The Comic Speculator Back Issue Report – Crime Doesn’t Pay, Batman # 1 Edition

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.

A copy of Batman #1 (DC, 1940) in CGC 9.2 condition sold at Heritage Auctions for a notable $567,625, but the price wasn’t the interesting part of the stoy.

The Back Issue Report

Last week a copy of Batman #1 (DC, 1940) in CGC 9.2 condition sold at Heritage Auctions for a notable $567,625. But that’s not the most impressive part. This is the same comic that sold for $850,000 as part of a private sale to one Anthony Chiofalo. So, why would Chiofalo sell for a loss?

It’s a long story, but he’s been accused of embezzling $9 million from the Tadano American Corporation while acting as their lawyer. But the story gets even weirder. After spending six months on the run, Chiofalo turned himself in at a Harris County Police station in Rhode Island and, after the police seized his comic collection, one of the arresting officers stole this copy of Batman #2, along with several others.

Investigating officer Lonnie Blevins was arrested several months into the Chiafalo investigation when several of the comics went missing. Later, Blevins was arrested after it turned out he had sold them. According to a local TV station, Blevins sold the comics for $70,000 to dealers at last year’s Wizard World Chicago Convention. The dealers, apparently, had a better idea what the comics were worth than Blevins did.

The original art from Frank Miller’s iconic cover for the Dark Knight Returns #2 (DC, 1982) sold for $478,000.

I’m not even sure what the weirdest part of this story is? An attorney bilking a company out of $9 million and buying comics (which I guess is exactly what I would do, were it not for the fact that I work at a place where a missing $20 would be noticed) or a cop taking the comics from an evidence locker and selling them, thinking no one would notice. And furthermore, just how did this comic make it back to the auction block? Regardless, the issue in question has found a new home with a legit buyer (as far as we know).

Also at Heritage last week, the original art from Frank Miller’s iconic cover for the Dark Knight Returns #2 (DC, 1982) sold for $478,000, making it the third-highest selling piece of American original comic art (outside of private sales, yadda, yadda, yadda). Unfortunately, there’re no criminals involved in this story, nor crooked cops, and really nothing sexy about this story outside of the cover for selling just under half-a-million. I feel like this blog is never going to be this exciting again. If I start making things up about drug runners and satanic cults, I hope you’ll understand.


What To Watch For:

Avengers #28 (Marvel Comics), written by Stan Lee, art by Don Heck. Shipped: May 1966.

With the news that Benecio Del Toro will be playing the Collector in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie (summer 2015), the former C-list villain’s first appearance is going to be hot, soon. Not now, but soon.

Avengers #28
Marvel Comics
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Don Heck
Shipped: May 1966

Why it’s hot: Before anyone gave a crap about the Collector, this was the first appearance of Goliath (Hank Pym, Ant Man, took the name Goliath when he learned to grow to giant size instead of just shrink), but now that he’s got a movie, it’s the Collector’s first appearance. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens with the Ant Man film. Sorry Hank.

How Much? Currently, Avengers #28 guides for $540 in 9.8 (Near Mint) condition. Here’s the catch, the CGC Census currently only lists two copies of this comic in 9.8. I’m betting that number goes up soon as collectors start sending issues to be graded. Copies in 9.0 (Very Fine-Near Mint) are currently selling for less than $100. If you’re looking to buy this one, now’s the time.


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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