I’m The Guy Who Wouldn’t Buy Ultimate Fallout #4. I’ve Changed My Mind.

by Ryan Kirksey

UF4-300x157 I'm The Guy Who Wouldn't Buy Ultimate Fallout #4. I've Changed My Mind.Back in early June of 2020, when the price of Ultimate Fallout #4 was creeping up past $1,100, I wrote my defense for why I would not invest at that price. I argued for high print run, the proliferation of 9.8s and 9.6s in the market, and spikes often see crashes soon thereafter (see: Vision, White).

Well, I’m here to eat my crow.

How much crow I will eat is what we are here to determine today. A spoonful? A bowl? A trough? It really doesn’t matter, because the truth is I just bought a copy of Ultimate Fallout #4. Which one? We will get into that later. First, my rebuttal to my own piece from nine months ago.

High Print Run

It is true, UF#4 has a first-print run of about 74,000 copies in August 2011, according to Comichron. But that number is only the fifth-highest print run that month for all comics and it wasn’t even the most available Marvel comic. The limited series Fear Itself took that title.

Eventually, with subsequent printings, the comic would reach more than 130,000 copies, but it’s the first-print run that has shot to the moon over the past year.

As plenty of people pointed out in the comments and message boards, this is a small number compared to other issues Marvel produced in the modern age. From 1990 to 2010, Marvel (and others) frequently ran out 200,000-500,000 copies of some initial print runs on books they thought would be popular. I mean, Turok #1 had a print run of 1.57 million. If we wantturok1-196x300 I'm The Guy Who Wouldn't Buy Ultimate Fallout #4. I've Changed My Mind. to talk about books that oversaturated the market, we can start there.

Too Much of the Population is Graded

Here is where things start to get tricky. Of the 74,000 first print copies in circulation, over 9,000 of them are graded by CGC. I’m sure there are at least another 1,000 slabbed by CBCS. That means more than 13% of the current issues are graded, with more showing up every day. I know of at least three people (myself included) who have one on the way to CGC.

Of those 9,000 from CGC, more than 5,000 are a 9.8 or a 9.6. I’m sure the percentages are similar at CBCS. That essentially does two things to the book: 1) it renders everything below that grade almost worthless compared to the top two grades, and 2) it means those two grades are the most available if you want one. When supply is limited and demand is unsatisfied, it will drive up the price.

With Every Rise Comes a Fall

There had to be a valley after the peak, right? Well, yes and no. In the summer of 2020, after prices hit a peak of around $1,500, prices did start to drop back down for a period of time. By the time November rolled around, GoCollect recorded nine straight sales that month of CGC 9.8s for under $1,000. It turns out that was the time to buy.

Since then, it has roared back with the ferocity of Spider-Man’s greatest villains. At the time of writing this piece, the price for a 9.8 just crossed $3,100, meaning if you just bought and held for five months, you were getting at least a 300% profit.

UF4-98-300x85-2 I'm The Guy Who Wouldn't Buy Ultimate Fallout #4. I've Changed My Mind.At this point, it has reached a threshold where even a market crash or a collectibles downturn wouldn’t take it back under $1,000. So I hope you got one as a Christmas present in 2020, because it ain’t coming cheap anymore.

Why I Now Believe Miles is Here to Stay

I can’t tell you how many times I have been in a conversation or a group chat when this topic came up. “Is UF#4 this generation’s Amazing Fantasy #15?” There is a lot to unpack in that question, but I think I understand the philosophy behind it.

Let’s get one thing straight. AF#15, Detective Comics #27, and Action Comics #1 are in their own category. Age, scarcity,Amazing-Fantasy-15-199x300 I'm The Guy Who Wouldn't Buy Ultimate Fallout #4. I've Changed My Mind. value, cultural impact – UF#4 will never have those things in more abundance than AF#15.  Considering those three books, and many others, are completely out of reach for us mere mortals, the new comic fan is desperate to find the character, the book, and the future staying power that can define their generation. They have likely found it in Miles Morales.

Miles

Miles is more than just a new Spider-Man. He is a superhero that has been adopted by minorities. Miles has been adopted by kids. He has his own movie franchise. He has his own video game (Sidenote: the Miles Morales Playstation game was announced the day my first blog was released, which didn’t really help my case). Miles Morales already stars in animated TV programming. Eventually, he is going to be in the MCU. As soon as the word multiverse was mentioned by the MCU higher-ups, we should have all known.

I have a theory that in the post-credits scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home this December, Peter Parker is going to meet a young kid who says his name is Miles and everyone is going to lose their collective minds.

Basically, Miles has momentum and trajectory on his side, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Sure, Ultimate Fallout #4 may not ever be AF#15, but it might be this generation’s Hulk #181 or this generation’s ASM #300. What I mean is that it has the potential to become a book that defines this comic age.

my-UF4-rotated-e1615840246945-227x300 I'm The Guy Who Wouldn't Buy Ultimate Fallout #4. I've Changed My Mind.My Personal Purchase

So what did I do? I finally pulled the trigger on a NM raw copy of the book, which you can see to the side. It has one extremely minor imperfection, so unless I get the CGC grader who got lucky the night before, I’m not getting a 9.8. I’m content with that. I can still make plenty of profit holding a little while longer on a 9.6 or 9.4. I didn’t pull the trigger on a CGC 9.8 after it crossed $3,000 because there are just so many other keys I want to save up for and I don’t have a real attachment to Miles Morales, presently. I’m more of a Silver Age guy.

I made the purchase because I now feel that Ultimate Fallout #4 has even more room to grow in the future. Marvel, Sony, and the MCU aren’t done with Miles, so we shouldn’t be either.

In the end, the real question is – with no other obstacles in the way – would I pay up for a graded 9.8 copy as they currently stand right now?

Right after I swallow a big bite of crow, I would say…..reluctantly, yes.

How about you? Are you still buying at this price? Let me know in the comments!

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17 comments

Fred March 28, 2021 - 10:18 pm

Dont sleep on Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-man 1. Tough book to get in 9.8 because of the black border and very low census count. If you missed out on UF 4 this is a good choice, and its a real comic book unlike the preview!

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Harry Stone III March 28, 2021 - 10:51 pm

I stocked up on copies of UF4 and second prints a few years ago. I’m Puerto Rican and am a New York City native, so how was I going to pass up on Miles Morales? It was nice to finally have some representation that didn’t feel forced. I’ve read comments for years about how his character is pandering and you shouldn’t invest in a character because of their ethnicity, but that’s easy to say when you grow up and all your favorite characters look like you. Happy to say I saw this one coming, it was a no brainer for someone such as myself. Miles just felt different and many of us knew it was a big deal. Demographics are changing in America and in comic collecting, I have lots of friends who are people of color that are heavily into comics now who weren’t in the past. Marvel’s newfound inclusivity is paying off.

That being said, over 3k for a comic that is less than ten years old? Personally I think that’s a little crazy. I think UF4 is experiencing inflation just like every other key issue and market right now thanks to the perfect storm of stimmy checks, saved money, boredom, the gamification of collecting by key collector, and out of control speculation. I probably shouldn’t be writing this because its against my own best interests, but when life is back to normal I don’t see this book or most soaring keys maintaining their value. If UF4 was shattering records by itself that would be one thing, but comics across the board are tripling in price. I still haven’t come across a reasonable explanation as to why any of these comics will maintain their value in the months to come. I would grab UF4 on the dip though, and like you said, I wouldn’t don’t expect UF4 to ever be cheap again. But buying for 3k? Nope. I intend on holding on to mine though regardless.

I think a good question to ask is who exactly is buying this comic right now and causing these prices. When it comes to keys such as Amazing Spiderman 300 or Hulk 181, we know most buyers are probably 35 plus and grew up with those characters. They’re old enough to have disposable income to blow on characters they have loved for over 30 years. Are kids who grew up with Miles dropping 3k on his first appearance? With what money? Are they blowing their allowances? Are their parents buying it for them as investments? I don’t know. Like you said, you don’t have an attachment to Miles yourself. I think that is probably the case for most people over 30. So without a fanbase old enough to sustain this value, I don’t like the chances of this book remaining over 3k or even 2k. When older, more seasoned collectors are forced to liquidate their collections, this will be the first book to make it to market, not ASM 300 or Hulk 181.

Or, I’ll be eating my crow in a year myself.

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Joseph Overaitis March 29, 2021 - 2:22 pm

Harry III

The question I always ask when I buy a book is can I see the reason why people want it and then is it worth it. I can say that at the auctions I attended this book was one of the more controversial books. The reason is not because people have a hard time wrapping their heads around Miles as Spider-Man. That seems to be every ones go to response for people not liking this book. Instead it is reviewing the numbers. Ryan’s argument and review of the numbers still scares me. Who is buying this book at these prices with those census numbers? I have not purchased this book and instead will keep investing in books I deem to be safer. Remember what Matthew McConaughey said at the beginning of the WOLF OF WALL STREET, where you want to keep people on the ride because the money is not real. Is that the case here? This book will never be a dollar bin book (95% sure of that but then I am reminded of Azrael buzz LOL) but what if everyone tries to sell at once? Every book a 9.6 or 9.8 flooding market will drive those prices down. But this is not the only trend where the numbers do not make sense

Look at all the recent Star Wars first appearances and the prices they are going for now. Is this one massive case of FOMO where people are buying because they do not want to miss out on the next big thing?

PS the people I see buying those UF #4 are speculators who I know are not looking at those books as long term holds. Instead they are buying the book and trying to sell them to make a profit but they do not believe in books that recent jumping that high that quickly. Its like buying Gamestop stock and then dumping it after the prices rose and reinvesting in a blue chip stock you could not have afforded by for those new funds.

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Harry Stone III April 2, 2021 - 2:01 pm

My favorite Battle Dome Partner lol. It’s a complicated book to speculate on. I insert my background into the conversation only because I want to provide some different insight since I don’t see a lot of black or brown voices on GoCollect or frankly in comics until very recently. The point being, there are entire movements (ComicGate idiots) that think Miles is another unsuccessful attempt at pandering. Marvel has admittedly been guilty of this in the past. I am only here to say that for many people like myself, it doesn’t feel that way this time around. Basically I’m trying to tell you guys that I think Miles is here to stay, he’s not a repeat of past mistakes for people such as myself and that makes this character a sound investment. Where Marvel has failed before, they succeeded with Miles. His movie was huge and he’s become universally embraced etc etc. This is contrary to a character such as let’s say the White Tiger, who I always thought was terrible with his Spanglish and other stereotypes. He was the equivalent of a Marvel West Side Story.

The numbers are a different issue. Even if Miles is here to stay, you’re right to be wary if the numbers are bad. We’ve had multiple conversations about the market recently and we agree everything is being inflated thanks to stimmy checks and other variables. I don’t think recent prices are sustainable for anything outside of Xmen, Wolverine and Spiderman comics. The print run on this book isn’t that high compared to those in the 1990s such as the first Venom or Deadpool however. But there is a lot of speculation going on in this book. Like I said, I wouldn’t buy it at 3k right now, but on the other hand, I can’t think of a bigger comic in the last 20 years. I don’t flip comics weekly like other people do, so even if you buy it at 3k and hold on to it for ten years, you won’t regret it. I would just wait for the dip personally.

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Walker April 2, 2021 - 5:12 am

Harry lll
Great that you found in Miles someone with whom you can identify! But, please be careful with over-generalizations. In a few lines, you’ll see what l mean. I was adopted at 3 by a White couple. When they divorced, l was 15 years old. My adoptive father was an abusive alcoholic who was caught cheating with his secretary, whereupon my adoptive mom moved out of our newly mortgaged house in MN, and back to Canada. We’d moved to MN the year before & l had no roots. I graduated high school early in MN. I’d always worked hard at school and also worked a job since age 12 (they pretended l was 14). Obviously, no social life as a teen & not “popular.” Always running from gangs of kids who’d throw my bike in the creek & beat me up. I don’t remember even seeing a comic book growing up except for the worst of Archie and a few stray Peter Parker Spider-man books. Not a draw for me.

What l desperately wanted was an education, so l was thrilled when l got offers of 3 full scholarships: Cornell, Columbia & Northwestern. When “Dad” refused to sign a form saying l was financially independent— my dreams of an education vanished. He also threw me out of the house at 16 to make room for his secretary, whom he married, and her 2 teenagers—whom he put through University. Thinking it better to be homeless in NYC than in MN, I took the $300 l’d saved from teaching swimming, and moved alone to New York City. It was alive and l had nowhere else to go. l’ve been there ever since. I’ve had no back-up and nothing has ever come easily. I’ve escaped multiple life-threatening situations (not just in NYC) with bat-shit audacity, a little bit of luck, and sometimes, just running like hell. No authority figure has ever come to my rescue. I never cared about Hulk 181 or ASM 300, and l’ve never felt truly “attached” to a character. At least, not until Miles came along.

Miles is the greatest! He’s spunky, smart, and not machismo-izing all over the place. He makes the best of the worst situations. He’s quick, wiry and adaptable, like l was at his age, and maybe a little bit awkward. He is a voice for our times. So, l say as you say; “It is as a no-brainer for someone like myself.”

Except…well, Harry, according to your proposition and profiling, you and l are different in a number of fundamental ways—ways that, except for about one, you have specifically enumerated in your description of people whom you predict will be the first to dump their UF#4s when they sell out.

Here we go, and here’s the point: l am over 30 —over 35, in fact. I am 55 years old. I’m also straight 🙁 Jeez, I’m also white. And, l’m a woman. Oh yeah, and l never did get “an allowance.” You’re probably young enough to be my son, so learn from this; dump the stereotypes. The world, thank God, is changing. And, double-down Harry. Miles Morales is here to stay!

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Harry Stone III April 2, 2021 - 8:30 pm

You’re completely mischaracterizing what I said which tends to be the case with conversations like this, but thank you for sharing your story. I don’t think I ever said white people couldn’t identify with Miles. I have said explicitly that he is universally accepted. That being said, many people were late to the party thinking he was was just another case of pandering. There are online groups dedicated to this which is what I was referencing. The point being, not every brown or black character is an attempt at pandering. I am not a fan of pandering myself, which is why I wanted to explain how he is perceived by many people such as myself, people that were generally overlooked representation wise in comics for decades. I wanted to share my point of view on Miles because of that. If that offended you, well too bad.

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Harry Stone III April 2, 2021 - 8:53 pm

Also for the sake of clarification, I was stating that the age groups with money, those over 30, didn’t grow up with Miles so they are less attached to him than Venom or Wolverine. I’m making a point about age, nothing else. Ask anyone who is over 40 which book they would dump first out of the three books, I’d bet my life 99 out of 100 times its Ultimate Fallout 4. I’m 38, so if I had to pick between selling the first Miles or the first Venom, well goodbye Miles. There is no nostalgia with Miles. I’m just exercising some critical thinking which is what investing requires. Not sure where you are seeing anything about stereotypes or allowances.

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Kenloi April 7, 2021 - 8:18 am

Walker’s comments are perhaps indicative of another reason why Miles is performing. She has had a hard life.fought for it and is winning, which most of us never achieve. If written and portrayed (drawn) correctly could be a modern catalyst to bring all together. Baring in mind he is a comic character and not a messiah. Any live action appearance could enhance the view. A character that could appeal to all without division or difference. A writers and artists ultimate goal possibly. There we go getting all spiritual again. A world without poverty and peaceful would be nice.

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Kenloi March 29, 2021 - 10:04 am

Possibly the game has changed by itself without people realising. We are so used to speccing on print runs, ethnicity for future projects, cover artist, 1st appearances, important storylines etc and we all believe we know the game. The age of a comic sometimes is not important. Just maybe something new has crept into the equation we have not figured out yet. Speculation is there but also so are many other parts. I dont mean to talk in riddles but other people have mentioned we are in a new age with unset rules, not modern age anymore. The divide between the haves and have nots has become massive due to Covid, the people with money and the people without. The poor are poorer and the rich richer. Asia will open up with its multi billionaires wanting to trade with the rest of the world bringing new money, new opportunities. Comic properties will be part of it in the future.The new investors will take risks buying in at an acceptable level to them, maybe not to us and a few 1000 dollars here are there are irrelevant to them. Yes a lot of comics tripling overnight in price should lose value in a sensible marketplace. Many are still dollar comics not 100s of dollars. But as i say this is not modern age rules any more. Miles morales key issues ult 4. ultimate comics spiderman 1, Spidermen vol 1 and 2. Spiderman Hip hop var and various variants are long term holds with short term irrational price rises. A volatile market maybe, maybe not, certainly a fascinating one.

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octoberland March 29, 2021 - 12:59 pm

Is it weird to say I totally agree without you really saying “what it is?” Regardless, I agree with this. It sums up where I’ve been investing my time. Searching for a signal in all this noise. I’m feeling it isn’t real, but that does not mean the books will ever be $1 bin again. I think things settle back somewhere between. IMHO it’s great to have been in early on books (I was _sort of_ in this case but not heavy) so I’m not having to pay the iron price on titles, but I’m wondering when the cash out point comes. All this potentially could collapse as quickly as it’s risen. Or not at all! Still looking for that signal in this tremendous amount of noise.

– Craig Coffman

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Kenloi March 31, 2021 - 5:40 am

i did not clarify the end thoughts of my last statement correctly. When i say Miles keys “are long term holds with short term irrational price rises”. The prices are not irrational as such, as i believe these prices will increase substantially for all his keys and in demand issues. People are saying they are short term holds. Only for pump and dumpers.Not for a collector. Unless they wish to sell to get a key older comic or not convinced about this current marketplace (which is many). The market has at present FOMO, speculation,and dare i say it “greed” amongst inexperienced and experienced speculators which we all have in a money driven society. Covid has driven a desire to need more money just to survive. These are a few factors in this current market which as i say is evolving naturally into something unplanned and new. Octoberland’s comment about a signal through the noise is interesting and we can only find that through luck or enlightenment as then a person could guarantee profit on every comic they buy. This whole situation is turning almost otherworldly and perhaps there is no drama or signal we can find. Just natural progression where the modern age of comics ended and we all missed that lead. Now trying to decipher this information and turning it into something it isnt. Maybe comics regardless of age have been underpriced for too long and catch up has happened and the modern age and new era comic pricing have caught people unawares. Plenty of brick and mortar comic stores will have to be careful with selling new comics and avoid the greed money grab of ebay prices. As they will die out. They are a business so they have to make profit but experienced readers, collectors and speccies will not buy from them down the line. Inexperienced new pump and dumpers will and these people will move on when they realise they cant make £500 on evey $4 new release comic in multiples they buy. This only benefits them and noone else. Having said all this i am in the dark as much as anyone else and love to see these exceptional price rises on comics. So there you are i am as clueless as the next person and hope to find that signal. Next……

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Harry Stone III April 2, 2021 - 2:13 pm

I think saying UF4 is a “long term hold with short term irrational price rise” is a perfect description. Miles is important and he isn’t going anywhere. He deserves the recent attention. It’s a great long term hold. That being said, there is so much speculation and pump and dumping going on right now the prices for everything are crazy. This market is irrational, I wouldn’t buy anything until it calms down. I wrote months back that I would buy Silver Age keys, but now those are soaring too. I refuse to participate in FOMO, but that’s just me.

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Ruben March 29, 2021 - 1:48 pm

I taught college history classes for many years. In one course, titled “Minorities in America” back then, I started the semester by putting card stock quality photo copies of some 20+ superheroes along the chalkboard ledge in random order. I asked the students to take a piece of chalk and put a small line above every superhero they knew.

Of course everyone knew Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Spiderman (Peter Parker) and a few others. No one had a clue who the Black Panther was or pretty much any other superhero of color that was around back than when I first started teaching this course (late 1990s – early 2000s).

My point was that we were about to launch into a history of the U.S. in which many well-known heroes (Washington, Jefferson, etc.) that were typically explored in American history classes were almost always white. And while those typical figures are certainly worthy of our attention, in this class we were going to explore minority people and groups that — like the superhero exercise we had just completed — most students had never heard of but were “heroes” in the American story in their own right. Heroes because in being denied full freedoms (because they were slaves, women, etc.) they pushed the U.S. to complete its ongoing and fragile experiment to close the gap between what America says it is and what it is. That is, they pushed America to become a truer democracy.

Like Harry Stone III above, I too am Puerto Rican American person of color. I grew up entirely invisible in the public school curriculum of my day in So Cal. In fact, about the only person who looked like on TV and film was an Indian sidekick and Spanish and English speakers we were always suspicious why his name “Tonto” meant “Dummy” in Spanish.

So, when comics began to reflect the actual world (with the Black Panther, Nubia, Storm, etc.) I’m telling comic-loving kids of color took notice. And when Marvel especially began its tear for billion-dollar superhero movies with women leads and heroes of color, it started nothing less than a global cultural event. When UF4 introduced Miles Morales (whose dad was black and mom was PR) the first thing I did was buy. This was just after the initials sales, but among the UF4s I picked up was a raw copy of the 1/25 variant for $75. I haven’t graded it, but I’m fairly certain it can come back a CGC9.6.

Several years ago I also bought Captain Marvel 14 (1st cameo of Kamala Khan) in the newsstand version for $100 that is also a high NM. I had no idea then that UF4 and CM14 would command such prices. I just bought because these where heroes who first of all where just flat out great characters in great stories, but also because they were part of the cure for invisibility.

Finally, a shout to Ryan. I read and watch so many comic book speculators and gurus and too often I see comments that remind of stock bashing or pumping. Bashing because the person doesn’t own the stock and is stewing in FOMO, or is shorting the stock. Pumping because they do own the stock. I appreciate honestly. Thanks.

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Harry Stone III April 2, 2021 - 2:08 pm

Well said. For people such as ourselves, we knew how big of a deal it was for someone who was Black and Hispanic to take on the Spider-Man mantle. Miles is legitimate, this isn’t a fad. Between Miles and Black Panther, we’re finally having an entertainment industry that is starting to reflect reality. There is no putting the genie back in the bottle.

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Jonathan Dunkelman March 29, 2021 - 2:35 pm

UF4 has certainly been on the minds of many collectors in the last few months. This comic came to my attention several years ago but I didn’t think much of it in terms of long term potential for all the obvious reasons.
That all changed after I saw the Miles animated movie!! The character is so relatable for all sorts of reasons.
Yes the population of this comic breaks all the rules for ‘criteria for good investing’ but there are more and more Miles fans jumping into the market every day.
One side of the UF4 craze that does have me scratching my head is the sluggish nature of the CGC Signature Series books that are underperforming on Ebay.
An SS 9.8 just sold last night in the mid 2k range and a couple of books have been sitting at low 3k with no homes.
This is a unique situation for a hot book or any book to be in.
SS books usually sell for quite a bit more but this does not appear to be the case with UF4 copies.
I am completely perplexed. I don’t know why this appears to be the case but wonder if a signature even deters UF4 collectors?
The CGC Universal label has consistently sold over 3k for the last several weeks!
Any insight from other folks? Has anyone else noticed?

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Kenloi April 7, 2021 - 8:05 am

I cant say i have noticed but perhaps only those involved with the comic, Brian Michael Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer, Sara Pichelli, Salvador Larroca & Clayton Crain would add value. What signatures do you refer to ? Stan Lee may also add a little value..

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Kenloi April 7, 2021 - 8:39 am

Sorry i think i forgot 1in25 variant cover artist Marko Djurdjević. Surely that signature would add value.

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