Increased general public interest produces value spikes
Comics-related movies which excite the general public have served to raise values on key comics featuring the players in the latest big-screen release. But does that interest maintain those values and do lesser-known characters fare as well?
When the first Spider-Man movie was released in 2002, values on early issues of Amazing Spider-Man began to climb, especially when The Green Goblin was announced as the villain of the first film. Values settled down slightly after the film's release, but not to pre-2001 levels. (The Goblin's first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #14 (Jul 64) is currently at $14,700, down slightly from last year's $16,100 Near Mint value.) A similar price spike accompanied Spider-Man 2 in 2004 when Doctor Octopus was revealed to be the main villain. (His first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #3 (Jul 63) is now at $2,275, a Near Mint value it's held for the last few years.) By Spider-Man 3 in 2007, while the early appearances of The Sandman (first appearance, Amazing Spider-Man #4 (Sep 63); Near Mint value $2,900) saw some value spikes and Venom's first appearances moved up a little, there wasn't as much of a bump in value possibly because savvy investors had already purchased those appearances earlier before values increased.
Robert Downey Junior's armored adventures as Iron Man have produced value increases in that character's early appearances as well. Tales of Suspense #39 (Mar 63), the first time Tony Stark donned his life-saving armor, now has a Near Mint value of $9,400, another example of an issue holding its value for the past few years. Prior to the first Iron Man film in 2008, the Near Mint value on that issue was climbing slowly, but was at only about half that level. As for lesser-known Iron Man characters, James "Rhodey" Rhodes' first appearance in Iron Man (1st series) #118 (Jan 79)is at $44, up from $36. And The Mandarin, Iron Man 3's villain, can't catch a break. His first appearance in Tales of Suspense #50 (Mar 64) has actually dropped in value, although not much, from $235 in 2010 and 2011 to $220 in 2012 and today.
Christopher Nolan's Bat-trilogy of Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008), and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) may not have had quite the blockbuster effect on merchandise sales as the two Tim Burton Bat-films of 1989 and 1992, but they did drive values of early Dark Knight appearances higher than ever. From Detective Comics #27 (May 39), Batman's first appearance, climbing into the million-dollar sales club in 2010 (current NM value $943,400) to Batman #404 (Feb 87, current NM value $10.50), the first chapter of "Batman: Year One," which provided some of the backstory for Nolan's films, interest and enthusiasm for the Bat-titles continues.
Spinning several of its series into films, Dark Horse has driven fan interest in such titles as Hellboy, Sin City, and, earlier, The Mask. The publisher also helps meet that interest by reissuing key stories as trade paperbacks that tie to the related films. Image has seen such titles as Spawn and Wanted make their way to the big screen with related back-issue enthusiasm, while The Walking Dead continues to be its own phenomenon on the small screen and in the back-issue bin.
You can track sales histories on any given issue in ComicBase by double-clicking on it and bringing up a screen with more detail including a price history for the past four years.
When words get in the way
It's an error that can creep by the best of editors (and has). A direction that was only intended for the typesetter or, in the case of comics, the artist, colorist, or letterer, makes it onto the final page. Sometimes the results can be funny, other times troublemaking, and, more often, embarrassing.
That's the case with this panel from Undercover Girl #7 (aka A-1 #118, ca. 1954), published by Magazine Enterprises. In the aptly named "The Puzzle of the Picture," Starr Flagg, the undercover girl of the title, is shown a painting by a street vendor, is alarmed, and races back to her partner's flat to tell him what she's found. She bursts in, and, as you can see, what should have been a single emphasized word becomes its own sentence.
May Market Trends
Continuing with our movie comics theme from above, we're seeing increased interest in the photo cover variants for IDW's Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #2/B and #4/B. The "prequel" to J.J. Abrams' second big-screen adventure with the crew of the starship Enterprise opens in mid-May and the multiple layers of secrecy around the villain's true identity have spurred increased interest in anything tying to the movie.
With a multi-part series online on The Beat tracing the history of Marvelman/Miracleman, the first appearance of Alan Moore's revival of Marvelman as Miracleman in Warrior #1 (Mar 82) has taken flight, moving from $6 to $35.
Something unexpected is happening with Sensation Comics #1 (Jan 42). With several key points in it, including the origin of Wonder Woman and the first appearances of Wildcat and Mr. Terrific, this Golden Age gem should either hold steady or increase in value. Instead, it's dropped more than $1,100 from $4,700 to $3,600. This may be just a market correction, but one to watch in the coming months to see if it rebounds or continues to plummet.
Tech Tip: Updating photos
Most ComicBase users already know that they get updated photo scans with each weekly update, but did you know that Archive Edition users can update individual comics listings at any time? It's a great help if a scan is missing, especially in the case of issues which have one or more variant editions.
To do the update, simply select the issue issues you want to update scans for. (To select more than one issue within a title, hold down the Ctrl key and click your mouse's left button. To select all issues in a given title, hold down Ctrl and A.) Then, select "Download Cover" from the "Internet" menu.
If there is a scan available or a larger version of the previously available scan, a download window will pop up and the image will download.
The newly downloaded cover will then appear in the listing.
If the ComicBase database is missing a scan and you have the issue in question, you can supply us with a fresh scan by following the instructions in our Scanning Guide.
You can find these and other tips to help you manage ComicBase in the ComicBase User Guide under the Help manual (press "F1" on your keyboard to access it) or under the Support menu>FAQ section on the ComicBase website.
Publisher: Pete Bickford • Editor: Brent Frankenhoff