25th Apr2019

eBuying Comics: Week 17

by Ian Wells


I used to walk around comic conventions and question why would anyone consider buying the Marvel Essentials. It always struck me as a wasted investment buying collections of stories in black and white and on inferior paper. Fast forward a few years and I now love the idea of Marvel Essentials. There is nothing else like them on the market in my opinion. They are a great way of discovering Silver Age stories from characters you might be no to and want to try out without spending a fortune on back issues. As is the way of the world, now I appreciate their place in comic fandom I struggle to find them, especially at a decent price. So I did some research and I found out some things I never knew before.

Firstly each edition of Essential collection whether it be X-Men, Marvel Team-up or Spider-Man were reprinted at least three times, with some of the more popular characters getting fifth and sixth printings. In 1996 when the launched, again in 2001 with new covers and finally in 2005. The Essential line was discontinued in 2013 and replaced with the ‘Epic Collection’ line. In my opinion the ‘Epic’ line although in colour isn’t as good value for money. Lets take the first volume of X-Factor from both the ‘Essential’ and ‘Epic’ lines to compare. The ‘Essential’ collects X-Factor #1-#16 as well as X-Factor Annual #1, Avengers #263, Fantastic Four #286, Mighty Thor #373-#374 and Power Pack #27. Where as the ‘Epic’ version only collects X-Factor #1-9 and is missing the  Power Pack and Mighty Thor issues. A brand new X-Factor Epic Collection Vol 1 on eBay is currently going for £34.99. As the Essentials are now part of comic collecting past there are practically no new ones on eBay you would be lucky to get one as close to NM as possible. The first result of my search turned one up for £15 listed as like new.

One problem I find and it is highlighted by this listing is I don’t find a lot of these books in the UK and being the size they are the postage can be rather pricey. For example this listing from America had postage of £13. So you have decide if you want to pay extra for colour pages but less story or pay the postage for more story. Obviously at this point I would like to point out these books would be available on such sites as Amazon but this is eBuying Comics! When they began on 1996 they started big, cashing in on the most popular heroes of the era. The first three books for the line were Spider-Man, X-Men and Wolverine. According to my sources 9.8 (NM) for these are priced at the following; Spider-Man £21, X-Men £19 and Wolverine £21. My expectation was that the first printings would be the most expensive. My search for volume one of Spider-Man turned up the exact opposite. There is an auction listing for a first printing with a starting price of just £4. Whereas there is another auction for fourth printings of volume one and two with a starting price of £20! So if bidding is kind to you, you could end up with a book that many would consider way more desirable because it is a first print for under half price of a newer edition.

Controversially when the first Essential X-Men debuted it started from the ‘All New, All Different’ era of Chris Claremont rather than then early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby years. I think shopping for the Essential Marvel titles on eBay best highlights the need to shop around. If you want the Lee/Kirby stories there a prices at both ends of the spectrum. An auction starting at £4.99 of a buy now at £40.99. Both listings are of similar condition so its a no brainer really! I would argue that the later printings have more aesthetically pleasing covers, which could make them more sought after. It could explain why later printings are more consistently priced often between £15-£25. There is a listing for the first six volumes of Essential X-Men. They are a combination of second and third prints. With a starting price of £12 and P+P of £6 you can’t go wrong if you want to dive deep into X-Men continuity. I thought I had found a listing that was spot on the online valuation I found when I searched for Essential Wolverine books. There was a listing for first prints of volumes 1-3 of Essential Wolverine for £59.99 (£19 approx. each). They were listed as VF+/NM. But when you look at the picture close up they are not in this grade in my opinion. With the darker covers on volume 1 and 3 you can see creases and dinged corners. I have placed some of these listings on my watch list and will report back my findings.

This past weekend I missed out on two auctions for two key Daredevil issues. I think as a bidder I am losing my touch. Perhaps I need a new approach to auctions? The first was Daredevil #150, a comic from my obtainable wish list. It started at 99pence with free postage. Even if it gained a lot of bidders I thought it would still be considerably cheaper than I had seen it online before Christmas. After seven bids it went for £11. You know that feeling you have when one more bid would have won it?! The next day I thought I would console myself by bidding on an auction for Daredevil #7. The first appearance of the red costume! It started at £4.99 and was in a ok condition. The seller hadn’t given his opinion on the grade, from the picture you could see a small tear on the cover, but for such a significant comic it was worth bidding on. I had been watching it all week leading up to the weekend. Bidders had shot it up to £30 in four days. Once it hit that mark it slowed down a bit. So again I had £45 in mind as a good price I wouldn’t budge from that for better or worse! Eventually it went for£49.01 with the postage it made it a £50 comic. There will be other days I suppose…

Shopping Cart

DC Comics Detective Comics #1000 May 2019 Batman 1980’s variant 1st print NM – £10.95 Free Postage

So after much deliberation I went for the Frank Miller variant for this landmark issue for the Dark Knight. I must of had about 3-4 offers for the Bruce Timm variant rejected. The last one I was watching went for £18.69 after twelve bids. But it had postage on it so was nearer the £20 mark. Double what I paid for mine. Another listing for the Frank Miller variant ended at £8.49 but again had postage of £1.95 so in the end I spent 51 pence more than if I had won the auction. I looked up Detective Comics #1000befre writing this and I knew I shouldn’t have. Lots of the Miller variant for less than what I paid and a few of the Timm ones with low starting prices for auctions. Oh well live and learn but then again I was living in the moment and the hype surrounding the issue. If you haven’t yet brought it I highly recommend it, even for a casual Batman fan it is a very fun read and a great issue to mark the occasion.

For Sale

  • The New Teen Titans #39 DC Comics – Starting Price £1.20 + £1.80 P+P
  • Tales of The Teen Titans #42 Judas Contract Part 1 DC Comics – Starting Price £1.20 + £1.80 P+P
  • Marvel Team Up #117 Spider-Man & Wolverine Marvel Comics – Starting Price £1.20 + £1.80 P+P

If I sell any of these issues I may be very tempted to try sending out my questionnaire so watch this space. Funnily enough I already had 5 views on the Teen Titans comics before I finished writing this! Knowing my current luck they won’t sell!

Character Spotlight

I thought this time out I would pick my first team series to place in the spotlight. Again it is proving difficult not to chose characters who will have their prices affected by movies or TV shows. I really want to show off what is great about comics and spotlight key issues rather than popular opinion. What I will do in future for characters in major movies or TV shows is pick a key issue rather than a debut appearance. An issue that rocked the status quo of comics as a story and in the medium as a whole. So in the spotlight this week we have Challengers of The Unknown. Created by Jack Kirby with help from Joe Simon and David Wood. The Challengers are essentially a precursor to work Kirby would do on Fantastic Four. Over the years the popularity of the Challengers have dwindled. But they have continued to make appearances in Brave and The Bold and Justice League Unlimited animated series. I first became aware of them through Darwyn Cooke’s brilliant DC: The New Frontier.

Showcase #6 (1957)

  • 9.8 (NM) – £18550
  • 6 (F) – £990
  • 2 (G) – £309

Challengers of The Unknown #1 (1958)

  • 9.8 (NM) – £9276
  • 6 (F) – £495
  • 2 (G) – £155

Challengers of The Unknown #1 (1991)

  • 9.8 (NM) – £3.25
  • 6 (F) – 60p
  • 2 (G) – 15p

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