The Comic Speculator – Back Issue Report 07/22/2011
Captain America #100
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. 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.
The Back Issue Report
Welcome back true believers. It’s time again for an expedition into the cavernous depths of the haunted mines that is the comic book back issue market. (today’s writing soundtrack was “Helplessness Blues,” by Fleet Foxes.)
Gold and Silver News
Unless you live under an iron-fisted dictatorship with absolute control of the media, you’ve probably heard that Captain America is hitting theaters this weekend. The trailers have whipped Cap nerds into a frenzy and, as usual, the market for Captain America back-issues is being fueled by the fire. Here’s a look at some recent auction activity for Cap back-issues:
The July Grand Auction at Pedigree Comics ended this last Tuesday and saw some great results on some impressive Cap issues. Most notably, a Captain America #100 in CGC 9.8 condition that sold for $5,850. This was the second-highest graded copy of Cap #100 listed in the CGC census. Cap #100 has been steadily seeing higher sales for years now because it was Captain America’s first appearance in his Silver-Age title. This was the beginning of Jack Kirby’s famous run on Cap and by far his most iconic Captain America cover.
Another copy of Cap #100, in slightly lower condition (CGC 9.6), is currently up for auction at Comic Link. This auction is currently at $1,302.00 with 16 bids and ends on July 26. Back in May, Comic Link had a record sale for a copy of Marvel Mystery #9 (Marvel, 1940) in CGC 5.5 condition, which sold for $19,801. Marvel Mystery was a Golden-Age title that featured Cap and the Invaders battling Nazis during WWII.
Captain America #200
Captain America Vol. 5 #14
Over at eBay, Cap has had a pretty decent month with a sale for Avengers #4 (Marvel, 1964; first Silver-Age Cap appearance) in CGC 9.2 condition selling for $7,877, drawing 15 bids. This is the highest auction price for an Avengers #4 in this condition I could find since July of 2010, when a copy in CGC 9.2 sold for $7,250. Not a huge jump in price, but nothing to scoff at either. Another copy of the same issue in CGC 8.5 sold for $2,925 on July 10 with 20 bids. This was also the highest price I could find for Avengers #4 in 8.5 condition. The next-highest eBay sale was back in July of 2010 and sold for $2,125.
Cap is hot right now and after this weekend, depending on just how well “Captain America” does at the box office, Cap back issues could jump even higher in price.
Bronze-Age and Beyond
Gold- and Silver-Age Cap titles aren’t the only comics seeing high prices. Captain America #200 (Marvel, 1976), like many other Marvel comics at the time, had both a 25¢ and a 30¢ cover price. I’ve written about the Marvel 30¢ variants before (you can click here for the full story). In a nutshell, they’re hard to come by. That said, both the regular 25¢ and 30¢ variants of Cap #200 have been selling well. Currently, Cap #200 guides at $20 in Near Mint and $60 for the price variant in Near Mint. For a while now the 25¢ version in CGC 9.8 condition has been selling for $70-$80. The CGC census currently lists 38 copies of #200 in 9.8 condition, which is probably why this one has sat around $70 for a while. The 30¢ variant is a very different story. CGC only lists two copies in 9.6 and none in better condition. It’s been a while since we’ve seen any slabbed versions of this one at auction. The last sale I could find was at eBay for a copy in CGC 9.4 condition, which sold for $100 back in 2007. I have no idea what the two 9.6 30¢ variants would fetch today, but it’d certainly be an auction to watch.
In recent years Cap’s series has been relaunched several times, most recently with a new #1 last week. One issue to watch is from the 2005 relaunch, written by Ed Brubaker, who has been the writer since then and given us some of the best Captain America stories ever written: Captain America Vol. 5 #14 (Marvel, 2006).
The story was the conclusion of the Winter Soldier storyline, wherein Cap’s old partner from WWII, Bucky, had been working for the Soviets after the resurrected him and trained him as an assassin. In this issue, Bucky regains his memory and once again joins Cap and begins his long journey to redemption. This issue continues to slowly creep up in value, and now that Bucky has been killed again—in the pages of the recent Fear Itself #3 (Marvel, 2011)—might see another spike in value when the current Captain America title is retitled “Captain America and Bucky” with issue #620, which ships next Wednesday. Currently, Cap Vol. 5 #14 guides for $14 but has been selling for $25 and up. This was one of those issues where collectors couldn’t have predicted the importance of the story. Bucky would go on to become Cap for a few years after Steve’s death in Captain America Vol. 5 #25.
Of course, there’re tons of other collectible Cap issues out there; I’m just sitting on a couple here that could be worth watching in the aftermath of the movie.
Sell Out News
These could be the hot back-issues of the future, so pay attention and buy now or pay way too much for them later. The sell-outs discussed here are taken from the June Top-300 selling comics list provided by Diamond and are at the distributor level, meaning there may be copies still available at your local comic shop.
Mega Man #2
Elric: The Balance Lost #1
Mega Man #2
Sonic The Hedgehog #225
Sonic The Hedgehog #226
Sonic Universe #29
Veronica #207 (Veronica Presents Kevin Keller #1)
Sonic the Hedgehog is Archie’s best-selling monthly comic for June, checking in at number 167 on the Top 300 chart. But Mega Man seems to be the comic that nerds are looking for. Currently, issue #1 is selling for a little more than $5 and issue #2 looks like it’ll be there shortly. This Mega Man run could be one to watch.
Fathom Vol. 4 #0 CVR A
Soulfire Vol. 3 #1 CVR A
Executive Assistant Iris Vol. 2 #0 CVR A
Elric: The Balance Lost #1
I’m guessing the print-run on Elric was low—less than 5,000 copies kind of low—because it disappeared quickly. There’re a few first prints on eBay, but they seem to be going fast. You can still get Elric #1 for cover price, but that should be going up soon. Still, I don’t see this one selling for more than $10anytime soon. Elric is a niche title and after that niche gets their hands on what they need, I’d expect prices to level out.
Simpsons Comics #179
Simpsons Super Spectacular #13
Booster Gold #45
Witch Doctor #1
Booster Gold #45
Flashpoint Batman Knight of Vengeance #1
Flashpoint Abin Sur The Green Lantern #1
Flashpoint Emperor Aquaman #1
Flashpoint The Reverse Flash #1
Wonder Woman #611.
The Booster Gold Flashpoint tie-in issue is really the only thing worth mentioning as far as DC sell-outs. We don’t have the exact numbers yet, but I’m betting the other Flashpoint titles had lower print runs relative to most DCU titles, and these were the first to hit, so retailers went big on the first issues. Sales will certainly decline on second issues as the reviews of most of the Flashpoint minis have not been good. Booster Gold continues to sell well, even without the Flashpoint banner. I’d expect these final Booster issues to be the hardest to find and most expensive of the run.
Doctor Who Fairytale Life #3
Godzilla Kingdom Of Monsters #4
Rocketeer Adventures #2
Suicide Girls #3
True Blood Tainted Love #5
30 Days Of Night – Night Again #2
50 Girls 50 #1
Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #4
Graveyard Of Empires #1
Savage Dragon #171
Super Dinosaur #3
Walking Dead #86
Witch Doctor #1
Butcher Baker and Witch Doctor look to be the winners here. BB continues to sell out with each issue and immediately begin selling for more than cover-price. First-prints of #1 are still the big winners, selling for anywhere from $5-$10, but all the other issues are at least at $4 and going up. Witch Doctor #1 is also just starting to creep up in price, as the buzz about this title continues to spread.
Black Panther Man Without Fear #520
Black Panther Man Without Fear #520
Captain America First Vengeance #3
Captain America First Vengeance #4
Deadpool #38 & #39
Fear Itself #3
Generation Hope #8
Incredible Hulks #631
Mighty Thor #3
Mystery Men #2
New Avengers #13
Supreme Power #1
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #160
Uncanny X-Force #11
X-Men Prelude to Schism #4
X-Men Schism #1
Not a lot of surprises here. Ultimate Spidey was the conclusion to the Death of Spider-Man storyline and the highest-selling title of June, with Fear Itself, New Avengers, Mighty Thor and the X-titles not far behind. These were all very well-ordered, so there should still be plenty left at comic shops. If there’s one here to watch, it might be the two David Liss titles—Black Panther Man Without Fear and Mystery Men. Both have quietly been receiving great reviews and selling out. Liss isn’t a big name yet, but Marvel seems to believe in him and when he does get his break-out title, these first two series will be very hard to find. Currently, sets of Black Panther #513 through #520 are selling for just under $20, but that price seems to be creeping up. Mystery Men #1 has just started hitting $4-$5 and also seems rising.
This one had a very simple premise: what if there was a drug that could make you fly? But in true Zenescope fashion, it features a buxom female lead whose clothes almost come off on a regular basis. Fly #1 sold out instantly, and no doubt had a very low print run. First-prints are currently selling for $6 and up.
Our Love is Real One Shot
Our Love is Real One Shot
This one got a little help from Rich Johnston at Bleeding Cool, who highlighted this self-published one-shot that takes place five years after the AIDS vaccine. Because of the cure, love has a very different definition than it used too. It sounds like Our Love was a comedy and a very adult-themed title. Thanks to Johnston’s help, the initial print run of 300 sold out instantly and first prints are now selling for $40 and up on eBay. Expect to see a reprint of this one at a major publisher soon.
Bull vs. Bear
Buy or sell? Every week I get asked “what’s hot in comics these days?” Well, here’re a couple comics that are either moving right now or just begging to be added to your collection . . .
Locke and Key Clockworks #1
Locke and Key, IDW
Locke and Key is creation of bestselling writer Joe Hill, who happens to be the son of Stephen King. Locke and Key is a supernatural thriller that began its publication in 2008 at IDW. Since then, it’s received an Eisner nomination for the “Best Limited Series” in 2009 and won the British Fantasy Award for best comic or Graphic Novel that same year. The most recent series, Locke and Key Clockworks #1, hit comic shops this past Wednesday and begins the final story arc. Locke and Key has been an immensely popular series for IDW, but has sold better as collected editions than single issues, which has kept print-runs on the monthly title low. Because of the low print-runs, first-prints of the earlier series are becoming very hard to find and are selling for premium prices online. Currently Locke and Key; Welcome to Lovecraft #1 first-printings are selling for $25 and up. Most of the other issues are still below the $10 price range, but are creeping up. Since the announcement of a television adaptation, the series has become even more popular, even though the most recent pilot was turned down by Fox. Thanks to the success of AMC’s “Walking Dead” series, every cable network is looking for the next breakout comic-themed-show and Locke and Key will get picked up by one of them. When it does, watch for these issues to sky-rocket in value. It’s summer convention season, which is a perfect time to go hunting for Locke and Key back-issues. It might also be the last time they’re affordable.
All the San Diego exclusive covers
It’s Comic-con weekend in San Diego, and that means eBay will be inundated with exclusive San Diego covers of all your favorite comics. The trick is to get yours listed first. It’s usually the first exclusives listed that sell for the most. After eBay sellers see the crazy prices paid for some of the variants, they flood the comics listings with hundreds similar comics and the price levels out or falls through the floor. So list fast and list early.
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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