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.
The Back Issue Report:
It’s time to once again take a look at the fast-paced, action-packed world of back-issue comics.
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 at the distributor level, meaning there may be copies still available at your local comic shop. If they are still there, then go buy ’em!
Veronica #202—the first appearance of Kevin Keller, the first and presumably only gay character in the Archie Universe—sold out a Diamond and is coming back with a second-printing, scheduled to ship on October 6. Here’s the crazy part: this is the first reprint for an Archie comic in their history. Sounds weird, right? I was shocked to find out that the Archie wedding issue didn’t get reprinted, but Archiecomics.com confirmed it this morning. First Archie reprint ever. Go figure. First printings of Veronica #202 are seeing some action online, selling for anywhere from $5 to $10. This is one that could continue to climb in price if the media keeps talking about Keller and his being all gay and stuff.
Fantastic Four #583 second printing
Fantastic Four #583 sold out instantly at Diamond Comics last Wednesday. Once again, all Marvel has to do to sell out a title is to threaten to kill someone. #583 is the first issue of the “Three” storyline which, as the title suggests, will leave the team missing a member. Marvel announced a second printing to ship on October 27, the same day as issue #584. #583 isn’t doing much online yet, presumably because it was so well ordered, but if the storyline continues to sell this well, we could see prices creeping up over the next few months here as the first-printings begin to disappear.
Morning Glories #1 fourth printing
Morning Glories #1 continues to sell out print runs this time with the 3rd printing selling out. If you missed the first three printings, then I don’t think you’re even trying. But don’t sweat it; a fourth printing is on the way. First-printings of issue #1 are still selling for $30-$40 but also seem to be very available; there’re three pages of them on eBay. I can’t see these prices holding for much longer.
Gold and Silver News
Comicconnect.com is reporting that the recent August-September Featured Auction was the highest-grossing its ever had. Take that, depressed economy! Of course, the Action Comics #1 that sold for $400k helped pad those profits a little, but there were still plenty of other notable sales:
Golden Age sales:
Pep Comics #22
Amazing Fantasy #15
Pep Comics #22 CGC 5.0 $50,000
Detective Comics #28 CGC 7.5 $35,000
Batman #2 CGC 9.2 $43,000
Captain America Comics #2 CGC 8.5 $21,500
Adventure Comics #40 CGC 6.5 $25,000
Flash Comics #1 CGC 5.0 $16,201
Famous Funnies Vol.1 #1 CGC 4.5 $20,628
Batman #9 CGC 9.4 $15,000
Batman #47 CGC 8.5 $7,300
I thought that Pep Comics would go for more, but 50 grand for a 5.0 is definitely impressive.
Amazing Fantasy #15 CGC 8.5 $108,000
Green Lantern #76 CGC 9.6 $18,434
Incredible Hulk #1 CGC 7.5 $16,950
Fantastic Four #1 CGC 7.0 $21,000
Amazing Spider-Man #33 CGC 9.8 $7,600
Giant Size X-Men #1 CGC 9.8 $5,401
Tales of Suspense #39 CGC 8.5 $13,000
Fantastic Four #1 CGC 7.5 $21,000
Getting $108,000 for Amazing Fantasy #15 in CGC 8.5 is huge, considering last October a restored copy in CGC 8.0 sold for $4,100. Restored or not, that’s a pretty gigantic jump in price in a little less than a year.
Those of you on the East Coast looking to drop thousands of dollars on Key Golden-Age comics will want to stop by the AllStarAuctions.net booth at this year’s New York Comic-Con Oct. 8-10. All-Star just announced that they recently purchased the Jerry Robinson collection of Golden Age comics including several issues of Batman #1-#12 early issues of Detective Comics and Superman along with other Key DC titles. Jerry Robinson was a Golden Age artist for DC that worked on several of these comics and created famous Bat-Villans like the Joker and Two-Face. The Robinson collection will be up for auction all weekend at the NYC-CC, so make sure to bring your checkbooks.
Bronze-Age and Beyond
We’re going to take a break from the usual market analysis here to take a look at one publisher in particular. Last week, as part of their restructuring plans, DC announced it would be taking its small, pet publisher Wildstorm Comics out behind the barn and shooting it in the head. It seems, like Old Yeller, Wildstorm had lost its identity and outlived its usefulness. The employees certainly weren’t frothing at the mouth with hydrophobia, but the publisher had become bogged down in too many licensed properties and independently owned creator titles, resulting in a bizarre mish-mash of poorly selling comics. So, Ex-Editor-in-Chief of Wildstorm Jim Lee, who is now the co-publisher of DC (still not sure what that title even means) said, “It’s my dog, Dan Didio (the other DC Co-publisher), I’ll do it,” took Wildstorm out back and put it down. So, today we’ll take a brief look at the collectible legacy left behind by Wildstorm. Dim the lights, cue up the sad, soft music from “Band of Brothers” and let’s remember Wildstorm together . . .
It all started in 1992 with Jim Lee’s Wild C.A.T.S. (which stood for Covert Action Teams, a clever title, considering the state of comics in the ’90s). Sadly, the once proud series that commanded prices of $20 and up for the first few issues was so massively over-printed that it’s hard not to find copies in quarter boxes at comic shops everywhere. The two highest-valued comics Wild C.A.T.S. comics are probably the final issue of Vol. 1 #50 and the Wild C.A.T.S./Aliens one-shot. Both of which guide for $5.
Sam Keith's The Maxx
Shortly thereafter came one of the most bizarre comic series I’ve read to this day. Sam Keith’s The Maxx was the tale of a homeless man who thought he was a superhero, I think. It was very Don Quixotesque as I recall, but with enough Sam Keith weirdness to wonder what the hell you just read with every issue. There was a time when the limited glow-in-the-dark Maxx #1 was selling for #40-$50 now you can pick up CGC’ed copies in 9.5 and above for around $30. Lately, the limited edition Blue Ashcan edition of #1 is selling for $40 and the signed Red Ashcan edition (limited to 1,500) sells for around $50. Complete runs of The Maxx have gone way up in value in recent years. Four-years-ago you could pick up a complete run for $30-$40, but within the last year they’ve been selling for $85 and up. Later issues of the run, specifically the final five issues (#31-#35), are fairly hard to find and routinely sell for $10 and up.
I realize there’s more we could go into here, but this is a blog, not the definitive guide to the collectible Wildstorm Universe (which wouldn’t be but a few paragraphs more, sadly). In recent years, Wildstorm has become a confusing mix of licensed horror, video-game and creator-owned projects. The most successful I can remember was the comic adaptation of “Trick ‘r Treat” (2009, Wildstorm). “Trick ‘r Treat” was a direct-to-video horror anthology that got quite a bit of press at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2009. Shortly after, Wildstorm shipped a prelude comic that was hardly ordered or printed. The comic sold out very quickly and was selling for $15-$20 online. Now the comic still sells for $6-$10 and is a great example of what Wildstorm could’ve been.
I’m not going to sit here from my comic shop and tell DC how to run an imprint, but it seems, in retrospect, Wildstorm was at its best when it were printing licensed horror and video game titles (see below for more on their video-game comics). I loved the creator-owned stuff that Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio and the rest of the Image Comics gang published back in the ’90s and then the re-invention of some of those titles by Allan Moore, Warren Ellis and Mark Millar, but they always seemed redundant. Why have a separate Super Hero Universe in an already confusing DC Universe populated by too many different continuities. Then there were the passive/aggressive attempts to connect the Wildstorm U to the DCU through titles like Captain Atom: Armageddon and Final Crisis that ultimately made little to no sense and fell flat with readers, which led to a loss of interest with the Wildstorm U years ago. I’m fine with some of the characters coming to the DCU, but it’s something that should’ve been done a long time ago. Imagine if DC had had the wherewithal in the ’90s to let these creators breath some new life into their established DCU characters instead of having to wait years to finally see Jim Lee drawing Batman. Now, most of the creators who made Wildstorm great are working for Marvel, doing just that.
It’s sad to see any imprint go, but it probably was Wildstorm’s time. Hopefully, DC can take the best of what Wildstorm was and refocus it into a better DCU. Or, it’ll be more of the same Red Circle, Milestone Forever and First-Wave short-lived reintroduction comics only to be cancelled a year later.
Thanks for memories, Wildstorm, but we already missed ya . . .
Bull vs. Bear
Buy or sell? Every week I get asked “what’s hot in comics these days?” Well here’re a few comics that are either moving right now or just begging to be added to your collection:
Wildstorm-licensed video game comics. For the most part, they weren’t heavily ordered but recently runs of mini-series based on video games like Prototype #1-#6 (rented the game; sucked), Dante’s Inferno #1-#6 (heard the game sucked), Starcraft #1-#7 (eagerly awaiting the new PC game) and Mirror’s Edge #1-#6 (great premise for a game; totally sucked) are all selling for $22 and up. Not huge money by any definition, but if you’re a retailer, now is the time to dig out the Wildstorm video game comics and move ’em out.
Ex Machina (Wildstorm) full runs. Brian Vaughn’s Ex Machina is by far one of the best titles Wildstorm ever published. So good, in fact, it probably should have been a Vertigo title. Think “The West Wing” with superpowers. Full runs of Ex Machina (#1-#50, four special issues and a one-shot) are selling for $50. That’s a little less than a dollar an issue. I was thinking about picking up the hard cover versions, but cannot pass up a run for this price. It’s just a matter of time before this comic becomes a TV show or HBO mini-series and, when it does, expect to pay two or three times the current price.
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 me or post your question below in the “comments” section below. Also, you can follow him on Twitter, where I’m always screaming about something nerd-related. Thanks to all Matt’s new followers and keep the comments coming! Want to know what your comics are worth? Join WorthPoint to search its database or use its “Ask A Worthologist” feature. Remember to post the title, issue number and cover price. And finally, a word to the Federal Trade Commission; all the comics discussed here are purchased solely by the writer, who receives no gifts or free merchandise from any publishers, even though he would graciously accept them.
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