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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Modern Age Spider-Man Key Comics Part 1


    Pt. 1
    Pt. 2
    Pt. 3
    Pt. 4
    Pt. 5
    Pt. 6
    Pt. 7
    Ah, the dreaded Modern Age section to this Spider-Man key comics series, which has some major and minor keys. Some would even argue if some are even keys.

    Yes, I've dreaded getting to the Modern Age, despite being "Spidey" Modern Age comics. What a vast era and did anyone come up with another "Age" to call it yet?

    Hell, I personally think we should call it the "Plastic Age" since most containers are made of plastic in this age, the rise of the third-party grading companies and slabbing valuable comics in plastic, the fake ass (plastic), artificially created rarity of variant covers, and I could go on but I won't. CGC was founded in 2000 and PGX in 2002.

    Don't know if 2000 or 2004 or what year should mark that era. Wizard Magazine was hyping them CGC sales on eBay during the time though, but that's in a hobby sense. What about actual comic books?

    Was there a recognizable shift in actual comics, some monumental characteristics that made marks in the world of comics? Well, digital comics, rehashes of old story events, widespread gender and race swapping of already iconic characters (spin-off piggybacks), constant continuity reboots or "soft boots" and 25 or more different variants for a single issue. 

    Of course, I'm just talking about Marvel and DC Comics. Indie publishers seemingly are pumping out more original or fresh ideas and concepts in comics.

    Anyway, dunno, and we're still in the 90s when it concerns this series. So in continuing the madness, here's the issues kicking off this monster.

    1st Venom solo story

    Overstreet notes this as the 1st Venom solo story, and it does indeed have Venom in a solo adventure called "Truckstop of Doom". That's right here, no Spidey in it or a team up with any other Marvel hero or villain.

    This story just has Eddie Brock as Venom and a fateful encounter with a certain nice couple who graciously gives Brock a ride. They end up stopping at a rest stop where a gang has taken the restaurant hostage.

    Hence the word "fateful".  Well, let's see, dumb ass gang bangers and one Eddie Brock with a Venom symbiote? Sounds like a great ass whooping.

    Even with the Venom movie news in full swing and Venom is on the radar of most every Spidey fan, collector, comic investor and speculator, this is not a widely-known issue. It is currently under the radar in a pretty big bad way and even CGC doesn't yet recognize or note it.

    I did do some extra checking, and as far as known Venom appearances in comics, this does seem to check out as Eddie Brock's first solo story as Venom.

    Might definitely be a yet unknown comic to consider for any Venom fan, and the cover date is September, 1991 for Amazing Spider-Man Annual #25.

    1st cameo appearance of Carnage

    Carnage does appear very briefly in this comic, but he does not fully show up. You do see half of his face, his hand, a bit of his symbiote goop in a few panels on one page. Although finally named, it's really not enough to constitute a full appearance and most likely why it's not according to Overstreet.

    When I first wrote about this comic back in 2014, it was simmering up at that time. Back in 2014 and when I first wrote about this comic then, a CGC 9.8 sold in July for around $50 bucks.

    Fast forward to today? CGC recently sold August 6th for $107.50 smackers. 

    The most recent sales before that from June 17th to July 26th of 2017 sold around the $170 to $180 range. They were all fixed priced sales though.

    Anyway, let's see how this crazy symbiote makes his cameo in this issue.

    And there it is! Eh, deserves to be a cameo in my opinion. 

    CGC Census for this comic is as stands at the time of this writing. There are Australian Editions with the $1.80 price variant also, and I do have a cover example for ya.

    Do not think CGC Census has any recorded data for the Australian Editions of Amazing Spider-Man #360. Here's the a cover example for ya anyway and just showing ya that they do exist out there in this great wide comic collecting world.

    You can click the image to get a bigger one if you want to get a better view. Looks like the Australian Editions or "price variants" were also newsstands with the UPC code.

    This issue does have a regular U.S. newsstand edition as well. This listings cover example is a direct market edition since they were the preferred distribution channel by this time. 

    Amazing Spider-Man #360 and the first cameo appearance of Carnage has the cover date of March, 1992

    Web of Spider-Man #86 comic
    1st appearance of Demogoblin

    We finally get the first appearance of Demogoblin in this issue, and it's where the demonic entity separates from Jason Macendale, Hobgoblin II, and either becomes it's own manifestation or truly reveals itself in all its evil glory. Yes, the demon did possess Hobby for a while and gave Macendale super strength since he couldn't get his grubby paws on the Goblin Formula.

    Not really sure this demon helped all that much when it came to besting Macendale's foes.

    From Web of Spider-Man #48 to this issue, Jason Macendale had been fighting the demonic entity within him. Like how Peter Parker rid of the Symbiote that tried to take him over, the Hobgoblin II was able to expel his own parasite, resulting in the creation of a whole another monster.

    Here's how this demonic exorcism of sorts plays out in this daring issue of Web of Spider-Man #86.

    Can't say that ole Macendale didn't deserve the torment. I mean, what else did he expect in making a deal with a demon? 

    Obviously newsstand copies of this issue exist as the main example image is one of them. During this time, newsstand distribution was said to be in-between 15 to 10 percent. 

    1990 had 15% distribution and 1995 had 10% concerning Marvel Comics, at least. In-between those numbers or maybe even just at 15%?

    Definitely a widely over-looked and under the radar debut, and I'm assuming this issue may or might still be in some dollar bins out there in the wild. I think I may have to take a looksie myself the next hunt I'm on at Stockton Con.

    Web of Spider-Man #86 has the cover date of March, 1992.

    First full appearance of Carnage

    Finally we have the first full appearance of Carnage in Amazing Spider-Man #361, and the hype has already affected this bad boy in CGC 9.8 grades. This issue is the most sought out concerning Carnage key issues and related first appearances so far.

    If you've got this one unslabbed, may be time to submit it to CGC or CBCS if you think it's a high enough grade. If you've got an unslabbed mid-grade to VF, you may want to wait for a higher peak to dish this sucker off.

    Then again, if you're a fan of the symbiotes and this symbiote in particular, you may just want this 1st Carnage appearance and key issue comic just to have it in your own personal collection or PC. Nothing wrong with that either.

    Even though it's not noted up above, this issue does have the 1st meeting between Spider-Man and Carnage, and it also has their first scrap or fight. The panels below shows how this happens in this very issue:

    There does seem to be quite a bit of copies submitted to the ole CGC Census concerning this issue, but don't be fooled. The total numbers have newsstand editions and direct market editions mixed in with each other.

    Might as well as show the census for the 2nd printing also. There's also an Australian edition that's being toted as an Australian Edition with the different price of $1.80 on the cover.

    Might as well show the CGC Census for those as well, and I think I'll put them covers up here just in case there are collectors out there interested in them and would like to have a reference in helping to spot them easier.

    U.S Direct Edition 2nd PrintingAustralian Edition

    The 1st full appearance of Carnage in this issue of Amazing Spider-Man #361 has the cover date of April, 1992. Cover image for this listing is of a newsstand edition.

    2nd appearance of Demogoblin

    Demogoblin and Spidey do meet for the first time in the previous issue of Web of Spider-Man #86. They even have a go or take a crack at each other for a tick and get separated for a moment.

    The two crazy kids do meet up again for the 2nd time in this issue but they do not have another crack at each other. Instead, this issue mainly deals with the drama of the Rose and it is Part 4 of 6 to the story line "In the Name of the Rose". 

    Actually, Demogoblin only shows up in 7 panels on 2 pages in this issue, but when it comes to a 2nd appearance, are we really gonna nit-pick that much about it? Especially when it's a hugely over-looked and not even remotely a big 'o deal yet?

    Key issue? Arguably, but I definitely think it's a minor key when it comes to the market's conscious currently. Then again, Speedball's debut was a minor key not that long ago and so was Squirrel Girl's, Cloak & Dagger's debut, Mr. Immortal & the 1st appearance of the Great Lakes Avengers, Damage Control's intro, Paragon/Her/Ayesha, and whoever else.

    Then again, those characters got some Hollyweird play. Would be strange to see Demogoblin considered for the big or small screen.

    Not unless Sony thinks symbiotes and demons would make a winning combination. Anyway, no surprise that this has a low CGC Census and not because it's widely rare or anything.

    Well, who knows? It could be since this comic isn't really seen as anything worth grading or keeping in great shape to eventually get graded.

    Take those two above sentences with a grain of salt. Someone is probably hoarding issue #86 and #87 somewhere out in this great wide world.

    Cover image for this listing is a direct market edition, and Web of Spider-Man #87 has the cover date of May, 1992.

    2nd appearance of Carnage
    1st meeting of Venom & Carnage
    1st Venom & Carnage fight

    Nobody is noting this issue just yet as Carnage's 2nd appearance. Not Overstreet and not CGC. Right now, this comic is still not all that well-known. There is demand for it, because it has Venom and Carnage.

    The cover is misleading. It's not a Venom and Carnage team up, but a Venom and Spider-Man team up against Carnage. 

    Venom and Spider-Man do fight at the very beginning of this issue though. So for those who like to witness a good ole Venom vs. Spidey scrap, this issue has it.

    Publishing date is May, 1992, making this a Modern Age comic. I'm still considering this comic a sleeper and prices haven't really moved for this comic since I first brought it up in the very small Carnage key issues series done back in 2014. 

    Universal 9.8s can still be snagged for around $50, and that's a shame that this key comic is still over-looked or neglected. Let's get into that a bit before we look at the CGC Census.

    So, despite this being the 2nd appearance of Carnage, there is more than meets the eye to this comic. As noted above, it is the first time Venom and Carnage meet, and it is also the first time Venom and Carnage fight.

    Don't get me wrong here: I'm not saying this is the first time the Venom symbiote meets Cletus Kasady. It's not, but it is the first time Eddie Brock as Venom meets Cletus Kasady as Carnage. 

    As for the first time in comics that the two fight, it's more of a scuffle than an all-out brawl. They would have more of an all-out brawl in Amazing Spider-Man #363.

    So, those aspects of this very comic are probably not that well-known out there in collector, comic investing, or comic speculating land. Alright, here's some CGC Census information about this particular over-looked issue.

    2nd printing has the cover in silver like issue #361. As shown above, there are Australian Editions. Despite the cover date to the Australian Editions being a later date than the U.S. cover dates on the covers, the indicias for the Australian newsstand price variants do have the same dates as U.S. copies. CGC notes them on their census pages.

    That goes the same for issue #361 and #363 concerning Australian newsstand editions or price variants. Alright, let's rock out the covers below:

    Newsstand Edition 2nd Printing
    Australian Edition

    Cover date for the regular U.S. editions of Amazing Spider-Man #362 is May, 1992. Australian has the cover date of August, 1992 but with the Indicia date of May, 1992. Cover price for the Australian price variant is $1.80.

    3rd appearance of Carnage
    Venom vs Carnage battle

    Just like the 2nd appearance of Carnage, nobody cares enough to note this sucker as the 3rd appearance of Carnage. At least, for now, that is. 

    Carnage isn't yet that known outside of comic geekdom, but I'm sure the Venom movie will make the character even more popular. Just look at what Guardians of the Galaxy did for Rocket Raccoon. Now all the kids love that character and most of comic collectors are gunning for his first appearances.

    So Carnage just may get even more popular after the movie hits in 2017. Hopefully, they don't kill him off right off the bat. 

    The previous issue had a pretty short encounter between Venom, Carnage and Spider-Man. That issue is the first time Eddie Brock as Venom and Carnage met face to face in comics and a small little scuffle, but this issue of Amazing Spider-Man #363 has the two symbiote's real battle.

    It may be their first real battle, even though Spider-Man is also involved in the fray. Here's a little teaser of the scrap between Spidey, Venom and Carnage in this issue:

    Just like issue #362, this comic is still very much a sleeper and overlooked.

    CGC 9.8s are still selling for around $50 bucks, highly under the radar at the moment and we all know that Carnage is the main villain of the Venom movie and the two will most likely have an awesome big screen battle. I mean, that's a definite that fans will always anticipate no matter how many Venom franchise flicks and reboots happen over the years.

    I could not find any cover examples of the Australian newsstand edition or price variant. I think it may be $1.80 also.

    Don't know much about those either. As far as know so far, there are regular U.S. direct market and newsstand editions and the Australian price variants for this comic.

    June, 1992 is the cover date for Amazing Spider-Man #363 and the 3rd appearance of Carnage. 

    1st issue to Infinity Gauntlet sequel
    1st brief Doppelganger (Spider-Man)

    Besides the namesake of this limited comic series having "Infinity War" in it, there is a debut in this issue that's very much related to Spider-Man. Remember, Doppelganger? Well, more specifically, the Spider-Man Doppelganger?

    In this issue, Spidey wasn't the only one to have  a doppelganger. There was a shitload of doppelgangers for a lot of Marvel characters in this issue.

    I think the Spidey doppelganger one is one of the few from this issue that actually carried over into the comic series of it's main original counterpart. This evil duplicate of Spider-Man was created by Magnus, the evil and future persona of Adam Warlock.

    Here's how this creature first debuts in this issue.

    The panel above is how he winds up later and near the end of this issue. Does not really show the fight between Spidey and Doppelganger. Doppelganger's debut is more of a cameo since it's basically 3 panels.

    Doppelganger dies but the character would be resurrected not very long after this issue by Demogoblin. Yes, we are getting to that creature's debut as well.

    Before that, here's the CGC Census of this comic so far. Great limited series, and I do love Starlin's work on all the Infinity stuff.

    I'm also a fan of Ron Lim's work on the cosmic side of comics as well. Hope to see Mr. Ron Lim this year at Stockton Con.

    Infinity War #1 has the cover date of June, 1992. 

    SPIDER-MAN #24
    3rd appearance Demogoblin
    Demogoblin dons new costume
    2nd Doppelganger or 1st full

    When it comes to the Spider-Man comic series, I seriously do not know of many keys or even any debuts that are worthwhile to even mention from that series. Do not get me wrong here as I do love the series.

    Well, okay, I love all the early issues with Todd McFarlane art, and I even do like many of the stories also. I'm just saying that when it comes to the actual mythos or introducing a fan-favorite villain or supporting character, the Spider-Man comic series is a bit lacking.

    I'm not even saying that this issue should be considered hugely important or sought-out. Sure, it has the 2nd appearance of the Doppelganger who is killed by Macendale as Hobgoblin in this issue. The end will see Demogoblin pick up the body of Doppelganger in order to revive the creature later.

    If you're a fan of the Demogoblin and just want the character's early appearances then this surely one to get. Demogoblin does receive a new look or costume as well in this very issue.

    Another not so well-known bit of something-something concerning this issue is that it does have the first Hobgoblin vs Demogoblin fight or battle in this issue. Demogoblin's new look isn't all that great to be honest, but I guess they needed something to distinguish Hobby and Demo apart from each other.

    This is not an issue with Todd McFarlane art. Actually, it is Mark Bagley.

    Okay, so I believe that McFarlane stopped with issue #16. Eric Larsen did the cover and pencils for issue #15 but began his short run with issue #18. Bagley's work on the series was even shorter and began with this issue and only lasted until issue #26.

    Not exactly a well-known Spidey key issue, but it is also a Hobgoblin and Demogoblin key comic as well.

    Mark Bagley pencils and Mark Bagley cover. Speaking of covers, Spider-Man #24 has the cover date of July, 1992.

    Man, these things are taking up more time and taking longer and longer to do. When I start the intro, I have a rough idea of what I'm going to talk about in the outro to each part, but by the time I reach the outro, I completely forget what I was going to talk about.

    Alright, I just remembered. I know a few people have talked about labeling the next "Age" of comics, and I'm surprised it has not been done yet. Then again, I'm not really that surprised either.

    Has there been anything of significance to mark another "Age"? Some consider the Copper Age part of the Modern Age that began in the mid 80s.

    I consider Copper Age starting in 1984 and lasting until 1991. 1992 then begins the Modern Age for me. What happened in the Copper Age?

    Rise of indie comics or publishers, more serious/mature or darker tones and content in comics from writers like Alan Moore and Frank Miller, anti-heroes taking center stage (Wolverine, Punisher, Lobo, Deadpool, Spawn, Venom, Grendel, Crow, etc). The Bronze Age did lay the groundwork for these qualities to happen, but the Copper Age saw the fruition of all this.

    So, really, what would have different distinctions of the comic industry now to mark a different "Age"? I've already noted grading comics and getting them slabbed, the obvious intent of artificial rarity in 1-and-whatever ratios for variant comics, and the direct intent of comic publishers to pump out multiple variants en masse. 

    As for actual comic content like concepts, stories, and characters, what's being done differently that is significant in the industry? Don't really have time to get into that, so I'll leave it at that.

    Part 2 will be coming in the near future. Have a good weekend all.

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    1. I think ASM Annual #25 would get more love if it had Venom on the cover. Threw a little curve ball on here Mr. Mayhem with that Infinity War #1 entry. Have a good weekend as well man.


      1. Perhaps, but quite a bit of Venom of keys from that era are bypassed. Perhaps the stigma of over-printing since it is a 90s Marvel comic and from the ASM title. Dunno, maybe not that many know about it currently or maybe they do. Have a great weekend also, Nate!

      2. I sent you some pics of some of my recent snags on Facebook thru a message. Check them out when you get a chance.


    2. I was kind of surprised you didn't mention Amazing spider-man #344 and #345 cameo and first appearance of Cletus Kasady in this list.

      1. In the Copper Age section.

      2. As Anonymous stated above, the 1st brief and full Cletus Kasady are listed in the Copper Age section of this Spider-Man key issues series. I think it is Part 6.

    3. Hey buster,

      talkin' Spiderman - what do you think about a
      Spiderman 129 in 3.5? Is this a good investment
      in you opinion? Is this a book that you would invest
      in only in grades higher than 6.0? I wouldn' t
      pay more than 100 bucks, what would you say?
      Sorry for the dumb questions but I have to ask
      someone, haven' t I? Don' t hesitate to give a
      dumb answer ;-)

      Speculation Jones

      1. Graded or raw? Getting real tough to find one that cheap any more. If you can find one in that grade for $100. Get it!! Even beat up poor copies sale for more than $100 online now.


      2. What's up Major Jones! Dumb answer comin' right up: This is just my personal opinion and not from a comic investing viewpoint, I don't think I'd want that particular issue that low of a grade, but wait a sec here:

        It really depends on the deal I could get that for...especially a raw copy that could do a little better with a clean and press. It does depend on what I could get it for raw though.

    4. Hey Mayhem,
      hey Nate,

      thanks for the quick reply! The seller
      won' t go lower than 350 bucks, so
      I' m out. Overstreet notes the comic
      in the same range in 3.5, but it just
      doesn' t sound like a stellar deal to

      Speculation Jones

    5. Hey, what' s cookin'? It' s ole Ace here and boy do I have news
      for you! This one is a bummer and a mystery to me as far as
      modern spidey keys are concerned: I just read that Amazing
      Spiderman 418 (from 1996) is supposed to have the first
      appearance of Peter' s and Mary Jane' s baby! What gives?
      Ok, it's a baby appearance but it' s the Spiderman of the
      next generation. Kinda like X-23. Why hasn' t anyone made
      this an investment issue before?


      1. Well Ace. I don't see this issue ever being a key. Here is the reason. The baby that MJ was pregnant with in ASM 418 was later written out of Marvel continuity. You can read about the whole scenario on a few online sites. So as of now no chance on it becoming a future Marvel character. Usually baby appearances don't translate as being key issues.


    6. Gonna chime in real quick here. Pete and Mary Jane's baby in that story arc was never seen. It was said to have died at birth (still born) and then this whole story line of whether the baby really died at birth or not or had Norman Osborn messing with Peter or not was teased.

      It ended up being the baby was dead in mainstream continuity. Then DeFalco did What If #105 volume 2 which had the whole story of whether the baby survived and became May Parker A.K.A. Spider-Girl.

      Then DeFalco did the Spider-Girl comic series. May "Mayday" Parker was spun-off in the MC2 universe. She is the longest running female lead in a Marvel Comic with 100 issues, plus the Amazing Spider-Girl and Spectacular Spider-Man titled comics also.

      Should definitely get more recognition. As for spec, I'd focus on What If #105 volume 2, her debut.