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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Undervalued and Sleeper Comics Part 15

When it comes to the choices in Part 15 of this series, they can be suspect. They definitely are not sleepers as the key issue goodness is widely known for at least the first two.

In short, they are known for and desired accordingly. However, there are certain aspects about them that aren't well-known or misconstrued.

I'll give you a hint and it has to do with key issues tying for a debut of a certain black costume. Of course, the tie goes by "cover date", but there is Library of Congress copyright date and/or newsstand date to consider as well.

Also and despite the fact that it pisses some collectors out there, these keys do have different "editions" as well that aren't that widely known as well. Hmmm...either they're not that widely known or just not cared about for the most part currently.

Either way, I figure it's better to cover all bases so you can make an informed decision. As usual, click this Part 14 link in case you missed it, but if not, here's the next batch of comics.

1st appearance of black costume

Behind the scenes I am picking at the Spider-Man Copper Age section of the Spider-Man key issues extended series, so I'm just gonna pluck some of the text straight from what I've already written.

I have to admit that I'm not big on ties when it comes key issue comics.1st Marvel x-over ties with blah, blah blah or 1st black costume ties with blah, blah, blah, and blah, blah, blah.

I friggin' hate that shit. Sometimes it is very true that an issue does tie with another issue by more than just cover date. However, sometimes, just sometimes, an issue may have an earlier copyright date than the other issue or issues that tie with it.

Hey, we can go by the cover alone that states "introducing the new Spider-Man", but the issue does clearly show the return of Spidey and Curt Conners from the adventure that was going on in Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars. Funny thing is that Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 was not on sale yet when this comic hit the stands. Here is the scene that shows Spidey returning to good ole planet Earth in this very issue of ASM #252.

Marvel Team-Up #141 also recaps Spidey's return with ole Doc Conners. The recap is in the past tense but only by a mere minutes after Spidey's return, recapped by news reporter Sheena Rogers.

Ah, heck, okay, I'll show the scene in Marvel Team-Up #141 that references Spidey and Doc Conners return to Earth. It is shown below just for the heck of it, and it does look like this listing will be somewhat different than what will be shown in the Copper Age Spider-Man Key Issues section, but not much different. 

Marvel Team-Up #141 recap of Spidey's return

Marvel Team-Up #141 recap of Spidey's return

So that segment is told in flashback and that particular event depicted in Marvel Team-Up #141 happened very shortly after Amazing Spider-Man #252, even if the events going on in the beginning of MTU #141 may run simultaneously with ASM #252 in terms of continuity. I know it's confusing as all hell.

Regardless and even though the three issues do intertwine their stories and play with continuity, Amazing Spider-Man #252 should be considered the 1st appearance of Spidey's black costume and/or the symbiote that eventually becomes Venom during the Copper Age. Pretty under-valued comic, and not sure if it's because of the "tied with" confusion that Overstreet and the third party grading companies went along with.

The black costume was designed by comic fan Randy Schueller. He got $220 bucks, and this costume design would inspire the look for the second Spider-Woman, Julia Carpenter, and Venom as mentioned before. 

To be honest, the black costume is still my favorite look for Spider-Man. Some like the original better, but I dig the black costume best.

This is definitely a pretty well-known Spidey key issue and I'm kinda hard-pressed to call it a sleeper. However, what I do think is not that well-known is that this issue does not tie with Spectacular Spider-Man #90 and Marvel Team-Up #141 as the first appearance of the black Spidey costume.

According to Mike's Amazing World, Amazing Spider-Man #252 has the copyright date of January 10th and the on sale date of January 31st referenced by several sources such as Comic Reader #216, Marvel Age #11, and Amazing Heroes #40.

Marvel Team-Up #141 and Spectacular Spider-Man #90 both have the copyright dates of January 24th with the on sale date of February 14th. Sources used for this information are still Comic Reader #216, Marvel Age #11, Amazing Heroes #40, and the good ole Library of Congress.


9.8 NS | 9.8 DM

60 | 61

9.6 NS | 9.6 DM 

104 | 82

9.4 NS | 9.4 DM 

94 | 49

9.2 NS | 9.2 DM 

73 | 34

For those not familiar with NS and DM, they mean newsstands and direct market editions. The 1st cover above is a newsstand. The one to the left of this paragraph is a direct market edition as most know.

Looks like we finally have the reverse when it comes to newsstands. Instead of looking more rare or scarce, it seems like slabbed Direct Market editions have less sales on eBay in a 2 year period than slabbed newsstands of Amazing Spider-man #252. 

Pretty strange findings here concerning U.S. newsstands and definitely wasn't expecting this outcome. If you're worried about rarity for this issue, there's always the 75 cent price variant Canadian Editions and here's how the two look and compare to each other in the CGC Census.



Canadian edition cover is to the left there, and they are 1st prints and virtually the same as regular U.S. newsstands except the price difference of 60 cents to 75 cents.

I still find it strange that they call it "Canadian Editions". Sure the market target for these 75 cent editions was Canada and the price is different than the regular U.S. newsstand and direct market editions, but the price is still depicted in U.S. currency on the cover.

Quite a few are predicting that these 75 and 95 cent pirce variant "Canadian Editions" are going to be the next 30 and 35 cent price variants. I'm not against that and do actually think it's appropriate.

So, this key issues is an outlier here with more newsstands that sold on eBay in the last 2 years than direct market. Don't know what to make of that or how to explain it.

Not even gonna try and just report what I found. Take from it what you will. Cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #252 is May, 1984.

1st origin of black costume as alien costume
1st appearance Venom as alien costume

Hell, since Sony randomly announced a Venom movie for 2018 in what seemed like out of the blue, I might as well talk about some cool Spidey Copper Age key comics. Definitely not a sleeper or not under the radar for sure concerning this comic.

Well, sort of. Depends on what edition you're talking about.

This is the 1st origin of how Spidey got his new black costume. Amazing Spider-Man #252 did hit the stands before Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 for sure, and for a while, Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 was actually the 1st chronological appearance of the new black costume.

Unfortunately, in a move to include Deadpool in a landmark event since he's so darned popular currently, it was retconned in Deadpool's Secret Wars #3 that the Venom symbiote bonded with Wade Wilson and became Venompool before latching onto Spidey before the events in this issue of Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8.

This issue also came out years before the retconned origin in Deadpool's Secret Wars #3. Not a big fan of retcons but Deadpool's new importance in the Venom mythos is officially considered part of canon now.

Regardless, Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 is a classic story from a classic limited series Marvel Comics' event. The issue is plagued with the perception of too many copies printed, and while over-all that could be true, there are different editions for this comic.

While Amazing Spider-Man #252 had a surprisingly larger amount of slabbed newsstands sales than direct market sales on ole eBay (2 years), it is the opposite for Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8. Well, at least, for CGC 9.8s in the last 2 years, and it is pretty shocking at the disparity between newsstands for  and direct market editions for this issue.

9.8 NS | 9.8 DM
 13 | 370

9.6 NS | 9.8 DM
  23 | 289 

9.4 NS | 9.4 DM
 24 | 116

Once again, take what you will from the data above. There are also Canadian Editions for this comic issue and they're supposedly even more rare than U.S. regular newsstands. Price on the cover is a whopping $1.00 instead of 75 cents! 

You can click the image to see for yourself if you don't believe my ass. Once again, more of these Canadian Editions are comin' out of the wood work, but they aren't exactly easy finds over-all as of yet online, and I do mean "over-all" as in "Canadian Editions" and not just this issue alone.

"As of yet" are key words for this issue as well. CGC does have some recorded Canadian Editions in their census currently. Here's how those bastids look so far:

Okay, so Amazing Spider-Man #258 came out before and is the issue where they find out that Spidey's new black costume is a living thing. Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 explains how Spidey first came into contact with this living thing and bonded with the symbiote costume on Battleworld.   
Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 has the cover date of December, 1984.

1st appearance of Silver Sable

To be honest, I'm not sure if this one is well-known by speculators or comic investors or if it's under the radar or what? The market just may be wary of this 1st debut of Silver Sable even if it was recently announced that a Silver Sable and Black Cat flick is in the works with Christopher Yost writing the script.

Not entirely sure why Amazing Spider-Man #265 hasn't caught on yet. The news is recent but it's not that fresh.

Perhaps some skepticism is in play here as the market is anticipating whether Spider-Man: Homecoming will be an epic comeback for Spidey or an epic disaster. It does seem that Sony wants to create or develop a cinematic Spider-verse.

Silver Sable and Black Cat though? In actual comic book source material, it is an odd pairing. I can see it working though, and it could be an interesting heist-type of comic book flick.

Silver Sable is a deadly mercenary and Black Cat is a renown thief. Definitely a lot of exciting action and suspense to work with there for a movie dealing with the duo.

Once again, not sure if this is a sleeper or not or if the market in general could care less about the debut of Silver Sable. CGC Census for this key 1st appearance has a pretty low submission total so far but quite a bit of 9.8s and 9.6s already.

Dang, already two 9.9s for regular Amazing Spider-Man #265? I wonder if they be newsstands?

Once again, this comic has newsstand editions and Canadian Editions as well. Canadian Edition has a 75 cent cover so not all that difficult to spot.

Judging from the amount that #252 has comin' out of the woodwork so far for Canadian Editions, I wonder if how #265s will compare. Then again, a new black costume?

I wouldn't be surprised if Marvel printed a boat load of Amazing Spider-Man #252s - newsstands and direct market editions both. Anyway, debut of Silver Sable in this issue of Amazing Spider-Man #265.

Either this one is still under the radar despite movie news or the market has had enough and dismissed this Spider-Man key issue. Cover date is June, 1985.

So, whether these are under-valued or not, I leave it to you to make that call. There are different editions that are considered 1st prints and currently under the radar for even well-known key issues that are coming out of the woodwork. 

Whether they get more recognized in the near future by the majority of collectors is another story. In terms of Amazing Spider-Man #252, I only consider it a sleeper on the account that most collectors still think it ties with Marvel Team-Up #141 and Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #90.

I believe it doesn't and that issue was copyrighted before and hit the stands earlier than the MTU #141 and PPSS #90. Also, the CGC Census lumps both direct market and newsstands in the same census, but Gerry told me that CBCS is going to start differentiating the two on their labels.

If that is the case, CGC just may be forced to follow suit sometime down the road. Regardless, they are there and do exist whether you wanna pretend they don't or not. Purely up to you.

Happy Huntin' or dumpin' and see ya for more comic goodness comin' up in the next part!


  1. Nice Selection! I have' em all inside my short box. However, I don' t see these comics disappearing from ebay soon, so prices will probably remain stable. Spectacular price jumps would really surprise me...

    Max Rebo

  2. Good day to you Mayhem, ol' boy.

    Hope everything is all right with you and your family. Still remember your report about a surgery or somethin'. But it is private of course. Just wanted to bring up the Wild Dog appearance in the Green Arrow tv series. Wild dog?, me thought to myself. Who is this guy? Is he some kind of Deadpool clone? Whatever, I bought me issues 1 & 2 of Mr. Dog for 2,50 each and thought you could clue me in just who this c-list hero is. That' s all from me.


    1. I think he's a late 80s character that had a short limited series. Wild Dog was part of a resistance that had Green Arrow and Hawkman. I think they were called Freedom Fighters. Wild Dog is basically a gun-toting vigilante and like the Punisher but with a hockey mask. Has ruthless methods.

      Good day to you ole Ace! How's it across the pond, and yes I am working on a Micronauts key series. Let me read up on it first though.

  3. Very good information, thank you, but I don't understand what you mean about the copyright dates. I recently bought a NM copy of Marvel Team-Up #141 (for about £20) because IMO it ties with ASM #252 and the copyright states 1984 it does not mention a month.

    According to, both MTU #141 & ASM #252 have the same publishing date of May 10th 1984.

    1. Library of Congress copyright dates as in the copyright office. ASM #252 has an earlier LoC copyright date than MTU #141 or Spectacular Spider-Man #90. Cover date is May and represents when distributors were suppose to take comics off the newsstand and return to distributor warehouse. ASM #252 has earlier shipping date and newsstand date or when it first hit newsstands according to sources mentioned in the article.