A new year has dawned, and collectors were apparently making good on their New Year’s resolutions to buy fewer X-Men comics.
The past 10 days have been truly terrible for several X-Men keys. Four out of five comics on today’s list are all from the mutants’ corner of the Marvel-616 with only a lone ASM issue breaking the monotony. What could be the issue (pun completely intended, and you’re welcome)? As usual, there’s so much news traveling through the comic book spectrum that the X-Men could have been left to the wayside. However, now that Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds are once more hyping Deadpool 3, things should turn around in short order.
What’s this list all about? Just because a holy grail like GSX #1 is nearly outside the top-100 doesn’t mean it isn’t a high-priced key. If we were ranking these based on sales price, surely it would be closer to the top. The thing is, the Hottest Comics index is focused on sales volume taken straight from eBay, so it’s all about the number of copies being sold rather than how much each one costs.
Now that we have the rules squared away, it’s time for the nitty gritty.
This one hits me where it hurts—right in my Chris Claremont fanboy obsession. Buyers, you took the wind from my sails this week as X-Men #94 careened through the rankings to land on the 91st position. This time last year, collectors were all over this comic for good reason. X-Men #94 was the first issue in Claremont’s defining X-Men run, and practically everything that’s happened in their corner of the Marvel Universe has come from his writing in some fashion. So what happened in 12 months?
Some of this may be simply impatience. Going back to 2021, Marvel Studios has clearly teased the X-Men’s arrival in the MCU. It started with WandaVision and Quicksilver before The Falcon and the Winter Soldier divulged Madripoor and The Princess Bar. Then came last year’s Super Bowl ad for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor X. It sent everything X-Men related to the front of the line…until we actually saw the movie. One of many Phase Four disappointments, Charles Xavier’s nonsensical death scene killed the momentum for most X-Men keys, especially the higher priced issues like X-Men #94.
As we will see with others on today’s list, the current lull in sales may not be a bad thing. The highest grade sold in the past month has been the 9.4, which brought $3,900 on December 17. That’s a significant drop from the $5k+ it was earning a year prior. The same is true for many grades, and it indicates a buyers’ market.
The second punch to my collecting gut, the holy grail of the X-keys narrowly avoided falling outside the Hottest Comics top 100 altogether. That’s not unheard of when it comes to issues at this level. After all, GSX #1 is called a grail for good reason, and it has the receipts to prove it. Even with the market being down, the graded 9.8 still earned over $33,000 within the past month. For that matter, a low-grade 3.0 is still selling for $1,600. With prices like those, it’s no wonder buyers were taking a break while their budgets recuperated from Christmas spending.
When it comes to tried-and-true grails, these almost always recover from dips in due time. As much as we all love Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, their version of the X-Men wasn’t good. In fact, it was so bad that they almost pulled the plug on the entire franchise. Spearheaded by Len Wein, GSX #1 introduced the new, cooler team that laid the foundation for everything you see today. That significance is what makes this comic a card-carrying member of the grail club, and it will spike when Marvel Studios properly introduces the X-Men into the MCU.
Sure, it’s dog paddling to keep its head above water in terms of sales volume this week, but that doesn’t mean too much. Whether you’re buying raw or graded copies at any grade, it’s an expensive investment, so it naturally doesn’t sell in huge quantities in even the best of circumstances. Seeing it take a beating in the Hottest Comics isn’t a surprise and eventually, it will bounce back.
Continuing the X-Men’s downward trend, we have yet another once-hot key that took a polar plunge. Rogue’s first appearance was not at the top of the buying list this week, and Avengers Annual #10 dropped by nearly 60 spots. That’s enough to have you doing a double-take. More importantly, what could be the problem here? It was only months ago that collectors were all over this comic. Odds are, the same reason buyers once bought Avengers Annual #10 in droves is the same reason they held onto their wallets this time around.
When the fandom was speculating on which mutant would be the first to arrive in the MCU, Rogue’s name was mentioned quite often. Many online theorists were certain that she would arrive in The Marvels to steal Carol Danvers’ powers and instigate a fundamental change in the Captain Marvel character. Although the plot has yet to be announced, it doesn’t seem like that will be the case, which is causing buyers to turn their collective attention elsewhere.
Surprisingly, the graded 9.8 is showing signs of life. While we could have expected it to take a nosedive in fair market value, it actually sold for $1,000 on December 24. In fact, it’s been staying over the $900 mark since the first of December, which is good news for sellers.
Bishop’s impressive cover and cameo debut seems to be filling out an application to join the Usual Suspects. One week it’s flying high; the next, it’s down in the basement eating Cheetos and regretting its life decisions. Yet, at any moment, UXM #282 could bounce back and regain its standing. That’s exactly the emotional roller coaster we’re looking for at the Usual Suspects.
Much of what makes an issue yo-yo through the Hottest Comics is unfulfilled potential. Bishop has all the signs of being an MCU star when the X-Men debut in the MCU. Many fans believe he will be part of the team’s introduction to the Multiverse, which ups his appeal in the secondary market. The trouble is that we have no idea when the X-Men are going to arrive in the MCU. Sure, Wolverine is debuting in Deadpool 3, but that could be a one-off since Jackman has already retired from the role once. After that movie, who knows what will happen with the X-Men? To be honest, Marvel Studios has dropped the ball with virtually every new addition to the MCU as of late, so it doesn’t fill me with confidence that Bishop will be treated properly.
At any rate, prices are at least reasonable for a UXM #282. Why wouldn’t they be? Higher grades are easy to find, and buyers aren’t snatching up copies anyway. That has the graded 9.8 averaging $161 over the past 30 days.
Finally, we get to discuss something other than the X-Men on today’s Coldest Comics list. Of course, it’s not like we don’t see ASM #238 floating in and out of both the Hottest and Coldest blogs week after week.
Just like UXM #282, it’s the wait-and-see approach when it comes to the Hobgoblin. Similar to Bishop, fans are certain that Hobgoblin will be featured in the MCU. At the rate Sony is churning out villain solo projects, it’s a wonder that he hasn’t gotten his own sure-to-be-awful movie franchise announcement. That’s not to mention the many red herrings in the form of Ned Leeds teases in the MCU. Whether Kevin Feige and company intend on making good on those Easter eggs is questionable, but it’s enough to keep buyers on the ASM #238 trail.
Throughout 2022, the graded 9.8 with the Tattooz still attached has averaged around $2,600. These days, that price has fallen to $1,959. If you’re willing to skip the Tattooz, then you can get a qualified green labeled 9.8 for about $1k less.