Cameo Confusion – Riri Williams

by Michael Vlachakis

683406_invincible-iron-man-7-198x300 Cameo Confusion - Riri Williams

Every once in a while a comic catches me by surprise…for better or for worse.  And for a speculator like me, surprises suck.  I should have all the knowledge and information I need to not be shocked by surprises.  I try to get ahead of any possible surprises here, and not be caught off guard and have them slow me down or make me wonder if my whole world view on collecting is incorrect and going to lead me down the path of Beanie Babies…calm down…my comics will not become worthless like Beanie Babies…right?  Or did this surprise lead to something unexpectedly better?

Invincible Iron Man #7 was an issue I was scouting for a while but ultimately passed on.  It held the first appearance of Riri Williams, the 15 year old girl who becomes the hero Ironheart.  This comic was popular since its release in 2016 and seemed to settle in at a price point around $100-$120 at the beginning of the year.  As of a few month ago sales on this book began to go haywire.  Copies started selling in the $200-$250 range and soon were peaking over the $300 threshold.  Fair Market Value (FMV)for this book is still listed at $95 because this jump truly came quickly and unexpectedly.  But why all the crazy momentum out of nowhere?  This is when I began to investigate this book with a bit more scrutiny.

During my research I did find that book this was listed on most sites as the first appearance of Riri Williams.  However, when inspecting the CGC header I saw that awful C word…Cameo.  This ended up being the first Cameo of Riri Williams…on the last page.  OK…great.  I, personally, do not collect Cameo first appearances.  I will go on a longer rant about this in a future article, but basically Cameos are second rate.  Do they offer value?  Of course… but check the prices on Hulk #180 vs. Hulk #181 and you will get my point.  Cameos are just not a first appearance.

To avoid the Cameo I needed to find if there is a “better” first appearance of a character so I start hunting.  Best place to start is the next issue following the Cameo.  It makes sense that if the Cameo was a tease, the new character should appear in the next offering of a series.  With Riri Williams things were not as simple as going to Invincible Iron Man #8.  In a fun twist, they finally make Riri’s first full appearance in Invincible Iron Man #9…a whole two issues after her Cameo.  Well, since the prices of Issue #7 went full Proton Cannon, I was curious to see what was happening to prices of Issues #9.

Invincible Iron Man #9 was a real treat to discover as a collector and as a person who appreciates data.  Where Issue #7 is extremely census heavy at 270 plus copies and a frequent seller on the market, the Issue #9 is rare in comparison with only a quarter (65 copies to be exact) of the available 9.8 copies and seldom sells on the market.  FMV is also 15% below Issue #7.  So why the inflation for Issue #7, especially being a Cameo appearance?  It could be that it is also the first appearance of Tomoe, but I hardly believe that she is pushing the speculation purchases on this issue.  I, honestly, feel like there is a bit of collector laziness to not discover Riri’s true first appearance in Issue #9.  This mistake may be costly to people who have overpaid for a cameo while the full appearance quietly grows unwittingly under the collector’s nose.

Do you love Cameo First Appearances?  Is Riri Williams the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe?  Any under-known books you watch on the market?  Join the conversation!

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