The Comic Speculator – Back Issue Report 01/12/2011

Captain America #1 (Timely/Marvel, 1941)

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), (CPG) and current online auction sales. Sales numbers and rankings are courtesy of 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

The holidays have come and gone and now it’s time to back to business. Let’s once again dive into the giant-digital-Scrooge-McDuck-style-pool of back issue comics on the net and see what we back-stroke past.

Gold and Silver News

File this one under “something smells fishy”: On Jan. 1, 2011 (we have to write the date for a while with it being a new year and all) a copy of Captain America #1 (Timely/Marvel, 1941) sold on eBay with a “Best Offer” of $18,000. While being a sizable chunk of change, this is nothing for a Timely Cap #1—this is one of the most important Golden Age comics out there (often referred to as a “Blue-Chip” comic) that guides for $128,000 in near-mint condition.

So why such a low price for what looks to be a beautiful comic? It’s restored. According to the description, there were color touch-ups, tears sealed and the interior pages were trimmed. Still, $18k doesn’t seem like much for this comic. This could be due to the fact that there was only one picture of a comic that reportedly had interior work done. Also, an auction for a CGC-graded 6.0 Restored Cap #1 ended on Dec. 25 of last year for $16,000 with no bidders. This auction also had multiple pics, including great detail shots. So why would someone pay two thou more for an ungraded copy with a bad pic and the seller is listed as being located in “SUPER HIGH GRADE GOLDEN AGE HEAVEN”? Chances are no one did.

I would guess this one gets re-listed this week. It’s not too hard to find a buddy to throw a “Best Offer” on your auction and then cancel the sale to avoid paying fees. There’s just too much weirdness here, and auctions like this don’t do collectors any favors. I wouldn’t look for many bargain prices on any Blue-Chip titles; even restored copies. There’s a reason why these comics are rare and expensive and it’s not because you can find them easily or get a sweet deal on them. If you smell something fishy in any comic auction, you’re probably bidding on a stinker. If this was a legitimate sale, then I apologize and wow, did this seller get lucky.

Bronze-Age and Beyond

Incredible Hulk #181 (Marvel,1974; 1st full app of Wolverine) is currently selling a CGC 9.9 condition Incredible Hulk #181 (Marvel,1974; 1st full app of Wolverine). If there was a comic that could replace Green Lantern #76 (DC,1970) as the most expensive Bronze Age comic in existence, it’s this one. The only problem being that the comic is on consignment and the consignee has set the price. A whopping $150,000 price tag. I’ll give the seller that yes, this is the lone copy in 9.9 condition and arguably the nicest one in existence. That said, the record for the highest selling Bronze Age comic (the aforementioned Green Lantern #76) is just under $38k. I’m calling my shot here, but there is no way this comic sells for $150k. If it were to sell for $50,000 it would smash the record. $150k is just ridiculous even for the best copy in the world of the first appearance of Wolverine. I’m not saying that I can peg a value on this one, though I’m sure it’s huge. But not $150k huge. Maybe $80k.

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. Before we get into it though, here’s a great article on the anatomy of a sellout and what it means to a smaller publisher. Thanks to Archaia for being so forthcoming with their numbers.


Vampirella #1 took a couple of weeks to get hot but Dynamite just announced that it sold out a Diamond. Even though they’re calling it a sales success according to their website there is currently no plans for a second-printing. However, there are still copies of the Tim Sale variant cover still available.

Vampirella #1 Tim Sale cover OCT108115E

Not much action for this one online yet and I’m guessing not much coming in the future. Vampirella collectors seem to go for variants and limited signed editions more than the regular cover.


Echoes #1 wasn’t sold out before it shipped, like many recent new Image comics, but it did sell out one day after it hit shelves. Image has already announced a 2nd printing to ship on Jan. 29 the same day Echoes #2 is scheduled to ship.

Echoes #1 Second Printing NOV108255

For more on the sell out on Minotaur Press and Echoes, click here. This one could be pretty hot. I’ve only seen about Three copies of issue #1 on eBay and they sold instantly. Not for much more than cover price but they moved very quickly. Currently there’s none listed. Watch for Echoes #1 to go up in price with the quickness.

Echoes #1 Second Printing

27 Second Printing

27 #2 sold out almost as fast as the first issue and Image is rushing a 2nd printing of this one also scheduled to ship on Feb. 9.

27 #2 Second Printing NOV108244

For more on 27 from Image comics, the sell out, and a preview of issue #2, click here.

It’s hard to peg down what’s going on with first-printings of #27 right now. Issue one seems to be crawling down in price after the initial panic to around $5-$6, and issue two is sitting right around cover price. I would guess the gold rush is over here. Anymore, these Image sellouts are a “sell fast to make money” or “wait a week and buy one for cover price” affair.

Bull vs. Bear

Buy or sell? Every week I get asked “what’s hot in comics these days?” Well, here’re a couple comics that are either moving right now or just begging to be added to your collection . . .

Conan The Barbarian #37


Conan The Barbarian (Marvel, 1970).

The Barry Windsor Smith Conan issues (#1-#24) are always hot, but they’re not the only Conan comics selling well. The John Buscema issues (#25-#190) are starting to get some real attention, as they should. Buscema was an amazing and under-appreciated penciler. Recently, a lot of 10 Conan comics from early in Buscema’s run with the books described in Good to Very Good condition, sold for $60. High-grade slabbed single issues from Buscema’s run are selling for $50 and up. But that’s not all. Conan #37, which was penciled by Neil Adams, is selling slabbed in 9.6-condition for $88. Even later issues penciled by Val Semekis are starting to sell for higher prices. A run of Conan from issue #201-#235 recently sold on eBay for $75. Most of these later issues of Conan spent years wallowing in quarter-bins just waiting for collectors to take notice how rare it is to find them in good condition. It might be time to check your local shops to see if you can find a nice run of Conan.




Who is Jake Ellis #1


Who is Jake Ellis #1 (Image, 2011).

This one just came out from Image on Jan. 5 and like many other Image #1’s, it sold out almost instantly. So why buy this one? First of all, it’s still selling for cover price. Second, it’s got huge buzz behind it (just Google the title and you’ll see a horde of great reviews). Finally, Jake Ellis seems to have been massively under-printed by Image, which means the first-printings on the net will go fast. Watch for writer Nathan Edmondson’s name to start popping up in discussion for big name Marvel and DC jobs very soon and when it does, watch for Jake Ellis first-printings to go up in value even more.







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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