With James Gunn and Peter Safran relaunching the DCU and prepping a new slate of films to reintroduce characters, now is the time to consider adding some DC comics to your collection – before anything is announced and prices rapidly rise. Let’s take a look at The Flash.
It’s important to note that Warner Bros. already has a Flash film wrapped and ready for release on June 16. Whether this will actually happen and what the reception will be, knowing that nothing that happens in the film will likely matter in the new DCU, is irrelevant to the speculative nature of this blog.
The new DCU will have a Flash at some point; he’s a pivotal DC character and will be a part of any future Justice League films.
Birth of a Speedster
The first character DC created who would run faster than anyone alive was Jay Garrick, aka The Flash. While it’s doubtful that Gunn and Safran will utilize Garrick in the DCU, his first appearance in Flash Comics #1 is still an important aspect of the history of the character and one that would resurface in the Silver Age.
Cover dated January 1940, Flash Comics #1 is a scarce graded comic, one that you can rarely find on sale, particularly in grades above 2.5.
It’s been four years since a 6.0 graded copy sold in a December 2018 ComicConnect auction for $120,000. A 2.0 graded copy sold in an October 30 Goldin auction for $75,600, down 18% from the $92,000 sale in a December 2021 ComicConnect auction.
If you’re in the market for this book, your best bet is to purchase a low grade – they sell more often (three sales in 2022) – and upgrade when the higher grades come up.
Rebirth of a Speedster
In September 1956, DC debuted a new Flash in Showcase #4, in the process launching what we now know as the Silver Age of comics. Barry Allen, the best-known Flash, would be the defacto DC speedster for the next 30 years. There are 566 graded copies of Showcase #4 in the CGC census. This book in the mid and lower grades comes up for sale quite often – 22 times in 2022.
The most recent sale occurred on December 25 when a 5.0 graded copy went for a slashed $29,995. Clearly a merry Christmas for someone. That’s down 13.5% from the $31,200 selling price in a June 2021 Heritage auction. The highest grades seldom come up for sale; it’s been more than five years since a copy graded 8.5 or higher has traded hands.
After appearing in a few more issues of Showcase, DC would begin republishing The Flash, continuing the numbering from Flash Comics, with The Flash #105 in 1959, an issue that also marked the first appearance of Mirror Master. With a larger census count of 790, sales are much more plentiful. Thirty copies sold in 2022, ranging in grade from 1.8 to 9.2.
The 9.2 sold in the November 22 Heritage auction for $48,000, a record in that grade. For a look at the mid-grades, a 5.5 graded copy sold in a November 8 fixed price sale for $3,000, setting a record in that grade. In grades below 2.0 you can often find copies for below $1,000, particularly if they have been restored or received a qualified grade.
Return of the Golden Age
Jay Garrick would return in The Flash #123, a classic comic that would introduce the concept of a multiverse to comics readers, allowing for the reintroduction of DC’s wide array of Golden age characters. This has been a much sought-after Silver Age DC key for decades, as evidenced by the 1,325 graded copies.
Sales in just the past month include a 2.0 selling for $509, a 4.0 for $870, and a 7.5 for $3,360. Both the 2.0 and 7.5 were record sales in their respective grades.
The Flash has a very well-known set of villains known as his Rogues Gallery. All of their first appearances are worth seeking out. Besides the aforementioned Mirror Master, they include Gorilla Grodd and the Pied Piper in The Flash #106, Weather Wizard in The Flash #110 (this issue also marks the first appearance of Kid Flash), Trickster in The Flash #113, Captain Cold in The Flash #114, Captain Boomerang in The Flash #117, and Heat Wave in The Flash #140.
Fair market values in the 6.0 grade are highest for The Flash #106 ($1,650) and The Flash #110 ($1,250), while the others are currently valued at $325 or less.
Flash’s arch nemesis, however, made his first appearance in The Flash #139. Professor Zoom, aka Reverse-Flash, aka Eobard Thawne would return time and time again to menace The Flash and his friends and family. With 1,378 graded copies, this book comes up for sale quite often – six just in the past month.
Of those sales, the highest was an 8.0 selling in a December 4 eBay auction for $2,012, down 22% from a sale in a November 13 eBay auction for $2,572, and down 24% from its all-time 8.0 high of $2,640 set in a May 2022 Heritage auction.
A New Flash
After Barry Allen’s death in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, Wally West – Kid Flash – would take on the mantle of The Flash beginning with Flash #1 in 1987. I covered this comic extensively in the January 4 blog on Copper Age Undervalued & Overlooked Comics, so I won’t get into great detail here.
Suffice it to say that this book represents a fallback option in case Gunn and Safran opt to go in a different direction with The Flash and choose Wally West over Barry Allen.
Do you see Flash comics as worthwhile investments considering DCU speculation? Or is it too early to tell? Let us know below.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.
Captain Cold first appeared in Showcase #8.