Jim Lee: Artist Spotlight & Lesser-Known Keys

by Don Y

092B21B-300x157 Jim Lee: Artist Spotlight & Lesser-Known KeysWe could go on and on about Lee’s significant imprimatur on comic book history, including the founding of Image Comics. This blog, however, will focus on lesser-known key issues drawn by Lee.

For those of us who collected comics in the late 1980s and early 1990s, we all know about Jim Lee. With the exception of Todd McFarlane, Lee may is the most famous comic book artist of the Copper Age. He is responsible for penciling numerous iconic covers, including the wraparound cover for X-Men #1 (1991), the highest-selling comic book of all time. Lee and McFarlane made comics so popular that they ushered in the Modern Age of comics, a period that inflated a speculative bubble that later popped in the 1990s.

Solson Christmas Special #1

Screen-Shot-2021-09-26-at-3.59.59-PM-1-205x300 Jim Lee: Artist Spotlight & Lesser-Known KeysMany highly experienced comic book collectors would fail to identify the significance of Solson Christmas Special #1; it represents the very first time Jim Lee penciled the interior of a comic book. A CGC 9.8 copy of this book recently sold for a record high of $1,020.

There are few copies of this book selling on eBay right now. In addition, this is a hard book to find in high-grade due to its all-black cover. That being said, this book is affordable with a CGC 9.0 selling for $125 just a few months ago.

Even at these relatively low price points, I don’t see a ton of ROI here in the near term; however, acquisition of this book is for hardcore Jim Lee fans and/or for hardcore comic book collectors who appreciate the subtle value of this issue.

Alpha Flight #51

Screen-Shot-2021-09-26-at-4.58.06-PM-1-200x300 Jim Lee: Artist Spotlight & Lesser-Known KeysAlpha Flight #51 is significant for two reasons: (1) it is the first book that Lee fully pencils for Marvel; and (2) it represents the beginning of Jim Lee’s run on Alpha Flight.

Considering the historical importance of this book — it is a prototype for Lee’s historic run on The Uncanny X-Men — it is surprisingly affordable.

According to GoCollect, the FMV of a CGC 9.8 copy of this book is only $140. On eBay, raw copies that are in decent shape are selling for $5 or less.

It’s hard for me to foresee an event in the MCU that would drive the value of this book up, but I do believe it has intrinsic value.

Uncanny X-Men #248

Screen-Shot-2021-09-26-at-4.57.03-PM-193x300 Jim Lee: Artist Spotlight & Lesser-Known KeysUnlike the previous two books discussed above, this issue is well known; it represents Lee’s first published artwork on the Uncanny X-Men title. In my opinion, Uncanny X-Men #248 and Amazing Spider-Man #298 (published a year earlier) served as the catalysts for a paradigm shift in the comic book industry. Lee’s historic run on the Uncanny X-Men led to a new X-Men title several years later and the beginning of the Modern Age.

According to GoCollect, the FMV of a CGC 9.8 copy of this book is only $180. On eBay, raw copies have sold recently for $15 or less. Considering the historic importance of this comic, it is undervalued.

What other lesser-known Jim Lee keys have I missed? Please mention them in the Comments Section below!

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2 comments

Patrick Bain September 29, 2021 - 10:12 am

Jim Lee fans can search on “X-Men 248” at Heritage Auctions for three fantastic pages of art from Lee’s first Uncanny X-Men work. (Thanks for the heads up on that.) One of those pages is the cover of 248 which sold for the handsome price of $65,725 back in 2018. https://www.ha.com/c/search-results.zx?N=790+231&Nty=1&Ntt=x-men+248&ic10=ArchiveTab-071515

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John September 29, 2021 - 3:05 pm

I was surprised punisher war journal #6 was not included. It pre dates uncanny 248 I believe and it’s the first wolverine vs punisher!

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