Weekend Update with Nico

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This is your Weekend Update! 

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There is a famous story about a series of photos that depict lost opportunity.  I am particularly fond of this story because it is told in the same manner that storylines in comic books are told.  Sequential photographs with text. The story is told as follows. The first picture is a photograph of a beautiful corn field in Ohio. The photograph is breathtaking and depicts a field of corn dancing with the sun and the wind.

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The second photograph is alarming.  It depicts a mother in panic, distressed inside the family’s farmhouse. As the story is told, a young woman has a small boy who has somehow wandered away from the house and into the field.  The young child is small and he can not be seen among the tall corn plants. The woman has called for her husband, and the two of them had searched all day long for their little boy. When the family finally decides that they should call their neighbors for help, the neighbors began to search frantically all over the corn field with no success. They knew the boy was too little to see above the wheat and find his own way out, so the second picture shows the young mother in great distress.

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The third photo depicts all the people who had heard of the little boy being lost. They gathered in the morning, joining their hands, hand-to-hand, and in a long line, humanity at its finest, linked by a shared purpose.  The neighbors swept from one end of the field to the next. Diligent, persistent, a community rallies together in the face of a crisis.

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The last picture tears your heart out of your chest.  It is a photo of the father standing over the body of his little son. The child was found dead.  A cold night claimed its victim. Underneath the final picture of a weeping father were these words, “Oh, God, if we had only joined hands sooner.”

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For whatever reason there seems to be a lot of stone throwing and finger pointing from content creators in the comic book collector community.  This is my call to join hands with your neighbors and collaborate on projects. There is too much going on for any one person to go it alone and enjoy any real prolonged success.

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In an effort to practice what I preach, I will be debuting a number of interviews on the comicbookwars podcast and have already been working on setting this up.  Soon you are going to hear from voices like the comic deSPECtive Gary Nusser, Mikey Halperin from Heritage Auction House and Mike from the Comic Book Fiend Club. There are obviously a number of others who have expressed willingness to participate and we are anxious for community involvement.

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In that regard, please allow me to encourage all of our readers to get out there and make friends in the comic book community.  Meet new people. Work together. Share information. We are more effective when we work together than we could ever be trying to go it alone.

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HBO Max

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We are thankful to our Hollywood insiders for their tips about the Green Lantern and Strange Adventures HBO Max series.  Both of these series were predicted in prior Weekend Update articles and both series were confirmed by Warner Media on Tuesday evening.  I am remaining patient with respect to both series and continue to urge restraint in your purchases while we await additional details.

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There’s a ton of potential books to speculate on when it comes to Green Lantern, but none are more safe than the first appearance of Sinestro in Green Lantern #7 (1961) which I suggested in a prior Weekend Update.  Otherwise you are looking at spending a big chunk of money on the Silver Age classic Showcase #22 (1st Hal Jordan); Green Lantern #59 (1st Guy Gardner); Green Lantern #87 (1st John Stewart); Green Lantern #29 (1st Black Hand); Green Lantern #1 (1st Guardians of the Universe); Green Lantern #201 (1st appearance of Kilowag); and/or the Bronze Age monster Denny O’Neil, Neal Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow crossover in Green Lantern #76.
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Green Lantern #7
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We mentioned before NYCC that it was the time to be thinking about Adam Strange’s first appearance, when we discussed the forthcoming plans by Warner Media to proceed with a Strange Adventures television series on HBO: Max.  There are still affordable copies of Showcase #17 available. Expect to see a lot of excitement around Adam Strange following Tom King’s forthcoming treatment of the character in his upcoming mini-series. Similarly, this week King announced that his Strange Adventure series will co-star an as yet undisclosed character.  King indicated in an interview with newsarama that “the other character hasn’t been announced because it’s a twist in the first issue” King suggested that “it’s someone different and someone who wants to come in. We have hints. If you look closely at Heroes in Crisis and Mister Miracle and a little bit in Batman, you could figure it out.”  Expect for there to be a ton of speculation around this character’s identity and for this character to be depicted in the Strange Adventures television series.
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SHowcase 17
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Golden Age Romance

 

Many in the comic community are losing their minds over an eBay auction for Cinderella Love #25 that ended Thursday morning at 7:00 am and shipped out of Montrouge, France.  The auction was for a raw copy of this book that was both color touched and trimmed that sold in a live auction for $3,275. This is an astonishing number. Admittedly, the book is a ghost.  The last graded copy was a CGC 2.0 that sold for $4,040 on September 15th. This book has seen an incredible appreciation in value to the extent that a CGC 6.0 sold for $2,100 about six years ago.  I am the first to admit that this was a gorgeous copy and that Matt Baker books have always been hot, but I did not anticipate this many eyes on this book.
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Cinderella Love #25
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If you are a returning reader than you may have seen prior posts where I talk about the emerging market for romance books.  There are an increasingly large number of collectors, particularly in the Golden Age market, that absolutely love these books and appreciate them for their treasure that the contain.  Always be on the lookout for Matt Baker art in any Golden Age Romance books you come across. The artist is prolific and collectors are continuing to uncover new Baker art even now.

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This week a ton of Baker goodness was sold in no reserve live auctions on eBay in the romance genre.  Among other big sales, a raw Teen-Age Temptations #9 in FN condition sold for $718.00. A Teen-Age Romances #32 CGC 3.0 moved online for $662.00 and a CGC 2.5 copy of Seven Seas Comics #6 sold for $785.00.  Be careful with no reserve live auctions. Other sellers were not as successful. A CGC 4.0 copy of Teen-Age Romances #22 sold for a mere $410.00, an Authentic Police Cases #10 CBCS 2.5 sold for a mere $255.00 and shockingly a CBCS conserved 3.0 copy of Teen-Age Romances #2 sold for $93.00.  The moral of the story: know what you are buying, know what you are selling and know your romance books so you don’t leave money on the table.
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Teen-Age Romances #2
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Silver Age security

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If you are a long time collector that no one needs to tell you about the wealth of Silver Age collector items.  Silver Age books are relatively common in comparison to their Golden Age counterparts. Although some books like Fantastic Four #1 and Fantastic Four #5 are harder to come by, there is no one suggesting that these books are unavailable on the secondary market. The huge excitement surrounding the forthcoming MCU appearance of the Fantastic Four has driven major money to these books and we’ve seen other keys, like. Fantastic Four #48 and #49, enjoy comparable price increases as we inch toward an MCU appearance for the first family of Marvel comics.
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FF 48
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The other major Silver Age book to get picked up by speculators is X-Men #1.  Some liken X-Men #1 to Daredevil #1 and suggest that it is one of the more common Silver Age mega keys.  It is distinguished from Hulk #1 which is perceived as more rare and therefore more desirable than many of the other Silver Age big books.  Be careful with X-Men #1 (1963). There are a ton of graded copies of this book. Right now there are more than 3,281 universal copies of this book (More than 4,700 copies if you include the qualified, restored and signature series copies of this book).  Compare this number to the number of Universal Copies of Fantastic Four #1 (1961) which is 1,512 with only 2,331 total copies on the census (including all qualified, restored and signature series copies), or Incredible Hulk #1 (1962) which is a relatively scarce book by comparison insofar as there are a mere 1,163 universal copies on the census and a total of 1,707 (when you include qualified, restored and signature series copies).  Similarly there are 1,220 universal copies of Fantastic Four #5 (1962) with only 1,595 total copies on the census including all of the qualified, restored and signature series copies.
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x-men1
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Obviously the value of these books is going to be determined by the relative rarity of the books compared to the active demand for the book, but with such an enormous disparity in the number of available copies, I think it is important to keep these factors in mind.  Some collectors defend the relative rarity of these books by suggesting that the vast majority of these books have been cracked out, pressed and resubmitted. I do not doubt that this is true for a large number of these copies, but I am reluctant to conclude how high that number actually is and/or to what extent that collectors are attempting to play that game with these books.
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Thinking Outside the Box
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As more and more series get optioned and the slate of television and film products ever expands, it is increasingly difficult to find low hanging fruit.  The days of stockpiling undervalued keys and cheap first appearances of mainstream characters are numbered.
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I missed the bubble.  The five year bubble that occurred following the first Avengers film in 2012 was real.  The bubble is over. Comic books are mainstream and entrenched in a way in Hollywood that has everyone, including the great Martin Scorsese, crying about it.
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That’s why you are going to have to be smarter about your pics, more diligent about buying and selling habits, and hungrier than the competition.  The days of buying diamonds for the price of coal are over.
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What I would think about are “what properties have untapped potential?”  What properties were super hot, but now get little to no love on the secondary market?  Books like 100 Bullets #1, Peter Panzerfaust #1, Chew #1 and Fatale #1 are just a few that come to mind.  Some of these have been optioned and the option / production window has passed. Many of you already have some of these books sitting in boxes.  Others who were smart enough to move these books for top retail, can think about going back and picking up these books after the dust settles.
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I would take a hard look at Sleepy Jawn’s Top 100 Modern Books list and think about picking up copies of the books that have maintained their value over the years without excitement over a prospective television and film deal.
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There are only a few properties left that haven’t received major attention from Hollywood.  With Bone receiving a series on Netflix, in my mind there’s a few titles that have major appeal that are left.  Think about Grendel’s first appearance in Primer #2 as one of the few books that still has serious potential to go crazy in the secondary market. Beyond Grendel, I like books like Robotech Macross  #1, Funny Animals #1 and/or Raw #2 (first appearance of Maus), Love and Rockets #1 (1981), and Vamperilla #1 (1969).
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Primer #2.jpg
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I think all of the books I’ve mentioned have the potential to have explosive growth over the next five years because of their rarity, the propensity for nostalgia and the potential that Hollywood get hold of one of these properties and generates blockbuster quality television or film.  This is obviously not an exhaustive list, but these are the kinds of books that make sense as investment plays.

 

I hope you enjoyed this installment of the 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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