The Invaders title is one of those forgotten series of the Bronze Age. It is a great idea, telling stories from WWII with Marvel’s (Timely’s) original Golden Age heroes teamed up. It is just one of those series you hardly ever hear of, and aside from Invaders 1 and Giant-Size Invaders 1, there are not many key issues.
For this article, I want to highlight Invaders #20. Most comic fans are probably familiar with this classic cover and may know this book as the first full appearance of Union Jack II (Brian Falsworth). That makes this issue a very minor key that few are going out of their way to pick up, and when they do, are paying less than $10 for raw copies. But of the 17 pages of story in this issue (the rest being ads, fan letters, editorial, etc.), only 9 pages are dedicated to what is presented on the cover. The other 8 pages are what I think is what makes this issue worth considering as an investment.
Invaders 20’s back up story
The second half of Invaders 20 reprints a story, intended for a 1939 giveaway comic (but plans fell through) called Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1, called “The Sub-Mariner”. The first issue of this obscure title was where Namor had his debut! Interestingly, the holy grail of Marvel Comics #1 was where the Human Torch first appeared, but the Sub-Mariner story is the exact same story from Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 six months earlier. Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 has a store date of April 1, 1939. Marvel Comics #1 has a store date of September 30, 1939. Marvel Comics #1’s Sub-Mariner story is actually a reprint from (the unreleased) Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1.
The CGC situation
High-grade raw copies of this issue undoubtedly exist in the wild more abundantly than the sparse CGC census indicates. There are only 14 CGC 9.8’s, and there has not been a single 9.8 sale since three sold in 2013. However, judging by fairly recent 9.6 sales, most of which were auctions, we can get an idea of what a 9.8 would be worth. The 9.6’s are about $60-$70, and 9.8’s generally are about triple the cost of the next grade down. I would estimate a 9.8 to be worth about $180-$200 if one actually surfaces for sale. It may be a better strategy to look for high-grade raw copies you can get graded yourself.
The effort is only worth it, of course, if you believe that buyers will see the value in the significance of this book. By the way, CGC only lists on their label that this is the “First full appearance of Union Jack II”, and that it contains a “Hitler appearance”. There is no mention of the Sub-Mariner’s debut reprinted.
As far as I can tell Invaders #20 looks to be the earliest issue that Sub-Mariner’s first appearance was re-presented. Invaders #20 is from September 1977, so that is 38 years after this story was originally published. Needless to say, the two Golden Age books are effectively not an option because of their rarity and value. The next time Namor’s first appearance story is published again is as the back up in Invaders #20. What do you think, should this remain a $10 book raw, and a $70 CGC 9.6? Would the community begin to care about this book as Namor nears his MCU debut?