BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
Star Wars dominated the collecting landscape as fans lost their collective minds over the Wookie bounty hunter, Black Krrsantan. Welcome to the #Trending10, the only weekly top-10 list with the current fair market values you need to stay in the loop.
1. DARTH VADER #1
There’s hardly any key hotter than Darth Vader #1 at the moment, and it’s all due to last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett.
While the plot of BOBF’s first two episodes is pleasing most Star Wars fans, the latest addition to the legend has been dropping jaws. Although he was only seen for a moment, Boba Fett’s newest rivals, the Hutt Twins, unveiled their hired muscle: the Wookie bounty hunter, Black Krrsantan.
Bigger and meaner than Chewbacca ever thought about being, Krrsantan was captured and dragged off Kshyyyk. While enslaved, he was forced to battle as a gladiator, though he would later gain his freedom and turn into the galaxy’s most vicious bounty hunter. In one story, Krrsantan stumbled upon a Wookie fighting pit. Instead of breaking up the illegal fighting ring that forced Wookies to kill one another, Krrsantan murdered a combatant, took his place, and beat his opponent to death. Nice guy.
This could be the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes to Krrsantan. His comic adventures tie him to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Chewbacca, Doctor Aphra, and Darth Vader. He was rumored to appear in the third season of The Mandalorian, so there is the potential that he could appear across the Star Wars Disney+ spectrum, which gives his first appearance a massive dose of investment speculation with a huge upside.
In the past week, prices have been steadily on the incline. Raw copies for the standard cover are typically earning $50+, and they are likely to hit $100 in the near future. On Sunday, a graded 9.8 reached a new record of $350. As a testament to this issue’s booming popularity, the raw copies of the second print have surged into the $40 range as well.
If you’re looking for something a bit more rare, take a look at the Alex Ross variant. Like all his art, it’s an amazing piece that has been commemorated in prints and posters. Two years ago, you could have owned a graded 9.8 for about $100. Flash forward to 2022, and that same grade has been earning as much as $575 since last week.
2. DARTH VADER #3
Chasing on Black Krrsantan’s tail is his comic cohort, Doctor Aphra. The intergalactic archeologist and Krrsantan have a storied friendship in the comics along with the evil versions of R2D2 and C-3PO, BT-1 and 0-0-0/Triple Zero. That has raised the stakes for Aprha and her droids’ first appearances in Darth Vader #3.
This has long been a favorite collectible among Star Wars fans. Since her inception, Aphra has been one of the most popular additions to the franchise’s modern age. Within two years of her debut, she starred in her own solo title. It was in those pages that Krrsantan was fleshed out as a character and given a proper origin story. Odds are, one of the Disney+ series will delve into that origin, and it should bring about the arrival of Doctor Aphra at some point in the future. In fact, many fans predict that she will eventually star in her own show.
She has been rumored for the Disney+ Star Wars shows for years, and the arrival of Krrsantan could herald just that. It’s because of that speculation that buyers have been upping the ante for her key issues, beginning with Darth Vader #3, an issue that was already expensive. After the second episode of Book of Boba Fett, those values will be on the way higher.
Darth Vader #3 has been a huge seller for years now, so it’s no surprise that any hint that Doctor Aphra could be on her way to live action would cause a market surge. Think of this as more like a tidal wave.
Last year, a graded 9.8 sold for a high of $1,275, and there haven’t been any sales to approach the four-figure mark since March. That’s not to say values aren’t spiking. Just this week, one copy sold for $650, which is the first time it’s brought more than $500 since last June. In fact, outside that $1,275 sale, the majority of copies stayed in the $400-$500 and rarely exceeded into $600 territory.
3. INCREDIBLE HULK #156
I can’t ever remember a time when Bill Murray gave a quick burst to a comic. Yet, here we are. The current state of the market revolves around those Marvel movies and shows, and Disney has pushed the MCU fully into the world of comedy. The studio also prides itself on getting the biggest stars to join the Marvel casts, even if the actor doesn’t necessarily fit neatly into a superhero film. In fact, it would seem that’s exactly what Kevin Feige and company are aiming for. Hence, we have the plausible report that the grandfather of modern comedy, Bill Murray, will bring an obscure character to life for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Who is Murray speculated to play? Krylar. If you have been collecting comics for decades and still don’t recognize that name, you are not alone. Appearing in 1972’s Hulk #156, Krylar is a green-skinned scientist hailing from a planet within the Microverse. There’s not much else to his character, and he meets his end by the issue’s close. Of course, that is probably why he is being used in the movie. With a character this obscure, the studio can operate without fan expectations, which oftentimes makes for the best adaptations.
Already, prices are swelling for Hulk #156. Since the Murray news began to circulate, a graded 6.0 sold for $200, which is nearly twice what it averaged last year. Yesterday, a raw copy advertised as a high grade brought over $200.
4. DARTH VADER #13 HASTINGS VARIANT
When it comes to Black Krrsantan, buyers are scouring the auction sites for any of his key issues. Next to his first appearance, the next item on the shopping list has been his first cover appearance on the Hastings variant for Darth Vader #13.
Cover hunting has become a subsection of its own within the comic circles, and with good reason. Oftentimes, those first cover appearances can outperform even the first appearances of popular characters. While it’s too early to make that determination in this case, this variant is one you will want to get your hands on regardless.
Even before 75% of the Star Wars community took to Google to learn about the new Wookie in BOBF, this particular variant was a prized find. Because of its low print run, it made for inflated values from the beginning. Once Krrsantan was rumored for The Mandalorian Season Three, those values began to swell. Now that the character is suddenly everyone’s favorite bounty-hunting space sasquatch, there is no telling how far this issue will climb, at least in a 9.8 slab. Keep in mind, there hasn’t been a 9.8 to sell online since October, but it was earning $250 back then. Adjust for inflation, and the next sale should easily reach the $400 mark.
On the raw side of things, prices have escalated along with the interest in Black Krrsantan. This past week, they have been inching closer to the $100 mark after staying in the $30-$40 range at the end of December.
5. TIMELESS #1 RAMOS VARIANT
The first cover appearance of Loki’s Miss Minutes is setting the collecting world on fire. For the second week, the Humberto Ramos variant for Timeless #1 is a huge seller, and the prices are rising for this particular variant.
What makes it so special? Besides this being Miss Minutes’ debut in the comics world, this issue features the return of Miracleman, who could be a major force in the Marvel-616 Universe. With any comic speculation, there comes the theories of how that event could be adapted for the MCU, and that means price inflation. That gives collectors two reasons to want not just any Timeless #1, but the Ramos variant for Miss Minutes’ first cover appearance. In the past week, copies were averaging close to $50.
6. THOR #134
There have been rumors for years that the High Evolutionary is on his way to the MCU. With the movies and series venturing further into the world of science-fiction and soaring through the cosmos. That leads to the possibility of the High Evolutionary making an impact in the not-too-distant future. In fact, many believe he has already been cast for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.
The latest round of gossip has it that Chukwudi Iwuji will bring the former Herbert Wyndham to life in the upcoming GOTG 3. Of course, he’s also rumored to play the Silver Surfer and Nova. Still, the speculation surrounding High Evolutionary is more prominent than the others. His comic connections to Adam Warlock help to solidify him in the third GOTG film, seeing as Warlock’s casting was made official months ago.
It’s all built to a booming market for High Evolutionary’s first appearance in 1966’s Thor #134. Yesterday, a raw copy brought over $200. Meanwhile, a PGX-graded 5.0 earned $180 over the weekend.
7. STAR WARS #14
This week’s rankings are brimming with Star Wars keys, and for good reason. Black Krrsantan and everything he could herald into the Disney+ corner of the galaxy far, far away has sparked a quick boom in the market. How high these keys go will depends on how the character is used in the remainder of BOBF’s first season, and it would appear that a major showdown with Boba Fett is in the works. Odds are, Krrsantan will be the last one standing when the dust clears, and that will lead to further adventures around the cosmos.
Why are collectors falling over themselves to get their hands on Star Wars #14? There aren’t any first appearances in these pages, nor is it the first time Krrsantan is seen on the cover art. Still, there is a first lurking here: the first time Krrsantan meets Chewbacca. That is the ultimate confrontation that will be building on Disney+ - the galaxy’s two most famous Wookies squaring off. It happened in Star Wars #14, and we can be sure that moment is coming in the live-action realm as well. It’s proving to be a moment that has created an instant key issue in the past week.
The good part is that prices are still relatively low for this issue. Since BOBF’s second episode premiere, raw copies have been earning close to $20.
8. DAREDEVIL #1
Nothing has been made official, but the world is waiting for Marvel Studios to announce when we will see Charlie Cox as the Man Without Fear once again. Are the rumors true that Daredevil will face Kingpin one last time in the Echo series? Will Marvel produce a proper fourth season of Daredevil? Could we see a DD movie? At this point, anything and everything is fair game, and fans are anxiously watching for the smoke from Marvel’s tower.
The intrigue for DD’s return has created a boost in the character’s key issues, beginning with his first appearance in Daredevil #1. Marvel Studios has been leaning more and more toward the campier Silver Age versions of its characters, and I wouldn’t be totally surprised if Marvel decides to use a version of DD’s original yellow and black costume going forward. That would be one more reason for this holy grail to get even more expensive. On Sunday, a low-grade 3.0 brought $4,150 on eBay. Two days earlier, a raw copy without the cover sold for $740.
9. PUNISHER #218
Between Charlie Cox appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Vincent D’Onofrio reprising his role as Kingpin for Hawkeye, the door has been opened to the Netflix-verse. The longstanding rumor has been that Echo’s first season will be a sendoff for the cast and crew of Daredevil, serving as a surrogate fourth season for the beloved streaming drama. Now that both Cox and D’Onofrio have returned to the MCU (and we all know Kingpin is far from dead as we were led to believe in the Hawkeye season finale), it leads us to wonder, what other Netflix characters will follow suit? At that top of that list is the Punisher.
Next to Daredevil and Kingpin, the Punisher was the biggest hit with Marvel fans. Actor Jon Bernthal has repeatedly stated that he would love to return to the role, and there have been rumors of him negotiating with Marvel Studios in recent years. In light of the newest developments in the MCU, it casts those rumors in a new light.
The most prolific of those rumors had Bernthal’s Frank Castle appearing in the upcoming Disney+ series, Armor Wars. The gossip has been that Frank would take up the War Machine armor, following his comic origins as a Stark-powered Punisher, which is both awesome and terrifying at the same time. Since the gossip sites are looking more credible than ever, it is inspiring a new wave of buying for the Punisher’s first appearance in the War Machine armor in The Punisher #218. Since last week, raw copies have been steadily earning about $30, though one brought as much as $60 for the standard cover. Meanwhile, a graded 9.8 tied its record high with a $399 sale yesterday.
10. GALAXY'S EDGE #4 LEE 1:25 VARIANT
Ever since the first season of The Mandalorian, Star Wars comics have been hot commodities. After the second season introduced many new faces to the live-action lore, practically everything with the Star Wars logo got a major price boost. Things got so out of hand last year that almost any key issue, major or minor, was earning ridiculous prices without signs of slowing down.
With so much attention on the Star Wars comics, it would seem that none were falling under the radar. Even the most minor of firsts had inflated price tags that kept many buyers on the fence. Then there is Galaxy’s Edge, which slipped past most collectors. These issues were part of the inauguration of Disney World’s newest attraction to its Orlando, Florida, theme park. To commemorate Galaxy’s Edge’s opening, Disney and Marvel Comics published a handful of comics that tied into the Star Wars-themed attractions overall narrative.
As of late, all the Galaxy’s Edge comics have suddenly become sought after collectibles, but this particular variant stands above the rest at the moment. The Galaxy’s Edge #4 variant features Doctor Aphra on the cover, which automatically makes it more collectible in the comic circles. Last year, a graded 9.8 sold for a record $425, though the most recent sale from Sunday dropped to $280.
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.