Did you know Luke Cage was once a member of the Fantastic Four? In Fantastic Four #168, Luke Cage is hired by the team to replace the Thing, who has recently lost his powers. With the return of Luke Cage and the Fantastic Four to under the same movie studio umbrella, that scenario is now a possibility! Albeit a very low chance, but in the wise words of Lloyd Christmas: “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”
Here we will take a closer look at the current market of a few of Luke Cage’s key comic books.
Carl Lucas, later to be known as Luke Cage, first appeared in Hero For Hire #1 as a prisoner in Seagate Prison, framed for a crime by his friend Willis Stryker. Along comes Dr. Noah Burstein who offers Carl a chance to get out of prison early if he participates in his experiments to recreate the super soldier serum. After a prison guard tries to kill Carl by messing with the experiment, the experimental procedure instead ends up giving Carl his iconic set of superpowers. Carl escapes from the prison, becomes a hero for hire named Luke Cage, and the rest is history.
Below is sales for the Hero For Hire #1, graded CGC 9.0 and 7.0, which represent the top 19.2% and 65.0% of the census.
Sales prices for Hero For Hire #1 gained aggressively from the beginning of 2013 all the way though late 2016; with the peak coinciding with the worldwide release of the Luke Cage series on Netflix. For the last three years, sales prices of the lower CGC 7.0 grade have been on a steady decline; lower lows and lower highs. At the higher grade of CGC 9.0, the decline isn’t as apparent as much as the increase in volatility. While the overall trend of the book in 9.0 is downward, the occasional copy of the book gets sold at a higher price, which underscores the necessity to look at the book at the lower grade.
While Hero For Hire #1 is the most important Luke Cage key, the easy money has already been made. The mystery of the fallout from the Netflix cancellation introduces too much uncertainty as to when another live action iteration of Luke Cage might occur in the future. Unless something changes, this risk combined with the negative trend does not offer positive outlook for the book.
Dr. Claire Temple, a doctor at Dr. Noah Burstein’s free clinic, ex-wife of Bill Foster, and future romantic interest of Luke Cage, first appeared in Hero For Hire #2. The market for this issue has been further boosted by the character of Claire Temple being a tie-in between all of Netflix’s Marvel shows. The sales for this book, graded CGC 9.6 and 9.4 (the top 31.1% and 47.7%) are shown below.
Compared with the book above, Hero For Hire #2 has a much lower volume of sales, but its market behavior was very similar, with the same increase until its peak in late 2016. Since then, sales for the book have been flat; which is ever so slightly better than Hero For Hire #1. If the future of a live action Luke Cage is uncertain, then where does that put Claire Temple? With Hero For Hire #2 deriving much of its value from Claire Temple’s first appearance, it’s only a matter of time until its sales prices turn to a more pronounced negative trend.
While Luke Cake isn’t the title character in this issue, his first meeting with Spider-Man has helped Amazing Spider-Man #123 to achieve a significant volume of sales and sales prices. In this issue, J. Jonah Jameson hires Luke Cage to catch Spider-Man. Sales data for Amazing Spider-Man #123 in grades CGC 9.6 and 9.4 are shown below; the top 19.1% and 39.4%.
Like the above two books, Amazing Spider-Man #123’s sales prices also increased until its peak in late 2016, and then subsequently declined. The influence of the Netflix series on this book’s sales prices was less pronounced, but it is interesting that this book experienced it at all. The obvious choice would have been Power Man #48 (1977), in which Luke Cage and Iron First meet for the first time. Power Man #38 did experience high volume of sales and prices, but surprisingly a lower level compared to Amazing Spider-Man #123. In the vein of cool Luke Cage, there’s even Cage #10 (1993), where Luke Cage fights the Hulk. Perhaps the market behavior of Amazing Spider-Man #123 versus Power Man #48 speaks to the popularity of Spider-Man above other superheroes.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Hero For Hire #1 – REDUCE
- Hero For Hire #2 – REDUCE
- Amazing Spider-Man #123 – REDUCE
“Tremble before the power of Power Man!! That sounded weird. Luke Cage. Tremble before Luke Cage.” – Luke Cage