27th Mar2019

eBuying Comics: Week 15

by Ian Wells

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For a lone wolf Batman has had a lot of sidekicks and assistance over the years. Affectionately referred to as the ‘Bat Family’ everyone has their favourite. Over the years the ‘Bat Family’ has become more diverse and I think it is fair to say each addition to the family in some way defines Batman and those eras of stories. Lets get the big one out the way first. Robin has been around nearly as long as Batman and Superman. Detective Comics #38 (1940) is the comic where it all began for Richard Grayson and Robin. A 9.8 (NM) raw copy is upwards of £190,000 and you can expect double that for a graded copy. I didn’t find any on eBay of any grade. Dick wold remain Robin for forty odd years and then he became the first sidekick to grow up and develop his own alter ego. This happened in the pages of Tales of The New Teen Titans and #44 (1984) saw Nightwing debut. Now this issue is part of the epic story line ‘The Judas Contract’. With increased popularity around Deathstroke in recent years and an animated movie adaptation this comic is always going up. That being said I did find some bargains on eBay. A raw copy of this is valued at £76 for a 9.8 (NM). Two auctions for comics consider VFN by the seller are between £35-£40. A CGC 9.2 is only £80 which is a £70 saving on the valuation I researched. Also making her debut in the pages of Detective Comics was Barbara Gordon as Batgirl. As popular today as ever this is reflected in the price. A graded 9.8 is going to set you back £4500! On eBay even dropping to a CGC 5.0 is still a £500 comic and raw ones aren’t going for less than £300. Like Dick Grayson though under very different circumstances Barbara would take on a new identity in the form of Oracle. Suicide Squad #23 is the comic you want to seek out now before the Birds of Prey movie hits and the Suicide Squad sequel. £30 for a comic rated 9.4 by the seller may seem cheap after those movies hit but its double my current valuation. The last of the ‘Bat Family’ to debut in Detective Comics is Stephanie Brown aka Spoiler. She would also go onto be both Robin and Batgirl. #647 for first Stephanie Brown, #648 sees her don the Spoiler mask. Both are cheap and easy to find despite sellers who list the auction as scarce. Grade of 9.0 are easily accessible at under £10. If your lucky you might find listings for both issues together like I did and even that was only £22. Both comics were considered NM by the seller. Stephanie has the honour of being both the first Robin and the first Robin to debut as such in a comic carrying the Robin title. If your lucky you can find it for very close to cover price even at higher grades. Of course there are always the changers thinking they are onto a good thing and I found raw couples for £20-£25 which is double what I found a graded 9.8 (NM) for!

Kate Kane has to be one of the most original and popular additions to the cast of Gothams finest in recent memory. She has even made it onto TV before many of her peers when she was part of the ‘Arrowverse’ 2018 crossover, portrayed by Ruby Rose. Kate Kane first appeared a million miles away from the Bat books in a comic called ’52′ it was a year long DC event. The seventh issue sees the reader introduce to Kane before she donned the cape and cowl in #11. A CGC 9.8 of the latter is £90 and of course all the listings mention TV appearances now! Jump on it before it doubles in price! Last but by now means least we have Jason Todd and Tim Drake. The second and third Robins respectively. Both characters weren’t afforded the luxury of Dick Grayson who was Robin in his first appearance. They both had to earn those green hot pants. Jason Todd appeared in Batman #357. Now because this issue is also the debut of Killer Croc it is more expensive than his first outing as Robin in Batman #366. By some distance as well, a raw 9.8 of  #357 is around the £230 mark whilst the same grade of #366 is only around £45. These valuations seem pretty consistent with listings I found on eBay. Tim Drake likewise has a more expensive debut issue compare to when he made his debut as Robin, though not as a big a difference. If you want a pure first Robin appearance then Batman #442 is still very cheap. The first result I got in my search was £5 for a NM. I did find a graded one which was nearly triple what I found it valued at but £47 for a CGC comic if you are a hard core Robin fan still represents good value. Jason Todd was the first Robin to die in the line of duty. Beaten with a crowbar and blown up by the Joker (although you could argue it was the fans that really killed him). Batman #428 marks this sad day in Robin history. You can’t go wrong with £25 for a NM of a key issue. A graded 9.8 (NM) is valued at £128 so there are bargains out there. Another seller was selling the entire ‘Death in The Family’ run for just £55. Jason would eventually return to the realm of the living in Batman #635. Now calling himself Red Hood this begs the question. What is more valuable in comics a death issue or a resurrection issue? For Jason it is the resurrection. For a comic at the same grade as his death his return cost around £190. I suppose being in the guise of Red Hood means it counts as a new character as well as a return! Raw copies on eBay are anywhere between £70-£80, which is slightly up on the valuation I found of £64. Still a fair price considering he has now appeared on TV in Titans and there has been an animated movie of his return.

I would like to apologise for all the Robins and Batgirls I have missed. There are more. Many of them recent editions so I didn’t think there would be any value in looking at their respective prices. The biggest miss is probably Damien Wayne. I kind of love/hate him as a character. So that’s the only reason he is not mentioned here! I have a feeling because he is a Grant Morrison creation he will be rather expensive despite not even existing for more than twenty years yet!

Watch List

  • Marvel Comics Silver Age Daredevil #38 (1968) Cents Price – Starting Price £9.99 + £1.80 P+P – Unsold, Not relisted.
  • Daredevil #164 – Excellent Condition – Starting Price £7.95 + £2 P+ – Unsold, not relisted. If I hadn’t purchased this comic at a convention I would have snapped this up. I mentioned last time how I have struggled to find this comic for under £10. Okay with the postage I would have been pushing that limit but still a cheap comic. Maybe potential buyers had doubts about the condition being as good as the seller stated?
  • 2 x X-Men Comics 1992 – Starting Price £2 + £2.95 P+P – Sold for £2. I ultimately decided against buying these. the 2 comics in question were issue 4 and 5. I was only really interested in #5 and that had a sticker on the cover. Both comics looked in good shape but if I couldn’t get that sticker off cleanly it was a dud purchase. If #5 didn’t have a sticker I would have plumped for this auction and then try to resell #4. With the added price of postage I am watching a few more #5 that I could get for lower and not have a comic thrown in a I don’t want.

Character Spotlight

In the spotlight this week is Warpath (formerly Thunderbird II) aka James Proudstar. My original choice was Dani Moonstar, but like I said I don’t want to choose characters involved in movies. Yes the fate of the New Mutants movie is still up in the hair, but if it does see release her character is going to be big news thanks to the added romantic involvement with Wolfsbane. Also I think it is a waste of time focusing on a character whos first appearance is a #1 or special issue. So Warpath it is. He actually appeared in X-Men comics long before his association with X-Force. His debut issue was New Mutants #16 as apart of Emma Frost’s ‘Hellions’. So he would make sporadic appearances whenever the tow teams came into conflict. I have picked his first appearance along with two other comics he is key in to keep an eye on. They are New Mutants #99 (joins New Mutants) and Classic X-Men #3, which is a retconned first appearance.

  • New Mutants #16 (1984)
    9.8 (NM) – £30 | 6 (F) – £2.70 } 2 (G) – 50p
  • New Mutants #99 (1991)
    9.8 (NM) – £22 | 6 (F) – £6.50 | 2 (G) – £2.20
  • Classic X-Men #3 (1986)
    9.8 (NM) – £3.20 | 6 (F) – 50p | 2 (G) – 15p

Top Tip

This is part tip, part rant. I was going through some listings on eBay the other day and I actually saw a guy put the phrase ‘from a smoke/pet free home.’ I love this, it feels a bit old school but I always mention it and I think it makes a huge difference. It is simple science that paper absorbs smell. I’ve never been a pet person and I’ve never smoked so I feel I have a sensitive nose for odours caused by this on comic I buy online. Its only happened to me once but once is enough. If you are one of these people who claims your dog doesn’t smell believe me it does and it effects the comics. If you at least mention it in the listing then it is up to the buyer t take the risk.

I am also putting a call out to anyone who sells comics on eBay with good tips. Hit me up on Twitter @IanWells87 and depending how many I receive, if any. I will do one a week or a whole blog on them with full credits for the tippers.

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