05th Feb2020

eBuying Comics: Week 36

by Ian Wells

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This year the character with the longest name in comics, and one of the coolest alter egos in comics, turns thirty years old. I am of course talking about the time-travelling mutant bad-ass that is Nathan Christoper Charles Dayspring Summers aka Cable. Although he has also been known as Askani’son, Chosen One, Traveler and Soldier X. Thirty years may not seem a lot at first glance when up against industry titans like Batman and Superman, or ever his fellow X-Men but when you consider Cable debuted as Cable in 1990 pre the comic market crash and then he came out the other side and years later was the co star of a very successful movie and you could argue he is more popular than ever! Then I would say things have turned out pretty decent for the baby with the glowing eye.

What word best sums up Cable? How about convoluted? I mean the X-Men line of comics are a mind trip as it is, throw in time travel and a few creators pulling him in different directions and you have chaos. But from the chaos a popular character emerged. I would even go as far to say it is the chaos that makes him popular. On a personal level when the X-Men cartoon was first on TV in the UK I gravitated towards Cable (after Wolverine) because he wasn’t like the others. He was older, his costume wasn’t as colourful and I loved all the accessories. He had a gun that seemed like it could blow up anything. He time travelled, but so did Bishop in the series, but Bishop was an asshole! To me watching the cartoon with no prior knowledge of the comics it felt like Cable was cashing in on the popularity of The Terminator and I think that’s why I loved him. Plus he had his own signature music which destroyed anyone else’s.

So it all began for Cable in Uncanny X-Men #201. Written by Chris Claremont with art by Rick Leonardi this is the first appearance of baby Nathan. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what issue or more specifically between what panels he was conceived! At the time he was believed to be the son of Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor. All the clone stuff with Madelyne comes later so can we assume Claremonts original plan was for Scott, Madelyne and baby Nathan to live happily ever after outside of the series. There were early hints of telekinetic/telepathic powers but was he ever going to take it further? Currently on eBay  NM/VF+ copies of Uncanny X-Men #201 are all pretty much priced the same between £20 and £25. Baby Nathan existed for some time in continuity going on missions with Cyclops! Then in X-Factor #68 we get a curve ball that leads to everything that is to come. Baby Nathan is transported to the future to prevent the techno organic virus killing him. This issue was co written by Claremont and Jim Lee, so another creator enters the melting pot of Cables origins. This issue seems to suffer from over hyping on eBay. Look at it this way Cable is known for time travelling, he done so in a very successful movie. This issue is the first instance of him time travelling so it ranges in price from 99pence to £18 both listings are described as NM, so make of that what you will!

The next stop on the Cable express is New Mutants #87. Written by Louise Simonson with art by Rob Liefeld this is where things get fun and complicated. Fun in the sense of the story and character of Cable taking shape, complicated in the sense of who actually created him! From what I have read a co-creator credit for Simonson and Liefeld seems to make the most sense. But Liefeld takes all the credit. Along with editor Bob Harras it was decided the New Mutants needed a new leader,  they all agreed someone the exact opposite of Charles Xavier would make for an interesting story and Simonson came up with the military style leader and left it to Liefeld to design him. It should come as no surprise that this is the most expensive Cable related issue I will be looking at. With VF+/NM copies going upwards of £80. I did find one auction starting at £35 still with a week to go so this could go over that price with enough bidders. However it didn’t have a suggested grade from the seller but looked pretty decent from the pictures and was described as ‘crisp and glossy.’ This is an issue where a second printing edition is also very desirable but can still be found for £15 and under for a decent copy. With the addition of Cable New Mutants ended with #100 and reinvented itself as X-Force in 1991. This was at the height of Liefeld’s power as he was soon to be one of the founders of Image comics. It was also at the height of the speculator boom so this issue was printed by the millions and can still be brought today in bargain boxes at cons worldwide!

After some years of Cable the leader it was time to strike out on his own. To test the waters for a potential ongoing series Cable Blood and Metal a two part mini series was released in 1992. It was written by Fabian Nicieza who was co writing X-Force with Liefeld. Art on this mini series was provided by comics legend John Romita Jnr. Again nothing spectacular here price wise. The story does delve into other facets of Cable’s life like Six Pack, in particular his relationship with Garrison Kane. You can pick up both issues on eBay for under £5 and there is currently one auction starting at £1.50. Potential bargain for any hardcore Cable fan. With Cable now proving to be a commercial success the solo ongoing was soon to follow in 1993. Again Nicieza was at the helm with Art Thibert providing art. The series ran for 107 issues and also featured the talents of James Robinson, Ian Churchill Jeph Loeb and Al Milgrom to name a few. While Cable was a success with fans at the time love for his solo series hasn’t really maintained from a collectors stand point. #1 can still be found for around over price, the cheapest one I found was £2.85. There is one auction for a 9.8 CGC copy currently at £13.50. Its an embossed (ah the 90’s) cover so you might want t0 jump on this! On the other hand collected trade paperbacks of this series are very hard to come by cheaply. The first two listings on eBay for Cable Classic Volume 1 are £50 and £72.85 respectively. Volume 2 is more obtainable at around £15 but is only worth it from a UK seller with cheaper P+P than buying from the US. After its 107 issues Cable like a lot of the X-titles at the time underwent a renaissance and was given the new title of Soldier X. This was Cable for a new generation. The series ran for twelve issues and this can be found in the bargain boxes at cons again. But you can guarantee you will never find all twelve so it might be useful to take advantage of a lisitng on eBay for a complete set. Currently there is one for £19.99 plus £3.99 P+P which is very reasonable.

Lastly there is Cable’s long association with the “Merc with a Mouth”, Deadpool. I think I have mentioned it but this partnership was the basis for a very successful movie! While Cable was going by Soldier X, Deadpool’s series had made way for Agent X. Two years after this the pair need rejuvenating again and were thrown together. £12.95 was the cheapest listing for the first issue I could find. Its not a bad price for a comic featuring two very popular characters, movie based characters at that and it is over fifteen years old. But then again with eBay you can find the first four issues currently for auction at £7. This would be an excellent starting point for a new reader coming to these characters from Deadpool 2.

Of course with Cable being the time-travelling, convoluted character he is in current X-Men continuity OG Cable is dead and Kid Cable is running around. So in a few years I may be looking at the values of Extermination #1 where he debuted and X-Force #5 (2019) where is back story was explained!

That’s all for this week. Bodyslide by one!

 

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