One of the things I hated asking one of my local comic book shop owners was what key books I should purchase from the Bronze and Silver Age. His suggestions would always require me to rob a bank or win the lotto. Instead of emptying your wallet, I wanted to try to do something a bit different today. I wanted to find important bronze and silver age books that are ripe for an increase in value but still would not break the bank. Think of it as investing on a budget.
Bronze Age Books
I did not want to break the bank with these books. The FMV limit I set was $100 a book. Another factor was the grade of the books. I did not want to select so high a condition grade that it would be the ultimate factor in determining the FMV, thus I chose the CGC grade of 9.6 (NM+). My goal was that I wanted to look for the most bang for the book in both condition and key importance.
I chose Spider-Woman #1 because of the fact that this was an affordable bronze age first issue. In the past, Bronze Age first issue books have had a track record to increase in value over the long term. Spider-Woman also has the dual potential to appear in either a Marvel Cinematic Universe or Spider-verse film. I tried to re-create the Black Panther logic that drove investors before his inclusion in the MCU. His first appearance was already a key book, so investors settled for the first issue of his solo title to profit from his MCU appearance. That book is now a highly sought-after book among investors and collectors.
This issue is a hot book. It is involved in many transactions, but it still has too low an FMV. Yes, there is the heat for an MCU or Into the Spider-verse appearance, but I believe this book has long-term investment potential beyond the price increase generated by a possible film appearance. A book with such great potential should make you a buyer because soon others will catch on. By that time, it will be too late.
Price: A 9.6 copy currently has an FMV of $90 at the time this article was written.
Ms. Marvel #17 features the second cameo of the character we know as Mystique. I find early issues of Ms. Marvel to rise in value the closer to the release of her films. I also believe in the character Mystique. So did a film studio. These two factors then provide this issue with two upside factors. Imagine the introduction of this character in a cameo Captain Marvel end credit scene where the shape-shifting character all assumed to be a Skrull was something more.
Fox used Mystique in almost all their X-Men films because she is one of the few strong established X-Men female villains, and yet is also a person of compassion. Her connections to Nightcrawler and Rogue could create an interesting dynamic not explored in the movies already produced. Finally, remember that her cameo appears in a comic book with a female lead at a time when female lead comic books were not actively purchased by fans. How many exist compared to other Bronze Age keys?
Price: A 9.6 copy currently has an FMV of $75 at the time this article was written.
Silver Age Books
I did not want to have the condition of the book play an important factor. Fans must understand that ANY Silver Age book in high grade sells for a premium based upon age. Even common books will sell for top dollar if the condition is great. I lowered my condition to a 9.2 (NM-) and set a limit of the FMV to be $500. This is not a high value for Silver Age books of any importance.
If you saw the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 you saw HIM. HIM is not being used as a pronoun. I mean HIM, the character that will eventually be known as Adam Warlock. This character has a long history with such characters as Drax, Gamora, Thanos, and the Fantastic Four. Most of the investors and speculators have already gone all-in with his cameo cocoon appearance, his first appearances as a Him, or his first appearance as Adam Warlock. I am suggesting you purchase the next best thing and look at Thor #166. If I told you that you could get the second appearance of a major character for a small sum, would you turn your back on that book?
I looked up this book and could not believe the FMV that was listed for this issue. The fact is that it is not “if” he will appear in the MCU, but rather “when” he appears in the MCU. When he appears in the MCU this book will rise in value. Such a sure thing means you should run to this book while others fight over his various first appearances.
Price: A 9.2 copy currently has an FMV of $270 at the time this article was written.
Amazing Spider-Man keys are always hot. Most of these books are beyond the reach of your average fan. The price of these keys then skyrockets in value if the character appears in the MCU. If Miles Morales’
version of Spider-Man is involved, the book will again gain in value. So what is the deal with Amazing Spider-Man #78? This issue has the first appearance of The Prowler. Actor Donald Glover has already played his alter ego in the MCU. He even mentioned his nephew in the movie. When the alter ego for the Scorpion appeared in the MCU his first appearance took off. I expected the same for the Prowler. I was wrong.
This issue checks all the boxes for a valuable book, except it is being ignored by investors. The only thing I can assume is that he is not the “it” of Spider-Man villains. Ignore that thought and look at it as the first appearance of a rather important Spider-Man villain. I suggest you buy this book because in the Spider-verse of comics, it is truly a steal.
Price: A 9.2 copy currently has an FMV of $425 at the time this article was written.
Wide of Goalposts
These two books were wide of my goalposts, but the books were such a value that I had to include them in this blog.
Lobo is a great character. He has already appeared on the show Krypton. His character is significant in comics. Lobo is the perfect anti-hero and could be the focus of a story or a great supporting character in the DCU. Omega Men #3 is almost 40 years old, and yet this book has a low FMV for high-grade books. A little secret is that there exists plenty of raw copies in a high-grade that you can buy for pennies on the dollar and have them graded at a later date.
Price: A 9.6 copy currently has an FMV of $110 at the time this article was written.
DC Comics’ first issues from the Silver Age are always priced at a premium. If the character is an established hero the book will be sought after by investors. Imagine if a DC Comic character that is still is mentioned in the Arrowverse had a first issue with an FMV of less than a thousand dollars. Blue Beetle #1 (1967) is a great book that has two perceived problems that apparently hurt its investment potential. The first problem is that this DC Comics character’s first issue was produced by Charlton Comics and not DC. The second problem is that this is volume five of this character’s title. These two elements are illogical in nature to warrant such a low FMV. Remember again, if this was a first issue DC Comic from the Silver Age then the FMV would be higher on this book.
Oh, did I fail to mention… THIS ISSUE HAS THE FIRST APPEARANCE OF THE QUESTION (VIC SAGE)!!! The fact that this is a first issue with a first appearance of a character that has a significant history in the DC Universe should overcome these two flaws, and yet to investors it has not. That is why this book is on my list even though it violated the parameters of the search.
Price: A 9.2 copy currently has an FMV of $650 at the time this article was written.
Key books can be found on a budget. These books should attract the most savvy newbie investor as well as the cagey veteran collector. Key bronze and silver age books that sell for thousands of dollars now were once reasonably priced until people started to see their potential. If you want to find new deals, you must determine what made past keys increase in value. Then apply those traits to books currently ignored by the vast majority of investors. The fact that a book price currently has a low FMV does not mean it has no potential. Rather, it could mean that the issue’s potential has not been realized by investors. That is a very important difference.