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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There’s a lot of talk in the comic collecting community.  Often times, I am afraid that the loudest voices are the ones that get heard and thoughtful insights get drowned out by the yelling and screaming of people with “big opinions.”  One of the few things I’ve learned in my time on this Earth is that those with heavy handed opinions generally need their opinions examined most.

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The hardest part about speculating on the comic market is to be able to both detach from your own perceptions, the tyranny of your emotions, and the addiction to new and different.  It can seem near impossible to effectively understand how others will perceive a book and/or process the news cycle while being acutely aware that we have our own preferences, prejudices, likes and dislikes that shade our own perception.  One of the things I love most about the comic market is that it is the perfect intersection of science and art, human emotional psychology and reason. The most beautiful thing about the comic market is that great speculators walk this thin line gracefully with aim and  purpose.
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We are at a crossroads in the comic market.  Comic books are mainstream in a way that few of us could have ever imagined.  And there is a sense among many older collectors that the influx of new money in the comic market is far too reminiscent of the 1990s when a massive number of rookie speculators from the trading card market flooded the comic market buying thousands of copies of technicolor foil variants.

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Prices on major and particularly minor keys have softened up in the last ninety days and already we are hearing collectors screaming and wailing that “the end is nigh!”  I believe that the reality is that we are approaching an era where there is so much incredible comic related content on television and in films that the prospect or even the reality of a media deal won’t be enough to propel books into the stratosphere.  To the contrary, key comics are going to have to stand on their own two feet.

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This is a market that once we could only have dreamed of coming to fruition.  One in which the content of comics and not the content of Hollywood contracts drive speculation and prices in the secondary market.  As always, I encourage you to wade out deeper into the ocean of comics, to swim out into the deep and deliberately take risks to reap rewards.

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Hollywood Insiders

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We make no secret that we are tuned into the biggest names in Hollywood when it comes to scooping other sites.  We pride ourselves on obtaining reliable information and confirming the validity of the information we share as news. Whether we are consulting with Mikey Sutton, DisInsider, Roger Wardell, Daniel RPK, Charles Murphy or Nick Cogliansese, we attempt to balance our admiration for their effort with our own independent and objective observations.

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Many of these guys have reached near celebrity status as a result of their ability to read the tea leaves, predict, and prognosticate. There are many in the comic community that suggest that even sharing this information is problematic.  I get that those of you who have been duped into believing someone who suggests “just the tip,” may have some unhealed trauma. My hope is that I do a good job of helping you sort through the contradiction and confusion without suggesting that anyone run out and buy this weeks “hot book(s).”  If you’ve read this article on more than one occasion, then you already know that I suggest that we all do a better job of deciding when to be a buyer and when to be a seller.
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As we discussed above, I am a realist and I appreciate that casting news, trailer releases, option news, and/or a green lit TV series or film – isn’t enough by itself to sustain long term growth for any particular book or comic book series.  Nevertheless, when it comes to comics, I’m an opportunist and information drives prices. If you aren’t tuned into Hollywood insiders that you trust and rely upon, you are doing yourself a disservice. If you aren’t tuned into the Hollywood scoopers that other collectors trust and rely upon, you are doing yourself a disservice.  It is important to know when to be the buyer and when to be the seller.

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This Saturday, we will be joined by Mikey Sutton.  Mikey is a fixture in the reddit leaker community who is popular in comic collecting circles as a result of his relation with the Lords of the Longbox podcast.  I’m going to attempt to ask Sutton about how he sources information, what level of credibility he believes his own stories have, whether he buys and sells comics and he promised me an inside scoop.  Will this be as big as the news that Green Lantern was headed to HBO Max or his scoop about Blade and Moon Knight heading to the big and small screen over at Disney. I doubt it. But I am confident that it will be a lot of fun and I hope you take the time to check it out.

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New Characters, New Books, New Opportunities 

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There’s always great stuff or at the very least interesting stuff happening in comics.  James Tynion IV is introducing Punchline, a new girlfriend for the Joker. Barring some horrific execution, this is a book that will obviously move for significant money.   Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas and artist Benjamin Jackendoff are introducing a new Native American Werewolf by Night. I suspect that the two may utilize Red Wolf in this series insofar as their last project together was a Marvel Comics 1000 story starring Red Wolf.  Remember that his first appearance is in Avengers #80 which is as cheap as Red Guardians first appearance before the casting of David Harbour.

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I’m not sure what Robert Kirkman is up to with his forthcoming series Fire Power.  He is apparently releasing the first issue of the book on Free Comic Book Day and then selling issue #1 when issue #2 is released.  Recently, he announced that he will be releasing a trade paper back a few days before Free Comic Book Day. Whatever is happening here I support it and any effort to get people reading comics rather than buying ratio variants of/and/or later printings or whatever it is that Boom and Marvel have been doing to collectors in an effort to drum up sales.

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Bad Robot pursuing Justice League Dark

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If you are a return reader, a frequent watcher of our podcast(s) and/or generally familiar with who we are as collectors, then you already know that I am a long time champion of the Justice League Dark characters.  I see a ton of value in picking up key Swamp Thing, Zatanna, and Constantine rarities. This week Anthony D’Alessandro, Editorial Editor and Box Office Director, at Deadline reported that he has been told that Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams production company), through its new deal at Warner Media, is exclusively developing both film and TV ideas based on DC’s Justice League Dark universe at Warner Bros. These books are a no brainer for me and have been for some time.

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House of Secrets #92 has been selling lower than expected since the TV series debacle.  Hawkman #4 is a super tough book in high grade that is worth a fraction of what it would be if Zatanna actually appeared on the cover.

No one has paid attention to her Adam Hughes covers in a long time.  Remember Hughes does gorgeous cover work on Zatanna #11, #13, #14, #15, and #16, as well as Catwoman #58 and #72.  I anticipate that those books will also see a resurgence in interest when Zatanna hits the screen. I also love the DC Super-Stars of Magic #11 (1977) in high grade condition.  That is a book that is hard to find when Zatanna is receiving attention from Hollywood.

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I am also a huge Constantine fan.  I love Swamp Thing #37. Call me a lunatic, but much like New Mutants #98 and Batman Adventures #12, I firmly believe that newsstand 9.8s will command a remarkable premium down the line.  They are already commanding a significant one. Other than the obvious choice, Constantine’s first appearance, what other books would see interest from collectors in the event the character received an HBO Max television series?  Hellblazer #27 (1990) with the Nightbreed insert is my pick. This book is super hard in high grade because of the insert and tough to find complete in high grade.
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My gut tells me that Bad Robot and Warner Media are committed to beating Marvel to the punch when it comes to this kind of content, that they are rolling out Sandman on Netflix and a series of Justice League Dark inspired projects.  I anticipate that we may see Gal Gadot in the film iteration of Justice League. She is the leader of Justice League Dark right now and the Matriarch of the DC universe.
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While people are over paying for the wrong Fear Agent books online (which presumably are still sitting in a ton of back issue bins and dollar bins all across the country), I suggest picking up these key books in anticipation of the confirmation, well before the first trailer and casting news and riding this train until the wheels fall off.  Of course there are other members of this group and I would absolutely be cognizant of them as well. Demon, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man and Detective Chimp are just a few members of the team that has included Black Orchid, Andrew Bennett, Frankenstein, Pandora, Nightmare Nurse, and Doctor Mist.
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The Demon #1

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Don’t pass on Demon #1 (1972).  It is a Kirby classic and any iteration of this character will send the price tag on this Bronze age book soaring.
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Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4
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Personally, I am a sucker for the first appearance of Detective Chimp in Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4 (1952).  I think this is a legitimate treasure and hard to find in any condition. Good luck. I hope you have better luck than I’ve had.  Much like Zatanna, I imagine if Detective Chimp was on the cover, people would already have gone nuts for this book.

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Doorway to Nightmare #1 (1978) is the first appearance of Madame Xanadu and I have a hard time finding copies of this book in the wild.  It is a book you can find, unlike Rex the Wonder Dog, but I wouldn’t expect to find 9.8 contenders in back issue bins. Most of those copies got snatched up when word of her appearance in the DC Streaming Swamp Thing show hit last year.

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Strange ADventures 205
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Deadman has received a ton of attention by collectors hoping that he would be appearing in the Strange Adventures HBO Max television series.  I’ve been trying to secure a copy of his first appearance for a long time and never see the book on convention floors. Strange Adventures #205 is an amazing book and commands a premium that is commensurate with its significance.  I don’t expect anyone to sneak a copy of this book for some shockingly low price tag, but it’s a great book to add to your collection.

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When it comes to the less established characters, like Shade the Changing Man, they are at best a long shot.  I may be dead wrong about this, but I don’t suspect for collectors to get too excited about these characters unless there is a big casting announcement.  Nevertheless, it may be worth your time to familiarize yourself with these characters. This is not always an intuitive exercise. For example, when it comes to Shade the Changing Man, there a multiple iterations of this character.  Steve Ditko’s iteration of the character first appeared in Shade the Changing Man #1 (1977). Admittedly, it is one of those books, I never see in the wild, but it was retconed to be a story made up by the character who first appears in the Vertigo classic Shade the Changing Man #1 (1990).  They are available on eBay for next to nothing and almost certainly in dollar bins. I encourage you to focus your hunting on the bigger more well established characters, but I wouldn’t pass up these other books if you see them in dollar bins.

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Fear Agent

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This isn’t the first time you’ve heard me discuss Rick Remender’s beloved title, Fear Agent.  As James Lamborghini observed on this week’s episode of Unpressable Defects, there is an error variant of issue #2 that was recalled.  Most people don’t know about this book. While others are laser focused on issue #1, the ashcan and the RRP variant of issue #1, you may want to think about grabbing the recalled book.  Surely these books are still out there and we have no idea how they will be received by the market when the majority of fans get hip to the idea that these books exist.

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The attachment of Seth Rogan to this project is a demonstration of the faith that Amazon has in the project.  I suspect that we will see this show get made and if you are careful to play the long game, you may be able to still get in at a reduced price when collectors turn their attention to next week’s shiny object.

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The comicchron distribution numbers for Fear Agent #1 are 7,643 and 5,317 for #2.  I have no idea how many copies of the RRP, ashcan and recalled comic are out there, but the distribution on this book is a fraction of what we see with traditional

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Rumormill

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Oliver Richters a/k/a the Dutch Giant has announced that he will be in the Shang-Chi film.  It is unclear who he will be playing, but speculation has vacillated between Ursa Major, Black Jack and Colossus.  I have no strong opinion one way or another.

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It is widely accepted that the Thunderbolts is coming to the MCU and/or Disney Streaming in some iteration.  This is a reality that has long been championed by our friend Nick from the Key Collector App and is the basis for much of the excitement around characters like Ursa Major.  I frankly would not encourage anyone to be buying these books unless they are pulling them out of one, two or five dollar bins. I would however suggest that it may be a time to think about who this team may be comprised of and how they may unfold from the known plotlines in the various Marvel films.  I have some theories that I will try and reduce to writing and share with our readers in the next few weeks.

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Michelle Yeoh of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon fame has reportedly joined the cast of Shang Chi.  There are a number of characters that she could be playing that we anticipate will be appearing in this film.  Leiko Wu’s first appearance is in Master of Kung Fu #33 published in 1975. Leiko Wu is a trained agent with MI-6 that worked along side Shang-Chi in several story-lines. Fah Lo Suee first appears in Master of Kung Fu #26. She is Shang-Chi’s sister – both having the father Fu Manchu. Fah Lo Suee at one point becomes the head of MI-6 so its possible the story-line will have some basis around that organization.
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DMZ #1 (TV Show)

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Rosario Dawson is set to star in the HBO Max pilot directed  by Ava DuVernay for the film DMZ. I’ve mentioned before that I like this as a potential spec book for no other reason than the success of projects like Umbrella Academy and the Boys coupled with the critical acclaim of the underlying source material.  It may be too late to find these books in dollar bins, but I wouldn’t pass on high grade raw copies if they are reasonably priced in the wild.

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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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