The Comic Speculator: Indiana Jones

Cover of Indy and the Sargasso Pirates #2
Cover of Dark Horse Comics #6
Cover of Indy and the Fate of Atlantis #1
Cover of The Further Adv of Indiana Jones #1
Cover of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade #1
Cover of Marvel Super Special #30
Cover of Marvel Super Special #18
Cover of Raiders of the Lost Ark #1

This Friday marks the big-screen return of Indiana Jones, nerd-dom’s favorite fedora-wearing archaeologist and I like most nerds couldn’t be more excited. I get goosebumps every time I hear the theme song. No lie, I’m watching “Raiders of the Lost Ark” while I write this and at this moment Indy is climbing into the seaplane while the Hovido tribesmen through spears at him with the theme song swelling in the background and I have goosebumps. I have to admit I’ll be venturing into the theater this weekend with a little fear in my heart. After what George Lucas did to Star Wars with episodes 1-3 I don’t trust the guy as far as I can throw him. If he screws up Indy, the last remaining unscathed trilogy of my childhood, then I have nothing left. So yeah, I’m a little nervous, and drinking slightly more than usual, but also trying to remain positive. There’s no way Lucas can introduce a racially-stereotypical-jive-talkin’-alien into the Indy movies right? RIGHT? Oh god, something just occurred to me. The Crystal Skulls in the latest Indy movie are alien skulls. I got a bad feeling about this…

With all the Indy hub-bub now seems like the perfect time for an Indiana Jones edition of the Comic Speculator. Like any successful movie/comic franchise as the release date of the new movie grows closer the prices of the comic back-issues grow higher and Indiana Jones back issues are no exception.

Indy made his first appearance in the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” comic/movie adaptation published by Marvel Comics, 1981. Logic would say that this first appearance of Indy should be worth the most right? Wrong, Marvel’s print-run on Raiders was so large that the issues can still be readily found today. Finding Raiders 1-3 in perfect condition is another story but still not impossible. While Raiders 1 guides for $4.00 in Near Mint condition the reprint of issues 1-3, printed in the pages of “Marvel Super Special” #18, guides for $6.00 and rising. An issue of Marvel S.S. #18 in CGC 9.4 condition recently sold for $23.00 on the Heritage Auctions Gallery website. “Marvel Super Special” was a magazine formatted comic series in the late 70’s and early 80’s that started out printing one-shot stories like the rock band Kiss’ first comic appearance in issue #1 and later, with issue #14, would start printing movie adaptations.

The Indy comic that currently guides the highest is a black-and-white magazine format reprint of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (Marvel Comics1989, $8.00 in Near Mint condition). However, prices for Indy comics in the Overstreet guide are quickly becoming irrelevant as collectors are paying top dollar for near mint copies. Recently a CGC 9.6 graded copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark #1 sold for $88.00 on ebay and a 9.8 graded copy of Marvel Comics Super Special #30 (1984), which reprints Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 1-3 (also published by Marvel), sold for $39.00 during a Heritage Internet auction while the comic only currently guides for $7.00.

Comic collectors have only recently started to pay more for Indy back-issues but it’s a trend that will continue long after the latest film has left theaters. Pages of original Indiana Jones artwork have recently been selling for record prices as well. The original cover art for “The Further Adv of Indiana Jones” #15 by Herb Trimpe, of Silver-age Incredible Hulk fame sold for more than $400 and an original art page of issue #27 by Steve Ditko, Spider-man co-creator, sold for $239.

Here are some other Key Indy issues to look for while they are still affordable:

“The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones” #1, Marvel Comics, 1983, $4.00 in NM. Written and drawn by John Byrne

“Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis” #1-#4, Dark Horse, 1991,$5.00 in NM. Beautiful painted covers by Dave Dorman.

“Dark Horse Comics” #3-#5, Dark Horse, 1992, $5.00 in NM. Indy back-up story, Shrine of the Sea Devil written and drawn by Gary Gianni. Gianni cover on issue #6

“Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates” #1-#2, Dark Horse, 1995-96, $3.00 in NM.
Stunning painted covers by Alex Ross.

I’ve compiled a complete Indiana Jones comic checklist that I’ll be uploading soon for all you completests out there. I’m even kicking around the idea of a new blog I’m tentatively calling “the Dewy Decimator System” that will deal solely with comic book checklists. Email me and let me know what you think. For news on the forthcoming Indy comic series “Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods” and other new comics 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 feel free to 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.