BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
Those Multiverse of Madness whispers have taken hold of the secondary market this week, and Tom Cruise’s possible MCU debut is breathing new life into Iron Man #1. Welcome to the #Trending10.
1. IRON MAN #1
The Multiverse of Madness rumors could quite possibly break the internet. There are so many making the rounds on the gossip sites that it is hard to keep track of them all. However, there’s one in particular that is gaining more traction day after day.
There’s an old bit of gossip from the early 2000s that Tom Cruise reportedly wanted to play Tony Stark in a live-action Iron Man movie. Before Robert Downey, Jr.’s name surfaced in the dawn of the MCU, Cruise reportedly had campaigned to get an Iron Man movie off the ground. As Marvel Studios came into being and set its sights on a shared cinematic universe, negotiations with Cruise fell through. It led to RDJ getting the unlikely nod in the lead role, and cinematic history was made.
Flash forward to 2022. We are months away from MOM hitting theaters, and the rumors abound that the film will feature a number of fan-pleasing cameos from across multiple studios, a la No Way Home. In recent weeks, a “leaked” photo supposedly from the Multiverse of Madness set features Tom Cruise in a motion capture suit. Many fans are taking that as confirmation that, indeed, we’ll get an alternate version of Iron Man played by the Hollywood A-lister.
As a result of the intense speculation, Iron Man’s first self-titled issue has gotten a boost in popularity among collectors. The 9.4 recently shattered its record high sale when a slab sold for $15,600 on January 16. Prior to that, it had never sold for more than $7,200. Yesterday, a 9.0 brought $2,900, and a 7.5 sold for $1,345 the day before that.
2. X-MEN #1
The Tom Cruise rumors for Multiverse of Madness may be the attention grabber, but there are heavy rumors that Professor X will make his long awaited MCU debut in MOM. The gossip sites have been reporting that either Patrick Stewart or James McAvoy will appear in the film as Charles Xavier, which will serve as the introduction of Marvel’s Illuminati.
As intriguing as the Illuminati would be in the MCU, it pales in comparison to the X-Men. Recently, the rumor mill has churned out theories that not only will Professor X arrive in MOM, but he will bring friends along with him, namely Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Of course, the introduction of Fox’s X-Men cast has been the subject of gossip for years now. With each Marvel phase come more rumors and innuendo about the X-Men, so it is hard to take any gossip about them seriously.
Regardless of the validity of the rumors, they have sparked a renewed interest in a Silver Age holy grail, X-Men #1. Already this month, graded copies are reeling in impressive figures. On January 14, a 7.5 sold for $66,000, which is the highest it has brought in almost a year.
3. SANDMAN #10
There has seen a sharp uptick in sales for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. While the first appearances of Morpheus and Death are unsurprisingly hot pickups in light of Netflix’s Sandman live-action adaptation, the head turner this week has been Sandman #10.
Published in 1989, this issue featured two key first appearances. First is the antagonist for one of the early Sandman story arcs, the Corinthian. He is a monster who escaped from the Dream realm and terrorized the world of the living. This issue also featured the debut of Fiddler’s Green, who has been announced as part of the cast for the Netflix series.
What is making sales spike for Sandman #10? It was recently announced that superstar writer James Tynion IV will pen a new series for DC Comics that centers on the Corinthian. Anytime Tynion’s name is attached to a comic, buyers immediately perk their ears. Having him write a feature story for what had been a forgotten horror character will help this issue sell out when it reaches local comic shops in the spring. It doesn’t hurt that Fiddler’s Green will be making his live-action debut, either.
In light of the announcement, raw copies have been selling for as much as $100 in the past week. A graded 9.4 sold for $250 yesterday, while the last 9.8 to trade hands online earned $678 on January 23.
4. PEACEMAKER #1 (1988)
From obscurity to international stardom, Peacemaker has made the unthinkable journey to the top of the DCEU. John Cena turned heads with his dorky take on Christopher Smith for The Suicide Squad, but his starring role in Peacemaker has launched him to a new level of Hollywood success. Now everyone wants a piece of the Peacemaker.
With the hit streaming series comes increased prices for those key issues. While the top contenders are his first appearance in Fightin’ Five #40 and his first solo title in 1967’s Peacemaker #1, there are other keys feeling the heat as well. One of the prime targets as of late has been his debut series in the DC Universe in 1988’s Peacemaker #1.
What’s great news for buyers is that the ‘88 Peacemaker #1 is still being sold at a reasonable price. Most raw copies have been selling for close to $20 as of late. If you opt for the graded 9.8, expect inflated prices. Four of the last five sales this month have sold for anywhere from $300 to $455 when it averaged $258 in 2021.
5. THOR #21
Month after month, Marvel and DC introduce a new batch of characters to the world of comics. The formula clearly works, and every new face almost automatically gets a sellout issue or two. That is exactly what is happening with Thor #21.
One of the masters of this sales technique is Donny Cates. Whether it’s his time on Venom or Thor, he has made a business model out of creating new characters. There’s no arguing that the strategy produces results. Once again, Thor is getting a new enemy to duel. A year ago, he and Galactus squared off with Black Winter, and that caused a rush for Thor #4 and #5. Then the character was seemingly killed just when collectors and investors had him pegged as the next Knull, and prices went flat.
Now, Cates has another villain ready for the God of Thunder: the God of Hammers, who made a cameo in the prior issue. In 2016’s Mighty Thor #10, we saw the first appearance of God Tempest, which was basically a living storm. When the storm god attacked Asgard, Odin defeated it and trapped the power inside a nugget of Uru metal that would be forged into Mjolnir.
Now it would seem the power has been unleashed, and the God of Hammers has set its sights on Thor. In essence, it amounts to a showdown between Thor and Mjolnir.
Collectors and speculators alike are gearing up for the God of Hammers first throwdown with Thor. Although Thor #21 hits local comic shops this week, eBay sales have already surpassed the $20 mark for the standard cover in some cases.
6. SUPERIOR IRON MAN #1
The Tom Cruise gossip is impacting more than just Iron Man’s Silver Age exploits. Many fans and theorists have begun to refer to the rumored variant as the Superior Iron Man, and that is leading buyers on a hunt for 2015’s Superior Iron Man #1.
In the comics, the Superior Iron Man is a corrupted version of Tony Stark who becomes a full-fledged supervillain. Take all the narcissistic qualities that Iron Man has shown over the years and multiply them by ten, and you will have the Superior Iron Man. He is a superhero with a god complex. This version of Tony Stark came about when a spell cast over Marvel’s heroes basically reversed their moralities, thus creating the Superior Iron Man. When the spell was reversed, he managed to shield himself to preserve the maniacal version of himself.
Since we have seen Strange Supreme, the corrupted version of Doctor Strange, in What If…?, it would not be out of the question to involve a twisted variant of Iron Man. That, my friends, is what has boosted Superior Iron Man toward the top of the sales charts lately.
An Alex Ross sketch variant recently sold for $250 graded at a 9.8. The last time a 9.8 standard edition sold online, it brought $17 in 2018. The cheapest options are the raw copies, which usually bring about $5.
7. VIGILANTE #1
Following in Peacemaker’s steps, Vigilante’s key issues are enjoying the benefits of the hit streaming series.
When it comes to oddball characters, Adrian Chase has upped the ante. He’s even managed to outdo Peacemaker himself in that field, which is a true accomplishment. Fans have fallen in love with the nerdy, socially awkward would-be superhero that is a clear satire of the Punisher. The comics tell a different story, and he was taken much more seriously, though he never gained a wide fan base. In fact, his keys went mostly overlooked for decades. Thanks to the show, those issues have suddenly been thrust into the spotlight.
Aside from Adrian’s first full appearance in costume in New Teen Titans Annual #2, buyers have been targeting the first issue of his solo series, Vigilante #1. Raw copies are mostly staying in the $10-$20 range at the moment, so you don’t have to get a loan to own one.
8. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #33
Is anyone surprised that those Moon Knight keys are soaring through the sales charts? The trailer has fans hyped for the series premiere, and buyers are combing the auction sites for anything with his name on it.
Moon Knight’s first appearance in Werewolf By Night #32 has long been a holy grail among collectors. Well before MK’s name was in the MCU conversation, this issue was hard to find at a decent price. That’s what happens when a popular character makes his debut in a dwindling series with a relatively small print run. Once Moon Knight became a star in the Marvel-616, this issue began picking up steam until it became a legend it own right. Add the Disney+ series into the equation, and WBN #32 is well out of range for the majority of collectors.
Those swelling prices for Moon Knight’s first appearance is leading to the rise of his second appearance in WBN #33. Raw copies have been selling for $200+ in recent weeks, and a graded 9.2 earned over $1k this month. Those prices may sound high, but they are much more affordable than WBN #32.
9. BATGIRL #35 (2014)
Speaking of hype, Batgirl is building momentum of her own. With everything connected to the Bat-family gaining traction thanks to the excitement for The Batman, it is helping Batgirl’s long awaited solo movie. More images are being released for her first live-action movie, and WarnerMedia revealed her onscreen costume as well. This version takes its inspiration from her current wardrobe in the comics, and it has inspired buyers to add Batgirl #35 to their shopping lists.
The obvious top of the food chain for Batgirl keys is her first appearance in Detective Comics #359. With that issue getting further out of reach by the day, it opens the door for her modern issues, including Batgirl #35. On eBay, raw copies for the standard edition stay in the $15-$20 range. The one to watch may be the New York Comic Con exclusive, which recently sold for $49.
10. CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #6
For the first time in years, Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 has enjoyed an uptick in sales. Once upon a time, this issue was most notable for the arrival of the Anti-Monitor, one of the most underappreciated villains in all of comics. In recent months, collectors have begun to see this key issue in a new light.
Besides Anti-Monitor fans, who else wants this particular comic? Anyone stocking up on their Peacemaker collections, for one. During the Multiversal Crisis event, the Charlton Comics were incorporated into DC’s Earth-One Universe. Among the notable names who made the leap between publishers were Peacemaker, Judomaster, and the Question. As Peacemaker’s popularity soars, it stands to reason that we will see other Charlton superheroes in the DCEU, and that speculation is persuading buyers to take a closer look at Crisis #6. The best part is that raw copies average less than $10 at the moment.
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.