BY MATT TUCK
A new Eternals rumor has lit a fire under Strange Tales #179. If it turns out to be true, there could be a much more important character making his long-awaited MCU debut: Adam Warlock.
It all starts with a rumor, but doesn’t it always?
The word on the internet is that the plot details for Eternals has been leaked online. It’s hard to take that too seriously, considering that this would not be the first time a mysterious “leak” has turned up in the rumor mill. After Infinity War wowed audiences in 2019, there were reports of “leaked” scripts that turned out to be totally false.
All that being said, take this next part with a grain of salt. According to this mystery source, Pip the Troll will play a featured role in The Eternals. If that does not exactly get your blood pumping, I can understand. Pip is not a major player, and he is fairly obscure even for a lifetime Marvel fan like myself.
If Pip is indeed part of the Eternals cast of characters, there are bigger implications here. In the comics, Pip is closely tied to Adam Warlock. That could mean that if Pip is part of The Eternals, Warlock could make an appearance as well. If that comes to pass, those Warlock keys will be catapulted to the top of the sales charts.
WHO IS PIP?
With this new gossip surrounding everyone’s favorite troll (or someone’s favorite, anyway), it raises the important question, who is he?
Pip the Troll, also known as Pip Gofern, was once an intergalactic prince. He first appeared in 1975’s Strange Tales #179, and his origin screams ‘70s B-movie excess. Apparently, Pip was not always a troll, but he transformed into one after getting drunk on a mutagenic ale. (That’s why I never drink alien beer. You never know when this could happen.)
It gets even better. Once he’s a troll, the Universal Church of Truth shows up on Pip’s home planet and abducts him (because they really hate space trolls). It doesn’t help that Pip has caused trouble on dozens of other planets, so that makes him Truth’s most wanted suspect. They drag him to their ship, but he is saved by Adam Warlock, and they become pals.
While I seriously doubt we’ll see Pip’s sci-fi origin in The Eternals, he could be used to incorporate Warlock into the greater MCU.
THE WARLOCK CONNECTION
In a movie about mythical, interstellar gods, Adam Warlock would fit in perfectly. In his first appearance in Fantastic Four #67, he was created to basically be a homemade god.
After all the teases, it would be a huge crowd pleaser to finally see Warlock on a movie screen. Fans have been waiting on him to arrive since we saw his cocoon in Guardians of the Galaxy before he was name dropped in the post-credits scene of GOTG Vol. 2. Could this be the moment Marvel Studios finally brings him into the MCU?
Understandably, the Warlock key issues have been on the rise dating back to that first tease in GOTG. The biggest impact, as expected, has been on his origin in FF #66 and cameo appearance in FF #67. Back then, before he was Adam, Warlock was christened simply as Him. He wouldn’t take on the name Adam Warlock until the Bronze Age, which makes for a good key to own when fair market values for those Silver Age issues get too pricey. Here’s a closer look at the current FMVs in case you are in the market.
FANTASTIC FOUR #66
Even though FF #66 is an origin story, it is still hitting figures not seen since that 2014 cocoon Easter egg. A 9.2 sold just days ago for $800, which is bordering on the record that grade set five years ago. Below that, the 8.0 reached new heights when one brought $432 just this month.
While you don’t get a first appearance, this is a good consolation prize for the Warlock collector on a budget. The lowest grade sold this month has been the 5.5, and it sold for a modest $105.
FANTASTIC FOUR #67
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby knew how to keep an audience invested in the mystery. “At last you will learn what lives within the cocoon!” They promised to reveal its contents in this issue, and it turned out to be Him, though we only see him for a couple of panels.
Nonetheless, this is one of the bigger Adam Warlock/Him keys to own, and it would be even more expensive if he were on the cover. However, that does create a silver lining because the prices are still relatively affordable. Considering the inflated values for virtually all the Silver Age first appearances, FF #67 is not as expensive as you may think. The highest grade sold so far in April was a 7.5, and it earned $475 on that day. A bit further down the ladder, a 6.0 earned less than $400 this month as well. Suffice to say, if you want an FF #67, now is a good time to invest.
So many of those Silver Age Thor comics will become more collectible in the near future, and this is one of the most important outside of the thunder god’s debut. Thor #165 gives us Him’s first full appearance and, more importantly by today’s collecting standards, his first cover appearance. That makes this the most expensive of all the Warlock keys.
Remember that FF #67 graded a 7.5? The same grade for Thor #165 fetched $700 on April 4 and another earned $720 in March. On the lower end, a 2.5 sold for a record-high $150 on April 1, so prices are on the way up.
MARVEL PREMIERE #1
Since Warlock was already introduced as “Adam” in GOTG Vol. 2, that means Marvel Studios is skipping the Him origin, which could lead us directly into the version of the character who was introduced in Marvel Premiere #1.
Again, let’s look at that 7.5. Compared to Thor #165 and FF #67, it is a bargain and last sold for $325. Certainly it is not a character debut, which is why the price is lower, but this issue established the new direction for Warlock that would launch him into stardom. That makes this a sound investment as we are likely to see this take on Adam Warlock when he is eventually added to the MCU.
STRANGE TALES #179
I can’t wrap up today’s post without diving into our original topic of discussion, Strange Tales #179. As I previously mentioned, this is Pip the Troll’s first appearance, and his rumored arrival in the MCU could precede Warlock.
The Pip rumors are giving this one a boost, but the values are still much lower than those for Warlock, and for good reason since Pip is the sidekick. Even if you want to go for a near-mint grade, you will spend less here than you would for those other 7.5s. After all, a 9.6 sold on April 8 for $438. That happened to be $100 past the previous record high of $300 set in 2018.
Whether or not the Pip rumor will turn out to be true is plausible at best. Still, it is fun to think about, and Warlock would make sense in The Eternals. Personally, I hope it pans out because I would love to see Adam make his grand entrance in what should be another huge hit for Marvel Studios.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.