04th Oct2019

eBuying Comics: Week 28

by Ian Wells

A great hero is only as good as their villains. The path a hero take is defined by multiple encounters with a collection of colourful foes. One of the greatest joys in reading comics is finding out who so and so will be fighting this month and how they will gain the upper hand? We wait months for a villain to make their glorious return. The bad guys always have the best cliff hanger moments and the best one liners. Can you imagine what it was like in the early days of a new comic series, when it must have felt like a new villain was introduced every issue. I wonder who finally had the break through  to say “Oh that villain from issue X was popular let’s bring them back for round two.” One thing I have learnt from being in fandom is that fans love a good face off. Whether hero and villain, hero and hero and even the rare occasion of villain and villain. With that in mind I am putting the two most distinct and eclectic rogues galleries in comics against each other in a value war. So with out further ado…

In the black corner when they are not crowding the cells of Arkham Asylum they are causing havoc on the streets of Gotham. Personal vendettas, global terror or just wanting to watch the world burn. The common thread is that they feel they exist because Batman existed first. I give to you the Gotham City Rogues!

Challenging them fighting out of New York City. They are out to make the neighbourhood unfriendly. When Spider-Man is not facing the old ‘Parker luck’ this he has to face off against this colourful band of enemies. Their plans range from the ridiculous to the sublime but cross them at your peril time and time again they keep coming back (they might even team up)!

Now right off the bat it may seem this is a one sided battle. Batman comics and therefore the characters in them have a twenty three year head start on anyone to appear in Spider-Man. I came up with a number of categories to place the villains in, in an attempt to level the playing field. Now these categories are open to interpretation and no doubt not everyone will agree with my selections. They both have in common the fact they only fought generic comic book bad guys in their debut issues so Detective Comics #27 and Amazing Fantasy #15 are both off the board. Unfortunately for the Spider-Foes Batman #1 is very much in play so that is where we shall begin.

Note: All values are for a 9.8 (Near Mint/Mint) raw issues. Valuations supplied by comicspriceguide.com

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First Villains

In Batman #1 the Dark Knight faced off against Joker for the first of many encounters. This issue hit the stands a whole twenty seven years before Spider-Man faced his first foe The Chameleon in Amazing Spider-Man #1. Age is going to play a factor in a comics valuation no matter who appears in it so with out much surprise the first round goes to The Gotham Rogues with a staggering £977,000 valution winning over a still impressive £240,000. But with Batman #1 being such a historic issue also featuring another villain and with Spider-Man starting his hero days out with a less memorable foe there is room for a fight back in later rounds.

After One Round: Gotham Rogues: £977,000  Spider-Foes: £240,000.

Best Villain

Like I already stated everything here apart from first villain is open to interpretation. Batman and Joker having been going round and round since 1939. The continuously face off and face off. They complete each other, could one exist without the other? How does one truely win in the end? For Spider-Man the adversary who has brought him the most pain would have to be Green Goblin. The father of his best friend who would later be poisoned by him, his true love died because of his actions. Batman #1 we have already seen. Green Goblin first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #14, so well past Spider-Man’s first year of an on going title but he has made a huge impression since. This issue comes in at £4677.

After Two Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £977,000  Spider-Foes: £244,677

Love Interest

The forbidden fruit for any hero. A villain who is everything you have ever wanted in a partner. Sex appeal, giving into lust, pushing boundaries and treading the line. Batman and Spider-Man both share a villain in this catergory and ironically they are both feline themed. Again Cat Woman made her debut in Batman #1. While Spider-Man had to wait much longer before heading down a dark alley greeted by the silhouette of Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man #194. A respectable £233 for a popular and important character sees the Spider-Foes claw back (pun intended) some much need pounds n this bout. If this were a boxing match the analysis would be leaning towards the Gotahm Rogues having punched himself out in the opening round. With the Spider-Foes boxing clever.

After Three Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £977,000  Spider-Foes: £244,910

The Redeemable Foe

As I said in my opening a hero is defined by his villains, perhaps most important to this equation is our heroes ability  to see the good in everyone even when the enemy is trying to kill them! Now this category may cause some controversy because I have put Two-Face forward for this round. It could be argues that the Two-Face who first appeared in Detective Comics #66 is not the same character who became the once close friend of Bruce Wayne and Batman in later years. Where as taking the ring for the Spider-Foes is Lizard. A character who has always had that personal connection to Peter Parker as Dr.Conners since his debut in Amazing Spider-Man #6. It is a relationship that needs some better big screen attention in my opinion where as Batman vs Two-Face has been done to death, possibly more than Batman vs Joker! Despite the big age gap in cover dates for the two respective issues it is a rather close run thing with Detective Comics #66 (£12,816) just edging out Amazing Spider-Man #6 (£12,200).

After Four Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £989,816  Spider-Foes: £257,110

Second Best Villain

A round that in the comics would be as hotly contested by the villains themselves as it would be by the fans reading the stories. Everyone is going to have their own choices. Maybe for some it is the already mentioned Joker and Green Goblin. Christopher Nolan certainly felt Ras Al Ghul was worthy of that crown. I can see where he is coming from. They started as allies, even having a shred of respect for each other, ultimately they want different things and have different ways to achieve them. Ras has to settle for second on my list. But if the movies are anything to go by the newer incarnation of Spidey in the MCU doesn’t even consider Green Goblin the third best villain. Hopefully my choice will make his MCU debut very soon. I am going for Kraven purely for one storyline. Kravens Last Hunt is so fondly remembered by fans and it is one of the few Spidey comics I have actually read. So for that it is Amazing Spider-Man #15 vs Batman #232. Kraven takes the round with £5856 against just £1181 for the Demons Head. But the gap is widening and if this was a boxing match perhaps it would have been stopped by now!

After Five Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £990,997  Spider-Foes: £262,966

The Team Up

Hold on to your butts, this has gone from a boxing match to a wrestling match. Survivor Series style as multiple rogues enter the ring. Only one team can leave victorious. For the Spider-Foes there was only one contender in the shape of The Sinister Six. It was such a great idea to take all of Spideys best and most colourful villains and put them in a team dynamic. It is a plot thread that has been replicated with varying levels of success across many titles. For team Gotham it was a toss up between the League of Assassins and The Court of Owls. I plumped for the latter and no it wasn’t because I was trying to give team Spider-Foes more of a chance. the reason I selected The Court of Owls is because when Batman rebooted under the New 52 banner to launch the series with an all new foe was a brave move by Snyder and Capullo. A brave move that paid off and the Owls have been a great addition to an already great rogues gallery. Batman (v2) #3 is not a prize fighter valuation at just £12 but I believe this issue will keep going up. Surely the story arc will get an animated adaptation and who knows maybe a live action one too one day. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 is very much a prize fighter valuation at an impressive £61,764.

After Six Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £991,009  Spider-Foes: £324,730

Fan Favourite Villain

After the mayhem of the last round it is time to let some crowd favourites take the spotlight. The two selections I have made for this round couldn’t be further apart on the spectrum of what makes a villain cool to the reader. They are Venom and Kiteman! Perhaps Tom King is the only fan who truly loves Kiteman, there will be older fans who have no fond memories of him whatsoever. But what King is currently doing with him in the pages of Batman is equal parts beautiful and fun. There will be Venom heads out there who believe his inclusion on the list will give team Spider-Foes a much needed cash boost. Of course they are much more delusional in their valuation of him than the people of comicspriceguide.com. Perhaps to may peoples surprise Kiteman takes the round with a more than treble winning margin. £1465 for Batman #133 to only £436 for Amazing Spider-Man #300.

After Seven Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £992,474  Spider-Foes: £325,166

The Fighting Friend

While this round won’t go far in deciding the final outcome of this fight it does go along way in the making of a great hero. Is there a greater test for a hero than facing a villain who once called themselves friend? both choices for this round represent very different approaches to exploring the relationship and they also represent different takes on telling this type of story. It is also the first time on the list the choices get multiple issues to add to their teams totals. Harry Osbourne first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #31 (£1952). He was a school friend of Peter Parker and the son of Norman Osbourne the Green Goblin. Marvel took the long game approach with Harry eventually succeeding his father as Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #136 (£228). Hush is a Batman story that has a huge fan following mainly because of the creative team of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee. Lee doing a monthly book was a rarity upon its release. In Batman #609 (£25) readers were introduced via flashbacks to childhood friend of Bruce Wayne Thomas Elliott. Just ten issues later in Batman #619 (£4)  Thomas Elliott was revealed as new rogue Hush. Like I said two very different approaches to story telling. While Green Goblin II may leave Hush standing it is all too late for team Spider-Foes.

After Eight Rounds: Gotham Rogues: £992,503  Spider-Foes: £327,346  Difference: £665,157

There we have it a very one sided fight. But they are the two best rogue galleries in comics. If I had pitted any other set of villains against either of these it would have been a land slide for either of them. I like that there were a lot of similarities between the two sets of rogues and it was fitting I pitted Marvel against DC.
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Bonus Round One

You may have noticed I only counted Batman #1 once. I didn’t add it to the total every time it appeared in a round. If I did and if it was a real boxing match it would have long been stopped and team Spider-Foes would now be on life support. But lets have a look at that total anyway just for fun as I said. Gotham Rogues would have a final total of £2,946,503 giving them a winning margin of £2,619,157!

Bonus Round Two

Going back to the team round it is worth mentioning The Sinister Six would not exist if the characters did not previously exist and antagonise Spider-Man previously. Where as The Court of Owls are just a collection for well trained assassins and foot soldiers. There are no pre-existing rogues or standout villains in their ranks. The Sinister Six command a whopping £92,090 on their own. Adding this onto team Spider-Foes original total gives them a total of £419,436. Still some way off the Gotham Rogues but perhaps keeping them in the bout longer!

 

 

 

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