Weekend Update with Nico

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This is your Weekend Update!

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Each and every week, I do my very best to identify and analyze market trends while providing our readers with ideas and information about investment opportunities and strategies for buying and selling comics.  One of the recurring themes on the Weekend Update is how value manifests itself in the comic market and how we as collectors/investors can capitalize on opportunities and enjoy windfalls in the short and long term.

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One of the areas of comics that I believe has a ton of long term potential are classic War comics.  While you may be scratching your head thinking “Nico finally flipped out.” I promise, I’m getting closer each and every day, but I’m not gone just yet.

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Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 6.42.30 PM.png

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Hear me out.  Classic covers are classic covers.  There are a profound number of veterans and active service members who collect comics.  Additionally, there are tons of family members and friends of armed service members and patriots who collect comics.  Last, but certainly not least, War comics were once the hottest comics on the planet. At one time they out sold super-heroes, horror, science fiction, westerns and all other genres.  Today, these books are available in long boxes with far fewer eyes on them than ever before.

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While I wouldn’t necessarily suggest going out and buying up long boxes of books, or even suggest that you attempt to meticulously select classic Golden Age covers, first appearances or big books and start targeting them in live auctions or try negotiating best offers below their current market value.  Here’s what I would suggest – get educated. Be the guy who can look through any box of books and know what’s valuable. Whether it’s westerns, military comics, or funny animals. See value when others don’t and capitalize on it. If you are able to be the guy who look through books and can separate the wheat from the chaff when other guys can’t then you don’t just have an advantage you have all the leverage in your little slice of the comic book world.

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DMZ on HBO 

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As reported by comicbookspeculation.com back in October, a pilot for DMZ is being made for HBO Max.  With the commercial success of Watchmen and other non-CW projects, I suspect that DMZ will both get made and bring more eyes to war comics generally.  I wouldn’t sleep on DMZ #1 or the convention exclusive of DMZ #1.  Others are less than hopeful about the future of this title.

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DMZ #1.jpeg

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Nevertheless, these books have been so profoundly cheap it is alarming.  On December 2, 2019 a copy of the regular cover of DMZ #1 sold for $0.99 with $4.50 shipping.  Two days earlier the book sold for $2.00 with $4.99 shipping.  There are a total of 59 copies in CGC 9.8 condition on the census and only 1 CGC 9.8 of the convention exclusive with a mere 6 total copies ever slabbed.

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The other thing to remember for down the line is that if DMZ gets made then DC has other major properties that will almost certainly be developed in this genre.  I’m going to identify some of the key Golden Age books and then discuss some of the key properties that I think have longer term potential.

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Atomic and Golden Age War Comics

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Regardless of whether there is ever a DMZ television show.  These books are classics and you should be aware of them, particularly in the event that you may see them in the wild.  They are treasures:

Foxhole

Foxhole #1 (1954) 

  • Last reported GPA sale was in 2014.
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    GI Joe #35 (1954)

GI Joe #35 (1954) (beautiful painted cover) woman in bondage

  • highest recorded sale was this year when a CGC 5.0 sold for $660 in July.
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    Screen Shot 2019-12-06 at 6.57.02 PM

Terrific Comics 4 (1944) by Continental Magazines

  • one of the most coveted comics in history.  A CGC 2.0 sold for $905 in July of 2018 while a CGC 5.5 sold for $3120 in November of 2019
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    War Comics #23
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War Comics #23 (1954) (Atlas)

  • One recorded sale on GPA was in November of 2019 when a CGC 7.5 sold for $899
  • 7 copies on the census and I missed a gorgeous copy for $250 SMH.
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    Men in Action #5
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Men in Action #5 (1952 1st Series Atlas)

  • no GPA data.  6 copies on the census in total.  Depicts Japanese soldiers being burned alive.
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War Report #5 (racial slur)

  • There’s no GPA data.  Dave and Adam’s is trying to sell a CGC 4.0 for a grand on eBay.  The book is notorious for having a racial slur on the cover. There is a total of one copy of the CGC census and it is the copy Dave and Adam’s is trying to sell on eBay.

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There are some other niche covers that always bring money.  The easiest and safest bet in the war comic genre is flame thrower covers.  These are a couple that I think are particularly important books:

 

Battle Cry #1 

War Fury #1 (famous for Horrific #3 swiping image from cover)

Battlefield #6  

War Comics #11 

War Report #2 

They Might Be Giants 

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As I mentioned before and as many have mentioned before me, there is always the possibility that Warner Media will go in the direction of military blockbuster films.  While comics may have stopped making these sorts of titles, Hollywood has not and will not any time in the near future. Two particular characters that I believe in are Sgt. Rock and the Unknown Soldier.

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If you are a fan of Lords of the Longbox you may have heard those guys discussing these characters on Wednesday.  What they indicated was that we could be seeing these characters on Legends of Tomorrow. If that is the case, there is no immediate potential for explosive growth.  I am hopeful that the guys at LOTLB got a bogus tip and/or that someone at Warner Media will see potential for these characters above and beyond the CW network.

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Back in 2014, the DC Encyclopedia, listed Our Army At War #81 and not Our Army at War #83 as the characters first appearance.  There’s always been some debate about this, but most seasoned collectors have described issue #81 as a prototype and #83 as the first true appearance of Sgt. Rock.  Either way, I’ve written about this book before on the Weekend Update. It’s a book I love and a book that has huge potential long term upside.

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Our Army at War #83
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The other major first appearance that I love is the first appearance of the Unknown Soldier.  I’ve heard some whom I respect suggest that this character would transition to television or film more smoothly than Sgt. Rock but it’s hard to predict the waves of the ocean.  There are two iterations of this character and without getting into the finer details, I don’t know that the Our Flag Comics #1 (August, 1941) Ace Comics iteration of the Unknown Soldier is necessarily the one that you want.  That one will run you around $1,000 BIN on eBay for a CGC 4.0 copy. The last actual sale reported to GPA was in November when a CGC 3.0 moved for $456.00.

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The Unknown Soldier that I like is the DC character featured in Our Army At War #168 (June 1966).  The Unknown Soldier’s ongoing series really began in Star Spangled War Stories #151 (June–July 1970) which was soon renamed the Unknown Soldier and it ran for more than a decade.  The series ended with issue #268 (October 1982). From a reader perspective, I would take a look at the Unknown Soldier (2008) series from Vertigo, written by Joshua Dysart, with art by Alberto Ponticelli.  This series was nominated for an Eisner for “Best New Series of the Year.”

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Our Army At War #168
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Last but not least, don’t count out Sheriff of Babylon #1.  Whatever your opinion may be of Tom King’s run on Batman, Mister Miracle or any other book.  There is no denying that King’s masterful murder mystery Sheriff of Babylon is smart, funny and destined for Hollywood treatment.  Without question, Sheriff of Babylon is one of the best comics of the last decade and arguably King’s finest work. It is just a matter of time before this book gets made into a television series or film.  It is not a matter of if, but only a matter of when.

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Sheriff of Babylon #1
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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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