Welcome back to the Blogger Dome! Here, bloggers will argue different topics involving the comic book market and industry. This will be a combination of the Big Bang Theory meets the WWE. Smack talk mixed with comic book debates. Bloggers going at each other to amuse and educate our readers. And we want to hear what YOU have to say about it. Today’s topic is Sabretooth vs. Bullseye. So, tune in, get comfy, and let’s get… it… on!
Ding ding! Allow me to present your newest fighters in the Blogger Dome ring… DOUG and HARRY! Fight!
DOUG: Two of the meanest badasses in comicdom up against each other. Blogger Dome doesn’t get better than this! While it’s a tight match, it’s really going to come up to which character is the toughest and the cruelest, and that, my friends, is Sabretooth. He’ll end up kicking Bullseye’s tail in all rounds by the end. Tight match, yes. But Sabretooth will be the clear winner by the end.
HARRY: Hello everyone and welcome back to another Blogger Dome. This week, Douglas Ohlandt and I will be debating the investment potential and overall badassery of two of Marvel’s most iconic villains, Sabretooth and Bullseye.
Unfortunately for Doug, I have the Bullseye side of the argument and he’ll be going down harder than Elektra in Daredevil #181. Let’s dive in and see if I can convince you why Bullseye wins this fight no matter how you cut it.
Round #1 First Blood!
DOUG: Rip… Slash… Maim…
Since his debut in Iron Fist #14, Sabretooth has been the type of crazy psycho killer fans clamor for. Even his very first published battle was a bloodletting as he managed to slash open the back of a snowblind Danny Rand. And it’s been nothing but mayhem since. While in his next few appearances his primary combatants were Power Man and Iron Fist – check out Power Man and Iron Fist #66 – it was the foe he went up against next who has become his primary nemesis: Wolverine. Their battles – whether it’s their annual donnybrooks in celebration of Logan’s birthday or any pretext for a fight – have become legendary.
Harry’s going to try to tell you about what a tough guy Bullseye is and how his fights against Daredevil have been so wonderful. I’m here to put the “bull” in Bullseye and that argument. Nothing in comics is better than a Sabretooth/Wolverine battle. There is nothing quite like a duel between these two, with its visceral violence and savagery.
Sabretooth is quite willing to whittle anyone down to their bones – literally. The fact that he often does so gleefully makes the fights between him and Wolverine all the better. I mean, we’re talking about a guy who killed his own brother over a piece of pie! Bullseye may be brutal but he’s not an all-out savage. And that makes Sabretooth the winner of this first round as he deals a cutting blow to Bullseye’s – and Harry’s – hopes of winning this Blogger Dome.
HARRY: King of the Assassins
Marvel always recycles characters representative of specific roles as foils and plot devices in their comics and films. For example, Kingpin is the epitome of organized crime, J. Jonah Jameson embodies the newspaper industry, Norman Osborn represents corrupt CEOS, Cletus Cassidy is the go-to serial killer, Nick Fury is the in-house spy, and so on and so forth. If there is a storyline that requires a hitman, you’ll most certainly get a Bullseye appearance. Bullseye is THE apex assassin of the Marvel Universe. Apologies to the Hit-Monkey fans out there.
Marvel first introduced Benjamin Poindexter, aka Bullseye, in Daredevil #131 way back in 1976. Most characters, including Sabretooth, take years if not decades to develop in the Marvel Universe. Bullseye, on the other hand, arrived as a fully-formed, homicidal, psychopathic assassin with the ability to kill people with just about anything in his immediate proximity.
In his debut, we see Bullseye murder his first victim with a fountain pen and then spray paint a threat along with a target on the corpse. This type of gratuitous violence was still relatively rare in comics in the mid 1970s. While many look to the Punisher as the original symbolic character of the escalating crime taking over American cities during this era, I would argue that Bullseye and his murder sprees came first and helped pave the way for more adult content in comics. Since then he has reigned supreme as its most terrifying and prolific killer.
Bullseye is associated with Daredevil in the same way as Sabretooth with Wolverine and the X-Men. The main difference however is that Bullseye is not dependent on his arch-nemesis as he has a larger role as the numero uno assassin in the Marvel Universe, while Sabretooth remains a one-trick pony. What does Sabretooth represent in Marvel and who is he without Wolverine? What is he the best at? He is the king of being a thorn in Logan’s side and that’s about it. Sabretooth simply does not have the depth, complexity, and, most importantly, the flexibility of Bullseye as a character. He definitely does not have Bullseye’s bullpen of protagonists.
Bullseye has had a multitude of classic matchups, all of which could potentially end up in the MCU depending on where Kevin Feige takes his fandom. He has gone toe to toe with the Punisher, Moon Knight, Spider-Man, Deadpool, and even America’s sweetheart Captain America. Recently fellow GoCollect writer Don Y wrote about rumors of Norman Osborn entering the MCU with the Dark Avengers, a team in which Bullseye played a central role as an alternate Hawkeye. In this storyline, Bullseye was sent after Moon Knight, a character with an upcoming Disney+ series. With other rumors of Daredevil appearing in the upcoming Spider-Man movie, the chances of Bullseye debuting in the MCU proper are quickly increasing.
I know what many of you are saying, Sabretooth is going to come to the MCU with Wolverine and the X-Men. Probably. Can he pop up in any movie and does he have a high probability of being a reoccurring villain like Zemo and Loki however? I don’t think so. If you don’t believe me, go scroll through Marvel Unlimited and see how many comics Sabretooth has appeared in that aren’t X-Men related in the last 30 years. You can count them on one hand.
Round #2 Second Swing…
DOUG: Depictions of a Killer
Let’s get this out of the way and just say that there is no question that Frank Miller’s work on Bullseye is absolutely amazing. I like it, and I’m sure Harry does as well. But other than that, there isn’t a whole lot for Bullseye to hang his hood on in terms of how he’s been depicted by various Marvel artists and writers over the years. Sabretooth, on the other hand, has been written and drawn by a veritable who’s who of comic greatness from the Copper Age to the present.
Let’s start with his creators – Chris Claremont and John Byrne. I think you all know who they are. Then there’s the stunning work from Chris Claremont and Alan Davis in Uncanny X-Men #213. Or how about the amazing X-Men #6 by none other than Jim Lee. I could go on and on with other writers and artists. But you get the point. If you’re looking for incredible writing and art by some of the greatest names in comics, you’ll find them in many of Sabretooth’s appearances. Or you could go with that one guy who did a great job with Bullseye. Something tells me the readers would rather go with many than one. At this point, Bullseye is hobbling on one leg as Victor Creed has ruptured his Achilles tendon.
HARRY: Comic Perfection
I’m can’t lie, X-Men and Wolverine comics were some of my favorites growing up as a kid in the 1990s. Chris Claremont, Sabretooth’s creator, had a legendary run on The Uncanny X-Men from 1975 to 1991, in which Victor Creed made frequent appearances. It not only revamped the X-Men title but also helped cement collecting comics as a hobby. I’m most likely going to hurt some feelings here, and definitely Doug’s, but Claremont’s run is a little overrated despite these facts. I said it, and I’m sorry, but it’s true. His run is reminiscent of a boxer that should have quit while he was ahead, maybe after Uncanny X-Men #142 when John Byrne left the series. I am a believer in quality over quantity.
Frank Miller began writing for Daredevil in Daredevil #168 and continued until Daredevil #191. This two-year run is arguably the best written in comic history, second only to Stan Lee’s on Spider-Man. If Claremont made comic collecting and speculating more mainstream. Miller furthered this by inviting adults to collect and read comics with his more adult themes. His writing for Daredevil is flawless from start to finish and Bullseye is the centerpiece of this gritty pulp noir take on the series. Bullseye is the star of the most recognizable, if not shocking, panel in Marvel history, the murder of Elektra Natchios in Daredevil #181. This storyline and panel starring Bullseye have been and will continue to be referenced for years to come. I actually love Sabretooth, but can anyone name a classic and frequently mentioned storyline or panel belonging to him? The Mutant Massacre? What was that again Doug?
Round #3: Third Strike!
DOUG: No Contest
When we have characters pitted against each other in Blogger Dome, it’s common to test them by seeing who would win in a fight. But really, what’s the point? We all know who would win in a fight between Sabretooth and Bullseye. Yeah, Bullseye may try to hit Creed from a distance. However, with his mutant healing power he’d heal quickly from any wounds – even potential kill shots – Poindexter would manage to inflict. Then, with his enhanced senses, Sabretooth would track him down and rip his head off. Literally – rip his head off, likely with the spinal column still attached.
Maybe in the world of comics, there would be some way to save Bullseye after an encounter like that. But that’s the end of the fight. That’s 3-0 for Sabretooth now, and his best kill is coming next…
HARRY: The Art of War
Pardon me while I take a little detour from how I normally approach these Blogger Domes, but I have to go full Comic Vine forum here for a minute. The whole Wolverine/Sabretooth rivalry is now the stuff of comic legend and is very entertaining. That being said, is Sabretooth really anything more than a man-cat with a healing factor and a propensity for attacking Wolverine’s love interests? Bullseye and Sabretooth haven’t bumped heads yet in comics, but I hope that day comes soon so we can see Bullseye smoke Sabretooth with ease.
A Sabretooth/Bullseye throwdown would be like someone with a machete trying to take on a sniper. Or have you ever watched a boxer trying to fight a kickboxer? That never goes well, now does it? Reach matters, and Sabretooth is simply brute strength and claws. No style, no finesse, unlike Bullseye, the master assassin and tactician. These healing factor guys rely on their mutations too heavily.
I will put my money on Bullseye in this match-up all day, every day if he can keep his distance. He can blind him with a rifle round, some paper clips, a rock, a pen, anything he can get his hands on. Decapitate him, dump some cement on his head, mail the rest of his body parts to different parts of the world, whatever. Bullseye would figure it out. Cool claws bro. C’mon now Doug.
DOUG: Go for the Jugular!
And here is where we come to the end for Bullseye. He’s put up a good fight so far, I’ll give him that. But in the end, there can only be one winner. And that, my friends, is Sabretooth. Look no further than a 9.8 graded Iron Fist #14, with an FMV of $3,600. Compare that to a 9.8 graded Daredevil #131, with an FMV of $2,900, and it’s clear who the winner is.
Don’t believe me? Then take a look at Daredevil #181, a classic Frank Miller story featuring Bullseye and Elektra. FMV for a 9.8 is $170. Sabretooth’s first battle against Wolverine in Uncanny X-Men #212? Well, the FMV currently stands at $250. Moreover, there’s a lot more room for Iron Fist #14 to grow along with other key appearances. We know Wolverine is going to make his way into the MCU. Where Wolverine goes, Sabretooth is sure to follow. Daredevil in the MCU? Maybe? But will Bullseye be his first key foe? I doubt it. My money’s on the Kingpin. So, there you have it. A four-round bruising by Sabretooth leads Bullseye to limp away. Tough to do with only one leg.
HARRY: Safety First
These Blogger Domes always boil down to one thing for me- which book is the smarter and safer investment. If Doug and I had written this a year ago, I would have been absolutely clueless as to what I should write, as Sabretooth would have clearly been the much better investment. People love Wolverine more than almost any other Marvel character, let alone Daredevil. That love for any hero affects the fair market value of their primary antagonists, so I would have said invest in Sabretooth 100%. Things have changed a lot in the past few months. Markets of all kinds are irrationally soaring and the comic book market is not exempt. Many key issues have increased anywhere from 400% to 1000% in value.
The fun part about writing these articles is being able to look back and check on predictions and prices. This past January, I wrote an article about Jigsaw and referenced Bullseye and Sabretooth as members of the same graduating class of Marvel villains. Their first appearances were neck and neck at the time. A Daredevil #131 in 9.8 was $2,200 while an Iron Fist #14 was $2,500. Now? Fuggedaboutit!
If I had to pick one book to sum up the inflation, market manipulation, and outright silliness of the current comic market, it might actually be the first appearance of Sabretooth. Graded 9.8s have sold for close to $10,000 and are now listed anywhere from $12,000 to $20,000. Read that again, TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. Since Wolverine is now at the forefront of speculation, his main baddie is right there next to him getting the same treatment.
Alternatively, the first appearance of Bullseye is surprisingly one of the few Marvel keys to show very little change despite an overheated market and Daredevil #1 breaking records. The first appearance of Bullseye in a 9.6 has jumped from $750 to $950, a relatively normal fluctuation in price. A graded 9.8 copy is still hovering around the $3,000 dollar range, a fair and stable FMV for a classic Marvel villain from the Bronze Age. Daredevil #131 is one of the few books right now that isn’t experiencing stimulus inflation and therefore is the wiser investment in an unpredictable market.
Frankly, it doesn’t matter if Sabretooth hypothetically had the more classic storylines, the better panels, or a more meaningful position in the Marvel World. I cannot think of any way to justify buying Iron Fist #14, let alone any comic after a 500%+ overnight increase in value without any concrete catalysts. Anyone who says otherwise is taking you on a ride to crazy town.
DOUG: More and more the best villains are driving up prices for their first appearances and key issues. They make for great investments, and if you’re looking for two to focus on, Sabretooth and Bullseye should be at the top of your list.
HARRY: The comic book and broader collectible market have been fascinating this year with its alleged unending upward momentum. I recently wrote about the possibility of an upcoming correction and I think this Blogger Dome is a great example of what a fickle beast the market can be. Two comics released within a year of each other with similar price points, but now one is worth four to ten times as much as the other within a matter of months.
Why? Well, the difference is speculators set their sights on one and not the other. For now. This scenario is exactly why it is important to use GoCollect to do your due diligence on fair market values and census data. Research trumps FOMO all day. Oh, and Bullseye trumps Sabretooth. Sorry, Doug!