BY MATT TUCK
The Playstation comic games set the world on fire this week, and those key issues for Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Harry Osborn were each given a boost. It’s time for your weekly top-10 trending comics with the market data to keep you in the game.
10. MATRIX COMICS PREVIEW
The Matrix is back in the pop culture spotlight, and it has sent buyers on the hunt for the franchise’s first comic appearance. The big news has been the Matrix: Resurrections trailer dropped by the studio last week. It has created a fervor for the Matrix like it’s 1999 all over again.
What makes these particularly special is that they are available in relatively small numbers due to a recall. At the time, the issue was meant as a promotional giveaway at movie theaters. Upon the movie’s release, the publisher felt the content may have been too sensitive to audiences, and the comics were ordered to be returned.
In the comic world, “recalled” is one of the best words in the English language. When a comic is recalled, that makes it even more valuable because it is harder to find. As it were, it has made the first Matrix comic popular for years.
There has not been an abundance of graded copies swapping owners online, but a 9.2 recently earned $160 on September 8. The raw copies are much cheaper, but they are on their way up as well. One ungraded comic sold for as much as $85 on September 9, though the last raw copy sold for $57 a day later.
9. MARVEL SUPER-HEROES WINTER SPECIAL #8
Like many other Marvel streaming ideas, the New Warriors did not come to fruition. However, fans didn’t realize how tantalizingly close they came to actually getting a New Warriors series until recently, and that has put the team back in the public spotlight.
Recently, behind the scenes pictures of the proposed New Warriors streaming series have been floating across social media. It lets us all see that Marvel was beginning production on the series before the project was altogether terminated two years ago. Of course, the character that has gotten the most attention has been Squirrel Girl. The cult-favorite’s debut has benefited from the exposure, and it should prompt fans to petition Marvel Studios to bring her to live action with AT&T spokesperson Milana Vayntrub in the suit.
On ebay, raw copies have seen an increase in momentum. Just yesterday, an advertised near-mint copy sold for $120 and another went for $73. Last Sunday saw a graded 9.4 sell for $200.
8. FANTASTIC FOUR #52
“In my culture, death is not the end. They are still with us as long as we don’t forget them.”
Chadwick Boseman made a surprise appearance as Black Panther in the zombie episode of What If…?, and he delivered what is one of the most emotional lines in all of the MCU. Considering what was secretly happening behind the scenes, his final words reverberated throughout the fandom.
Although T’Challa did not play a major part in the episode itself, hearing Boseman’s voice one more time has created even more nostalgia for the actor. In turn, that has created a buzz in the market for Black Panther’s debut in FF #52, which was already earning top dollar. Last week, a 9.6 sold for $43,200. There were also two 9.0s that each brought over $10k. The raw copies have sold in the $600 range as recently as this weekend.
This comic is so hot at the moment that even the True Believers reprint has been flying off eBay’s virtual shelves, and one sold for $11. That’s not bad for a high-volume reprint.
7. INCREDIBLE HULK #340
Just when Wolverine couldn’t be any more popular, Sony raises the stakes. The recent game announcement has fans buzzing for Logan, and the impact has been on more than just his first appearance.
As if buyers needed more reason to seek out those Wolverine keys, an Easter egg has fans buzzing. As Logan sits at the bar, there is a license plate that reads “HLK 181.” That could be simply a nod to Wolverine’s first appearance, but theorists are wondering if that is a major hint that Hulk will be in the game. If true, then we could get an amazing Hulk versus Wolverine moment for a next-generation console. That alone would be worth the price of admission.
Although the two first met in #181, the better fight was actually in 1988’s Hulk #340. Made famous by the stellar cover art by Todd McFarlane, this issue featured one of the most brutal fights the pair would ever have. That makes it one of the most coveted issues of the 1980s, especially for cover hunters.
Over the weekend, raw copies have been selling for as much as $115. Meanwhile, the graded copies are holding their own. A 7.5 sold for $150 on Sunday, and a 9.4 took home $359. Then there was a 9.2 that sold for $325 on September 7.
6. ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #21
It is no surprise that UFF #21 rocketed to the top of the trending comics. Fans have been waiting for the Marvel Zombies ever since the teaser art for What If…? was first released. Before the advent of the Multiverse, the superpowered zombies’ chances of being incorporated into the MCU was next to none. Then came What If…?, and while these zombies don’t quite have the same personalities as those from the comic, the door to Earth-2149 has been opened. It appears that it won’t be closed anytime soon.
That has spurred the market for their first appearances in UFF #21-22. Both issues are hot at the moment with the cameo and full first appearances taking the market by storm. The standard cover is currently bringing $125 for a graded 9.6 while the variant cover at the same grade last sold for $140. On the raw end, those standard copies are earning in the $30-$40 range. Then there is the variant edition, which sold for $70 on September 7.
5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #136
Sony has taken the game market by storm, and that translates into comic book sales. One of the bigger moments came at the end of the Spider-Man 2 trailer when fans got their first look at the PS5 Venom. Although it was only a brief glimpse, he appeared to be comic accurate, and that should make hardcore Venom fans quite happy.
Where things veer away from the comics is in the Spidey gaming-verse. At the tail ends of both the original Spider-Man game and the Spider-Miles spinoff, there were teasers for Venom coming to the sequel. However, it did not appear to be connected to Eddie Brock. Instead, the symbiote is being held in a pod by none other than Norman Osborn. Inside that pod is his son, Harry, who has apparently been ravaged by a disease of some sort. There we see the symbiote attached to Harry, and we can assume he will bond with the alien to become the gaming-verse Venom.
This has caused a stir in the market for both Harry’s first appearance in ASM #31, but his villainous turn in ASM #136 is making the most waves. In #136, it is revealed that Harry has taken up Norman’s Green Goblin mantle and is bent on avenging his father. Since Norman is alive and well at the end of Spider-Man, it would appear that he would take over as Venom rather than the Goblin. Only yesterday, a graded 9.8 sold for a record $1,560. That same day, a 9.0 tied its record high of $331.
4. MARVEL ZOMBIES #1
Practically everything connected to the Marvel Zombies has been a rocket over the past week. However, it is not only the first appearances that are nabbing the spotlight because buyers are also targeting the MZ’s first self-titled comic. Don’t forget that this issue was written by Robert Kirkman, the mastermind behind The Walking Dead, and that makes this yet another accolade for the resident zombie expert.
When it was initially released, the comic was so popular that it warranted four different printings. So far, each one has been selling fairly well, but the first and second prints have been the main focus. The first printing has been selling for close to $80 for the raw comics. The graded copies are doing well, and the last 9.8 to trade hands online brought a record-breaking $515 on September 7.
Don’t forget about the second print/variant edition, which features a zombie version of 1990’s Spider-Man #1 drawn by Todd McFarlane. Despite a raw copy selling for $43 on September 11, there have not been many graded copies sold so far. The most recent 9.8 brought $155 in July.
3. ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #22
When it comes to those comic debuts, collectors still hold those “first full” appearances in high regard. While it is not a 100% rule of thumb, the first full appearances are usually the more collectible unless the character appears on the cover of the cameo debut. In this case, we don’t see the Marvel Zombies on their first cover until UFF #30, and that has left many collectors and investors leaning toward UFF #22 as the go-to Marvel Zombies first.
Leading up to the MZ’s premiere in What If…? last Wednesday, this has been among the hottest comics trending online. Whether they are raw or graded copies, these issues are moving quickly. Luckily for buyers, the prices have not gotten completely out of hand just yet. The most recent raw sales have sold from anywhere in the $30-$65 range.
On the graded side of things, the last two sales of 9.8s have been for over $700. August 13 took home a record-breaking $750 followed by a September 7 sale that netted $721. Before this year, it had never sold for more than $400. That mark has been surpassed six times so far in 2021 with plenty more to come.
With the way the What If…? episode ended with no real resolution, it would appear more is coming for the Marvel Zombies, and that will only sell more copies of UFF #22.
2. INCREDIBLE HULK #181
There is so much anticipation for Wolverine to lead the X-Men into the MCU that fans go ecstatic for anything concerning the mutants. Only days ago, Insomniac Games announced a Playstation exclusive Wolverine game for the PS5. Like Insomniac’s other entries, the trailer alone was cinematic quality that suggests the console game will be as brutal as its star player.
All year, there have been numerous Wolverine rumors and gossip, and each time it has caused price inflation. It accentuates the demand for Wolverine to enter the modern age of Marvel storytelling in games, streaming series, and movies. Naturally, the hype for the game is making that holy grail comic even more in demand.
Not that Hulk #181 needed any more reasons to be expensive. Just last week, a 9.8 sold for a new record $84,000. Earlier this month, a coverless 0.5 brought $930. With the game news, it will only increase the demand for the mythical #181.
1. AMAZING FANTASY #15
The past couple of weeks have been huge for Spider-Man fans. First there was the unexpected (but cleverly teased in WandaVision) release of the No Way Home trailer. That lit the beacons for all things Spidey, and it was followed by Thursday’s trailer for Sony’s Spider-Man 2 PS5 exclusive. Both of those events were overshadowed by the record-crushing sale for his first appearance.
What has this issue trending so much this week is the multi-million dollar record sale from Heritage Auctions. Just last week, a mythical 9.6 brought $3.65 million. The last time a grade that high sold online, it brought $1.1 million in 2011. It is evidence that even million-dollar price tags will turn a profit sooner or later if you have the right buyer. And when it comes to an enduring character like Spider-Man, there will always be buyers.
You will never find a huge number of AF #15 sales at any given time mainly due to the high prices. At the lowest 0.5 grade allowed, it still brings a whopping $10,100 - and it was missing the centerfold. It’s no wonder these are reserved for the small percentage of collectors with a budget big enough for such a major purchase. When it is a character as everlasting as Spider-Man, even that $10k for a 0.5 is a good investment that will eventually see a return.