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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Undervalued & Sleeper Comics Part 9

Part 9 to this undervalued and sleeper comics series will see me challenging some key notations and giving my reasons why. Many of these are already known for other 1st appearances, but they also have key notations that are over-looked as well.

As usual, you can make up your own mind about whether they're a big deal or not. Some I believe are undervalued, and I'll state my case in why I believe so.

Of course, it can be disputed as any opinion of what's deemed under-valued, but I always try to compare it to something else unless it's just a plain sleeper comic that hardly anyone knows about. Whether most care or not is a different story.

Click the Part 8 link if you missed it. Otherwise, here's the next batch.

1st Chris Claremont Marvel comic script

Definitely a sleeper as in not that well-known, Daredevil #102 is Chris Claremont's 1st Marvel script. He did begin his career in comics as a Marvel editorial assistant prior and his first Marvel credit was a plot assist in X-Men #59.

However, his 1st professional scripting assignment is this issue right here. I'm surprised that this bad boy has not yet been noted by industry at all.

Chris Claremont has been an extremely influential comic writer and has created or co-created an impressive amount of characters such as Mr. Sinister, Rogue, Psylocke, Jubilee, Mystique, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Summers, Madelyne Pryor, Sabretooth, Phoenix, Gambit, Moira MacTaggert, the Hellfire Club, and Captain Britain just to name a few.

Needless to say, Claremont has been instrumental in the X-Men's success, helping to make the X-Men title one of the most popular comics ever. Okay, sure, he's not a comic artist or a comic artist/writer but he still is one the forces that helped to revitalize a flopping comic title.

I think people forget that the X-Men comic title was on the verge of being cancelled when the new X-Men team 1st appeared and Claremont took the writing reigns in issue #94. Claremont isn't all that tied to the character of Daredevil, sure, but his work for Marvel has been important indeed.

Daredevil #102 should at least be more well-known. Not saying you should rush out and buy it or anything. Well, unless you're a hard core fan of Chris Claremont or Daredevil.  Daredevil #102 has the cover date of August, 1973.

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1st true appearance of The Rogues

Although certain members of what would become known as Flash's Rogues Gallery were seen in Flash #130, this issue here sees the 1st appearance of the group as a single unit. Actually, Overstreet notes the 1st appearance of the Gauntlet of Super-Villains in Flash #130, but I don't think that is correct.

For one and despite the cover, the Rogues never work together as a single unit in that issue. They're also not really seen together in that issue either. Actually, the individual Rogue members were still in prison and it was a public defender named Paul Berrett who was masquerading at different times as Captain Cold, Trickster, the Top, Captain Boomerang and Mirror Master in public.

He was under the control of Mirror Master, and Mirror Master is actually the only one who escapes from prison and faces the Flash in issue #130. Furthermore, the story in Flash #155 is titled The Gauntlet of Super-Villains, and Flash's Rogue Gallery do actually all show up together against the Scarlet Speedster quite briefly in this issue here.

The Rogues that appeared in this issue are Captain Cold, The Top, Gorilla Grodd, Heatwave, Mirror Master, Captain Boomerang, and the Pied Piper. So there is my case.

The Rogues are to Flash what the Sinister Six is to Spider-Man. The Rogues were some of the deadliest enemies of the Flash to team up, even though Professor Zoom never joined the group.

Of course, membership had a revolving door of sorts, but Captain Cold was always a core member. He was often the team leader as well.

So, this issue is not that well-known yet, and it is under-valued for that reason. Considering that Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 and the 1st appearance of the Sinister Six comic issue is already up there in price and this one at a 9.2 low NM is only at $200, I do consider that quite under-valued.

I'm marking this one as the true first appearance of The Rogues, but technically, it should just be the 1st appearance of The Rogues and not Flash #130. Cover date for Flash #155 is September, 1965.

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1st Claremont & Byrne X-Men collaboration
Last issue

Mr. Max Rebo brought this one up in a comment in the previous part to this series, and while I wasn't trying to compare Marvel Team Up #53 to this comic here in a matter of which is more important, Rebo does have a point that this should be a highly desired X-Men key. Actually, I thought it was going for much more than it actually is, so this one here might go in the under-valued category although it is not a cheap buy anymore.

And, I do believe it is undervalued, but don't get me wrong here, as that is surely debatable. So, what's my reasoning for this belief?

Two names here: Denny O'Neil & Neal Adams. There's no doubt that Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adam's 1st collaboration on the Green Lantern comic series in issue #76 is one of the most hailed creative duos out of the Bronze Age for comic fans.

Green Lantern #76 is a huge key issue and quite valuable. Okay, so John Byrne and Chris Claremont's very 1st collaborative work, or at least published work, was in the Marvel Premiere #25 issue.

However, the dynamic duo are more widely known for their creative brilliance on the X-Men series. Not to say that Iron Fist #15 isn't valuable. It's in the $400 range for CGC 9.8s, and actually it dropped from the $600 to $700 range.

However, Green Lantern #76 is in the $3,000 range for CGC 9.4s, and in the $1000 zone for slabbed 9.0s. That's quite a disparity there, but then again Green Lantern #76 did come out in 1970 and this issue here came out in 1977.

Even Marvel Premiere #25 (1975) is only in the $200 range for CGC 9.8s. I don't have to say just how many X-Men creations the creative duo spawned together that have made the big screen or even small screen in the form of animations.

Some of the characters this duo created that wound up in movies are Kitty Pryde, Sabretooth, Hellfire Club, Sebastian Shaw, Emma Frost, Vindicator (X-Men Origins), Senator Robert Kelly, Mariko Yashida, and Pyro. Hell, a whole movie was based off their classic story line Days of Future Past. John Byrne even co-created Scott Lang but not with Claremont.

So, I think this issue is a bit under-valued in terms of the significant contributions the two made as a creative team and also comparing it to the other significant duo of O'Neil and Adams. Once again, I'm not saying this key issue should be on par with Green Lantern #76 or more valuable, but Iron Fist #25 should maybe be a bit more valuable than it is currently.

Some would say a lot more, but that's a matter of opinion. So far there's only 683 in the CGC Census currently. I think I'd expect more raw copies to eventually get slabbed, but there are only 38 CGC 9.8s at the time of this writing.

Green Lantern #76 has a total of 1408 in the census currently with only 2 CGC 9.8s. Damn!

After all, there are other comics that are going for more than this one with less significance like Harley Quinn #1 Adam Hughes variant. Anyways, it truly is just my opinion, but I do have points.

Don't get me wrong here. I do like Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns series and 1st prints of issue #1 are going for more than this key.

In reality, Frank Miller supposedly brought Batman his balls back, but that's coming from his own mouth. Other than that, his work wasn't really that influential over-all to Batman's mythos like what Chris Claremont and John Byrne did for the X-Men mythos in terms of character creations and the comic's themes and over-all feel. They (Claremont and Byrne) truly did revitalize and revolutionize the X-Men comic franchise.

I'm not disputing that the Dark Knight Returns isn't a classic story. Of course, it is. I'm just saying that Iron Fist #15 and the 1st X-Men collaboration between Claremont & Byrne should be up there.

In my opinion, it should be as valuable if not more than Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns #1.

1st Prime Earth appearance of Jason Blood
1st Prime Earth appearance of Madame Xanadu
1st appearance of the Questing Queen & the Horde

Not saying this under-valued. Definitely not saying that.

However, a sleeper?  Yeah, pretty much.

If you're a fan of all the New 52 stuff, 1st appearances of character's Prime Earth versions may appeal to you. If not, then completely skip this comic for sure.

Justice League Dark #1 has the 1st appearance of the team, but it also has the 1st appearances of Prime-Earth Zatanna and John Constantine according to some sources. Demon Knights #1 also has the 1st Prime Earth appearances of Jason Blood (Demon) and Madame Xanadu.

As we all know, the Justice League Dark team is from Prime Earth. There's no version of the team prior just yet.

I mean, just yet because a writer can always retcon that there was. So, this key might have significance enough to be noted or at least known.

The Questing Queen is the main villain of this series, and she is the lover of Mordru. They rule what's called the Horde in the DC Universe. Vandal Savage was once a general of the Horde, and the Horde also make their first appearance in this comic.

The Horde are an ancient 6th century warrior tribe in Europe. Estimated North American comic shop sales for this issue are around 37,442.

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X-MEN #130
1st appearance of Dazzler
1st full appearance of Sebastian Shaw?

Okay, everyone knows this isn't a sleeper for sure as it's the 1st appearance of Dazzler. Under-valued is questionable, and I'll tell ya why as usual.

What really isn't all that known is this comic should have the 1st full appearance of Sebastian Shaw. He is only shown in shadow in X-Men #129 and only in 3 panels. Sounds like a brief appearance to me, but so far everyone notes X-Men #129 as the 1st appearance of Sebastian Shaw.

He is clearly visible in X-Men #130 and shows up enough in X-Men #130 to be called a 1st full appearance. I believe Shaw shows up in 10 panels or more.

We'll have to see if industry takes notice of this fact and changes the key notations for X-Men #129 and this issue here. Either way, still a good issue to have, but if they do see the contradiction and end up noting this Sebastian Shaw's 1st full appearance, that just might give this issue more umpff in value and desirability.

Personally, I could care less if they do or don't. Both issues are good either way. I'm just sayin' there's a chance they could add the key notation in the near or later future.

I don't see too many fans making a fuss about this one any how.

X-MEN #132
1st X-Men vs. Hellfire Club
1st full appearance of Donald Pierce
1st appearance of Tessa
1st appearance of Henry Leland
Jason Wyngarde revealed as Mastermind

This one is a sleeper, as in not that well-known for it's key issue goodness. As X-Men fans know, the Hellfire Club has become an important group in the X-Men mythos.

Not only may this issue see the 1st full appearance of Donald Pierce the White Bishop, it also has the 1st appearance of Henry Leland, the Black Bishop of the Hellfire club. Not that popular as Emma Frost or Sebastian Shaw, but they are prominent members of the group.

Okay, X-Men #131 sees Emma frost going at it with Jean Grey, but this issue sees the 1st battle between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club. Emma Frost is absent from the battle though and she only appears in flashback.

A member connected to the Hellfire Club is the character of Tessa. She first appears as herself in this issue (unidentified), but this character would later become Sage in X-Men #109 from the 2nd series.

Tessa was a secret member of the original X-Men (obviously a retcon), and she was used as a spy to infiltrate the Hellfire Club under Professor Xavier's orders. I dunno about you, but sounds like a cool character to throw in a TV show about the Hellfire Club. What show doesn't need a little espionage?

So, the character makes her 1st appearance in this issue. She's only shown in 3 panels, however, and isn't identified as Tessa until Marvel Graphic Novel #4.

Sage has a mind that can store unlimited amounts of data, so basically her mind is like a super, super computer. In her early appearances, although unnamed, she was an adviser to Sebastian Shaw.

Her 1st full appearance just might be in X-Men #151 or Marvel Graphic Novel #4, a long with the New Mutants. I am not 100% sure about either though.

Sage has been a prominent character in the X-titled comics. As for Jason Wyngarde being revealed as Mastermind, his character first showed up as Mastermind and part of the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in good ole X-Men #4. If the character of Jason Wyngarde ends up on the show as a main character, X-Men #4 might get a bit of a boost as well.

Lots of stuff going on in this issue for sure. Sleeper for some key notations worth mentioning. Undervalued? Could be if the Hellfire TV series becomes a smash hit or if fans realize the multitude of goodness in this key X-Men comic.

What I didn't note is that this comic also has the 1st cover appearance of Sebastian Shaw and pretty much the Hellfire Club, minus Emma Frost. So, definitely more than meets the eye for this key issue, and it's a jam-packed key. 

Otherwise, just some good facts to know as a comic fan or X-Men fan.

As mentioned before, some of the sleepers on here are sleepers for certain key notations. They may already be recognized for something like X-Men #130 and the 1st appearance of Dazzler.

Regardless, X-Men #130 might be the 1st full appearance of Sebastian Shaw since the character is only in shadow in 3 panels in X-Men #129. He is, however, called by name in X-Men #129, or, at least, his last name. 

Demon Knights #1 is pretty much a true sleeper, meaning it's not well-known for anything as of yet. That one is a risky speculation in my opinion, but who knows?

Flash #155 may be a sleeper if industry does see my argument about it being the real or true 1st appearance of The Rogues. There's a good chance they won't since I don't make that much of a fuss about it, and it's debatable. 

If you're a fan of the Flash and The Rogues it may be a comic worth considering. Still, because it's not well-known doesn't mean it's not valuable.

As for the other X-Men comics featured here, I basically threw those in there because of the Hellfire TV series that's being cooked up. They may or may not be considered true sleepers since they are pretty valuable in high grades already.

Them being under-valued is a matter of opinion, as it usually boils down to. Anyways, thanks for reading and happy hunting out there.


  1. Hi M.,

    that Daredevil 102 sure is a great find! That' s why I love this hobby. After years of collecting you still get these surprises. Talking of cheap investments: Madame Masque will be in Agent Carter Season 2 - so you better get yourself an Iron Man 17 while you still can.


  2. The final panel in X-Men 132 is the most iconic image of Wolverine EVER in my opinion. That's why I purchased it years ago.

  3. hey TCM im more of a marvel collector but what to try and get some DC comics soon since they r starting the JLA story. what are your top ten silver age DC comics to collect. besides SC 4 and B&B 28 I have no damn idea. thanks man JW

    1. Heya goes it? Well, in my opinion and in no particular order of importance...

      1. Showcase #22 1st Hal Jordan.
      2. Justice League of America #9 1st origin of JLA
      3. Green Lantern #1 1st appearance of Guardians of the Universe.
      4. Brave & The Bold #29 2nd appearance of Justice League of America. 2nd Aquaman & Martian Manhunter cover.
      5. Brave and the Bold #54 1st appearance of Teen Titans
      6. Wonder Woman #98 - 1st S.A. Wonder Woman/origin
      7. Wonder Woman #99 - 2nd S.A. Wonder Woman/origin of Diana Prince I.D.
      8. Showcase #23 - 2nd appearance Hal Jordan
      9. Flash #110 - 1st appearance Kid Flash (Wally West)
      10. Hawkman #4 - 1st appearance of Zatanna

    2. thanks tcm been doing well here ready for spring time though JW