The Comic Speculator – Back Issue Report 11/24/2010

Superman #1

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 for another look into the seedy underworld of the back issue comic market. Join me as I dig through dusty, digital crates to find nerdy comic treasures, both new and old.

Gold and Silver News

On Nov. 14 a copy of Superman #1 (DC, 1939) in CGC Restored condition sold on eBay for $24,100 with 46 bids. Not anywhere near what an unrestored copy in this condition would sell for, but still a great price for a copy with this much restoration. According to the auction’s description, the restoration included color touch, pieces added, tear seals, cleaning and re-glossing. Restored copies of key Golden-Age comics used to sell for much less, but with 46 bids and an ending price of more than 20k, it seems that may be changing.

In other Superman news; bidding has begun in the Comicconnect.com Nov-Dec auction and an Action Comics #1 (DC, 1938) in CGC 1.8 condition has been included as a late addition. This is probably the most affordable copy of Action Comics #1 for sale this year. Affordable in the sense that it will sell for less than $100,000, which is relatively inexpensive for the first appearance of Superman.

Also included in this auction are more than 75 comics from the Suscha News Pedigree Collection. These were comics from a single collector’s collection who personally sorted through distributor’s boxes looking for comics in the best of condition from the mid-1960s to 1976. This is the first time the Suscha News collection has been offered for sale and a lot of collectors are excited. Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the auction:

Amazing Spider-Man #14, CGC 9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #17, CGC 9.0
Amazing Spider-Man #21, CGC 9.4
Amazing Spider-Man #50, CGC 9.4
Avengers #9, CGC 9.2
Avengers #13, CGC 9.8
Avengers #28, CGC 9.6
Avengers #34, CGC 9.6
Giant-Size Spider-Man #4, CGC 9.8
Incredible Hulk #181, CGC 9.8

Click here for more on the origins of the Suscha News Collection. It’s great story and definitely worth a read.

But that’s not all . . . also included in the Nov-Dec auction are some amazing original Gold- and Silver-Age original art pieces, including the covers of Superman #14 and Detective Comics #69 from the Jerry Robinson collection (more on that collection here) and two Jack Kirby pages—one a splash page from X-Men #2 and the other a page from Fantastic Four Annual #4—and the cover to Ghost Rider #9 by Gil Kane. Not that my wife ever reads this blog, but if any of you happen to drop her a line, please mention that anything from this auction would be a perfect X-mas present.

Bronze-Age and Beyond

Watchmen #1, page one

Walking Dead 75 splash page

Original art pages from any comic are one-of-a-kind pieces that can sell for very high prices, depending on the artist and story. Some of the most sought-after original art from the 1980s comes from Alan Moore’s Watchmen series, and page one of issue #1 is probably one of the most iconic. On Nov. 19, Heritage Auctions put the first page of Watchmen up for auction with no reserve. The page was originally purchased by legendary Brittish music-art-director DJ and producer Steve “Krusher” Joule. Joule purchased the page from a British comic shop back in 1987 for $150 and later had it signed by both Watchmen artist and writer, Dave Gibbons and Alan Moore, respectively. Estimates have the page selling for more than $15,000 today.

“Watchmen pages have proven very scarce on the open market and do not change hands very often,” said Todd Hignite, consignment director for Heritage. “In fact, this is the first one Heritage has ever offered, so we couldn’t be more excited that it’s the page that kicks off the entire Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons saga. Many people who’ve never read any other comic books have read Watchmen, and given that mass appeal, we expect very strong demand for this lot.”

In other original art news, Ryan Otley (artist of Invincible and Sea Bear and Grizzly Shark) put some of his original art from Walking Dead #75 up for sale at Splashpageart.com and it is gorgeous. Otley also has some great Invincible covers for sale that are worth a look.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1

Copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (Mirage; 1984) continue to sell very well. This past week a copy of TMNT #1 in CGC 7.5 condition sold on eBay for $1,350. There’re a few of these on eBay in even better condition, but the sellers seem to be asking quite a bit for them. One, a CGC 9.6 condition #1, has a $10,000 price tag. Back in 2007, a copy in CGC 9.6 sold for $9,667.67, but at that time, I’m guessing there weren’t as many copies graded in that condition. Today, the CGC census lists 12 copies in 9.6 condition and only one in 9.8. I could see the 9.8 going for 10-grand, maybe, but it’ll be a while before a 9.6 sells for that near that again.

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, fool!

Ape Entertainment:

Shrek #1

On Nov. 18 Ape Ent announced that Shrek #1 has sold out and The Penguins of Madagascar #1 is very close to selling out, as well. Both Shrek and Penguins are part of Ape’s KiZoic (pronounced Key-Zo-ick) imprint that adapts Dreamworks animation projects to comics. There still seems to be plenty of these out there so prices are right around cover. Outside of Golden-Age, and Sonic the Hedgehog, there aren’t a lot of kids titles that command high prices so don’t speculate to heavy here.

Archaia:

Return of the Dappermen

Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s Return of the Dappermen is getting huge buzz on the net and sold out its initial run of 10,000 copies. Side note: nice job giving us a print-run to back up the sell-out announcement. Announcing the print-run legitimizes a sell-out announcement. Nicely done, Archaia. Otherwise, a publisher could be bragging about selling out 100 issues. But I digress. Dappermen is not a comic but a Trade-paper-back (or Graphic Novel, for those embarrassed to admit they’re reading comics). I bring it up because of run of 10k isn’t much for a comic but is pretty hefty for Trade that retails at $24.95. This one sounds like a great holiday gift if you can find it.

Image Comics:

27 #1

The early sell-outs continue over at Marvel, this time with the upcoming 27, a story about a musician trying to live past his 27th birthday. New Image titles like Morning Glories and Skullkickers have been selling out before the even hit comic store shelves, leaving speculators and retailers both pulling out their hair to figure out how to treat these series. A lot of nerds, me included, thought Marc Guggenheim’s Halcyon would be the next Image title to blow-up, but here we are two weeks later still waiting for a sell-out announcement. Morning Glories and Skullkickers both sold for ridiculous prices for a few weeks but eventually settled down (Morning Glories is still pretty expensive but Skullkickers #1 has come back down to near cover-price), but it’s hard to tell what will happen with any new Image title these days.

Morning Glories

Speaking of Morning Glories, on Nov. 18 Image announced that #4 sold out and is being rushed to a second-printing. No big shock here, as all the Morning Glories issues have sold out, but it shows the series is retaining readers. Which is good for writer Nick Spencer, who really is talented. First-printings of issue #4 are still selling for cover-price online, which is probably due to retailers figuring out the numbers on this one. Don’t expect to see any Morning Glories issues later than #2 selling for much higher than cover price as it looks like the boom is over here.

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:

Sell:

Penny for Your Soul #1

Penny for Your Soul (Big Dog Ink; 2010). I was curious as to how I missed this one and had never heard of it, but after further investigation, I realized Penny is a Mature Title that may have only been solicited in the Previews Adult catalog. Regardless, this story of people selling their souls to Satan in a casino for $10,000 has three issues this year with multiple covers, including “Naughty” variants that are selling for $170 for the complete set of 10. If you have these, I’d part with them now while people are interested. Small publishers like Big Dog can vanish quickly, especially in a down economy, so it wouldn’t surprise me if we never heard about this comic again.

Sell:

Chew #1

Chew #1 (Image Comics, 2009), a few months ago CGC 9.8 copies of Chew #1 were selling for $150 plus. Recently, unslabbed copies have been selling for more than $160. Now, keep in mind this is an opinion, but I find it hard to believe that Chew #1 can go much higher than it sells for now. It’s only a matter of time before John Layman is offered a higher-paying gig and leaves Chew behind. Or he could just decide to move on. Even though the comic was not heavily printed, there are still plenty of them out there. With this latest sale, collectors who are thinking about parting with their copy will be doing so soon. Get in on the action now or, you know . . . If you love the series, keep it.

Remember nerds, next week comics ship on Thursday because of Turkey Day.

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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 “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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No Comments

  1. Tom says:

    I’d hope you’d look into the company your talking about a little more before saying you may never hear of Penny for Your Soul of Big Dog Ink again. Issue 4 just released and issue 5 is in the current Previews magazine. A site like yours can help OR hurt a new company. Better to maybe get in touch with them and find out who they are and what they are up to before leaning to the doom and gloom thories. Small companies need support from folks like yourself, but telling potential buyers we may be gone doesnt help anyone.

    Thanks for the little bit of promotion though!

    Tom Hutchison

    • Matt Baum says:

      You’re absolutely right Tom, cynicism doesn’t help anyone. I don’t mean to be a doom-and-gloom sayer but you do have to admit, it’s been a tough few years for the small publisher. Even larger publishers like Devils Due aren’t safe. Truthfully, I hope the best for Big Dog and every small publisher out there and I didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers. If anything, I was just pointing out how unfairly previews treats the adult and small comic press and how it often can lead to their demise. Thanks for the feedback and good luck to you Big Dogs.

  2. Tom says:

    Matt

    Thanks for the reply. No feathers really ruffled over here. Your absolutely right about publishers, but your Devils Due example is a little different since they died because they lost their GI Joe license…among other things. I want to thank you for the write up at least which is certainly a help in getting that extra exposure we all need, and feel free to drop by any of our convention appearances in 2011 and say hi and see what else we have in store for the comic book world.

  3. Tom says:

    Oh one more thing so you and your readers know…Penny for Your Soul is mature, but not adult. Think Vertigo and Grimm’s Fairy Tales and you’ll be headed in the right direction. You can find Big Dog Ink in the regular pages of Previews Magazine with issue 6 available for order in January!

  4. BC says:

    LOL Wow what horrible advice about Chew #1.

    I wonder what advice you gave regarding The Walking Dead #1

    Too funny. “Sell now!!”

    BAHAHAHAHAAAAaaaaa