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Monday, March 13, 2017

Undervalued and Sleeper Comics Part 13

More sleepers, over-looked, or undervalued comics? Possibly.

As mentioned before, the term "undervalued" is always subjective but there should be some criteria at least. For instance, what era are they from? How well-known is the key issue or how popular?

Is it really that much more rare just because it's from the Golden Age? Why is a Golden Age #1 issue that doesn't debut anyone of significance or have a game-changin' story worth more than a Silver Age 1st appearance of a pretty significant character when both seem to be pretty scarce in the market?

How does it compare to some comics out there that are hot currently, especially the newer stuff? Should a certain comic be more recognized due to character popularity? These are some questions I do ask for quite a few of these comics.

To me, Sleepers are comics that are not that well-known like Detective Comics #373. Over-looked comics might be known or not all that known.

For example, a well-known comic or key might be over-looked because of the perception of over-printing during the 90s. Could be over-looked because there's not movie or TV hype for it currently, or it isn't just all that well-known in the market but is an important key.

That's just how I view these, so here's the next batch. Click this Part 12 link if you missed it.

1st origin of Poison Ivy

For an extremely popular DC Comics or Batman villain, this origin of Poison Ivy is still very much a sleeper or quite over-looked. Sure, it's not really the accepted origin for the character and it was retconned later. However, this origin by Gerry Conway is the 1st ever told for the character and it is considered the origin for the Silver Age Poison Ivy. Bob Haney wrote the Superman and Batman story in this comic.

In this issue here, 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 gaining powers and becoming Poison Ivy.

Last 9.8 CGC copy sold on eBay for only $130 back in November of 2016, and it still has a very low CGC Census of only 6 registered copies over-all, the highest being two 9.8s.

CGC does not note his comic nor does Overstreet currently. One CGC 9.6 sold for $60 bucks in January of this year, 2017, on eBay. 

With the Gotham City Sirens movie news, it's strange that this is over-looked or maybe just not that well-known. Harley Quinn's 1st comic book origin (not canon) in Batman Adventures: Mad Love #1 is considerably more valuable in the market currently.

It is what it is, but Poison Ivy is definitely no obscure character like Kismet whom most comic fans didn't even know or much care about until Guardians of the Galaxy cast the character in the sequel. September, 1978 is the cover date for World's Finest Comics #252.

Retconned or revised Poison Ivy origin

The true origin of Poison Ivy was retconned by Neil Gaiman, and the name is changed to Pamela Lillian Isley for the 1st time here. She came from a wealthy family and studied botanical biochemistry with Alec Holland (Swamp Thing) under Dr. Jason Woodrue.

Woodrue would seduce the shy and timid Isley and gets her involvement in an experiment that injects her with poisons and toxins, which ultimately causes her powers and driving her a bit crazy. Different characters involved and instead of herbs like in the original origin, this retconned version has it as poisons and toxins that gave her powers.

This is considered the origin for the Post-Crisis version of Poison Ivy and later for many of the other different reboot versions. The original is for the Silver Age or Earth-One Poison Ivy. 

I have spoken about how Crisis on Infinite Earths rebooted the DC Universe at the time and a few characters got a Post-Crisis revised origin. Poison Ivy is one of them.

While her 1st appearance in Batman #181 and 2nd appearance in Batman #183 are definitely on the radar in the current market, this one still remains pretty obscure.

CGC Census is still relatively low as well with only 3 registered copies total in the CGC Census. Not saying these are rare, but am saying that this origin key issue isn't probably all that well-known in  the market currently.

Given that this is most likely a sleeper and the popularity of Poison Ivy as a villain in the world of comics, one could argue that this is undervalued. After all, with the Gotham City Sirens movie hype and how the Modern Age Gotham City Sirens #1 is pretty hot right now, it's a bit odd that this true origin and her original origin are pretty darn cheap in the market currently.

Newsstands do exist for this comic. Once again, you can make up your own mind about that. This Secret Origins #36 has the cover date of January, 1989.

1st appearance of Josie

This one is questionable, and I'm just throwing it on here because I'm curious. Keep in mind that the Archie key issues list I did a while back was the lowest viewed key issues list on this site.

So at the Eastbay Comic Con, a dealer by the name of Harvey Doss that Gerry and I often talk to told me that Riverdale was actually good. Not an Archie fan nor stories that remind me of all the bullshit in high-school, my simple reply was, "Oh, really?" Then, I proceeded to tune out the conversation.

In the world of Archie, I do know Josie who ends up heading the band Josie and the Pussycats in the comic world. The 1st appearance of Josie in Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23 is definitely no sleeper and is pretty known.

So is it under-valued? Well, let's see what Overstreet has this comic at.

9.2 - $900
9.0 - $580
8.0 - $259
6.0 - $108
4.0 - $72
2.0 - $36

It's definitely not a cheap key issue 1st appearance for sure. It's actually the 2nd most valuable Archie's Pals 'N Gals comic, but what if you compare the values to other Archie comics? Let's compare it to the 1st issue of Archie's Pals 'N Gals which doesn't have anything significant noted for that key issue.

Archie's Pals 'N Gals #1
Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23
9.2 - $2,050
VF/NM (9.0) $1,317
VF (8.0) $584
FN (6.0) $219
VG (4.0) $146
GD (2.0) $73
9.2 - $900
9.0 - $580
8.0 - $259
6.0 - $108
4.0 - $72
2.0 - $36

Yes, I do realize that issue #1 came out in 1952-1953 so let's look at the CGC Census for both.

Archie's Pals 'N Gals #1 CGC Census

Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23 CGC Census

Don't really see that either is more rare than the other for both books currently. High grades for both books are pretty scarce so far, and I do not see many copies of Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23 online over-all.

Okay let's look at Archie's Madhouse #22 and the 1st appearance of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, which came out in 1962 and a little over a year before Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23. 

Archie's Madhouse #22
Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23
9.2 - $2,500
VF/NM (9.0) $1,606
VF (8.0) $712
FN (6.0) $267
VG (4.0) $178
GD (2.0) $89
9.2 - $900
9.0 - $580
8.0 - $259
6.0 - $108
4.0 - $72
2.0 - $36

Sabrina the Teenage Witch is popular and had an animated cartoon series and the extremely popular television show in the 90s that starred Melissa Joan Hart. On Josie's side of other media, she too was in animated cartoons, had a Josie and the Pussycats live-action movie in 2001 that was a box office bomb, and she is now a character on the Riverdale TV series and played by Ashleigh Murray.

CGC Census for Archie's Madhouse #23? Is it more rare than the comic being discussed?

Archie's Madhouse #22 CGC Census

Maybe this has more to do with popularity or demand? Not sure.

Sabrina's 1st self-titled comic series did run to issue #77. Josie and the Pussycat's self-titled series, which simply started off as Josie and was renamed with the added "and the Pussycats" in issue #45 ran to issue #106.
Not saying this comic is grossly undervalued, but I think it does need more of a value bump. A CGC 6.0 slab sold for $513 on eBay in March of 2015, and over at Heritage Auctions a CGC 4.0 sold for $155.35 in January of this year, 2017.

Guess we'll  have to see what the new Overstreet Guide has to say about this comic when it comes out this summer. As shown in the paragraph above, there are 35 cent price variants, and Overstreet doesn't yet list or note those

CGC does have a census listing for them but under the country of Canada. Don't know if they're considered Canadian editions or just price variants as in they were tested in select cities with a higher cover price like Marvel did. There's only one 3.5 registered so far.

The regular cover has 25 cents, and Archie's Pal's 'N Gals #23 has cover date of Winter of 1963.

1st appearance of Angela

By the time Spawn came out, Image's direct market distribution was immensely high at around 98% to 99%. That means that newsstand distribution was at a mere 1 to 2 percent.

We all know that Spawn had some crazy print runs. This issue of #9 may have had a print run of around half-a-million according to some.

If that's the case, newsstands of Spawn #9 would be around 10,000 at 2% and only 5,000 at 1%. Crazy, right? The Crow #1 at an estimated print run of 10,000 is worth a hell of a lot more than this comic, and Spawn is a pretty popular character.

I am not making a case for newsstands. I'm just laying out recent facts that's getting recognized slowly but still flying under the radar.

The direct market and newsstands were more different than just having a bar code or not or whether they were bought at an actual comic shop or the nearest 7-11. Direct markets were printed on better, glossy paper concerning Spawn #9.

Newsstands were printed on the cheaper newsprint paper. Cover month of March is on direct covers while missing on the covers of newsstands. 

Also a centerfold poster by Jim Lee is present in the direct market but not in the newsstand editions as noted in the older CGC labels. This is probably why CGC does delineate the two in their census as shown below.

Newsstands aren't hugely known in the collecting or comic investing world just yet. Information about them is starting to grow more and more.

In terms of the CGC Census, I can pretty much assume that most who sent in their copies to get graded in the past 10 years did so without prejudice of whether their copy was direct or newsstand.

Over-all issue #9 is not a sleeper key issue Spawn comic. It is known for the 1st appearance of Angela, but getting a newsstand CGC 9.6 for under $200 bucks (around $150) and having a pretty low print run may be signaling that these are flying quite a bit under the radar, especially when you've got NYX #3 at an estimated 40k-something print run going for 3 times that amount for 9.6s.

But, I'll leave it up to you to decide on that. Spawn #9 and the first appearance of Angela is cover-dated March, 1993.

Yes, I'm fully aware that the market trend is mostly super-hero dominated, so I did note that Archie's Pals 'N Gals #23 was questionable. I'm not entirely sure just how much of the market share Archie comics have or in actual fandom compared to super-hero comics currently.

As for Spawn #9 newsstand edition, you can also make up your mind about that. In the past, loads of collectors had the perception that these 90s comics weren't worth investing in (including your's truly), especially Spawn comics, because of the high print runs.

Now that newsstands are shedding a bit more light in the other direction, some are getting pissed off because there are different versions and one of those versions aren't as plentiful. Some are happy with this and feel like they invest in comics that they grew up reading and loving.

I'm not for nor against them. I'd rather pick up a newsstand edition from the 80s or early 90s that I grew up on and were my favorites than bother with most of the incentive retailer Modern stuff variants.

That's just me, though. As for Poison Ivy's origin issues, perhaps I'm a bit old school in thinking that some of these newer comics that are going for $200 and above at 9.6 and 9.8s is a bit odd when an origin for a well-established and highly popular villain is still dirt cheap.

You may think differently and that's cool too, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with being aware of these keys or comics


  1. Very interesting, indeed. However, I' m selling most of my Origin issues, cause I consider them to drop most likely, if a character or a storyline cools off. I would like to mention another comic here which, for me, is a phenomenon, since no media news seem to heat it up, but it' s holding its value quite steady. I' m talkin about Miracleman 15 here. 1988 book, Death of Kid Miracle and low print run. It seems to be the key of that series, and I think its a nice one to have for investors who want to invest in a comic that holds it value on the long run. Plus, what can you do wrong with an Alan Moore book? Mayhem, your thoughts please....


    1. Interesting topic, Ace. It seems that origins outside of a character's 1st appearance usually don't do as well, unless we're talking about Marvel Preview #2, which has been pretty known for a long time. Still, in this hop from key to key market, even that one is struggling.

      I think origins for characters are important, more important than a 1:200 variant for a #1 issue, but some of the market disagrees. Origins that are much later after a character's 1st appearance like Poison Ivy just gets buried. Not too many know about those or most likely don't even bother to dig up.

      As for Miracleman #15, it seems to be on the radar for some out there. Miracleman (arvelman) does get a lot of hype from other sites especially the stories tied to Alan Moore. I guess when you have Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman tied to the character, he or she won't go unnoticed for very long.

  2. Do all Marvel have NS and Direct? I haven't come across any NS for NYX or X-23 for sale. According to charts I've seen NS were about 2% in 2005 but I've never seen a picture of one.

    1. I do not think all Marvel has newsstand. I know some issues went soley to direct market like Dazzler #1.