11th Nov2021

eBuying Comics: Week 67

by Ian Wells

I want to open this week by reporting on the recent success of my Hero Initiative Auction on eBay. First off I want to thank the four buyers who made it possible to make a £20 donation and from a personal point of view they all left positive reviews to add to my growing seller status. As it averaged out I sold one item for every week the auction ran. While I did have plenty of interest in other listings the buyers pulling the trigger just weren’t there. I feel the auction is something I will revisit yearly. After this years mild success I would have more confidence to start listings lower, especially if they are going to pick up viewers. They may be more inclined to bid with lower starting prices. I think my obvious thought was to start slightly higher so as to make as big a donation as possible. Something else I learnt was I seemed to have more success with fun items rather than the hardcore collector stuff. Batman/Elmer Fudd which was a week 3 addition garnered a lot of attention before finally getting some bids when I lowered the starting price by £1. Both Deadpool trade paperbacks I listed had views. With ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ selling in the final week, again after a price drop. The best selling item was the Simone Bianchi sketchbook. It sold in week two after I had halved its price and relisted it. But it immediately received a ‘buy now’ offer of twice the asking price!

This week I wanted to look first at a case of false speculation and then I am going to wrap up by looking at some Avengers/JLA team ups as a follow up to the previous instalment. So two weeks ago it was announced by Marvel Danny Rand would be leaving the Iron Fist mantle. It was then announced a new series was coming with a new Iron Fist and a blacked out image of the first cover was revealed. Hiding the identity of the new Iron Fist. Before the real cover was revealed speculation had already begun. A lot of said speculation had the character of Pei as the leading contender. Pei first appeared in Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1 (2014) created by Kaare Andrews. Over the past weekend the value of that issue snuck up. One rabbit hole I have gone down recently is following speculation buzz on Instagram. According to Zap Kapow Comics Iron Fist: The Living Weapon #1 now stands at £15.42 for 9.4 NM and over £20 for higher grades. The prices on eBay are fluctuating between £7 and £30 and every listing does make mention of it being Pei’s first appearance. All of this became a moot point as within one day Marvel revealed the new Iron Fist to be an all new character. So how long before speculation builds around the new Iron Fist #1 coming in February? The new character is of Chinese descent which my gut feeling tells me they are making the character of Iron fist more diverse and moving him away from his white man in foreign land origins. All potentially to coincide with Marvel regaining full rights to the character since the demise of the much maligned Iron Fist Netflix series. There is currently one listing starting at 99 pence. The seller may have made a tidy profit if they had listed it a week earlier with the false speculation going around. I have placed it on my watch list, but I suspect it will sell for the starting price if at all now.

There are always people talking about the possibility of DC and Marvel joining forces on the big screen. I myself just can’t see it ever happening in my life time. Also on a personal level I don’t really see the appeal. The MCU seems to well structured to suddenly take a break and integrate a crossover with DC who’s approach is much more scatter gun. Look at the wrangling Marvel done with Sony for the Spider-Man rights. Sony are still making affiliated character movies and muddying the continuity of a shared universe. When you look at the too few times the pair have crossed over in the comics and the varying degrees of success then it makes a big screen crossover seem even less likely. Both publishers are now part of huge multi billion dollar conglomerates there is such thing as too much money and too much being at stake. As with the past comic crossovers no publisher can show the other any signs of weakness. They both want their guys to come out on top. Too much red tape and too much editorial in put often leads to a restraint on the creative freedom of what should be an amazing once in a life time comic. All of this leads to unsatisfactory story telling and underwhelmed fans. A movie in my opinion would go the same way. Now I am going to take a brief look at my Top 5 DC/Marvel crossovers.

5. JLA/Avengers #1 (2003) £5 (Kurt Busiek and George Perez)

This series had been in development as far back as 1979. Even back then Perez was attached to draw the series with a story by Gerry Conway. By 1983 the story was ready to go into production before some of that red tape I previously mentioned came into play. Allegedly with Jim Shooter captainng the red tape ship the project died in the water till it was resurrected in the 2000s. I have never read it but I did see preview art for it in Wizard Magazine #130. I recalled Perez’s attention to detail. The story seemed to have a sense of fun and I enjoyed what I had read about the certain match ups to be expected. With Christmas just around the corner I looked up the trade paperback for this 4 issue series on Amazon and was astounded to find it retailing at £40+, £60+ for a hardcover.

4. DC vs Marvel/Marvel vs DC #1 (1996) £8 (Ron Marz and Claudio Castellini)

The intentions of the series was born out of a good place, I think? Both companies were getting killed in the ratings by Image Comics the new kids on the block. So much like a comic book team up both teams combined their powers to thwart their new shared adversary. Of course a series like this has become a by word for the industry collapse but with hindsight there is a lot to enjoy from it. When the pandemic first hit there was a lot of talk of DC vs Marvel 2.0 banded about as a way to make money for the industry. While it undoubtedly would have found an audience I think there are and were better ways of injecting life into the industry. Like JLA/Avengers the trade paperback has a ridiculous retail value on Amazon at £71. I checked and both are cheaper on eBay and more than likely from your comic book retailer of choice.

3. Uncanny X-Men & New Teen Titans (1982) £15 (Chris Claremont and Walt Simonson)

When this prestige format one shot hit shelves in LCS they two starring teams were the two biggest tickets in comics at the time. Claremont was well into defining his X-Men run at the time with a stable of artists. Marv Wolfman and George Perez had rebooted the Teen Titans in the image of Claremont’s X-Men after seeing its popularity and seeing how it spoke to the audience in a way DC comics didn’t. So it was only natural the two eventually teamed up in a story that actually works very well. Hitting all the notes you would want from such a team up. A sequel was planned, this time to be done by Wolfman and Perez but it was scrapped around the same time of the JLA/Avengers crossover in ’83. Thanks a lot Jim.

2. Batman vs Hulk (1982) £62 (Len Wein and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez)

This is a story and its origins I don’t know a whole lot about. To me the pair don’t seem like a natural fit. With that creative team working in tandem thought it is going to be a special issue. If you are looking this issue up online many will have it listed as Batman vs Hulk. But it is in fact DC Special Series #27 and its actually title was ‘The Monster and The Madman.’ The issue is treasury sized and was reprinted in 1995 as Batman vs The Incredible Hulk. Even this is on eBay now upwards of £25.

1. Superman vs The Amazing Spider-Man (1976) £96 (Gerry Conway and Ross Andru)

To many this is the high water mark when it comes to DC/Marvel, hell any inter company crossover.( Though I am fond of X-Men/Image). Funnily enough the idea for this comic came about when someone suggested DC and Marvel make a movie together. At the time this move ws off the table as the first Superman movie was in the early stages of development as were the Spider-Man live action TV movies. So instead the powers that be settled on a comic. Again it was treasury sized and not only did the two heroes feature bu as did their respective girlfriends, arc nemesis and alter ego bosses at the time. The two characters really do have a lot of like for like counterpoints, which is probably why it was such a success. When you immediately think of these two characters you think the power sets are not a fair match up. The ‘vs’ in the title is only there to sell units. Of course by issues end the pair are teaming up and punching evil in the face. This is where that tradition of ‘vs’ actually meaning team up started. There was no red tape holding this project back. The closest they got was DC being very specific about Superman’s visuals on the page, so Neal Adams came in and redraw his face on every page and went uncredited. There was a sequel in 1981 but to nowhere near as much fanfare.


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