In celebration of Black History month, we’re going to take a look at some of the biggest and most important heroes in comics. Up first, the Black Panther.
T’Challa’s First Appearance
As most GoCollect readers are surely aware, Black Panther made his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52. He was the first black superhero. The noble T’Challa was an icon then and would enjoy his greatest fame just a few years ago when Marvel Studios released the Black Panther film, one of the top grossing movies of all time.
There are 6,682 graded copies of Fantastic Four #52 in the CGC census. As with many Marvel Silver Age keys, prices have dropped quite substantially over the past year, although we are seeing some signs that the correction may have reached bottom as prices are beginning to rise once more.
This isn’t happening across all grades. It’s also hard to say if a single sale in a grade is the start of a trend or a momentary blip. Time will tell.
In the January 16 Heritage auction, a 9.0 graded copy sold for $10,560, a 54% increase over a November eBay auction sale for $6,878. Of course, that November sale was a huge drop from the previous sale and the all-time high in the 9.0 grade, a March 2022 eBay sale for $15,000. Again, it’s hard to say if this is a reversal of the downward trend.
Silver Age Black Panther Keys
Black Panther made his next appearance in the very next issue, Fantastic Four #53, a comic that also contains his origin as well as the first appearance of the villain, Klaw.
There are 1,763 graded copies and the correction is still continuing for this comic. In the 9.6 grade, the 1-year average is at $3,240 while the 30-day average has dropped to $2,880. We see the same thing in the more affordable 7.5 grade – $396 1-year average, $350 30-day average – and the 5.0 grade – $147 1-year average, $106 30-day average.
If you find yourself priced out of Black Panther’s first appearance, his second in Fantastic Four #53, particularly when considering Klaw’s first appearance, could be a worthy alternative.
Black Panther joined the Avengers in Avengers #52, and would come and go from the team over the years. This issue also marks the first appearance of the Grim Reaper.
There are 827 graded copies in the CGC census. December sales in the 9.6 grade tell the tale. A 9.6 sold on eBay on December 16 for a slashed $1,395. Just twelve days later, on December 28, a 9.6 sold in a Heritage auction for $930, a drop of roughly 26% in less than two weeks.
However, some of the other grades are beginning to see increases: 8.5 grade up roughly 30% in the past month and 6.5 up 18%. Other grades are flat or still see a slight correction.
Jungle Action in the Bronze Age
Black Panther would finally see his own solo feature beginning in Jungle Action #5. While it may be something of a first solo issue, it is also, unfortunately, a reprint of Avengers #62. While it has some value in the higher grades – 9.6 30-day average of $392 and 8.0 30-day average of $210 – you’re better off putting your money behind Jungle Action #6, the start of Don McGregor’s 13-part Panther’s Rage storyline and the first appearance of Erik Killmonger.
Recent sales include a 7.5 selling in the January 18 Hake’s auction for $173, down sharply from the previous sale on eBay on December 25 for a slashed $325, and down 63% from its all-time high in this grade of $465 set in July 2022. This is a great book, and with prices dropping so much it’s definitely much more affordable if you’re a Black Panther collector.
The entire Panther’s Rage story is one of the best Black Panther stories ever and is worth considering for your collection. If you’re primarily interested in the keys from the series, however, you can’t go wrong with Jungle Action #8, Jungle Action #18, or Jungle Action #19.
First Self-Titled Series
After a decade of existence, Marvel finally gave T’Challa his own series beginning with 1977’s Black Panther #1. With 5,461 graded copies, this comic sells frequently.
Trend lines are generally downward. The 30-day average for a 9.4 is $215, down 11% from the 1-year average of $241; the 30-day average for an 8.0 is $96, down 9% from the 1-year average of $106; and the 30-day average for a 5.5 is $47, down 27$ from the 1-year average of $64.
Being that it’s a first issue, it’s worthy of its status as a key comic. However, the story is mediocre and not one of Jack Kirby’s best efforts.
A New Black Panther
While there have been a number of key Black Panther issues and appearances since the 1970s, none ranks as highly as Black Panther #2 from 2005. In this issue, we’re introduced to Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, who will go on to become a new Black Panther, both in the comics and the MCU films.
There are 2,234 graded copies of this comic in the CGC census. Like many modern books, it has taken a tumble of late. It’s peak price in the 9.8 grade in March 2022 – reached less than a year ago – was a slashed $4,500. It’s very much an outlier, seeing as how the next highest price paid (and there are quite a few sales) were within the $1,200 to $1,300 range.
Sales in December and January, however, have averaged $273. So, whether you’re looking at that outlier or the other high prices, it’s still an enormous drop. The big question mark with this book revolves around the staying power of Shuri. If she sticks around in comics AND the MCU, you could be looking at a bargain price right now. If not, it’s anyone’s guess.
Are you a Black Panther collector? What are some of your favorite issues? Let us know below.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.