An X-Men holy grail ascended the ranks to become one of the hottest comics in the realm this week, and it had stellar company among the top-five movers and shakers.
What are the Hottest Comics? Ranked by sales volume, the hottest comics are the 1,001 most popular comics for the past week. Listed beside each entry is the total number of positions changed over that span, thus giving us the five issues that saw the most movement.
Time to check the data and see not just which issues were on the rise, but why they caught the attention of so many buyers.
The single hottest comic of all 1,001 issues this week is a true holy grail, particularly for X-Men fans. Giant-Size X-Men #1 was approaching one thousand positions leaped, which catapulted this landmark comic nearly into the top 20.
Of all five comics on today’s list, none are more deserving of attention than 1975’s GSX #1. For one thing, this marked the first appearances of three of the most popular X-Men: Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler. It also happened to be the second full appearance of Wolverine, and the first time readers saw him outside the pages of Incredible Hulk. More importantly, this issue saved the fledgling X-Men title, which had not had an original story since X-Men #66 was published in 1970.
The original incarnation of X-Men – Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Angel, and Beast – was viewed as a cheap copy of Marvel’s flagship superteam, the Fantastic Four. Readers just weren’t buying it, both figuratively and literally. Then came Len Wein and company, who recreated the core group of X-Men. Not only did it draw attention by adding the immediately popular Wolverine, but it gave the team an edge that it sorely needed to set them apart from the FF.
This year, the X-Men movie rumors and speculation have been at a fever pitch. There is still no official word on when the mutants will arrive in the MCU, but there is no doubt that they are coming. It all has created an unprecedented surge in prices for GSX #1 this year. While values have cooled slightly this month, practically every grade sold in 2021 has hit a new record high. A 9.8 recently sold for nearly $49,200 on July 25, while a 9.2 brought $11k on July 27.
The real tale of the tape is in the low grades. Earlier this month, a 0.5 sold for $1,200, and a 2.5 went for more than $2k. There’s no arguing that this is one of the hottest comics right now.
Ever since fans saw Special Agent Jimmy Woo in Ant-Man, there has been speculation that he would follow his comic roots and head up an MCU version of the New Agents of Atlas. After Woo had a featured role in WandaVision this year, the rumors were amplified. In February, Marvel Chief Kevin Feige said that there will be a superhero team connected with Southeast Asia. Many fans have wondered if that means the Agents of Atlas are incoming.
All of the rumors and speculation adds up to inflated prices for War of the Realm: New Agents of Atlas #1. Not only do you get the first appearance of the new lineup, but it also features the debuts of Aero, Wave, Luna Snow, Crescent, and Io. Another factor in this issue’s rise is Sword Master, who is featured heavily in the trailers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. While Sword Master did not appear in the story, New Agents of Atlas #1 marked his first cover appearance. Between Sword Master and Jimmy Woo, it gives plenty of reasons for collectors to put this issue on their wish lists.
For the past week, sales have been solid. The 9.8 is consistently carrying a $170-$200 price tag, and a 9.6 sold for $135 on July 27. However, the real money lies with the third print. That particular cover has a 90-day average of $305, and the most recent sale was for $275 on July 20.
Sam Wilson has risen through Marvel’s ranks to become one of the premiere heroes in both the comics and the MCU. His star turn in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier firmly established him as a lead character and the current and future Captain America of the MCU. He even has a starring role in the fourth Cap movie on the way, and it is a certainty that he will be a cornerstone of the new onscreen Avengers. That is what is keeping prices for Captain America #117 climbing even months after FATWS has wrapped.
Earlier this month, a 9.4 set a record high of $4,080 on July 4. Just this week, an 8.5 sold for $1,320. These days, you can’t get anything from an 8.0 and above for less than $1k. The better deals lie with the lower grades if you don’t mind a beat-up copy. Even then, a 3.0 still carries a $300 price tag.
The more attention Marvel Studios places on Sam Wilson, the higher the values will rise for Cap #117. From the looks of things, it appears Marvel is strapping a rocket to Sam’s back and aiming for the moon, and you can expect those values to go along for the ride.
The collecting world had great taste this week. One of Neal Adams’ most famous creations – and perhaps the most reproduced Joker cover of all time – was on the move this week. After climbing 961 positions, it landed in the thirty-eighth spot.
Besides this being a favorite target of cover hunters everywhere, Batman #251 marked one of the most important changes for the Joker. Prior to this 1973 issue, the Silver Age presented the “Clown Prince of Crime” as less of a diabolical mastermind and more of a comical stepping stone for Batman. Beginning with Batman #251, the Joker was given a homicidal makeover, taking him out of the kids’ comics realm and making him much more adult and menacing. There has been no looking back since. The Joker has gone on to become arguably the single most popular villain in all of comics.
A week ago, a 9.2 sold for an impressive $1,800. That’s especially eye-opening when you consider that the same grade averaged $1,082 only two years ago. Looking for a cheaper option? Drop the grade down to an 8.0, and prices begin to dip below the $1k mark. Still, the FMVs for this iconic issue remain fairly high, even for the lower grades. All the way down to the 2.0, this comic is still selling for $265.
The second X-Men issue on today’s list, the unusual part here is that Wolverine #3 outpaced Wolverine Limited #1. Of course, the asterisk on that statement is that Frank Miller’s classic cover for #1 did not have as far to go, whereas #3 had to climb over 900 positions just to make it into the top 50. Wolverine #3 is one of several Wolverine keys inside the top 50, which is a testament to Logan’s enduring popularity.
This issue isn’t typically a prime target for collectors on its own merit. While it does showcase the first appearance of Asano Kimura, which lends itself to the striking visual of an all-too-human Wolverine grieving on the iconic cover, many collectors want this as part of the four-part set. That is why it carries relatively low prices compared to the likes of Wolverine Limited #1. With all the Wolverine hype as of late, the prices for Wolverine Limited #3 have doubled in the past year, jumping from a 2020 average of $197 to a 90-day FMV of $444.