03rd May2019

eBuying Comics: Week 18

by Ian Wells


I think it is fair to say after eleven years and twenty two movies the MCU very much became its own entity. It was successful enough and brave enough to tell its own stories. While Avengers: Endgame is busy making millions I have seen lots of tweets reminding people not to forget the comic book roots of these characters and the creators or created them for so little pay and credit. So what I want to do here is give some reading suggestions for stories that inspired important moments in the MCU. Also it will give me a chance to talk about the pricing up TPB’s or hardcovers on eBay, because so far a lot of my time has been spent focusing on single issues. I did have a very cool idea to highlight some single issues that are key to Avengers: Endgame but as we are still in potential spoiler territory I will save that blog to mark the release of the DVD; and in a previous eBuying Comics column I looked at all the key characters debut appearances so I won’t be repeating that here. This is purely stories that have influenced the shape of the MCU and the best value for money in tracking them down. Also it ties into what I was talking about last week with the Marvel Essentials. If you didn’t want something story specific and was just wanted to take a dive through the Avengers extensive back catalogue then an Essential collection would be a great choice. Volumes one and two collect issues 1-46 which covers all the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby stuff. Like the essentials I priced up last week it varies in price depending on condition and whether it is a first or second printing. There is a completely battered first printing for auction starting at £5. On the flip side to that there is a brand new third printing version of volume one for the princely sum of £72.78! What made me laugh was the seller made note to point it its cover price of $16.99. Why? Its a ten year old third edition of a black and white reprint series, has it appreciated in value that much? If you find the writing of Stan Lee a little hokey I would suggest skipping volume one of any of the major characters like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. In the later volumes you will see the characters get fleshed out more to what you are familiar with under such talents as Roy Thomas, John Buscema, Steve Englehart, and Gene Colan to name a few.

In the MCU’s very first post credits scene we were treated to Sam Jackson line delivering that now famous line. From that point on the early assumptions was that the MCU would take its cues from the popular Ultimates comic by Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch. It could be argued that while it didn’t directly influence the MCU, Ultimates had made the Avengers popular again and had certainly played up their movie franchise potential. A paperback for volume 1 is still widely available online in good condition for under £10 as well has auctions starting at £2.30. Volume 2 which gave readers a Chitauri invasion again is widely available and cheap to acquire. I did find a listing for both volumes in paperback £5.99 or best offer. They are listed as used but in good condition. If you catch the seller on a good day you could score yourself a bargain! After the events of the first Avengers movie Iron Man closed out his trilogy with a story very loosely based on Extremis by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov. This story was the first six issues to the new Iron Man ongoing in 2005 so includes an issue one. Now it might seem a little boring that all of these TPB’s are available for £10 and under if you shop around and choose your preference on condition. I guess I was expecting some involution due to the popularity and huge success of the movies. Maybe I was being too cynical in assuming people would be trying to gain a quick buck through association to a mega franchise. Even Civil War which actually has a movie with the same title is a cheap purchase. The first one I found to have any real variation in price was Planet Hulk, because it comes in more versions. Because the story stretches over fifteen issues it comes in two volumes or an omnibus edition. A paperback omnibus is around the £20 mark which is a good price, especially as the listing I found was brand new. What I did find staggering was a hardcover omnibus for £265! I mean wow! I brought the Frank Miller Daredevil omnibus at a convention when it had been out roughly a year, maybe less. I paid £50. I just can not wrap my head around some pricing on eBay. It is listings like this that give eBay an underserved reputation.

The breakouts of the MCU have undeniably been the Guardians of The Galaxy. Before the release of their solo movie they had already gained a cult following in the comics thanks to a image update by Abnett, Lanning and Pelletier. I think because their new look and characterization came from left field and really freshened up Marvel Cosmic the back issues are getting harder to track down and the TPB’s and hardcover collections are a little pricier. The first volume to feature the new team aptly named ‘Legacy’ is usually priced at between £12 – £15 regardless of condition. Where the hardcover can be found  for between £30-£50. The Winter Soldier story is a complex story by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. The main inspiration for the MCU version comes from #1-14 of the fifth volume of Captain America (2006). The story is further expanded on in the ‘Red Menace’ story arc which is #15-21. You can purchase these either as four separate TPB’s again looking to spend around £10 for each. Another option is to get the ultimate collections, there is one for ‘The Winter Soldier’ arc and one for ‘Red Menace.’ Seeing as these are double sized TPB’s I was very surprised to see used but good condition ones going for £10 and under. There were some ‘Red Menace’ ones for £5. Brand new copies for each are priced around £20 and £15 respectively.

Top Tip 

Like the movies of the MCU this weeks subjects are all connected. In 2012 Marvel in conjunction with Hachette Partworks launched the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection. The collection was sixty hardcover graphic novels covering a wide range of Marvels most popular and important story arcs. If you subscribed every month you would get two graphic novels for £9.99 each. The subscription proved rather popular and got a re-release in 2016. The good thing is they can often be found in comic shops now still for cover price or cheaper. £9.99 is great value for a hardcover and some of the older stories are harder to track down. When I was searching for Iron Man Extremis on eBay a lot of the results were for the Ultimate Graphic Novel Collection version of the book and again cover price or cheaper. Below is a list of stories in the collection that have influenced the MCU.

  • Iron Man: Extremis – Warren Ellis and Adi Granov
  • The Ultimates: Super-Human – Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch
  • The Ultimates: Homeland Security – Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch
  • Thor: Reborn – J. Michael Straczynski and Oliver Coipel
  • Captain America: Winter Soldier – Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting
  • Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk (Done in 2 parts) – Greg Pak and Carlo Pagulayan
  • Civil War – Mark Millar and Steve McNiven
  • Black Panther: Who is Black Panther: – Reginald Hudlin and John Romita Jnr

PS: This weekend is Free Comic Book Day so really I should be saying give eBay a rest. Get out to your local comic shop and track these books down.

  • Watch List:

  • Marvel Comics: The Essential Spider-Man. (Softback, 1996) – Buy Now £4.00 + £3.00 P+P – Unsold
  • Essential Uncanny X-Men 1 (Original X-Men) – Starting Price £5.00 + £3.25 P+P – Unsold
  • Essential X-Men Vol 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 – Starting Price £12.00 + £6.00 P+P – Sold For £35.00 (11 bids)
  • Essential Amazing Spider-Man vol 1 & 2 -Starting Price £20.00 + £3.48 P+P – Unsold

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