Mention FOOM to most comic book buyers and the first thing they think of is Fin Fang Foom, a dragon appearing alien from Marvel Comics. If that is what you thought then you too may be missing out on what others know.
A New Source for 1st Appearances
I am an old school comic book collector and investor who only purchases first appearances in comic books. That does not mean that I do not conduct research to understand new trends in the comic book market. A new area that investors have been seeking out first appearances is in magazines and trade fanzines. An example of these unique first appearance sources is a fanzine known as FOOM! The fanzine was started by Jim Steranko and Stan Lee for Marvel Comics. The title they chose was an acronym for FRIENDS OF OL’ MARVEL! These issues had puzzles, contests, articles, and previews of upcoming titles. The puzzles and games in these issues make finding books in high grades a little more difficult. Three issues of this run should interest any collector or investor who is seeking 1st appearances that may exist outside of comic books.
A Wolverine Prototype?
Everyone knows of Hulk #180 and Hulk #181. What most do not know is that in FOOM! #2 a fan-produced a sketch of a character named “the Wolverine” as part of a contest mentioned in the first issue. This character had steel under his skin and wore a mask somewhat like a character we have grown to know. Prototypes have value as we have seen with the Sgt. Rock prototype books. This book is different in that this was a fan drawn character that never appeared in a comic book. Still, this issue is in high demand by those who believe this character served as the basis for Marvel’s version of Wolverine.
Legally speaking I know that Marvel Comics has never and would ever state that this character inspired Wolverine because of the possible costly litigation that could result. Still, investors chase this book as if it was an appearance of a Wolverine Prototype. It does not hurt that the appearance of the Hulk on the cover of this issue would cause people to see a connection. In the end, you make this decision on the significance of this issue.
A New X-Men Sighting Before Giant-Size X-Men #1
Once regulated to the second most desirable issue of the series, FOOM! #10 has probably the best argument for being valuable. This issue has a cover appearance of the New X-Men, including Wolverine, and a separate article in the issue before these characters were to appear in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Long relegated to the second most desirable issue of the run, this issue has seen a rise in popularity because of fans seeking true first appearances outside of comics and this issue appears to have it all for this sector of the market. Not only does it predate Giant-Size X-Men #1, but the characters appear on the cover. At the time this article was written only 74 copies exist in the CGC census, so the rarity of these issues also is a factor desirable to the market.
It’s an Election Year so You Must Decide!
In keeping up with all the election ads you are being bombarded with during your life, Issue #15 of FOOM! has investors and collectors debating what makes it more significant. In one corner is the MCU Fans who argue that a drawing of Ms. Marvel and a smaller sketch of the first issue before it appeared on newsstands is the reason for the book’s popularity in the market. Others argue that the first drawings of Captain Britain before he appeared in his self-titled issue in Great Britain is the real reason people want this issue.
The debate will continue but one thing we do know about that issue is that is not Donald Duck appearing on the cover. Everyone knows it is Howard the Duck. I mean come on now, the mere thought of Disney’s Donald Duck appearing in a Marvel Comic Book is silly. Who would ever think that characters from Disney and Marvel could exist in the same universe? Um, wait a minute…..
So Now What?
As a writer, it is not for me to decide what is important to collectors and investors. Instead, I try to bring attention to the trends in sectors of the market. I am a purist and will only buy first appearances that are in the canon of the comic book universes. That does not mean I ignore sectors of the market that others appear to show an interest.
First appearances have always been desirable and to some these first appearances in FOOM! will have some attraction. At auctions and small shows, you can find these books sometimes very cheap and if you can turn a profit, these books may provide a new opportunity to investors. To collectors, these books could be a new pursuit for people seeking to add to their collections books that they might never have known to exist. One thing is for certain…FOOM! is a unique piece of comic book history.