Can’t Afford a 1st Appearance? Try 1st Costume Appearances

by Don Y

1st-Costume-300x157 Can't Afford a 1st Appearance? Try 1st Costume AppearancesDriven by the pandemic and stimulus checks, like the stock market, the comic book market is red hot. Many mega-keys such as X-Men #1, Giant-Size X-Men #1, and Incredible Hulk #181 have become unaffordable for everyday collectors. Fortunately, 1st costume appearances of iconic outfits worn by our favorite characters are still generally pretty affordable and present good value. We’ll discuss two issues below from the Silver Age.

Fantastic Four #3Screen-Shot-2021-02-11-at-9.47.36-PM-205x300 Can't Afford a 1st Appearance? Try 1st Costume Appearances

In my opinion, Fantastic Four #3 has one of the best covers of the Silver Age. After all, it is on this cover where we see, for the very first time, Marvel’s first family wearing their iconic navy blue costumes. The team would go on to wear these very same costumes for decades. In addition to the first appearance of Fantastic Four’s classic costumes, this issue also contains the first appearance of the Fantasti-Car, the first appearance of Fantasti-Copter, and the first appearance Baxter Building, the Fantastic Four’s headquarters. In other words, this book essentially establishes the Fantastic Four’s brand.

Surprisingly, even though Kevin Feige recently announced that Marvel would release a Fantastic Four movie during Phase 4, this book’s value hasn’t risen all that much. In fact, over the past two years, the value of CGC 7.0 copies of this book has actually decreased by 22%. Specifically, two years ago, a CGC 7.0 copy sold for $3,500; and then, just four months ago, another 7.0 sold for $2,160. Compare that to a CGC 7.0 copy of Fantastic Four #1 which recently sold on December 17, 2020, for $56,000.00. I don’t know about you, but that’s almost the down payment on my house. Considering that Marvel will release a Fantastic Four movie in a couple of years and that this is a classic Silver Age key, I personally think this book presents good value.

Amazing Spider-Man #86

Screen-Shot-2021-02-11-at-9.28.23-PM-201x300 Can't Afford a 1st Appearance? Try 1st Costume Appearances

When Black Widow first appeared in 1964, she would’ve been unrecognizable to most people. She wore a hat with a veil, a mink shawl, and a black cocktail dress. In other words, she looked more like a Bond girl from the 1960s (a “leader of the jet-set” as Natasha says in ASM #86) and not like the lethal assassin that we all know and love from the MCU.

In ASM #86, Natasha says that in order to “erase” her past, she must “design a new costume for [her]self!” Later in the issue, Black Widow appears in the iconic all-black, form-fitting costume that we’ve seen many times in the movies. Considering that this is an important Silver Age key for the Black Widow and that Marvel will finally release her first solo movie soon, it surprises me that this book’s value hasn’t risen more in recent years. In some CGC grades (7.0 and 7.5), the book has substantially risen in value, but in others, it has actually gone down. All in all, not a bad blue-chip comic to invest in for the long-term, especially if you can’t afford Black Widow’s first appearance in Tales of Suspense #52.

Closing Thoughts

What are some other iconic costume first appearances that present good value? Please let us know in the comments below!

Think about how many potential clients are reading this along with you…

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Ruben March 10, 2021 - 1:51 pm

Man oh man, I’ve been waiting for years for someone to pick up on this topic, especially as relates to FF3 and not just in relation to their costumes.

First of all, I totally agree with you, Don. FF3 is in my opinion one of the greatest classic superhero covers of the Silver Age from any comic book company of the day. It has the incredible imagination and perfectly balanced composition across the whole cover page by the one and only Jack “King” Kirby.

FF3 also has a number of firsts that Don noted: (1) FF3 is when the FF, as Don put it, establish their global brand due in part to the following. (2) It’s the first time Reed, Susan, Ben and Johnny put on their iconic costumes and actually become the Fantastic Four. (3) It’s the first time the newly created FF establish their headquarters as the Baxter Building, which is as iconic in the Marvel universe as the Empire State Building is to the U.S. (4) It’s the first appearance of FF vehicles like the Fantasticar and Fantasticopter (but also the Pogo Plane, not mentioned by Don, as well as other features in the cut-away view of the Baxter Bldg).

A few but important firsts that Don did not mention include: (1) FF3 is the first time the trade dress has the iconic subtitle: “The Greatest Comic Magazine in the World” (later, “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!”). Such endearing bombastic language would become Marvel’s (Stan Lee in particular) stock and trade. (2) FF3 is also the first appearance of the Miracle Man (Joshua Ayers). Now, MM is without doubt a minor character in the Marvel Universe. But his possibilities going forward to become a truly uber nemesis are phenomenal should the likes of a Donny Cates decide to retcon this guy and put him in the pantheon of comic book supervillains. MM has in fact already been retconed twice that I know about, including going beyond being a hypnotist to actually having superpowers via his encounter with “the Silent Ones,” and having been resurrected from dead. I would love to see the Marvel imagineers take Joshua Ayers, give him a new and terrifying name, abilities and deadly mission that makes him a household name.

But even if Ayers remains bush league, FF3 remains a criminally undervalued comic book of the Silver Age for all the reasons Don Y has argued as well as the ones I have added.

All the best.

Don Y March 10, 2021 - 7:28 pm

Ruben, thank you for this incredibly thoughtful response and for adding so much value to my post! I loved what you added especially about “World’s Greatest Comic Magazine!” I can’t believe I forgot to add that one. And one last time — one of the best covers of all time!

Ruben March 10, 2021 - 10:51 pm

You are very welcome. I love these blogs.
All the best.

Richard March 24, 2021 - 11:37 pm

I can’t believe you left out the most obvious book. Tales to Astonish 35!!! First Ant-Man in costume!! Its way more affordable than issue 27.


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