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 want 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.
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, 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 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 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!