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The Comic Speculator Back Issue Roundup – DC’s 3D Villains Month Variants Madness

by Matt Baum (09/06/13).

The Internet has been all abuzz with retailers and collectors alike decrying the injustice of Diamond Comics (the one and only comic book distributor) cutting every comic shop’s orders of the 3D Villains month covers—such as this Batman #23.1 Joker #1—by up to 50 percent in some cases.

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.

The Back Issue Roundup

I’ve decided to merge the New Comics Round Up and the Back Issue Report into one all-encompassing monster of a comic sales/speculation blog. So, welcome to the Back Issue Roundup (see what I did there?). I’ll still be rapping about new and old comics weekly but it’ll all be in one convenient place for internet trolls to hurl insults at my prediction/analysis. Enough housekeeping, let’s get on down to it.

You know that scene in every fantasy movie where the clan elder or wizard or grand Pooh-Bah looks off into the distance and says something to the effect of “it’s started,” or “the prophecy becomes truth” or some other cryptic garbage. Well, this week, I am your Pooh-Bah (picture me with a longer beard and a gnarled staff) and guess what: the DC 3D Villains Month cover variant madness has started.

For the past couple of weeks, the Internet has been all abuzz with retailers and collectors alike decrying the injustice of Diamond Comics (the one and only comic book distributor) allocating every comic shop’s orders of the 3D Villains month covers by up to 50 percent in some cases. I agree: it sucks. But let’s point the finger where it belongs. I’m talking about you, DC comics!

Here’s the short version of the Villains month debacle. In a move to make September’s Villains Month even cooler (and raise the cover price of all their titles by a dollar), DC decided to print lenticular 3D versions of each of its regular DCU titles. To do so, DC had to contact its printer months in advance and call its shot on how many to print. Instead of putting their money-where-their-mouth-is and printing a safe amount, the folks at DC played it safe and under-ordered. When the actual retail orders came in, DC announced that it didn’t have near enough printed to meet demand but would print regular 2D versions to make up for the extra copies needed. This meant that retailers—all of them, as I understand it—would be shorted by up to 50-percent of their original orders. Boom! Instant Internet firestorm (Ronnie Raymond, not the dumb, New 52 Firestorm) leaving retailers screaming and speculators licking their chops like rabid, starving pit-bulls.

Well, Wednesday came and went and panic hasn’t swept the streets… yet. But the madness has quietly begun on eBay, of course, where insanity is not only expected, but encouraged.

Complete sets of the 52 different Villain’s month covers are selling for as high as $350 (roughly $6.75 an issue). As of yet we don’t know what single issue will come out on top but—and here’s the kicker—there’s a solid chance that none of them are big winners. This strikes me as a nonevent. Sure, retailers were allocated (big time) but honestly, even with heavy allocations, I’m saying there will still be plenty of all of these to go around. And five years from now you’ll be hard-pressed to buy or sell one for more than $5. I’m not trying to be a hater or pooh-pooh your comic collecting dreams, but even at reduced printing numbers (which can’t be lower than what they regularly print for these titles), there will be plenty of these 3D variants out there. Play it cool. Take a deep breath. Be smarter than the game. And lastly, trust me. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it and you can line up to punch me in the gut (all I have is my face).

What to Watch For:

The Last of Us; American Dreams #1, (shipped 4/2013).

Catwoman #23 (shipped Aug. 5, 2013).

Uncanny X-Men #141, (Marvel, 1981).

The Last of Us; American Dreams #1 (shipped in April 2013). Dark Horse adapted the prequel to this PS3 game with art and a story co-written by the amazing Faith Erin Hicks. You’ll be seeing more from her. Video game nerds took the bait here and first printings of #1 are selling for $12 and up. Sets of the complete series (#1-#4) are selling for upwards of $32. I’m not saying this title will be hot forever, but The Last of Us is blowing up right now.

Catwoman #23 (shipped Aug. 5, 2013). Let me start by saying that this comic was a terrible read. Just awful. I reviewed it on last week’s podcast and I wasn’t kind. That said, this issue features the first appearance of the Joker’s daughter. Spoiler Alert! She looks just like dad. Currently, first prints are selling for $10 to $13. If the Joker’s daughter becomes a legitimate “thing,” then this one could be worth something in the future. Which is too bad, because the writing is terrible.

Uncanny X-Men #141 (Marvel, 1981). With the news that the next X-Men movie will center around the “Days of the Future Past” story line, this issue is seeing some amazing prices. A copy of #141 in CGC 9.8 condition sold for $671. Last February, this same issue in the same CGC condition had a $157 price tag. Just two weeks before, it was selling for $130 in the same CGC condition. I guess a little movie news goes a long way.


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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One Response to “The Comic Speculator Back Issue Roundup – DC’s 3D Villains Month Variants Madness”

  1. Joe Kierre says:

    Well, what can I say…DC now has Jim Lee who I think with some others from Image were the originators of variant, chrome and lenticular covers way back in the 90′s when you don’t just get the regular cover but multiple covers as well to sell at absurd prices :(

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