With the success of indie horror comics in the Copper Age showing that fans were looking for good scares again, Marvel would jump back into the fray, bringing back some of their most popular monsters turned anti-heroes after a decade long hiatus.
None of Marvel’s original horror/hero creations of the Bronze Age lasted longer than Ghost Rider. So, it’s not surprising that he would be the first character to get a reboot. Debuting in Ghost Rider #1 was Danny Ketch, complete with Penance Stare and his trusty chain.
The comic book was an initial success, proving wildly popular with the fans when it was released in 1990, vying with Wolverine and Punisher for most loved anti-hero at the time. While the character’s popularity waned, the first issue has recently risen in popularity with collectors.
An eBay fixed-price sale of a 9.8 copy on October 9 for $1,625.03 took many by surprise, and well it should have, as the price had been hovering around the $500 range at that point. Consider that sale an anomaly.
Subsequent sales have been much more affordable, including a Heritage Auction sale for $396 just 10 days later. Rumors continue to abound regarding Ghost Rider’s eventual MCU debut.
No one knows if it’ll be Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch – or someone else – who becomes the Ghost Rider. Until then, this is an issue definitely worth tracking.
Ghost Rider #28 would be the launching point for Marvel’s full-court press of horror and occult titles. The Rise of the Midnight Sons storyline saw the start of no fewer than four series – Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #1, Morbius: The Living Vampire #1, Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins #1, and Nightstalkers #1. The concept proved popular enough to spawn multiple further storylines, with Midnight Sons branding to match, that included Doctor Strange and a newly launched Midnight Sons Unlimited #1.
Morbius would have the greatest staying power in a series that would last nearly three years. The others faded before reaching the two-year mark. Morbius: The Living Vampire #1 would also appear to be the one that has caught collectors’ eye, particularly with the recent release of the second trailer for the upcoming Sony Pictures release.
The high price was reached on November 3 in a fixed price eBay sale for $309.95. Prices have settled down a bit since but don’t be surprised to see increases as marketing builds for the release of the film.
Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins #1, meanwhile, has been on an interesting trajectory. The price on a 9.8 skyrocketed with the inclusion of the Darkhold in the Disney+ series WandaVision, reaching a high of $275 in a fixed price eBay sale on May 22.
The book has fallen back to earth since then. The most recent sale occurred on September 1 for just $51.99. The rise and fall of this comic should serve as a lesson for all collectors and investors; avoid the peaks that come with inclusion in MCU movies and TV series.
The prices will fall and real value can be found in the dips.
Of course, no look at Copper Age Marvel horror would be complete without the inclusion of Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #1. Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan was back… and then he was gone again, his coming and going as quick as his original in the 1970s.
There are few better contenders for an example of 1990s Marvel bloat than this book. Not even a TV show has been able to save it. While there are numerous graded copies of this first issue, especially in the 9.8 grade, you can also find this book in many dollar boxes in local comic shops around the country. There’s really no reason to pay anything more than $5 for this comic.
Hope you enjoyed reading about Copper Age horror comics from Marvel. It’s a mixed bag of successes and failures, some of which collectors are following. Others, they are just waiting for their chance to shine. Next, we’ll dive into the deep end of the pool, with some of the most intelligent, sophisticated, and beloved comics of the Copper and Modern Ages – Vertigo.