WEEK IN REVIEW

January 17th, 2021

Welcome to CovrPrice’s weekly Newsletter!

This week we highlight a rare food-themed comic from Valiant, we see a big sale for a shape-shifting demon fox that eats the hearts of men, call out confirmed and rumored content news, AND cover the highest sale ever for Batman #1 (1940). It was a fun week in comics! Enjoy!


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COMIC BOOK SHAKERS

Every day CovrPrice’s Daily Shaker List calls out comics with the highest sales value sold that day. Throughout the week we pull the more interesting ones and elaborate on them here. Check out our sweet Shaker List here.

SHAKERS: ADVENTURES OF THE O “THE GREAT BALLPARK CHALLENGE” (ACCLAIM / VALIANT, 1993)

Behold, the Spaghetti-O comic you all have been searching for. Back in 1993, Valiant partnered with KFC, Kraft and Campbell’s to produce several promotional comics. It’s unclear how they were distributed, however the Spaghetti-O’s issue is very hard to find (especially in high grade). One copy sold last week for $100. These early Valiant books have a collector base and many of these promotional books weren’t kept nor protected, hence high sales today. 

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SHAKER: ALF #48 (MARVEL, 1991)

To give our younger readers some context, Alf was a 100 episode American sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1990 (some of us at COVRPRICE may even go as far as to call it the greatest show ever). Alf (AKA: Alien Life Form) was the main character on the show, where he befriends a human family and lives with them. The Alf comic actually made it to 50 issues, running from 1988 through 1992. It’s no surprise that the cover of Alf #48 is controversial – with its implied “Alf on seal” action in an otherwise younger audience format. But the really fun part about it is how it pokes at the Comics Code Authority – just daring them to decline the book. Apparently, the CCA was asleep at the wheel when they let this one through – but we love it because of how the creators were able to pull of this triple entendre. This has always been a pricey book with solid copies going for hundreds of dollars, but we just had the highest CGC 9.8 sale ever. A copy just went for $830. There’s also a newsstand version that in raw midgrade goes for over $100. This is the type of book that could be mixed in with younger audience throwaway books so … um … grab that seal if you see it.

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SHAKERS: BATMAN BEYOND #1 –  FREE (DC, 1999)

Before COVID and before 2020, BATMAN BEYOND was moving to new heights thanks to light rumors of a possible BATMAN BEYOND film. During 2020, we’ve heard stronger rumors but have yet to have any solid confirmation. These growing rumors helped push the first print to a crazy new high of $2,199.99 for a CGC 9.8 two weeks ago. As that book moves out of reach for most collectors, many have turned to the free versions like this one. This “no UPC” free version hit a new high sale of $699.99 for a CGC 9.8. 

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SHAKERS: CHAMBER OF CHILLS MAGAZINE #19 (HARVEY, 1953)

This amazing Lee Elias cover is considered one of the most in-demand PCH books, thanks to its pop-culture connection as the homage cover for the horror-punk rock band The Misfits album Die Die My Darling. PCH books have proven to be some of the best investments in comics (with some stiff competition from Miles Morales and friends). Last week, a CFC 5.5 sold for $7,800 which demolished the last 5.5 sale in March 2017 for $2,629. 

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SHAKERS: FUTURE FIGHT FIRSTS: WHITE FOX #1 1:100 – INHYUK LEE (MARVEL, 2019)

Copies of this gorgeous 1:100 virgin variant for Future Fight Firsts White Fox #1 (2019) by Inhyuk Lee are bumping up to $300 sales. This cover of the first solo title of White Fox sold for $295 this week, and in December we noted a $324.95 sale, both for CGC 9.8 copies. After first appearing in Contest of Champions #1 (2015), this story contains White Fox’s origin. She is the last of the Kumiho, a race of shape-shifting demon foxes from ancient Korean mythology who transform into beautiful women to seduce men and tear out and eat their hearts. Does that make you look at this cover differently now?! But White Fox, Ami Han, is a team player, aligning with the Hotshots, New Agents of Atlas, and even leading the South Korean Army. In addition to this cover, keep on the lookout for the low-ordered 2nd print of War of the Realms New Agents of Atlas #3 (2019) which features another great solo White Fox cover, this one by Jee Hyung Lee.

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SHAKERS: GRAPHIC FANTASY #1 (AJAX COMICS, 1982)

The first appearance of SAVAGE DRAGON (known in this as PAUL DRAGON) in Graphic Fantasy #1 had its biggest recorded sale ever at $4,300 for a CGC 9.6 qualified (pretty much all copies are sold as qualified because they are all signed by the 3 creators and numbered). 

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SHAKERS: HAHA #1 VARIANTS (IMAGE, 2021)

This series is HOT right out of the gate. Almost all covers are selling well, with a few selling for BIG numbers, like: The CASEY PARSONS – GOTHAM CENTRAL TRUMP variant set, selling at $200 for the trade and $250 for the virgin. However, the big winner is JOHN GALLAGHER – WANTEDCOMIX virgin cover, with the trade currently selling for $70 and the virgin selling for a huge $395. It’s worth noting that BOTH of these retailers had low buy-ins. Gotham charged $24.99 for the virgin and Wanted charged $20. That’s some nice profit margins there. It’s also worth noting that the first print issue is also selling well at $14. This series has some serious heat!

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SHAKERS: MARVEL PREVIEWS #95 (MARVEL, 2011)

Last week, we saw a sale of $3,459 raw. Even we can’t explain these sales. But, 2020 changed so much for modern comics. 

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SHAKERS: MORTAL KOMBAT #1 (MIDWAY GAMES, 1992)

Video game comics are a rapidly growing niche. What were once ignored comics sent to $1 bins, this first appearance of MORTAL KOMBAT had its highest raw sale ever this week at $250. Shops almost always overlook these low print fan favorites so be sure to keep an eye out.

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SHAKERS: MS. MARVEL #1 – 7TH PRINT (MARVEL, 2014)

Kamala Khan is going to be popular amongst MCU phase 4 fans. As Collectors, we actively seek and hold the hardest to find versions of a character’s key issues. This 7th print is incredibly difficult to find, hence its new high sale this week of $500 for a CGC 9.8. 

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SHAKERS: SOMETHING IS KILLING THE CHILDREN #4 – 2ND PRINTING (BOOM!, 2019)

This series is another 2020 rule breaker. Even among the hottest series, few see market heat across each issue, their variants and subsequent printings. This is one of those exceptions. It’s almost easier to tell which books are NOT doing well in the aftermarket. It’s a book like this 2nd print that captured our full attention. This week, a raw copy sold for $295… raw! This is supported by several high sales over the past two weeks. This market heat is driven by mostly fan fervor and soft rumors of content development. For now, this market heat seems set to continue for the near future. 

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SHAKERS: SPIDER-MAN #1 – 2ND PRINT – GOLD (MARVEL, 1990)

In 2020, Marvel celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the iconic Spider-Man #1 (1990). A facsimile edition featuring the original cover and tribute covers by Clayton Crain and Peach Momoko marked the occasion, and recent sales data shows that collectors also bought into the anniversary of this self-described collectible. Written, penciled, and inked by Todd McFarlane, the first print sold over 2 million copies upon release, and after-market speculation quickly drove up prices to around $20. The comic was clearly aimed at collectors as it came in a series of variant colors and polybags labeling it an “Issue #1 Collector’s Item”. In December, we saw two sales of the Platinum variant sell for record-breaking prices of $2,200 and $2,500. Then in January a 9.8 of the Walmart 2nd print Gold variant sold for a record $1,060. And this week a 9.9 graded mint copy of the gold 2nd print sold for $3,000. If you recall our 2020 YEAR-END REPORT, this silver version of this book landed on our Top 10 of Variants that sold the most units. It’s simply a book that new collectors are buying as they start their collections. It’s one of the most iconic modern covers that’s fueled by 90’s nostalgia. 

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SHAKERS: STARTLING COMICS #49 (BETTER PUBLICATIONS, 1948)

If you’re a fan of the cartoon Futurama, you’re definitely going to love this book. It’s never been confirmed, but it’s hard to believe that the creator of Bender didn’t at least have some influence (whether subconsciously or not) from Startling Comics #49. Also known as “the Bender cover”, this classic Alex Schomburg airbrush cover is one of the most in-demand pre-code science fiction comics of the Golden Age. Not one, but two copies of this iconic book sold this week with a CGC 8.5 selling for $16,800 and a CGC 5.5 selling for $9,600. The 8.5 sale falls a little short of the prior record at this grade of $18,750, but a 5.5 copy hasn’t sold since 2013 when it realized a sale of $1,933, and this book has seen a significant increase in demand (and price) since then. Unlike many Golden Age books, this comic does come up for sale quite a few times each year, so if you’re looking to pick up a copy, keep your eyes open and you’ll likely get a chance to tell someone to “bite your shiny metal ass” as you beat them out on the inevitable bidding war.

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SHAKERS: STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #3 – SALVADOR LARROCA (1:25) (MARVEL, 2015)

Okay, brace yourselves. We need to cover some Star Wars books. This first appearance variant of Doctor Aphra continues to move up. It made new highs with a raw sale of $750 and a CGC 9.8 sale of $2,499. This will continue to go up until we get confirmation of her appearing in future Disney+ content. 

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SHAKERS: STAR WARS: HEIR TO THE EMPIRE #1 – NEWSSTAND (DARK HORSE, 1995)

Just the mention of General Thrawn’s name helped move hundreds of copies of his first appearance in this book. It hit a new height of $3,200 for a CGC 9.8. 

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SHAKERS: STAR WARS TALES #13 – COVER A (DARK HORSE, 2002)

This book recently began trending due to one panel that included a baby version of Yoda’s species. Sellers are calling this a “1st Grogu Prototype”. Due to this, it’s been selling for $50 with one high raw sale of $199. Here’s the panel in question for you to choose your own path.

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SHAKERS: TEEN TITANS #12 (DC, 2017)

With all the various market heat (looking at you Star Wars), collectors aren’t talking as much as they were about THE BATMAN WHO LAUGHS 2 years ago. However, checking in on his first appearance, many may not realize how expensive this book became over the past year. Raw copies are over $100 and a CGC 9.8 sold last week for a new high sale of $850. 

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SHAKERS: TEEN TITANS GO! #23 (DC, 2005)

Based on market movement, RED X seems to be the most popular character coming out of FUTURE STATE. Collectors are curious about his (or her) mysterious identity. This market interest helped sell over 240 copies of FUTURE STATE: TEEN TITANS #1, landing on our TOP 10 in the #1 spot. Red X’s first appearance in this TEEN TITANS GO! #23 is now selling for $199.99 raw.

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SHAKERS: THE UNCANNY X-MEN #423 – ERROR (MARVEL, 2003)

Chuck Austen’s run during UNCANNY from issue #410 to #443 has always been met with mixed feelings. This run doesn’t particularly do well in the aftermarkets… except for this error variant. Trying to pull in new readers, Marvel priced this at the introductory price of 25 cents. However, this error variant was a newsstand version that made its way into the market with the 25 cent tag, yet a $2.25 price below the UPC barcode. Also, Wolverine’s costume tends to be more grey than the 25 cent priced edition. This error sold this week for a new high sale of $599.95 for a CGC 9.8. These can easily get mixed in the $1 bin with other issues from this run. If you see the 25 cent logo, double-check the barcode price. 

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SHAKERS: WITCHBLADE #135 – FANTASTIC REALM VARIANT (LIMITED TO 750)

(IMAGE, 1995)

We’re fans of J. Scott Campbell. While his store exclusives feel… familiar… this variant is not only one of his best covers (arguably of course), but also one of Witchblade’s best variants. It sold this week for $200 raw and can be very tough to find in high grade (we’ve tried). There are NO universal 9.8’s on the census (though there are 3 signature series 9.8’s) and only 22 copies overall. 

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SHAKER: X-MEN #103 – MARK JEWELERS (MARVEL, 1976)

Variants are a common topic of conversation. They come in many forms – more than just the retailer variant, ratio variant, and open order variant prevalent today. One example receiving a lot of attention of late is newsstand vs direct edition books. While comics with direct edition cover markings have their origins in the mid-1970s, there’s another variant/edition that predates the newsstand/direct cover distinction – Mark Jewelers Insert editions. From the early 1970s to the mid 1980s Mark Jewelers worked with Marvel and DC Comics to add thick paper inserts at the centerfold of various comics. These Mark Jeweler editions were distributed to locations near military installations. The goal was to entice soldiers to send their loved ones jewelry advertised in the inserts. It is believed that such inserts likely constituted less than 5% of a given print run of a book and as such are relatively rare. Moreover, it’s relatively hard to find high-grade copies of such books due to soldiers not having the storage space and resources to properly protect and store their comics. These books may have been shared between various servicemen and the order forms removed – which also contributed to the overall condition of Mark Jewelers editions. Due to the scarcity of very high-grade Mark Jewelers editions, they often command a premium over their non-insert brethren. A recent sale of X-Men #103 is a solid example. Barring one major outlier exception, the last non-insert CGC 9.8 copies have gone for between $7-800 (note: oddly a CGC 9.8 sold in mid-December 2020 on ComicConnect for $1,600 in spite of eBay availability of multiple similar grade copies for well under $1,000). In comparison, this past week a CGC 9.8 Mark Jewelers edition sold on eBay for $1,490 (the only Mark Jewelers edition sale for X-Men #103 we’ve recorded). That’s about double the general going rate for the non-insert variety.  There’s no guarantee that you’ll get $1,500 for any random high grade comic with a Mark Jewelers insert, but it’s pretty clear that high-grade copies are scarce and command a premium. So be on the lookout for any high-grade Mark Jewelers edition comics – even non-key books.

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SHAKER: DC SUPER-STARS #11 (DC, 1976)

We just had the biggest ever sale of this book at $1,449 for a CGC 9.8 copy. With a solid Gray Morrow cover and billing of “First Solo Zatanna Story”, how could a book like this go wrong? Well, unfortunately, that whole first solo Zatanna story thing is totally untrue. DC Super-Stars #11 released in 1976, yet 6 years prior Zatanna starred in her own story in Flash #198 called “Call It… Magic!”. That also happens to be the first meeting of Zatanna and the Flash. Don’t take this the wrong way, we love the DC Super-Stars #11 cover and we love good Zatanna stories, but DC Super-Stars #11 actually is just a reprint of Adventure Comics 413-415 and Flash #128. And before you say “hey, Flash #128 comes before #198 so isn’t that Zatanna’s 1st solo story”, Zatanna doesn’t actually appear in Flash #128 – that’s a story about the Flash vs Abra Kadabra (1st appearance). If you like DC Super-Stars #11 by all means grab a copy, but if you want the true 1st solo Zatanna story, be on the lookout for Flash #198.

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RUMORED/OPTIONED COMICS

RUMORED/OPTIONED: ABBOTT

There are unconfirmed rumors of this book being developed for TV. This rumor has caused this series to pick up in price. If you’re a fan of hard-nosed, chain-smoking tabloid reporters investigating a series of grisly crimes that are the work of dark occult forces then this one if for you.

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RUMORED/OPTIONED: NOVA

As reported by COMICBOOK.COM: “ComicBook.com asked Feige several questions regarding Nova, including whether the Richard Rider or Sam Alexander version would appear in the MCU, and if they would receive a standalone film or cameo in another MCU project. “Well, yes and yes,” Feige answered in response to all the questions. “Timing is relative, right? I think I’d been talking about Doctor Strange eight years before that movie came out. So, ‘immediate potential’ is relative.” Feige went on to point out that the Nova Corps would fit well into the cosmic side of the MCU.”  While NOVA #1 has been moving for a while now, it was Sam Alexander’s first appearance in POINT ONE #1 (MARVEL, 2011) that really started picking up in both sales and price (particularly the Bradshaw variant). For a while, it was highly debated WHICH version of Nova we would see. The “both” answer was a nice surprise. However, it does sound like it’ll be a while. 

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RUMORED/OPTIONED: PORT OF EARTH

In March 2019 Deadline announced that Amazon was developing this Top Cow/Image series. However, ScreenRant’s recent article of the “10 Most Anticipated Comic Book and Graphic Novel Adaptations (& Their Release Dates)” put PORT OF EARTH on list at #2 (and re-tweeted by creator Zack Kaplan), reminding collectors that this project is still moving forward. All covers received a bump in price.  Personally, we can’t wait to see this gritty sci-fi series that deals with an alien alliance called The Consortium that comes to earth with a business proposition: open Earth as a spaceport for their customers to use and receive advanced technology upgrades in exchange. Fun times!

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RUMORED/OPTIONED: WANDAVISION

As the first Phase 4 content, eagle-eye viewers dissect every single frame scouting for easter eggs. And Easter Eggs they did find! Without spoiling the series, the following books are seeing market movement: 

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WHAT THE WATCHER IS WATCHING

WATCHING: GOD OF WAR #1 – 2ND PRINT (DC, 2010)

Several months ago GOD OF WAR was rumored to be in development for TV. We’ve directly heard similar reports. This low print series has always been sought out by collectors of video game-based comics. The standard cover and this 2nd print have sold for over $20 for years now. However, this news helped push the first print issue to new recent highs of $80 raw and $300 for a CGC 9.8. Even more recently, this VERY low print 2nd printing sold last week for $350. Honestly, these books are JUST getting started. Developing this for TV is… ambitious. If it moves forward, these scarce issues will see significant jumps in price. However, its ambitiousness could also be the key reason the show doesn’t proceed. This does bear high risk… but also high reward. It’s one to watch!

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KEY COMIC OF THE WEEK

KEY OF THE WEEK: BATMAN #1 (DC, 1940)

We’re only a couple of weeks into the new year but we may have just witnessed the biggest sale for a comic that will be achieved in 2021. On January 14th, Heritage Auctions sold the single highest-graded copy of Batman #1, a CGC 9.4 white pages copy, for a record $2,220,000 (this is the total bid price plus the buyer’s premium). That’s right, a copy of one of the most important books in comic book history somehow managed to make it from 1940 until today in near-mint condition. For those that aren’t aware, Batman #1 contains the first appearances of both the Joker and Catwoman; two of the most iconic Batman villains in the history of the franchise. Combine this with an iconic cover with Batman and Robin swinging across the page, and you’ve got the recipe for one of the most in-demand books in the hobby. If you’ve ever wondered how much it costs just to get a book like that graded, CGC charges 3% of the value of the book to grade comics that fall into this high-end tier, but this one was a steal since the cost maxes out at $5,000. If you’re looking at picking up a copy of Batman #1 for yourself and you haven’t got two million dollars lying around in your couch coushions, a CGC 0.5 copy sold for $12,600 back in March of 2020, but it did have a color copy for the front cover…

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Lead Writer: Matt DeVoe | [email protected]

Article Contributor: Matt Day |[email protected]

Article Contributor: Ryan Forster | [email protected]

Article Contributor: Matt Burtner | [email protected]

Editor: John Sulaitis | [email protected]


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