In early 2021, an Alpha Black Lotus graded at a PSA gem mint 10 sold at auction for just over half a million dollars. Magic: The Gathering started with trading cards, but has since crossed over to novels, online games, a soon to be arriving Netflix series, and of course what we are concerned with here… comic books.
The first MTG comics to appear on the scene were published by Armada Comics (an imprint of Acclaim Entertainment); with the first issue being Magic: the Gathering – The Shadow Mage #1. The Shadow Mage series follows Jared Carthalion as he avenges the death of his father at the hands of Ravidel in the Battle of Aster Fall. This is the same Ravidel who convinced his father to sacrifice his mother to become a planeswalker. There are roughly fifteen MTG series from Armada that span a variety of settings/events such as Arabian Nights, Planeswalker War, Urza-Mishra War, etc. Each have their own, unique protagonists.
Of the comics published by Armada, the most valuable one in the market is CGC 9.8s of Magic: the Gathering – The Shadow Mage #1. From the recent sales, the rough market value could be estimated by just under the $200 level. That’s just for the CGC graded slabs because among the raw books, some of Armada’s other MTG series are selling for higher prices than the raws of MTG Shadow Mage #1. In particular, bagged copies of the Serra Angel one-shot comic, sealed with an oversized Serra Angel card, are selling for around $100. Quick reference for anyone thinking about an arbitrage opportunity, the oversized Serra Angel on its own appears to be worth ~$50.
A few things of note: MTG Shadow Mage #1 was bagged with a Fireball card, but is slabbed without it. Also, all the copies of Shadow Mage #1 in the market appear to be labeled as direct sales, which does make one wonder if one without that label exists. The other MTG series usually have their own promotional item bagged with it. Fallen Empires came with a booster pack. Dakkon Blackblade came with a Dakkon Blackblade card.
Dark Horse’s MTG series followed the Gerrard’s Quest portion of the Weatherlight Saga. After Captain Sisay is kidnapped by Volrath, Gerrard Capashen leads the Weatherlight crew to save her and recover the Legacy.
Compared to the other MTG comics, the Dark Horse series might be the lowest in the market. A complete set (raw) of the four-issue series can be attained for under $10. On the other hand, the Dark Horse MTG statues are doing well.
The next publisher of MTG comics was IDW Publishing. The protagonist for the first four series was the greatest thief in the multiverse… Dack Fayden. The fifth series centered on pyromancer Chandra Nalaar. There was a planned sixth series that supposed to feature Chandra, titled Trials of Alara, but it was canceled.
I could be wrong, but I believe Dack Fayden’s comic appearance precedes his TCG appearance. If so, there could be a compelling case for IDW’s Magic the Gathering #1 as a possible spec for the Netflix series. Of course, it’s a very small chance, because it’d be based entirely on one character. A name drop for a spike. Raws of this book, sealed with a Treasure Hunt promo card, currently sell in the $10-20 range.
Finally, this brings us to the most current iteration of the MTG comics to be published by Boom! Studios. It’s set to be released in April 2021 (unreleased as of the writing of this blog). The ASHCAN preview issue for the series, limited to one per store, sold as high as $150 when it first hit the market. It has since settled to a $20-40 range. Only time will tell if any of the issues from this series will gain value. If the writers want to help that along, maybe throw in a few first appearances.
“To be honest, I’m not quite sure what’s going to happen.” – Renna, Selhoff alchemist (Card: Vessel of Volatility”