When I recently wrote about the possibility of Vermin as a supporting character in the recently announced Kraven movie, it also occurred to me that there is a good chance of a big-screen appearance by Kraven’s longtime partner and Torment antagonist, Calypso. Let’s take an in-depth look at this issue and see if her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #209 is worth adding to your collection.
A Brief History
I have always gravitated toward heroes and villains that were more realistic in their flaws and motivations. Kraven is is a great example of this archetype. Kraven is generally motivated by his narcissistic “hunt,” though he has no real powers or a desire for world domination. His quest is to prove that only the strong survive and that he is, indeed, the strongest. This goal ultimately comes to a head with his suicide in Kraven’s Last Hunt.
When not propelled purely by his quest to become apex predator, Kraven was often incited by his partner, voodoo practitioner Calypso Ezili, after her introduction in 1980. Calypso was first presented in Amazing Spider-Man #209 as a minor character and plot device. In this issue, a self-doubting Kraven grapples with his past dishonorable behavior and abandons his hunt for Spider-Man. Playing on his insecurities and shame, Calypso provides the necessary inspiration for Kraven to once again stalk his long-time foe.
Calypso is best known for her role in Todd McFarlane’s Torment. Beginning in Spider-Man #1, we see Calypso’s ascent from minor character to the main antagonist in one of Marvel’s most beloved stories. Here, Calypso uses her abilities to control the Lizard, in an attempt to murder Spider-Man and avenge Kraven.
It’s hard to express the hype that surrounded Spider-Man #1 when it came out if you didn’t live through it. This groundbreaking comic sold 2.5 million copies, making it an iconic bestseller to this day. McFarlane was the hottest name in the industry. His popularity after his run on Amazing Spider-Man and the creation of Venom is the stuff of legend. The grittiness of his art and creations prompted the massive print runs associated with the 1990s and brought new readers and collectors to comics. Being the central figure in such a cultural milestone, it is hard to argue against the importance of Calypso in Kraven and Spider-Man lore.
Calypso’s first appearance makes a great sleeper speculative purchase for many reasons. Firstly, we know that Kraven is coming to theaters and even villainous psychopaths need their love interests. Second, Calypso would do a great job of fueling Kraven’s insanity on the big screen. Finally, Calypso was also the primary character in one of Marvel’s best-selling storylines, making her widely recognizable to collectors. It is very possible in the future we see a Torment adaptation on screen. In recent years, Marvel has also made the effort to be more inclusive in their storytelling and casting of movies. This makes a Calypso appearance more likely. Most importantly, who wouldn’t love to see a murderous voodoo priestess controlling a giant man-lizard or man-rat in a future film?
Outside of a movie catalyst, we have seen coming-of-age writers adopt and adapt characters and storylines from their childhood. For example, Nick Spencer recently brought back the Sin Eater decades after his death. Donny Cates gave us a revamped Venom and the Cosmic Ghost Rider. While resurrecting the often underappreciated and overlooked Calypso for a Torment tribute might be a long shot, what’s wrong with some wishful
thinking? That’s what speculation is all about.
The relevance of Calypso, as well as GoCollect data, is why I really like ASM #209 for investment purposes. For example, a 9.8 graded copy now has a fair market value of $110. A 9.6 has an FMV of $42, about the same price as having a comic graded. There aren’t too many forty-year-old first appearances available at rock bottom prices like this. With a low population, if Calypso turns out to be in the Kraven movie this book can easily quadruple in value. I love finding comics that have nowhere to go but up. Her first appearance fits that bill. You can’t lose very much having a few copies of these in your collection at the very least. With Kraven on the way, I like the odds of Calypso having her much-deserved day in the sun.
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