For many collectors, Barry Windsor-Smith might be synonymous with Valiant. He provided cover illustrations for a wide variety of early-era Valiant titles. Books like Archer and Armstrong #0, Bloodshot #1, Solar #3, and X-O Manowar #4 are prime examples of his work. However, some of his earlier work at Marvel, especially working on the X-Men, is equally iconic.
Lifedeath & Lifedeath II
Barry Windsor-Smith had some of the most eye-catching and iconic covers of any artist during Chris Claremont’s seminal X-Men run. His first collaboration with Claremont appeared in X-Men #186.
The cover of the book is a classic Windsor-Smith look and features some amazing interior pencils by him as well. It’s pretty wild to think that this artist is the same one who drew the Kirby-inspired cover and interiors for X-Men #53 all those years before.
It is worth noting that issue 53 is his first comic book work. A CGC 9.8 will set you back about $2,000. X-Men #198 is a follow-up to his previous X-Men story. X-Men #198 even takes the rare step (for the time) of name-dropping the creative team on the front of the book. This book is not a key by any stretch, but for around $60 for a CGC 9.8, you can get a great-looking cover to add to your collection.
Wolverine and Weapon-X
X-Men #212 and Marvel Comics Presents #72 are two books I had my eye on last year. These are the two books that I regret not jumping on when their prices were much lower. Both of these titles have seen very robust gains in the last six months. X-Men #212 has one of the best Wolverine covers of any era and is part of the Mutant Massacre crossover event.
It is a minor Wolverine key, as it features his first battle with Sabretooth. The book is right around $250 currently for a CGC 9.8. MCP #72 is currently priced as a minor key. However, this is the first appearance of the Weapon X Program anywhere. This book is selling for $350 in a CGC 9.8 and climbing quickly.
The Weapon X story continues all the way up to issue #84 and every issue in the run features Windsor-Smith covers to go along with his interior work on the story. Of the later issues, MCP #74 and MCP #84 feature the most iconic covers. This run had been under the radar until very recently, and even still, issue #72 is the one getting the most notice, because of the first appearance of the Weapon X Program. It’s definitely worth keeping an eye on them.
A Look to the Future
Barry Windsor-Smith cemented his X-Men legacy with his seminal work on Weapon X in Marvel Comics Presents. These books had been under the radar, but I expect them all to continue climbing steadily over the course of the year.
As these books heat up, it’s not unreasonable to think that other BWS books will also start to get more notice. That’s my opinion, though. What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments!