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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Madame Xanadu Key Comic Issues

Alright, I'm gonna try my hand at Madame Xanadu key comics series. I wouldn't expect anything overly exciting in terms of comics to invest in.

The character really didn't start out that strong, and I'd say she was awfully over-looked until news of the Justice League Dark movie in development. The character is one of the heavy magical users in the DC Universe, but I'd be hard pressed to say she is an iconic comic character or extremely popular.

Anyways, this list won't be all that in-depth as she really doesn't have that much of a supporting cast to draw from. Most of her supporting cast or comic characters she's allied herself with over the years were already established characters from various other titles and mythos.

Alright, here we go with the show.

1st appearance of Madame Xanadu
1st Madame Xanadu comic cover

Doorway to Nightmare was a horror/mystery anthology comic that was published in the late Bronze Age era, and like most horror comics, there was a traditional host for the series. That host was Madame Xanadu, but she sometimes participated in the stories as well.

She is a mystic and fortune teller who uses tarot cards to see or sense visions. She can also read people's futures.

Madame Xanadu is an occult character and can levitate objects, teleport, and ward off demons as well. Doorway to Nightmare #1 only lasted 5 issues before being cancelled.

Early in the character's history, she has been deeply connected to the Spectre and his host, Jim Corrigan. She is also a member of the Sentinels of Magic and has advised or counseled the Suicide Squad on certain affairs.

A founding member of the Justice League Dark, she is also one of the core members of the team also. Doorway to Nightmare #1 containing the 1st appearance of Madame Xanadu has the cover date of February, 1978.

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2nd appearance of Madame Xanadu

Reading her tarot cards to visitors of her parlor seeking guidance, Madame Xanadu appears for the 2nd time in this issue to tell another mystical or supernatural tale.

The creative team changed with issue concerning the very short-lived series of Doorway to Nightmare. This issue has the script by Gerry Conway with pencils by Vicente Alcazar.

Really isn't much else to say about this issue other than it's the 2nd appearance of Madame Xanadu. Doorway to Nightmare #2 has the cover date of April, 1978.

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3rd appearance of Madame Xanadu

If you think that there was anything exciting that explored a possible mythos for Madame Xanadu during her early appearances, you'll be highly disappointed. Her mythos would be developed and expanded upon much later.

So, basically her first few early appearances will just be that with nothing else much to talk about. Xanadu was the host but also an active participant. However, she was never the main character in these early appearances or stories. So, this issue basically has the 3rd appearance of Madame Xanadu and not much else.

I suppose you could make a big deal out of this issue having her 3rd cover appearance as well. Doorway to Nightmare #3 has the cover date of June, 1978.

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4th appearance of Madame Xanadu

The creative team that wrote this story in this issue are Catherine B. Andrews, Stuart Hopen, and pencils by Johnny Craig. Apparently the inconsistent team on the Madame Xanadu stories in the Doorway to Nightmare comic series was intentional and designed to pair artist and writers collaborations that never worked together before.

This issue has the 4th appearance of Madame Xanadu, and of course, has her 4th cover appearance as well. Doorway to Nightmare #4 has the cover date of August, 1978.

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5th appearance of Madame Xanadu
Last issue to titled series

The DC Implosion brought the cancellation of quite a few titles during this era in comics. Before this occurred, DC went through the DC Explosion when Marvel started flooding the comic book market with more titles that printed original content and reprints.

Because of this strategy, Marvel was taking over dominance of the comic book market, so in order to compete during the early 70s, DC Comics started doing the same. However, the strategy failed and by 1977, DC Comics cancelled titles with average sales and some newer titles in development.

Doorway to Nightmare was one of the 40% of titles that was cancelled during the implosion. Staff were even laid off at this time as well due to poor sales, inflation, and recession. Doorway to Nightmare #5 is the last issue to this comic series and has the 5th appearance of Madame Xanadu. Cover date is October, 1978

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Extremely rare
6th appearance of Madame Xanadu?

Okay, this is an interesting comic book here. This comic featured a collection of unpublished stories which were originally slated as "next issue" stories. The stories and cover was photocopied by creatives during the DC Implosion in which several titles were cancelled.

Doorway to Nightmare was among one of these titles. The story contained in this issue was suppose to printed in issue #6 before the series was cancelled. It was later reprinted in The Unexpected #190.

It actually was published and a copy sent to the U.S. copyright office. Printed copies of this issue were only distributed to the creators of the material, meaning that they were published in extremely limited quantities.

It also means that it never hit the newsstands. So, whether this should count as the 6th appearance of Madame Xanadu is open to debate.

It is a photocopied comic and copyrighted, but a lot of sources say that her next appearance in The Unexpected #190 is the story contained in this issue and is therefore a reprint. I'll let you all decide on that one. Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #1 was published around 1978, and I'm betting it is one of the rarest comics out there.

Madame Xanadu stories begin in titled series
6th general release appearance of Madame Xanadu

The story that was first published in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #1 is reprinted in this issue here. It is the general release to the public issue, but it's still widely considered a reprint.

Regardless, this here issue marks Madame Xanadu's stories being featured in the titled series. She is still a character who just tells stories from the use of her mystical tarot card readings and sometimes participates in the stories. No super-hero stuff.

What I mean is that she doesn't really get developed with a backstory during this time. That would happen in later years, I'm afraid. Her run in this titled comic series would be quite short as well.

April, 1979 is the cover date of The Unexpected #190.

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1st meeting of Madame Xanadu & Abel
1st meeting of Madame Xanadu & Phantom Stranger?
1st Frank Miller Batman artwork

This one here has definitely heated up because it's now being noted as Frank Miller's 1st Batman artwork. However, this key issue may also see the 1st meeting between Madame Xanadu and Phantom Stranger.

The two characters show up at the House of Mystery with Christmas presents, and before this, I think Madame Xanadu was still in The Unexpected title and didn't cross-over into any other titled series before this issue. Also, I don't think the Phantom Stranger was ever in The Unexpected when Madame Xanadu had a back up feature in it.

Along with Zatanna and Deadman, Phantom Stranger and Madame Xanadu would be members of the Sentinels of Magic, in which the team first appeared in Day of Judgement #1. Xanadu doesn't trust Phantom Stranger all that much.

DC Special Series #21 has the cover date of April, 1980.

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1st self-titled comic
1st appearance of Laura Grant (Ishtar)

Not sure if Laura Grant was a character that became Ishtar later or was first introduced as Ishtar. However, her first appearance is noted as being in this issue here.

Ishtar is based off the Babylonian Goddess of  love and sex, or fertility. In the Neil Gaiman Sandman series Ishtar is a love interest for Destruction.

Hey, opposites attract, right? This is also the first comic to headline Madame Xanadu, but it is a one-shot and not an on-going series. Her first headlining on-going series would come much later.

Madame Xanadu Special #1 has the cover date of 1981.

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1st meeting of Zatanna & Madame Xanadu?

The Judgement in Infinity story line starts with Wonder Woman #291, and even though Zatanna and Madame Xanadu are depicted in the very first intro splash page, it's more of a pin up page then something that kicks off the story though. You can see the splash page below to the left. Clicking it will bring up a larger image.

The actually story starts on the page after this splash page, and the two aren't actually in a panel or in the same vicinity until issue #293. Several female super-heroes were split up to fight on different Earths during the story arc.

Actually, #291 saw Zatanna and Wonder Woman team up to fight against Famine, and #292 saw Earth Two Huntress, Power-Girl, and Black Canary fight on Earth II against Plague, while Madame Xanadu, Super-Girl and Phantom Lady fight War on Earth X. The final show down climaxes in issue #293 where all the female super-heroes in the story line are brought together to battle the Adjudicator.

Madame Xanadu's last appearance was in The Unexpected comic title, and it seems she did not cross over into any mainstream comic title before Wonder Woman #291. I could not find any other sources that stated otherwise.

Of course, this issue could very well be the first published meeting of the two in which they are both participants in the same story and in the same location. I'm not saying it's the 1st chronological meeting. That I haven't a clue, but it's probably not since this Wonder Woman story line is no longer considered part of continuity.

Regardless, I'm still noting this one as the 1st meeting between Zatanna and Madame Xanadu and both fight against the Adjudicator, although Madame Xanadu has a very limited role in that. Actually, I don't see her battling at all, but she is there at the end after Zatanna sends the others back to their respective Earths except for those who belong on Earth 1.

She's in the purplish-red dress standing right by Zatanna in that last panel image, and Wonder Woman #292 definitely has the first meeting of Madame Xanadu and Super-Girl in comics. Wonder Woman #293 just might be the first meeting between Wonder Woman and Madame Xanadu as well, and this comic has the cover date of July, 1982.

1st appearance of Sentinels of Magic

Before this series, Madame Xandadu bounced around sporadically from title to title. She appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 and #12 and in the volume 2 Spectre series as a main supporting character.

Madame Xanadu was responsible for reviving Spectre after the events of his defeat in Crisis on Infinite Earths. In the Spectre volume 2 series, Madame Xanadu was an adviser to Jim Corrigan and the Spectre and developed a friendship even though it was later revealed that she conspired to steal his powers.

This issue and limited series sees the first appearance of the Sentinels of Magic. The team players were Madame Xanadu, Zatanna, Deadman, Doctor Occult, Phantom Stranger, Sentinel, Ragman, Sebastian Faust, and Raven Roth of the Teen Titans.

Asmodel bound to the Spectre entity by the Etrigan the Demon are the big bads of the Day of Judgement comic series. Day of Judgement #5 from this series sees the first appearance of Hal Jordan as the Spectre.

Day of Judgement #1 has an estimated print run of about 59,242. Cover date of this comic is November, 1999.

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1st self-titled on-going series
In-depth origin starts

This Vertigo series written by Matt Wagner of Grendel fame reveals an in-depth origin of Madame Xanadu and how she connects with so many other DC characters. The series reveals that Madame Xanadu is actually Nimue Inwudu of ancient Arthurian lore.

The series also reveals that her sister is none other than Morgaine Le Fey, also known as Morgana, who first appeared in The Demon #1 volume 1. I'm not sure if the 1st Madame Xanadu series is the 1st to reveal that Xanadu and Le Fey are sisters or not, but issue #1 does begin the story that tells in length of her connection to Morgana and Merlin as well as her role in King Arthur's Camelot.

Phantom Stranger is a major supporting character in the titled series and the stories also explain her connection with the character that is sometimes adviser and trickster. Through the series she is seen as an adviser in Kublai Khan's court (issue #4) and that she was once the lover of Zatara before he found Zatanna's mother (issue #9).

Issue #10 would reveal how her inaction was responsible for the birth of the Spectre. This series is still a bargain bin and it doesn't seem like hype has touched even issue #1 yet.

Not sure if it will or not. Madame Xanadu and the first issue to her first on-going series that details her origin has the cover date of August, 2008. Estimated North American sales to comic shops in the region is 22,064, so it doesn't have that high of a print run.

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

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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1st Justice League Dark
1st issue to comic series

The first appearance of Justice League Dark culminates with Madame Xanadu forming the team after Enchantress defeats the Justice League. The concept of the team was created by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janín for the New 52.

I've already talked quite a bit about this issue already, so I'm gonna keep it short.

Estimated copies or sales of this one is around 62,856 to 74,971 copies. Justice League Dark #1 has the cover date of November, 2011.

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Alright, that concludes this key issues series. I don't have much else to say about this one, with the exception that if you're a new fan to the character and don't know where to start...I'd probably start reading her 1st on-going Madame Xanadu comic series that details her origin in-depth. Happy hunting and see ya next time.


  1. Wow! First Frank Miller work on Batman - that really is a nice side note on this Xanadu series. I mean, if the first Miller work for DC is allready up there with around 50 bucks, that DC Special should have lots of potential, right? Snagged it up in 6.5 for 15 bucks, which should still be a bargain.

    Max Rebo

    1. It might Mr. Rebo...originally wasn't going to note it since it really doesn't have anything to do with Madame Xanadu, but thought what the hell? Might as well. Congrats on the snag!

  2. Hey mayhem. Got a question for you. Max says he snagged a copy for $15 at a 6.5 grade. Is it a wise investment to go for lower grade copies of these not so rare comics? Also I have a fine plus copy of Marvel Superheroes #13. I'm thinking of selling it. What do you think would be a fair asking price for this comic. 1st Carol Danvers. Ms marvel. Or do you think I should sit on it for the time being until just before the movie hits and hope for a bigger return?? Thanks

  3. Hey mayhem. Got a question for you. Max says he snagged a copy for $15 at a 6.5 grade. Is it a wise investment to go for lower grade copies of these not so rare comics? Also I have a fine plus copy of Marvel Superheroes #13. I'm thinking of selling it. What do you think would be a fair asking price for this comic. 1st Carol Danvers. Ms marvel. Or do you think I should sit on it for the time being until just before the movie hits and hope for a bigger return?? Thanks

    1. I've stated before in posts that it depends on the comic and from what era and at what point during a peak for a comic. For a late 1970s comic book that hasn't really peaked hard, I always try to get the highest grade possible, usually a 9.8.

      If it's already past a certain price and depending on the character, I'll move on. I don't consider Madame Xanadu a major or even remotely important character in the DCU. If movie hype is the only reason, she's getting somewhat noticed, there's no way I'm paying $700 for her 1st appearance when there's plenty of better options to invest in for me at that price.

      As for your Marvel Super-Heroes #13, I would sell if

      A. Values for most grades are dropping for that comic. It means demand has fizzled.

      B. Too many people are letting go of that comic...meaning a lot more comics of that particular key are flooding the market ie Star Wars #1 1st series from the Bronze Age.

      You need to look up the sales on gocollect. As far as I can see, Marvel Super-Heroes #13 is dropping in value. If you can sell it and still make a profit now, I'd do so. Look up what the prices are currently on eBay and what they've sold for to determine a fair price.