Making a Legend: ASM #39

by Matt Tuck

ASM-39-199x300 Making a Legend: ASM #39In the past year, values for Amazing Spider-Man #39 have been on the rise, but no one seems to be talking about it. What makes that issue special? It’s the first issue drawn by John Romita, Sr.

Silver age Spider-Man comics are the most stable investments on the market. Decade after decade, he’s a character that stays in the mainstream consciousness. He’s easily as recognizable as Superman and Batman, but more relatable. And he has something DC’s powerhouses don’t – an Oscar for best (animated) picture. No matter what incarnation he takes, Spider-Man remains among the most enduring of comic icons.

How-Green-Was-My-Goblin-208x300 Making a Legend: ASM #39What also helps is his rogue’s gallery of villains. His list of nemeses ranks among the most infamous right alongside Batman’s. When you put it all together, you get a character that generations of fans adore. That’s part of what makes ASM #39 such a great investment. The other part of the equation is its historical significance in the comic realm.

Stan Lee and Steve Ditko are credited with bringing Spider-Man to life in Amazing Fantasy #15. While Ditko gets the nod for historical impact, it’s Romita’s artwork that has since evolved into the most iconic. 

Very quietly, ASM #39 has been gaining in popularity. In these last 12 months, almost every grade has received a boost, particularly with the low grades. In 2017, a 3.0 averaged $74. Since this time last year, it has ballooned to $140, and the most recent sale was for $145 a month ago. As impressive as that progression has been, the 3.5 has truly lit up the market. At the moment, it has a 90-day average of $167; two years ago, it was almost a third of that with a fair market value of $63. It’s even up from last year when it brought a respectable $127.

Another grade making huge gains has been the 4.5, which has almost doubled in two years. Earlier this month, a copy sold for $200, giving it a 90-day FMV of $182. Back in 2017, it was averaging $105.

ASM-39-Goblin-Reveal-201x300 Making a Legend: ASM #39The higher grades may not be growing at the same rate as their lower counterparts, but they are on the rise as well. The 8.5 in particular is doing great. This year, it hasn’t sold for less than $575, and a new record high was set just weeks ago when one copy went for $865 on March 12. A year ago, it averaged $576, and two years ago it had an FMV of $470. These days, if you find an 8.5 for less than $500, buy it.

All the high values are interesting, certainly, but this is a comic that deserves the distinction of being among the elite comics to collect. In the age of the MCU, all it takes is a mention of even a minor character being used in a movie, and suddenly the first appearance is soaring (case in point: Hydro Man). John Romita has meant so much to Marvel Comics that his debut art on the company’s flagship title should be valuable. After all, this is the man who went on to co-create Kingpin, the Punisher, and Mary Jane Watson, not to mention his influence in the creation of Wolverine. This comic is where it began in 1966, and it is worth a high price.

 

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