05th Mar2020

eBuying Comics: Week 38

by Ian Wells

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This week I will be starting an all new spotlight feature. Unlike before where I would pick issues based on one character I track their prices the new spotlight will be a focus on one creator. So perhaps I will call it Creators in Focus. I will pin point all the single issues and collected editions you need to seek out if you are a fan of god comics. The spotlight for single issues will remain but again I will be shifitng focus. Instead of doing first appearances I will be selecting a theme like deaths, or costume changes, so watch out for the new spotlight format in a few weeks.

The first Creator in Focus will be Todd McFarlane. There are a lot of aspects to put under the microscope when looking at the career of the Todd Father. Marvel superstar artist, Image founder, writer/artist and business man. The era when the Image founders were stars at Marvel still divides opinion but in the last five years people are starting to come around and look at that time more fondly. Those guys wanted to tell their stories and blow minds with their art should be distanced from editors making stupid decisions that crashed the market. They were young! Now McFarlane is a successful business man I’m sure he would approach that era completely differently. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, for everyone!

Where to begin with this stellar career then? Well last week it was announced McFarlane would be providing the cover for the 50th edition of ‘Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.’ The cover in question is the first time he has drawn Spawn and Spider-Man together. The edition will be available after May will be in Aprils ‘Previews.’ The softcover retails for £25, with the hardcover at £30. The price guides as well as doing what is advertised by the title are also a good dive into the industry, with in-depth articles and interviews. The price guides are popular enough that they are now part of the culture they report on. I suppose having industry giants provide one time covers like this crossover by McFarlane increases peoples interest and sees them become sought after items. With that in mind I expect this edition to gain some traction in the coming years. Sticking with McFarlane’s more recent output, Spawn passed #300 last September. With its release it became the longest running independent comic of all time. Quite a feat for a character he first drew as a teen in sketchbooks. With the ‘big two’ having reboot after reboot I don’t think we will ever see those numbers within their ranks again. Another reason to look on this milestone with suc high regard is that in the early days of Image Comics a lot of negativity circulated concerning deadlines. 300 issues later that is all a distant memory! We are all young once. Being a special issue and an Image special issue at that it came with a variety of variant covers and went to a fourth printing. A first print of cover ‘A’ by the man himself can still be picked up on eBay for under £10. The first two results were an auction with an opening bid of £4 (£1.72P+P) or a buy now of £7.75 with free P+P. The latter comes bagged and boarded so represents very good value for money for a milestone issue. The road to #300 began on Free Comic Book Day last year with a reprint of Spawn #1. Of course speculators are going to do what speculators do and this once free issue is listed on eBay anywhere between  50p and £5. Originals of Spawn #1 being a 90’s comic aren’t hard to track down. In my mind I assumed Spawn #1 would have the same cult status as the first appearance of Venom or Deadpool. So I was surprised to find raw copies in good condition for under £50, with a new movie on the way this may not stay like this in the near future. The last word in Spawn belongs to #9. The most expensive issue of Spawn ever! Not expensive to the consumer I hasten to add, but expensive to McFarlane. #9 was during a period when he hd guest writers penning issues. Neil Gaiman was onboard for this issue and brought new creations Angela and Cogliostro with him. A long and bitter lawsuit ensued over ownership of the characters, Gaiman evenutally won out years later and took Angela to Marvel. The legend of #9 remains and it can be yours rather cheaply. A ‘high grade NM’ is currently on auction for £14.50 (£2.25 P+P).

Before all the success with Spawn came the hard graft. While still at collage he sent thousands of submissions to Marvel and DC. After no response or rejection he finally got some gigs. His first Marvel work was Coyote #11. I have to admit to never heard of this till I was researching this blog. It was part of /marvels’ ‘Epic’ imprint and after #11 McFarlane stayed till #14. This is a very highly prized issue for hardcore McFarlane fans. Currently there is only one listed on eBay. It is described as VF- by the seller and is listed for £35 with a ‘make offer’ option and £2.25 P+P. I find it funny how this is only £5 cheaper than Spawn #1, a comic he put his own blood, sweat and tears into. It adds weight the the debate that creators first issues are more valuable than characters first appearances. For a period he was working at both Marvel and DC. At the latter he had a twenty four issue stint on Infinity Inc, startig with #14. His first DC work is not as highly sought after as his first Marvel work and is easily found in £1 bins at conventions. If you add Batman into the McFarlane mix then you get some DC work with some price behind it. Detective Comics #576 saw him take over pencils from Alan Davis during the ‘Year Two’ story arc. Copies graded by the seller as FN to NM go between £10 and £20 online. Currently on eBay there is a CGC 9.8 priced at £175! During the late 80’s McFarlane was known for having long spells on both Incredible Hulk (#330-#334, #336-#346) and Amazing Spider-Man (#298-#323,#325,#328). Amazing Spider-Man #298 carries my financial weight than his first work on Incredible Hulk. This issue again highlights valuation being subjective. With many listings on eBay stating FN-VF+ with prices rangin from £40 to £108. So if you are looking for this issue it would be best to shop around. After his successful and popular spells on these two titles Marvel allowed McFarlane to launch a new Spider-Man ongoing he would write and draw. Starting in 1990 it ran for fourteen issues before he left to found Image Comics. Like all #1’s from the summer of 1990 it came with a multitude of variant covers and like #1s of the summer of 1990 it hasn’t stood the test of time. With the combination of Spider-Man and McFarlane being popular it has fared better than say X-Force #1 or many of the Image first issues. But you can have your pick of any of the covers in good condition for under £10. Alternatively you could go all out on a CGC 9.6 Signature Series signed by Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane for the handsome price of £1,299.95. Go on treat yourself!

I thought I would end by looking at a few odd issues here and there. First off if you want t get more into the mind of McFarlane I will point you in the direction of The Comics Journal #152. You can get your hands on one right now from eBay for £3.95 (£1.95 P+P) get it before I do! Before supplying interior pencils for his three issues of Detective Comics he produced a cover for #423 of the main Bat series. £30 or his only Batman work is a decent price if you re a McFarlane fan who has to have it all. Another comic I had never heard of before this was Spitfire and Troubleshooters. McFarlane penciled #4 but that hasn’t stopped it being £1 bin fodder at conventions. If you want vintage McFarlane I would recommend Daredevil #241, an inexpensive issue at a good grade. Before I really got into online buying it did take me forever to find one out and about at shops and cons. Turns out they are all on eBay!

 

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