The Comic Speculator Back Issue Report – ‘Investment Condition’ Comics

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 Lists of new comics are courtesy of Previews World and Comics List. Make sure and click on the links to learn more about the titles and creators discussed here. 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. Today in TBIR, we’ll be taking a look at some auctions for some Silver and Golden-Age comics. Not the typical, big-headline, 9.0-condition or above comics that sell for hundreds of thousands—and sometimes even millions. No, today we’re looking at some choice issues in what collectors call “investment condition.”

Typically, investment comics are purchased as a stepping stone to a larger purchase. For example, years ago I picked up a Daredevil #1 (Marvel 1964) in Very-Good condition, which would put it at around a CGC 4-4.5 (FYI: despite the condition’s title—Very-Good—is still pretty crappy). When I purchased the comic, about 10 years ago, I paid a little more than $400. Today, the same comic in the same condition sells for $700, which represents a 75-percent return on my investment. Considerably better than most long term stocks. I’m not saying you should sink your kids’ college funds into old Daredevil comics, but if you’re looking upgrade to higher condition comics someday, investment comics are a good way to prepare. I haven’t sold my DD #1 yet, but when I do, the money will go toward one in better condition.’s April focused auction ends this week and has a lot of great examples of investment comics.

Fantastic Four #1 (Marvel Comics) written by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby. Shipped: November 1961. Condition: CGC 6.0 (Fine).

Fantastic Four #1
Marvel Comics
Written by Stan Lee
Art by Jack Kirby
Shipped: November 1961
Condition: CGC 6.0 (Fine)

Why it’s hot: Obviously, FF #1 is considered a Grail comic for any Marvel Silver-Age collector. This issue featured the first appearance and origins of Mr. Fantastic, the Invisible Girl, the Thing and the Human Torch. Lee and Kirby created the first family of Super-Heroes at Marvel and helped usher in the era of Marvel heroes.

How Much? In 2008, the highest-graded copy of Fantastic Four (CGC graded in 9.6 condition) sold for $450,000 and would no doubt sell for even more now. At that same time, copies in 6.0 condition were selling for less than $5,000. This week a copy in 6.0 sold for $9,250. Again, an 85-percent return in five years. Not bad at all, especially when considering this issue in 6.0 guides for $12,800.

Green Lantern #1, Vol. 2 (DC) written by John Broome, art by Gil Kane. Shipped: July/August 1960. Condition: CGC 7.5 (Very Fine-)

Green Lantern #1 (Vol. 2)
Written by John Broome
Art by Gil Kane
Shipped: July/August 1960
Condition: CGC 7.5 (Very Fine-)

Why it’s hot: This issue retells the origin of Hal Jordan and has the first appearance of the Guardians of the Universe. GL Vol. 2 #1 hit the stands not long after Hal’s first appearance, Showcase #22 (DC, 1950), thanks to the popularity of the redesigned Hal Jordan.

How Much? The winner of this auction got this one for a steal. After 24 bids this copy sold for $2,300, a solid $700 below the guide price of $3,000. Not a bad deal at all, considering five years ago, one could probably pick an issue in this condition for less than $1,500.

Marvel Super-Heroes #18 (Marvel Comics) written by Arnold Drake, art by Gene Colan under the name “Adam Austin.” Shipped: March 1969. Condition: CGC 9.2

Marvel Super-Heroes #18
Marvel Comics
Written by Arnold Drake
Art by Gene Colan under the name “Adam Austin”
Shipped: March 1969
Condition: CGC 9.2

Why it’s hot: You may have head the Guardians of the Galaxy are next in line for a Marvel movie and—rumor has it—may be appearing in the next Iron Man movie this summer. Though the Guardians that will make their big screen debut in 2014 won’t look like the ones in this issue, #18 is their first appearance and it’s starting to get some attention.

How Much? Currently, this issue graded at 9.2 condition guides for $320. I’m well aware that I mentioned we’d be discussing comics in lesser conditions, but stay with me here. After 28 bids, this comic sold for an amazing $800. In short, collectors believe the Guardians are going to be a household name soon. If you can find a copy of this issue, grab it now.

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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