110221B-1-300x157 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune Art“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration.”  So spoke Frank Herbert through the Reverend Mother in his novel, Dune.  *Portions of this blog were written by author Matt Tuck

As I write this the day before Halloween, the quote seems appropriate.  But when you read this, will talk of fear still be relevant? Dune is officially getting its second chapter (and possibly a third). What effect is that having on those key issues? You’d be surprised.

Given the ever-present Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) and fear of being left holding the bag, I assert our hobby knows fear.  And read Our Hobby Knows Fear with a spooky voice for emphasis.  Be assured, I won’t discuss Bill Sienkiewicz Dune art without appropriate fear!

Dune Collectibles Rising?

Back-of-Sandworm-Box-from-1984-245x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune ArtDune 2021 already topped $200 million at the global box office, so are all things Dune ready to rise?  Could Dune be the next franchise to boost movie-related collectibles like comics and art? As the sandworm rises from the Arrakis desert floor,  some will see destruction–while others see the source of great riches.

Before going too deep, let’s check some prices on Dune toys from the 1984 film flop.  I quickly scanned eBay to find MOC Paul Atreides figures for around $100.  Someone wants $400 for the Sandworm NIB.  An exceptional set of all figures is listed at $2,500.  Are these good prices to invest at or just the heady effects of Dune spice on the brain?  Let me ask, how many kids of ‘action figure age’ in 1984 REALLY got into the movie?  Wouldn’t they be the ones pushing up prices for nostalgic reasons?

Pros and Cons of Collecting Frank Herbert’s Classic

Some describe Dune as the greatest science fiction novel of all time.  I enjoyed the cerebral way Frank Herbert created a new universe while interweaving political intrigue, religion, and desert monsters.  However, building a nuanced universe is difficult in one two-hour movie.  That’s probably what ultimately doomed Dune 1984.  The three-part Syfy mini-series (2000) offered a much better treatment since it had the time to elaborate on Herbert’s story.  But both of these stories appealed to an older audience.  Does that build a collector base?

And with the excitement for Dune higher than it’s been since 1984, it is no wonder that buyers have been circling those early spicy keys. Here’s the latest.

Marvel Super Special #36 Marvel-Super-Special-36-222x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune Art

Ralph Macchio and Bill Sienkiewicz collaborated to create Marvel’s Dune 1984 adaptation.  Though 68 comic pages is too short to fully tell the story, Marvel Super Special #36 is on a spice high in 2021.  Sales are sparse.  One CGC 9.4 sold in 2021 for $249 compared to a similar sale in 2019 for only  $35.

For CGC 9.0, one sold fixed price for $149 compared to two 2020 sales averaging only $43.  Obviously, data is thin, but someone paid up for these comics pre-movie release on expectation of great things to come.

In the 1970s and into the ‘80s, Marvel published basically every adaptation under the sun. From sitcoms to kids’ shows and toy lines, you can bet Marvel had its hand in nearly all the comic books inspired by those properties. As such, the publisher created the Marvel Super Special, a series that was closer to a pop culture magazine than anything else the company produced. The early issues featured the likes of the Beatles, KISS, Jaws 2, and Battlestar Galactica. They also used the title to test the market for new characters, like Star-Lord.

In 1985, Marvel Super Special #36 was used to promote the David Lynch version of Dune. While Dune collectors will flock to this issue for obvious reasons, a bonus is the amazing artwork from the legendary Bill Sienkiewicz. 

As expected, this issue’s fair market values immediately rose once the movie’s release was in eyesight. On October 5, a graded 9.8 sold for a record $320. While there haven’t been any other graded sales since then, the raw copies are on the move, and most are selling for about $40.

Dune-1-1985-Limited-Series-197x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune ArtDUNE #1 (1985)

After Dune made its comic debut in Marvel Super Special #36, the publisher rebranded the story and turned it into a three-issue limited series titled Dune in 1985. Although Sienkiewicz provided additional artwork for the covers, the rest of the comics were exactly the same as those in MSS #36. Still, it is proving to be a hit with collectors who want a piece of the Dune action.

These comics are enjoying a boost.  A couple 2021 sales for Dune 1 (9.4) averaged $120 compared to an average price of about $70 on the last 7 sales of 2020.  So, there’s definitely collector interest despite the challenges of adapting Herbert’s tale.  Also, be cautious of overpaying for the limited series since it is a reprint of Marvel Super Special #36.

HOUSE ATREIDES #1 (2020)Dune-House-Atreides-1-195x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune Art

Like many movies and television series, the pandemic wreaked havoc on the release schedule. Because of that, the film’s premiere was pushed back from 2020 to 2021. However, the merchandise and tie-in comics were still on track for the original dates, which led to action figures and comics being released well in advance of the movie. That is why the adaptation of Frank Herbert’s sequel, Dune: House Atreides, from Boom! Studios was published last year. 

Although this is not the first adaptation of House Atreides, Boom’s outing is having an impact on the market. Last month, a standard cover graded at a 9.8 sold for a record $100. That pales in comparison to the Pope variant, which sold for $190 in May.

DUNE: PART TWO

With more to come for the space opera, buyers will be adding copies of those ‘80s Dune keys to their collections. Who knows how high those fair market values will rise by the time the sequel rolls around? Maybe you’re afraid you will lose your investment dollars. Remember, don’t fear; fear is the mind (and FMV) killer. Dune-2-1985-e1635786456814-264x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune Art

Bill Sienkiewicz Dune Art – It Ain’t Free, Men

In comics, good art can make up for holes in a script.  Sienkiewicz succeeded and solid sales prices back that up.  Let’s look at 14 sales of Bill Sienkiewicz Dune art through Heritage Auctions.  We’ll talk about sales prices for Dune compared to other works by Sienkiewicz.  But we’ll also consider a few pieces of art that sold more than once.

Dune-3-Page-1-e1635786501784-207x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune ArtStarting with the cover of Dune 2, that piece sold for $9,600 this year.  That’s on the low end of recent cover art by Sienkiewicz.  New Mutants, Moon Knight, and Elektra: Assassin easily outpace this art.  However, it sold similar in price to a 2016 Uncanny Inhumans variant cover and an older Shadow cover.

Interior art showed stronger.  Nine interior pages sold in 2021 in the two to four thousand dollar range each.  Dune 3 Page 1 sold for $4,560, as an example.  The volume indicates sellers think the time is right to strike. The prices suggest strength, considering other 2021 interior sales for characters like Moon Knight and Elektra sold for similar dollars (and a few lower). Dune-1-Page-3-e1635786539515-245x300 Dune Keys & Bill Sienkiewicz Dune Art

However, exuberance doesn’t always pay off.  The from Dune 1 Page 3 sold in 2020 for a cool six grand.  A year later, it fetched only $4,320.  That’s a 28% loss!  On the plus side, page 2 of Dune 2 doubled in price from 2019 to 2021 ($2,160).  But in the rollercoaster that makes me cautious about Dune collectibles–An early splash page from the adaptation fetched $17,500 in 2019 versus ten grand LESS a year later.

New Film, New Comics, New Attitude

The new film is gaining traction with a sequel already confirmed.  Herbert’s story appears to be getting its chance to be fully told in big screen splendor.  So is it time to consider the new series Dune: House Atreides from Boom! Studios?  CGC sales/slabs are few.  These comics can be purchased raw at basically cover price.

Most interesting, the goal appears to be a Dune expanded universe similar to Star Wars.  This series doesn’t retell the Herbert stories, rather it focuses on young Leto Atreides.  If the new movies can create sustained interest, I like the chances for this series to succeed.

If you enjoyed my Dune article, check out my thoughts on Loki Comics and Art.

Reviews may be mixed, but there’s no denying Dune’s success at the box office. Although the first entry in Denis Villeneuve’s epic remake was titled “Part One,” word spread that WarnerMedia had yet to greenlight any further Dune films. It will come as welcome news to fans that, indeed, part two is officially in the works.

What did you think of Dune? What about that stunning Dune art? Let us know in the comments!

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