The time to buy collectibles and speculate on comics is when they are attached to a far-off movie or series, and there is little interest in them. With that premise, let’s levitate some of Dr. Strange’s key books for review and consideration. Should you buy the origin, second appearance, or a key Seventies appearance? Recently, Kevin Feige the Marvel Studios President has confirmed that we will see Dr. Strange 2 in a couple of years. This movie will not appear until 2020, or 2021. It is indeed confirmed to be “far, far away..” Yet, this story holds a certain magic for those of us who grew up on Dr. Strange since the 70’s and beyond. Should Scott Derrickson begin leading the production; then he promised the villain in question would most definitely be Nightmare (source: CBM). What essential books should we buy now for this supreme speculation?
First Origin: Strange Tales #115
The origin of Dr. Strange is well-known after the off the hook movie created in 2016. However, to own a key in this comic story; now that is true magic. What a trick for a speculator conjuring up the origin of the Sorcerer Supreme. The first origin of the good Doctor was in Strange Tales #115 also it is an early Spidey crossover. The book was created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Ditko, and Ayers in 1963. It is a great mid-level key and the origin for Dr. Strange.
The current price is within most speculation budgets. Merely forgo buying five copies, or cover variants of one new comic, and you can afford this baby for around $80 in (3.0) grade. You might not be Svengali, but it is no mean trick turning $80 into a long-term investment that grows. Besides now is the time to buy, as most returns have been negative since the first movie dropped. Strange Tales #115 in a grade (3.0) has seen a -3.6% decline. I know it is tough to buy an out of favor comic. But that is the whole point of speculation, to buy when no one cares. Sometimes in dealing with collectibles, we have to put our big boy pants on and take a risk. Just imagine a future in five years when all copies have been snapped up, and Dr. Strange is still going strong.
Another big and often overlooked key is Strange Tales #111 the second appearance of Dr. Strange, also done by the crew mentioned above with the extraordinary skills of Larry Leiber assisting. Strange Tales #111 is cheap, and the price is rising just like the Cloak of Levitation. This book is catching on with investors who pumped enough money into a grade (8.0) very fine that it has returned 63% ROI. Similar comic profits have occurred for (9.2) which garnered 43.5% returns. Stay in the higher grades on this second appearance, and you should be safe from the astral plane of profit destruction. The (8.0) mentioned earlier is around $700 FMV current price.
Also, popular is the Dr. Strange #1 (1974) which gives us the first look at the Mighty Agamotto! Also, this is the second series in the story of Dr. Strange; but don’t let that give you vapors. Any good speculative mage knows the secret is in seeing the magic before it happens. This book has weirdly been more consistent than the earlier more expensive keys. With some remarkably good returns across all grades: (6.0) has +170%, (8.0) +10.4%, and (9.8) +29% ROI. This book has a great cover and is an iconic piece from the 1970’s. Given the price range is within everyone’s reach the returns on this book could be consistent and long-term for many years to come.
The Whole Ball of Wax: Strange Tales #110
Finally, the first appearance of Nightmare is in Strange Tales #110. No big deal right? How much could one villain cost? Wrong, that is also Dr. Stranges very first appearance, and the price is nightmarish, yeah, I went there. This book has a ton of first appearances: Doctor Strange, The Ancient One, Wong his manservant, Nightmare primary villain, and the first Dreamstalker. It was created with the magic of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (script). The art is like a who’s who of Marvel with Kirby, Ayers, Lieber, and Ditko contributing. In December of 2014, this book sold for $66,000 on ComicConnect. The cheapest I would probably go is a (3.5) good condition for $1150. Though it is a $1000 book, it is the first appearance of both Strange and Nightmare.
However, if these prices are too costly; then try collecting Strange Tales #115 above which has Doctor Strange’s origin story. It has a lot going for it: great key origin, lower price range, and the ability to purchase higher grade material. The current value is a very fine plus (8.5) for around a $900 FMV price. Probably better to grab the higher quality which in turn will last longer. Of all these books I recommend: the origin story (Strange Tales #115) if you can find it, or the Bronze Age beauty (Dr. Strange #1). Both are reasonably priced and have greater potential for additional upside. In the words of the Sorcerer Supreme, “I believe observation and knowledge must precede action.”