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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We  hope that you find this information useful and encourage you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.  I do a terrible job of replying to comments. But I do read all of the comments, and I appreciate most of the comments.

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Please share this website with others in the collector community.  Tell your friends about Comicbookspeculation.com. We are on Instagram@cbs_daily and on facebook as Comic Book Speculation.  You can also find us on YouTube at Comic Book Wars where we discuss comic book news, market trends, speculation and investment strategies each and every Tuesday around 9:30 pm.  We’ll be back, each and every week to discuss comics, market trends, speculation, investment, sales strategies and more! Without further ado,

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This is your Weekend Update!

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Special thanks to Mike and the members of the Comic Book Fiend Club.  We appreciate your support. As we discussed on the podcast, these guys are doing some amazing charitable work to put comics in the hands of members of the armed services and in the hands of kids.  The work they are doing is admirable and everyone here at comicbookspeculation.com is appreciative. We will be looking forward to our next special event podcast on December 14th at 9:00 pm EST when we will be joined by Dinesh Shamdasani co-founder/partner Hivemind and former CEO and Chief Creative Officer at Valiant Entertainment.

Watch Nico Time: With the Comic book Fiend Club Here!

I’m really excited to talk to Dinesh and hear about some of the exciting developments at Hivemind.  As many of you are probably already aware, we are a few short months away from the release of Bloodshot.  Hivemind is reportedly working on a number of other really exciting projects. Some of the projects that are most interesting to me personally are Gideon Falls and Weird Fantasy.  Dinesh is a force in the industry and we are excited that he’ll be joining us.

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Gobble gobble

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If you live anywhere in the United States than you are perhaps already overwhelmed with the consumerism that accompanies the Thanksgiving holiday.  Friday is “black Friday” and comic stores across the United States are running deals. Similarly, Saturday is the lesser well known “small business Saturday” that is the capstone of the beginning of the Holiday season.  This is followed by “cyber Monday” and the long march towards Christmas and income tax refund time.

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I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this is buying season.  If you were able to catch this weeks Weekend Update then you already heard me highlight a number of live auctions that I thought were indicative of some of the deals to be had.  I would not discount your local comic shop when it comes to deals. There are motivated sellers in all sorts of communities who are looking to unload expensive books in preparation for playing Santa Claus.

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If you are one of those motivated sellers, my advice to you is to not give away big books if you can afford it.  Sell cheaper items. They are easier to replace and frankly you are less likely to miss them when they are gone. If you are forced to unload bigger books this time of year, be judicious about what you are selling and where you are selling.  No reserve auctions are only advisable for the hottest books on the market. We’ve seen how collectors with short memories leave a ton of meat on the bone for more experienced collectors time and time again. While I wouldn’t encourage anyone to be a predator, this is not a call to be someone else’s prey.

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Becoming a Master takes Work

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One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell.  Gladwell is a featured columnist for the New Yorker magazine and author of the book Outliers: The story of Success.  If you’ve read Outliers or the study by Anderas Ericssson then you are already familiar with the “10,000-Hour Rule.”  For those unfamiliar with the concept, the “10,000-Hour Rule”, is essentially the notion that the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, simply a matter of practicing with proper instruction/information, for a total of  at least 10,000 hours.

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For those of you calculating whether or not you’ve spent 10,000 hours speculating and/or collecting comics and/or computing some other equation in your head.  I would encourage you to stop while you are ahead. Like anything in life, the opportunity is not in deciphering whether you “are already a master,” but rather in forging a plan and making a commitment to engaging in a 10,000 hour study of some other aspect of this hobby.

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Maybe you’ll decide to commit 10,000 hours to dollar bins.  I’m sure some of you are already committed to lodging 10,000 hours of cleaning and pressing.  My point is not to tell you what you should do, but rather to empower you to decide what new skill you are going to Master.  Maybe 2020 is the year that you become an expert in underground comics, maybe it’s the year when you commit to becoming an expert in atomic/golden age books, maybe it’s the year when commit to becoming an expert seller on social media.  Whatever it maybe, the choice is yours.

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Black Adam and the JSA

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This week a ton of rumors began circulating about the Black Adam film.  The one that seems most reliable is that the film will introduce Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Dr. Fate, Stargirl and the JSA.  Whether this is accurate or not I suspect to see a lot of movement on the following books that are dirt cheap right now.

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First, while there has been no indication that we will see the Khalid Narrour iteration of Doctor Fate, I suspect that until it is confirmed otherwise that speculators and collectors will gravitate towards the Khalid Narrour iteration of the character.  Therefore, now may be an opportune time to pick up cheap copies of the Doctor Fate #1 1:25 Moustafa variant. The regular covers of this book are back in dollar bins after some hype earlier in the year and it may be time to start stockpiling those books again.

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Doctor Fate #1.jpeg

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Second, while there has been no indication that we will see the Kendra Saunders iteration of Hawkgirl in this film, I similarly suspect that as we approach the film we will receive more and more speculation that this character is the Hawkgirl set to appear in the film.  Right now JSA Secret Files #1 is dirt cheap. To give you some indication of how under the radar this book is on November 22, 2019, a CGC 9.8 copy of JSA Secret Files #1 sold in a live auction for $39.00. There are only 23 copies of this book in 9.8 condition on the census and the comicchron distribution numbers from June of 1999 are 32,728 for this oversized book.
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JSA Secret Files #1 cgc.jpg
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In spite of all the rumors circulating about the JSA and Hawkman appearing in the Black Adam film, there has been little to no movement on his first silver age appearance in Brave and the Bold #34.  With CGC 7.0 available around a thousand dollars online. I suspect that these books will start to move when Hawkman is confirmed, but GPA data demonstrates that the price explosion happens at CGC 8.5 and above with less than 10% of the copies of this Silver Age key being in CGC 8.5 condition or better.
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Screen Shot 2019-11-29 at 3.55.28 PM.png

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As an aside one of my favorite ways of deciding whether or not a book is underpriced/undervalued in a particular grade by a seller is to focus on where the top quartile and/or top ten percent of graded books are on the census and try and compare that to GPA data.   So for example, a cursory analysis of Brave and the Bold #34 reveals that there are no 9.8s, no 9.6s and only 6 copies in CGC 9.4 condition. The last time a copy of this book sold in that high grade was in February when the Savannah Pedigree moved for a little more than $10,000.00.  Before the February 2019 sale, a CGC 9.4 had not come to market and sold in nearly a decade with the prior reported sale in May of 2009 at $6,573. If Warner Media does with DC properties what it is hoping to do, I will be very interested in seeing what collectors are willing to pay for this book in any grade, but particularly higher grade copies.

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Last, but not least is Stargirl.  This is an interesting piece of information.  Our tipster is rarely wrong, but I am scratching my head how Warner Media does Stargirl on the big screen with an iteration that is forthcoming in a television series.  I am waiting for news that Warner Media is unifying its television and film brands and inter-laping them in a shared universe in the same way that Disney is doing with its film and television properties.  If this is the direction that Warner Media is headed, where some of its properties will overlap and others will stand alone, that is a really interesting development and may mean some big things for the future of DC television and film.

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Everything old is New Again

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For those who are newer to the hobby, once upon a time … people read their comics.  Not only did they read their comics, they really cared about the stories in those comics (everyone cared as much as the Comic Despective Gary Nusser cares about the stories in comics).  And what did readers care about most? Origin stories. If you are newer to comics, you are probably making a face right now and if you have been around the comic block for a minute you’re either shaking your head at me or shaking your head at the state of the current market.  Either way, hear me out.

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I believe that origin stories are going to make a comeback.  Why do I say this? First because of the interconnected relationship between television and film both at Disney with Kevin Feige as the Chief Creative Officer and at Warner Media with HBO Max.  The sheer volume of actual and prospective projects are making it more and more essential that collectors be readers instead of mere perusers of comics. Furthermore, first appearances are getting too damn expensive for collectors.  These are some of the reasons why origin stories were such a big deal in the first place. Interestingly, collectors are already gravitating towards these kinds of books.

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Let’s take a couple quick examples: Doctor Doom is a great example.  Fantastic Four #5 is far too expensive of a book for most collectors to buy and stick in a box.  But Fantastic Four Annual #2 is Doom’s origin and a book that has been getting tons and tons of attention.  Admittedly it’s not cheap, but it’s not unaffordable.

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The same analysis is true with Fantastic Four #48 and Fantastic Four #49.  The books are too expensive for many collectors who moved their attention to Silver Surfer #1, the origin of the Surfer and Galactus.  We are also seeing more and more attention on Thor #162, 168 and 169. All Galactus origin stories that have been trending upward.

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If the Black Knight takes off in the way that some are anticipating that the character will expect to see collectors move their attention from Avengers #47 and Avengers #48 to Marvel Super Heroes #17 the origin of the Black Knight.

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I was reminded of the importance of the origin story in a conversation with Jimmy and Keith in the moments prior to this week’s episode of comic book wars.  Again, we thank Keith for being a loyal friend and sharing his time with us on Tuesday. In the moments preceding the show we talked about Reeves Batman project casting Carmine Falcone who first appears in Batman #405.

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Again, for those of us who’ve been doing this for a while, we remember a time (maybe a decade or two ago) when Frank Miller’s work on Batman in Year One was considered by many to be the seminal Batman origin story.  Batman Year One (issues #404 – #407 were were highly sought after books. Perhaps times have changed, but I suspect as we move more and more into situations where films and television are going to stop retelling origin stories over and over again and we will see more and more of a return to this kind of nostalgia where collectors will return to the floppy comics of their youth and seek out origin stories the way they were first introduced to them.

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No characters origin is as important to his persona as Wolverine.  As his first appearance becomes more and more expensive we’ve seen many collectors gravitate towards the characters cameo in issue #180.  I suspect that as that book continues to appreciate in value we will see more and more collectors gravitating towards the characters origin stories in books like Weapon X from Marvel Comics Presents #72-91 (1991) and the Original 4 Part Wolverine Mini-Series (1982) by Frank Miller are the big ones.

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One of the other series that I encourage you to be thinking about that is mildly dependent on how the re-introduction of mutants happens on the big screen, but thanks to Jonathan Hickman, I will not be surprised to see Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1 -6 (1984-85) becoming a big deal again for collectors.  There was a time in the not so distant past when Wolverine and Kitty Pride were a tandem. If you watched my last interview with Gary Nusser you heard us talking about these two. As we discussed on the podcast, we are beginning to see hints of that relationship sprinkled in the relaunched monthly comics and if that relationship starts to form again and rekindles the magic that many collectors felt in had in the 80’s and 90’s – watch out.  That mini-series will instantly become a big deal. Right now those books are in dollar bins. Snag ‘em up.

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One last book I want to talk about that I think is cool and you should keep an eye out for is the Excalibur Special Edition #nn Price Variant.  It is recognized by CGC and described as “printed with no price listed on cover.” In light of all the excitement around the Hickman run and the recurrent rumors of some sort MI13/Excalibur tv show and/or film, this is a book that you can potentially find in a dollar bin and it is a super cool book.  There are only 21 copies of this book on the census, a mere 6 of which are in 9.8 condition.

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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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 Read more articles from Nico here.

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