Welcome to COVRPRICE’s Weekly Newsletter!
This week we’re all over the place. In this Comic Report we’ll cover Agent Venom’s first, the Carnage U.S.A 1:100 variant, David Finch’s Wonder Woman #38 1:100 variant, Spawn (as always), the 1st War Machine, and (not sure how this has aged) the Ambiguously Gay Duo. Yet amongst all the modern books, we also dip into multiple pre-code horror (PCH) books with some big new sales this week. There’s a lot to unpack here, so let’s get to it!
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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.
SHAKER: THE AMBIGUOUSLY GAY DUO COMICS #1 | J.J. SEDELMAIER PRODUCTIONS INC. | 2002
J.J. Sedelmaier Productions is an innovative design and animation studio that started in 1990. They handled numerous ad campaigns and animated series that directly influenced pop culture. Some of those highlights (for us) include animating the first season of “Beavis & Butthead” and Saturday Night Live’s “Saturday TV Funhouse” with Robert Smigel. “Funhouse” provided a particularly memorable fan-favorite series called “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” featuring a late ‘70s/ early ‘80s animation style around two superheroes called Ace and Gary. If you’ve never seen them before, you can check them out HERE. In December 1999, J.J. Sedelmaier Productions and Robert Smigel produced a 4-page comic book story to be printed in that month’s Playboy. Years later, in 2002, they reprinted the story, along with other samples of the company’s work, into this 32-page comic book with cover art provided by the great Alex Ross. Three rare copies came to market this week and all sold, ranging from $69 to $72 per copy (VF copies). While this isn’t a shocking price, it’s a book that has very low awareness and due to its cultural connection and being a hard-to-find Ross cover, will most likely increase in value. We reached out to J.J. directly and confirmed that they printed two print runs of 2,000 copies (4000 in total) and per J.J., “They were never sold. They were given away at speaking gigs, screenings, and sent as promotional swag”. So how do 4,000 copies disappear? Well, time is a big factor. It’s been almost 20 years since this was released. These also landed into the hands of non-comic collectors who most likely (eventually) threw them away or are simply sitting somewhere in their homes. The good news is, these ARE out there… somewhere. And man, we want one now as well. Happy Hunting to all.
SHAKER: AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #654 – 2ND PRINT | MARVEL | 2011
We all remember Flash Thompson – the guy who bullied Peter Parker early on in the Amazing Spider-Man series and on the big screen. It’s hard to imagine that guy getting his act together let alone turning into a hero. Yet Flash Thompson does just that. After a distinguished military career, he ultimately loses his legs while in service. But that’s not where his story ends … Flash ends up bonding with the Venom symbiote to become Agent Venom – a cool plot twist that starts in Amazing Spider-Man #654. ASM #654 is around a $250 book in CGC 9.8 and sports over 400 universal copies on the CGC census (a whopping 295 of those copies are CGC 9.8’s). There’s also a rare Newsstand edition with only 19 universal copies on the CGC census (the last recorded CGC 9.8 sale was back in 2019). The ASM #654 collector/speculator darling is, however, this 2nd print featuring some epic internal book art on the cover. A CGC 9.8 copy of the 2nd Print recently sold for an all-time high of $2,219, beating out the previous all-time high set back in April at just under $2K. That’s pretty solid for a book with 46 universal CGC 9.8 copies on the census (out of a total of 220). A couple of notes of caution, there’s a Mexican version of the book with the same interior art cover that is notably cheaper than the actual 2nd print. Also, there’s an ASM #654.1 that continues the Agent Venom storyline, but if you’re looking for the true 1st appearance of Flash as Agent Venom make sure to grab ASM #654 – yet we still recommend reading 654.1 as it’s a cool story.
SHAKER: THE BEYOND #1 | ACE MAGAZINES | 1950
Titled, “The Werewolf Strikes,” the dramatic cover art was likely drawn by Warren Kremer and features Professor Drago (AKA The Werewolf) reaching off the page with his broken and jagged nails and a snarl on his face! This issue features several short stories. The title story echoes a sort of Dr. Jekyl theme, with Drago trying to find a cure for his lycanthropy. “The Reluctant Ghost” is a “careful what you wish for” fable, and “The Phantom Puppet” features a Jack the Ripper puppet that comes to life with a bloody vengeance. “Master of the Undead” is a zombie story. This issue rarely comes up for sale. Our last CGC 5.0 was from 2015 and sold for $156. This past week we saw the same grade sell for $900!
SHAKER: CAPTAIN AMERICA #25 – ADAM HUGHES (1:50) | MARVEL | 2014
This comic market is very fickle these days. The rules have immensely changed. Even 3 years ago, when a book’s value was “dead” it stayed dead. However, seeing characters like Nebula and Gamora spike in value after a decade of content is simply surprising. Another case is this issue’s first appearance of Sam Wilson as Captain America. This book has yo’yo’d in value since Sam was handed the Captain America shield at the end of AVENGERS: ENDGAME. Granted, a lot of these fluctuations were tied to Anthony Mackie’s well-acted misdirections of him NOT becoming Captain America. However, as soon as we saw him in action as Cap, this book skyrocketed. Then, a few months later, prices plummeted. After hitting a high of $800 in a 9.8 in April 2021, it sold for half that in this past August and in early October. However, it looks to be back on the upswing with a 9.8 selling for $600 this week. If you have been sitting this one out, time to jump back in. The standard cover has been selling for around $25. While many copies listed are asking for more, it’s time to take advantage of those lower-priced copies.
SHAKER: CAPTAIN AMERICA’S WEIRD TALES #75 | MARVEL | 1950
By 1950, the U.S. was over the war and war-based content. It was an exhausting and challenging time for the world as a whole. So, 5 years after the war ended, it was time to move on. Marvel recognized this and examined what a post-war Captain America looked like. During this time, horror-based comics were immensely popular and after 70 issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA, decided to pivot to a more horror feel by changing the title on issue #75 with CAPTAIN AMERICA’S WEIRD TALES, featuring a VERY PCH cover of Red Skull. The title was carried over into this issue, #75, which is a straight-up horror-based comic without Cap even appearing in it. However, by issue #76, Marvel jumped back into the old Star-Spangled Captain America, this time focusing on the events around the “Red Scare” and hunting down communist traitors (the book was even titled CAPTAIN AMERICA… COMMIE SMASHER). This turned out to be very successful for Marvel, and the series progressed. With that said, these two horror issues are VERY highly collectible and sold for a low-grade raw sale of $775, following September’s higher grade copy sell for $1,500.
SHAKER: CAPTAIN MARVEL #17 (52) – NEWSSTAND | MARVEL | 2004
This week, the standard version of this book landed in the #11 runner-up spot on our TOP 10. As noted, it’s been long speculated that Phyla-Vell, the cloned daughter of Mar-vell, would possibly appear in the MCU (specifically in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: VOL. 3). While there’s been no confirmation, the main problem with this rumor is that there has been no set-up to even introduce the character any time soon (especially with the need to introduce Mar-vell first). Yet, renewed speculation has re-ignited from recent chatter. This new interest made collectors rush online to buy Phyla-Vell’s first full appearance with multiple raw sales last week as high as $125! However, the big surprise was this newsstand sale, which sold for a huge $300. This is one to watch to see if any rumors become more solidified.
SHAKER: CARNAGE U.S.A. #1 – HUMBERTO RAMOS (1:100) | MARVEL | 2011
Back in 2011, 1:100 variants were incredibly tough to find for even the hottest series. 2010-2012 were three of the lowest printed years for Marvel and have produced some of the most valuable variants due to their scarcity. This is especially true for this Carnage series, which most shops barely ordered even 10 copies of. Ten years later, it truly cemented itself as a pricey book. This week, it had an all-time high raw sale of $450 (beating out the last high sale of $449 by one dollar back in January 2021). Plans for Carnage will not stop at Venom 2, so this should retain its value for the near future.
SHAKER: DRAGON BALL #1 | VIZ MEDIA | 1998
Like Pokemon, Viz Media produced these standard U.S. comics off of these massive brands and did quite well with them. As they’ve both grown in popularity, both Pokemon and Dragon Ball #1 are quite valuable today. This first issue of Dragon Ball hit a new high sale of $200 this week. There are only 8 copies of this book on the CGC census, with two 9.8 copies. Expect this book to go WAY up, especially if a 9.8 ever hits.
SHAKER: EXPOSED #1 | D.S. PUBLISHING | 1948
We know we’re past Halloween now, but that doesn’t mean those pre-code horror comics are going away. Famously nicknamed the “Nagging” cover, it’s no wonder the comics code stepped in to censor such extreme subject matter. PCH books were not kind to women. Even Death in this picture is pretty horrified by what’s going on. This week, this highly sought-after book sold a CGC 4.5 for a new high sale of $1,575. There’s an 8.5 up for auction on Heritage. So, we’re looking forward to seeing what that sells for. It’s the highest-graded copy that’s ever come to market. We expect it to land around $15K.
SHAKER: IRON MAN #282 | MARVEL | 1992
War Machine was hinted at back in 2008’s IRON MAN 1. After over a decade in the MCU, he’s another character getting a recent surge in market value. While War Machine had its highest sale ever in July at $800 for a 9.8, this week’s $700 sale supports that high sale. For over 11 years, you could have picked this up for well under $200 in a 9.8. It was highly undervalued until this past year. Though with “Rhodey” Rhodes taking the lead on Disney+’s ARMOR WARS is most likely a key driver for this increase.
SHAKER: THE LONE RANGER COMICS #1 | LONE RANGER, INC. | 1939
The Lone Ranger is one of comics’ most successful series of all time. From the ’40s to the ’70s, it was a huge franchise. While the Dell 1948 comics series was the first series for the character, he appeared in this one-shot 9 years earlier. This first appearance of The Long Ranger in comics is one tough book to find as it was only sold via a mail-in offer for an ice cream company (name unknown). This poster insert version is even rarer (which included 2 inserts; a poster pasted over the centerfold, and a smaller one glued onto the back cover). This poster version is the first sale we’ve seen for either copy, which sold for $2,850 for a CGC 7.0. Another fun fact, as noted by CGC, is that this is also the first Western comic book devoted to a single character.
SHAKER: MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL #1 | MARVEL | 1976
This issue is the second full appearance of the Phoenix (Jean Grey,) and the first team-up of Spider-Man and the X-Men. The plot involves several scientists working in a secret location known as the Nest. They are involved in a nuclear accident, turning them into higher beings and taking on the names of Hindu Gods. Meanwhile, X-Men members are guests on Charles Xavier’s plane on their way to a conference on man-made mutation. Peter Parker also happens to be on board as he is covering the story for the Daily Bugle. The plane is disrupted by a nuclear cloud forcing the plane to land where they come into conflict with the now mutated scientists. All of the X-men members succumb to an energy prison except for Jean Grey, whose power is required for the scientists to reach their final ascension to becoming higher beings. A battle ensues, the Nest members are ultimately sent into space where they are transformed into a new star. And speaking of new stars, a CGC 9.8 of this issue hit $800! The previous high sale for a 9.8 was for $615 from March 2021. Rare to find this book in a 9.8 grade, but mid to high-grade raw copies are still very affordable!
SHAKER: MARVEL ZOMBIES #1 – GREG LAND VARIANT | MARVEL | 2015
We’ve previously noted the surge in interest in Elsa Bloodstone variants. Well, here’s another. This 2015 series featured a sole Elsa. Greg Land 1:25 variant. Up until 2021, this was a $7 variant. However, with Elsa gaining so much favor amongst collectors, it’s now a $65+ raw book with a new high sale of $300 for a CGC 9.8. This is one to look for out in the wild.
SHAKER: MILLIE THE MODEL COMICS #1 | MARVEL | 1945
Millie the Model was a very popular comic series. It’s also Marvel’s (Timely in the early days) longest-running humor series of all time. This run had numerous spin-offs and also produced Marvel’s very first annual issue in 1962. It’s an important book to the history of comics as it was the creation of one of the first women in comics, Ruth Atkinson. Ruth was a pioneer in an industry dominated by Men. She wrote, penciled, and inked this first issue… working on the series until 1952 when she married and retired from comics. In addition, this series also later featured the work of Dan DeCarlo, of Archie legend, who gave Archie their signature look… inspired by Millie. This first issue and appearance of Millie the Model are still severely undervalued, as seen by this week’s new high raw sale of $835.
SHAKER: ROBERT JORDAN’S THE WHEEL OF TIME: THE EYE OF THE WORLD #1 – SKETCH (1:10) | DYNAMITE | JAN 1, 2009
Based on Robert Jordan’s immensely popular fantasy series of the same name, this comic book adaptation is getting significant market interest as we near Amazon’s highly-anticipated adaptation of the series, featuring actress Rosalind Pike. After a teaser trailer hit mid-October, the books saw a slight uptick. However, after the full trailer hit last week, it got collectors rushing to find the harder-to-find issues, like this 1:10 variant which sold two copies this week with one at $250 raw and another for $350 NM – raw. This show looks epic and could gain a solid following. With the show releasing on November 19th, the time to look for these is RIGHT now. There were several series before Dynamite’s by Publisher Red Eagle and another by Dabel Brothers, which was released one year before it was reprinted into this series by Dynamite. ALL of those series are highly valuable and SUPER tough to find. There’s plenty here to hunt for. Meanwhile, check out the full trailer HERE.
SHAKER: SECRET HEARTS #83 | DC | 1962
In our July 28th, 2021 Week in Review, we covered this significant book of modern-day art. As a refresher, American Pop Art legend Roy Lichtenstein helped put comics literally on a pedestal. He showcased comic art with his signature style and turned it into works that are now worth millions. This specific comic contains the art on the first internal page that Roy used to create one of his most popular works “The Drowning Girl”. The piece is currently owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This week, it hit another new milestone and sold for a new high sale of $635 for a 4.0 raw.
SHAKER: SPAWN #185 – TODD MCFARLANE – HEADLESS | IMAGE | 2008
Spawn heat is nuts right now. With the announcement of Todd McFarlane starting his TV division, we may just see SPAWN finally return to content. Rivaling Spider-Man himself, Spawn has one of the longest lists of valuable variants of all comic book characters. The years he lingered in low print runs created some scarce covers. One of the most valuable of these books is this headless cover which just hit a new high sale of $3,600… almost doubling the last high of $2K back in January 2021. Just to note, this is the McFarlane headless and shares the same art (minus a head) in the standard cover and 2nd print. There’s another headless cover by Greg Capullo, which sells for $125 raw and $300 in a 9.8.
SHAKER: SUSPENSE COMICS #8 | TEMERSON / HELNIT / CONTINENTAL | 1945
With the PCH vibe of this week in review, how could we NOT include our favorite creator L.B. Cole? His cover for this issue is just awesome. Last week, it had a big sale for a low CGC 1.8 copy at $1,375. Seriously, if you can, invest in L.B. Cole.
SHAKER: WAR AGAINST CRIME #10 | EC | 1949
This week we had a record sale of an uncommon and relatively unassuming key issue from EC Comics. War Against Crime #10 is the first appearance of the Vault of Horror and the Vault Keeper. This week, a CGC 1.5 copy sold for $1,560. This beat out the prior record in this grade of $775 by just over 100% and even sold for more than the record CGC 5.0 sale of $1,502 from January of last year. There’s no question that the demand for pre-code horror comics appears to be growing whether it’s Halloween or not. One interesting fact about this book is that while it’s relatively uncommon, with only 44 universal copies on the CGC census, there are seven 9.8s and even one 9.9. A 9.8 sold for a record $12,000 back in 2018, but the elusive 9.9 has never sold publicly according to our records.
SHAKER: WEIRD SCIENCE-FANTASY #29 | EC | 1955
Winding down this week’s love affair with PCH books, let’s go to the King himself, Frank Frazetta. This classic Frazetta cover was his last Pre-Code Horror issue and one of his most sought-after books. This week, a raw copy sold for $821. As the comic community gains more awareness of the massive influence Frazetta had on comics, these are books that simply won’t be coming back down. Check out our friends at The Definitive Podcast brilliantly deep dive on Frazetta HERE as well as their interview with his granddaughter, Sarah Frazetta. Caution, these videos WILL make you buy a Frazetta book.
SHAKER: WONDER WOMAN #38 – DAVID FINCH (1:100) | DC | 2015
This collector favorite variant was immediately hot back in 2015. Finch’s 1:100 was expensive for quite a while. However, sales dipped the next several years’ post-release, with 9.8’s at $450 and raws around $150. However, over the past year, CGC 9.8s have reached as high as $900. This week, this book hit a new raw high of $355.
SHAKER: X-MEN #510 – CAMPBELL BLACK AND WHITE VARIANT | MARVEL | 2009
This week’s raw sale of $1,526 may not be the highest of all time (which belongs to a $1,750 sale back in April 2018), it simply doesn’t see too many listings let alone sales. However, what’s notable about this sale is how low the condition was. With several tears, a spine curl, and wrinkling throughout, even a press can’t get this to the all-time high sale of $13K for a 9.8. Still, $1,526 for a mid to low-grade condition copy isn’t too shabby.
As noted above, Deadline is reporting “Todd McFarlane Launches TV Production Unit, Announces ‘McFarland’ & ‘Thumbs’ Series, Talks Taking On Hollywood As Outsider & Plotting ‘Spawn’ Universe”. This is giving this Image title by writer Sean Lewis a nice bump in sales and value, currently trending at a $30 FMV.
WHAT THE WATCHER IS WATCHING
WATCHING: DARK AVENGERS #1 | MARVEL | 2009
This week, Dark Avengers #1 hit a high sale of $510 for a CGC 9.8 (with a high of $550 back in September). The market is divided on whether we see a Thunderbolts project or a Dark Avengers in the MCU. The answer could also be neither. Right now, the market value winner goes to the Thunderbolts as their first appearance in INCREDIBLE HULK #449 is out-pricing Dark Avengers with a FMV of $700 for a 9.8. Thunderbolt Ross exists and is present throughout the MCU. As the Warden of The Raft, also seen in the MCU, the prison for super-powered threats seems like a good foundation to bring in that team. However, with Norman Osborn most likely appearing in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (all we saw were pumpkin bombs in the trailer), many feel that this film will introduce Norman Osborn into the MCU. With Venom now in the MCU, Yelena Belova’s appearance in BLACK WIDOW, and a quick reference of Daken at Madripoor… the Dark Avengers have more support than they did a few months ago. NO WAY HOME will probably shed some light on this. However, the real answer might have to wait until most likely THE MARVELS in 2023. For now, we’re watching.
KEY COMIC OF THE WEEK
KEY OF THE WEEK: STRANGE TALES #178 | MARVEL | 1975
With the introduction of Adam Warlock to the MCU, speculation has moved on to who could be his big bad… which led folks to MAGUS. Magus is essentially a future evil version of Adam Warlock. While this is pure guesswork, his first appearance in this issue hit a huge sale of $7,500 for a CGC 9.8 this week. Like all rumors, we shall see.
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Lead Writer: Matt DeVoe | [email protected]
Comic Contributor: Matt Day |[email protected]
Comic Contributor: Ryan Forster | [email protected]
Comic Contributor: DiodeLad | [email protected]vrprice.com
Comic Contributor: Morris Palter | [email protected]
Editor: John Sulaitis | [email protected]
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