By the power of Grayskull, He-Man started as just a toy line. He has since managed to achieve success across multiple mediums. As recent as Feb 2021, a vintage 8-back carded He-Man sold for as high as $8000. Has this carried over to his comic books? Here we focus on a few of the most popular ones in the market.
With an iconic cover featuring Superman fighting He-Man, DC Comics Presents #47 is the first appearance of He-Man and Skeletor in a comic book; a normal comic that is, because minicomics were bundled with the original toys.
Over the last decade, sales prices at the CGC 9.8 have climbed from the $200 level to the current FMV of $925. The most notable upward move began in early 2018 with the advent of rumors and news tied to a new live-action He-Man movie. Sales prices fell throughout 2019 but managed to find support at the 2015-17 prices. In retrospect, this was a very optimal time to get in for anyone that missed out on the first run-up.
Prices quickly recovered and have been on a tear upwards ever since. They’ve reached an all-time high sale of $1,826 for a newsstand copy in late-2020. This higher premium for newsstand copies of this book didn’t occur until late-2019. It was quite lucky for anyone who opted for them when they were selling in line with the direct editions. It’s a good caveat for other books that haven’t seen a separation between direct vs newsstand yet. It’s still beneficial to opt for the newsstand whenever possible.
Of all the books mentioned here, this one is most likely to benefit the most from the usual movie bump. But in light of the current high prices and the ease at which it fell in late 2019, it’s likely that the activity over the last few years has been due entirely to movie speculators rather than long-term holders. As such, it’s difficult to see this book as an attractive long-term opportunity at the current prices. Should it ever fall closer to the 2015-17 levels, then perhaps that might change. In the meantime, there’s always the minicomics that are currently going for around just a few bucks.
Just a few months after the above book was released, He-Man got his first self-titled series with Masters of the Universe #1. It was a limited series with only three issues.
The market for MOTU #1 really lit up starting in 2016 with a dramatic increase in sales volume but was hard stuck in the $100-150 range (for CGC 9.8) until 2020. There was a small bump in the 2018 timeframe similar to the book above. Likewise, it was due to the movie rumor/news, but was unable to break out above the range.
There was, however, a single outlying sale of $325 that did occur in early 2019 for a newsstand edition. That was the only time that a newsstand copy ever sold at a deviation to the direct editions in the book’s entire market history. Just a few months later, many newsstand copies sold in the aforementioned $100-150 range. In 2020, the range was finally broken with a sustained upward move to a current FMV of $250. The first month of 2021 did see a sale for $325; it was a direct edition.
Overall, the recent upward move seems to be tied more closely with the overall inflation in collectibles. Optimistically, if the book above has taught us anything, then perhaps a separation in the two editions might be on the table. If that occurs, it’d be a good opportunity to decrease any positions. Pessimistically, the $100-150 range that existed for 5 years prior to the current run should serve as caution to take some money off the table.
Just a few years after DC Comics had their run, Marvel Comics imprint Star Comics also got to publish their own similarly named Masters of the Universe series.
CGC 9.8s started 2013 at the $50 level, and have since grown to the current $200 FMV. In the years that DC’s book was stuck in the same range, Marvel’s saw a steady climb. Even overtook it by early 2018 with a short-term high of $235 vs DC’s $180. Then came the 2018/19 movie news. Surprisingly, the movie news had an opposite effect on the market for Marvel’s MOTU #1 than the two books above. Instead of an upward move, sales prices gave up nearly two years of gains before reversing in mid-2019. In another surprise, this most recent upward move started earlier than the two books above. Quite a puzzle as to why this book is decoupled from them.
This book is the most valuable He-Man book in the market, but it’s a bit more of a cautionary tale. The current CGC 9.8 is a whopping $1,400. For reference, the main print only has a CGC 9.8 FMV of $50. When 9.8s first came on the market, the very first sale was $200. Even with a low sales volume due to the book’s rarity, it reached a record high of $5,500 in mid-2019. Unfortunately, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 has fallen ever since.
“Yes, we’ll win this game the old-fashioned way, the tried and true way… we’ll cheat!” – Skeletor