BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
The Illuminati pulled the strings of the secondary market this week as New Avengers #7 was the clear favorite among buyers. #Trending10
1. NEW AVENGERS #7
The top of this week’s pecking order falls under the Multiverse of Madness banner. New Avengers #1 has been flying off the virtual shelves, and it is all thanks to the famous Super Bowl trailer, which seemingly confirmed Marvel’s Illuminati.
In case you have been living in a vacuum for the past week, Marvel Studios unveiled its latest MOM trailer. If the movie lives up to the perfectly-crafted trailer, then the Doctor Strange sequel could be the best MCU film to date. As it were, the new footage has exploded heads across the fandom, specifically when it came to Patrick Stewart’s role. In the trailer, Strange wears a fashionably futuristic pair of handcuffs into a chamber so neat and clean it belongs in a dystopian science-fiction novel. He is brought before a mysterious council when Stewart’s unmistakable voice proclaims, “We should tell him the truth.”
Since this is Patrick Stewart, it is safe to assume is reprising his role as Professor X. However, it’s not the X-Men comics that are on the move. Instead, it’s the Illuminati’s first team appearances that buyers are targeting this week, and it is driving values sky high. Raw copies are consistently landing in the $90-$100+ zone. On the graded side, we’re seeing record highs. The attention grabber is the $1,600 sale for a 9.8 on February 14. Keeping in mind that no other copy has sold for more than $700, that Valentine’s Day behemoth is highly suspicious. Still, the $700 price tag is nearly double the 2020 record high of $400.
2. SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #244
News travels fast on the superhero movie and television front, and it doesn’t take long before a hot tip becomes old. Last year, Sony Pictures announced that Spider-Man’s classic nemesis Kraven the Hunter would be getting a solo adventure on the big screen. Aaron Taylor-Johnson was immediately announced as the lead actor, and sales for Amazing Spider-Man #15 ballooned overnight.
For a time, ASM #15 was practically the only Kraven key anyone was concerned with. Then came word that Sony had cast Oscar-winner Russell Crowe in a role in the film. What further raised eyebrows has been the news that the movie will center on Kraven and his family. It raises the question of whether or not Crowe is actually playing an older Sergei Kravinoff while Taylor-Johnson is portraying his son, Alyosha Kravinoff, who would become the second Kraven the Hunter following Sergei’s death in the classic “Kraven’s Last Hunt” storyline.
With that prospect comes a boom for an overlooked Spider-Man issue, Spectacular Spider-Man #244. Up to this point, hardly anyone took notice of Alyosha’s first appearance, and raw copies were selling for under $10 with some earning less than $5 within the past week. The news of Crowe’s casting adds a new level of intrigue to the issue, and those same $5 comics have lifted into the $20-$30 range.
3. MOON KNIGHT #1
Those Moon Knight trailers are certainly doing their jobs. At this point, Marvel Studios could do virtually no advertising, and their series and movies would still be hugely popular. In the case of Moon Knight, fans have been waiting years to see him brought to life for a major project. The trailers, then, are simply icing on the cake.
Although Moon Knight’s Super Bowl spot was vastly overshadowed by the hysteria in the wake of Multiverse of Madness, there is no question that MK is impacting the secondary market. In light of the latest footage, it has prompted buyers to get their hands on Khonshu’s first appearance in Moon Knight #1.
This issue has been on the rise since Marvel first announced the character’s Disney+ series. It afforded a cheaper option to collectors as opposed to the holy grail status of MK’s first appearance in Werewolf By Night #32 and his other Bronze Age keys. Since Khonshu appears to play a significant role in the show, that is putting Moon Knight #1 on an increasingly steeper trajectory.
This week, raw copies are easily fetching $75-$100. Meanwhile, graded 9.8s have been hovering in the $900-$1,000 range. The better value is the 9.6 where the fair market value dips below $300.
4. ROAD TO CIVIL WAR: NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #1
Prior to the MOM Super Bowl trailer/television spot, there had been rumblings and theories that the Illuminati would appear in the film. With all things superheroes, it was taken with a grain of salt. Certainly those Illuminati key issues saw an uptick in sales, but it was relatively modest. After Charles Xavier’s voiceover in the MOM trailer, the door has been ripped from its hinges.
From the beginning of the Illuminati rumors, buyers’ first order of business was securing New Avengers #7. Second on that list has been the team’s first cover appearance in their first comic, 2006’s New Avengers: Illuminati #1. As part of the Civil War mega crossover event, the shadowy puppet masters of the Marvel-616 came together for their very own one-shot a year after their collective debut.
Since these aren’t character firsts, there is definitely a ceiling on the Illuminati values. At the moment, excitement and the FOMO (fear of missing out) effect have fully kicked in, and that is inflating the prices. With those inflated values comes a scramble for the next best thing, and in this case, that is Illuminati #1. Prices have seen a wide divide this week, but most raw copies have settled between $20-$30, give or take $5.
5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #129
An official Punisher announcement seems imminent from Marvel Studios. After years of rumors and speculation, the Netflix characters are returning to the small screen, and that reportedly includes Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle.
Of course, it’s not like this is breaking news. After Kingpin was reintroduced in Hawkeye and Charlie Cox made a cameo in Spider-Man: No Way Home, the next logical step was to include the Punisher in the mix. Over the past year, there have been rumors that Bernthal was spotted on the Armor Wars set. Since the latest developments, that seems like a probable scenario to bring the Punisher into the current MCU.
Be that as it may, the prospect of a toned-down, family-friendly Punisher is not deterring buyers from adding Amazing Spider-Man #129 to their collections. Higher grade raw copies can easily earn $3k or more. The last graded ASM #129 to trade hands was a 4.0 that brought $1,675.
6. SECRET WARS #7
Last week, one of the hottest comics on the secondary market was ASM #210, the first appearance of the original Madame Web, Cassandra Webb. Since she is an older, blind character, it raised questions about Dakota Johnson’s casting in the upcoming Madame Web movie. In turn, that has caused a spike in value for Secret Wars #7.
What’s special about this comic? The issue featured the debut of Julia Carpenter, most famous for being the second Spider-Woman and the first to wear the black and white symbiote-inspired costume. These days, it’s not her Spider-Woman role that has buyers interested in Julia’s key issues. Instead, it’s her time as the second Madame Web.
Besides the casting choice, nothing is known about the Madame Web movie, but there is speculation that Johnson will portray Julia rather than Cassandra. That has inspired a wave of collecting for SW #7 like never before. Yesterday, a graded 9.8 sold for $512, and a 9.6 brought a respectable $135.
7. DARTH VADER #20 (2022)
Din Djarin and Grogu are finally getting their first cover appearances on a proper comic book. Three years since Mando and Baby Yoda took the world by storm and rejuvenated what had been a lagging Star Wars franchise, the pair will be featured on a variant cover of Darth Vader #20.
The first time fans saw the Mandalorian in comic form was on a variant cover of Star Wars Insider Magazine #200. That issue is still the bigger seller, at least in terms of fair market value. The trouble was that it was not an actual comic as the title suggests. While Din and Grogu are not featured in the actual story, having them on the cover art for a legitimate comic book will entice buyers across the spectrum. The bigger moment will be when the duo gets their own starring series, and I am surprised that hasn’t yet happened. Considering Mandalorian’s immense popularity, it is a matter of time before that day comes. At the moment, raw copies for Darth Vader #20 are earning between $10-$20 on eBay.
8. TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ADVENTURES #1
If there is one property that will never die, it is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Heroes in a Half Shell have been embraced by fans since 1987, and they are continually reimagined for younger generations. On that note, comedian Seth Rogen is spearheading yet another TMNT movie, though this addition will return to the animated realm. With it being based on the 1980s cartoon series rather than the comics, the news caused a surge for TMNT Adventures #1.
This week, Viacom released another announcement that has sparked continued interest in this key issue. Reportedly, the studio will give at least one TMNT villain a feature film. While the characters have not been named, the first inclination is that it would be one of the major antagonists from the cartoon series, namely Shredder or Krang. Since Shredder’s first appearance is in the holy grail TMNT #1, it makes Krang’s debut in TMNT Adventures #1 a much more affordable target.
Of course, affordable is a relative term in the collecting world. A graded 9.8 recently sold for almost $800, and a 9.0 brought $175 this week.
9. VIGILANTE #1
Alas, Peacemaker’s first season comes to a close today, thus winding down what has been the best superhero comedy in the past year. On the plus side, James Gunn revealed on social media that the show will return for a second season, and the people did rejoice.
Between the season finale and the series renewal announcement, it’s made for a hotbed of Peacemaker keys. While the titular character’s most collectible issues remain solid foundations, it’s been Vigilante’s keys that have shown the biggest surge.
The socio-pathic Adrian Chase has quickly endeared himself to Peacemaker audiences. Quirky and violent with a moral compass satirically skewed, Vigilante has become the show’s fan favorite character. That has inspired buyers to round up his early appearances, including his first starring role in a solo comic, Vigilante #1. Looking for a copy? Raw issues are selling for around $40 while the last graded 9.8 to trade hands online sold for $200 on February 5, tying its record high.
10. DOCTOR STRANGE #169
Rounding out this week’s #Trending10 is the retelling of Doctor Strange’s origin in Doctor Strange #169. Although the numbering picked up with #169, this marked the first issue with Doctor Strange’s name in the title as the series shifted from Strange Tales to simply Doctor Strange. This issue has been a hot seller for years now going back to Doctor Strange’s MCU debut. Since then, it has experienced the natural ebbs and flows of collecting, but it has not necessarily cooled off. In light of the MOM trailer, that popularity has been amplified.
All things being equal, virtually all collectors would rather have Strange’s first appearance in Strange Tales #110. It is a certifiable holy grail of comics, and the price tags have been inflated for years. Compound that with the hysteria for all things MOM, and that issue is well out of reach for 90% of buyers. That makes Doctor Strange #169 much more tantalizing. Not only do you get a major character moment, but you get to save a considerable amount of money on a comic that isn’t likely to lose value in the near future. A graded 9.0 sold for $1k this month, and low quality raw copies easily sell for $150 or more, so it’s not exactly a cheap comic. Still, it’s far easier on the budget that Strange Tales #110.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.