BY MATT TUCK
It is time again for your weekly Top-10 Comics report with the only top-10 list that gives you market data to help you navigate the auction sites. This week, the latest Marvel news and rumors have sent buyers on scavenger hunts for Ironheart and Secret Wars keys.
10. ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONA & CAKE #1
Once upon a time, hardly anyone took cartoon and movie tie-in comics seriously. Other than hardcore fans of those characters, collectors did not see much long-term value in them. Why would they? For decades, the vast majority of even the first appearances generally stayed in the dollar bins.
In recent years, things have changed in a major way. Whether it is properties from cartoons, movies, or television shows, those comic tie-ins have been commanding serious prices. From the Clone Wars #1 to Thundercats #1, it pays to put those cartoon firsts in your long boxes.
This particular issue is heating up thanks to the recent HBO Max series announcement. Spinning out of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, Fiona and Cake will star in their self-titled streaming series for the network. Seeing dollar signs if the show is a hit, collectors have been charging to eBay in search of that elusive #1.
The graded sales have been quiet with only the 9.8 Dynamic Forces selling for $53. However, the raw copies are making waves. All the variant editions are on the move, and you can expect to buy one of your own for no more than about $15-$20.
9. BATMAN #428
From the days of the DC app to HBO Max, Titans has become one of the DCEU’s most popular live-action series. Since the show introduced another Slade Wilson to the mix and teased the coming of Red Hood, more fans are discovering the series than ever before. Now the latest season of Titans is finally giving fans what they have wanted for years: the death of Jason Todd.
When it comes to Jason’s time as Robin, truthfully he is only famous for one thing: dying. As soon as he appeared in the show, fans knew it was only a matter of time before the confrontational and arrogant teenager would bite the dust, eventually giving rise to Red Hood.
With the attention on the infamous “A Death in the Family” storyline on HBO Max’s hit streaming show, collectors naturally began combing the auction sites for Batman #428. A 9.8 sold for a record $693 in June. More recently, the 9.6 brought $204 on August 11 - the highest sale all year. Only days ago, a 9.4 newsstand reached $124, just $1 shy of the record.
8. SECRET WARS #0 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
The rumors are flying about a potential Secret Wars movie, and it has created a budding market for the 2015 edition of the classic story arc. One of the most underappreciated series over the past 10 years, collectors are shifting their attention here in case Marvel bases a potential SW movie on these comics.
These aren’t selling for high prices by any stretch, but that does not discount its popularity among buyers this week. The raw copies are creating a landslide on eBay, and the $5-$9 price tags are only helping that. If we find out that Marvel is indeed basing a Secret Wars movie around the events from the 2015 version, then it will keep the issue in the spotlight. Since there is not a character’s first appearance in Secret Wars #0, it is hard to imagine this ever becoming a high-priced comic, but that only means the values will stay reasonable for years to come.
7. ONE-PUNCH MAN/MY HERO ACADEMIA #1 FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
Speaking of cartoon tie-ins, this two-for-one FCBD is lighting up the market. Here you have the first comic appearances of two very hot animes: One-Punch Man and My Hero Academia. Both have garnered massive followings across the globe, though MHA has gone to another level. What has truly spurred the market here is the announcement that a live-action My Hero Academia movie is on the way. The hit show has already spawned animated movies, and a big-budget film will put those characters in the mainstream spotlight like never before.
Now in its fifth season, the original MHA cartoon has been a worldwide phenomenon, which automatically makes the FCBD first U.S. comic appearance a great addition to any collection. With the MHA movie news making the internet rounds, it has pushed the comic to new levels. The 9.8 brought a record $385 on August 19, and that was less than a week after a copy set the previous record of $380. Not bad for a comic that was free in 2016.
6. MARVEL SUPER-HEROES SECRET WARS #8
For decades, this was basically the one and only Secret Wars comic anyone wanted. While the original 1984-1985 series was a fan favorite, the first appearance of the original symbiotic costume (not to mention the best costume Spider-Man ever wore) overshadowed all the other issues. Between the Secret Wars movie rumors and the hype for Let There Be Carnage, buyers have twice as many reasons to want this comic.
With Venom’s immense popularity, SW #8 is always the buyers’ favorite, but it is even hotter these days. So far in August, the 9.8 has already sold for over $1k, and the past week has seen it exceed $800. If that is too much for your budget, downgrade to the 9.6, which last sold for $346.
The best part here is that it is a sound investment. Tom Hardy recently commented that he is ready to bring Venom to the MCU, and that only fuels the speculation that a Venom/Spider-Man MCU crossover is in the works. That helps to keep Secret Wars #8 in the limelight for years to come.
5. MARVEL SUPER-HEROES SECRET WARS #1
Jim Shooter sparked the imaginations of fanboys everywhere with his comments at Megacon Orlando last weekend. When explaining his conversations with Marvel Studios over character rights and adapting Secret Wars into a novel, Shooter said in no certain terms it was apparent that the rumors are true: Marvel is developing Secret Wars for the MCU.
Keep in mind that no one from Marvel Studios has confirmed nor denied Shooter’s account, and nothing is certain unless Kevin Feige says so. Still, the story sounds legitimate enough, and it has sent buyers on a spending spree to add the first Secret Wars comic to their collections.
Ever since the Joe and Anthony Russo stirred the pot with Secret Wars movie remarks two years ago, collectors have been giving Secret Wars #1 a second look. It only accelerated that enthusiasm when Laurence Fishburne was cast as the Beyonder for the upcoming Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. After Shooter’s remarks, buyers were swarming this issue. The higher grades are all on the move, and a 9.8 last sold for $627. This issue is so hot that even the Canadian price variant graded at a 9.6 is selling for $300 or more this year.
4. DAREDEVIL #9 (1999)
Echo is on her way to join Clint Barton and his successor Kate Bishop in the upcoming Hawkeye streaming series. Marvel seems to have a bright future mapped out for Echo going forward, and there is even a rumor that she will confront Vincent D'ONofrio's Kingpin during either Hawkeye or possibly her own spinoff series.
Not only is her star shining bright in the MCU, but she has been upgraded in the comics, too. Earlier this year, she became the new host of the Phoenix Force, which puts her on the power levels of Marvel Comics’ elite. This newfound celebrity for Echo will only intensify when she makes her live-action debut, and that is why her first appearance in DD #9 has been gaining such momentum.
On August 18, a 9.8 sold for an outrageous $1,800, but that should raise eyebrows. Other than that sale, this issue has never sold for more than $1,050. The last time a copy reached the four figure mark was in April. Outside of this month’s monster sale, most of the 9.8s have been selling in the $550-$600 range, which is much more reasonable.
It’s not just the 9.8 that has been on fire. The 9.6, 9.4, 9.2, and even the 9.0 have been rockets as of late. At the top of that heap, the 9.6 has reached $300 as of late, while the 9.4 last sold for $178. The 9.2 has actually topped its predecessor with a $200 sale, and the 9.0 earned $180.
3. SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION #15
The early reviews for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings have been trickling down the wire, and it is poised to be yet another blockbuster for Marvel. As fans countdown the days to the movie’s U.S. premiere, buyers were on the hunt for Shang-Chi’s first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15.
Traditionally, prices reach their peaks in the days closest to the movie or show’s premiere date, and that will be the case here as well. The difference is that, by and large, comics have been seeing a dip from their record-setting paces set in July. That could mean that while values will still be high for SME #15 going into the movie’s release, they may not set records across the board.
In the case of the 9.8, prices are still high, but they have shown a decrease in fair market value. August has not seen an issue surpass $3,840, while from May to July, none sold for under $4k. However, the 9.4 seems to be on the rebound. After an August 1 sale saw it dip below the $2,000 mark for the first time since March 8, the past two sales got it back over the $2k hump.
2. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #7
It was no secret that Riri Williams was coming to the MCU. Her Disney+ series was announced last year, and the role has already been cast. What no one expected was that she would be introduced as the Black Panther sequel. With the Wakanda Forever announcement comes a fever pitch for Riri’s first appearances, and this is often the overlooked member of the group. Often overshadowed by her first full appearance two issues later, Invincible Iron Man #7 gave readers their first look at the teenage genius who built her own Iron Man armor.
Both the 9.8 standard and variant editions have hit the afterburners. The standard cover nearly matched its previous record by just $17 on August 20 after one brought $400. The variant edition, on the other hand, sold for a record $850 the same day.
1. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #9
Nothing has been said officially, but the indication is that Marvel Studios has major plans for Riri Williams in the MCU. For one thing, she is starring in her own Disney+ series, and those have all been massive hits worldwide so far. There is even speculation that Robert Downey, Jr. will be her JARVIS, voicing the artificial intelligence that will mentor her character progression. On top of that, the rumor is that Riri will be a main character in the upcoming Armor Wars on Disney+, which should serve as an introduction to Ironheart ahead of her streaming show. Now that she has been confirmed for the Black Panther sequel, her key issues have kicked in the afterburners.
The variant edition at a 9.8 set a record high of $2,500 in May, but the recent sales are closing in on that mark. On August 8, another copy brought $2,450. Meanwhile the standard edition has been consistently selling for over $700 since August 15.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.