll live. If I’m right, I’ll make a few more bucks. That would be good too.

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  • Great assessment on Ms Marvel. The graded Captain Marvel 14s are your best bet price wise and I’m surprised the VF raw copies have sold close to the graded copies.
    I wish there were some more A Force 2 SDCC / Comixcology books were out in the wild. Great cover.

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