Annihilus Annihilated?

by Blaise Tassone

a6annihilus-300x282 Annihilus Annihilated?

Not so long ago, except by the standards of our frenetic and rabid news/gossip cycle, Annihilius was the character to spec on. Annihilus would make an MCU appearance at the end of Avengers 4! Annihilus will replace Thanos as the big bad for Phase 4! Except, none of it happened. So where does that leave all those copies of Fantastic Four Annual #6 people bought up for such high prices?

Reflecting on the recent Annihilus spec bubble is actually an interesting exercise in several ways. First, and let’s face it; we comic geeks are living in a Golden Age of comic book trading and comic culture exposure.

When I was sixteen, I would never have dreamed in a thousand years that we would have major Hollywood motion pictures depicting characters like Iron Man, Star Lord, Thanos and Ultron.

Certainly, even if I could convince my sixteen year old self those movies would get made, never in a million years would I have believed that they would also become worldwide financial and critical successes.

Fast forward thirty years and we appear to have entered what some refer to as the pop cultural state of ‘peak geek’. So ubiquitous is comic book inspired entertainment (big screen, small screen, animated, you name it) that a speculator’s job becomes almost too easy.

Which characters haven’t appeared yet? What are their comics worth? Just buy up everything and wait till a movie is made can actually seem, today, like a viable and sound option for guiding speculation.

Yet, as the case of Annihilus shows, this isn’t always the case….or is it?

120800_7ff87ff14f9e09047c1653cd8aefea295771c99c-204x300 Annihilus Annihilated?

Fantastic Four Annual #6 (November 1968) – First appearance of Annihilus; First appearance of Franklin Richards

The first appearance of Annihilus actually occupies an interesting place in current spec wars.

For one thing, it’s a Marvel Silver Age comic. These are the blue chip stocks of our current back issues market. Moreover, since very few Silver Age books haven’t already peaked; it just so happens that Annihilus’ debut is connected directly to one of the few still undervalued Marvel properties that Disney just spent millions of dollars to acquire the rights to: The Fantastic Four.

What could be wiser than picking up sleeper keys in the original FF run?

Well, all the above is probably what led many people to rise to the occasion and spend a lot of money on FF Annual #6. This book literally took off when the rumors began months ago about an Annihilus MCU appearance. Currently there are a total of 661 copies of this comic on the CGC census. Let’s ignore qualified, restored and signature series certified copies, that gives us a grand total of 605 blue label copies. If we jump back to before January of 2018, on December 26, 2017, there were exactly 262 Universal Blue Label copies with an average grade of 7.97.

Records of slabs begin only circa 2001. That means that it took 16 years to go from 0 – 262 units graded. Then, between January of 2018 and up to January 08, of 2019, we find 407 units on the census; average grade is now 7.53. This was an avalanche of submissions with more mid and low grade copies being slabbed. Prices, accordingly, rose.

In June of 2017 you could find FF Annual # 6 in presentable 6.0 grade for all of $89.99 [eBay sale 06/14/2017]. Two months later, in August of 2017, a copy sold for $65.00 [eBay: 08/08/2018]. Today that 6.0 has a FMV of $290.00. Higher grades, harder to find because this is a square bound extra-sized Silver Age Annual, witnessed even bigger price jumps.

On 06/01/2017 a 9.6 graded copy sold on eBay for $1, 495.00. Fast forward to February of 2019 and we find a ComicLink auction of the same book in the same condition selling for $3,955.00. It’s more than doubled in value in a single year.

Now we can turn to the handy GoCollect analyzer. The Last three months have not been kind to the value of FF Annual #6. While long term values have soared (we’ve seen this with other Silver Age books), sales over the last 12 weeks show mixed returns with only the higher grades (8.0 and up) maintaining strong positive returns.

7.5 grades by contrast are negative – 10.7% after 4 sales. A 7.0 copy, in April, fetched $599.00. The last sale (on May 17, 2019) went for $455.00 [ouch!].

5.5 grades, of the last 6 sales, were also hard hit by the spec bubble explosion. Whereas on March 1, 2019 a 5.5 sold for $350.00 on eBay, in anticipation of ‘Endgame’ boost, the same grade sold on May 26 for $236.50.

But like I said, there is also still positive growth on the higher grades. Over the last 12 weeks 8.0 are up +4.5% after 9 sales [high price: eBay 03/31/2019 = $685.00; low: ComicLink Auction on 03/04/2019 for $522.00]. 9.0‘s are up +22.3% after 3 sales [ComicLink auction, 03/04/2019 = $877.00, eBay sale 03/22/2019 = $1, 150.00 and eBay sale on 05/15/2019 = $995.00].

What the data shows, is that even with the high number of sales continuing between March and May, prices have softened. The reason this comic still grabs such high prices: it’s a Silver Age Lee-Kirby FF key. It’s not only the first appearance of Annihilus but also the first Franklin Richards. We’ve seen that it can attract buyers based on mere rumor, once we have concrete proof that the FF are coming and that either Annihilus or Baby Franklin will appear in the MCU, does anyone really believe prices will still drop?

Until then, if you see a bargain price on a copy, I say grab it.

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