06th Sep2019

eBuying Comics: Week 26

by Ian Wells


Nothing hits the nostalgia sweet spot better than a good old issue of Marvels ‘What If?’ line. These stand alone alternate takes on Marvel comics continuity are fondly remembered by readers who were around at their start. We are currently in the age of fan service where yesterdays readers are todays writers who are ultimately writing fan fiction. Because of this the ‘What If?’ line has gaind a whole new following of fans and sadly speculators as some of these issues tie into modern continuity. Also the ‘What If?’ is soon to be part of the Disney+ service with a animated feature. This series will obviously be more focused on alternate takes on the MCU but I bet because of new interest in an old classic by newer fans we will see a spike in prices for back issues of ‘What If?’ And who knows maybe we will see some reprints too at a reasonable price! the first incarnation of ‘What If’ started in 1977 and ran for forty seven issues. It was followed by a one hundred and sixteen issue second volume starting in 1989. There are currently seven trade paperbacks collecting the first volume of ‘What If?’ under the title ‘What If? Classic.’ as with all trade paperbacks it is worth shopping around for price. I have seen them anywhere between £20 and £60. Of course for trade paperbacks your first port of call should always be your LCS, or hunt them down at  conventions. Its more fun! Issues of ‘What If?’ tend to be very hit and miss so it would be more worthwhile and cost effective to research what issues would appeal to you and buy them as floppies.

I myself have so far only stuck to Wolverine tales of  what if… There are quiet a few of these in the second volume as it coincides with his rise in popularity. Like I mentioned ‘What If?’ comics seem to be one of those things to appeal to specualtors, I have to draw the line sometimes and set the rule of never going over a certain price for these issues. A couple of years ago I was lucky to strike a deal on eBay with a seller who had to Wolverine centric issues I was interested in. He had then both listed for £5 each with a good price on postage like under £2. I emailed him, telling him I was interested in both and asked what was the best deal he could do for me. He knocked a pound of each and adjusted the postage, so that was quiet a result. In doing my research for this blog I discovered there are more Daredevil issues I would be interested in. Such as #2 from voume 2. ‘What if Daredevil killed Kingpin?’ Spinning out of the pages of the classic ‘Born Again’ story. The best discovery I made tho was a Shang Chi centric issue. #16 from the first volume ‘What if Shang Chi fought on the side of Fu Manchu?’ Now with the recent news of the impending Shang Chi movie this thing is going to sky rocket, so get it quick!

If you are a collecting purist I assume you will be looking for #1’s. Of the two #1 from their respective volumes the 1977 version is the hrder to track down and the more expensive. Grades of 4 (VG) seem to be available for under £20, there are a few current listings at this price. At the higher end of the spectrum say double the grade so an 8 (VF) is essentially double the price. As What IF? #1 combines Stan Lees to biggest creations ‘What if Spider-Man joined The Fantastic Four?’ the listing for a slabbed graded 9.8 and signed by Stan Lee may be the perfect impulse buy. If you are willing to part with just over £1000! I am happy to infomr you though that #1 of volume 2 has no such inflation. A NM copy will set you back no more than £5. The first two listings on eBay currenty are ‘excellent conditio’ and only £2.99 with free P+P. Jump on it now, because you never know when the MCU may touch the ‘evolutionary war’ then touch it again in ‘What If?’

I mentioned earlier current writers using these old issues as inspiration for their current runs, or perhaps it is all just coincidence. First case in point we have ‘What if Hulk had become a barbarian?’ from volume one #23. This could have insired Greg Pak to write Planet Hulk which then went on to inspire parts of the movie Thor Ragnarok. Apparently this issue also features a backup story re telling the Eternals origin. Which is why you see such listings for it containing phrases like “Hott Book”  (thier spelling, not mine) and “Eternals Movie.” With the added hype involved it can still be found for a good price. The ‘Hott Book’ listing is asking £24.99 for a ‘high grade’ copy. Another seeler is only asking £8.99 (or best offer) for a NM copy with free P+P and it will come bagged and boarded. You could get yourself a real bargain with this one. Earlier this year Marvel brought Conan back into their comics line in a big way. Currently he can be seen teamed up with a motley crew in the pages of Savage Avengers. #13 of What If? asked the question ‘What if Conan walked the earth today?” As I have mentioned in previous weeks Conan comics are harder to track down and add in the newer audience. £20 for a VG-F grade seems to be the going rate. There is currently one listing at that price which also has a ‘best offer’ option. The seller claims not t be an expert on grade and stresses you look at the picture. From a quick glance it looks pretty good, slight spine roll maybe but solid collours and no defects on the cover. Lastly a comic gaining in value by the day it seems is again from volume 1 and it is #10. ‘What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor?’ Two reasons why this has seen a rise in value. Firstly after Jason Aarons amazing run on Mighty Thor regular comic fans were seeking out this back issue. Then San Diego Comic Con happened and news broke that a fourth Thor movie is on the horizon with Natalie Portman returning as Jane Foster. So immediate specualtion that the movie will borrow from Jason Aarons comic thus borrowing from this issue too. £110 for a NM copy? It does have a ‘best offer’ option and the seller has included multiple photos to better judge the grade. What concerns me is the mention that the seller thinks the book would be a contender to be pressed and cleaned? It s either NM or its not! There are copies under £100 but the graders are being more fair saying they aren’t professional. There is one with a price of £85 but it does have the ‘best offer’ option so there is wriggle room to get better value. Even a recent ‘True Believers’copy is going for seven times its cover price! Ridiculous!

Here are the Top 5 highest valued ‘What If?’ issues according to comicspriceguide.com (The prices are for 9.8 (NM) grades both raw and graded).

  1. #10 (vol.1) What if Jane Foster had found the hammer of Thor? – £148 (raw) / £320 (graded)
  2. #1 (vol.1) What if Spider-Man joined the Fantastic Four? – £58 (raw) / £140 (graded)
  3. #49 (vol.2) What if Silver Surfer  possessed the Infinity Gauntlet? – £30 (raw) / £120 (graded)
  4. #27 (vol.1) What if Phoenix had not died? – £26 (raw) / £53 (graded)
  5. #31 (vol.1) What if Wolverine had killed the Hulk? – £19 (raw) / £46 (graded)

Shopping Cart

Classic X-Men V1 # 10 FN+/FN 1987 Marvel American Comic – Starting Price 95pence- I paid 95pence + £1.50 P+P

Finally with over half the year gone I have knocked off a comic from my more affordable wishlist. This comic is a must have for any Wolverine fan like myself. Those unfamiliar with the ‘Classic X-Men’ line it is reprints of the famous Chris Claremont run on ‘Uncanny but ith added back up short stories at the back. Now the back up story in this issue is key to Wolverine history. Titled ‘Tag, sucker’ while it is never stated it is heavily teased this is the first instance of Wolverine vs Sabertooth. It apperaed on the racks a full two years before Wolverine #10. I am very happy with the condition of this comic for the price I paid. Very minimal spine wear and tear. No creases or tears to front and back cover. Bright vibrant covers still on front and back covers. The X-Men font on the cover is white and it is still brilliant white. On the interior there are a few very minor defects caused by the printing process. Off white pages but vibrant colours still.

For Sale

All of last weeks items went unsold and are therefore relisted.

In recent weeks I have been very Marvel centric. Probably because I watched Endgame again! My next installment will be DC focused and also the other day I done some brainstorming so hopefully I have some fun ideas for the future.





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