Hottest Comics: Black Cat Pounces, but Hulk #181 is Climbing

by Matt Tuck

090822B-1024x536 Hottest Comics: Black Cat Pounces, but Hulk #181 is ClimbingBlack Cat and She-Hulk spec ruled eBay this week, but Hulk #181 is on its way up the ladder. Let’s chat about the latest round of Hottest Comics!

Before we dive into this week’s movers and shakers, let’s take a moment to be sure we’re all on the same page. The Hottest Comics isn’t about making waves in dollars and cents, necessarily. It’s about the number of sales. These rankings reflect which comics, whether they’re graded or raw, are in high demand on eBay. The data is continuously updated, so the numbers can change by the day. 

With that in mind, here’s what buyers were targeting.

29. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #194 (+43)

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ASM #194 makes so many appearances on the Hottest Comics’ movers and shakers lists that it borders on being a “Usual Suspect.” For those new to the blog, the Usual Suspects are the comics that yo-yo across the top-100 eBay best sellers practically by the day. One way or another, the likes of ASM #252, Omega Men #3, 1991’s X-Men #1, and a few others find themselves on either the Hottest or Coldest comics blog in some fashion. Black Cat’s first appearance has nearly earned that same distinction, but it’s not all Felicia Hardy’s fault.

The popularity of ASM #194 waxes and wanes based on those nonstop Sony rumors. For years, fans have been waiting for her to appear in live action. From the on-again/off-again proposed Silver and Black movie that would have paired Felicia with Silver Sable to that Morbius Easter egg with her name in a Daily Bugle headline, it would appear Sony wants to bring Black Cat to the big screen. There are plenty of Madame Web casting rumors, and fans are wondering if she will finally appear in that film. 

It comes together to inspire a new wave of interest for ASM #194. At the moment, the graded 9.8 is averaging a little over the $4k mark. However, you can lower your overhead by slightly downgrading to a 9.6, where the 30-day FMV is a fraction of the price at $1,301. If you want to keep that investment below four figures, look to the 9.2, which has averaged $683 for the past month.

33. SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #1 (+40)

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“If you don’t buy my comic this time,” She-Hulk warned on the front cover of her second solo title, “I’m coming to your house and ripping up all your X-Men comics.” With that, John Byrne let readers know exactly what they were in for. 

The tongue-in-cheek humor of Disney+’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has taken direct cues from Byrne’s character-defining run on Sensational She-Hulk. She frequently breaks the fourth wall, speaking directly to the camera to narrate her own story. This was a trope established in Byrne’s run, and it likely influenced Deadpool’s famous fourth-wall breaks both on the screen and in the comics. 

With the popularity of She-Hulk’s streaming series, it is no wonder that her key issues are faring especially well at the moment. Her first appearance sits comfortably at the top of the mountain, but prices for higher grades can be daunting for many collectors. That is what makes Sensational She-Hulk #1 a much more appealing option. Even if you opt for a graded 9.8, you’re looking at a $200 investment as opposed to about $650-$700 for a 9.8 Savage She-Hulk #1. 

52. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #361 NEWSSTAND (+39)

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There’s no keeping Carnage down for long. Although Venom ate both the symbiote and Cletus Kasady’s head at the conclusion of Let There Be Carnage, there’s always a chance that the blood-lusting Carnage will reappear. Many fans are hoping we will see him again in the MCU since the perception is Tom Holland’s Spider-Man will get his very own Black Suit Saga.

That possibility has been enough to elevate Carnage’s first appearance in ASM #361 toward the top half of eBay’s best sellers’ list. Of course, this is not just any copy; it’s the legendary newsstand variant. Since these are harder to find in higher grades, that little barcode in the bottom corner comes with a higher price tag. For the past year, the 9.8 has averaged almost $900, but Carnage’s on-screen death has lowered those values, but that’s not a bad thing. At the moment, you can own that same near-mint grade for under $700.

38. INCREDIBLE HULK #181 (+31)

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Times are tough in today’s economy, but this is as close to a can’t-miss bullseye as you’ll find.

Wolverine’s first appearance is never a bad investment. While a vocal portion of Marvel readers groans at the mention of his name, the majority of superhero fans are still in love with Logan and his pointy hairstyle. That goes double for mainstream audiences, particularly non-comic readers. They are desperate to see the character return to the big screen with an MCU spin. 

Marvel clearly has big plans for Canada’s favorite superhero. Taron Egerton has confirmed that he’s been in talks with Marvel Studios about taking on the iconic role. There have also been numerous allusions to mutants and the X-Men, specifically Wolverine. 

Despite a multitude of rumors, the first clear reference to Logan was in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Not only did the pair visit Madripoor, Logan’s home away from home, but they even went to his favorite hangout, The Princess Bar. After Ms. Marvel was confirmed as a mutant in her season finale, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law featured a clever Easter egg with the alluring headline, “Man fights with metal claws in bar brawl,” which is clearly meant to put visions of Logan dancing in our heads. Don’t forget that the teaser for the upcoming Wolverine PS5 game featured Wolverine popping his claws in a bar, so that She-Hulk allusion could connect to that moment. 

It all adds up to an uptick in Wolverine comic speculation. When and how Wolvie will arrive in the MCU is anyone’s guess at this point, but there’s no question that he’s coming. Will he be part of the X-Men? Will he be an Avenger? Will he be the Madripoor secret agent known as “Patch?” No one outside Kevin Feige’s inner circle knows for sure. All the mystery is causing another wave of interest for Hulk #181.

Earning its place as the Holiest of Bronze Age grails, all grades of Hulk #181 are expensive, with or without the precious Marvel Value Stamp. The mythical blue-label 9.8 sells for six figures, and even the lowly 0.5 brought over $1,300 last month. This past weekend, an incomplete 2.0 without the value stamp sold for $1,975. If Easter eggs and rumors are fueling these higher prices, imagine where things will land when he finally arrives. 

26. THE SANDMAN #8 (+27)

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The Sandman has been a massive success for Netflix. While Neil Gaiman has cautioned that a second season is not guaranteed due to the show’s large budget, fans are crossing their fingers for more adventures into the Dreaming and beyond. Who knows? We could be in for a spinoff or two, which is exactly what happened in the comics. These days, everyone remembers Gaiman’s Lucifer Morningstar, who got a television series before the character was reimagined for The Sandman. However, the first spinoff star from those Sandman comics was his sister, Death.

Like the comics, Death was portrayed as a kindly, empathetic figure on the Netflix series. She was meant to personify the polar opposite of the classic Grim Reaper figure. Instead of a terrifying menace that no mortal could escape, Gaiman’s Death is greeted as a friend who is there to guide souls to the Endless. It made fans fall in love with her in the comics, which eventually landed her multiple self-titled series. 

As expected, Death has become a fan-favorite character on The Sandman, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she could branch off to begin her own story sans Dream. That has propelled her first issue toward the top of the Hottest Comics index. Buyers were stockpiling her first appearance in The Sandman #8 in droves, likely hoping that she will star in her own streaming show. With Gaiman’s worries that another season of Sandman may be too expensive for Netflix to greenlight, that could lead to the streaming company opening the door to a Death series with a smaller budget.

Looking to roll the dice and invest in Death? A graded 9.8 will cost you around $1k based on the current average. However, that price has been dipping as of late, and the last two copies sold this month brought $850 on September 4 and $975 a day later.

Keep up with all the latest Movers & Shakers!

000080221A_Games_2-Footer Hottest Comics: Black Cat Pounces, but Hulk #181 is Climbing*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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