The 1980s were a fast-paced decade that featured an ongoing cold war, hot economic growth, new wave music, rad fashion and comics based on toy lines. The strange thing is, all the above – excepting economic growth and comics based on toy lines – are now more or less part of the history books. The exceptions, however, the toy based comic books, are currently hotter than ever and can now serve as potential sources of profit in themselves.
Two seminal 1980s comics are especially notable in this regard. These books, based on Hasbro and Mattel toy lines, prove that the cornerstones of 1980s geek culture can spell big profit today.
The two toy lines are: ‘the Transformers’ and ‘The Masters of the Universe’. In the rest of this post, I’ll take a look at Transformers #1 (by Marvel) and DC Comics Presents #47, two books that are, respectively, the first appearances of The Transformers and He-Man into comic book form.
Released by Mattel in 1981, ‘He-Man and the Masters of the Universe’ has gone on to generate lunch boxes, T-Shirts, multiple lines of action figures, no less than four animated TV-series and one live-action film.
The Transformers, by contrast, was a toy line originally developed by Takara Tomy in Japan and marketed by Hasbro in the rest of the world. The first generation of the ‘robots in disguise’ was launched in 1984. Since then, there have been many more toy lines, animated television series and specials, books, and multiple big screen motion picture events.
Lately sales and prices on Marvel’s Transformers comic and DC’s first non-preview introduction of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in comic book form have seen impressive numbers.
What’s keeping the value of these books high is undoubtedly the ongoing promotion of these brands beyond the original toy lines.
The ‘Bumblebee’ movie from 2018 was the last entry and a reboot in the Transformers movie series that was widely viewed as an improvement over the CGI spectacle that was the previous series of films. There are rumors that a sequel is in the works. He-Man, by contrast, was just recast and the recent news is that a new movie is on the way which may be stoking interest in his comic book history.
With 2,259 copies on the CGC census, this comic can still generate enough demand to command a fair market value of over $500.00 in 9.8 grade.
A 9.6 certified blue label copy can fetch $150.00; other grades that are valuable include:
9.4’s = $95.00
9.2 = $75.00
9.0 = $55.00
If a sequel to ‘Bumblebee’ happens, I imagine the returns on this comic will remain strong. Currently they look as follows: over the last 12 weeks: 9.8s are up a strong +41.8 % after 12 sales with the last eBay auction garnering $616.00 on 03/28/2019. 9.6 grades show positive +3.5% after 5 sales. 9.4 are also positive after 11 sales with a roi of +2.5% and 9.2 show a strong +49.1% roi after 8 sales. More than meets the eye!
There are only 917 copies of this Bronze Age comic on the CGC census, but that doesn’t stop it from currently holding a FMV of $625 in 9.8 grade. In certified condition the numbers for lower grades (up to 9.0) look as follows:
9.6 = $250.00
9.4 = $160.00
9.2 = $150.00
9.0 = $120.00
Over the last 12 weeks returns are as follows: After 8 sales, 9.8 graded copies show a positive +11.2% roi with the last 9.8 selling on 03/24/2019 for an impressive $740.00. 9.6 grades are down -0.4% after 19 sales and 9.6 are up after 5 sales with a +5.6% roi and the last three sales netting $199.99 (eBay 04/09/2019), $180.00 (ComicLink on 04/02/2019) and $200.00 (eBay best offer 03/16/2019).