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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Non 1st Appearance Origin Key Comics

PART 1 | PART 2 | PART 3 | PART 4 | PART 5 | PART 6 | PART 7 | PART 8 | PART 9 

Alright, I mulled over what the heck to call this and that title is the best I could come up with. I think it's still pretty darn confusing. So this list will contain the 1st origin of characters or villains that don't have their origins a long side their debut appearances in comics.

So, a character has their 1st appearance in one issue and their 1st origin revealed in another after their debut. No Avengers #1 or X-Men #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15. No retold origins with or without new information unless it's from the DC side of things.

That means a Silver Age origin for a Silver DC character or Earth-One version that does not include the 1st Silver Age appearance of the same character in the same issue. Since DC has the whole Earth-Two (Golden Age) and Earth-One (Silver Age) versions of characters in the Pre-Crisis era, I'll include those origins.

I was recently requested this and asked if 1st origins are good comic investments. Once again, depends on the character or characters and era, but some 1st origins can surely be great comics to invest in for sure.

An interesting  request and change up, so I figured why not? Here we go!

Origin of Batman 1st told

Unlike Superman, the Dark Knight did not include his origin story a long side his 1st appearance. It wasn't until issue #33 of Detective Comics that Bruce Wayne and his origin in becoming the Batman was revealed.

Like Superman, this is probably one of the most well-known and famous comic book origins in history. Fan or not, you've probably heard the traumatic tale of young Bruce Wayne watching his parents gunned down before his eyes.

Over the years, this tale has been retold again in the pages of DC Comics, but these retellings have remained largely faithful to the original for the most part. Probably one of the more valuable 1st origin keys that doesn't debut the featured character, but then again, this key comic book is from the Golden Age and an early Batman comic.

So far the highest CGC graded copy are two 9.2s and one of them is Restored. Over-all, Detective Comics #33 has a total of 76 graded copies in the CGC Census at the time of this writing, so not exactly a plentiful comic.
I don't really have to say whether this comic is a good investment, considering it's the origin story of one of the most iconic super-heroes in comics and that it's rare. Hell, a CGC 4.5 sold on eBay for $17,200.00 back in 2012, and a VG 4.0 guides currently at $15,200.

9.2 highest graded copy? Guides at $150,000 smackers, but how well has this done throughout the years? Let's take a looksie with Overstreet.

Overstreet 1982-83 12th Edition
Overstreet 1990-91 20th Edition

Mint: $1,600
Fine: $750
Good: $275

Near Mint: $6,500
Fine: $2,710
Good: $1,083

Overstreet 2002-03 33rd Edition
Overstreet 2015-16 45th Edition

Near Mint: $55,000
Very Fine/Near Mint: $41,250
Very Fine: $27,500
Fine: $11,000 
Very Good: $7,334
Good: $3,667

Near Mint (low): $150,000
Very Fine/Near Mint: $103,500
Very Fine: $57,000
Fine: $22,800
Very Good: $15,200
Good: $7,600

Pretty much a no-brainer there, but affordability wise? Pretty much out of reach for most, including yours truly.

Even if you got the moolah, this comic isn't really all that easy of find if you're particular about grades. Detective Comics #33 and the first origin of the Batman has the cover date of November, 1939.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st origin of the Joker

The Joker remained a mystery to comic fans for quite some time. Although 1st appearing in Batman #1, Joker's origin was never revealed in his early appearances.

Finally, Bill Finger decided to drop the bomb with this issue and detailed how the Joker became one of the most maniacal and iconic comic book villains of all time. For some odd reason, the Joker was going around as the Red Hood, but was captured by a school gardener named Earl Benson.

Benson, realizing that he could use the Red Hood costume to commit crimes without being blamed, caught the attention of Batman and Robin. When they finally revealed that Benson was an imposter posing as the real Red Hood, Earl explains he captured the real Red Hood and tied him up in a tool shed.

He leads Batman and Robin to the tool shed, and there they discover the Joker is Benson's captive. The Joker then tells of how he dived into a vat of chemicals one time, and although the hood kept him alive, the toxic chemicals turned him into the iconic evil-looking clown he is today.

This origin story was retold much better in Alan Moore's Batman The Killing Joke in 1988. It's apparent that some elements in Moore's origin story remained somewhat faithful to the origin story already laid out by Bill Finger.

Vat of chemicals, check! Red Hood, check! Chemicals disfigure Joker, check!

Right now there are only 84 total registered CGC copies for this key origin issue. 
Highest are two 9.2s and both are Universal copies, and the latest sale of the highest graded CGC copy I could find was a 9.0 VF/NM. It sold at Heritage for $7,767.50 back in 2011, but a CGC 8.5 sold a year after for $15,025 at ComicLink a year after.

Here's the Overstreet data on how this comic has performed over the decades.

Overstreet 1982-83 12th Edition
Overstreet 1990-91 20th Edition

Mint: $140
Good: $24

Near Mint: $950
Fine: $395
Good: $158

Overstreet 2002-03 33rd Edition
Overstreet 2015-16 45th Edition

Near Mint: $4,200
Very Fine/Near Mint: $3,150
Very Fine: $2,100
Fine: $1,008
Very Good: $672
Good: $336

Near Mint (low): $15,000
Very Fine/Near Mint: $10,460
Very Fine: $5,920
Fine: $2,433
Very Good: $1,622
Good: $811

Not surprised that this comic has done quite well over the years. Definitely a major key issue for the Joker. Detective Comics #168 has the cover date of February, 1951.

eBay | mycomicshop | ComicLink | ComicConnect

1st origin of Poison Ivy

To be surprised or not to be? Kinda strange that Poison Ivy would get her very first origin so much later after her first appearance in Batman #181 (1966). Then again, the Joker had a pretty late 1st origin story as well, but at least those his first origin was in the same era as his 1st appearance.

So writer Gerry Conway decides to finally give this recurring and fan-favorite Batman villainess her very first origin story in pages of World's Finest Comics. The odd thing is that her 1st origin isn't in a Batman story in this comic.

It's in a Wonder Woman story. Yep, you read that right - A Wonder Woman story, and this story is a two parter that begins in the previous issue of #251.

However, it's this issue here where we find out that Poison Ivy was once a student named Lillian Rose and had fallen in love with her botany teacher, Prof. Marc Legrand. Unfortunately, her botnay teacher was also a crook and seduced the young Lillian to steal Egyptian herbs from an exhibit.

After trying to kill Lillian with an herbal poison to cover his tracks, Lillian Rose survived and ended up becoming immune to all poisons. This origin, of course, was greatly retconned in Secret Origins #36 written by Neil Gaiman, and Poison Ivy's civilian name is changed to the more well-known and accepted Pamela Isley.

Right now with the market as a whole, World's Finest Comics #252 is a major sleeper. Hardly anyone recognizes it or knows. It's not noted by CGC nor guide and probably all the third-party grading services.

Major sleeper for the 1st origin of one of Batman's more well-known and popular female villains. Then again, it is a late Bronze Age comic, and I expect it to have a low CGC Census. Not because it's rare, but more because most collectors don't know about this one yet and haven't begun submitting en mass
Okay, I'll humor you. So far there are 6 total in the CGC Census and all of them are high grade. Highest grade currently are two 9.8s. Expect more of those to pop up when more comic collectors learn about this key issue.

Since this comic is still a sleeper, don't expect this origin key to have performed all that well throughout the years, but here's the Overstreet data if you wanna know.

Overstreet 1982-83 12th Edition
Overstreet 1990-91 20th Edition

Mint: $1,20
Fine: $.60
Good: $

Near Mint: $1.50
Fine: $.75
Good: $.25

Overstreet 2002-03 33rd Edition
Overstreet 2015-16 45th Edition

Near Mint: $20
Very Fine/Near Mint: $17
Very Fine: $13
Fine: $6
Very Good: $4
Good: $2

Near Mint (low): $22
Very Fine/Near Mint: $18
Very Fine: $13
Fine: $6
Very Good: $4
Good: $2

Will be interesting to see if this comic catches on in the future, and how much it will in case it does. It will also be interesting to see how much larger the total submission total becomes in the CGC Census a few years from now as well. September, 1978 is the cover date for World's Finest Comics #252.

1st Earth One S.A. origin of Lex Luthor
1st time name "Lex" is used

Even though Guide notes this as a retelling of Lex Luthor's origins, I cannot find his first origin ever told for the life of me. I've already detailed that the Golden Age Luthor was only referred to as Luthor and later was retconned with the name of Alexie Luthor when the multi-verse became a prominent part of the DC Universe Pre-Crisis.

I've also already informed that Golden Age Superman had no career as Superboy, only the Earth-One Superman did. So, I think this is the actual first origin of Earth-One Lex Luthor. It's also the first issue where the character actually gets a first name.

While Luthor had previously been an arch enemy of Superman for years, this origin gives Lex Luthor a more personal reason for why he hates the Man of Steel. In this origin story, it's written that Lex lives in Smallville and is a huge fan of Superboy.

The two actually become friends, and Lex is a mad genius. Superboy builds Luthor a lab, and  Lex starts a fire in there by accident while conducting an experiment. In blowing out the flames, Superboy saves Lex but also destroys his experiment.

Superboy's heroics also causes Lex to lose all of his hair. Enraged at the destruction of his formula or experiment, Luthor develops a hate on for Superboy that would later carry on into his Superman years.

Some sources say that the first Earth-One appearance of Luthor is in Action Comics #199, but there's really no distinction that separates Earth-Two Luthor and Earth-One Lex Luthor during the crazy transition of explaining the multi-verse in those early comics.

Well, except for the fact that Earth-Two Luthor does not know Superboy and that Earth-One Lex Luthor does know Superboy and has the first name of Lex. So, pretty hard to say when it comes to which version of Luthor is which before this comic.

Publishing wise, Superboy first meets Lex Luthor in Superboy #59 (1957), but Lex poses as a villain called Amazing Man. I'm not sure if he is revealed to be Luthor in that issue or if it was retconned in a later issue.

Once again, I have no idea if the character of Luthor had an earlier origin story, but this issue here does hold the 1st Silver Age origin of Earth-One Lex Luthor and gives a more personal reason why this arch nemesis wants to take down the Man of Steel.

Of course, there would be other origins for the different versions of Lex Luthor in later comics. This one is pretty over-looked at the moment and higher grades of this key origin comic aren't easy finds at all.

Adventure Comics #271 has a not so surprisingly low CGC Census with only 28 total submissions so far. The highest currently are two 9.4 NMs, and one is under the Qualified Label. 
Common sense plays into this. Remember, this isn't as scarce as it looks according to the census data. Adventure Comics #271 is just being recognized as an important comic for it's first Silver Age origin of the Earth-One Luthor and the more popularly known Lex Luthor.

A CG 9.4 copy sold at Heritage for only $338.88 back in 2008. Below is how this comic performed in Overstreet over the years, but take into mind that this comic is still highly over-looked currently.

Overstreet 1982-83 12th Edition
Overstreet 1990-91 20th Edition

Mint: $15
Fine: $7.50
Good: $2.50

Near Mint: $65
Fine: $28
Good: $9.50

Overstreet 2002-03 33rd Edition
Overstreet 2015-16 45th Edition

Near Mint: $320
Very Fine/Near Mint: $255
Very Fine: $190
Fine: $99
Very Good: $66
Good: $33

Near Mint (low): $575
Very Fine/Near Mint: $411
Very Fine: $246
Fine: $120
Very Good: $80
Good: $40

April, 1960 is the cover date for Adventure Comics #271. I leave it up to you to decide whether this comic has potential growth, but I generally think it does and is quite under-valued and over-looked

That's just my opinion on the matter, however. This issue isn't easy to find in high grades, but it seems there are quite a few low grades out there in the market currently.

Adventure Comics #271 has the cover date of April, 1960.

As usual, this will be split up into different parts. There's quite a bit of information presented here, and it was to serve the main purpose of research.

Not all origins are slapped in with a 1st appearance, and part of the purpose of this post was to illustrate whether 1st origin key issues are good comic investments and how they've performed. As I said in the beginning of the post, it really depends.

Character and character demands has a lot to do with it, as does the rarity of the actual book. For instance and even though Poison Ivy is a widely popular character, there's really no comparison to her origin story in World's Finest Comics #252 to the Joker's origin story in Detective Comics #168.

There's more likely a lot more copies of World's Finest Comics #252 out there in the world than Detective #168. Also, not too many peeps know about World's Finest Comics #252 and the key issue goodness it holds.

Still, you should not confuse the two and assume that World's Finest Comics #252 will blow up to the prices of Detective Comics #168 if it does catch on. Remember, character and era here, and there's a lot less supply for the demand concerning Detective #168 than there most likely is for World's Finest Comics #252.

Still, room to grow? Sure, it's a sleeper, and even though Adventure Comics #271 isn't exactly a sleeper, it's not that well-known. Sure, it's known for being an origin retold (still have no clue and cannot find the first origin of Luthor), but Adventure Comics #271 is not that well-known for being the 1st Silver Age origin for Earth-One Lex Luthor or even that it's the first time the name "Lex" is used ever in comics.

So, for that fact, I'd even consider Adventure Comics #271 a sleeper of sorts even though it's already up there in price for high grades. That's the other goal of this series - to help determine what might actually be rare as opposed to something that's just over-looked and generally no bother for most collectors to get graded at the time of this writing.

If we manage to catch a few sleepers a long the way, that's always a bonus too but not really the main objective. Anyways, more origin key comics that does not include the 1st appearance of the character is ready in Part 2, so just click the link to continue.


  1. Holy Makerel! The hunt for Worlds Finest Comics 252 will be on, no doubt about that. Thanks for that little easter surprise. Hope everyone is well and enjoys the holidays. I finally found the time to read my New Mutants 98 and the first appearance of the Red Tornado. Still can' t get over the fact that Deadpool used to shot things from his hands, kinda like Spiderman. Obviously they got rid of that.

    Speculation Jones

    1. No worries Major Jones. Just a little find I came across and was like, No way? Really? I thought her origin was in Batman #181!

      They should bring that back with Deadpool...kinda cool being able to shoot things out from your hands.

  2. Got a question on Spawn comics. Would it be worth getting #1 and #9 for about $55 including postage and import tax, both in NM conditions?

    1. hmmmm...dunno about that one. It depends what country you're at or where you buying. I mean, some NM Spawns #1 go for $8.00 or lower and the same with #9 or higher for NM. Let's say $17 bucks for both and $38 for shipping and import tax? Not sure, since I don't buy from international sellers that often. What's your experience? Sound a bit hefty or reasonable?