BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
Between No Way Home and Multiverse of Madness, there are plenty of key issues to drain your post-Christmas budget.
10. BRAVE AND THE BOLD #34
Those early Hawkman issues are gaining traction, and we can blame Black Adam for the sales bump. It was previously announced that Carter Hall would make his DCEU debut in the upcoming Black Adam feature film. Although we have yet to see him in the teaser trailer, this is a hard-hitting, no-nonsense character that fans are sure to love when he makes his big screen introduction.
The problem with Hawkman is the same for almost all of DC’s superheroes - age. Hawkman made his first appearance in the Golden Age, which automatically makes it a pricey investment. You can double that cost since he debuted in 1940’s Flash Comics #1. That is why many buyers are turning their attention toward Hawkman’s first Silver Age appearance in 1961’s Brave and the Bold #34.
Fans of legendary comic artists will find another reason to collect this issue: Joe Kubert. The founder of the Kubert School, fka the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, and the father of modern legends Andy and Adam Kubert, the patriarch of the Kubert family, did the pencils for this Silver Age beauty.
Since the end of November, raw copies have earned as much as $250. A week ago, a graded 5.5 sold for $727.
9. ASTONISHING TALES #6
Officially, Bobbi Morse may not be in the MCU just yet, but it would appear she may be going by another name at the moment: Laura Barton. One of the recurring plot threads in Hawkeye was the mysterious Rolex watch. It began with Clint Barton discovering the watch had been sold on the black market. He would later find it inside Maya Lopez’s apartment, and Laura urgently wanted the Rolex out of Echo’s hands. By the season finale, Clint returned the watch to Laura, and we discovered that not only did it belong to her, but it had a SHIELD logo on the bottom. That raised further questions and fan theories.
In the comics, Hawkeye is married to Bobbi Morse, aka Mockingbird. Originally, she was SHIELD Agent 19 and debuted in Astonishing Tales #6. Initially, she was featured as a supporting character in various titles and stories before she was upgraded to full superhero status as Mockingbird, who is basically Marvel’s version of Black Canary from DC Comics.
That leads us back to Hawkeye. With the watch belonging to Laura, it confirms that she was a SHIELD agent before she and Clint started a family. Since Hawkeye is married to a former SHIELD agent in the comics, the idea is that Laura is the retired Agent 19 and Bobbi Morse may be one of her undercover aliases. Whether or not she will don a costume and become the MCU’s Mockingbird is not clear, but it would seem logical for Marvel Studios to explore that possibility. That is precisely why Astonishing Tales #6 has suddenly become a hot comic.
The Agent 19/Mockingbird gossip is having an immediate impact on the Astonishing Tales #6 market. Just this week, raw copies were routinely selling for close to $100. Meanwhile in the graded realm, AT #6 has been smashing records all year. On Monday, a 9.2 sold for a new high of $625.
8. THE GOOD ASIAN #1
The speculation is that The Good Asian is on its way to being optioned for a feature film or movie. Nothing has been reported so far, but many collectors see it as a matter of time before a studio takes notice of the historical fiction crime noir. What is helping on that front - and getting it noticed by more collectors - is that Forbes Magazine featured it as part of its best reads list for 2021. That is putting many buyers on the trail and heading for the auction sites.
The Good Asian has been gaining a following since its debut earlier this year. The story is a spin on the old “gumshoe detective” stories from the 1930s. The twist is that the narrator is an Asian-American in San Francisco working for a police force that despises the Asian community. While there is a mystery in the plot, the heart of the story is the narrator’s torn morality between enforcing the law and helping his people.
As for collecting and investing, prices are on the move. This week, the standard cover has been earning as much as $30 for raw copies. On December 13, a 9.8 brought a record-high $70.
7. NEW AVENGERS #7
Are we going to see Marvel’s Illuminati grace the screen in Multiverse of Madness? That’s the rumor making the rounds on social media, and it is giving the rub to New Avengers #7. Bear in mind, this isn’t the first time fans have theorized that the mysterious cabala will appear in the MCU. In fact, the Illuminati have been the subject of many rumors for years.
The original group was made up of the most intelligent and influential characters in Marvel Comics: Black Panther, Namor, Charles Xavier, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Iron Man. From the shadows, they controlled many events that influenced Earth-616, including taking control of the Infinity Gauntlet. Another bit of gossip has it that Professor X will make a cameo in Multiverse of Madness to set up the Illuminati.
Granted that’s a lot of “ifs” in place for MOM, but it is nonetheless intriguing. Putting together a version of the Illuminati, perhaps under a different name, would be a refreshingly mature layer to add to the current MCU. At any rate, it’s causing a market shift in the direction of New Avengers #7 which featured the team’s first appearance.
Raw copies for the standard cover have been earning in the $20-$30 range in the past week. As for the graded variety, the standard cover graded at a 9.8 has been selling for as much as $250 since last week.
6. DOCTOR STRANGE #1
All the Doctor Strange keys are on the cusp of massive inflation. Anything tied to the new movie is seeing an increase in sales volume, and the fair market values will be soon to follow. That is especially true for those Silver and early Bronze Age titles.
Here we have the first self-titled Doctor Strange series, at least from a technical standpoint. In 1968, Strange Tales was renamed Doctor Strange: Master of the Mystic Arts, but the numbering continued where Tales left off. That means the first self-titled Doctor Strange comic began with #169 and was the renamed Strange Tales series. It’s also more expensive, and that is part of the reason fans are leaning toward Doctor Strange #1, which is the first time the good doctor starred in his own series from the first issue.
Prices are still affordable, but the indication is that won’t last for much longer. As recently as Christmas Day, raw copies were bringing as much as $200. Five days earlier, a graded 9.8 obliterated its records when a copy sold for $3,400.
5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #400
By now, you probably know all about No Way Home. Whether you wanted to or not, it’s nearly impossible to go on social media and avoid the numerous spoilers from the movie. Those big moments and reveals are the backbone of the film, and NWH has plenty to offer. That brings us to ASM #400.
Like so many of the 1990s ASM issues, #400 has a gimmick cover. Among the holographic and lenticular covers that dotted the era, ASM #400’s white tombstone cover is infamously hard to see. Up until the past couple of weeks, hardly anyone cared about the issue itself aside from ‘90s nostalgia collectors. After a heartbreaking NWH moment, buyers are seeing this comic in a new light.
As 90% of the world knows by now, Aunt May takes one for the team in NWH. In a moment reminiscent of both Gwen and the Green Goblin’s comic deaths, Norman Osborn executes May with his glider. That sets up the “great power/great responsibility” line, but coming from May instead of Ben in the MCU.
It’s sending collectors on a hunt for ASM #400, which happens to be the “death” of the comics’ Aunt May (no surprise, she would later return from the grave as if nothing happened). Since these were printed in abundance in 1995, not to mention “death” issues don’t typically hold their values, you can get your hands on one of these for about $10.
4. WHAT IF…? #18
For the second consecutive week, What If…? #18 remains in the Trending 10. This is from the first trailer for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness being featured in the post-credits scene in No Way Home. While nothing has been confirmed, the big moment from the footage sees what appears to be Strange Supreme making his way into the live-action Multiverse.
Whether or not this is the one and the same Strange Supreme from the first season of What If…? remains to be seen, but it is possible. After all, the What If…? showrunners had said from the start that elements of the animated series could filter into the larger MCU, possibly the movies. That would open a world of possibilities connecting the live-action and animated MCU.
Given there are plenty of other explanations for the evil Doctor Strange seen in the Multiverse of Madness trailer, fans are enthusiastic for this to be the one and only Strange Supreme. This could be a different variant or another character disguised as Doctor Strange. Who knows? At any rate, the evil Strange is sparking interest in What If…? #18. Since Strange Supreme was created specifically for the cartoon, there is no comic first appearance. That sends buyers to the next best thing - the debut of an alternate Doctor Strange who is a disciple of Dormammu.
Since last week, What If…? #18 has been heating up. On Christmas Eve, a raw copy sold for $80. There have not been many graded copies trading hands this month, and the highest grade sold so far has been the 9.6, which brought a record $140 on December 14.
3. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #9
If there is any single character most redeemed by No Way Home, it’s Electro. Jamie Foxx returned to the role, but this was a much better version of the character compared to Amazing Spider-Man 2. Instead of a blue, socially awkward Electro, the NWH version toughens up the classic villain. Even better, it completely ditches the cliche nerd glasses and comb over. NWH didn’t hesitate to poke fun at Electro’s ASM 2 origin that saw him gain his powers by falling into a vat of electric eels.
The revamped Electro is winning fans over, and I would not be surprised if there’s rumors of putting him in another movie. It’s enough to push his first appearance back into the spotlight. Given this is a Silver Age Spider-Man key, not even the awful ASM 2 could completely drain the values from ASM #9. Still, those price tags did take a hit after the movie’s poor reception, though now they are climbing back.
Earlier this week, a raw copy advertised as being a 2.0 sold for $700. On Monday, a lowly 0.5 brought $399. Before that sale, the last one to swap owners online sold for $68 in 2017.
2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14
The initial selling point for No Way Home may have been seeing Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield team with Tom Holland for the ultimate Spider-verse moment, but Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin steals the show. Even at 67 years old, Dafoe insisted that he do his own stunts for the movie, which is impressive in and of itself. For the nostalgic audiences, the return of his trademark Goblin laugh lights up the screen, and he stands tall as Spider-Man’s greatest villain from any universe.
The burst of popularity for Norman Osborn has made for a spike in his key issues, beginning with this Silver Age gem, ASM #14. Although we wouldn’t see Norman until ASM #37 and the reveal that he was the original Goblin didn’t happen until ASM #39, the Green Goblin made his grand entrance into Marvel Comics in ASM #14. That puts it at the top of the Norman/Goblin keys wish list.
The trouble is that it is already such an expensive item to own. Why wouldn’t it be? Any issue from the Steve Ditko era of ASM is a prized possession, and here you have Spider-Man’s most famous adversary. It speaks volumes when a graded 3.0 sells for nearly $2,400, which was precisely the case only yesterday.
1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #122
The story may not have played out exactly the same, but Bronze Age Spidey fans know where the inspiration for the best parts of No Way Home came from. Just like Gerry Conway and John Romita, Sr.’s 1973 tale, NWH takes Spider-Man in a mature direction that MCU fans haven’t seen before. In short, both ASM #122 and NWH helped Spider-Man to grow up, and audiences can’t get enough.
The calling card for ASM #122 is the death of the original Green Goblin. Marvel would resurrect Norman in the 1990s, and he would take on an entirely new identity as Iron Patriot, the leader of the Dark Avengers, in the 2000s. No matter what the writers do with Norman or the Green Goblin moniker, his most famous moment came here. After orchestrating Gwen Stacy’s death, Spider-Man was intent on murder, which should remind you of Tom Holland’s character arc in NWH. Just when he has an opportunity to kill the Goblin, he chooses to spare him. Meanwhile, Goblin attempts to impale Spider-Man with the Goblin Glider, which Spidey dodges, and Norman is killed by his own devices.
Since this issue is getting the rub thanks to its influence on No Way Home, the increased attention won’t last for much longer. That shouldn’t matter to the true Spider-Man fan. This issue is the most influential single comic in his history, and any self-respecting Spidey collector will want it in their long boxes.
This is one of the few “death” issues that retains its values. In recent days, raw copies have consistently reached the $250-$300 range. All the way down to the 3.0, graded copies are earning a minimum of $150. Still, that’s not a bad price for a treasure to have in your collection.
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.