This Week in Geek 3/18/09

This Week in Geek is a weekly blog about new comics written by WorthPoint comic book Worthologist Matt Baum. Every Wednesday, Matt takes a look at the week’s new comics from a collector’s point-of-view and discusses which books may be hard to find in the near future and why. Make sure to click on the hot links for previews and more information on the comics, characters, story-lines and creators discussed here. Also, feel free to post your comments in the new “comments” section below.

Superman Batman #1 third reprint

Superman Batman #1 third reprint

Before we begin, a quick word on additional printings: I was e-mailed last week by a relatively new collector asking me why second-printings of certain comics were worth more than some first prints? It’s a good question. For the most part first-printings will always be worth more than other printings, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Occasionally, companies will release a second-printing of a comic with a new cover that collectors just can’t resist.

The third-printing of Superman Batman #1 is an excellent example. Depending on which guide you consult, this comic guides for $10-$18. I would guess it probably sells closer to the $10-range, but the point is this third-printing guides for $4-$10 more than the first-print. Why is this? The series was very popular at the time—issue #1 was the third-highest selling comic of August 2003—and the first-printings sold out almost instantly. By the time DC went to a third-printing of issue #1, demand had settled down considerably. The first printings shipped more than 130,000, so I would guess the third-print run numbers at no more than 50,000, a number that could be high. Finding the info on older print-runs can be very difficult, and if anyone out there can help me with hard numbers, I’d love to hear from you. The point is, the third printing was limited in it’s print run, and therefore, years later, is very hard to find. And because the series was popular, it’s worth more than the first-printing. Keep in mind this isn’t always the case. If no one cares about the series, chances are no one will care about the other printings of said series. Also, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think this was one of the first times I remember a comic company giving different covers to different printings. Like I said, I’m not positive here, and please correct me if I’m wrong.

Now, on to business: It’s the day after Saint Patrick’s Day, and if you’re like me, then we’re both calling in sick to work due to a hangover worthy of an extended hospital stay. What a perfect excuse for reading new comics. With that said, let’s take a look at the new comics coming out this Wednesday, March 18. Below you’ll find the list of new comics I’ll be adding to my collection. For a complete list of this week’s comics click here. To find a comic shop near you click here.

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #1 of 3
Batman and the Outsiders #16
Dark Avengers #3
Punisher #3
Supergirl #39
Uncanny X-Men #507
Wolverine #71
X-Factor #41
X-Force #13
Thunderbolts #130
X-Men: Kingbreaker #4 of 4

The only real new addition to my list this week is the Azrael miniseries, which you can read more about in my Speculator Picks below. I’m still very happy with the new Punisher series, regardless of the $3.99 price tag, which still has a lot of collectors moaning. The final issue of X-men King Breaker hits the stands this week and I have to say it’s been a lot of fun. The story is a lead-in to the “War of Kings” event that started two weeks ago. Issue #1 of War of Kings might still be available at some comic shops, but the comic is already getting hard to find; there isn’t even very many up for auction on eBay currently.

And now, on to the Speculator Picks of the Week. These are books that, for one reason or another, may sell out quickly and become instant collectibles. If you don’t pay attention and get to your local comic shop in a timely fashion, you could be paying way too much for these comics very soon. The codes you see listed below the solicitations are for use when ordering through your local comic shop.

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #1, DC

Arael: Death’s Dark Knight #1

Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #1

Solicitation: He was a husband and a father. A brother and a friend. A cop and a dark knight. But he had all that taken away. And in return, he was given a suit of sorrows, a quest for redemption and a new name. He is Azrael, avenging angel for the Order of Purity and a new protector for Gotham City’s troubled times. But who will protect the citizens from him? Guest-starring Robin, Nightwing, Talia and the League of Assassins, this miniseries runs alongside BATTLE FOR THE COWL and features the dramatic presence of a strangely familiar, troubled hero with two things on his mind: crazed vengeance for the wrongs he has suffered and salvation for the sins he continues to commit!
• 32 PGS
• $2.99
• JAN090184
Written by Fabian Nicieza; Pencils by Frazer Irving; Cover by Guillem March.

Why it’ll go fast: Maybe I’m biased by my love of all things Dennis O’Neil (Azrael’s Creator), but I feel like Azrael still has an audience. I loved the character, monkey DNA and all, and love what writer Niczea has been doing in the Bat-titles. Unlike myself, I can’t see retailers having the same sunny disposition towards Azrael that I do. The character was a B-list Bat-character at best, but this is not the old Azrael. In interviews, Nicieza has stated that this is a new character wearing the Azrael armor. For those of keeping score, Jean Paul Valley, the original Az, died in the final issue of the 1990s Azrael series. New Azrael, new armor, and what is destined to be a pretty hard comic to find if the orders are as low as I think they’ll be.

Thunderbolts #130 1:15 variant; Marvel Comics

tbolt129-130 tbolts130var

Everyone’s favorite Merc with a Mouth has the Thunderbolts in his crosshairs; but don’t expect this murderer’s row of butt-kickers to lie down! The nastiest fight of ’09 has begun, and you’ve got the front row seat for all the ultra violence that Andy Diggle (DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE) and red-hot artist Bong Dazo can dish up!
• 32 PGS
• $2.99 US

Written by Andy Diggle; Pencils by Bong Dazo and Robert De La Torre; Cover by Francesco Mattina; Variant Cover (1:15) by Clint Langley.

Why it’ll go fast: Thunderbolts #129 checked in at number 31 on the top 300 comics sold for February 2009, selling 45,401 issues before reorders. With that number in mind we can figure that about 3,025 of the 1:15 variants shipped, making the variant cover of #129 pretty rare from day one. If the same numbers ship of issue #130, which could actually be slightly higher due to the fact that the story crosses-over with Deadpool #8 (which probably should have been a “Pick” two weeks ago), then we can expect about the same number of variants. Now, the fact that the variants of issue #129 and #130 fit together to form a larger picture is very cool and may create even more demand and value for the comics when sold together. Personally I’m already regretting not picking up the #129 variant.

Uncanny X-men #507, 1:50 Variant; Marvel Comics

Uncanny X-men #507, 1:50 Variant

Uncanny X-men #507, 1:50 Variant

Solicitation: The secret of the Cooperstown Massacre goes worldwide and anti-mutant hysteria explodes nationwide. If Scott and Emma don’t trust each other, how can mutantkind keep it together? Beast and the newly-assembled science team fight for their lives on Hokkaido Island … and the Angel’s deepest, darkest secret is revealed to all present. Uh-oh. Innocent lives are trapped between the Russian mob and everybody’s favorite heartbroken mutant, Colossus, fighting along against old-world horrors that have followed him here. Oh! And the Sisterhood is finally assembled and ready to destroy the X-Men once and for all.
• 32 PGS
• $2.99 US
• JAN092537
Written by Matt Fraction; Pencils by Terry Dodson; Cover by Justin Ponsor; 1:50 Variant Cover by Michael Golden

Why it’ll go fast: Again, to the numbers. Uncanny 506 checked in at number nine on last months top 300 comics sold, selling 71,684 issues. If we use these numbers to figure how many of the 1:50 variant of #507 will ship, we get about 1,433 variants. Not a lot, making this comic rare and pricey. Most comic shops will probably be asking for between $20-$40 each for this variant. I wouldn’t pay anymore than $40 for this variant. If your shop is asking for more, it just means they’re greedy and you can probably get a better deal elsewhere. It’s the pricing of these comics that put them out of reach of most collectors and can kill the value of the comics down the line. It’s never fun to pay $50 for a 1:50 variant comic only to find it guiding for $20 later on. Variants can be a tricky thing to collect, so watch yourselves and pay attention to the initial price tags.

The Indy Comic of the Week will return next week!

Nerdy Question of the Week:

The monthly Superman comics have been fantastic as of late and look to be getting even more interesting by not featuring the Man of Steel at all. While Superman is off planet for the next year in the pages of Superman: New Krypton, Nightwing (not Dick Grayson) and Flamebird will be holding down Action Comics, while the new Guardian and Mon-El star in Superman. So, are you reading the Superman comics, even in his absence, or is DC out of their mind taking the big-blue-boy-scout out of his own comics just as they are hitting their stride and sales are rising? Discuss!

Thanks again for your continued input and keep the answers to the nerdy questions coming. 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. Remember to post the title, issue number and cover price.

Matt Baum is a Worthologist who specializes in comic books.

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