27th Sep2018

eBuying Comics: Week 3

by Ian Wells

ebuying-comics-header

With Avengers: Infinity War now available on home entertainment world wide and its box office rampage finally coming to a halt I want to take a look at the variations in price for first appearance comics for some of the characters involved in the movie pre MCU and now. It goes without saying you superstar characters Cap, Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man and  Black Panther all garnered the big bucks ten years ago and they still do today. Even for example the newest recruit to the MCU Black Panther can still fetch well over £250 for his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52 at a VG/F grade. So most of the focus will be on the next two tiers of characters. The ones that haven’t always had their own on goings or huge followings of fans. Also my research was focus to none CGC comics. They are a whole different kettle of fish when it comes to grading and pricing. One final caveat my pre MCU prices are from 2008′s Overstreet Price Guide so are therefore in dollars, so I have done a rough conversion and these will be in brackets with the dollar price. All my eBay prices are current to items I could find over the weekend and all in pounds. Finally I will try to mention these characters and there importance in Avengers Infinity War without spoiling the movie, but really you should have seen it by now. Before reading any further why not have a guess at which character you think has had the biggest rise in price for their first appearance?

The cast is so big my answer that question changed every day before I actually sat down to research it. As I am discounting the VIPs of Earths Mightiest Heroes the next logical step to take would be to the dark side and back the villain of the piece to bring in the money. Thanos made his debut in Iron Man #55. The Iron Man movie was released in 2008 and I assume most Iron Man comics had  a slight bump in price upon its release. But Thanos in the MCU was still four years away in his Avengers post credits scene. In 2008 at a high grade Iron Man #55 was graded at $210 (£160). At today’s prices on eBay a grade of FN fetches around the same amount. The most expensive I found was graded a 7.5 and would set you back £619. So it pays to be a villain with an £400ish rise in price in ten years. As Drax debuted in the same issue he too sets the bar high. (More on the Guardians later). Interestingly Drax stars on the cover where as Thanos does not.

Moving into the realm of sidekicks Rhodey, Falcon and Bucky have been around longer than people coming to the comics from the movies are probably aware of. Bucky has the advantage by being Captain Americas first sidekick so of course he first appeared in Captain America Comics #1. Good luck being able to afford one of those. Since his second appearance in the MCU he has been going by the Winter Soldier persona. This debuted in Captain America #1 (2008). I was quite surprised I actually only found one copy of this issue on eBay over the weekend. It was graded a VF and priced at £22.90. There were plenty of people selling it in six issue sets with the first 6 issues of the arc for between £40-£50. Sam Wilson as Falcon was created whilst Stan Lee was still writing Captain America so that shows his longevity. The problem with eBay is that grading and pricing is more subjective than say at a comic shop or a convention. The prices for Falcons first appearance in Captain America #117 best highlight this. A low grade in 2008 was valued at $9 (£6.86), whilst a high grade was $120 (£91.49). The lowest grade I found on eBay was a 3.5 priced at £137 and a grade of 8 was £267. That is just under double the price for a much better quality of comic. James Rhodes AKA Warmachine on the other hand represents better value for money. In the ten years since 2008 Iron Man #118 has nearly trebled in price but I found a 9.4 grade for £38. I imagine his character had an initial spike in interest when Iron Man hit cinemas. A top grade was valued at $12 (£9.10). When you take into consideration he has been part of the MCU since day one that makes the price seem even better. My guess for most expensive Avenger outside the obvious was actually Vision. In the ten year period he has gone from $210 (£159) to £250 at today’s prices. I am under the impression some people think the grading system is out of ten. I found a 3.5 apparently a VG for £80 and for just £70 more you could get a 4.5 grade! This is what makes eBay dangerous hunting ground for people not in the know. I’m not going to lie I’m never 100% on assessing grades, it is something I want to look more into. eBay is at the end of the day a false market place and a gold mine at the same time. You just have to take the rough with the smooth. Taking a side step from Vision to Scarlet Witch having her first appearance be in a very old issue of X-Men (#4) that makes her a very highly priced characters. Of course issues like this don’t show up everyday on eBay. A high grade in 2008 was valued at $1800 (£1364) in the price guide.

There is no denying the Guardians of The Galaxy have been the biggest success story of the MCU. At one point they were perhaps tagged Marvels biggest risk but it certainly paid off. I therefore expected these to have the biggest increases in prices what with having more new fans and even fans coming from outside of comics creating a false valuation at times. The team name Guardians of The Galaxy belonged to a very different group of characters in 1968. A high grade before the movie even began production would set you back $85 (£64). That is a lot to spend and then to find out they weren’t the characters in the movie. Of course the presence of Yondu in the issue may be the reason a high grade today is £200+. I even found one with a detached cover for £39! The team that became movie superstars first assembled in a comic called Annihilation Conquest in issue six. There were a few CGC listings for this issue and a regular issue for £45 graded 8.5 That is getting high in my opinion for a comic that is only ten years old and on better quality paper to most of the comics mentioned here. Therefore it is much more likely to have aged much better. You have to measure that price up against the fact you can but Annihilation Conquest #1-6 for around £60, that’s £10 an issue where some people want nearer the £60 for the Guardians appearance. Before this new incarnation in 2008 the characters had very sporadic appearances across multiple titles between them. Star Lord probably had relative success with appearances in the magazine sized Marvel Preview. His debut was in #4 which fetches between £400-£500. Which is a steady increase from is pre MCU price of $20 (£15). Also in Marvel Preview this time in #7 we have the first appearance of Rocket Raccoon. An 8.5 grade is around £300 but I think this is part due to the series being more rare added to Rocket’s increased popularity.

Gamora is a character I would have thought too has an increased popularity what with being a strong female character. When you take into consideration as well her role in Avengers Infinity War I expected her first appearance in Strange Tales #180 to be sky high right now. £100 for a first appearance of an MCU at a grade 8 is really good pricing. If you went down between half and one grade you can get this issue for less. The final word goes to Groot. Created in 1960 for Tales to Astonish #13 he is the second oldest character (comics) of those who appeared in Avengers Infinity War. Like Scarlet Witch in X-Men #4 it is not a comic that comes up regularly on eBay. When  I looked there was one CGC at a 7.5 grade for the handsome sum of £7366.54. That is a hell of an increase from a high grade ten years ago at just $460 (£348). Even a ‘True Believers’ edition which were £1 upon release is now £5 on eBay! It may just seem like I have thrown a lot of numbers around without making a point. Ten years is a long time in comics, with prices varying daily and like I said price is all subjective. I haven’t taken into account how the comic landscape may have had an affect on prices for the time period I looked at. Which brings me to my point really. We are in an era where this characters are confined to the four colour page and to those who frequent comic shops. If anyone is lucky enough to have these issues or acquire them for a low price they are going to fancy their chances to make a substantial profit because these characters are more known today. Now I don’t want to paint everyone on eBay with the same brush, there are fair grades at fair prices. It is just worth looking and some times waiting before pulling the trigger.

Purchases

New Avengers Illuminati 1-5

Complete Series Set 2007 Bendis Cheung Marvel Comics
Starting Price £00.99 + £2.95 P+P Winning Bid: £1.60
So this week I actually made an eBay purchase to write about. In one of my many moments of day dreaming the concept of Marvel’s Illuminati popped into my head so I looked it up online to see how many issues it was. Most of the trade paperback collections of these five issues were £8 and over so getting all five for the less than the cover price of one is a steal. Even with the postage it works out cheaper than five issues at cover price. I guarantee if I was looking for them in a £1 long box at a convention they wouldn’t have all five issues. I have to pull the seller up on a mistake in his title. While Brain Bendis did create the concept of the Illuminati (Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Charles Xavier, Black Bolt, Black Panther and Namor) this mini series was actually penned by Brain Reed. All in all it is a fun series based around a very cool idea I’d love to see in the MCU. You don’t have to be big into Marvel lore to understand and enjoy the events the series touches upon. Infinity War, Secret Wars ect. It may even lead to you wanting to check them out too. A fun read especially if you can get it cheap.

Unsold

Street & Smith’s Western Adventure #12

June 1957 Vintage Pulp Magazine
Starting Price £3.20 + £2 P+P
I’m not surprised this didn’t sell again. However it had a record number of views for the amount of times I’ve listed it with seventeen. It also had a watcher for pretty much the whole ten days it was listed. I have relisted it with the same description, information and pictures as before.

For Sale

I have listed the following Avengers related trade paperbacks this time around. I normally start all my trade paperbacks at £5 and hardbacks at £8. I thought this time I would just try a buy now of £5.

  • Marvel Comics The Ultimates Vol. 1 Millar/Hitch Avengers – Buy Now £5 + £3.50 P+P
  • Marvel Comics Civil War TPB Millar/McNiven – Buy Now £5 + £3.50 P+P
  • Marvel Comics Avengers Arena Vol. 1 TPB – Buy Now £5 + £3.50 P+P
  • The Ultimates Vol. 1 Hickman/Ribic Marvel Comics – Buy Now £5 + £3.50 P+P
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