Cameo vs 1st Appearance: Did Investors Get Ms. Marvel Wrong?

by Don Y

s-l1600-203x300 Cameo vs 1st Appearance: Did Investors Get Ms. Marvel Wrong?We’ve all heard the arguments about cameos vs. first appearances, especially as it relates to The Incredible Hulk #180 and #181. Specifically, even though the first time Wolverine fully appears is on the final page of Hulk #180, Hulk #181 is by far the more valuable book for primarily two reasons: (1) Wolverine is prominently featured on the cover; and (2) he’s a major part of the story. I know, we’re here to talk about Ms. Marvel. But let me make this point.

You can apply this same rule to Hulk #181’s counterpart in the Modern Age — The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (ASM #300). Here, even though Venom appears for the first time on the final page of The Amazing Spider-Man #299, ASM #300 is much more valuable since Venom is prominently featured in the story (ASM #300’s cover is still iconic even though Venom doesn’t appear on it). In this blog, I want to take a look at Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel.

Should Carol Danvers’s appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes #13 be considered a mere cameo?

marvelsuper-heroes1967series13-201x300 Cameo vs 1st Appearance: Did Investors Get Ms. Marvel Wrong?I think this rule makes sense; while cameos may be first appearances, they’re just the appetizers for the main course. I just don’t think this rule has been applied consistently to other comic books. Consider Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (MSH #13) and Ms. Marvel #1 (MM #1). Applying the Hulk #180 & Hulk #181 rule here, MM #1 should be the more valuable comic book. After all, although Carol Danvers appears for the first time in MSH #13, I consider it to be a cameo appearance, as she only appears on a couple of panels. She doesn’t appear as Captain Marvel, and she doesn’t appear on its cover. MSH #13’s cover, instead, prominently features a forgettable character, Sentry.


Perhaps Ms. Marvel #1 should be considered Ms. Marvel’s first full appearance?

61AhFQ42J3L-197x300 Cameo vs 1st Appearance: Did Investors Get Ms. Marvel Wrong?In contrast, Carol Danvers appears for the first time as Ms. Marvel in MM #1, she’s the focus of MM #1’s story and she’s prominently featured on its cover. Accordingly, MM  #1 should be the much more valuable comic book; however, investors have instead flocked to MSH #13, driving up its prices.

According to GoCollect, the FMV of a CGC 9.8 copy of MSH #13 is $31,000.00. That’s more than thirty times the value of a CGC 9.8 copy of MM #1. This is a much greater disparity in price than the difference between Hulk #181 and #180 ($45,000 to $11,500) or ASM #300 and ASM #299 ($4,100 to $450). The only meaningful way we can distinguish between MSH #13 and MM #1 is that MSH #13 was published nine years before MM #1. Nonetheless, I don’t think this fact alone justifies the huge price disparity between the two books.

Closing thoughts

Ultimately, the market determines which comic books are valuable and which ones are not; however, it could also be the case that MSH #13 is an inflated stock. It could be driven up in price by herd behavior. There are some indicators that investors may have changed their opinions about the values of MSH #13 and MM #1. Just a few weeks ago, MSH #13 had fallen 492 places.  MM #1 had moved up seven spots to 22nd on GoCollect’s most popular Bronze Age books. If MSH #13 and MM #1 were stocks, in my opinion, MSH #13 is a hold and MM #1 is a buy.

Interested in influencing? Check out GoCollect’s Ambassador Program!

footer-ambassador Cameo vs 1st Appearance: Did Investors Get Ms. Marvel Wrong?

You may also like


Devo3000x January 26, 2021 - 10:41 am

A factor is rarity. For Ms. Marvel 1 there are 6,400 copies on the census with a median grade of 9.4. For the MSH13 there are only 2,100 copies with a median grade of 6.5. Also she isn’t Ms. Marvel in the MCU which deters collectors from that book.

Don Y January 26, 2021 - 10:54 am

Great analysis! So you don’t think it matters that much that Carol only shows up on a couple of panels in MSH13 and isn’t really a part of the story?

msteele583 January 26, 2021 - 11:51 am

Ms. Marvel #1 would never be Carol Danvers’ first appearance, even if MSH 13 was considered a cameo (which I don’t think it is). Carol Danvers had numerous appearances in the Captain Marvel comic prior to Ms. Marvel #1. The rarity of high grade copies of MSH 13 is I’m sure a big driver in how valuable they are, in addition to being the first appearance of Carol Danvers and the second appearance of Mar-Vell.

Don Y January 26, 2021 - 12:46 pm

Thanks for reading and for your great analysis!

dave stevens January 26, 2021 - 3:23 pm

This comment contains essentially what I was going to stay. Cameos are a confusing concept. Hulk 180 is the first appearance of Wolverine, but his appearance in 181 is far more significant. MSH 13 is the first appearance and it is silly to assert that that would rather be Ms. Marvel 1 as she appeared more times in between in the pages of Captain Marvel. Carol did not become Captain Marvel until rather recently, so it is furthermore confusing to worry about the first Carol as Captain Marvel as the first Carol. This is a modern development. Mar-Vell had already been Captain Marvel for decades. Ms. Marvel 1 was a heavily SPECULATED first issue that has more issues in high grade than can sustain the prices that were realized at its peak. It is not undervalued currently, but a bigger role for Captain Marvel in the MCU may bring demand up increasing the price. MSH being a squarebound overlooked book for decades meant the extant copies were not going to be high grade. That difficulty in finding a nice copy in addition to the time period of its release has driven prices up. Both books are nice to have, but they can’t be what they aren’t.

octoberland January 26, 2021 - 2:07 pm

I think if the character is present in the issue and it is clearly the character (not just a leg obscured in shadow or nonsense) that is the first. You cannot make a cameo if you are not actually there. If you are there for a cameo, it is also your first appearance. Your top two examples illustrate this perfectly.

As you note, a first appearance does not have to be the issue people want, and it is perfectly acceptable to have other issues reach higher sales. But the designation of first needs to be unified so that there is cohesion.

I think you are more talking about cost of a book which I think is wholly different than is it a first -v- cameo. The designation of first -v- cameo is potentially a strong driver of price, but as things stand right now IMHO the only right/wrong choice is for which book the market pays the most which cements MSH13 as the winner.

We all know it is a fickle market driven by money paid and not an underlying structure. Until a structure is in place, the only mistake or getting wrong boils down to what the market will pay. I agree with most of what you are saying in that the multiplier difference is a bit high. However, I think there are a few other factors leading to the price difference that justify it bucking the trend.

Projected print run, age (you mention) really makes a big difference for the era, and square bound spines.

Print runs are harder to “know” but the BA had some pretty high numbers. Dipping back 9 years into the SA when comic collecting was not as much of a thing makes a big difference. Locating high grade SA books for any title is not an easy task. I think that the Comic Price Guide and emergence of the LCS in the early 70s is no small part of book quality difference. I’ll take shops over spinner / magazine racks any day! Lastly, that square bound spine is brutal. Unless you’ve really searched for them, it’s hard to express how tough they are.

All those factors together IMHO account for the price difference. Add in msteele583 comments and there are other reasons for MS13 being valuable.

The books you are comping to came out right after each other, so there is no print run variance of note. Maybe (I’ve not checked) ASM300 got a bump due to the anniversary issue treatment but I’d suspect they are pretty close. But in contrast a higher print run should make it easier to find a high grade copy, so even if it was higher that should help hold the multiplier in check. Released one after the other ought to make it easier to find both books in similar grades, so the price difference to me would not be as extreme.

I see and agree with the gist of what you are saying as it applies to comics on a broader level, though. I think it is something that people should take into account or at least look into before deciding how they want to invest/collect/speculate. Not that there is a right/wrong, but to make sure they are putting their money toward what they hope to be buying. Thank you for the post and opening up the discussion!

Don Y January 26, 2021 - 4:29 pm

Thank you for this VERY thoughtful analysis! Reading what others have posted have made me really think about this in a more complex way. As for opening up the discussion, having a good conversation about comic collecting is what I had hoped for!

Sam January 26, 2021 - 2:40 pm

Another issue here is the time span between the books. One is definitely silver age and the other is much later Bronze Age. IMO it’s a much different situation than arguing sequential books in the same series. I also think there is some merit on the argument that MS. marvel is not MCU. I personally like uncanny x-men 164 – carol danvers as binary as the Bronze Age option.

KatComics January 26, 2021 - 4:42 pm

Oh no!! the cameo can o’ worms!!! Why oh why is Jimmy Olsen 134 worth so much then when Darkseid appears again in last panel but only his head as seen on a monitor not even a full head shot!! If we go by in multiple panels then Jimmy Olsen 135 has a full bust and close up of his eyes but only on 1 page. It’s not until Forever People #1 that we get multiple panels over multiple pages yet FP#1 is waaaayyyyy cheaper than JO 134. The answer is that the comic world is crazy and fickle – lol!!! so many examples -not just books where we inherit the choices of past generations. Batman Who Laughs 1st appearance is in Dark Days :The Casting – and you can still pick raw copies up for almost cover price!! again last page but this time a full body and really we read his words through most of the book…like a build up to a first appearance


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: