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.
Back Issue Report:
No million dollar comic sales this week but plenty of fun stuff to talk about.
Gold and Silver Oldies:
A copy of Superman #1 that is being billed as from the Larson collection (one of the most famous Golden-Age collections in existence) has been popping up on eBay on and off for at least a month now. This particular issue is missing its back cover but, according to the seller, might otherwise be the highest-graded copy of Superman #1. Which seems strange because, well, it doesn’t have a back cover. Most collectors would probably agree, no matter how nice the comic looks, incomplete is incomplete. That’s just the beginning of the weirdness here, however. While the seller does have very high feedback, he (or she) does not go into who he is, exactly, and when offering very famous comics with pedigrees for sale on the Internet, it might be a good idea to introduce himself and mention where the comic came from.
It’s one thing to say that this is a Larson Copy of Superman #1 but you might want to back a claim like that up with some provenance if you expect anyone to believe it. Especially if you are asking for a $10,000 “good-faith” deposit before bidding. There aren’t a lot of these comics in circulation and collectors know the dealers who are selling them on a regular basis. The fact that no one seems to know who this seller is and how he came into possession of such a famous comic is troublesome, at least. There’s a theory circulating on some collector web-boards that the seller could be a famous collector named Theo Holstien. However, if it is, Theo isn’t talking. I’ll be watching this one closely and I guarantee there’s an interesting story behind this auction.
Detective Comics #28
On March 8, 2010, a copy of Detective Comics #28 (DC, 1939), with a CGC Universal grade of 3.5, sold for $11,377, attracting a total of 17 bids. Detective #28 is the second appearance of Batman but does not feature the Caped Crusader on the cover. Even with a detached page, this comic guides for $4,200. But with last month’s sale of a Detective Comics #27 for more than a million dollars, prices on all Golden-Age Superhero comics have gone through the roof. Some collectors online are even calling this sale a steal.
On the same day, a run of Blue Beetle (Fox 1939-1950) #1-#60 sold on eBay for $6,999. The run is actually only 59 issues, as issue #43 was never published. On a side note, I couldn’t find any info on the reason BB #43 wasn’t published but would love to hear from anyone who has any. These issues were listed as “good reading copies,” which usually means poor condition. The fact that they still sold for $7,000 shows how rare it is to come upon a run of any Golden-Age Fox comics.
Bronze Age and Beyond:
The new Iron Man movie trailer has hit and it’s official: James Rhodes will be wearing the War Machine armor. If you’re an Iron Man nerd like me, then I don’t have to tell you why you’re excited. But we’re not here to discuss bad-ass-black superheroes; we’re here to talk back issues. So let’s take a look at Jim Rhodes most collectible moments and what they’re selling for as excitement builds for Iron Man 2.
Iron Man vol. 1 #118
Iron Man vol. 1 #118 (Marvel 1979) was Jim Rhodes first appearance. Until recently, #118 was collectible because it was one of only two Iron Man issues penciled by John Byrne. Now that Iron Man is a box office blockbuster and Jim Rhodes is one of the main characters, well, Rhodey is finally getting his props and #118 is starting to sell for real money. Currently, the issue guides for $10 in Near Mint condition but is selling for anywhere from $12-$20. Most recently, on March 4, an issue of #118 with a CGC Universal Grade of 9.8 sold for $255 on eBay.
Iron Man vol. 1 #170
Iron Man vol. 1 #170 (Marvel, 1983) was the first appearance of Rhodey as Iron Man after Tony had given up the armor for a brief stint. Currently, #170 guides for $4 in Near Mint condition but this is another one that will be going up soon, as #170 is selling for anywhere from $10$12 on eBay.
Iron Man #282
Iron Man #282 (Marvel, 1992) is the first appearance of Rohodey in the War Machine armor (Wikipedia lists it as #284, which is why you should never use Wikipedia as a sole source). Currently, #282 guides for $4 in Near Mint condition but is selling for up to $26 on eBay.
Len Kaminski, writer of Iron Man #282, would be given the helm of the 1994 War Machine vol.1 series, which seems to be the only series that collectors aren’t scampering for yet. War Machine #1 guides for $3 in Near Mint condition and isn’t selling for much more. War Machine wouldn’t see his own title again until 2001 under the Marvel Max banner (the Marvel adult comic line). This 12-issue series didn’t sell well at the time and isn’t drawing much attention now either. The three-issue U.S. War Machine Max series from 2003, however, is a different story. Issues #1-#3 of U.S. War Machine vol. 2 currently guide for $3 each but the set of three is selling for around $20 on eBay, presumably because the print-runs on the series were low and certainly not because the story was good. The most recent War Machine series, vol. 2 Marvel 2009, also didn’t sell very well and was cancelled with issue #12. Full runs are selling for $12-$15 and are bountiful on eBay right now as speculators are looking to cash in on the summer comic book movie season while the cashing-in is good.
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 he’s 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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