Evolutionary Tales

by Blaise Tassone

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Apparently, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s the High Evolutionary who is behind the creation of Rocket the Racoon. In the comics, the High Evolutionary actually creates important Marvel monsters, like the New Men, and heroes, like Spider-woman. The implied connection to Rocket, however, increases the possibility that the High Evolutionary will make an MCU appearance, possibly in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume III’. If that happens, and given the emphasis on multi-film story arcs emphasized by Marvel, you can bet other creations of his will eventually appear.

Who is the High Evolutionary and why is he important? This character basically fulfills the archetype of the mad scientist, and he’s important to the development of the Marvel Universe precisely because of his connection to Marvel’s heroes and villains alike on both a terrestrial and cosmic level.

About a year ago, I blogged about him and discussed his comic background history (as well as his key issues: High Evolutionary Keys), at that time, I wrote: “Although the High Evolutionary may not be the most popular character in the Marvel Universe, he is still an important one.” I’ll double down on that claim here.

That said: which comic and connecting characters are important in relation to the High Evolutionary? In order, let’s get into some ‘Evolutionary’ speculation.

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Thor #134 (November 1966) – First appearance of High Evolutionary

The comic to get regarding Mr. Evolutionary is, hands down, Thor #134. This is the first appearance of the High Evolutionary and has actually been seeing strong returns over the last year, with sales recently picking up on this Silver Age Thor key.

A 9.6 graded copy, which could be had for under $1, 000.00 just under a year ago (a ComicLink auction of a 9.6 on 03/08/2018 sold for $955.00), last sold -on 10/25/2018- for over $2000.00. The 9.6 grade currently carries a FMV of around $2, 800.00. In 9.8 that climbs to $6, 000.00. With those returns, you would think the High Evolutionary is already part of the MCU.

Actually, this is not so surprising. Silver Age Marvel has seen very strong returns over the last few years. This is a Silver Age Marvel key that is now being noticed and everybody wants it. There are, of course, plenty of copies out there, but as with all Silver Age books it’s all about grade. 309 is the total unit count on CGC census right now, of those: 7 are in 9.8 grade, 14 in 9.6 and 9.4 jumps up to 36. Prices, accordingly, dip when we go below 9.6. In still relatively pristine 9.0 and all the way down to 8.0 grade, this comic has a FMV of around $400.00. Will it stay that way? Judging by three month averages, the possibility is unlikely. Over the last 12 weeks, 8.0 sales have seen a positive +136.7% rise on returns. The last two sales were from $264.00 on 04/28/2019 (Heritage Auction), to a strong $625.00 price less than a month later on 05/12/2019 (eBay). Conclusion: this book is hot.

 

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Strange Tales #89 (September 1961) – First Appearance of Fin Fang Foom

Also hot, and he has been for a while, is Fin Fang Foom. This colorfully named monster has long been rumored to be on the verge of making an MCU appearance. He’s an alien dragon who, for some reason, is really beloved by Marvel Fans. Well, all earlier predictions of his appearing have failed to materialize. Now, (see here), recent gossip says he may appear in the upcoming ‘Shang-Chi’ movie; perhaps as a creation of the High Evolutionary. Hey, if the High Evolutionary can create Rocket, then he can create a Dragon Monster. Strange Tales #89 is the book to look for regarding FFF. With 308 total copies on the census, three month returns on this classic are as follows: 2.0 grades are up positive +48% after 2 eBay sales [04/15/2019 = $321.00; 04/21/2019 = 475.00], and 5.0 grade is up, positive +10.9% also after two eBay sales [03/15/2019 = $992.00; 05/18/2019= $1,100.00]. With 5.0 grades having broken the $1000.00 mark, this book’s value is surging.

 

 

 

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Marvel Spotlight #32 (February 1977) – First appearance of Spider-Woman; Origin of Spider-Woman

Finally, in the Marvel comic books, the High Evolutionary is connected to the origins the Maximoff twins (Pietro and Wanda, aka Quicksilver and Vision) and the Spider-Woman. The movies have already retconned the twin’s origins, tying them in to Infinity Stones rather than Mad science. In the comics, however, Spider-Woman obtains her powers through a combination of a Spider-serum in tandem with the High Evolutionary’s technology. It’s a long shot that the films will introduce her this way, but that doesn’t mean that her origin in comics should be ignored. 2,082 copies of this Bronze Age book can be found on the CGC census. Three month returns look decidedly mixed for now: Down in 9.8 after 2 eBay sales [03/24/2019 = $1, 499.95; 04/11/2019 = $1, 450.00] for a negative -3.3% return, up in 9.6 grade after no less than 18 sales with the high sale at $439.95 (eBay, 04/23/2019) and a low of $300.00 (eBay, 03/28/2019). This gives it a positive +14.4% return in 9.6 and a FMV of $400.00 in that grade. This is balanced by the slightly negative return of -1.1% on 9.4 grades after 13 sales [high of $319.99, fixed price eBay sale: 04/10/2019, and a low of $205.00 on eBay auction: 04/06/2019]. My guess is those trends will change and an upswing will occur if Jessica Drew appears onscreen, whether or not in connection to the High Evolutionary.

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