Modern Age Comics: 2019 in Reflection

by Norman Robinson III

Carnage-Amazing-Spider-Man-616x450-1-300x219 Modern Age Comics: 2019 in ReflectionAs we prepare to usher in the hope and vigor of 2020; it is customary to look back with either nostalgia or dread upon 2019. Nostalgia can be with family, friends and even finances. During these moments it is important to review my speculative picks from last year. Were these picks good, bad, or just plain ugly? I had picked three Modern Age comic books for 2019: Amazing Spider-Man #361, Wolverine #1, and Spawn #1. Now, a year later how did they do?

In order to improve at anything–art, science, speculation, you have to first fail at it. The only way to determine failure or success is to review the hard objective historical returns in our speculative 2019 rearview mirror. At the end of 2018, I predicted: “these books will end 2019 with exceptional returns…” Which begs the question, were these Modern Age comic books profitable in 2019?




171460_e1e49a430fd60272eb29e16a8e07f9530d5ea8b8-1-195x300 Modern Age Comics: 2019 in ReflectionAmazing Spider-Man #361


Prediction 2019

  • Projected sales of grade 9.0 could be positive +48.2%
  • Suggested buying opportunity is any drop in value to the $200 range with grade 9.8
  • Suggested catalyst additional Spawn movie info




  • The lowest price for 2019 was in April–$276 for grade 9.8
  • The highest sale price was in July 2019–$474 for grade 9.8
  • The difference is $198 or a return of positive +71%
  • The 2019 FMV average trend was negative -14.9%


Results: Amazing Spider-Man #361 returned +71%

If you took my advice and purchased at $276 in mid-2019; that same book returned positive +71% within three months of that purchase during 2019. Based on the target price quoted these returns have been significant. Based on FMV value this book has lost about negative -14%. The comic book speculation business is a lot like the stock market. You don’t buy and hold, you buy cheap and sell at a profit. If you followed my premise to move in and out of comic books with each peak and valley; then 2019 was a year full of speculative carnage.


171281_dc337a4b645a86e8dd5b02c86ce3fa48d07a9ec1-198x300 Modern Age Comics: 2019 in ReflectionWolverine #1


Prediction 2019

  • Previous return +34.9% in grade (9.8)
  • Grade 9.8 had a previous 2018 value of $170 FMV
  • Suggested catalyst new Wolverine anointed by Marvel Comics



figured-it-out-300x226 Modern Age Comics: 2019 in ReflectionActual

  • Buying opportunity purchase price of $170 FMV
  • Last sale price for December 2018 was $178 for grade 9.8
  • The highest sale price for 2019 is $231 in December 2019, for grade 9.8
  • The difference is $52 or a return of positive +29%
  • This coincides with the FMV average which is positive +12.6%  


Results: Wolverine #1 returned +29%

This book was never big and was never going to be big in 2019. However, it is a low-risk key and had the potential to move higher given an announcement of replacing Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Unfortunately, that adjustment to the X-Men did not happen in 2019. Wolverine #1 did return a respectable positive +12.6% on average. Further, if you followed my advice and bought at the end of December 2018 and sold one year later your return would have been positive +29%.


692364_spawn-1-1-195x300 Modern Age Comics: 2019 in ReflectionSpawn #1


Prediction 2019

  • $90 FMV for mint condition (9.8)
  • (9.4) which in 2018 had returned a strong +38.4%
  • (9.9) grade in 2018 returned positive +81.4%




  • I advised a target price at the FMV of $90 for grade 9.8
  • The actual last sale price of Dec 2018 was $109
  • The highest sale price for 2019 was $142 in November 2019 in grade 9.8
  • The difference is $52 or a return of positive +57%
  • This coincides with the FMV average which is positive +5.3%

Spawn has finally started to sputter awake with news of Jamie Foxx to star in the next (if ever) Spawn movie. This Spawn of Todd McFarlane has returned positive +57% over the last year. This is a pretty solid return on the book you can still buy in the comic bins of your local retail store for under $20.

Results: Spawn #1 returned +57%


6df92a68beb45c40dade957a02864e81-205x300 Modern Age Comics: 2019 in ReflectionConclusion:

The Modern Age has increased in value given time frame and average returns vs. the past. No surprise here, that the first appearance of Carnage in Amazing Spider-Man #361 is one of the most popular books in the GoCollect rankings. It is also, my best pick for 2019. Still, my prediction was a bit Pollyannish for last year. After all, these are good returns but I wouldn’t call them “exceptional.” I must have had too much turkey in my Christmas dinner, “Gobble, gobble!”

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Barry January 1, 2020 - 9:59 pm

So a ASM 361 cgc 9.4 @ usd100 FMV?

Norman Robinson III January 2, 2020 - 1:58 am

Currently, ASM 361 is $120 FMV U.S. dollars. Thanks for reading.

Andy January 3, 2020 - 3:43 am

Hi Norman, I’m a big fan of you articles but we have to keep in mind that these figures do not take into account tax nor selling fees nor shipping. If you are buying at fmv you need to add 5-9% to cost for sales tax and when you sell you have to subtract 7-13% for sellers fees. Also I find it tough to take the outlier sales on both ends and create the spread that way. I find these kind of articles do a disservice to those who want to try speculation but will certainly be disappointed when those supposed 71% gains are really closer to 10% after taxes, fees and average sales prices are taken into account (not complaining about 10% but it’s a lot of work to make $20 or less)

Norman Robinson III January 12, 2020 - 5:55 am

I understand your critique and respect the bottom line approach. But most speculators are not including the cost of taxes in their potential returns. Additionally, shipping costs are covered by the buyers not sellers usually. The eBay fees you are right about as well as PayPal, can’t dispute that. However, sales tax is incurred by the buyer. Yes, the seller does pay tax but after write-offs, the true return is based on total income roughly minus expenses and your particular tax bracket. My bottom line is your opinion is rather skewed if it suggests a “$20 or less” outcome. If you purchased in the $200 range and sold in the $474 range. You have made quite a bit of money for some glue, paper, and staples that are 30 years old. Thanks for reading.


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