With the new Joaquin Phoenix led ‘Joker’ movie receiving a standing ovation and a Golden Lion for best film at the Venice film festival, and with writers other than Tom King getting ready to offer new plots and Batman books for projects set to begin in 2020, there has been non-stop Bat-news hitting the internet lately.
Has the Bat-news affected prices and sales on Batman comics? You bet it has.
In this post, I’ll give a brief overview of what’s happening in the Batman comics world.
We can begin by talking about what’s not happening. Namely, the stunning success of the ‘Joker’ movie (see here), doesn’t seem to have made an impact on Batman or Joker comics, at least not any immediately noticeable one. Some critics are actually talking about an Oscar nomination going to Phoenix for his role in this film and this is certainly good news for the DCEU film universe (and they could use some good news).
There are 1,146 copies of this Bronze Age book on the CGC census, and news of the film had already been sending prices upwards. In fact the current FMV for certified 9.2 copies now stands at $130.00 (in line with Overstreet Price Guide 2019 values, which have it at $120.00 in that grade). But take a look at the last three 9.8 sales on eBay: $531.00 (07/15/2019), $699.00 (07/24/2019), $660.00 (09/04/2019).
Long term increase, moreover, has been steadily positive over the last 10 years. The last three months have seen mixed/negative returns, with positive data only on 9.8 (up +28% after 6 sales) and 9.4 copies (up +16.8% after 6 sales). Why no surge from the movie hype? For one thing, this movie is the equivalent of an ‘Else-worlds’ story featuring the Joker. It has been described as – at best- loosely based on the DC material, but as having more in common with Martin Scorsese than Bob Kane. Have no fear Bat-lovers because the Matt Reeves’ ‘Batman’ movie is still getting ready to reboot the entire franchise. So your comics will see movement- especially if artistically successful projects continue to emerge promoting the Batman mythos. Should you pick up Joker #1? I would recommend getting a higher grade copy if you love the character or, better yet, for a good long term hold, grab: Batman #251 (September 1973) with its classic Neal Adams’ Joker cover which is also the better bet to retain value.
From the Joker we move to the Batman himself where rumors abounded this week that there was a big change coming. If further proof were needed that we are living in a time obsessed with diversity, the word last week was that DC is aiming to give us a new Batman in 2020. Batman will be back, but he’ll also be black. Yes, according to various sources (or the same source regurgitated by different online sites) DC is looking to change up the Batman stories, and will introduce a black Batman (see here).
After Tom King leaves, we still don’t know who’ll take over writing duties, but Warren Ellis/Bryan Hitch have been suggested and they may eventually prepare the ground for a Brian Michael Bendis take on the character (see here). We know Bendis likes to experiment.
Thus far, the only actually consistent news is that Batman/Bruce Wayne will step down and another character (of African origin) will take Wayne’s place. Some have speculated that a de-powered Black Lightning would be the choice, but there are more suitable candidates already in the Batman universe. Most notably, and mentioned in passing by Bendis is Luke Fox, hence the hype about Batwing.
Not the first Batwing – Congolese pilot David Zavimbe- but Batwing II, Luke Fox, the son of Wayne corps employee Lucius Fox who has now become the prime candidate to replace Bruce Wayne.
This news has led to crazy sales on 2013’s Batwing #19. This was a minor key at best before the news, and saw a slight bump from around $5.00 – $15.00 when it was learned that Luke Fox would appear on the CW ‘Batwoman’ show. Now that people think Luke will be the next Batman (at least temporarily), Batwing #19 has skyrocketed to sales of between $80.00 and $90.00 this weekend.
There were five eBay sales in the $60.00-$85.00 range today alone.
The potential for this book to really surge is actually not at all a crazy notion.
First of all, Batwing #19 had a fairly small print run (ComicChron.com put it at a mere 13,570 units shipped. See here).
The dilemma becomes, if you have the book, should you sell or hold. Right now it’s hard to say. If the rumors pan out, the first Luke Fox could easily become a $300.00 book in higher grade. What’s a Bat-fan to do?