Dane Whitman beats the Black Knight

by Blaise Tassone

Black-Knight-Marvel-Comics-Dane-Whitman-Avengers-179x300 Dane Whitman beats the Black Knight

Of all the fallout from the D23 expo (see here), one of the most surprising developments in terms of spec trends has been the jump in price on Avengers #47.

Up until now, everybody had a hunch that the Black Knight was coming. With the announcement of actor Kit Harrington playing Dane Whitman, a renewed enthusiasm for all things Black Knight has returned, but now the first issue appearance of Dane Whitman is surging in price and may soon overtake Avengers #48 in value, which is the first appearance of Whitman as the Black Knight.

Let’s explore what’s happening and which is the more sold spec book.

Most people outside of die hard Marvel fans had never even heard of the Black Knight a year ago. And why would they? Of all Marvel heroes, he is one of the less conspicuous. The first Black Knight, Sir Percy of Scandia, was basically a figure drawn from Autherian mythology by Stan Lee and Joe Maneely and then thrown into the comic book world. Sir Percy was literally a knight of Camelot.

His first appearance, in Black Knight #1 (May 1955) is certainly a great and still under-valued Silver Age comic, but that’s not the Black Knight we’re looking for.

So next comes Dane Whitman, right? No, not yet. Next comes Sir Percy’s descendant: Nathan Garrett.

You see, Sir Percy possessed the Ebony Blade, a magic sword carved from a meteor by the great magic user Merlin. Upon Percy’s death at the hands of another Marvel Mystic (Mordred) – his legacy was to be given to a descendant. Nathan Garrett inherits the title but was rejected by the Ebony Blade for his evil character. A brilliant scientific mind, Garret nonetheless takes on the Black Knight’s identity using science to give himself powers while blemishing the name of the great Knight from Camelot in the process.

After Garrett is stopped by Hank Pym (as Giant Man) and Tony Stark (Iron Man), we finally get to the third incarnation of the medieval hero: The Black Knight III and future Avenger Dane Whitman.

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The Avengers #47 (December 1967) – First Appearance of Dane Whitman

This brings us to this book: The Avengers #47 which is definitely an Avengers and Marvel key. Besides introducing Dane Whitman, it is also the first time Magneto appears on the cover of an Avengers comic, and contains the origins of Pietro and Wanda (Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch). Up until now, it was selling for a lot less than its companion book: Avengers #48. That seems to have changed after D23. Whereas a 9.0 copy was available four months ago for a FMV of around $240.00; today the Avengers #47 in 9.0 grade sold for $1, 099.99 (eBay). Mid-grade raw copies are now selling for between $100.00 and $400.00. What’s going on here?

This is the first appearance of Dane Whitman, and it would appear, Dane now has a face and a potential role in the Eternals that may see him land a solo-film or an important role in future Avengers films. Whereas long-term returns on this book were already quite strong, it has just gotten a catalyst that has sent it surging: will this boost last?

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Avengers #48 (January 1968) – First appearance of Black Knight III, Origin of Black Knight III

What about Avengers #48? Since its already gotten so much hype, you might think that Avengers #48 is better represented and more widely available than its sister book. This isn’t true: Avengers #47 has 442 total copies on the CGC census, issue #48 has 464: just twenty more.

When it comes to price, however, returns were long beating issue #47. With a FMV of $2000.00 in 9.8 grade after 6 sales, it was up till now the book to watch and the book to own (issue #47 was slightly behind at $1,750 in 9.8 but, until recently, way behind in lower grades).

How did the news affect prices on issue #48? A low grade copy (3.0 at best) sold today for $150.00 (eBay). A 7.5 graded copy sold on an eBay best offer for $525.00 (FMV for that grade was: $240.00). Yup, this comic is also seeing a boost too. The difference is that this comic was always the Black Knight key, Avengers #47 is apparently on course to meet, if not pass it. We won’t know if that will actually happen until more time passes.

Till then the only sensible thing to do is to have both these books in your collection!

************** Update (08/26/2019): In the original article I wrote that Avengers #47 was the first time Magneto appeared on the cover of a comic outside the X-Men series. This is incorrect. Magneto appeared years earlier on the cover of Journey Into Mystery #109 cover dated October 1964. Avengers #47, however, is the first time he appears on the cover of an Avengers comic.

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