Search This Site

Monday, June 30, 2014

Variant Covers As Comic Investments Revisited

Back in January, 2013, I did an article detailing variant covers with the focus being on the Quesada sketch variant to Superior Spider-Man #1. Since it's becoming more known that some Modern Age variants have extremely low print runs and since more and more are seeking these out, I'm going to revisit this topic again. Tim and Brian also suggested I revisit this topic again, so thanks to them as well.

For many comic investors and speculators, rarity is an important ingredient for a comic book. However, it seems that those collectors in the variant niche are focused on rarity and forgeting the most crucial element of a comic's value. That crucial element is demand! 

So how is the Superior Spider-Man #1 Quesada sketch variant doing now in the current market? Well, when I talked about this particular variant back in June of 2013, variant hunters were pre-ordering that variant at $350 a pop. Yep, $350 for a comic that hasn't even hit the market yet.

Then when it came out, that comic was being being bid up to around $200 bucks. As I was watching it then, I predicted demand would fizzle out and the value of that book would slide even further.

So how well did my feeble knowledge do pertaining to this variant? Well, the last copy of this variant sold for $150.53 on June the 7th of this year, and it was a CGC 9.8 copy! Add it up any which way you want, that's still a loss if you got that variant right out of the running gate. 

Let's take a brand new variant that I've been watching for a bit this year. This one is The Walking Dead #127 Diamond Distributer Retailer Summit Variant.

Back in May, this sucker was selling for above the $200 mark. Some of them even dropping on eBay near or past the $300 mark, but on average they were selling around $175.66.

Now, a month later, this variant is dropping on eBay at the average of $151.43. Yes, I did actually go on eBay and calculated it all out for the month of May and June. I have no life.

However, granted there were some copies in May that were sold on eBay for like $60 bucks, but those were like two. Lucky guys who sniped those. They could sell their copies and make instant profit, but for the rest, the majority spent way too much money for a variant that's demand will probably lose steam and end up fizzling.

Then again it is early, right? It's suppose to be an investment. Well, here's the thing: Demand usually starts off really strong and then falls quickly. Then, it's all downhill from there until it levels off with most variants.

I remember seeing this variant at the comic shop a week after #127 came out, and it was being sold for $200. I did take a look at it but that's about it. I know if I really wanted it I could wait till after the hype and the demand wilts and get that #127 variant cheaper. If only others realized this too, but some just have to have it immediately when it's released. Oh, well, their dollars wasted, not mine.

But here's the truth: Some variants are actually good comic investments. I'm gonna take the Spawn #1 Black and White variant reprint from September, 1997. It was a dealer incentive comic, in which they got one for every 50 copies ordered of Spawn #65. It's estimated that 3,100 copies were printed, but I think it's a bit more than that.

Back in 2003, this sucker was valued at $20 for NM 9.4 copies, meaning you could probably get it for that price or a bit over it. Now, CGC 9.8s are selling within the $400 to $500 range. 

A good comic investment? Yes, but you could get that sucker a lot cheaper when it was first released than the retail incentive variants of today.

Another variant that's proven to hold up is the Amazing Spider-Man #700 variant by Steve Ditko. Not too surprising since it is a cover by Steve Ditko, who is the co-creator of Spider-Man and the first comic artist to draw him for publication. The cover was also unused art that was supposed to used for Amazing Fantasy #15.

To be honest with you, I'm not sure how much this cost out of the running gate when it was released. Some forums pegged it selling on auction for $710 during the time. About 99 copies were signed by Stan Lee on his birthday December 28, 2012 and graded on CGC's Signature Series. To commemorate the occassion, CGC even gave it those copies a special label which says "SIGNED BY STAN LEE ON 12/28/12 ON STAN LEE'S 90TH BIRTHDAY".

Not entirely sure whether those copies selling for $710 were the 99 CGC Signature Series commemorative copies or not. However, in May 17th of 2014, a regular Universal CGC 9.8 sold for $908.70. 

A Stan Lee's commemorative CGC Signature Series 9.8 copy of the ASM #700 Ditko variant sold on eBay $1,275 June 22, 2014. Regular unslabbed copies of this variant are selling around $400 to $500 currently.

If the regular unslabbed copies were the ones selling around $710 on eBay shortly after being released, then even the mighty Steve Ditko could not sustain the demand. However, if they were the CGC Stan Lee commemorative copies then they have at least held up nicely in terms of demand. Still, as I mentioned before, regular copies of the Ditko variant at CGC 9.8 at least are selling above $710.

Let's take a look at another Walking Dead variant. This one is The Walking Dead #85 Infinity and Beyond variant. The variant was an exclusive 20 year celebration of the Infinity and Beyond comic shop in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in the U.K. The cover is card stock and the back is blank to allow for sketches. It was limited to only 2,000 copies, so it's a pretty rare comic. 

However, CGC 9.8s are still selling for only $30-40 bucks on eBay. Does this variant have potential to grow in demand and value? I think so, because the price makes it accessible now despite being a comic with a low print run. At the present moment, however, what the price it's selling at says it all - Demand is low. But will the fact that it's rare or a limited print run be the factor that makes this comic more in demand in the future? That still has yet to be seen.

One more I'm gonna review. Just recently Gerry went digging through his collection and found a rare gem. It's a comic that most would confuse as junk back in the day, but it's come to light in recent years to be extremely rare. 

The comic is the Pressman variant to Uncanny X-Men #297. These variants only came with the Pressman X-Men board games, but some had mail in vouchers in order to receive them. I believe Uncanny X-Men #297 was one you had to mail away for. 

Estimated copies in existence are around 500! The most recent copy sold for $150 in this month of June. It was unslabbed as well.

A CGC 9.8 of the Uncanny X-Men Pressman variant has already hit eBay and asking the price of a whopping $1,150 bucks. A bit over-priced in my opinion but there are people watching it. Will be interesting to see how that plays out. 

I do believe Gerry has it in mind to submit his copy to CGC, and I'm betting he picked this up in a comic lot. The original owner probably mistook the comic for junk and dished it off super cheap.

So can variants or reprints be good comic investing choices? Yes, they can, but I admit, I can't stand variants and generally keep away from them. Despite my bias, I am slowly coming around to some of them.

I still won't pay $100 to $200 for a dealer incentive variant just fresh in the market. I know what happens to the demand soon after, and that's some of the problem with variant hunting. Too many get caught up in the rarity aspect of it. 

This is a low print run, that's a low print run. It's super rare, but so super what? I don't care how rare a comic is. Without demand to sustain or push the value up, rare doesn't mean diddley doo doo. Would it really have mattered that the Walking Dead #1 issue was a low print run if there wasn't the television show to push the demand into the stratosphere?

Demand is still king any which way you slice it at the present. The tricky part to variant covers is determining which ones have room for further growth in demand and which ones ultimately end up killing demand as quick as a fart in the wind due to instant and enormous over-inflated prices. 

As with any comic to invest in, the question of which variants will be sought out in the future by collectors is a bit more of a gamble. Who truly knows which variant comics will be duds and which will be sought-after studs in 20 years?

But what is true is that the comic market always changes as it chugs along. Right now, the variant market is pretty much a niche thing, but that doesn't mean that collectors of the future won't place rarity alone as the driving force for the demand of comic books. What seems like a gamble today just might be the standard for collectors in the future.

The real question is how much are you truly willing to gamble on a variant right out of the gate - $30/$40 bucks or $350?

Thanks for reading. If you want to read the previous post I wrote about this subject from a year ago, go ahead and click right here. See you soon with more comic goodness on the way!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Marvel Spotlight Key Issues List Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 to this Marvel Spotlight Key Issues list. Got the last of these key issues from this series in this 2nd part. Perhaps some ones you may not have thought of to consider. These are all bronze age key issues and some are minor ones.

You can click this Part 1 link if you missed it. If not, enjoy Part 2 and maybe there will be some you add to your want lists.

Marvel Spotlight #11
  • Last Ghost Rider feature story
  • 2nd Witch Woman
Although this is not the last Marvel Spotlight comic to have Ghost Rider in it, it is the last issue where he is featured in his own solo adventure. Ghost Rider ends up going to his own title, but does show up here and there as a supporting character for the Son of Satan in Marvel Spotlight issues after this. This issue was published August, 1973.

eBay - Surprisingly a decent selection for this issue. Plenty of raw copies to choose from and even CGC's located. Quite a few CGCs here at the moment. Highest is a whopping CGC 9.8 and also a 9.6. Quite a bit of CGc 9.4s also.

mycomicshop - Only one VG+ copy here so far. It's an unslabbed copy also.

NewKadia - Seven raw copies located here. Highest is a low NM, and second highest is a VF.

ComicConnect - Another whopping CGC 9.8 here. May be the same one on eBay. Best to check which is cheaper. Unslabbed copies located here also.

ComicLink - Five CGC options here. Highest is a NM+ 9.6, and second highest is a 9.4 NM. There's actually three 9.4 copies here at ComicLink at the moment.

Marvel Spotlight #12
  • 2nd appearance Son of Satan
  • Origin of Son of Satan
Marvel Spotlight dealt with a lot of the occult in early issues. A supporting character in the early Ghost Rider stories, Daimon Hellstrom gets his first origin story in this issue. It's also the 2nd appearance of him as the Son of Satan. Yes, Daimon Hellstrom is also the brother of Satana

Not very sought out at the moment and still one of the bronze age key issues that one can probably get at a reasonable price at CGC 9.6 grades. Maybe even 9.8s, but those are pretty scarce on eBay as well as online.

eBay - No problem finding raw copies of this issue. Only three CGC copies but all are high grade. Highest are two 9.4s and the last option is a CGC 9.0. Quite affordable at those grades for now.

mycomicshop - Only one low grade, raw copy here so far. It's a VG.

ComicConnect - One CGC 9.4 copy and two unslabbed copies. One of them goes up for auction the 30th of June of this year.

NewKadia - Six copies here with the highest being a VF+. 2nd highest is solid VF followed by a low VF.

Marvel Spotlight #13
  • Partial origin continued
  • First appearance Victoria Wingate
The Son of Satan's partial origin is continued in this issue when Daiman Hellstrom finds the diary of his mother and learns that his father, Satan himself, seduced his mother Victoria Wingate, married her, and had Daiman and his sister Satana.

His mother would be driven insane once she learned who Daiman's father really was, and the two children would be split up and put in separate homes. The first appearance of Victoria Wingate is only seen in flashback in this issue.

eBay - No problem finding unslabbed copies of this key issue on eBay. A little scarce on the CGC side with only two copies available so far. Highest is a Signature Series 9.6 followed by a regular Universal 9.4.

NewKadia - Six unslabbed copies in stock for this key issue at NewKadia. Highest is a low NM. Second highest is a VF+.

Marvel Spotlight #28
  • First solo Moon Knight story
  • First appearance of Crawley
  • First appearance Marlene Fontaine
  • First appearance of Samuels
In this issue, we see the first time Moon Knight sets off in his own very adventure, but more importantly this issue establishes some very important supporting characters in the Moon Knight mythos.

Crawley is a long time supporting character, and Samuels is the butler and driver of Marc Spector. Also, Marlene Fontaine is Marc Spector's long time on-and-off girlfriend and love interest. Like Samuels, she is one of the few who knows Marc Spector's secret as the crime fighting Moon Knight.

Often an over-looked bronze age key issue and not that well-known. It's not all that sought out but isn't exactly cheap. It is cheaper than many of the other keys concerning Marvel Spotlight key comic issues for sure. 

eBay - The mighty eBay's got the goods on this issue. No problem finding unslabbed copies, and six options for CGC currently. Highest is a gorgeous 9.6. 2nd highest is a 9.4 Signature Series signed by Stan Lee.

mycomicshop - All unslabbed copies available at mycomicshop. Highest is a mid-grade FN copy.

ComicConnect - CGC 9.6 and 9.0 on the menu here. Also two raw copies with the highest raw copy being a VF 8.0.

ComicLink - Three CGC options with two high grade 9.8s. Last option is a 9.0.

NewKadia - Two unslabbers here. Highest is a VF and lowest is low VF.

Marvel Spotlight #32
  • First appearance of Spider-Woman
  • Origin of Spider-Woman
First appearance of Spider-Woman is in this issue, as well as the strange origin. Initially, Spider-Woman starts off as villain, her mission to assassinate Nick Fury. Spider-Woman is an agent of HYDRA with the code name Arachne. She, however, does not know that HYDRA is a terrorist organization.

Nick Fury ends up showing her the truth and Spider-Woman seeks revenge on those who have betrayed her.

eBay - No problem finding this first appearance of Spider-Woman. Loads of unslabbed copies. CGC graded copies also present. Eight CGC options to be exact with the highest being a 9.8 and second highest a 9.6.

mycomicshop - Just raw copies available for now. Highest is a VF that goes up for auction the 19th of July. 2nd highest is a low VF that's on consignment.

Marvel Spotlight #33
  • First appearance of Devil Slayer
  • Last issue to series
Deathlok is in this issue and it seems the Devil Slayer's first appearance as well. Devil Slayer's alter ego is Eric Simon Payne, and he is a sorta well-known member of the Defenders and linked to the character of Doctor Strange often.

Devil Slayer is a trained soldier and also a mystic. He wears a Shadow Cloak that responds to his mental commands and can elongate, forming whips and grappling objects. The cloak can teleport him to other dimensions, as well as give him the ability to reach inside folds of his cloak to pull out various weapons from any time or place, past or future.

eBay - A lot of raw copies, but most look to be low grade. No luck on the CGC front concerning this final issue as of yet.

mycomicshop - Only low grade raw copies at the moment. Highest is a 5.0 VG/FN.

NewKadia - Five copies here. Highest is a VF+ followed by a VF.

There we go! This concludes this list of Marvel Spotlight key issues. Once again, this key comics list only concerns volume 1, and there are some investment comics to consider in this series. After all, affordable bronze age comics for high grade CGCs are getting more and more scarce.

If you missed Part 1, all you gotta do is hit the PREVIOUS link below to go back.  If you missed the Marvel Premiere key issue list, no problem. Just click the link below to check that out. Thanks for reading and hope this helps you out in your hunt!

Marvel Spotlight Key Issues List Part 1

Good to finally get back to some good ole Marvel! This comic started out as Marvel's tryout series back in the day to see what characters had the chops to star in their own comics, so there's a few first Marvel appearances within this title worth noting. This Marvel Spotlight key issues list will be a quickie though and only covers volume 1.

Marvel Spotlight #1
  • First appearance of Red Wolf
  • First issue to series
  • Origin of Red Wolf (Johnny Wakely)
The original version of Red Wolf is Marvel's first Native American hero. This is not the original Red Wolf. Marvel Spotlight #1 actually has the first appearance of John Wakely, whose tribe was slaughtered and was adopted by a white couple. His adoptive white parents would end up being slaughtered by Natives.

John Wakely would meet the Native American god, Owayodata, who can only manifest his powers through his chosen champions that are called Red Wolfs. He would later be a force of peace between the two races. He would often team up with The Two-Gun Kid, Rawhide Kid, and Kid Colt for a few adventures.

Despite the Western influence, this key issue is an often over-looked one and not really in demand.

eBay - Pretty scarce for both CGC and unslabbed copies at the moment. One CGC 9.2 located and only a handful of unslabbed, raw copies. Not that surprised.

mycomicshop - Only unslabbed copies here as well for the moment. Highest is a VF with the 2nd highest a low VF.

ComicConnect - Wow, quite a few options for this 1st issue, and there's CGC graded copies too! CGC 9.6 and a 9.2 are available here.

NewKadia - Four unslabbed copies here. Highest is a VF followed by a low VF.

Marvel Spotlight #2
  • First appearance of Werewolf by Night
  • First appearance Jack Russell
  • First appearance Lissa Russell
I recommended this key issue a while back, and it's proven to be one of the best bronze age key issues to invest in. Since then, Marvel Spotlight #2 and the first appearance of Werewolf by Night has gone up quite nicely.

This issue also has the origin story of Jack Russell and how he is cursed to become Marvel Comics famous werewolf. We also see the first appearance of Lissa Russell, his sister, who also bears the family curse.

I still think Werewolf by Night would make a pretty awesome television show since DC Comics and Warner have found homes for a few of their horror comic properties on prime time. His story might make a better t.v. show than a movie franchise. Just a thought, though. 

eBay - An easier find than issue #1 for sure. Quite a few unslabbed copies on the mighty eBay at the time of this writing. There's also quite a few CGC graded copies as well. Highest is a 9.6.

mycomicshop - CGC 9.0 available here as well as two low grade, unslabbed copies.

ComicConnect - Onlyy three unslabbed copies here at ComicConnect. Highest is a VF+ though.

ComicLink - CGC 8.5 copy available here. Only one at the moment.

Marvel Spotlight #4
  • Last Werewolf by Night
  • First appearance of Buck Cowan
Werewolf by Night would end up being popular enough for his own titled series and this issue marks the last Marvel Spotlight story he is in. The story is continued in Werewolf by Night #1.

However, this issue does hold the first appearance of Buck Cowan, who becomes a central character in the Werewolf by Night stories. He is Jack Russell's long time best friend, and one of the only people who know about his curse. He often tries to help Jack throughout the series. If they do make a movie or television show for Werewolf by Night, Buck Cowan should be in it as a supporting character.

eBay - Four CGC copies here. Highest are a 9.8 and 9.6. Third highest is a 9.4. Quite a bit of an Unslabbed selection as well.

mycomicshop - CGC 9.4 copy here as well as two unslabbed, raw copies. Highest unslabber is a low VF.

NewKadia - Three copies in stock at NewKadia for the moment. A FN copy is the highest so far. Second highest is a low FN.

ComicConnect - One CGC 9.2 here. A few raw copies as well.

ComicLink - Two CGC copies only. One is a VF/NM 9.0 and the other a 7.5 low VF.

Marvel Spotlight #5
  • First appearance of Ghost Rider
  • First appearance Johnny Blaze
  • First appearance Zarathos
  • First appearance Crash Simpson
  • First appearance Roxanne Simpson
Huge key issue and probably the most sought out and in-demand out of all the Marvel Spotlight key issues. Although this comic is more known as the first appearance of Johnny Blaze and Ghost Rider, this issue also has the first appearance of Roxanne Simpson, Johnny Blaze's love interest who was played by Eva Mendez in the 2007 Ghost Rider movie.

This issue also has the first appearance of Zarathos, one of the first villains of Ghost Rider. Zarathos was not featured in the movie, but he is a known recurring villain to most Ghost Rider fans. Crash Simpson, Roxanne's dad, was also not featured in the movie, but in the comics, it's Crash Simpson who takes in Johnny Blaze after his father dies in a motorcycle stunt.

eBay - No surprise that this bronze age key comic is easily available on eBay also. Quite a few unslabbed and CGC copies so far. Highest CGC copies are two 9.4s and definitely not cheap. There's also a 9.2 and 8.5 that are a bit more affordable.

mycomicshop - One CGC 8.5 that's going up for auction July 19, 2014. It is a restored copy though. A FN unslabbed copy goes up for auction the same day as well. A few more low grade, raw copies available on consignment.

ComicConnect - Only one raw 6.5 FN+ copy at the moment.

ComicLink - Quite a few CGC options here for this key comic issue. Highest is a 9.6 NM+ and the 2nd highest a 9.0 VF/NM.

Marvel Spotlight #6
  • 2nd appearance of Ghost Rider
  • First appearance Servants of Satan 
The sought out 2nd appearance of Ghost Rider and a must-have for those looking for some of the best bronze age investment comics or key comics from the era. This issue also has the minor first appearance of the Servants of Satan, but the group seen in this issue aren't integral characters of the Ghost Rider mythos.

eBay - Quite a few unslabbed copies for this 2nd appearance of Ghost Rider. Five CGC copies so far, and the highest are 9.2s.

mycomicshop - Only raw copies here at the moment. Highest is a FN+. 2nd highest is a low FN.

ComicConnect - Four copies here and ComicConnect brings the CGC goodness once again. Highest is a 9.6 and the other CGC copy is a 9.2. Two unslabbed copies if you don't care for graded comics.

ComicLink - One CGC 9.6. A bit overpriced. The 9.6 at ComicConnect is much cheaper.

Marvel Spotlight #10
  • First appearance of Witch Woman
  • Origin of Witch Woman
In the early Ghost Rider stories, Linda Littletree, who becomes Witch Woman, was a pretty central character. She started off as a villain trying to take down Ghost Rider but then an ally and would later teach Johnny Blaze how to better control his powers and how to create his famous flame cycle. She would later fall in love with Blaze and try to seduce him. 

eBay - Three CGC graded copies at the moment of this writing. All are 9.4s. Plenty of raw copies to choose from for now if CGC isn't to your liking.

NewKadia - Only one raw low NM copy here at the time of this writing.

ComicConnect - Two CGC 9.4s here as well. Raw copies in stock in case CGCs aren't your thing.

Got to admit it feels good to get back to some Marvel key issue comics. Also feels good to get away from the Modern Age crappola and get back to some good ole bronze age key goodness.

We got more key comics in Part 2 to this Marvel Spotlight key issues list. It's ready so just click the CONTINUE TO PART 2 link below for more bronze age key comic issues.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Key Issue Comics Between $200 to $500 Part 4

Been a while since I've done one of these price range lists, and there's quite a bit of new goodies to spotlight. Honestly, it's good to write about something else other than a DC Comics character key issues.

The Green Arrow keys list was fun and challenging, but four DC key issues lists back to back? A bit much.

So I thought I'd return to a price range list, and the funny thing is...most on this list ended up being DC Comic issues. Anyways, there's a good reason why they are on this list, so here they are: Key issue comics between $200 to $500 Part 4.

Fables #1B Variant July, 2002 (CGC 9.8)

Another DC/Vertigo imprint that has a future movie looming in the horizon. Fables is another creation that plays upon various famous and traditional fairy tale folklore and gives them a more modern unique enough twist.

For instance Snow White in this series has divorced Prince Charming due to his infidelity. The dude's been married to Snow White, Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) and Cinderella. Busy guy.

Huge amount of first appearances in this issue. First appearance of Snow White, first appearance of Prince Charming, Snow White's sister Rose Red, Bigby Wolf, Jack Horner, and many others like Lady Beauty and Lord Beast from the Beauty and the Beast folklore.

This comic has already seen a huge boost in demand, and is quite popular. CGC 9.8s borderline near the $200 mark, if you can find them. Right now CGC 9.8s are pretty scarce for both the #1 first print cover 1A and the 1B variant cover by Alex Maleev. The movie is in development.

eBay - So far at the time of this writing, there's nada 9.8s for either cover. However, there are some 9.6s but extremely limited selection. This comic is pretty scarce online at the moment.

mycomicshop - None of the 1B copies here for the moment, but there is a CGC 9.4 copy of 1A.

Hellblazer #1 January, 1988 (CGC 9.8)

Back in March, I featured this comic in a Miscellaneous key key issues list, and this comic was still within the hundred dollar range. Now CGC 9.8s past the $200 mark, the last auction was bid up to $255.

With a Constantine NBC television show just around the corner, this comic has gained heat in demand and is now pretty scarce in high CGC NM grades. Hellblazer #1 has the first appearance of Papa Midnite, who reportedly will be a villain for the upcoming t.v. show, and the first appearance of Chas Chandler, another character who will be part of the main cast for the show as well.

The series premieres October, 24. It will be interesting to see if demand pushes this comic's value up even further after the show becomes established.

eBay - Another comic that's becoming scarce for high grade CGC NM copies. There are two CGC 9.8s, but extremely overpriced. Best to keep an eye out for high grade CGC copies of this issue on the mighty eBay. They do pop up every now and then.

mycomicshop - Just unslabbed copies. Highest is a VF.

Preacher #2 May, 1995 (CGC 9.8)

Preacher #2 has made this list of key issue comics between $200 to $500 and it's no surprise since a television show is in the works for the Preacher character as well. This issue does hold the first appearance of Arseface.

As of this writing, Preacher #2 at CGC 9.8s have sold on average above the $200 mark, with the highest being $300. Copies around or a little past $200 are quickly drying up, though you can still catch one from time to time.

This comic may be within the $200 to $500 price range for a while, at least until the Preacher t.v. series finally airs.

eBay - Scarcity hasn't really happened yet for this issue at CGC 9.8. There's a few of them, but I do admit the selection is limited. Only one 9.6 copy though.

mycomicshop - No CGC 9.8 copies, but there are unslabbed copies that are lower. Highest is a VF/NM 9.0.

Batman The Dark Knight Returns #1 February, 1986 (CGC 9.8)

As Frank Miller so poetically put it, "Someone needed to give Batman back his balls," and that's what this limited, graphic novel series did. Miller took Batman to a chaotic reality, which the Caped Crusader comes out of retirement to fight the good fight.

Gritty and quite radical, Superman was portrayed as a mere henchman for the U.S. government, an establishment authority figure that caused a rift between Supes and Bruce Wayne . For the time, this series was groundbreaking, even so much that past writers of Batman either called or wrote letters to Frank Miller chastising him for completely ruining the character. 

This series also was the first time Superman and Batman's friendship was questioned and ultimately put the two at odds, a trend that writers later would follow as well. Still one of the best comics to invest in concerning Batman Copper Age keys.

eBay - Pretty scarce for 1st printing 9.8s. A lot of the ones up there are overpriced since the last CGC 9.8 copy sold in June for $455. It was an auction, so probably best to wait for an auction to pop up. CGC 9.6s are still reasonably priced, though.

The New Teen Titans #2 Volume 1 December, 1980 (CGC 9.8)

This issue just saw a huge surge in demand when Deathstroke debuted in an Arrow television episode. Since then the character has been featured in quite a few episodes in season one and two.

In the comics, Deathstroke is one of the main villains for both the Teen Titans and Green Arrow. The New Teen Titans #2 has the first appearance of Deathstroke The Terminator, and CGC 9.8 copies are dropping past the $400 mark already but nearing the midway mark between $400 and $500. In May, some copies have already sold at that mid-mark, and I'm predicting this comic won't be within this price range list for long until it starts breaking the $500 mark on average.

eBay - Still quite a bit of copies at CGC 9.8, but only one that's at a decent price and reflects the average value for this comic at this grade. No auctions as of yet, just Buy It Nows and some have Best Offers.

mycomicshop - CGC 9.8 Signature Series located here, but not in this price range. There is a 9.6 CGC copy in this price range, however.

ComicConnect - Two CGC 9.8 copies here. One's going up for auction June 30th and the other August 4rth.

ComicLink - Two CGC 9.8s. One is a standard Universal and the other is a Signature Series. Asking price for the 9.8 Universal is over priced.

The Amazing Spider-Man #96 May, 1971 (CGC 9.4)

A landmark issue in the history of the comics industry. With an encouraging letter from President Richard Nixon, Stan Lee wrote this story arc that depicted the dangers of drug use in the pages of Spider-Man.

Because of the Comics Code Authority, no story about drug use was ever depicted in the pages of any comic book. Marvel sent this in to the Comics Code, and they immediately rejected it. Stan Lee talked to his boss Martin Goodman about publishing this without the Codes approval. Martin Goodman agreed and assured he had Stan Lee's back in the matter.

History was made. This is the first popular, above-ground comic book that was published without the Comics Code seal of approval. DC Comics would soon follow suit and one-up Marvel by doing an anti-drug story in the pages of Green Lantern and making one of their own superheroes a drug addict. Green Lantern's anti drug issue was published with the Comic Codes seal of approval though.

Because of both Marvel and DC Comics' efforts, the Comics Code Authority would loosen their restrictions on subject matter in comics until the organization's ultimate demise. A historic and important key issue not just for Amazing Spider-Man comics but the comics industry in general. 

Definitely one of the best bronze age Spider-Man key issues to snag. Actually the whole story arc from 96 to 98 are great historic keys for the comic industry and all the issues within that ASM run were not approved by the Comics Code and did not have the Comics Code seal on the cover.

eBay - Plenty of CGC copies, but not that many CGC 9.4s. 9.8s and 9.6s are way above this price range but there are some on eBay.

mycomicshop - Only CGC 9.0s at the moment. One is a Signature Series signed by Stan Lee.

That concludes Part 4. Some of the ones outlined in this list have been on prior lists before like Hellblazer #1 and Preacher #2. Hellblazer #1 is becoming a scarce book on the market in high CGC 9.8 and 9.6 grades.

Fables #1 is a first timer here and showing a lot of promise in the market. Of course, the ASM 96 wasn't on the Amazing Spider-Man key issues list, and issue 96 is definitely a landmark key issue that needs to be addressed on here.

If you missed Part 4, just click that PREVIOUS link below to check that out. Of course, if you missed some of the other price range key issue comic lists from before, there's a list of links you can visit below to see what those are about. 

Part 5 is ready, so if you're ready to continue with this key issue comics list between $200 to $500, just click the PART 5 blue link below. Enjoy and thanks for reading!

  1. Key Issue Investment Comics Still Under $100!
  2. Key Issue Investment Comics Between $100 to $200! 
  3. Key Issue Investment Comics $500 to $1000

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Mighty Thor #165 CGC 8.0 VF

Alrighty, and we're back with a new edition of The Vault, in which I talk about either recently purchased comics or oldies in my collection that came back from CGC. This Thor #165 was from the batch I just recently got back about two weeks ago, and they were the first comics I used the four coupons that came with CGC's Premium Membership.

I've been talking about The Mighty Thor #165 for quite a while on here. It's considered the first full appearance of HIM (Adam Warlock), and as most know, there's a huge debate about whether this comic should even be connected to the first appearance of Adam Warlock in any way whatsoever. Some out there believe that Marvel Premiere #1 should have the title to that honor.

It's a good argument, but there's one flaw in that argument. Both Roy Thomas and Gil Kane admitted to actually using the character of HIM and revamping him as Warlock. Marvel Premiere #1 is actually the origin of how HIM becomes Adam Warlock. So, technically, Marvel Premiere #1 it is the first appearance of HIM as Warlock, but not the first for the character.

So I've been talking a lot about this issue and about Adam Warlock making an onscreen appearance for quite a while now. It just seemed to make sense since Thanos had a cameo bit at the end of Avengers, and when I think of Thanos, I think of Warlock. I also think of Thor and Silver Surfer also.

With the end scene showing the cocoon in Thor The Dark World, I knew it was time to bump this one on my list to get slabbed soon. This is a comic I bought at least six years ago.

This was before the new owner of one of the comic shops I frequented was there, and I really had no idea if this character would be in a movie or not. The first Thor movie wasn't even out at the time, no news of a Thor movie even happening. 

I wasn't a big Thor collector either, but it was a Silver Age comic. The tag also said "first appearance", so I asked to see it.

The comic was advertised as VF/NM, and I thought it looked about right or near it after inspection. This was about the time I wised up and really started hunting down Silver Age comics. 

Actually, I had seen that exact comic there quite a few times before. It was there at least two years, but during that time I had first seen it, I was still mainly messing around with Modern Age garbage.

With the old owner, as opposed to the newest one, I was able to haggle this copy since he always had more older comics in stock rather than on consignment. It was priced at $86, a bit high back then for that issue at the grade. So, I tried to haggle it down to $60. No luck on that, so I left that day without the comic.

After a few months, I popped in there every now and then to see that the Thor #165 was still on The Wall. Finally, the owner said he'd do it for $75, and I told him I'd do it for $67. I walked out with the issue that day and at that price.

I knew the comic wasn't in demand yet, but when I saw that nobody was snagging the comic after the longest time, I knew I could haggle it down. Sitting on a comic for years generally isn't what smart comic shop owners want to do. Remember, they do have bills to pay.

So, when I got this back from CGC and saw it was a VF 8.0, I admit I was a bit disappointed, but not much. The comic wasn't that over-graded when I bought it. If it came back a FN, I'd be a lot more pissed. Plus, I was seriously just happy that it did not come back a restored copy, and I had every reason to pleased with just that outcome alone.

I did mention to you that I had a good feeling that one of my comics would come back restored. Ever since I heard the story from the new owner of a customer who bought an Incredible Hulk 181 from the old owner and it ended up being restored, I was wary about all the high grade vintage comics I purchased from the previous owner of that comic shop.

Yes, so that's one of the reasons why I moved this comic up on my graded submissions list also. I was curious to see if I'd share the same fate. Well, I didn't with this comic, but I did with another comic that I bought from the previous owner that came back in this batch.

Any who, so this Thor 165 was a little bit over-graded, but I'm pretty pleased with it. Still a high grade Silver Age comic, though it's bottom-rung high grade. Total investment including submission, cost of comic, shipping to and return shipping from CGC was $111.18.

Right now, CGC high grade Thor 165 comics are pretty scarce online, especially on the mighty eBay. This one goes in my vault, waiting for when Adam Warlock does finally make it the silver screen, or is confirmed to do so.
If you're on the hunt for Thor key comics, just click the link to check out the key issues list for the God of Thunder on here. You can also check out The Vault section to look at more comics I've snagged in the past and why.