Marvel’s Symbiotes (the Klyntar) are everywhere these days. Did you pick up on the allusions to All Black the Necrosword in Hela’s character (when she uses her powers) in 2017’s ‘Thor Ragnarok’? If you saw ‘Venom’ (I did and can admit I actually liked it!) it was impossible to miss the appearances of Riot, and later Carnage, at the end of that film. These appearances have all affected speculation on comics featuring Marvel’s symbiotic aliens.
In this post, I’ll be taking a look at the performance of select Marvel comics featuring key appearances of Symbiotes. Most of them are already doing well, and it’s a sure bet this trend will continue if the Klyntar keep appearing in Marvel movies. Since the Marvel films are set to begin taking a ‘Cosmic turn’ (in ‘Phase 4’) the range of super-beings presented will certainly expand. In other words, given their cosmic origins, the Symbiotes will probably stay in the spotlight for awhile yet.
Originally created by Jim Shooter and Mike Zeck, the Klyntar debuted in Amazing Spider-man #252 (May 1984) , after it was decided that there was more to Peter Parker’s new look than simply a different colored suit.
Chronologically, the Symbiotes were created by Knull (the Symbiote god) at the very beginning of the Marvel Universe (see below). Their first appearance in Marvel comics, however, is related to the story of how Spider-man gets his new suit. Peter’s first encounter with a Symbiote is actually narrated in Secret Wars #8 (December 1984). There we see Parker encounter the Klyntar Symbiote Venom in the form of what he thinks is a ‘blob’ that proactively spreads over his tattered old costume giving him a new look. As Peter puts it: “Not bad!” Except- it was bad.
In Amazing Spider-man #258 (November 1984), Peter learns that his ‘new costume’ has a will and mind of its own. Moreover, it has plans to take over his life. Hence, Venom is introduced into the Marvel Universe. Venom would eventually ditch Peter and take up residence in the body of Eddie Brock (starting in Amazing Spider-Man #299 –April 1988 )– but, as we all know, Venom was the beginning, not the end, of the Symbiotes.
Cletus Kasady appeared, as played by Woody Harrelson, as a tag at the end of ‘Venom’. This was taken by many to signal that Carnage will be in the sequel if it gets made. The first appearance of Carnage is in ASM #361. Returns over the last 90 days are mixed on this comic, but mostly still positive. There have been 50 sales of 9.8 certified copies and returns are down -4.3%, 9.2-9.6 however are all up by +9.8%, 9.4% and +2.7%, respectively, after a combined total of 135 sales. This is a wanted book. Moreover, the FMV of a 9.8 currently stands at $435.00. Not Spider-man #300 levels, but also not at all bad.
Riot was featured in the ‘Venom’ movie, but his cameo debut, in the stand alone series Venom Lethal Protector, is actually shared by fellow Symbiotes: Scream, Agony, Lasher and Phage. In any case it’s Riot who took the spotlight and prices on this comic bear out that the ‘Venom’ film was the efficient cause of the rise in value. Currently LP #4 has the highest FMV of any of the Venom comics in the LP series. A graded 9.8 can fetch $85.00. Returns over the last 3 months have also been positive. 9.8 grades are up +1.6% after 18 sales and 9.6 are up +16.3%. Compare that to Venom Lethal Protector #1 where returns over the last 90 days are only up in 9.6 by +13.3% and down in both 9.8 (-10.6%) and 9.4 (-6.3%).
The god of the Symbiotes is Knull. Created by Jason Aaron, Butch Guice, Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, Knull was an ancient and malevolent cosmic deity who traces his origins back to the beginnings of the universe. Technically, Knull isn’t a Symbiote but his story is so connected to their origin that there’s no harm in picking up his first appearance in connection to Symbiote spec. Knull’s first appearance happens in Thor: God of Thunder #6. Returns on this comic have been strong, currently a certified blue label 9.8 can fetch $210.00. Returns over the last 90 days have been especially good up in 9.6 by +34.9% (last 3 sales) and in 9.8 up +46.4% (after 2 sales). Long term returns over the last 6 years actually show mixed numbers. 9.8s are actually down -5.4% (after 11 total sales) and 9.4 grades down -21.3% (after 2 sales) but this is still balanced by the positive returns on 9.6 up +13.7% after 6 sales with trends pointing upwards.
All Black the first Symbiote, emerged as a manifestation of the shadow of the being known as Knull. Absorbing the life-force of a slain Celestial he was first wielded by Knull in the latter’s mad spree to wipe out all deities throughout the Marvel Universe. After Knull is stopped, All Black is wielded by Gorr: the God Butcher. All Black’s first appearance is in Thor: GoT #2, prices on this book are not as strong as those on issue #6 but still show some life. FMV on a graded 9.8 is currently $110.00. 90 day averages look as follows: the last 9.8 sold for $80.00 (02/05/2019), the last 9.4 sold for $34.99 (03/02/2019) and a 9.2 sold for $17.00 on 03/17/2019.
There are a ‘host’ of other Symbiotes in Marvel comics, and many of their first appearances are also going up in price. In recent months, She-Venom’s first appearance (in Venom: Sinner Takes All #3), Loki’s acquiring of All Black (in Thor #5) and the soon to appear Absolut Carnage comic this summer by Donny Cates will probably not hurt speculation on Symbiote books. Keep your eyes peeled.