Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-Mariner

by Matt Tuck

DOWNWARD-TREND--1024x538 Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-MarinerCollectors were shying away from some major Silver Age key issues this week, with the likes of Sub-Mariner, Red Guardian, and Mister Freeze seeing a sales decline.

What we have here is a failure to turn heads

These days, it is all about those movies and streaming series. Nothing makes for a hotter comic than a live-action appearance, but these issues have grown cold despite most of them tied to the MCU and the DCEU. What gives?

Take a look at where these gems fell in this week’s Hottest Comics rankings, and let’s explore the issues.

Batman121-203x300 Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-Mariner342. BATMAN #121

If it wasn’t for Batman: The Animated Series, no one would care about Mister Freeze. In fact, he likely would have been a forgotten relic of the campy Silver Age of the Caped Crusader. Then along came BTAS, and suddenly Victor Fries was a worthy foe with a tragic backstory. Fans began taking him seriously (until Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin, which I shall speak of no more), and Mister Freeze had a major following like never before.

All that being said, why is Batman #121 ranked outside the top 300? Price and relevancy.

Being a Silver Age first appearance for a major villain automatically makes this an expensive issue. The other factor is that he is not being featured in any new Batman movie adaptations, so he takes a backseat to his fellow rogues who have joined the cast of The Batman

JLA-9-204x300 Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-Mariner364. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #9

You would think with all the budding excitement for the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League that the team’s origin story would rank higher. My inclination is that we may be seeing JL fatigue at this point.

First of all, it was not that long ago that those Silver Age JL keys tanked after Joss Whedon’s Justice League took a nosedive in theaters. Then last year’s news that Snyder’s cut would see the light of day on HBO Max reinvigorated those same issues. Now we have been called to the waiting room of the DC Extended Universe, and as we wait patiently for Dr. Snyder, all we can do is twiddle our thumbs and socially distance. Once the doctor can see us and the all-new, all-different Justice League is presented to the world, things will turn around for those JL keys like Justice League of America #9.

X-Men-1-silver-age-198x300 Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-Mariner392. X-MEN #1

Wait. Didn’t I just write that all things X-Men were doing well? As a matter of fact, I did, and the Bronze Age X-Men comics are looking particularly golden. When it comes to X-Men #1, the team’s first appearance will always be a Holy Grail issue.

With that status comes high price tags, and that can deter many buyers. This is especially true for the X-Men. After all, the Bronze Age team is infinitely more popular and, in comparison with X-Men #1, far cheaper. If you are on a budget, then it is a no-brainer to go with those Chris Claremont and Len Wein issues and avoid the high prices of the Silver Age.


Avengers-43-198x300 Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-Mariner478. AVENGERS #43

Has “Captain Russia” lost his shine? Not exactly, but I see this as a similar case to JLA #9. 

Back when the first images of Red Guardian surfaced online, collectors lost their collective mind over Avengers #43. The once overlooked Silver Age darling skyrocketed in value, and those prices are still high. However, collectors may have moved on…for the time being.

Due to the pandemic, Black Widow’s release date has been changed multiple times, and there are consistent rumors that it will air on Disney+ rather than theaters. At this point, collectors and investors are in a holding pattern as far as Avengers #43.

Sub-Mariner-1-199x300 Downward Trend: Shying From Sub-Mariner

Sub-Mariner 1 with art by John Buscema


If there ever was an issue that has been a roller coaster for collectors, it would be Sub-Mariner #1.

As the rumors of Namor entering the MCU come and go, so do the sales figures for his first solo comic. Dating back to Iron Man 2, when a map had a random marker placed in the Atlantic Ocean, fans have been waiting for Sub-Mariner to arrive.

Since then, it seems every rumor fails to deliver, and much of it can be blamed on the complex movie rights for the character, which were previously owned by Universal. Will we ever see Namor in the MCU? Time will tell.

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1 comment

dave stevens January 29, 2021 - 7:49 pm

Batman 121 is rare. Rare books don’t make hot sellers because the supply will never be there; the comparison to these other books makes no sense.


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