28th Oct2021

eBuying Comics: Week 66

by Ian Wells

This week I bring you the battle to end all battles. The most talked about confrontation in all of comics mythology. Two behemoths are ready to collide. It is of course the force of DC Comics bravest and boldest vs Marvel Comics mightiest heroes. The Justice League vs The Avengers! Not only are the bragging rights for the winning time on the line, along with the lives of every team member it is about representing their own respective universes, their conglomerate backers and the weight of the silver screen exposure too. This battle will be fought across all of comics history. From the heights of the ‘Golden Age’ and WWII propoganda, to popular cartoon syndication, via comic book rebirths and even the brief amalgamation, right up to the big screen collision and modern day streaming wars. Everything is on the line and there can be only one…

Round 1: Origins

The Brave & The Bold #28 (£55,500) vs The Avengers #1 (£30,063)

It is well documented that the sale of superhero comics took a nose dive after WWII. The JSA was DC’s premier team at the time and they had last appeared in 1951. Gardner Fox was their creator and in the 60’s with the hint of a rise in sales and renewed interest in superhero he was tasked with revamping them. He substituted ‘Society’ for ‘League’ and the rest they say is history. I always found it funny that Marvels response to the creation of the Justice League was in fact The Fantastic Four not The Avengers. It wasn’t until Martin Goodman saw the sales figures for JL and the team being made up of existing characters that he gave Stan Lee an assignment to do the same. Of course the cynical version is they wanted as much out of these new creations as possible and when they added older existing characters into the mix like Cap it would become a legal minefield further down the line. I think Avengers #1 can hold its head up proud with this margin of defeat. When you consider The Justice League debuted three years prior and was made up of some huge characters, Marvels team was made up of relatively new characters still.

Round 2: Theres no ‘I’ In Team

This round sees the battle of these two teams take on a whole new meaning. Of course every ‘Versus’ I have presented in ‘eBuying Comics’ is a toss up between history vs speculation. I always try to select face offs that will not be greatly weighted one way or the other, but it is not always possible. But there was no way I could a price battle column and not touch on Justice League vs The Avengers. As we go into round two it becomes more about the might of ‘Golden Age’ age his vs modern day popularity. Marvel can have the most successful movie franchise in the world, which leads to fan speculation and certain issues becoming hot. But one thing they will never have is the commercial and pop culture impact of DC’s Trinity. Round 2 may be a landslide victory for the team from DC but in a way it is also a victory for good old fashioned comics. In a time when we are talking about paper shortages and the possibility of comics going 100% digital the following prices are only going to go up. Of course there are more expensive comics on the market place but in terms of super heroes the collection of characters from DC can not be matched.

  1. Superman – Action Comics #1 – £2,462,709
  2. Batman – Detective Comics #27 – £1,156,245
  3. Wonder Woman – All Star Comics #8 – £721,669
  4. Aquaman – More Fun Comics #73 – £77,083
  5. Flash – Showcase #4 – £77,083
  6. Green Lantern – Showcase #22 – £27,750
  7. Martian Manhunter – Detective Comics #225 – £11,562

Of course The Avengers are greatly debilitated in this round as their one ‘Golden Age’ trump card did not join the team till its fourth issue. While I have praised the might and high valuation of DC’s trinity the valuations of the first incarnation of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is not to be sniffed at. Four team members are higher values than the two lowest Justice Leaguers, with Hulk even edging a head of Aquaman as well. Which is a strong showing as More Fun Comics #73 is also the first ever appearance of Green Arrow. If you look back to eBuying Comics Week 3 I done a big piece on all the characters appearing in Infinity War and their valuations before the MCU began. At the time I wasn’t using Zap-Kapow so there will be some discrepancies in prices but it gives you an idea on how popularity can push a valuation.

  1. The Hulk – The Incredible Hulk #1 – £84,791
  2. Thor – Journey Into Mystery #83 – £62,437
  3. Iron Man – Tales of Suspense – £34,687
  4. Giant Man – Tales To Astonish #27 – £15,417
  5. The Wasp – Tales To Astonish #44 – £2,081

Round 3: All New All Different?

JLA Annual #2 (£12) vs The Avengers #17 (£231)

Twenty four years of their creation The Justice League faced their first major overhaul. Since The Brave & The Bold #28 the roster had stayed largely the same with Green Arrow, Hawkman and Atom joining as well as seeing JSA characters like Dr. Fate and Black Canary brought into the fold. So with a status quo set for such a long time the creation of the Justice League Detroit era must have hit like a nuclear boom. A very underwhelming nuclear bomb! The all stars were gone leaving Martian Manhunter on a team with Vibe, Vixen and Gypsy. The idea was to be more diverse and less tied to continuity with a newer team. I had heard of the ‘Detroit Era’ before but had no idea it went on so long. Justice League as a 7 was off the board till 1996. If this was a real fight I think the referee would have stepped in by now. As Cap’s ‘Kooky Quartet’ may lack the numbers they make up for it in popularity. Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver and Hawkeye may not scream Marvels most popular but there is a lot of affection for the line up. When Cap, Wanda and Hawkeye share any screen time in the MCU there are a generation of fans filled with nostalgia. I had no idea the origin of the lineup occurred so early, in my mind it was an 80’s thing (shows what I know)! The lineup lasted 11 issues when Goliath and The Wasp rejoined the team.

Round 4: Villains Take Centerstage

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 (£578) vs Iron Man #55 (£709)

In this round we take a brief detour to watch the teams two major villains go toe-to-toe. Of course both teams have had greater villains. I settled on these two because of the recent movie hype around them. Darkseid only appeared in3 issues of the original JL run so to say he is their main threat is an understatement. Although he has racked up a fair few appearances in JL team members solo series. Like wise Thanos has always been a huge part of the ‘Cosmic Marvel’, only having 5 appearances in the first Avengers series. Apart from appearance which actually isn’t as similar as people say they are both the creation of sole visionaries in the shape of Jack Kirby and Jim Starlin, which is a cool factor to share. This was a close run duel, with MCU love edging out Kirby love. Maybe if Darkseid had, had a bigger role in Snyder’s Justice League we would have seen a different outcome.

Round 5: One Team Becomes Two

Justice League International #1 (£12) vs Avengers West Coast #1 (£6)

Again two eras that divide opinion. Greatly loved by some [including me – Editor Phil], detested by others. JLI came two years after the ‘Detroit Era’ this time though they had the might of Batman on their side and the rest of the roster took from all over DC’s history including Captain Marvel, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, still holding in there Martian Manhunter and new arrived from Charlton Blue Beetle. Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis would shape a series that saw the team become less tied to America (hence the title) and be more character focused, with a lot of humour. The very first Avengers spin off came in 1985 in the story it was the brainchild of Hawkeye and Vision to have a secondary team, which consisted of C listers Mockingbird, Wonder Man and Tigra. Obviously the new team came about at a time when Marvel was the dominant force in comics and were throwing ideas at the wall to see what stuck. The first series ran for 102 issues and featured creators such as Roger Stern, John Byrne and Steve Englehart. This is a round I thought hands down would have gone to Marvel.

Round 6: Modern Revamps

JLA #1 (£12) vs The Ultimates #1 (£5)

I have spoken in the past with a negative tone about speculators, but at the end of the day it is what it is. In a way you have to respect the modern day speculator for making certain books hot. There are a couple of factors that play into this. The first being we are in a time creatively where a vast majority of the comic creators were fans during the Bronze Age and Modern Age. These younger creators are then creating works that is influencing movie and TV producers and bringing a new audience to comics. These two books have played huge roles in both Zack Snyder’s Justice League and the MCU respectively. So the newer, younger collector isn’t too interested in a comic form the 60s or earlier. They want to get more accessible and the demand for comics that has influenced movies is through the roof. Now I am not saying in our life time we will ever see these two issues rival their Golden and Silver Age predecessors but to the modern day fan these are more appealing to them, like my back issues appealed to me fore my own personal reasons. When I draw up the categories I always pick which one I think is going to come out on top. I have to say I was wrong, I thought with all the MCU love The Ultimates #1 would have stolen this by a distance.

Round 7: Animated Adventures

Justice League Unlimited (3 seasons 39 episodes) vs Avengers Assemble (5 seasons 126 episodes)

This was a landslide I did not see coming. At this point I will ahve to confess to having seen about 10 minutes of both shows combined. Obviously the larger episode count doesn’t automatically represent higher quality. I know both shows have huge dedicated fan bases and both shows have very different approaches to story telling. Having seen most of the Batman Animated series and some Superman episodes I would know what to expect from Unlimited, whereas Assemble would be a wholly new experience. Though both shows do versions of famous comic story arcs over a whole series I would be making comparisons all the time. Avengers Assemble has the accessibility of having the movie roster. But Unlimited is more diverse in its roster and that is perhaps something new audiences would find more appealing rather than more of the same. I am going to call this one a tie and trust me if I had Disney+ and HBO Max I would be deep diving into these.


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