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Back-Issue Comics Roundup – Original Art of Wolverine’s First Appearance to be Sold

by Matt Baum (02/28/14).

In this week’s roundup, we’ll start with some amazing auctions this going on at your favorite comic book auction houses this week and then we’ll take a peek at some key comics that have direct connections to some of this week’s new releases. But first, be sure to strap into your extreme cold weather gear, because our adventure today takes up deep into the barren, frozen wastes of the Comic Book Back Issue Market!

Golden- and Silver-Age Oldies:

Wolverine’s First Appearance Page Resurfaces

Wolverine’s first appearance was on the last page of The Incredible Hulk #180 (Marvel, 1974). Legendary Silver-Age artist Herb Trimpe gave the page to then-teenager as a souvenir back in 1983. It is up for auction in a sale that ends on March 16.

The Incredible Hulk #180 (Marvel, 1974) that gave birth to Wolverine. As far as I can tell, there has never been an original page from Incredible Hulk #180 or #181 sold at auction.

This week in “guess what I found” news, possibly the most important piece of original Wolverine art has surfaced after 30 years of hiding. Or misplacement, I guess, since art can’t “hide.”

Regardless, Wolvie made his first appearance on the last page of The Incredible Hulk #180 (Marvel, 1974), drawn by legendary Silver-Age artist Herb Trimpe. For almost 40 years, the original page featuring Wolvie’s debut was thought lost. Until now. As it turns out, Trimpe gave the page to a then-teenager as a souvenir back in 1983. The now-grown collector, who wishes to remain un-named, has decided to put the page up for auction at Heritage Auctions and donate the bulk of the proceeds to the Hero Initiative, a nonprofit charity for comic creators in financial needs.

The auction for the page begins on May 16 and I can’t even hazard a guess what it’s going to sell for. As far as I can tell, there has never been an original page from Incredible Hulk #180 or #181 (Wolvie’s first full appearance) sold at auction. Stay tuned for more on this auction when it goes live in May.


Jungle Comics #1

Pieces of Legendary Mile-High Collection Goes Up for Auction

When talking about Golden-Age collections, there is none more sought-after and expensive than the Mile-High Collection. From 1938-1955, a collector from Denver named Edgar Church collected nearly every comic book on the stands and kept them in almost pristine condition. Grant was a commercial artist who used the comics as references for sketches of the human form. The 20,000-plus comics were kept, undisturbed, in Grant’s cedar closet and with the help of Denver’s cool, dry air, have all graded out in amazing condition.

After Grant’s health declined his family sold the collection to Comic Connect and the first part of the collection—Grant’s run of Jungle Comics (Fiction House, 1940-54)—is currently up for auction. This is almost a complete run of the first 100 issues of one of the most coveted Golden-Age comics in CGC 8.5 condition or higher. Jungle Comics ran for almost 15-years, featuring Tarzan knock-offs saving damsels in distress with art by legends like Reed Crandall, Will Eisner, Bob Powell and Matt Baker. Currently, the first issue (in CGC 9.6 condition) is up to $15,200 with 14-days left in the auction. Again, there is no way to even guess how high this auction will go, seeing as this might be one of the highest-graded Golden-Age comics on the planet.


Bronze-Age and Beyond

Fantastic Four #1 (Katie Cook Animal Variant Cover). No one cares about these animal variants.

Fantastic Four #1 (Skottie Young Variant Cover). It will probably sell for $8-$10, like the other “Lil” variants.

Fantastic Four #1 (Alex Ross 75th Anniversary Variant). It shouldn’t be too hard to come by so don’t spend more $30.

The Fantastic Four gets a yet another #1 this week from Marvel and with it, several totally over-priced variants. Fans have the choice between another Skottie Young “Lil’ FF” cover, an animal variant and two beautiful ratio-ed variants by Jerome Opena and Alex Ross. No one seems to care about any Marvel’s animal variants, with most of them selling for cover price or less. The Skottie Young variant will probably sell for $8-$10, like the other “Lil” variants. Openia’s 1:50 ratio variant should be very easy to come by, due to high orders on this issue, so don’t pay more than $15 to $20. Alex Ross’ 1:75 ratio variant shouldn’t be much harder to come by so don’t spend more $30. I would stay away from the 1:300 ratio Ross Sketch variant unless you can get it for less than $50. Not because it’ll be easy to find, but with a ratio that high most, retailers will be asking at least $200 and you will never see a return near that price. There’s also a Hastings exclusive variant selling on eBay for $15, which is funny, because you can still buy it at the site for $6.99.

The Wonder Woman Steampunk variant for #28 is selling for a whopping $80.

Harley Quinn’s Steampunk variant for #3 is the other winner, selling for a little more than $60.

The Batwoman #28 Steampunk variant is selling for a little less than $40.

Over at DC, the Steampunk variants keep coming and I can’t help but wonder if some of the artists know what constitutes “Steampunk” at all. Still, two of the steamy variants seem to be going on insane on eBay. The Wonder Woman Steampunk variant for #28 is selling for a whopping $80. Keep in mind, this a 1:25 variant that probably sold for $20-$25 at most comic shops last week. Harley Quinn’s Steampunk variant for #3 is the other winner, selling for a little more than $60 and it just shipped two weeks ago. In a distant third, the Batwoman #28 Steampunk variant is selling for a little less than $40 and seems to be gaining steam… see what I did there? Ha!


The Comic Speculator is a blog written by WorthPoint Comic Book “Worthologist” Matt Baum that takes a look at each week’s hot new comics and back issues and the comic market place in general. Prices discussed here are taken from the Overstreet Guide to Comics (OVST), Comicspriceguide.com (CPG) and current online auction sales. Sales numbers and rankings are courtesy of ICV2.com. Lists of new comics are courtesy of Previews World and Comics List. Make sure and click on the links to learn more about the titles and creators discussed here. The codes under the prices of new titles discussed are Diamond Comics order codes that can be used to help your local comic retailer in ordering the issues discussed. If you want to hear what this nerd sounds like you can catch him on his podcast, the Two-Headed Nerd Comicast, where he and his friend Joe discuss the latest comic news, review some new comics, and answer your questions.

Matt Baum is WorthPoint’s comic book Worthologist. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world feel free to contact Matt or post your question below in the Comic Book Forum in the WorthPoint Forums, located in the Community tab. You can also reply to this article in the “leave a reply” box below. If you need more comic-nerd in your life, you can follow Matt on Twitter, where he’s always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming!

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