The Comic Speculator: G.I. Joe

cover of GI Joe #155
cover of GI Joe #27
cover of GI Joe #26
cover of GI Joe #1

Online fan sites have leaked pictures of stunt-man and martial-artist Ray Parks in full Snake Eyes garb while filming the G.I. Joe movie. The film won’t be released until August 2009, so images of the black-clad, sword-bearing ninja supreme sent nerds everywhere into a fit.

Some nerds (including me) believe a reality does not exist wherein Hollywood can make a G.I. Joe movie that isn’t mind-numbly bad. Others (namely my friend Joe, bless his “glass half-full” heart) see a picture of a guy with a sword and melt like so much butter. Terrible or not – and I’m calling my shot right now 16 months in advance and saying it’s gonna be a real stinker – one thing is certain: G.I. Joe comics are going to be hot. Starting now.

As with any comic book movie adaptation, you can expect the source material to sell for ridiculous prices as the film release date nears. If you don’t believe me, look at what happened to the price of late, rare issues of Transformers, another Marvel toy/cartoon/comic franchise that became last year’s summer blockbuster.

Perhaps the most collectible G.I. Joe series was published by Marvel Comics starting in 1982 and running 155 issues ending in 1994. Titled “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero,” the series starred the Hasbro action figures in their battle against Cobra and marked the Marvel Joe’s first Bronze Age comic appearance. It was mostly written by Larry Hama.

Marvel Joe is the longest running comic book-toy tie-in series. It also was one of the only comics to be advertised on television. Paired with the popularity of both the toys and the cartoon, the series became a huge success. Issue #1 currently guides around $30 in near mint condition.

But #1 is not the book to watch from this series. As Joe’s popularity waned in the early 1990s, Marvel tried to spur sales by re-titling the series “G.I. Joe Starring Snake Eyes” with issue #135. Marvel also drastically reduced the print run, making the last 20 issues very difficult to find today. Issue #155 currently guides at $45 in near-mint condition. It has sold for as much as $100.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see all of the last 20 issues of the Marvel Joe series selling for at least $40 and the final issue breaking the $150 barrier. Other key Marvel Joe issues to watch include:
· #21, the 1st appearance of Storm Shadow, guiding for $30;
· #26 and #27, the two-part origin of Snake Eyes, guiding at $18;
· #93, where Snake Eyes face was revealed, guiding for $16.

Until next time, feel free to post to the forum topics in the comic books community and tell me what you’re reading/collecting. Also check out my other blog, This Week in Geek, where I discuss the new comics of the week that could be tomorrow’s collectibles. If you have any questions about these books or anything else in the comic book world, contact me or post your question in the Comic Book community forum. Want to know what your comics are worth? Join Worthpoint for free and post your titles in the “Ask A Question” section.

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