Copper Age collectors were breaking their budgets for Usagi Yojimbo and a rare Venom comic in this week’s edition of Chartbusters.
The Copper Age is one of the more controversial comic collecting eras in the game. Not universally recognized across the hobby, this era begins at the tail end of the Bronze Age and leads into the early 1990s. Generally, that means anything printed from around 1984 to 1991 would fall under the Copper heading, though some argue the Bronze Age ended in 1981 rather than ‘84.
That being said, here are the three single issues that broke the bank in the past 30 days.
Many of us knew this day was coming – the day that Usagi Yojimbo’s key issues got the royal treatment. In fact, the samurai rabbit’s first appearance upstaged the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this month, at least in one category. Usagi’s debut in Albedo #2 proved to have the biggest single sale in the past 30 days after a 6.5 sold for $8,000 on eBay on February 7. That’s three spots ahead of a third print of TMNT #1, which sold for $6,306.
Driving sales for Usagi’s keys is his upcoming Netflix cartoon. After being a recurring character on various TMNT cartoons over the decades, the sword-wielding anthropomorphic bunny will be the star in his solo animated series, and that could put him on the path to mainstream success. That should translate into inflated prices for his key issues. Will he be the next TMNT franchise? Only time will tell.
Collectors love anything that makes a comic rare. The smaller the numbers, the more it is prized. That makes key issues with famous printing errors among the most valuable items on the secondary market.
In this case, we have the debut of Venom’s first solo series, Venom: Lethal Protector #1. Thanks to the Venom movies, the Lethal Protector series has gotten a sales boost for all its editions, but none compare to this gem.
What makes it special is the black background, which was printed by mistake. Less than 2,000 are known to exist. This particular chartbuster, graded at a 9.6, sold for $7,201 on February 4. According to the CGC’s census data, there are only 43 blue label 9.6s on record, which accounts for the high price.
The 1980s redefined comics. From Watchmen to The Dark Knight Returns, creators cast aside the campiness of the Silver Age for good, evolving superhero stories into a mature, adult artform.
One of the most prolific writers of the decade was Watchmen’s Alan Moore, who gave the most twisted and acclaimed take on the Joker in The Killing Joke. This masterpiece upped the stakes for the Batman/Joker rivalry as the Clown Prince of Crime went from being a goofy relic of the Golden and Silver Ages to a homicidal maniac when he crippled Barbara Gordon just to make a point.
It’s no wonder that collectors still prize this 1988 classic, and a graded 10.0 of the first print sold for $6,500 on February 21.