24th Mar2021

eBuying Comics: Week 54

by Ian Wells

There really is only one topic to talk about this week. I am of course referring to Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the comics and the storylines that influenced it. A quick review to get us started. I loved it. I thought it was a triumph in story telling and cinematography. I think I only used #ReleaseTheSnyderCut maybe twice on social media, but watching it I felt apart of something. Is it better than the 2017 cinematic release? By a million miles. Is it the perfect comic book movie? No, but then again what is? People are undoubtedly going to compare it to Endgame. Firstly that is a terrible comparison. Endgame is the pay off of 10 plus years of movies. If you just watched the Avengers trilogy Endgame would start to unravel before your very eyes. Some will say Justice League is the culmination of Man of Steel and BvS but I would say you could get away with watching just BvS before hand. So if were are ranking it compared to some of the MCU’s biggest hits I would say it can without doubt stand shoulder to shoulder with Winter Soldier, Iron Man, Infinity War and Endgame. As much as I enjoyed it though I still have this feeling of there being unfinished business. It feels in a way like these 4 hours are a compromise and we are still no nearer to seeing Snyder’s true vision.

When I did my big Avengers Endgame blog for eBuying Comics I took all the first appearances of every main character involved and got their pre MCU valuation from an old Over Street Price Guide. I then compared those valuations to the going rate for similar grades on eBay rather than marking them against their modern day official valuations. This one will run a bit different and I will include a suggested reading list to conclude. From this point on I will say major spoils if you haven’t seen the movie yet…

So the reason this one will run a little different is because of four simple words. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The Justice League ‘Holy Trinity’ wipes the floor with the combined efforts of the whole MCU. Between these three characters you have six of comicdoms most desirable and highly valued comics. Marvel can make all the successful movies in the world but when it comes to comics only Captain America comes close to touching these three. Now I am making the assumption people who read my blog will wince when they see the eye watering prices these comics are going for so I won’t dwell on them too much. I am however interested in the price difference between the characters first appearance an the first issue of their own respective ongoing series. As always all valuations are provided by comicspriceguide.com and are for raw 9.8 NM/M.

  • Action Comics #1 £6,491,250 (+ £4,760,250)
  • Superman #1 £1,731,000
  • Detective Comics #27 £2.596,500 (+ £1,731,000)
  • Batman #1 £865,500
  • All Star Comics #8 £239,652 (+ £109,827)
  • Wonder Woman #1 £129,825

Just for comparison, Captain America Comics #1 is currently value at £404,260. To add some more eye watering levels to these numbers in 2014 a CGC 9.0 Action Comics #1 sold for $3.2 million on eBay! In 2017 All Star Comics ‘8 CGC 9.8 went for just under $1 million on an eBay auction. (man these people are living in a different world)! As recently as last November Detective Comics #27 sold at auction for $1.5 million. In January this year a NM Batman #1 went for $2.2 million! I broke out in a sweat just typing these numbers out. The price of some of my ‘holy grail’ comics make me flush, they seem small change compared to this big league stuff! I wonder of I could get away with telling family I spent £3000 on Hulk #181 because it is way, way cheaper than Action Comics #1!

Next in the rankings on team members is the Barry Allen incarnation of The Flash. In the Snyder Cut he grated on me less than the joke a minute version from the 2017 release. Allen was first introduced as The Flash in Showcase #4. This issue carries some significance as it is also heralded by many as the dawn of the ‘Silver Age’ which adds to its already substantial valuation of £125,497. Where as Allen in his first ongoing series comes it at nearly a quarter of the valuation at £30,292. I ranked Flash higher then Aquaman even though More Fun Comics #73 comes in at £197,713. As the title suggests it is an anthology series and as readers of these blog know Aquaman happened to share his debut appearance in this issue with the debut appearance of another future Leaguer in the shape of every DC fans second favourite playboy Green Arrow. So it is hard to make a case which characters popularity is driving the valuation of the issue? It would be cool to do a deep dive and go through some old price guides and watch the price fluctuate and pin point who is more popular at the time of the fluctuations and why they are more popular. Throwing Aquaman’s first issue of his ongoing into the mix though he comes in well behind The Flash at just £5193. Still more than some of my ‘holy grail’ comics though. Benefitting most from the four hour run time of the Synder Cut is without doubt Cyborg. He is also the cheapest to potentially invest in. However with his solo movie seemingly scrapped, as well as his appearance in The Flash how far can he really go now? Sure early popularity after people watch Justice League will see some price rises. But with no future franchise to see him in it will soon plateau. Created by legendary duo Wolfman and Perez for their revamped Teen Titans series he first appeared in DC Comics Presents #26 which is valued at a modest £141. He stepped out of the shadows in Teen Titans and into the Justice League big time with the dawn of the New 52 back in 2011. A lot of his characteristics in the movie are taken from these incarnation of Cyborg. If you had the foresight when Justice League first came out in cinemas or when the Snyder Cut was confirmed you Justice League (2011) #1 could have been a tidy little investment. It is currently valued at £20 but with potential new fans and early hype around the movie this could change hands for more in the coming months. Lastly and this is the spoiler I was talking about so last chance to back out… Okay lastly thought not an official team member in the movie we have Martian Manhunter. His first appearance in Detective Comics #225 carries a more than substantial valuation of £9767. Like Cyborg early hype after the movie will see his valuation potentially rise, but again where does he go from here? It baffles me how this amazing character hasn’t broken through yet! He rarely holds down an ongoing, so will DC/Warner big wigs see him as solo movie carrier? With HBO Max I guess the sky is the limit so watch this space. A team is only as good as the sum of its parts. The Justice League as a team, although with a different line up to the movie made their debut in The Brave and The Bold #28 (£43.275) before getting there first on going in the 60’s with Justice League #1 (£34,620) which ran for 261 issues up until 1987. Looking at some of these prices I think a JL vs Avengers valuation battle might be in order. When I first came up with the vs format I stayed away from that mammoth clash for the reasons I stated earlier about Batman and Superman. However it it could still be fun to see how much the pulling power of the MCU has closed the gap.

Lastly we have the villains. Darkseid, Desaad and Steppenwolf again are characters who benefit greatly from the 4 hour run time. With the story having more time to breath their motives are more clear cut, their relations with each other are more well established. Just seeing these Jack Kirby creations brings alot of joy to a lot of people. These three villains also represent the best point of investment in the comics scene too. Firstly every new generation of comic book reader discovers Kirby’s work at some point. In my opinion The King has never been more popular thna he is right now. Most importantly for any potential investment a New Gods movie is on the horizon, courtesy of Ava DuVaney. How big a role these three will play is yet to bee seen. But if they do play a role you would imagine they would be recast with bigger names, thus raising the characters profile. You only have to have a look at Marvel to see the impact Thanos has had. He is possibly the most popular big screen villain since Darth Vader. Darkseid has all the trappings to rightfully claim his place at the top of the comic book movie villain food chain. Darkseid made his full debut in Forever People #1 at this grade £298 seems a steal with all the potential he has. Comic book collecting purists will of course say a cameo appearance counts as his first appearance so you will want to track down Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 at over double the valuation at £618. Fresh off the back of #1 of Forver People as is the norm #2 followed. Brining with it the first appearance of Desaad (£78). Steppenwolf has the most screen time of the three in the movie he first starred in a issue I recently spoke about as one of the top single issues of all time. That being New Gods #7. At £56 this seems a good price considering its importance to the characters Mister Miracle as well. Again worth jumping on now before that New Gods movie picks up steam.

Suggested Reading

From the New 52 I would point you in the direction of Justice League Volume 1 titled Origin. This sets up the League for the new era, and features Cyborg as a team member for the first time. Also Volumes 7 and 8 contain the story titled Darkseid War. One highlight of the movie was the scene set in the Knightmare timeline. If Snyder originally intended for a trilogy I would happily have settled for the whole second movie being set here before our heroes return to save the day. This scene follows up from the one in BVS and takes it cues from a number of different sources. First up is Injustice: Gods Among Us both the video game and the tie in comic by Tom Taylor. The comic is available as two trade paperbacks of six issues each or an omnibus collecting the whole story. Another inspiration would be Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. Though this story isn’t as bleak for Superman, there are definitely some elements of it at play in the movie. Zack Snyder like Grant Morrison has an eye for big, bold story telling and they have both left their mark on the Justice League. The third arc of Morrison’s JLA reboot of the 2000’s is called Rock of Ages and has the team in going up high stakes style against Darkseid across time. JLA volume 3 is the trade paperback to look for there. Like I said earlier it was a joy seeing all the Kirby influences brought to life. The influences go much further than just providing the antagonists for the League to go up against. Motherboxes, Boomtubes and Parademons are all Kirby creations. They all first appeared in Forever People #1 along side Darkseid. But in my opinion the world of Darkseid is much better fleshed out in the pages of New Gods. The first series which is Kirby pulling double duty on art and writing ran for 11 issues. These can be found in two volumes of the DC Graphic Novel Collection, which is how I discovered them last summer.


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