BY MATT TUCK
Marvel dropped another trailer this week, and has left the world with one question: what’s a Hit-Monkey?
THE NEW TRAILER
Hit-Monkey was one of the few ideas to survive the great Marvel streaming purge of 2020. Two years ago, the studio announced a partnership with the streaming service Hulu to bring to life several shows. There was Hit-Monkey, MODOK, Helstrom, a Dazzler series, Howard the Duck, and even a Ghost Rider show was on the slate. Then Marvel Studios began axing projects left and right. Invoking memories of Marvel’s infamous relationship with Netflix, Helstrom was given the one-and-done treatment and cancelled after the first season. Meanwhile, MODOK’s future is in doubt with no official word from Hulu or Marvel on the show’s future.
Through all the cancellations at Hulu, it was easy to forget that Hit-Monkey was still in production, and the trailer took many fans be surprise.
On Monday, Hulu and Marvel unveiled the teaser trailer for the tongue-in-cheek action-comedy cartoon that comes across like a bloody Quentin Tarantino remake of Dunston Checks In. It looks like complete insanity, and that’s exactly how fans want their Hit-Monkey.
WHAT’S A Hit-Monkey?
Here’s a shocker: Hit-Monkey is basically a running gag in the comics. The story is that a professional assassin was on the run in Japan. He was dying and collapsed in the snow, though he was rescued by a troop of macaques. They took him into their midst, although one macaque in particular did not trust him. This monkey watched the assassin’s every move, eventually learning the man’s fighting style as he trained.
One day, a group of killers tracked down the assassin. They murdered him and the troop. The remaining macaque took guns from the hired killers and slayed them all in the Japanese snow. From that moment on, he was Hit-Monkey, bent on taking revenge for his fallen troop.
As we saw with MODOK, being an adult animated series exclusive to Hulu does not put the world on notice. Disney+ is dominating the streaming platforms, and Hit-Monkey would have a larger audience there. However, Hulu allows for the show to be more bloody and violent than anything I can imagine Disney would condone on its flagship platform, so there are advantages to being on Hulu. Will it translate into a booming market for those Hit-Monkey keys? We will soon find out. Here’s the latest figures.
HIT-MONKEY #1 ONE SHOT
Over the years, there has been some confusion over Hit-Monkey’s first appearance. Is it Hit-Monkey #1 or Deadpool #19? There is not much to debate here, as Hit-Monkey #1 was released a week ahead of DP #19. That is why this should be at the top of your wish lists.
The appeal of a new Marvel show on any platform or television network has an immediate effect, and this is a great example. This time last month, a higher-grade raw copy of Hit-Monkey #1 sold anywhere from $30 to about $75. By this past Sunday, prices had jumped to as much as $192.50 in one sale while others were consistently selling for $70+. The most recent sale came on Tuesday morning when another copy earned $110.
As far as the graded copies, two different 9.2s traded hands over the weekend; one sold for $140 on September 17 while the other brought $128 two days later. There hasn’t been a 9.8 to sell online since last November, and it will be interesting to see what heights that reaches.
HIT-MONKEY #1 SECOND PRINT
Each year, the lesson becomes more and more apparent: don’t ignore those subsequent printings. In this case, the second print of Hit-Monkey #1 is a black and white variant that is easy to spot.
Since Hit-Monkey has been a running gag for all these years, it would seem that neither readers nor collectors took him seriously. That would explain why there are only 47 graded copies of the second print on record with CGC’s census data.
From the investing standpoint, this has been a more popular seller than the first print. At a 9.8, the second print last sold for $250 in July. In April, two copies tied for the record-high $260. More recently, a 9.2 set a new record of its own on September 17 when a slab earned $180. Before that, it had never sold for more than $75, which was set in April.
This may be the second appearance of Hit-Monkey, but it was his ties to Deadpool that helped bring him into the Marvel fold. In the world of comedy characters, the “Merc with a Mouth” reigns king, and it was only fitting that Deadpool would introduce Hit-Monkey to the greater Marvel Universe. Who knows? Deadpool could make a guest appearance or cameo in the new show. After all, it seems to be in the vein of Fox’s Deadpool movies.
Since this is the second appearance of the world’s deadliest macaque, it is not an expensive investment. That could change if Wade Wilson appears in the Hulu series. Still, prices are on the way up. In August, raw copies of DP #19 mostly sold in the $10-$20 range. Over the weekend, that same issue was bumped to the $20-$25 spectrum.
As for the graded copies, the 9.8 had sold for $65 and $70 through April. Two days ago, the fair market value got a price hike when a copy sold for $92. Meanwhile, a Deadpool #20, which featured Hit-Monkey on the cover, sold for a record $100 on September 20.
HIT-MONKEY #1 LIMITED SERIES
Five months after Hit-Monkey’s debut in a self-titled one shot, Marvel published the first of a three-issue limited series. This is neither a first appearance nor is it the first time Hit-Monkey had his name in the title, so it is not on the same level as the one-shot issue. Still, it is a worthy addition to new fans of the murderous monkey.
Tuesday morning, one buyer spent $90 on all three issues on eBay. Before that, the raw copies of Hit-Monkey #1 had been selling for $10-$20. Although those prices are low, it is a massive hike considering that the comic was selling for as little as $1.36 just two weeks ago.
S.H.I.E.L.D. #9 ARTHUR ADAMS VARIANT
If Hit-Monkey taps into the Archer and Rick and Morty audiences, then it could be a hit for Hulu and Marvel. In that event, it could spawn a new comedy team for the animated pocket of the MCU, the Howling Commandos II, aka S.T.A.K.E.
S.T.A.K.E. is the acronym for S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Special Threat Assessment for Known Extranormalities. First appearing in S.H.I.E.L.D. #9, the team consists of Hit-Monkey, Dum Dum Duggan, Warwolf, Man-Thing, zombie Jasper Sitwell, Vampire by Night, Teen Abomination, Manphibian, and Orrgo. Considering that Marvel is forging straight ahead into the supernatural while staying true to its slapstick formula, S.T.A.K.E. is a perfectly suited piece to the MCU puzzle.
The trouble is finding an affordable copy of the Art Adams 1:50 variant. The last sale saw a raw copy bring $195 on September 1. For those on a budget, the standard cover is much cheaper and usually sell for $5 or less.
MONKEY ASSASSIN BUSINESS
As hot as the collectibles market was over the spring and early part of the summer, had this trailer been dropped around May or June, this would be a much different story. As it stands, the excitement is having an effect on the fair market values, and that will continue to the series’ premiere. Then we will see if those FMVs can hold onto those inflated values.