Weekend Update with Nico
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This is your Weekend Update!
Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. It seems like every single week there’s a new book that’s optioned, a new series that’s green lit or loses a showrunner. Every week it feels like there’s a major new announcement regarding casting, directing and/or screenwriting, and this is the onslaught from reputable news services. There’s often times just as much, if not more by way or rumor, speculation and conjecture. None of this even begins to discuss how incredibly difficult it is to predict the direction of new releases, the viability of new characters, the time it takes to digest plotlines, explore new writers, figure out who the up and coming cover artists and/or sequential artists are going to be in the future. It can become overwhelming and begin to feel impossible to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Many of the most experienced collectors are expressing their fatigue over the speculation market, fears about the continued growth of television and film projects, the continued long term viability of the bull market and concerns about price inflation and other new valid concerns seem to spring up each and every day.
What I have always attempted to do is try and allay some of these fears by encouraging my readers to focus on flipping lower priced books and mid-range books to afford bigger and bigger books that have enjoyed stable incremental growth. It is very much a war of attrition with comic speculation. While there is no substitute for hard work and perseverance, exploring investment strategies that move higher risk items to secure a position with lower risk longer term investments never hurt anyone in the long run.
MCU into the Future
If you are listening to my suggestions and squirrelling away your profits to buy a big book, there are the long term investment plays that I see as having the biggest potential for returns and the lowest risk investments: Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, Galactus, X-Men. If you are looking to speculate on the MCU and ride the MCU gravy train until the wheels fall off, these are the big books that I would be focusing on. Fantastic Four #1, Fantastic Four #5, Fantastic Four #48. Silver Surfer #1, Fantastic Four #48, X-Men #1 and Giant Size X-Men #1.
The other major books that I anticipate will continue to appreciate are the Submariner #1, Fantastic Four #4. Fantastic Four # 67, Marvel Premier #1 and Thor #165. While these books have started to pop, official news which appears inevitable at this point, will cause these books to reach their full value. It’s a low risk, high reward scenario for Namor keys and Warlock keys.
Am I suggesting that you sell all your books to buy into some or all of these keys. Of course not. Am I suggesting that rather than reinvesting your profits in more $10, $20, $50, $100 and even $500 books that you should be looking to spend $1,000-$5,000 on one of these monsters and sitting on them until a trailer hits. Absolutely I am. Your money is safe in these books regardless of whether all the doomsayers are correct that the sky is falling or all of hype men are correct about the market and we are in a new renaissance for comic books.
It may be a bad time to be buying Joker books as we’ve seen all of his key books continue to tick up in price as we close in on the theatrical release of the Joker film, but it is a great time to be buying other key Batman books. I legitimately have no real hard or fast opinions on whether or not Kevin Smith has insider information on the Long Halloween being the film that Matt Reeves is making or whether Reeves is getting inspiration from Scott Snyder’s Court of Owls run on the New 52 Batman. I’ve got smart comic mentors and friends in both camps and the books are frankly in the wild and available cheap for you to pick up. The other interesting fact is that the “plot leak” also fits the Hush storyline because it is so incredibly general. I for one have yet to make a firm decision about the merits of any of the proposed leaks, but have been trying to pull all of these books out of dollar bins when I see them.
These are not the Batman books I am necessarily thinking about. I am thinking about mid-level key issues that have not appreciated in value in the last five years with the rest of the market. I suspect that we will see the most appreciation with Bronze Age books and suggest thinking about the following books: Batman #222 (classic Beatles cover), Batman #227 (the classic Neil Adam cover swipe of Detective #31), Batman #234 (1st Silver Age Two-Face), Batman #237 (1st Reaper), Batman #251 (Neil Adams Joker).
The safest bet is always to focus on in on bigger keys. In light of the probability that we will see the Riddler and the Penguin in the forthcoming Matt Reeves film(s), you may want to think about some of their key books. Specifically, I like Batman #155 (the first Silver Age Penguin) and Batman #190 (a great Penguin Silver Age book); and/or Batman #171 (the first Silver Age Riddler). I genuinely champion Batman #232 (the first Ra’s Al Ghul) as a solid investment book. Similarly, Batman #181 (the 1st Poison Ivy) has a lot going for it. Although this book has seen significant appreciation in the last five years, we are slated to see Poison Ivy in a Harley Film and her casting in the Reeves film as an A list celebrity could send this book into the stratosphere.
There are a ton of other key appearances that are worth noting in any cursory review of Batman speculation. For example, while now may not be the most opportune time to buy the Vengeance of Bane #1, this book is tough in high grade because it is oversized and square bound. Bane has become a major contemporary Batman villain and I suspect that we will see him again on the big screen. Similarly, Batman #189 is the first appearance of the Silver Age Scarecrow and it has a gorgeous full moon cover.
While there are reasonably priced and generally affordable Batman books to speculate on, such as Detective Comics #411 (1st appearance of Talia Al Ghul) or Detective Comics #400 (1st Man-Bat), I suggest swimming out into the deep water and looking for bigger books Batman #121 (the 1st appearance of Mr. Freeze). This week we saw a CGC 2.0 copy sell for a whopping $869.00 on eBay. This follows a September 21st sale of a CGC 3.0 copy for $1,135.00. This book is a monster in any grade and any Batman collector would be proud to have a copy in their collection.
From a speculative standpoint, I am less interested in key Jason Todd, Tim Drake and Damien Wayne books. That may be a personal preference but they are not for me.
Ghost Rider Hulu Series Canceled
In shocking news, Nellie Andreeva and Deadline are reporting that Hulu has cancelled the much anticipated Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider series. This news sent shockwaves through the speculation community and throughout the comic community generally. This news is particularly interesting as it follows recent reports that Kevin Feige was opting not to proceed with a Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch iteration of the character following reports that he was not interested in stepping on Jeff Loeb’s toes at Marvel TV. Many are now wondering if Disney corporate decided to break Loeb’s foot as a solution to the “Robbie Reyes Hulu problem.”
In light of this news, I suspect that many shrewd speculators are going to be adding Marvel Spotlight #5 to the top of their buy lists. It is obviously uncertain what is in store in the future, and many, including myself, are trying to decipher what this means for the future of Hulu television. What is particularly interesting is that it appears that the Damien Helstrom television series is still actively being developed and will be unphased by this news. This is good news for those looking forward to the series and great news for those who are heavily invested in this characters key books.
I wouldn’t necessarily unload all of my Robbie Reyes books just yet. I for one, am waiting patiently to hear more information and formal confirmation behind this story. I am also interested in what this may mean for other prospective Hulu series and characters. For example, is this the end of Glyph speculation or does this mean that this character and/or the Howling Commandos of Shield may receive accelerated TV treatment? What does this mean for the prospects of Man-Thing, Werewolf by Night and other prospective Marvel TV based properties? Again, I wouldn’t go tossing any of these books in your dollar bins just yet. As we have seen in the past, what sometimes appears as the collapse of a series often times results in the series being re-launched by a different creative team and/or creative direction.
I think most of us had expected for characters like Blade and Moon Knight to make their debut on Hulu and it is fair to say that many of us were stunned when the Mouse House opted to include these characters live action treatment on Disney proper. Is this a scenario where we will see Robbie Reyes or another iteration of Ghost Rider appear in the MCU? Similarly, if Disney truly values the work that Loeb and company are doing on Hulu (and did on Netflix), isn’t it reasonable to assume that they will reward them with other major properties. Perhaps my suspicions about the Netflix projects returning to the small screen were accurate but on a much quicker timeline than I expected? Only time will tell.
JJ Abrams Warner Media Deal
The reports are in and the J.J. Abrams (Fringe, Star Wars, 1992’s Forever Young, etc.) passed on a half a billion dollar deal with Apple to work the Warner Media Catalog of characters. This is a good indication of the size of the investment that Abrams and Bad Robot will be making on the television and film industry. I am expecting to see some big collaborations with Abrams and Damon Lindelof (Watchmen) on HBO Max and a couple of television franchises. The only real question to ask yourself is what characters are going to get treatment on the big screen and the small screen in the next few years.
While I do not believe that there is any veracity to rumors about a Kyle Rayner Green Lantern television series, I do believe that a Green Lantern Corp. series/trilogy is the kind of projects we can expect coming out of this crew. I further suspect that we will eventually see a Lobo film and/or HBO series and that someone at Warner Media was as excited about Lobo as a child as I was when the decision to pull the plus on the CW series was made. Whether the character will return to the glory he enjoyed in the 1990s is unclear, but remember there was a time when Lobo went toe-to-toe with Superman in Action Comics and Keith Giffin made him one of the most beloved characters in all of comics. Remember that Lobo was as popular as Wolverine in the 1990s. Now is the time to snag Omega Men #3 cheap from dealers, retailers and collectors who have lost faith in the character.
Similarly, don’t be surprised if we finally get a big screen Barry Allen movie with Bad Robot behind it. I fully suspect that the Infinite Crisis run the WB is setting the stage for Final Crisis, Flash Point level film franchise five to ten years down the road.
My point is not that there is any one book or groups of books to be buying, but I would keep my eyes peeled for deals, have some restored faith in Warner Brothers and DC TV and film projects and remember that it pays to be five to ten steps ahead of the competition. In the comic speculation market, we will never have the investment capital to leverage that the biggest players in the game have. Therefore, we always have to play smarter, think better and see the trends before they materialize. The advent of JJ Abrams to Warner Media is a big equalizer particularly in light of recent news that Disney is having Kevin Feige take a look at Star Wars. Expect for the speculation market to make a move in the direction of DC speculation as this news becomes official. In the weeks to come the Joker film will blaze a trail for Oscar worthy comic book related mediate to follow, Batman will build support on the ground and by the time new DC projects begin to be announced it may be too late to grab any of the books you really want for your PC at any sort of discount.
Kevin Feige Star Wars
News broke this week that the post-Skywalker Star Wars film universe is being entrusted to the capable hands of Kevin Feige. It is unclear whether or not this is the Knights of the Old Republic series that Kathleen Kennedy confirmed several months ago or a separate project. Either way, it is abundantly clear that Disney is committed to Star Wars in a
I’ve been discussing the viability of Star Wars Tales #23 for a long time. This book is now a solid $50 raw book with CGC 9.8’s listed under $200.00 on eBay, I wouldn’t argue with anyone betting on this book. It is particularly difficult to find in the wild and I think it will continue to be a hot spec book.
There are a ton of Star Wars spec books, and I am not by any stretch of the imagination going to do justice to that list. However, I do want to highlight some of the books that I am aware of and I think are worth thinking about. Star Wars: The Clone Wars #1 regular cover and the Dark Horse 100 variant feature the first appearance of Ahsok Tano. Similarly, the 1:25 Darth Vader #3 1:25 is now a $200.00 CGC 9.8. I also like Star Wars: Heir to the Empire #1 which is the first appearance of Mara Jade and Thrawn and there is a newsstand variant of each book in this six issue set which is based upon the Timothy Zahn novel.
Insofar as we are closing in on the Mandelorian and I anticipate that all eyes will be on this series when it is released to launch the Disney Plus streaming service, I would encourage everyone to think about getting their Boba Fett books ready. I can’t necessarily predict how long the window is going to be open to get maximum value out of those books, but the day is coming and it is coming quick.
Sony Spider-Man continues
There have been a lot of eyes on Madame Web books for a long time, but I think it is fair to say that news that Sony has green lit a Madame Web project took everyone by surprise. I can’t imagine a scenario where Madame Web is depicted in the manner she appears in Amazing Spider-Man #210, but I’ve been wrong before. What I suspect is that, if we actually see this film developed, the iteration we see will appear far more like the interation in the Marvel Ultimates Universe. Alternatively, some are speculating that this film is essentially a launch pad for a live action Into the Spider-verse film. I am not real hot on this book and if you were one of the many people who had been picking up this book for a long time, now may be an opportune time to take profit and move along.
What is really interesting for me is that we are at least beginning to see some action on Amazing Spider-Man #124. This week a comiclink auction for a CGC 9.6 copy rocketed to an astounding $1,805.00. The last sale documented on GPA was for $377.00. Note that comiclink is not on GPA and this is not a recorded GPA sale, but I am for one stunned by these figures. Even if the speculation surrounding Man Wolf appearing in the Morbius film is correct, I did not see this coming and would be more comfortable if this auction was not real and that the buyer paid for the book.
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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