07th Dec2018

eBuying Comics: Week 8

by Ian Wells

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With Christmas on the horizon I wanted to take a look at my ‘Top 4 Holy Grail Comics’. The reason it is four and not five is because the fifth entry on my list is the holiest of holies for Wolverine fans. I believe I have enough content to get a blog post about it on its own! So these are the four comics that are financially out of reach but they would make my collection feel complete. So far in my comic reading/collecting my taste in characters haven’t led me to the poor house. I managed to acquire the first Wolverine mini series and Wolverine #1 all for £30 and under. I also have a good selection of key Daredevil issues in the same price bracket. My biggest regret in my nearly twenty years of collecting is I never kept a record of how much I paid for what. I see comic collectors on YouTube in America picking up comics for between $2-$5 and I have paid over £10 for them. Without doubt in the time I been collecting I have been ripped off at some point. The four comics on this list I would take any in any condition. As I have previously mentioned I am a reader before a collector so a chance to  gently hold and flick through the pages of something important to me is an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. Also despite the distaste I showed for slabbed comics in ‘Week 2′ if any of these four came up for the right price slabbed I would have to consider buying them. Chances are I may crack the slab and get it redone at some point. On with the list.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 – Mirage Studios 1984

Writers/Artist/Inkers: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird | Letters: Steve Lavigne

I don’t think we will ever see a comic book success story like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ever again. It’s a story that started simply with two friends sketching one night trying to one up each other. Before they knew it they had four Ninja Turtles and an idea forming. What I love about the origin of the TMNT is its ties to Daredevil, it means Eastman and Laird have the same tastes as me! Instead of The Hand they had The Foot, Daredevil was mentored by Stick, The Turtles by Splinter. The same road accident that gave a young Matt Murdock his powers was the same accident that resulted in the ooze spilling into the sewers along with our future Heroes in a Half Shell. From a comic that came out at the height of the black and white boom the TMNT soon became a major success story across all media. A cartoon series, a live action movie, brilliant action figures, endless tie ins! Some may see it as selling it, this may simply be down to jealousy. Eastman and Lairs simply came up with an idea that people ate up and they had the foresight to gain from it wherever possible. I would say early adaptations of the Turtles were done in good faith and not simply for the cash. I’m glad I had them in my childhood!

Current eBay price: Good luck with your search. I’ve haven’t seen one on there in a long time now. A third printing copy is your best bet at owning one. A slabbed copy of this issue will set you back between £500 and £600. The first TMNT graphic novel which collects the first three issues printed in colour in a Fine condition is near to £50.

Special Marvel Edition #15 – Marvel Comics 1973

Writer: Steve Englehart | Artist: Jim Starlin | Inks: Al Milgrom | Colours: Steve Englehart Letters: Tom Orzechowski

The only comic on the list not to be a first issue. The funny thing about going to comic conventions with people who are more into movies see high numbered comics for high prices and can’t put two and two together. Special Marvel Edition #15 sounds really ordinary. Up till this issue the series had printed stories of established characters like Captain America and Thor. This issue sees the first appearance of Shang Chi the ‘Master of Kung Fu’. He was Marvel’s response to the Kung Fu craze swooping the world, led by Bruce Lee. The character would prove a great success and with #16 Special Marvel Edition came to an end and with #17 was retitled Master of Kung Fu. Englehart and Starlin didn’t hang around too long either. Doug Moench would go on to write over one hundred issues of Master of Kung Fu in collaboration with artists Paul Gulacy and Mike Zeck. During this now legendary run the book took a more international espionage vibe. It is another prime example of a creative team writing the stories they want to tell with out interference and it found an audience. I have only been collecting this series for just over two years. I have picked up a good chunk of issues all for under £5 so sooner or later I’m going to dive into the older stuff.

Current eBay price: Slabbed Graded 8 – £295. You can get an unslabbed copy but a higher grade of 9.2 for the same price. At the cheaper end is a 2.5 grade for £62.

Daredevil #1 – Marvel Comics 1964

Writer: Stan Lee | Artist: Bill Everett | Inks: Bill Everett, Steve Ditko & Sol Brodsky | Letters: Sam Rosen

The first ever issue of Daredevil is a rather paint by numbers origin story. Lee was riding the crest of a wave with the success of his previous creations being major hits. Perhaps at the time Daredevil wasn’t as successful as the others. But unlike X-Men or Hulk he always maintained his own series without cancellation. In later years with different creators taking him in different directions he would become a huge success. All the basic ingredients that would play a role in that future success are all present in this debut issue. Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Matt’s relationship with his father, the crime angle. The basic origin story laid out in this issue made into both the 2003 movie and the recent Netflix series. A lot of comic book legends have worked on Daredevil down the years. Lee, Miller, Romita, Colan, Wolfman, Bendis to name a few. All of them built on the foundations of this debut issue. My one complaint with this issue is the cover! Yes it may be from a Jack Kirby layout so that is jacking the price up but it is so ordinary. I don’t know if its over confidence or laziness that they feel the need to showcase their previous success on the cover of a new character. If you had it slabbed yes you would own a Daredevil #1 but would you really display it on the wall?

Current eBay price: If money is no object why not treat yourself to a signed by Stan Lee CGC graded 0.5 copy for the princely sum of £1000! Who is cashing in on Stan the Man’s death already?!  A CGC grade 4.5 unsigned edges you closer to £2000. How about £275 for a coverless copy? The best value my search turned up was a 0.5 grade unslabbed for £487. That is still probably more than I have paid for my entire bronze age Daredevil collection!

Giant-Size X-Men #1 – Marvel Comics 1975

Writers: Len Wein | Artist: Dave Cockrum | Inks: Dave Cockrum & Dave Iro | Colours: Glynis Wein | Letters: John Costanza

A bronze age classic that not only changed the fortunes of the characters involved but it changed the face of comics themselves. Giant-Size X-Men #1 was the X-Men’s rise to stardom. From this issue right up to the 90′s they were Marvel’s dominant force. What set these all new, all different mutants apart from their predecessors was that they were older and international. This immediately opened up the target audience and story potential. Chris Claremont would sit in on creative meetings for the story and soon he took up penning X-Men on a monthly basis. Under his watch it became superhero soap opera. Intricate plot threads were woven into every issue and under Claremont’s masterful control. From a one shot issue that took a chance on relaunching the X-Men Claremont soon added New Mutants, X-Factor, Excalibur and Wolverine on goings to the tapestry and the rest as they say is history.

Current eBay price: £500 for a unslabbed grade 6 is the lowest I have seen this comic for a long time. For one grade more and for being slabbed just double the price. I have recently noticed even Classic X-Men #1 which reprints Giant Size is slowly creeping up in price.
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You won’t be surprised to hear all the items I listed last week went unsold! Must be nerds saving their hard earned pennies for Christmas. I thought I would take this space now then to run through how I go about choosing what to list and when. Also how my week unfolds with regards to writing the blog and keeping track of items. I usually have a topic in mind a few weeks before my deadline. I currently have a list of topics I’m working through, but some times a different subject will pop into my head. After the subject is in place I try to match up items from my long box to list on eBay. At the moment I have one long box of comics and trade paperbacks they I’m working through to sell. As I am mainly a Marvel reader sometimes the subject of the blog and the items won’t match! Another thing I like to do is try and match up subjects and items for sale with what is happening in comic culture at the time. Maybe the release of a movie, a current storyline in a comic or a TV series. To save on time I write the blog first including what items are for sale before I actually list them for sale. then I usually list the items the next day. To fit everything in a lot of the stuff I’m selling I already have photos of on my laptop. Once everything is listed I play the waiting game! The morning after listing them I always have an eBay tab open on my phone. I check it nearly every morning when I get to work. God that sounds sad doesn’t it? The day listings are ending I’m checking it when I get to work, on morning break, on lunch break and before I leave to go home! Excessive! As an example of the eleven items I had listed this past week I received a total of four views! The two Shadowland tie in one shots of Ghost Rider and Spider-Man both picked up watchers early on, but the disappeared days before the listing ended. Of the items I assumed The Walking Dead #125 and 300 #3 would get some attention. I was wrong. The 300 comic did pick up a viewer on the morning the listing was due to end. Surprisingly the collection of X comics picked up a viewer too that morning but rather weirdly they unwatched with just 13 minutes remaining on the listing! Is there anything more annoying losing watchers as an eBay seller? Not receiving bids you can take but watchers come on man!

So there is a little insight into what I am going through before, during and after my blog goes live.

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