Weekend Update with Nico

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This is your Weekend Update!

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It’s a great time to be collecting comics.  The holiday season is in full swing and magic is in the air.  Nevertheless, I sometimes get discouraged by the content that is being generated by a lot of talking heads in the comic book community.  I find that much of what is passed off as news is mere conjecture and speculation, much of what is passed off as speculation is more fandom and fantasy and much of what is passed off as original content is merely recycled content from other content creators.

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One of the things that I find most difficult is to navigate between those in the community that poor mouth every comic, every spec pick, every podcast, etc. on one extreme and those who haven’t seen a book they don’t like, a trend they won’t follow or content they won’t indulge in on the other.  The truth is that discerning taste is essential and it is incumbent upon us to know when to say “hell no” to hot garbage and “ thank you, I’ll take as many as I can afford” to the spec picks that will make us money.

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is buying season and it’s almost over.  Tax returns are going to start rolling in shortly after the first of the year. Plus the spending crunch that happens for most this time of year will soon be coming to an end.  If your wallet is a little tight as we approach Christmas, I get it. I’ve heard a number of dealers/collectors complain about their eBay business and sales figures at shows.

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I was in Pittsburgh, PA this weekend.  If you didn’t see our celebrity endorsement from fan favorite Jamie Kennedy, then I hope you will take the opportunity to watch it now. Jamie is a great sport and has an exceptional sense of humor. I did not prompt him to talk about the Watchmen. Apparently he is not only a fan of the podcast, but also a fan of the HBO series.

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Last week we were able to interview Matthew Roybal Foreign Comic Collector magazine editor on a special impromptu episode of Comic Book Wars on YouTube.  If you aren’t familiar with what has been going on in the last year, we are slowly entering an international comic market with more and more collectors from around the world spending increasingly large amounts on foreign language comics.  My interview with Matt Roybal just scratched the surface. For example, we did not have the opportunity to really discuss any of these books at length. The Mexican El Soprendente Hombre Arana books are without question the books that are getting the most discussion in the media.

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El Sorprendente Hombre Araña 128

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There are 44 total non-cannon Mexican Spider-Man comics published by La Presna with issue #128 being the jewel in any non-cannon Spider-Man collection.  Issue #128 features a dream sequence where Peter Parker and Gwen Stacey get married and the cover is classic.  This book recently sold for $2,147.00. These comics rarely sell for less than a few hundred dollars even when they are borderline mangled and the key comics from the run sell between $500-$2,5000 depending on the grade.  Those who champion the viability of these books in the short and long term describe their rarity and how difficult it is to find any copies of these books at all. If you are a Spider-Man fan and are willing to take a longer term risk, I these may be the best risk in the world.  You can do your own research regarding the non-canon Spider-Man / Gwen books on this site.

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Some of the other foreign language books that I find fascinating are the other non-cannons.  My understanding is that there are Mexican non-cannon Black Panther, Fantastic Four and X-Men books and French non-cannon Silver Surfer comics.  This stuff is awesome and I am super interested in these non-canon comics which I believe are going to at least initially be more acceptable and collectible to American comic audiences.

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The other books which I believe will immediately resonate with American audiences are the Japanese Playboy Spider-Man books.  There is no denying that American comic collectors genuinely gravitate to these books when they hear about them and I believe that the inclusion of Leopardon in the Into the Spider-Verse sequel from Sony if for no other reason that the idea of a Japanese Spider-Man and the admission that Spider-Man once appeared in Japanese Playboy is awesome.

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If  you are interested in this stuff, I would start with our YouTube show and reach out to Matt Roybal.   He is a friend of the podcast and an incredible resource to this emerging community as it continues to grow.

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Valiant Nostalgia

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If you are like me and you grew up in the 90’s collecting comics, you were probably spending a lot of money on Valiant comics.  I am excited to be interviewing Dinesh Shamdasani the former Chief Creative Officer and CEO of Valiant. Although I’ve not had an opportunity to speak to Dinesh, I’ve been told that he has been a fan of Valiant Comics since he was a young teenager.

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Dinesh and Valiant parted ways when DMG Entertainment took full ownership of Valiant Entertainment. Nevertheless, Dinesh is the architect of the first Valiant film Bloodshot, starring Vin Diesel, which will be released on the big screen nation wide on February 21, 2020.

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I am really looking forward to sitting down and talking to Dinesh tomorrow at 9:00 pm on a special episode of Comic Book Wars. If you are interested in making a play on Bloodshot comics, I want to take the opportunity to talk about some of the big points.  Rai #0 (the first appearance of Bloodshot) had an estimated distribution of 150,000 copies. I’ve seen estimates that indicate that he print run of the glossy cover of Rai #0 as low as 7,500 copies, but I have no idea whether or not this information is reliable.

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At this late stage of the game, the book that I like is Bloodshot #51.  It is the last issue of the series. The book is super rare and sources generally report that there’s less than 10,000 copies in circulation.  In fact all of the late issues of this series are rare with issues 47-51 all having print runs that are estimated around 10,000 copies. Also I would snag copies of Bloodshot Last Stand Special (1996) which had an estimated distribution closer to 7,500.

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The Valiant series that I enjoyed the most was Harbinger.  For me, this book captured the magic of Chris Clairmont’s X-Men mixed with Chris Evans super cool movie Push (2009).  Everyone is going to go crazy for Harbinger #1 if the Paramount film gets made. For my money, I like the pink Harbinger #0.  This was a coupon send-away book and it reportedly had a very limited

Distribution of 3,500 to 5,000 copies.  The distribution of Harbinger #1 is ten times as large as the distribution of Harbinger #0 (pink).

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CCXP in São Paulo, Brazil

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CCXP brought some renewed excitement for a number of comic related media projects.  None were huge surprises but there were a handful of confirmations that were exciting for the community.  First and foremost, the footage that was shown of the Eternals was really well received by those in attendance.  Collider described the footage as follows:

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“The footage began with a shot of Keoghan’s Druig walking out of a door straight into the assembled Eternals, all costumed up in their mythological-looking armor. From there, we got a tapestry of snippets that showed the various Eternals in different locations, showcasing the film’s diversity and international casting.

We got some gorgeous close-up shots of Jolie back in blonde, decked out in her white costume. In one shot, she grins — though we have no context why. We also caught a peak at Ajak in action and a sighting of some kind of monstrous army (the Deviants, or just another classic MCU monster army? TBD.) We also saw what seems to be a romance between Chan’s Sersi and Madden’s Ikarus, holding hands in some sort of fountain-like structure and standing together in a field. We saw Hayek’s Ajak riding a horse in the countryside, heading towards an isolated farmhouse on the horizon. We saw Nanjiani’s Kingo, decked out in colorful garb and makeup, danging, surrounded by ensemble dancers in a seemingly Bollywood-inspired scene. We see Druig standing beside a giant temple in glowing orange light (there’s a lot of temple stuff in the footage, giving the whole thing an appropriately mythological feel.”

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We are less than a year away from an Eternals film and I think it is a project that Marvel is going to push.  The cast is star studded and I suspect that we will see the price tags on a lot of these books inch back up as get closer and closer to November 6, 2020.

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Marvel plugged Black Widow showing an extended scene of Iron Maiden (Rachel Weisz) telling Red Guardian (David Harbour) he got fat.  We also saw the first official images of the Falcon Winter Soldier series and the Wanda Vision series. All of this content is imminent with Black Widow being the first project of Marvel Phase 4 releasing on the big screen on May 1st, 2020.  We anticipate Falcon and the Winter Soldier to be released in the Fall of 2020 and some are suggesting that we will get a sooner than expected release date for WandaVision which already began filming certain scenes before a live studio audience to capture the 1950’s vibe of studio television.

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The book I would encourage everyone to keep an eye out for is Silver Surfer #3 (the first appearance of Mephisto).  I actually picked up a nice raw copy this weekend at the convention in Pittsburgh.  There is no guarantee that he is the villain in WandaVision and/or thereafter in Doctor Strange 2: Multiverse of Madness, but it’s a safe bet that we will continue to see this character pop up in comics and that his big screen debut is inevitable.

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Silver Surfer #3.jpg

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Overstreet is still the King of Comics

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While I believe in my heart that the comic back issue market is at a crossroads, for the time being, Overstreet continues to set the mark for back issues in the comic market.  Many novice collectors and some experienced collectors promptly discount the benefits of Overstreet. They suggest that yearly price guide is an anachronism of years gone by. For my money, the Overstreet Price Guide and the Overstreet Guide to Grading are invaluable resources.  This holiday season, I suggest picking up a copy of both of these books and spending the Winter months studying the contents like they were college textbooks.

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Please don’t put words in my mouth.  I am not suggesting that you utilize these books as “price guides” or as “grading guides.”  The prices in the Overstreet do not reflect the current market value. Similarly, the standards for grading in the Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics do not reflect the standards utilized by CGC.  Nevertheless, the price documents key comics, scarce issues and provides a reference tool that is invaluable for collectors of all levels of experience and maturity. Similarly, while not identical to the standards used by graders at CGC, the Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics is a referential instructional manual for top tier grading practices.  My experience has been that it is as important to accurately grade as almost anything else in this hobby. Do yourself a favor and devote time to studying best practices for comic grading so that you can sharpen this skill. You won’t regret it.

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Next year is the 50th Anniversary of the Overstreet Price Guide and I suspect that we will see major pomp and circumstance to celebrate this milestone at SDCC and elsewhere in our community.  Taking an opportunity to grab some of the early Overstreet Price Guides in the forthcoming months is also not a bad idea. Some of the older issues are highly collectible. For example, on December 1st of this year a raw 1st print of the 1st edition sold on eBay for $1,285.00.  This is a book that CGC will grade. There are other great covers including those that depict are by Schomburg, Bill Ward and others. I wouldn’t be running out and paying eBay prices, but I would be cognizant that this market will emerge this Summer and now is the time to be looking for this book in anticipation of the 50th anniversary celebration.  If for no other reason that the historical significance of the information contained inside these book, I would encourage you to take a hard look at back issues and compare the data to the most recent issue of this annual price guide.

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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!”

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– Nico, Esq.

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 Read more articles from Nico here.

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