Hottest Silver Age Comics: Speculators Playing the Classics

by Ryan Kirksey

050323C-1024x536 Hottest Silver Age Comics: Speculators Playing the ClassicsAnalyzing the Hottest Silver Age Comics of the last 30 days, we may be beginning to see some trends from a couple years ago emerging as investors start to speculate on books again. This list is typically populated with books driven by speculation from future MCU or DCEU projects, but the last few months brought us something different. Speculators are starting to get back to the known commodities; the safest bets. And that’s certainly what we saw this past month.

But now the tide may be shifting ever so slightly back into a bull market for some blue-chip and near-blue-chip Silver Age books. All of the biggest movers over the past month have loose ties (at most) to upcoming MCU or DCEU projects but are going to hit the pocketbook a little harder than in months past.

Here are the five highest risers among Silver Age books in the past month.

Hulk #102 (+64)

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This reintroduction of The Incredible Hulk into the mainstream Marvel comics has received a sudden jolt over the last month or two thanks to a fresh round of Marvel rumors. In December, it was reported that the rights to the Hulk may soon return exclusively to Disney/Marvel Studios (currently, it is co-owned by Universal). That sent the rumor mill churning about a World War Hulk movie and Mark Ruffalo’s reprisal of the Hulk in the upcoming Captain America: New World Order.

The first six issues of the original Hulk run are famously very expensive, as is Avengers #1 when Hulk was in the original lineup. But with Hulk returning with his own comic in April 1968, it would kick off a run that would last more than 30 years. This “reboot” of Hulk, which follow the events of Tales to Astonish #101, sent our favorite green monster on a path to comic relevance that still exists today. The best part is, this book is very affordable.

This book’s 50th percentile on the CGC census is at about a grade of 7.0. Of the last five books sold in that specific grade (from mid-March to the end of April), four of those sold for under $300. It’s holding strong for now, but any more solidified rumors could send it shooting back up to where it was around summer 2021 (about $450).

Amazing Spider-Man #59 (+63)

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Whether in comics, movies, or television, the ladies in Peter Parker’s life are always popular among readers and collectors. This issue packs a double punch of those leading ladies with the first cover appearance of Mary Jane Watson and the first kiss between Peter and Gwen Stacy. It’s a love story/love triangle as old as comics have been printed on paper, and one that was wildly popular in the 1960s.

In addition, we see the Brainwasher make his first appearance in this issue, who is the alter ego of Kingpin, who first appeared nine issues earlier. Add in some classic John Romita cover art and this has become a desired issue for years.

In a 7.5 CGC grade (more than 250 on the census), this book is starting to see some random spikes. Twice since February has the price crossed the $270 mark, while most others are hovering in the $180-$220 range. That seems extremely affordable to me for an early Spider-Man in a very high Silver Age grade and is a price where I would certainly be comfortable buying.

Batman #181 (+35)

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The DC universe at large is going through a major upheaval right now. In March 2021, they relaunched their entire comic run with the Infinite Frontier project. With James Gunn taking over the visual production side of the DC properties, much is up in the air on that side as well. That includes, of course, the Matt Reeves universe he created with Robert Pattinson as Batman. There have been recent rumors of the ever-popular Poison Ivy appearing in Reeves’ sequel to 2022’s The Batman. Gunn has refuted those publicly, but that hasn’t stopped people from looking for her first appearance, which is found in the Silver Age comic Batman #181.

This book has more than 3,000 copies on the CGC census and is one of the more beloved DC comics from the entire Silver Age. The midpoint for this book on the census is at grade 5.0, where there are more than 260 copies available in the world. In February, that grade sold for $727. In March, it went for $850. And in April, one sold for just under $950. After a steep drop from its high in the summer of 2021, this book is now trending back up.

Amazing Spider-Man #17 (+35)

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One sign that we may be seeing things trend up for values of comic books again are when people start investing in the tier of books just below the high-end. That can include second appearances (such as with this book and the second appearance of Green Goblin), or first appearances of villains, or even first team-ups between popular characters (see the recent spikes in Amazing Spider-Man #5, for example).  But no matter what the market tells us, second appearances for absolutely iconic characters are always going to be in demand for collectors and speculators.

This issue hits the trifecta with it beings a first-20 issue of Spider-Man, it has the second appearance of arguably Spider-Man’s greatest foe, and it sees Spidey partnering with his old teammate Human Torch.

Values and sales for this comic have been all over the place over the last year, but it’s worth noting what we are seeing in the last few months. If you look at the 50th percentile in a grade CGC 5.5, the fair market value over the last few months is about $425. But twice in the last three months, there have been sales over $530. Green Goblin and early ASM books are always going to have some juice, and this is about as secure a book you can get that’s not a major key issue.

Amazing Spider-Man #39 (+34)

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When I looked at the hottest Silver Age comics in January, they were all Spider-Man and relatively all “minor” keys from his early issues. A third appearance here, a crossover there, some nice artwork over here. But they were the books that are not in the stratosphere of value and had dropped even more, thanks to a bear market.

But a book like Amazing Spider-Man #39 represents a Spider-Man issue that I would consider as the next tier up from the books last month. Why? This book has some key elements that make it more of a key issue than other early Spider-Man issues, while still not reaching the levels of an ASM #4 or ASM #14, or even ASM #20. This is the first work by John Romita in Amazing Spider-Man. But in addition to that, this is the issue that Green Goblin is revealed to be Norman Osbourne. Add in an iconic cover, and this book is high up on the desirability list.

This book in a 6.5 grade has mostly been between $450 and $600 for five months, save for one stray auction at Goldin at the end of 2022 ($360). But prices this month have settled around $500 in recent sales. This book has sold for almost $800 before in that grade, so there is certainly some upward possibility if you can locate it for anything under five hundred.

000080221A_Posters_2-Footer Hottest Silver Age Comics: Speculators Playing the Classics*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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