The Comic Speculator – Back Issue Report 04/01/2011

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. Join me on a canoe ride down a rushing river infested with giant catfish that cuts through the jungle that is the comic-book-back-issue marketplace. (Today’s writing soundtrack was “Passages” and “Pyramid of the Sun,” both by Maserati.)

Gold and Silver News

Tales of Suspense #39

The economy sucks and the housing market is terrible, but for some reason, comic books keep breaking sales records. This past week Doug Schmell of Pedigree Comics brokered a deal with a private collector for three different key Silver-Age Marvel comics that smashed sales records for copies in similar condition. The big winner was a Tales of Suspense #39 (Marvel, 1963; first appearance of Iron Man) in CGC 9.4 condition that sold for $147,000. The former record for TOS #39 was $114,490, set in November of 2009 as part of Pedigree’s Grand Auction for that month. That’s a $32,510 jump in price in just two years, which is not bad at all for any comic book. But why the huge price increase? Mainly because the first appearance of Iron Man just isn’t out there in this condition. EBay has had no sales of Tales of Suspense #39 in CGC 9.4 condition that I could find going all the way back to 2007. The CGC census only lists six copies in 9.4 condition and only two copies in better (9.6) condition. Honestly, I hadn’t appreciated how rare this comic actually was until researching this story.

Also part of the sale was a Journey into Mystery #83 (Marvel, 1962; first appearance of Thor) in CGC 9.0 condition that sold for $39,000 and an X-Men #1 in CGC 9.2 condition that sold for $60,000. These sales were also record-breakers of top prices that were also formerly held by Pedigree comic sales. Watch for more record-breaking sales on both the first Thor appearance and X-Men #1in the near future, as the release of this summer’s Thor and X-Men movies approach.

Journey into Mystery #83

X-Men #1

Bronze-Age and Beyond

Frank Miller may not be the film director he thought he was (have you seen “The Spirit?” I wanted to throw rotten vegetables at the movie screen it was so bad) but his original art is selling for more than ever. An original Batman and Robin sketch from Miller’s Dark Knight series that was drawn on an official DC cover stock page as a birthday gift for comics legend Julie Schwartz’s 75th birthday sold on eBay for $11,299.99. The piece is even signed by Miller with the inscription “Happy Birthday Julie, don’t ever be late on the job.”

Frank Miller original Batman and Robin sketch.

Daredevil #168

In other Frank Miller news, copies of the Daredevil #168 (Marvel, 1981; first appearance of Elektra) are starting to heat up again. Not to the level they were back in 2007-08—when CGC 9.8 copies were selling for upwards of $1,000—but on March 29, an eBay auction for DD #168 in 9.8 condition sold for $798.88. Prices dropped quite a bit on DD #168 after topping out at $1,700 on eBay back in 2007. After that sale, collectors flooded CGC with Near Mint copies and, as of today, CGC lists 62 copies in 9.8 condition. Of course prices plummeted. Just last year a copy in CGC 9.8 sold on eBay for $299.95. Not sure what’s fueling the price spike or if this is just a bidding war that got out control, but I’ll continue to watch this one.

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.


Female Force Betty White #1

There can’t be a sizable print run of these Female Force comics. There just can’t be. I would find it very hard to believe that there were orders of more than say . . . 2,000 copies of the Betty White comic. Heck, if Bluewater is shipping 1,000 copies of Betty I’d be shocked, and I’m not slamming Bluewater. Someone is reading this stuff or it wouldn’t be selling out. I just have to wonder who that someone is? Betty still seems to be selling for cover price online.

Hellraiser #1


Hellraiser #1

Hellraiser sold out after just three days of shipping, which is good news for the aging comic property. If you want to hear more about Hellraiser #1, I really liked it and gave it a good review on last week’s Two Headed Nerd Podcast. Already, #1 seems to be selling well online and starting to rise in price. I’d guess by the time #2 hits this first issue will be selling for close to $10. This could be a good one to watch.


Godzilla Kingdom of the Monsters #1

I was really happy to hear that Godzilla #1 sold out as fast as it did, seeing as I know a couple of the guys working on the comic and want to see them do well. Now, considering that Godzilla had at least 100 different shops order the 500 copies needed to get the exclusive “Godzilla smashing your comic shop variant,” I would guess that this is not only the highest-printed IDW comic to date, but there is also plenty of first-printings out there.


Butcher Baker #1
Carbon Grey #1
Intrepids #1
Lil Depressed Boy #1
Undying Love #1

Image is killing it in the first-issue sell-out department. Maybe it’s the Walking Dead/Chew/Morning Glories-effect but nerds are buying up Image #1s and, for the most part, sticking with the series. Butcher Baker came out this past Wednesday and is already selling for $6. Watch for this one to go way up. Carbon Grey is also selling for around $6, but doesn’t seem to have the buzz around it that Butcher Baker does. Intrepids, Lil Depressed Boy and Undying Love #1s are all selling for cover but that could go up soon as well.


New Mutants #22
X-Men Legacy #245

New Mutants #22

X-Men Legacy #245

No one was shocked to see FF #1’s instant sellout after the massive spike in sales caused by the Human Torch’s death in Fantastic Four #587. Retailers hit this one pretty hard so there should be plenty of first-printings out there. Both New Mutants and X-Men Legacy are different stories however. Both issues are part of the Age of X storyline, which has seems to have been underestimated by retailers. Both issues sold out after re-orders came in and are selling for around $5 and seem to be going up. Age of X is hot right now, but this is probably a short-term spike. I’d watch Age of X closely and get out as soon as you see prices start to dip. As always, X-nerds will be quickly corralled into the next big X-event, along with their wallets and purses.

Halcyon #1-#4,

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 . . .


Halcyon #1-#4, Image (2010-11): Halcyon is a creator-owned super-hero story by Marc Guggenheim that was overlooked when it first shipped, but has some real buzz behind it now. Issue #4 shipped this past Wednesday and nerds are really starting to dig on this one. Recently, sets of the first three issues have been selling for $13 and look to be going up from there. It seems that issue #2 was solicited in the UK, but for one reason or another, never got there, making the issue hot for international bidders on eBay. This is one I see going higher in the near future. If you can find the back issues you can probably pick them up for cover price but certainly not for much longer.


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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