Forever Young

by Blaise Tassone

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This month a relaunch of DC’s Young Justice title, penned by Brian Michael Bendis, captured the attention of the comic buying public. At the same time, speculation about the turnover in actors depicting our favorite Marvel heroes, led to strong sales on Marvel’s 2005 Young Avengers title.

Youth is ‘in’ and in this post, I’ll take a look at these comics featuring all youth teams that are getting noticed and, as a result, gaining in momentum in terms of sales.

What we are witnessing, I think, is the dawning realization that we’ll soon see the end of an era regarding the representation of comic book heroes in the movies. Fairly soon, as older actors step down, a new and younger generation will replace the existing talent depicting our favorite heroes onscreen. Apparently, it seems comic book buyers are also embracing this turn toward youth. The growing interest in the two youth centered titles mentioned above, Young Justice and Young Avengers, testifies to this.

But the emphasis on young heroes (that younger readers could relate to) goes way back in the comics. The theme of the side-kick is probably where it started. Today, some people are still surprised when they learn that one of the main objections to Spider-man, before he originally debuted in Amazing Fantasy #15, was that Peter Parker (a teenager) was far too young to be a hero. At best, he should have been a side-kick.

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Young Justice #1 (Superboy Variant Cover) (January 2019) – Relaunch of Young Justice, First Teen Lantern, First Jinny Hex

“Don’t call them side-kicks” was originally the mantra for the excellent DCEU animated series ‘Young Justice’, which itself was a repacking of the second incarnation of the DC youth team ‘the Teen Titans’ that set out to capture the spirit of the Wolfman-Perez era New Teen Titans run. Did they do it? Yes, yes they did. In my opinion DC is currently crushing it with the third season of ‘Young Justice’ on the DC Universe platform. From the episodes I’ve seen, the program is as strong as ever, as well as a better ‘Titans’ than the current DC live action ‘Titans’ is! To capitalize on the momentum of their Young Justice renaissance, we can turn to this just-launched new series. A lot of the attention focused on this comic stems from its introduction of no less than two new young heroes: Teen Lantern and Jinny Hex. When you add to that the return of Conner Kent, a.k.a. Superboy, you’ll begin to understand why this comic is grabbing people’s attention. I have to admit, I was not a fan of Bendis’ recent work on the Superman books, but as he’s teaming up with artist Patrick Gleason again, even I’m willing to give him another chance. Not enough data on certified sales for this book, but it currently sells from between $5.00- $20.00 in its regular cover, and eBay listings for over $30.00 on the Superboy variant cover are not uncommon. The variant with Connor Kent (who is also featured in the DCEU shows) seems to be the most popular for buyers. Keep your eyes on this one my friends.

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Young Avengers #1 (April 2005) – First appearance of Kate Bishop Asgardian, Hulkling, Iron Lad and Patriot

Turning to Marvel, we see that they also have their youth teams. While many Marvel teams featured young members (Johnny Storm, for example, was a teenager in the original Lee and Kirby Fantastic Four), the all-youth team grabbing people’s attention at the moment is the original ‘Young Avengers’. In the immortal words of J. Jonah Jameson: “Who the #*&% are the Young Avengers?” Well Jonah, the YA were a new-Avengers team made up of Asgardian (aka Billy Kaplan), Hulkling (aka Teddy Altman), Iron Lad (aka Nathaniel Richards aka Kang the Conqueror) and Patriot (aka Eli Bradley), all appearing here for the first time. Add to this that, this comic, penned by Allan Heinberg with art by Jim Cheung, also gives us the first appearance of Kate Bishop (the current Hawkeye) and you can see why many consider it a modern classic. A lot of people are guessing, perhaps correctly, that some of the above characters will eventually enter the MCU. Sales can attest to the popularity and resulting demand for this comic based on the above speculation. Currently, raw copies are selling on eBay for between $20.00 and $60.00 dollars. The certified sales numbers are even more impressive. An eBay sale of a CGC certified universal blue label 9.8 sold on January 12th, for a robust $228.00. That was the latest in a string of January sales, including a January 9, 2019 sale for $283.00 (eBay) and a January 11, 2019 sale for $299.99, among others. That gives this comic, in certified 9.8 form, a current FMV of $ graded copies also currently have a roi of positive + 111.1% after 77 sales since 2013. Back then you could get this book for under $45.00 in 9.8 grade. Here’s the thing, there’s no sign whatsoever that it’s at all slowing down – just the opposite. How high will it go? Your guess is as good as mine.

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