The first Dr.Fate appeared in More Fun Comics #55 in 1940. Many people formed the art and writing teams at DC to create Dr. Fate. The script most notably has Jerry Siegel on the team and he was co-creator of Superman the first of the great comic book superheroes. Think of Dr. Fate as a combo of Dr. Strange and Superman, magic and might, perhaps it has some of that Superman charm to boot.
Dr. Fate has had many incarnations over the last 70 years. Furthermore, on researching this character, I was shocked by the number of appearances in media, live action TV, multiple animation shows, film, and video games. This list isn’t even comprehensive. Since the Crisis on Infinite Earths series in the 1980’s I have liked this character. But I never imagined this much popularity hiding under the surface of Dark JL waters. Dr. Fate has potential; there is no doubt. Which issue is the best bet for speculation or investment?
Recently the Hollywood rumor mill has Doctor Fate in the next Justice League Dark movie; which has assigned Gerard Johnstone to write Justice League Dark but is still missing a director (Source: CBM). Since Johnstone has the directing experience, he is the clear choice we shall see what Fate brings (ahem). More Fun Comics #55 may see price increases if the movie plays well and if Dr. Fate is interesting. These are big “ifs.”
Currently, the most recent sale of More Fun Comics #55 is a grade (3.0) roughly a week ago for $4000 at auction, and before that, a poor copy (.5) sold for $2275 two years ago (GoCollect). There are only 41 books in CGC census, but it is interesting to note there are collectors for this ancient, arcane character’s very first Golden Age appearance.
The early 70’s has the first solo appearance of Dr. Fate in 1st Issue Special #9 (December 1975), by Martin Pasko with the wonderful art of Walt Simonson. (Simonson is the artist who would breathe life back into the Marvel character of Thor, in the 1980s.) This Bronze Age comic beauty has a fantastic cover but unfortunately not the best returns. It appears this comic is fated to decline with (9.8) having a -23.6% return, (9.6) returning a ghastly -53.1%; to be fair this book has only had six sales, but there are tons of rag copies on the internet for next to nothing. Note: I believe these numbers will reverse with Dr. Fate’s appearance in a Hollywood blockbuster.
During the 1980’s after Crisis on Infinite Earths; The Immortal Doctor Fate #1 (1985) debuted with a script by the team of Levitz, Fax, and Pasko with Walt Simonson on pencils and ink. This book seems to be relevant to collectors raw copy is cheap, but two slabs have sold in near mint for over $30; while not definitive on this longshot, this book may represent the 1980’s version of Doctor Fate and possibly worth owning.
The most recent version Dr.Fate # 1 (2015) is “a Doctor Fate series launched, starring the Earth-0 incarnation of the character, an Egyptian-American medical student named Khalid Nassour. Khalid receives the helmet by a statue of Bastet which turned out to be his cat”(Wiki). This version sounds a little zany but is cheap to buy and the most recent incarnation. I would stick with the Doctor Fate’s variant cover as most of these covers are awful. They try for a hieroglyphic type aesthetic, but it comes off looking like a fifth grader drew it! These are bargains at cover price or less.
Dr. Fate in Retrospect
The long-term investor should seek out any copy of More Fun Comics #55, to buy. This issue is expensive but is the first appearance of the character Dr. Fate. Not to mention, the most valuable of Fate’s incarnations. Plus all the comics noted here have the support of a possible future movie catalyst.
The speculator might pursue The Immortal Doctor Fate #1 (1985) in near mint only and for about $10 raw on the internet. Also, take a look at 1st Issue Special #9 (1975). This issue seems to be losing value but is still a big key being Dr. Fate’s first solo adventure in the Bronze Age. Out of all the incarnations, this is my pick to own.
Finally, for you “buy em all” mod-speculators out there go after Dr. Fate #1 from (2015) and Return of Dr. Fate #1 (1988 2nd series) while not mentioned above it has potential. I leave you with Dr. Fates dire warning from a speculative investment standpoint, “A hero’s fate is suffering” (Injustice 2).