It’s a cause for celebration as those DC comics are showing real signs of life in a market that had been almost exclusively Marvel-centric for over a decade.
All the way up until last fall, the idea of DC providing Marvel with legitimate competition was laughable. That went double for collectors’ investment dollars. Certainly, those mega keys from the Golden Age have few equals on Marvel’s side, but the MCU has long dominated the collecting landscape, and for good reason. An occasional DC issue would climb the ranks and make noise, but those would be heavily outnumbered by its Marvel’s counterparts.
The secondary market had basically amounted to Marvel having the only issues that could turn serious profits, and DC’s were simply not on the radar. Why would they have been? The DCEU was getting steadily worse. After Zack Snyder’s departure, there was no clear direction, and Warner Bros. Pictures wasn’t much better at crafting a superhero movie than Sony. Then along came James Gunn, and interest started to pique.
There was plenty of skepticism, especially from Marvel’s most tribal of fans along with the Snyder-verse hopefuls. Once the DC Studios co-chair rolled out the first wave of his Chapter One projects, even the doubters were becoming optimistic. That sentiment has rolled into the collecting world, and suddenly multiple DC keys are the hottest on the market.
How long this will last is the question, and there’s no way of knowing the answer. For now, let’s enjoy the ride as DC may finally be catching up to Marvel, thus giving collectors twice as many keys to covet. Apparently, that begins with these.
2. BOOSTER GOLD #1 (NEW TO THE LIST)
We’re finally getting a live-action Booster Gold show. Sure, he was featured on Smallville, but this is an entirely different ballgame. He’s getting his very own HBO Max series, and we’ve seen the impact those shows can have on the market. Peacemaker is a great example. HBO is known for putting together high-quality adaptations, and this is 100% within James Gunn’s action-comedy wheelhouse. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s in the same vein as Peacemaker, for that matter.
Out of all the keys to get the bump from the DCU Chapter One, Booster Gold #1 has been the clear winner so far. That’s likely because of the price. Now that we know he’s going to get the spotlight in his own show, it has nowhere to go but up. After all, raw copies were selling for about $50 this time last week, but the DCU news has bumped those into $75-$100 territory.
I don’t mean to pat myself on the back (okay, maybe I do), but we totally called this one. Then again, the writing was on the wall for Booster when Blue Beetle was announced. After all, these two have a famous bromance in the comics. Last June, the graded 9.8 was a $400-$450 comic. That may have seemed a bit pricey at the time, but the investment is paying off now. Since the announcement, those have ballooned to as much as $615.
With the streaming series confirmed, it leads to casting speculation. Let’s face it, Chris Pratt would make the perfect Booster Gold.
7. BATMAN #655 (NEW TO THE LIST)
The first of two Damian Wayne keys on today’s list, the “little son of a bitch,” as Gunn described him, has never been so popular. The Brave and the Bold, a title that initially gave me Cartoon Network vibes, will be based on Grant Morrison’s Batman run from 2006. Of course, the DC Studios co-chair had teased this weeks ago when he shared a picture of Morrison’s Batman: Rest in Peace. Although Gunn vehemently denied that he was hinting that RIP was coming to the silver screen, it would seem that he was giving us a clue as to what was in store.
Naturally, the first Damian key to catch fire is Batman #655, which happens to be his first canonical appearance. Prior to that, he technically appeared as a baby in Batman: Son of the Demon, though that was an Elseworld’s tale, and the child of Talia and Bruce wasn’t named. However, Morrison did retcon the idea and incorporate it into his story. Thus, in Batman #655, he ran with the idea so that Batman’s son would be in his youth rather than an infant.
In this issue, we only see Damian’s eyes in a shadow, but that tease is comic book tradition. Nevertheless, it marks his first canonical appearance, and it has buyers in a feeding frenzy to get their copies. After selling in the $200 range for the past month, the last 9.8 to trade hands online brought $400 on Feb. 1.
8. BATMAN #656 (NEW TO THE LIST)
Not too far behind Batman #655 is Damian’s first full appearance in the following issue. This issue is already bringing nearly twice the values that it had been a year ago. For the past 12 months, the graded 9.8 had averaged $172. Now it’s consistently earning $275 to $300. Odds are, Gunn has big plans for Damian going forward, and that will only make these keys more of a priority. In other words, the prices will keep going up for the time being.
Gunn said that The Brave and the Bold will be a father-son movie depicting the strained relationship between Batman and Damian. Of course, “the son of the Bat” wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t the narcissistic, bloodthirsty prick we love to hate, so there will be an opportunity for some comedy in between the action and crime fighting.
On the larger scale, Damian could be involved in many different projects going forward. For one, this could be the future Batman in the making. Over the years, we could see Damian evolve into a legitimate hero and take up the Dark Knight mantle. As a child, he could be the centerpiece of a Teen Titans movie or HBO Max series. If Jonathan Kent is introduced into the DCU, then we could be in for the Super Sons.
18. OMEGA MEN #3 (-7)
Wait. How can a comic that has lost ground be included on a Hottest Comics list? In any other case, an issue that dropped by seven positions wouldn’t be included. Considering that Omega Men #3 is very much in the DCU Chapter One conversation, it deserves to be added to today’s blog.
After all the rumors, gossip, and teases, many fans were bewildered that Lobo wasn’t mentioned in Gunn’s Chapter One announcement. It’s had the more negative crowd immediately laughing and pointing fingers at anyone who invested in Omega Men #3. That is highly premature. Maybe Lobo wasn’t in the initial mix this time around, but he is most definitely on the board. What’s more, Gunn was very clear that the first 11 projects were only the ones he was ready to make public, so there’s much more to come. That’s not to mention that this is only Chapter One, and he obviously wouldn’t reveal any surprise cameos that are on the agenda.
The other reason to add Omega Men #3 to the list is because, despite losing ground, it’s still the 18th best-selling comic over the past 10 days. Collectors and investors know Lobo will be in the DCU, which is why the graded 9.8 is still earning nearly $400 on average for the past month.
77. SWAMP THING #1 (NEW TO THE LIST)
Marvel’s most devoted fans will automatically point to Man-Thing and call this a Sam’s Choice version of their character. Longtime comic book fans know that’s far from the truth. While we all appreciate Man-Thing, he isn’t on Swamp Thing’s level. If we’re lucky, Gunn and company will take cues straight from Alan Moore’s legendary run.
The news on Swamp Thing just keeps getting better. Not only will he get a horror movie, but the rumors are that both James Mangold (you might remember him a little comic book movie called Logan) and modern horror legend Guillermo del Toro are interested in directing. In either case, as fans, we are in good hands. Considering the dismal low-budget Swamp Thing movies from the 1980s, it is long overdue for the Protector of the Green to get the spotlight in a major production.
What’s so special about Swamp Thing #1? This comic is nearly as famous as the character’s first appearance, and much of that can be attributed to Bernie Wrightson’s iconic artwork, who also co-created Swamp Thing with Len Wein. It just so happens it’s the character’s first solo title, so put the two together, and you can see why this issue is so popular.
Just for fun, let’s say you’re in the market for a graded 9.8. If you have around $5,000-$6,000 burning a hole in your wallet, then you are in business. The rest of us will look at, say, a 9.2, which last sold for $609 on Jan. 31.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.