The Comic Speculator – Back Issue Report 10/3/2011

Avengers #4 (Marvel,1964; the first Silver-Age appearance of Captain America)

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. 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 Report

Welcome back true believers. It’s time again for an expedition into the cavernous depths of the haunted mines that is the comic book back issue market. (Today’s writing soundtrack was “Worship Music” by Antrhax)

Gold and Silver News:

Pedigree Comics’ Grand auction for September (which ran Sept. 7-14) ended with some truly amazing final bid prices. Two Marvel Silver-Age comics collected the highest bids and both were Avenger-centric: First, a copy of Avengers #4 (Marvel,1964; the first Silver-Age appearance of Captain America) in CGC 9.6 condition sold for $62,501, which, believe it or not, was a disappointment, as earlier this year a copy of the same comic in the same condition sold for $90,000—way up from the $64,000 sale Pedigree realized for this book in 9.6 condition back in 2009. Some (me included) expected for this Avengers #4 to break that record. As it stands, there’re only eight copies in 9.6 condition (and none higher), making this an extremely rare comic. So why did this buyer get a $62,000 deal? There’s no good answer. The comic market fluctuates just as much as the stock market, but I can say that that economy wasn’t as craptacular back in 2009. Or at least we didn’t know how bad it would get.

Tales of Suspense #40 (Marvel, 1963, the 2nd appearance of Iron Man in the costume).

Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel, 1968).

Second place went to a CGC 9.6-graded copy of Tales of Suspense #40 (Marvel, 1963, the 2nd appearance of Iron Man in the costume), which sold for $35,000. This is another one that I thought would go for more but it certainly didn’t disappoint. Copies of Tales of Suspense #40 in 9.6 condition are nearly impossible to come by. Currently the CGC Census only lists three copies in this condition with none higher. There being so few, it was hard to predict what this ToS #40 would sell for. In Pedigree’s May Grand auction, a copy in 9.2 condition sold for $13,005 and that same month a copy in 9.4 condition sold for $15,535 at Heritage Auctions. I was guessing this auction would end closer to the $40k mark but I doubt anyone was upset with the results.

The third-place honoree was a record breaker. A copy of Silver Surfer #1 (Marvel, 1968) in CGC 9.8 condition sold for record $34,500. This copy was one of four other copies in 9.8 condition, and the last time Pedegree sold a Silver Surfer in this condition was back in 2008 for $27,000. Not a huge jump in price, but keep in mind the Surfer is not exactly one of Marvel’s “A-list” characters. This is the latest in a string of early Silver Surfer comics to break records. Last June a copy of SS #4 sold for $8,500 on eBay and a copy of #7 in 9.8 sold for $4,500. I guess it’s time to get those Silver Surfer comics graded.

Bronze-Age and Beyond:

The DC relaunch has been all the rage for the past month and speculators took notice. At the end of week 1, titles like Animal Man and Swamp Thing were selling for as much as $20. Since then, things have cooled off a little, but each week has had a couple issues that have set eBay ablaze. Here’s a look at the highest-selling titles on the back issue market as of Sept. 29.

Each of the Justice League titles, (Justice League, Superman, Action Comics, Batman, Detective, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Flash) all had 1:200 variants that continue to out-perform just about any other 1:200 variant—other than maybe the Ultimate Spider-Man 1:200 variant—and are selling for as high as $250. And I don’t mean a couple here and there. All of them are selling for $230 and up and there’re plenty for sale. Of course, this flies in the face of everything I’ve said about the 1:200 variant in my weekly Comic Speculator blog, but I still think these will be coming down in price. There just can’t be that many collectors out there willing to drop upwards of two-bills on one comic.

Even the 1:25 variants of most of these titles are selling for more than $20 and showing no sign of decline. The ones to watch right now are some of the lesser-ordered titles that are quickly becoming scare:

Red Lanterns #1

Aquaman #1

Animal Man #1

Red Lanterns #1: This one spins directly out of the pages of Green Lantern and is currently selling for $17 and up.

Aquaman #1: The new Aquaman series by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reiss looks to prove that he doesn’t just talk to fish. #1 came out this week and nerds are already paying $13 and up for first-printings.

Animal Man #1: Buddy Baker’s return was selling for more than $20 after disappearing from shops during week 1 of the relaunch. Now things have cooled off and prices are settling around the $6-$8 range.

Swamp Thing #1: This was another week one launch that sold out instantly and was hitting $15-$20 prices but has settled back near the $10-price range. Watch for prices on Swamp Thing #1 to creep back up as the buzz for this series increases. As a Swamp Thing nerd, I’m pretty damn excited for the direction writer Scott Snyder is taking this new series.

Wonder Woman #1: This is another title that got fantastic reviews and is creeping up in price every day. Currently Wonder Woman #1 is selling for just over $8 but it’s going up from there.

Detective Comics #1

Nightwing #1

Catwoman #1

Detective Comics #1: I would have thought there was piles of Detective #1 out there still but, surprisingly, issues are selling for almost $10. There’s still a pile at my local shop. Hmmm . . .

Nightwing #1: This is another one that fans were salivating in anticipation over and it turned out to be great. I know, because I’m a Nightwing fan and I salivated in anticipation, and then loved #1. Currently, Nightwing is selling for $7 and up. This is another one that I see going up in price in the months ahead.

Catwoman #1: The new Catwoman by Judd Winick and Guillem March got a lukewarm reception from fans (I personally dug it and gave it a good review on my podcast). Maybe all those nerds complaining about “too much sex-appeal” are lying because copies of #1 are selling for more than $10 and seem to be going up from there.

Batgirl #1

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1

Batgirl #1: This was the most controversial of the relaunch titles (nerd-controversy, mind you) because it features the formerly paralyzed Barbra Gordon now swinging through the Gotham night and beating the hell out of criminals. Why does anyone live in Gotham I wonder? Nothing sells like controversy in the comic world and it’s keeping Batgirl at the $9-$12 range. This is another one I see continuing to climb slowly in value.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #1: Red Hood seemed to be universally reviled by critics online, me included, but is selling for $8-$10 and there doesn’t seem to be very many out there. This could be a really tough issue to find very soon. That said, it really was bad.

These are just a few of the highlights, of course, and we’ll know more about the DC relaunch titles as the weeks go buy. I should mention that all of the relaunch titles sold out before shipping so all the first-printings are out there. It’ll be interesting to see if the same happens with the second issues as, typically, retailers tend to cut their orders of second issues by sometimes as much as half.

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 taken from the August Top 300 selling comics list provided by Diamond and are at the distributor level meaning there may be copies still available at your local comic shop.


Rachel Rising #1


Mega Man #4
Sonic The Hedgehog #227
Sonic Universe #31 Mega Man continues to be one nerds are looking for here with issue #4 selling for just under $5.


Executive Assistant Iris Vol. 2 #2 CVR A


Bart Simpson Comics #62
Sergio Aragones Funnies #2
Simpsons Comics #181


Planet Of The Apes #5
The Rinse #1


Detective Comics #881
Justice League #1
Justice League #1 Combo Pack (came w/ digital download code)

Teen Titans #100. Justice League #1 was also the highest-selling comic for August, so don’t expect to see this one selling for more than cover anytime soon.


Kevin Smith Bionic Man #1


Doctor Who Annual 2011
Dungeons And Dragons #9
G.I. Joe A Real American Hero #169
Hellraiser #4
John Byrne Next Men #9
Suicide Girls #4

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ongoing #1. TMNT was the easy winner here. There were a ton of variants for issue #1 and all of them are selling well. The regular covers are going for $6-$12 and seem to be going up. Watch this one.


50 Girls 50 #3
68 (Sixty Eight) #3
Avengelyne #2
Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #6
Chew #20
Haunt #17
Infinite #1
Invincible #82
Morning Glories #11
Red Wing #2
Savage Dragon #172
Savage Dragon #173
Severed #1
Vescell #1
Walking Dead #88
Witchblade #147


Alpha Flight #3 $2.99
Amazing Spider-Man #668
Amazing Spider-Man Infested #1
Avengers Academy #18
Astonishing X-Men #41
Black Panther Man Without Fear #522
Daken Dark Wolverine #13
Daredevil #2
Deadpool #42
Deadpool #41
Deadpoolmax #11
Fear Itself Fellowship Of Fear
Fear Itself Uncanny X-Force #2
Ghost Rider #2
Hulk #38
Incredible Hulksv#634
Iron Age #3
Journey Into Mystery #626
Marvel Universe vs .Wolverine #3
Mighty Thor #5
Moon Knight #4
New Mutants #30
Secret Avengers #16
Spider-Island Deadly Foes #1
Spider-Island Deadly Hands Of Kung Fu #1
Thunderbolts #162
Uncanny X-Men #542
Uncanny X-Force #13
Uncanny X-Force #14
Wolverine #13
X-23 #13
X-Men #16
X-Men Legacy #253
X-Men Schism #2 $3.99
X-Factor #223
X-Factor #224


Fly #3 A Cvr Ebas
Grimm Fairy Tales #62
Grimm Fairy Tales #63
Sinbad Gft Dream Eater One Shot
Grimm Fairy Tales Annual 2011
Salems Daughter Haunting #1 A CVR


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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