01st Nov2019

eBuying Comics: Week 30

by Ian Wells


From their humble Silver Age beginnings, to comic culture behemoth, to Marvel’s first successful movie franchise. The X-Men have certainly had a roller coaster ride in their fifty six years existence. Starting out with a roster of five (Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Beast, Iceman and Angel) led by Charles Xavier the ranks of the X-Men increased year on year. Most notbaly under the pen of Chris Claremont along side artists Dave Cockrum, John Byrne, Paul Smith, Marc Silvestri and Jim Lee the ranks swelled to hundreds. In this era the X-Men became their own universe within the main Marvel universe. With the levels of popularity increasing along with the success that came with it, spin offs, multi part stories and cross overs became the norm. The X-Men were not just the center of the Marvel Universe they were the center of the comics universe. It seems only a few years ago we couldn’t escape the rumours that because the merry mutants movie rights were tied up with Fox that the comics weren’t a priority for Marvel Comics and may even cease to exist. Fast forward to this summer and off the back of the dual stories of Powers of X and House of X by Jonathon Hickman and a host of artists things are looking up for the X-Men again. Both Powers and House of X divided opinion (what comic doesn’t)? but the feedback was mainly positive, so now we are on cusp of a line wide X-title relaunch. Dawn of X as it is called features seven titles announced so far. They are: X-Men, Marauders, Excalibur, New Mutants, Fallen Angels, X-Force and Wolverine. Perhaps a year from now I will do a little follow up on all the new number ones and see how they have appreciated in value. There are of course a ton of variant covers so there will be highly inflated values floating around.

What I am going to do this week is look back in time to when the X-Men universe first expanded and look at the number ones for the first wave of that expansion. To start with I must mention there are three issues I won’t be looking at in detail. The First being Giant Size X-Men #1. We all know it is a highly sought after expensive issue, also I don’t think it fits the criteria of being an expansion on the original title. It is a one shot issue in the hope of landing a relaunch. When it did successfully relaunch the next issue picked up the original numbering. I also won’t be looking at either X-Force #1 or X-Men #1 as I have given them plenty of coverage when I discussed the Image Generation. They both come from a time when comics were being printed in their millions and then fans were being told these issues were highly collectible. I even spoke about my own experience with X-Force #1 last week. Brought it for £1 sold it for £1.50! I got my copy of X-Men #1 from QVC back in the day. In a set that cost me £14.99 plus shipping I got X-Men #1, a Spider-Man movie adaptation signed by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, Ultimate Spider-Man Wizard 1/2 issue and randomly that months Wolverine issue.

The first issue I will be looking at is Uncanny X-Men #114. Now it is not like I said an issue that sees the line of X-Men comics expand. For the uninitiated Uncanny X-Men #114 is special because it is the first issue to carry the title ‘Uncanny X-Men’. Claremont had been writing X-Men since #94 his superhero soap was firmly established adding ‘Uncanny’ to the title was like a final stamp that this era belonged to him. In later years Uncanny would serve as the premier X-title with X-Men secondary. Among fans they would be called ‘Uncanny’ or ‘Adjectiveless X-Men’. Long after Claremont had left the titles existed side by side. Just as a starting point a a 9.8 (NM/M) graded copy of this issue is currently valued at £300 and over. This week when giving valuation guides I am going to stick around the 8 (VF) for raw copies,  as these are solid reader copies that most people buy. Currently on eBay the prices are a little cheaper than the £39 valuation from comicspriceguide.com. This may be because there are a lot of UK price additions all for £15 and under. For a US edition simply add £10 on. I have placed a UK price edition on my watch list. It has a starting price of £8 with £1.50 P+P.

Once Claremont’s superhero soap up was up and running it became apparent that the X-Men had drifted from their school settings. This made sense seeing as since the all new all different X-Men were introduced they were older, the school wasn’t for them. It therefore made sense to introduce a younger generation of mutants, a second wave of students effectively, like a real school. Kitty Pryde had been introduced but Claremont and the editors need something to bridge that gap. As I go through this you will notice a pattern that as the X-Men increased in popularity the editors wanted to add more comics but Claremont was always reluctant to do so as he had a very fine plan in place for characters. He wanted the series to be real and members would leave the team never to be seen again. But with the risk of creative input being diminished by other writers doing other stories he always ended up launching the new series himself and holding it for as long as possible. So in 1982 the New Mutants arrived in Marvel Graphic Novel #4. Unfortunately the site I used to get my valuations does not have the Marvel graphic Novel range in its catalogue. To give some indication a CGC 9.6 on eBay is going for £400 for a first print. We could say to roughly half that for a raw copy. Obviously for the last two years as we await the release of the New Mutants movie speculation on its value has been on the up. New Mutants #1 is a much more affordable option. Very surprising though was when I typed ‘New Mutants #1’ into eBay I got results for every issues except the first! I can’t believe there isn’t one issue of New Mutants #1 currently for sale on eBay.  Next up we have ‘The best there is at what he does’ in fact that line was first used in Wolverine #1 of his first mini series. Claremont’s original plan to capitalise on Wolverine’s breakout popularity was to have a Wolverine mini series every year or so as opposed to an on going. Again very surprised to find only a few offerings for Wolverine #1 online. But again they are near the valuation price. £20 for a raw 8 (VF) or £155 for a 9.8 (NM/M). Currently the best offering on eBay is £38 for 6 (F) grades of both Wolverine #1 and the first issue of his first on going series. In my valuation research I did find it rather odd that Wolverine #1 (mini series) is more expensive as a raw comic than Wolverine #1 (ongoing). But then the ongoing number one is more expensive when it comes to the two being graded and slabbed! The first 8 (VF) I found on eBay is actually more than twice the valuation price at £35. The mini series Kitty Pryde/Wolverine is seen as unofficial sequel to that first Wolverine mini series. I myself picked up the six issues at conventions over the years. I had trouble with 4 and 6. Once I finally brought them funnily enough they both had ‘Rare in UK’ stickers on them! I should have just looked on eBay a listing for the complete set is on auction right now for £2.50 so that is on the watch list. Again eBay never ceases to amaze me. A NM/M copy of issue is £2.95 where as a a NM copy of the ‘True Believers’ version is £2.50! You could have a proper back issue for 45pence more. God I hate people selling ‘True Believers’ comics on eBay!

Moving to the more obscure side of the X-Men spin offs we have three left field comics in the shape of Dazzler #1, Alpha Flight #1 and Excalibur #1. Dazzler number at high grade is coming in at under £10 these days despite its near cult status and her very brief cameo in recent X-Men movies. Annoyingly I once saw a video on Youtube where someone paid $25 for a mystery box of over one hundred comics and in it was Alpha Flight #1. I paid £25 for my copy of the same comic! There is one listing for Alpha Flight #1 on eBay, considered ‘very high grade’ by the seller is listed for £12.99 plus £2.50 P+P. Also good value for money would be the listing I found for the first five issues of Alpha Flight. Described as decent the seller does go into detail about certain creases for each issue in the description. The auction is starting at £7 with £2.50 P+P. Excalibur became a very different mutant comic compared to anything else in the X-line. The first made their debut in a one shot titled ‘The Sword is Drawn’. Normally these older one shots are hard to track down, but there are more than a few floating about online. Easily available for under £10 even for a VF+ copy. The first issue of the Excalibur ongoing is slightly harder to find but again if you is there for the cheap. £5 and under for a higher grade copy.

Lastly there is X-Factor #1. A comic that came about because Jim Shooter wanted to bring Jean Grey back from the dead! Once again X-universe architect Chris Claremont stepped in and decided the only way she was coming back was if he was writing it. X-Factor also saw the original five members reform as a team and later in the series introduced major villain Apocalypse. Again there is only one copy currently on eBay! Is eBay going through some sort of X-books shortage I don’t know about. Anyway the one result will set you back £9.99 for a comic described as excellent by the seller. Now I want to end by looking at the top five X-Men spin off issues at a 9.8 (NM/M) graded copy. Now I believe Marvel Graphic Novel #4 would rank second on this list or even first. But as I mentioned the site didn’t have it listed. I felt then it was fair to leave it off rather than getting a valuation from a different site.

1. Uncanny X-Men #114 – £311

2. Wolverine #1 (ongoing) – £204

3. Wolverine #1 (mini) – £155

4. Alpha Flight #1 – £60

5. New Mutants #1 – £45



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