You have first appearances, and you have the first Silver Age appearance of a Golden Age hero. Under that umbrella, you get books like Avengers #4 for Captain America, Fantastic Four #4 for Namor, etc. Dig a bit deeper, sometimes the hero’s name is taken up by another person, so you end up getting the first Silver Age appearance for the original GA hero. Such is the case for Jay Garrick/Barry Allen, Alan Scott/Hal Jordan, Albert Pratt/Ray Palmer, etc. This seems to occur less so in Marvel Comics, but it is with one particular Marvel hero and his first Silver Age appearance book where there might be an interesting spec opportunity.
In Marvel Comics, the most similar occurrence of this change is probably with Jim Hammond and Johnny Storm. Although Hammond’s android vs human aspects always offers an interesting debate, we are here for his first Silver Age appearance comic book of Fantastic Four Annuals #4 (1966). At the moment, the FMV of a CGC 9.8 slab is $3,800, while that of 9.6 is $375. That’s a pretty big difference at just over 10x. But is it unusual?
The most popular Golden Age hero first appearing in the Silver Age is undoubtedly The Flash #123 (1961), featuring both Jay Garrick and Barry Allen. The book is credited as Garrick’s first appearance in the Silver Age. In addition, it is also the first mention of Earth 2 and the first appearance of Shade in the Silver Age.
CGC graded copies of this book that exist only go as high as 9.6; and public sales at 9.4 and below. At the top three grades, the FMVs are no more than double the next grade higher grade. Going down to the CGC census ~10% mark of CGC 7.5 and 11.4%, the FMV is similarly half that of the above 8.0, but same as the next one below, 7.0. Overall, sales prices have been rather flat, with peaks varying across the grading range at either 2013 or 2017.
The next most popular Golden Age hero appearing in the Silver Age is arguably Alan Scott’s Green Lantern. Scott makes his first appearance in the Silver Age with The Flash #129 (1962); it is in flashback, so we’ll also look at The Flash #137 (1963) in which the entire JSA physically appears. It’s actually also the first Silver Age appearance for many of the other Golden Age JSA members. These members include: Atom (Al Pratt), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Doctor Mid-Nite (Charles McNider), Johnny Thunder, and Wonder Woman.
With The Flash #129, there is only a 3x separation from the 9.8 FMV to 9.6, and 2.27x from 9.6 to 9.4. For the grades below, it just gets closer. It’s also fairly similar for The Flash #137, the differences from the top (9.6) down being: 3.5x, 2.13x, 2.8x, and then it dwindles from there.
For the sake of thoroughness, let’s look at one more book; that of Kent Nelson’s Dr. Fate and Rex Tyler’s Hourman first Silver Age appearance in Justice League of America #21 (1963). With a single 9.8 sale and no graded 9.6s in the census, we’ll start at 9.4 and below; the FMV differences are 4.3x, 1.4x, and smaller and smaller. Even going back to the 9.8 to theoretical 9.6, it’s only a 2.3x.
ALL THIS IS TO SAY…
The dramatic 10x FMV difference that Fantastic Four Annuals #4 has between its CGC 9.8 slabs and 9.6s is indeed quite odd. With that being said, the main points of concern are that the sales volume isn’t too large. Sales themselves aren’t pointing to a definitive trend in either direction. But again, what a weird FMV difference. The Fantastic Four is the subject of the current MCU rumor mill. Fantastic Four Annual #4 at the CGC 9.6 grade could be a good tangential spec. Surely Hammond is on someone’s mind. Lest we forget that at the World Exposition of Tomorrow in Captain America: The First Avenger movie, there was the brief cameo of the “Phineas Horton Presents The Synthetic Man” red costume.
“Phineas Horton was like a modern day Prometheus, stealing fire from the heavens and handing a human torch down to man.” – Human Torch/Jim Hammond
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