Weekend Update with Nico

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Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.  If you are a first time reader, we are glad you found your way to comicbookspeculation.com and encourage you to review the wealth of content available on this site.

 

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This is your Weekend Update! 

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Apophenia is the human tendency to see connections and patterns that are not really there.  Our brains seek patterns in otherwise random information, like superstitious gamblers or fans who attribute wearing their lucky jersey every time there team plays.  It’s incredibly easy to confuse correlation with causation. Our brains have a natural tendency to create a cause and effect explanation for unconnected events. This cognitive bias has a tendency to sit as the basis for belief in fortune telling and many wild conspiracy theories.  It is this cognitive bias that tells us that there are these bright line rules when there are none. It is easy to look for a single clean explanation when there is more likely a half a dozen factors that tend to contribute to a circumstance.

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For example, you’ll hear all the time that “villain spec is bad/good” from collectors and they will site great examples of good/bad villain spec that will seemingly evidence their conclusion.  Alternatively, we hear all the time that eBay is the best/worst place to buy/sell raw/graded comics and the people who say this have anecdotal tales to support their conclusions. Similarly, you will hear wild theories about characters, comic book speculation sites, our friend Nick’s Key Collector App, this buying group, spec sites, news sites, etc.  Lots of this stuff is nothing more than a hasty generalization and some of it amounts to a wild conspiracy theory. The more seductive, more compelling falsehoods are the ones where are brains try and connect the dots and delude us into thinking that we are making thoughtful, informed decisions when are not.
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Sometimes villain speculation is smart speculation, sometimes it’s not.  People who were buying cheap high grade copies of Taskmaster before he was rumored as the villain for the Black Widow movie are laughing all the way to the bank.  As did all the guys that were buying high grade copies of Teen Titan #12 (the first Batman Who Laughs) and slabbing the 9.8s.  The same can be said for the first appearance of Knull in Venom #3 and/or Thor: God of Thunder #6 and Gorr the God Butcher in the Thor: God of Thunder #2.  

Another great example of this is all of the discussion surrounding the downfall of the modern comic market.  Every week, there’s a gang of all new nay-sayers and every week there’s a new stack of hot books. Most recently, Sleepy Jawn and others observed that sales were jumping for modern books like Spider-Girl #59, The Last Avengers Story #2, Avengers Children’s Crusade #9, DMZ #1, New Avengers #40, Curse Words #1, the Absolute Carnage Immortal Hulk Keown variant, and I’m confident that Jimmy and Sleepy Jawn could rattle off a half dozen other modern books.  Some of these specific books were already in many collectors long boxes, others had to be fetched out of retail locations, others had to be purchased online.  Every week there is money to be made on something new in Modern comics. Again, does this mean that the modern market is booming, that it is particularly healthy or that you should focus there?  That’s obviously not what I’m saying either.
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What am I saying?  That it’s easy to make hasty generalizations about trends in comics. Be careful about this stuff.  As speculators, we are always looking for to get in first, to market trends, investment opportunities, etc.  It’s easy to miss out on opportunities because of prior bad experiences. It’s easy to imagine bright-line rules where there are none.  Similarly, it’s easy to for wishful thinking to masquerade as speculation. Be aware of this natural, human cognitive bias. Be self reflective and analyze your buying and selling practices.  Go back and ask yourself where are you at risk of engaging in this kind of thinking and talk about it with your comic friends. Be open to other collectors insights and course correct where necessary.

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The original Bad Boy of Comics

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Since I’ve been talking a little bit about Villain Speculation, it is only fitting that I spend some time talking about the OG comic book bad boy, the one and only Lex Luthor.  There is no other. Luthor’s reign as the top comic villain is unparalleled and the character’s books are frankly due for a major price correction. Alexei (Lex) Luthor first appeared in Action Comics #23 and his first cover appearance is a classic cover that depicts him being thrown through a brick wall in Action Comics #47.
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Action Comics #23          Action Comics #47.
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There are a ton of bad ass Lex Luthor covers and it should be noted that the baddest of the bunch is Lex Luthor: the Unauthorized Biography.  This book is unquestionably a homage of Trump: the Art of the Deal. It is dirt cheap and if you are not going to invest in any other Lex Luthor keys, I strongly encourage you to pick up high grade copies of this book which is dirt cheap right now.

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Trump Lex Luthor
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Obviously there have been rumors for months now that we will see another DC Dark film and Lex Luthor is the leading candidate for such a film.  Many are suggesting that it will depict him as a ruthless business man in the style of Ayn Rand’s John Galt, but all of that is complete and total speculation.  Personally, I don’t care about the politics of the prospective film or a any potential forthcoming DC Dark comic mini-series. What I care about it is that it is long overdue and it is inevitable that it will happen.  What I would suggest is getting in early and staying until the party starts jumping. What you decide to do with any of these books after that point in time is frankly your business. If you are looking for some real cheap Luthor spec remember that there were some great Warner Brothers Porky Pig Lex Luthor covers that you should probably be able to dig out of dollar bins.

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Lex Luthor Porky
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I suspect that some will suggest the moment that it gets confirmed that the film, TV show and/or DC Dark series is glorifying/demonizing President Trump and/or capitalism and/or something, and that there will be a lot of contentious press around it.  I suspect that one or two enterprising sociopaths will give it 50 thumbs down (like they do our podcast) and/or get emotionally invested in a perceived problem of some kind. None of this noise will be enough. Luthor is the biggest OG bad boy on the block.  His day in the spotlight is coming and it is inevitable.
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Fertile Ground for Magazine Speculation

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If you are a frequent visitor of comicbookspeculation.com than you are already well aware that we are fond of Magazine speculation.  The opportunities exist each and every time you hit a new shop and it is important that you be versed in magazines to pull winners out of boxes.  Today I want to highlight some of the critical books that I think you should consider looking for the next time you thumb through a box of magazines.

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I want to take a couple quick characters that everyone has their eye on and talk about why I think it pays from a collectors standpoint to look for the key magazines in addition to the key first issues.  We’ve seen that as a matter of practice CGC is often times more forgiving with its Magazine grading and Magazine grading has only recently started to take off so there are simply fewer specimen on the census.  Nevertheless, the added value from slabbing Magazines is a real opportunity to make some cash.

 

Blade

Marvel Preview #8

Starting at the top with the hottest hero on the market.  While many are actively pursuing a Tomb of Dracula #10 and/or have already sunk big cash in this book, I want you to think about a few other key Blade books that have remained relatively under the radar of most collectors.  The first is Marvel Preview #8 title Marvel Preview presents the Legion of Monsters. This book has an exceptional painted cover that features both Blade and Morbious and is unquestionably one of both characters best covers.  It features a woman in distress and is pained and down right sexy. I don’t want to undersell the added value of Morbius being on the cover of this book and it is important to remember that if you are able to parley this book into a flip following a Morbius trailer, film that you can take the added value and apply it to a Tomb of Dracula #10 before that book sees an additional movie related spike and/or move your copies of this book incremental at opportune times generated by both films.  Alternatively, you may enjoy this cover as much as I do and decide to sink this book in your PC such that it only returns to the secondary market upon your death. Personally, I hope you opt for this last option. Some books are just too beautiful to share.
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Deadly Hands of Kung Fu

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The explosive growth enjoyed by Marvel Special Edition #15 is without question one of the biggest stories in comics in 2019.  It is genuinely astonishing what that book has done. It’s a tough book in high grade because of the black cover and those who aren’t sitting on a copy are understandably discouraged by the price tag.  By contrast, the key issues of Deadly Hands of Kung Fu are relatively inexpensive and there are tons of key issues and first appearances. I am particularly partial to the Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris covers, but this series has Neil Adams covers, the first appearance of the Daughters of the Dragon, the first appearance of Jack Of Hearts, and the first appearance of White Tiger.  DHKFPersonally, I am partial to the final issue which has Colleen Wing nude and in chains. This is particularly salacious content by todays standards but this adult themed/oriented title was ahead of its time and thumbed its nose at conventional sentiments of what was and was not appropriate for comic material. Writer Chris Clearmont and artist Marshall Rogers were able to do this because they were not governed by the Comic Code.  Do yourself a favor and put together a run of these books. If you aren’t able to do that, there is a hard cover anthology of this series that is relatively affordable online. No matter what, do not pass up high grade copies of these books when you see them reasonably priced. I suspect that as more and more collectors learn about these books they are going to become very pricey.

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Galactus

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As we get closer and closer to the Marvel Cosmic Universe taking center stage, many Epic Illustrated #26collectors are already being priced out of key books like Fantastic Four #49 (the first appearance of Galactus).  High grade copies of this book are scarce and more expensive than high grade copies of Fantastic Four #48 (because of a warehouse find of copies of this book). Therefore, I want to direct your attention to Epic Illustrated #26 (October 1984) is one of my all time favorite magazines that slides under the radar.  I am afraid that the days are numbered because Key Collector Comics highlighted Epic Illustrated #26 – #34 recently and drew the comparison between Al Ewing’s Immortal Hulk and this run (see my cautionary tale about apophenia above), but the story is awesome, and the books are undervalued and underappreciated in my opinion.  If you are interested in this series there was a discussion about it on the CGC Boards back in 2017 and you can read it here.

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She-Hulk

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Marvel Graphic Novel #18If you missed the boat on She-Hulk #1 and the risque covers, now is certainly not the time to buy in at market price.  That being said, Marvel Graphic Novel #18 (the Sensational She-Hulk) by John Byrne is a book that I think should be on everyone’s radar.  I’ve talked about the virtues of this pick with Sleepy Jawn and James Lamborghini (a/k/a Jimmy Linguini) and both suggested that I was out of my mind, that the collector community generally disfavors these kinds of books, but again, I think there is a real opportunity with high grade copies of this book to slab and flip them as we close in on casting news and other information being released.  It’s an all black cover, it’s tough in high grade and there’s multiple printings so please be careful to open up this book at the point of sale to confirm that you are in fact purchasing a first print.
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The Saga Continues
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It’s easy to dismiss the idea that there’s no better time than the present to be buying copies of Saga #1.  The A cover has remained a $325.00 CGC 9.8 for more than a calendar year long hiatus and the Diamond RRP has shown little to no signs of decreasing in value.  Why do I love this book? First, Saga a book that is almost exclusively in the hands of collectors who cherish it. While I can’t say the same for countess super hot spec books (e.g., What If #10, Eternals keys, etc.), the vast majority of those with a short box of Saga books, have those books because they love and cherish those books.

 

Legendary just wrapped production on the remake of Dune.  If Dune is a hit at the Box Office, I suspect that we will immediately see Legendary and other studios take a hard look at that book.  While the executives at Netflix may wait around and see if they get a healthy return on their investment in the forthcoming Sandman live action series before green lighting a prospective 9 figure R rated Science Fiction story, I suspect that we will Amazon, HBO and Netflix executives all taking a harder look at this series.  Similarly, I think the success of Watchman is going to be instructive. Also, the disassociation of Hickman’s East of West from Amazon leaves an opening for Amazon. Obviously, Jeff Bezos has the money to spend to make something like this a reality.

 

More than anything else, we here at comicbookspeculation.com want you to be proactive and not reactive.  The least skillful way to do speculation is to run around and try and grab books after they get hot and pay less than market value for these books.  This is not in fact speculation, but is often times what retailers and show dealers who have a poor handle on their inventories describe as “comic books speculators”, “scalpers” and/or “flippers”.  It is kind of pathetic on all fronts. Not that I discourage anyone from doing it, just that it doesn’t take much skill or require any real vision.

 

What I would encourage anyone to do who is thinking about collecting comics in a more skillful way is to be proactive.  In other words, think about stock piling those copies of that awesome new series that everyone agrees is amazing (e.g., Die #1) before news breaks.  Think about grabbing a stack of the first appearance of some of those key characters who that haven’t gone crazy yet but have real potential (e.g., Moria McTagert in Uncanny X-Men #96 or Nimrod in Uncanny X-Men #191), or that were once super important, but haven’t seen major gains commensurate with other books (e.g., X-Men #94, Uncanny X-Men #266 and X-Factor #6).  Think about moving some of the books in your collection to pay for those high priced books that will become as expensive as the last vehicle you purchased the next time they take off (e.g., X-Men #1, Fantastic Four #1, #4, #5, #48, #49, etc.). Get ahead of the curves and remember there may still be an opportunity to make real money even if you didn’t enter the market at the lowest entry.point.

 

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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3 comments

  • Hey great article Nico as always. I Was wondering what your thoughts were on Daredevil #1? I am looking at a graded 3.5 right now and I feel like this is the time to buy this book before it goes crazy. My reason for saying that is it is the least valued of all the blue chip marvel #1’s. I feel that once he is reintroduced into tv or possibly the MCU it will explode. Your thoughts?

  • Dude… do you have any more info on the FF#48 warehouse find? Do you know the quantity and quality? Where was the find and I assume they’ll all be slabbed up? Thanks in advance.

  • Love your posts dude! Thanks for putting in so much work!

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