24th Dec2019

eBuying Comics: Week 33

by Ian Wells

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This week I will be revisiting all the ‘Character Spotlights’ from the year and seeing which ones of any have gone up in value. Firstly I think it is best that I outline the process I go through in deciding on which character to put under the spotlight and then how I acquire my valuations. I will be first to admit that the first year of the ‘Character Spotlights’ has been a rough and ready process. It could really do with some work to tidy it up for 2020. Firstly I have to admit to a mistake from myself, its nothing major but when I debuted ‘Character Spotlight’ in week 14 of eBuying Comics I refered to a 9.8 as NM as opposed to NM/M. Like I said nothing major, just the small case of a missed slash and a capital M! Rather than admit to my mistake I just stuck with it for subsequent spotlights because I knew I could correct myself here in the wrap up.

The first step of deciding who goes under the spotlight is trying to not select a character who is going to have thier valuations over inflated because of a upcoming movie or TV show. This in itself is becoming a difficult task. But I want the comics I select to see an increase in value because of a heightened interest in the character via the comics or because of renewed buzz around the creators involved. Once I have the character it is a case of selecting the issues to look at. Obviously I go with a first appearance and the debut of an ongoing series. Some times I will highlight another key issue if it is key to the characters development or maybe even an issue that I think people won’t be too sure of, so I want to put it on peoples radar. Lastly I also like to select an issue that is perhaps more obtainable price wish. For example some of the older issues I looked at I also paired it with a new relanch of the title or a mini series. The next step then is to gather my valutions from comicpriceguide.com. For those who have been following the blog will know that in the spotlight I gave valuations for grades 9.8 (NM/M), 6 (F) and 2 (G). For the purposes of the end of you review I will only be looking at 9.8 grades. The point of including the other grades was so people who buy reader issues will have a rough guide for prices if they want to pick up the issues. The 2 grades were included especially for the older issues so people can know what to expect for prices at low grades for older comics. Like I said the whole process has been rough and ready, this epsecially applies to the prices. As comicspriceguide.com is an American site I have to convert the prices to the pound. I do this the most lazy way and use the first result that comes up on Google! I will also admit to some weeks not remembering if I rounded up or down! Again sorry. There is a comicspriceguide.co.uk but I believe their database isn’t as big. Maybe in the future I could explore that site more and do a comparison of what they value a comic in pounds to what is converted value is from the .com site. So that is a basic outline of how it all seamlessly comes together, now onto the comics.

Lets start at the beginning.

In week 14 I kicked things off by looking at Mister Miracle. At the time Tom King and Mitch  Gerards had wrapped up their twelve issue maxi series on Mister Miracle. The series divided opinion. With many claiming it to be King and Gerards at their peak. Whilst others had to admit while it was a triumph in story telling it wasn’t a representation of the Mister Miracle they knew and loved. Mister Miracle of course has the collectors incentive of being a Jack Kirby creation. So back issues are highly sought after by both Mister Miracle fans and just fans of the legend that is Jack Kirby. As usual fans will gravitate towards a first issue so thats were I started. Back in week 14 a Mister Miracle #1 from 1971 at grade 9.8 (NM/M) was valued at £151. As of today the same issue is now valued at £154 so a very small increase in value but an increase none the less. On the side of something more obtainable is the 2001 one shot which reprints some of the old Kirby issues. Again a very small increase in valuation. Going from £13 to £14 for a 9.8. Sticking with Kirby creations but moving up in price range to the most expensive issue I looked at in all of the spotlights. Week 17 brought The Challengers of The Unknown into the spotlight. COTU has a two fold appeal, firstly it is an enjoyable comic in its own right and again its Kirby art so people are looking for it anyway. Secondly the series acted as a kind of proving ground for what Kirby would later do on Fantastic Four both stylistically and as story telling devices. The Challengers made their debut in Showcase #6 in 1957.  As I said it was the most expensive issue I looked at coming in at £18,550 in week 17. However since then it has seen a £10 decrease in valuation, still making it a very expensive and probably unobtainable issue for the regular collector! Jack Kirby is arguably the king of comic artists. It seems in recent years the love for him has grown even stronger, so I was slightly surprised to see a small increase and even a decrease in values for his comics. On the other hand I believe there is a culture of readers/collectors around who don’t give a shit about comics of the past, I suspect we would see a much more vast increase in valuation if both characters were part of a movie or TV project.

Moving onto the more mainstream side of things I looked at Warpath (week 15) and Madame Masque (week 27) from a Marvel standpoint. Then from DC I looked at The Question (week 21). Warpath I think it would be fair to say is a C list X-Men character, I love him and think he needs to be in more than my spotlight. He started out as a villain in New Mutants #16 when he debut as part of the Hellions. This is a very affordable issue when you consider it is the first appearance of the New Mutants premier foes. Also it is even more affordable because it has gone from a value of £30 to £23. Now Warpath is not in the New Mutants movie but there will be some buzz around the comic once the movie hits (if it ever does). I think I will revisit all of these spotlights if and when they are in movies or TV shows. From a personal standpoint I also pinpointed Classic X-Men #3, as this is like a retcon origin of James Proudstar. It is still holding strong at £3.20. Also at taking a dip at Marvel is Madame Masque. Her alter ego of Whitney Frost first appeared in Tales of Suspense #98 before over a year later she became Madame Masque in Iron Man #17. Both issues have decreased in value. With Tales of Suspense #98 going from £240 to £231. Most surprising was Iron Man #17 having a £125 decrease. Going from £240 to £115. What surprised me most was that I hadn’t done my research properly as Whitney Frost had appeared in Agent Carter. My assumption then was these two issues would at least plateu.

Over on the DC of things I took a look at The Question. Here is a character who really really needs more page time. Whether it Renee Montoya or Vic Sage, The Question is ripe for a TV series. Which is why I put the character under the spotlight before that happens. The Vic Sage version of The Question first appeared as a back up feature in Blue Beetle #1 in 1967. A creation of Steve Ditko he is a more comics code friendly version of his creator owned character Mr A. Since going under the spotlight this issue has gone from £338 to £329 in value. Again only a small decrease so if this blog proves anything it proves I’m rather consistent. Fan favourite Renee Montoya who debuted in Batman The Animated Series took up the mantle of The Question in the DC year long event 52 #48. As this issue is only just over three years old it and Vic Sage is The Question again after a number of DC reboots it comes as no surprise to see this issue go from £3 to £2.70.

Lastly I had a look at some successful independent characters. Starting with Casey Jones who first appeared in the Raphael Micro Series one shot. When I done the spotlight for this issue it came in at £181. Now my understanding is early TMNT comics are very rare and hard to find so the fact this was reasonably low to start with was a bit of a shock. Since week 19 it has dropped by £4. Also Casey Jones has made two movie appearances of varying success so again I was expecting something higher to start with. The last spotlight I done was the creator owned character of Grendel. Created by Matt Wagner he has appeared in a number of mini series over the years and has a strong fan base. Again I can not believe he has not crossed over into over medias. The comicspriceguide.com database didn’t extend to the very rare anthology series in which Grendel first appeared. That being Comico Primer #1. Therefore I had to settle for the first issue of the first Grendel ongoing as a starting point. A few weeks ago that issue was at £280 and in a short amount of time it has already dropped to £277. Grendel Warchild #1 which is one of the more popular mini series was valued at £3 and is now at the princely sum of £3.20. With so many mini series to his name if Grendel ever did make the transistion to TV or movies there would be plenty of source material to draw from. A self contained story like Warchild would be ripe for using as inspiration. So it may be an issue and series keeping an eye on. A twenty pence increase in a few weeks might not seem much but imagine the increase if a Grendel movie hits!

 

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