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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas From Total Comic Mayhem

Another Christmas and the conclusion of another year is fast approaching. I hope you all gave some good prezzies and got some good ones also.

Most of all, I hope you guys had a great time with family and friends and were safe during the silly season. Yes, it does get crazy out there during this time of the year, which is probably why online shopping is at such a high currently.

I remember when Transformers Generation One had first came out. Man, was that a crazy rush for parents back in the day to get any of those during Christmas season back then.

I was lucky to get Sunstreaker. My brother was luckier and got Megatron.

Christmas time always brings up those memories as a kid. Yesterday, me and my brother were reminiscing about the very first times we discovered Santa was our parents.

Actually, my pops is the one who did that and we learned that realization at a very early age. For my brother, my pops just straight out told him, "What are talking about Santa? I'm your Santa."

Something to that effect. For me, it was the first time I mailed my Christmas list to Santa. My dad found it in the mail, and instead of taking it like most parents do, reading it, and then secretly going out to get some of the more reasonable items on that list, he pulled me aside and educated a young me that I was wasting stamps and stamps cost "money!"

But, in truth, we would of caught on earlier anyway. My parents were immigrants and knew absolutely zero about what crazy American kids wanted or were into.

After all, we're talking about a pops who would remind us that we didn't need toys. "When I was kid, we didn't have toys," my pops would say. "We played with sticks and rocks but were just as happy."

And, hey, who wouldn't be happy with sticks and rocks as a child? I could imagine my pops and his sisters gleefully thwapping each other with sticks and pelting each other with rocks as kids. Actually, I'm pretty sure my brother would of loved to thwap his younger brother with sticks and rocks as well. He still might.

So, every year as kids and since my parents weren't all that in-tune with what crazy American youngin's desired or couldn't fathom why they wouldn't be content with sticks and rocks, my bro and I basically went with our parents to shop for own Christmas gifts. Whew, less bruises for me!

While my best-friend was surprised and excited most every year opening his presents, I knew exactly what I was getting every year since I picked it out. My brother and I laughed about it last night and we do find it funny, because we know that we were lucky.

Our parents made sure we realized how lucky we were also by reminding us that there are always people out there less fortunate. Back then as kids, I don't think we fully understood it, and later as young teens, we probably thought of them as guilt trips.

As we got older, we realized that we were and still are quite lucky. Although Thanksgiving is suppose to be the day for Americans to be appreciative, I do have to say Christmas is really the day that feeling hits me the hardest, at least for me.

So thankful for my family, good friends I've been blessed to come across in my life (you know who are), and for all of you who still think this site is informative and entertaining. Alright, before I get too preachy here, I'll end this post with a few comics you may want to know about or already have. Some are heating up there though and starting to get recognition.

Frank Miller is often credited to bringing Batman back his balls, which is how the legendary comic artist, writer, and creator bluntly puts it. DC Special  Series #21 supposedly has his first Batman story art work and is contained in the story, "Wanted: Santa Claus...Dead or Alive!"

This one is definitely steaming up in the market, but it is a pretty new recognition. Only 26 in the CGC Census so far, and it is a 1980s comic. So far zero CGC sales and very few slabbed copies in the market currently.

NM 9.4 raw copy sold on eBay for $57.76 via bidding auction in November. So if you didn't know about it, know you do. You may even have this one in your collection without realizing it.

Here's a possibility connected to the Justice League Dark. As we know, Madame Xanadu is a founding member of the Justice League Dark contained in the New 52 verse, and her 1st appearance is in this comic right here - Doorway to Nightmare #1.

She's actually the host of this horror anthology comic series that came out in 1978. Yes, it's not on the Horror Key Issues series, and I did miss this one.

The Demon #1 is already up there in price for high grades. So far this one isn't and it's a steamer upper - No slabbed copies on eBay yet but there are 68 total in the CGC Census currently.

7 of those are CGC 9.8s so far and 23 are 9.6s. You can expect those numbers to go up if this comic catches full steam movie hype and Madame Xanadu is indeed cast in the 1st flick.

So, if you like horror comics, this one might be one to consider and may still be able to get cheap raw. Just something to consider if you feel like speculating.

Since there might be a Justice League Dark craze happening soon because it appears a movie is still in the works without director Guillermo del Toro who first spearheaded the project, this one may be of interest for those who are more on a budget.

Still, it's not clear what players will be in the flick, so this is purely speculative or just in case if you're into Modern Age keys still on the cheap end. So Justice League Dark #9 introduces the new Black Orchid or Alba Garcia as the 4th incarnation of the character as well as a new team line up.

No guarantee if this character will hit the big screen as a member upfront or later in the movie franchise, but there is always a possibility. In the comics, Steve Trevor (Wonder Woman's love interest) is the one who assigns Alba to the Justice League Dark.

Maybe a long shot but who knows. When diversity in comic movies are becoming a big concern, it may not be such a stretch.

Just something to think about if you're in the mood to speculate while hunting out there, and of course, if you're more down for original character's 1st appearances, Susan Linden 1st appeared as the original Black Orchid in Adventure Comics #428 back in 1973.

That key issue also seems to be pretty overlooked in the market currently, but raw copies are much cheaper. CGCs are still relatively scarce in the market, but the CGC Census has a total of 101 copies registered so far. 

9.8s only have three to date, but I surely expect there's a lot more raw copies out there now.

Ah, okay, this one is no longer a cheapie being a Silver Age Avengers comic, but what Avengers #13 isn't widely known for is that it does hold the 1st appearance of the Maggia. Fans of Marvel Comics has at least heard or know of this international crime syndicate and it often reappears in their comics.

You even probably first heard of them in the Punisher comics. Bruno Costa and the Costa Crime Family (those responsible for killing Frank Castle's family), are well-know associates of the Maggia. Count Nefaria also makes his 1st appearance in this comic as well, but that notation is more widely known than the 1st Maggia.

Right now, the Maggia will appear on Agent Carter and casting has already been reported. Looks like Whitney Frost and Joseph Manfredi are slated to appear in season two of the TV show.

Madame Masque, also known as Whitney Frost, real name Giulietta Nefaria, 1st appeared in Tales of Suspense #97 as Big M. Yep, that is the same comic where Whiplash is 1st introduced as well, and that seems to take more precedent in the market and by industry currently.

So, even though hype for Whiplash's 1st appearance pretty much dried up after Iron Man 2, the comic is still significant for the 1st appearance of Big M or Whitney Frost. Her 1st appearance is a bit tricky though.

However, Whitney Frost's 1st appearance as herself is in the next issue of Tales of Suspense #98. That's the issue where Captain America and Black Panther has their 1st published meeting and go at it as well, but this may not really be a 1st appearance.

CGC nor Overstreet note Tales of Suspense #98 as the 1st appearance of Whitney Frost. Perhaps it's really not that big o' deal just yet, or perhaps we should just consider the character's over-all 1st appearance in Tales of Suspense #97? 

Dunno, but probably debatable. Maybe it should just be considered Big M revealed to be Whitney Frost? Or, to keep things simple, the 2nd appearance of Big M or Whitney Frost?

Whitney Frost's 1st appearance as Madame Masque or when she is actually given and identified under that code name is in Iron Man #17. Once again, it's noted by Overstreet or CGC either. 

Then again, the 1st appearance of the character over-all isn't noted in Tales of Suspense #97 either by industry. Perhaps Iron Man #17 should just be considered Whitney Frost becomes Madame Masque?

Whitney Frost is the daughter of Luchino Nefaria (Count Nefaria) and is obviously a well-known member of the Maggia. Once again, Maggia Crime Family!

Joseph Manfredi 1st appeared in Daredevil #118 as the super-villain Blackwing. He is the son of Silvio Manfredi, one of the heads of the Maggia families otherwise known as the Silvermane Family. Yes, Silvio is the villain known as Silvermane and 1st appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #73.

So, I wonder if the Netflix stuff will at least give a nod to the Maggia in the future. Not sure about the rights to these characters. However, it looks like Agent Carter will bring the Maggia to the small screen quite soon, and I wonder if Count Nefaria will even get his due in the TV series eventually.

Just a little something-something else to take into account as well, or, at least, it's fun knowing about it. CGC notes the 1st appearance of Count Nefaria, but so far CGC nor Overstreet note it as the 1st appearance of the Maggia.

Alright, folks. Enough of that.

Not saying they're gonna blow up huge or anything, but it's just some key issue knowledge if you didn't know. Once again, Merry Christmas all!


  1. Hi Mayhem,

    thanks for sharing these childhood memories! I guess its true what you said about online shopping. I myself buy most comics on ebay nowadays. My experience is that you get a bad apple in one out of 4 transactions. Well, I can live with that. For instance, I got an Werewolf by night 33 which had a little stamp on the cover. But just imagine the joy as I got my New Mutants 98 (which was sold as a 9,2 - 9,4) and found out its more like a 9,6! So, all is well in our new era of collecting.

    All the best from

    Speculation Jones

    1. Heya Major Jones, it's a lot less hassle...I suppose..if everything goes smooth. I think I'd rather return an item to an actual store than have to do it returns is a pain the butt for the most part.

      I guess there's good things and bad things bout it. I like not having to deal with large crowds. Well, I don't mind comic con crowds, but silly season crowds? I'm a major Scrooge when it comes to dealing with them.

      Great snags by the way!

  2. Hey y' all,

    I can only confirm the statement from above. My experiences with ebay are mixed, but in the end I can give a thumbs up. Would be great to hear some other voices. Anything one should look out for or take into account while buying/ biding on ebay?

    Max Rebo

    1. I've had mixed experiences on eBay as well. Quite a few over-grade and every now and then...if you dare'll get a raw restored copy...usually of a much older mega key.

      Some peeps are deceptive and marry pages or covers onto some heavy hitter keys. Basically that means taking out the original cover or some really screwed up pages better called leafs and replacing them with a better one from another copy.

      Then they sell them on eBay as complete or unrestored and charge guide or over price as well.

      If there's lots of pictures, I'll be more likely to consider bidding or buying an item on eBay. Also watch out for seller profiles. Some are trying to scam people by hiding their profile feedback and they are relatively new to eBay.

      Sometimes they're selling really valuable keys for extremely low prices with Fixed Price auctions. Not always the case, but sometimes.

      If a seller doesn't have much selling feedback or any at all (0), I usually pass, especially if they're selling a major key at a ridiculously low price. Then again, some are just trying to get rid of it and don't know what they really have or just need the money, so it's hard to tell and gamble.

  3. Yo,

    it' s Ace, the staff member of the week. About damn time people began to recognize Adventure Comics 428 and the first appearance of the Black Orchid. Comicbookdaily had a spotlight on this one a few months ago, before the JLA Dark tv news. I guess it had to do with the fact that the New52 character was more oriented towards this version than the Gaiman makeover. Speeking of Comicbookdaily - they recently featured the 1. appearance of the Shroud as investment pick (Super Villain Team Up 5). Never heard of that guy allthough he' s been around. What do you think about this one, Mayhem?


    1. Heya, Ace, hope you had a great Christmas. Shroud is one of those characters that completely flew under my radar, so I know absolutely little about the character or his significance. I probably wouldn't be the best one to take advise concerning whether his first appearance is a good investment or not - short-term or long-term. Just being honest here.

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  5. Super Villain Team Up 5 is a great book to buy now.The Shroud is everywhere....and under-valued. Walter from Undervalued Spotlight is always ahead of the curve, similar to Mayhem. Strongly recommend this book in 9.4 or higher ...even better, get the PRICE VARIANT (30 cents) because they are very scarce indeed!!! Www.comic link. Com has one in 9.4 (cgc). Ebay has a couple of raw copies in 6.0- 7.0 for those on a tight budget. However, Always try to get an 8.0 or higher if it's for a solid investment bUT try to obrain the top three grades whenever they pop up for sale. Always aim for the highest grade you could afford.