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Thursday, July 20, 2017

Copper Age Spider-Man Key Comics Part 6

Finally, we are at the last and 6th part to this Copper Age Spider-Man key issues section. Yep, I'm gonna cut it off at Part 6 for now.

Maybe I'll return to it at a later date. Who knows?

I've been trying to stay away from extremely minor keys and 1st appearances, but I've let some slip. If you're looking for sleepers, there will be plenty, and there's only really one key on here that's pretty sought-out currently.

I put in quite a bit of information in this part and it did take me a while. Not that I had much time to spare to begin with.

Alright, if you just newly stumbled upon this, that navigation menu over to the right will take you to any part of this series you wanna go to. If you're good to wrap this up, here's the next and final batch of Spider-Man keys from the Copper Age.

2nd full appearance of Sinister Six

Hmmm...alright, despite the popularity of the Sinister Six in Spider-Man lore, they don't have that many appearances since their failed attempt on Spidey and debut issue in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. This story line that sees their return is simply titled "The Return of the Sinister Six" and was a six part story arc that ran through issues #334 to #339.

Amazing Spider-Man #334 begins the lead up to the return of the Sinister Six and the 2nd time the team fully appears (not in issue #334 though). What do I mean by fully appear?

From ASM #334
Well, issue #334 through #336 sees Doc Ock trying to reform the group. Basically, he's recruiting his old allies again and the first is Electro as seen in the panels to the left.

This lead up in these issues absolutely shows Doc Ock recruiting members individually throughout the story arc. As mentioned before about recruiting, he recruits Electro and then Sandman in issue #334.

Sandman, he blackmails into doing what he wants and joining up. Here's how that goes down and I love this scene at the end of Amazing Spider-Man #334.

From ASM #334

By issue #335 and as you can tell from the last page and panel shown above this paragraph, Doctor Octopus recruits Mysterio and yet another mystery member. Mysterio, Electro, and Sandman are members of the original Sinister Six as shown in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1.

Who is this "brand new recruit"? Well, it's none other than the demonic Hobgoblin (Macendale), and because Doc Ock is a badass, he pretty much forces Macendale to join up. 

From ASM #335

Apparently demonic powers aren't working all that great for Macendale as Hobby and Doc Ock can hand him his ass as well. Gotta love Doc Ock.

From ASM #335

Then it's Mysterio's turn, and this pick up is less dramatic. No battle of wits or brawn, just some ole fashion logical convincing in the form of never having to worry about going to jail again if Doctor Octopus' scheme is successful.

Hey, it's a crook's ideal scenario, right? Who wouldn't take that chance on other side of the fence?

Mysterio is another original member, but Hobgoblin is definitely the newb. So Doctor Octopus picks up two more members for the eventual reformation of the Sinister Six.

Doesn't quite happen yet by the end of issue #335, and the Vulture is the next target. Doesn't actually show Vulture being recruited though in issue #336.

Instead, Spidey and Vulture brawl for most of the issue, and by the end of the issue when Vulture is in trouble of getting caught, who shows up to aid the winged thief to escape but none other than Doctor Octopus. Scene of this happening near the end is shown below:

From ASM #336

Finally, all of the six make a total and collective appearance as the Sinister Six in issue #337, and it is clearly stated in the scene that it is finally an official reformation. Doc Ock: "The Sinister Six! At last!"

From ASM #337

So, they are now fully formed and some of the members do go up against Spidey. In their debut in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1, the team oddly takes on Spider-Man one-on-one or individually, which defeats the whole team purpose.

In this issue, they take on Spidey in teams of two. Well, actually Electro is the only one who briefly tangles with Spidey solo, and Doc Ock doesn't mess with the Web-Head in this issue whatsoever.

Here's some panels of the members that tangle briefly with the Wall-Crawler.

And then it's Vulture and Sandman's turn. You can see Sandman is highly reluctant to join up with the Sinister Six.

All around fun issue and good stuff. Story is by David Michelinie, and by this time, artist Erik Larsen had taken over for a departed Todd McFarlane. I know, I remember it was a sad day when I learned that McFarlane had left the title.

I seriously doubt this is an in-demand comic, and I think it's pretty over-looked. Actually, I'd get the entire story arc as it is a good read.

As for "spec", I'm not really thinking about that except that it is the 2nd appearance of the Sinister Six after all that time. Not noted by Overstreet nor CGC yet. Doubt it's noted by CBCS either.

So pretty much under the radar and don't think this one is overtly expensive in the market just yet. Once again, purely up to you to consider if you're a Spidey and Sinister Six fan.

As usual, newsstand editions do exist for this issue. Amazing Spider-Man #337 has the cover date of August, 1990.

1st issue to new on-going Spider-Man series

Why this image isn't considered a classic cover is beyond me. The intricate webbing had many geek out back in the day.

This comic was a huge deal when it was first released. Lots of fanboys got this comic, and it's no surprise whatsoever that it's got a really bad rep for being overprinted.

And that's probably true if you include the other variants or editions printed up a long with the regular cover. Actually, this comic sold over 2 million copies.

Holy, over-printing, Specubator-Man! Yep, this comic definitely was over-printed, and there are newsstands of the regular cover also.

OPG has an estimated print run for the regular cover but polybagged at 125,000. They also have the estimate print run of the silver polybagged edition at 125,000 as well. 

Kevin Erickson of the SIC G+ group reminded me that there are silver edition error copies in which the color was messed up. On one of the pages, the Lizard is blue instead of green.

I think both the regular and silver covers had copies distributed that were not polybagged also.

Spider-Man #1 REG
Spider-Man #1 REG
Spider-Man #1 REG
newsstand bagged

Spider-Man #1 Platinum

Spider-Man #1 Silver
Spider-Man #1 Silver

Take this with a grain of salt here, but if the regular bagged cover was at 125,000 and Marvel's newsstand distribution was at 15% in 1990, the regular bagged newsstand edition just may have a print run estimate of around 18,750.

Anyway, there are a bit more well-known and rarer options. The Platinum Edition of this particular issue is definitely sought-out and it was actually a retailer incentive book.

Recalled Comics has the Platinum Edition estimated at or around 10,000 copies and a bit more information about the comic is at their site. Pretty interesting, yeah? 

There's also the Gold Edition and that's a 2nd printing. It also has one with a UPC as well and is considered the Wal-mart variant and Recalled has that bad boy at an estimated 10,000 as well but OPG says less than that estimate.

There's also the silver edition of this comic and that was direct sale only. By this time, McFarlane was a huge name and well-known for his run on Amazing Spider-Man. Definitely considered a comic artist superstar then and now still.

Here's all the CGC Census screen shots for the various different covers. 

I actually wonder how many if any of the UPC newsstand of the regular cover are mixed in with the census for the regular Spider-Man #1 cover or even how many polybagged editions were just put in with the regular unbagged totals only but a few years ago. I dunno, and dunno exactly how on the ball CGC was with all these different bagged, unbagged, UPC newsstand back in the 2000s.

I actually see more slabbed or CGC Gold UPC Wal-Mart variants on eBay a hell of lot more than slabbed regular UPC newsstand editions currently. 

Should we do some GoCollect data on these? Hell, might as well! Below is the screen shot for Spider-Man #1 regular difference between polybagged or not since the grading companies have to take them out of the bag anyway. Only 9.9s and 9.8s are shown.


Bear in mind that I only showed a small snippet of the 9.8s. There are 196 recorded sales for 9.8s of this comic on eBay alone in just the last 2 years.



Once again, the 9.8s data is just a snippet. There were a total of 222 whopping sales on eBay in just a 2 year period for 9.8 graded Silvers.




The regular UPC newsstand covers did not have any recent data, but there were 3 sales in the last 4 years. The 9.8 sale was in 2014. The 9.4 was in 2013 and there were two sales for 9.2s. First was in 2014 for $34.99 and the the most recent was in 2015 for $10.49.

Cover date for the 1st printings of Spider-Man #1 is August, 1990.

3rd appearance of Sinister Six
1st time Spidey battles Sinister Six together

Okay, together or as a unit...whatever. As mentioned earlier, Spidey fought members of the team individually in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1. Why that happened is beyond me, but even Vulture mentioned that they should fight the Wall-Crawler as a cohesive unit in Annual #1.

They decided to go another route and were beaten one by one. This time it is different.

In the previous issue of #337, he tangled briefly with pairs of them and one solo Electro. Doc Ock didn't get into the mix in that issue.

So, this is the 3rd official appearance of the Sinister Six and the very first time Spidey battles them as an actual team or full unit. Pretty exciting, huh? 

Not talking up this just is. I mean the cover to this issue clearly says, "At Last! Battle Royal!"

Here's how the team takes on Spider-Man in this epic and first battle...

And right when Doc Ock is about to completely exact revenge on our web-slingin' hero, Sandie goes and messes it all up. Well, at least, the Sinister Six fought together as a team for a brief moment in this comic.

Fun read, and I love that splash page with Mysterio and Spidey. Definitely cool! Here's the how the CGC Census looks at the time of this writing.

Eh, didn't expect it to be huge, and this comic is definitely over-looked in the meanwhile. When Erik Larsen took over the title back in the day, I didn't care for his art then.

Now, I do greatly appreciate it a lot more. Not a heavy hitter key whatsoever and probably not even considered a key just yet. It is the 3rd appearance of the Sinister Six and 1st battle Spidey has with the team as a...well, team.

Amazing Spider-Man #338 has the cover date of September, 1990.

Green Goblin as a superhero (#66)
Tombstone gets powers (#66)
New powers revealed (#67)

Yeah, I'm gonna lump these two together as the origin of how Tombstone becomes super strong and highly durable is told in issue #66. Before then, Tombstone was just a regular dude but extremely tough.

Not enhanced, but tough. I highly doubt this is on the radar for most. Tombstone's 1st full in Spectacular Spider-Man #138 is barely on the radar or just being ignored collectively.

Either way, they are key issues for the character of Tombstone and Spidey keys as well. How minor or major is up to the market to decide or for someone to continually campaign or push hard for these issues.

Me? I'm just letting who ever still reads this know about them. Don't even have these two issues, but Lonnie Lincoln is supposedly going to be introduced live-action in the Silver and Black movie.

Overstreet does not note that Tombstone obtains powers for these issues but they do note Green Goblin attempting to be a superhero. I think Tombstone getting powers or becoming enhanced is a lot more significant since Harry doing the Green Goblin superhero thing is stopped in issue #67.

CGC does not note this yet either, but they do have some registered on their census already. So the first screenshot is of issue #66 and the one after is of #67.

Alright, so here's how Tombstone gets his powers as shown in Web of Spider-Man #66. It has to do with a raid on the Osborn Chemical Company to steal a certain Diox-3.

Panels and pages from Web of Spider-Man #66
I might as well throw in a panel of Green Gobby as a superhero and helping out Web-head. The panel below is from Web of Spider-Man #66 also.

Panel from Web of Spider-Man #66

So, he gets dosed with that chemical and nobody knows what happened to him. What happened to him is revealed in the next issue or issue #67 of Web of Spider-Man.

And then at the very end of the issue, Tombstone goes back to confront Hammerhead.
Panels and pages from Web of Spider-Man #67

So there it is. Once again, definitely a sleeper. 

Newsstands exist for this issue and Marvel's newsstand distribution was around 15% during 1990. So, not sure how to label these: Gets new powers, Origin of powers, Reveals new powers?

Whatever and take your pick. Cover dates for Web of Spider-Man #66 & #67 are July and August, 1990.

1st brief appearance of Dr. Elias Wirtham

Dr. Elias Wirtham only appears on one single page in this issue. He does end up being Cardiac.

Only problem is that his next appearance is in the next issue and it's only in 4 panels in Amazing Spider-Man #343. Jeez, so hard one to call.

Anyway, here's how his debut goes down in this very issue of Amazing Spider-Man #342.

So Elias Wirtham's deal is that he is a vigilante anti-hero. Created by David Michelinie and penciller Erik Larsen as stated in the old wikipedia, Elias had a brother named Josh who died of what he thought was an incurable disease.

In his brother's memory, Elias dedicated himself to saving lives and became a doctor and a brilliant one at that. He befriended Kevin Trench (Nightwatch) in medical school and also Gerald Stone (Styx & Stone) and Tony Stark early in his career.

When he learned that there was an actual drug that could save his brother's life, things went a bit in the red for Elias. Actually, when he discovered that this drug was around when his brother was still battling the disease and the drug company withheld release due to greed, Elias lost his shit and went all vigilante, targeting several corporations who were doing shady crap.

I like this guy. In order to fight crime, however, some adjustments had to be made. Elias surgically implanted a
a compact beta-particle reactor to replace his heart. 

This gives homeboy his power. Not all either, and a vibranium-mesh was implanted into his skin that channeled beta particles into his muscles and gave him increased strength, faster reflexes and agility, regeneration, and endurance.

He can also channel these beta particles through his staff, which can fire concussive pulses. Anyway, here's the CGC Census on this minor key just for the hell of it.

Pretty much a minor character and not that all well-known. Then again, I didn't hear too many talking about Mendel Stromm before news leaked that the villain would be in the Silver and Black film.

Who knows? Starting to see quite a bit more obscure or C-list characters getting into films, but are films still affecting comics strongly? December, 1990 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #342.

1st full Elias Wirtham as Cardiac
1st appearance of Cletus Kasady

This one was already discussed in the Carnage key issues not done too long ago. I've already discussed Cletus Kasady, and as speculated on for quite a while now, it seems he will be the big bad in the Venom movie.

The issue is where we meet Cletus Kasady as Eddie Brock's cell mate at Rykers Island. It's noted by Overstreet as a 1st appearance and then the next issue as a 1st full appearance.

Here's how he appears in this very issue:

Back when I first wrote about this issue in 2014, the most recent CGC 9.8 in August sold for $125 Buy It Now.

No longer a sleeper anymore for sure. What's the damage now? Did this fizzle or did it gain more heat from the most recent of news, which is basically a regurgitation?

Slabbed 9.8s have definitely been on move up since June of this year. 9.6s are so far pretty janky.

If you catch this in the dollar bin right now, consider yourself lucky. Anyway, the issue does have double the goodness and holds the 1st full appearance of Cardiac.

Yes, Cardiac is pretty much a minor villain. His debut doesn't really add any value to the comic as of yet.

Anyway, most are obviously gunning for this issue because of Cletus Kasady, not Cardiac. I'm well aware of that.

Amazing Spider-Man #344 has the cover date of February, 1991.

1st full appearance of Cletus Kasady
Origin of Carnage
1st Mark Bagley on Spider-Man
2nd Cardiac

Toted as the first full appearance of Cletus Kasady, it's in this issue where we see the alien symbiote rebond with Eddie Brock. Also, and more importantly, we see residue of the symbiote drip onto Cletus Kasady's hand, setting him up for his eventual transformation into Carnage later. 

Here's how Cletus' full appearance plays out, and he's in a total of 7, minus two of his hands, panels on 2 pages in this issue.

Here's how the CGC Census looks currently, and even though Overstreet labels #345 as a 1st full, CGC has still held out on that since 2014:

Pretty interesting, but who knows what's going on? This is the origin of Carnage also, although not really noted or well-known currently by Overstreet nor CGC or CBCS. I think CBCS but not 100% sure.

Here's a look at how this one has been pretty much ignored in the market for the last few years. Only going to show the 9.8s and 9.6s. The 9.8s I've sectioned off by year and reaches back to 2014:

And then there's the 9.6 eBay sales for the last few years below as well.

Over-looked Carnage key for sure, and the money is definitely on #344 now. February, 1991 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #345.

1st Spider-Man limited or mini series?
1st appearance of Leila Davis

This is a weird one. While characters that I grew up with that started getting their own titled series like Wolverine and Punisher, they started off with a mini or limited series and then went in with a full on-going series. Spidey had four on-going titles - Amazing Spider-Man, Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, and Web of Spider-Man - before possibly getting his first mini series.

Is that really a big deal? I'm surely not trying to make it a big deal but I do think it is interesting. It is what it is.

This issue does have the first appearance of Leila Davis. She does become one of the Beetles, the 2nd one to be exact and took on the Thunderbolts.

In this issue, she is the girlfriend of Speed Demon (debut as Speed Demon in Amazing Spider-Man #222).

Just for the record, she does appear more throughout the issue and is shown more clearly. No problem with a 1st appearance concerning her civilian debut.

Her first appearance as Beetle is in Thunderbolts #48. She did appear as Hardshell first and we most likely will see that issue in the Modern section of this beast.

If a Thunderbolts movie is ever made, I do wonder if the Redeemers will appear also. If so, this version of Beetle may show up, but if you're actually a fan of the Thunderbolts, this might be one to consider. Little known Copper Age sleeper so far. CGC Census is not that impressive at the time of this writing.

Once again, a pure sleeper and most likely a minor key currently, Deadly Foes of Spider-Man #1 has the cover date of August, 1991 and is a four issue mini or limited series.

This one is another minor key for a pretty minor character so far. Web of Spider-Man #81 has the debut and origin of Bloodshed. He is Wyndell Dichinson and a mercenary for narcotic traffickers in Asia. In true comic book fashion, they did subject him to operations that enhanced him physically.

In his origin, he and his 16 year old younger brother Ricky were caught in an automobile theft. Ricky cooperated and stayed for his trial but Wyndell took off and left the country.

Looks like he went to Asia and became a baddie over there. This is the end of the Copper Age key comics section for Spider-Man for now. 

Here's Thunderbolts #48, Leila becomes Beetle II or debut as Beetle II. May as well show the cover to that issue too since I already mentioned it.

If you feel like hard specin', Thunderbolts #48 has an estimated print run of 37,675 according to Comicchron.

If you've got any suggestions for Spidey keys during the Copper Age, feel free to comment below. I am trying to focus less on the really minor ones but apparently let a few slide by.

Next up is the Modern Age, and I'm dreading that one a bit. Until then, happy hunting, collecting, investing, reading, etc.

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  1. I'm wondering who will play a good Cletus Kasady/Carnage on screen. No info on casting yet. I think there still making a mistake by not introducing Venom and Carnage in a Spidey flick first before a solo film.


  2. Hey Nate,

    another interesting question is, if Toxin will make it into the movie. Definitely an investment sleeper, when confirmed...


    1. It's possible Ace, but I would prefer them wait to introduce the character in another film. Maybe with a ending set up or post credits tease. Venom vs Carnage 1-4 mini is already seeing rising sells from people speculating on it.


    2. Also Ace. It would be better to slowly develop the characters through a good script and not rush them. First Venom, then Carnage and then Toxin. If they decide to go that far. We don't need to many symbiotes in one movie.


  3. Mayhem.
    The Skrulls are coming to the MCU. This makes the Captain Marvel movie a pretty important film. It also provides some really nice possibilities for the future of the MCU after Infinity War. I'm pretty excited about this news.