The Comic Speculator – Back Issue Report 02/18/2011

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

Welcome back true believers. Once again join me on my digital spelunking expedition into the cavernous depths of the online back-issue market.

Gold and Silver News

Detective Comics # 27 page 3 proof

Detective Comics # 27 page 4 proof

Original art pages from the Golden-Age are nearly impossible to come by due to the fact that no one knew they might be worth something in the future. For the most part, they were dumped in incinerators when offices were sold or torn down. That’s what makes the production proofs for pages 2-6 of Detective Comics #27 (DC; 1939, first appearance of Batman) so special. Though not the original art pages, these may be the closest existing pieces to the originals. Production pages are uncolored versions of the original art printed to give the artist reference to how the art will look in final comic. The proofs were discovered in 1975 in Rego Park, Queens, N.Y., by Mario J. Sacripante, who saved the proofs from the garbage when he inspected an old trunk left for trash pick-up on the curb in front of his apartment—an apartment that Batman creator Bob Kane had also lived in years ago. Having been around antiques his whole life, Sacripante knew immediately what he had discovered and took the proofs, along with other Kane sketches, an art-class notebook, and an incomplete issue of Detective comics #27 for safe keeping.

The proofs go up for auction next week as part of this month’s Heritage Auctions Signature Vintage Comics & Comic Art Auction, starting Feb. 24, and are expected to fetch at least $1,000 a piece. This is the equivalent of stumbling upon a unicorn while walking your dog in the park. Collectors everywhere will be watching this auction very closely.

Bronze-Age and Beyond

I’ve been getting some questions about some of the more rare variants as of late. Namely, the 1:100, 1:150 and 1:200 variants. The question is always the same: “are they worth it?” Collectors typically pay $100-$200 for these ultra-limited covers, but do they hold their value? Let’s take a look at a few, starting with what I think is the first. Or at least the first 1:100 I can remember.

Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (Marvel, 2000) 1:100 white variant cover.

Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (Marvel, 2000) shipped with a 1:100 white variant cover that drove speculators insane. At the time, the comic was selling for $300-$400 but would sell for as high as $1,700 (in CGC 9.8 condition) on eBay in 2007. Most retailers were initially asking $100-$150. In the past year, unslabbed copies described in Near-Mint condition are selling for between $230-$250, while slabbed copies (CGC graded) in 9.8 condition are selling for $600-$700.

The 1:100 Ultimate Spidey is an example of a winner. Next time, I’ll take a look at some of the losers.

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.


Spawn 200 Second-printing DEC108009

Spawn #200 sold out the day it shipped—all six covers, even. Image has already announced a second-printing to ship on 2/11.

Spawn 200 Second-printing DEC108009

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Spawn sellout and I find it hard to believe that suddenly nerds everywhere took an interest in the 200th issue. Had they, first-printings of the six covers wouldn’t still be selling for cover price. One of two things happened here. Either Image didn’t print very many of any of these covers or retailers ordered higher on this issue to get the variants, which seem to be selling fairly well. Either way, I wouldn’t expect to see prices climbing on Spawn #200 anytime soon.


Heroes for Hire #2 Second-printing DEC108015

Heroes for Hire #2 first-printings sold out almost as fast as issue #1. They actually shipped before selling out this time. Writers Abnett and Lanning seem to have another hit on their hands here. Watch for a second-printing with a new cover to ship on 2/16.

Heroes for Hire #2 Second-printing DEC108015

These were ordered pretty well, so there’re still plenty out there selling for cover price, but as the series gets more popular, it wouldn’t surprise me to see prices creeping up on both #1 and #2.

Wolverine and Jubliee #1

Wolverine and Jubliee #1 was the surprise instant-sellout of January it seems. Maybe it was because retailers thought it was a kiddie comic, but no one ordered enough of this story that spilled right out of the pages of X-Men #6 and when the reorders hit, the first printings disappeared. Luckily, Marvel is rushing a second-printing of #1 with a new sketch-variant cover to hit stores on 2/23.

Wolverine and Jubilee #1 Second-printing DEC108142

First-printings of #1 are selling for $4 but there aren’t many up there, so I’d expect that price to go up in the short term.

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 . . .


Fantastic Four #587

Fantastic Four #570-#587 Marvel (2010-2011). Nerds are going nuts for the Jonathan Hickman run of FF, and not just the last issue where [unnamed FF member] died (no spoilers here). Runs of Hickman’s FF are selling for $90-$100 for first printings. First printings of the first few issues are selling for $15-$20 each. People have taken notice how well these are selling and more are hitting the net everyday. If you’re looking to cash in on your recent FF run, this is the time. Nerds are paying top dollar but don’t expect that to last.


Superman Secret Origin

Superman Secret Origin #1-#6 (DC, 2009). Late last week Entertainment Weekly reported that Henry Cavill from Showtime’s hit series “The Tudors” was cast as Superman in the upcoming film by director Zach Snyder. There’s no news yet as to the plot of the film, but Christopher Nolan, director of “Batman” and producer of the upcoming Superman movie, has confirmed that the new movie will not be a continuation of the last. So that means a new start for the man of steel and I can’t think of a better fresh start to adapt than Geoff Johns’ Superman Secret Origin mini-series from 2009. Take into account Johns’ promotion to chief creative officer at DC and the chances he gets asked for input on the new Superman film double. Currently, you can pick up a full run of Supes Secret Origin for less than $15, but if this series is picked to update Kal-El’s movie origin, watch for that price to go way up.


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!

You can also hear me on the Marvelicious podcast where I host a segment called “Who the Hell is this Guy?” Marvelicious is a comic-book-action-figure podcast hosted by my good friend and professional toy-nerd, Justin Kozisek. My segment involves a brief history of a B-list character the toy-nerds have never heard of. It’s fun stuff for comic and toy nerds alike so check it out. We need the downloads.

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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