Following Punchline’s successful debut, Batman #96 will introduce Clownhunter, and I can already hear eBay’s cash registers dinging, but don’t overspend on a comic that may or may not go anywhere.
As the pieces are set in place for this summer’s “Joker War,” Batman’s latest villain will join the mix, and I suspect it will tie into Geoff Johns’ “Three Jokers” story that he’s teased us with for years. To make the issue even more collectible, Batman #96 also will give Punchline an official origin, so there’s that.
It was less than a month ago that current Bat-scribe James Tynion IV introduced us to the Joker’s newest femme fatale, Punchline. Collectors were particularly crazy about her in the hopes that she will ascend to Harley Quinn levels. I don’t blame anyone from buying a copy for near cover price, but there’s no reason to overspend on either of her first appearances. Keep in mind that this was no secret debut, and DC published thousands of these, so it’s not in short supply. Here’s a breakdown of the latest numbers on the two.
Ghost of Bill Finger, Batman! Prices for this issue are completely ridiculous.
Since February 29, there have been 19 recorded sales of graded 9.8s. None have sold for under three figures, and the highest so far was for $175, giving it a fair market value of $141 as of March 10.
However, the fickle market is already showing signs of turning. Three of the last four sales have been for $133 or less. The most recent sale as of the day of this writing was for the lowest sale price so far, $119. While that’s still a high price, I suspect it will fall below $100 unless DC suddenly has major plans for Punchline.
Punchline’s second overall appearance is earning top dollar, no question, but it is the less popular of the two issues.
As I write this, there have been seven total sales for the standard edition. At a 9.8, Hell Arisen #3 has sold twice for $148 and $149, respectively. There have been more sales for the 9.6, five altogether, and each one has brought exactly $100 with the latest trading hands on March 5.
A WORD OF CAUTION
It’s redundant at this point, but I’ll say it again for fun: the major publishers know the easy money is in new characters.
Marvel and DC are well aware that slapping a newbie’s face in a comic will send the collecting/investing community into a salivous frenzy. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing. These days, with all the “doom and gloom” speculation for the comic industry as a whole, anything that boosts sales is worth supporting. My issue (pun intended, and you’re welcome) with the practice is that it tends to inspire some fairly one-dimensional, forgettable characters.
Did you invest over $100 in the first appearances of Naomi or Major X? Initially, their debuts brought lofty prices. Since then, the values for their first appearances have relatively shriveled compared to last spring. That could be the case with Punchline and the upcoming Clownhunter. Don’t get carried away in the Batman #96 hysteria, and keep your investment at $20 or less.