It pays to collect those free promotional comics, especially if you have the Maximum Carnage #1 video game tie in.
Since the 1970s, companies have partnered with comic publishers to market their products. There have been reprints of Action Comics #1 that came with the purchase of a sleeping bag or jar of peanut butter. That’s not to mention the Spider-Man comic you could have gotten with All laundry detergent.
One of the most coveted of all promotional comics is Maximum Carnage #1. Published in 1994, this was part of the marketing campaign for Acclaim’s Maximum Carnage video game. The comic reprinted the story from Spider-Man Unlimited #1, and it was included with the purchase of the game.
Back in the 1990s, it wasn’t uncommon to have a promotional comic giveaway, so it was easy to overlook Acclaim’s Spider-Man reprint. It had a relatively low print run, and legendary artist Bill Sienkiewicz drew the magnificent cover art. However, all of these factors are what makes this such a rare find, especially in a high grade.
A RARE FIND
According to CGC’s census data, there are only 69 graded copies registered with CGC. That includes six signed copies and just 63 universal grades. What is even rarer is a near mint-plus 9.8 as there are only six graded copies are listed.
Having only a half dozen 9.8s that have been graded by CGC, it explains the high prices for Maximum Carnage #1.
Since 2008, there have been just three online sales for a graded 9.8. Twelve years ago, one brought $250. Whoever had the foresight to invest that small amount in this comic is reaping the rewards. After over a decade without a recorded sale, two 9.8s have traded hands this year. On January 28, one sold for $3,524. The number was eclipsed on March 29 when another 9.8 brought a record $4,000.
While the 9.6 is not as rare as those 9.8s, they are not in abundance. The CGC census documents only 12 issues at that grade, all with the blue universal label. Still, we don’t have many 9.6s being traded online.
Since 2007, only five graded copies have been bought online. However, having twice as many copies in circulation brings down the price quite a bit. Up to 2011, this was a $100 comic, but in 2018 two issues surpassed that mark. The first was an October 11 sale for $360. The second and last recorded sale was on November 11, 2018, and it brought $625.
Of all the grades for Maximum Carnage #1, the 9.4 has proven to be the most popular. Dating back to 2006, nine copies at this grade have traded hands online. Sure it was 14 years ago, but it should be noted that a 9.4 sold for a mere $23 back then. Since 2016, this has been a much more collectible comic. Over the past four years, it hasn’t sold for less than $115. This past February, one of those 9.4s brought $600.
With all the hype surrounding Sony’s Venom 2 movie, it’s not a mystery why everything Carnage has been hot in recent years. Fans lost their collective minds when Woody Harrelson appeared as Cletus Kasady in the post-credits scene in the original movie. As we get closer to a full trailer with Carnage in all his symbiotic glory, Maximum Carnage #1 will only get more expensive.