Everybody loves a good cover. Whether it be for a DVD, a vinyl record, a novel, or a comic book. In some cases, people just buy the product based on the cover alone, thus the adage. In the comic book investment market, however… Covers have never really been a huge sell, until now. Today, I wanna look at a handful of comics from the Modern Age that for some reason or another are becoming classics.
What Makes a Modern Age Classic?
Before writing this article, I was asking myself the same question. I mean, why invest good money in a book that doesn’t feature any iconic first appearances or isn’t old enough to be worth something based on age? Why purchase a comic book solely for the cover art? From my research, I think I have gathered a good response: Because you can kinda make some money off of this.
Nowadays, every single comic book released has about sixteen variant covers. It is exhausting trying to understand why this is a fact, other than that Marvel/DC want you to drop $128 on new comics, instead of $8.
The covers we are going to be looking at today are not variants. They are the real deal. The OGs. This statement leads me back to my original question…
Well, in the 80s and 90s, a lot of up-and-coming artists who are now legends of the industry got their start working on covers and the like. Look at a book like Incredible Hulk #340. That book, in theory, should not be worth a penny. It is from the late 1980s, it’s a modern book, it features no first appearances… It should be worth $30 – $40, at most.
However, Incredible Hulk #340 featured the first mainstream appearance of Todd McFarlene’s cover art. For this reason alone, a 9.8 grade of the book recently sold for $2,150 (USD). Not bad for a comic that, in theory, shouldn’t be worth all that much, huh?
There are a handful of other comics just like this one, and I’m going to chat a little bit about them below.
The Amazing Spider-Man #301
Whilst on the topic of Todd McFarlane, I would be remiss to not mention The Amazing Spider-Man #301. Concluding the original Venom storyline, this Spider-Man comic book features one of the most iconic covers in Spidey’s long and storied history.
It’s slick, simple but fully representative of everything fans came to love about McFarlane’s art.
A 9.8 grade of this book recently sold for $2,050 (USD)
The Joker has yielded himself some truly breathtaking and iconic comic book covers over the character’s 80-year history. A more recent example of this can be found in 2011’s Detective Comics #880, written by Scott Snyder with cover art by Mark Jock Simpson. In what is one of the most iconic DC covers since the turn of the century, this book has gone gangbusters recently.
Over the last three months alone, a 9.6 and 9.8 grade sold for $325 (USD) and $625 (USD), respectively.
Much like Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee was one of the 90’s comic book bad boys. He set the example for what makes an iconic and badass comic book cover art. In September of 1990, Lee delivered one of the most iconic X-Men covers of the Modern Age with his work on Uncanny X-Men #268. A beautiful piece that features Wolverine alongside Captain America and Black Widow, a team-up that folks hadn’t seen for quite some time!
Just last month, a 9.8 grade sold for $270 (USD).
Let’s return to the guy who started it all: Todd McFarlane. Just after McFarlane’s work on Incredible Hulk #340, DC snapped up the young artist for the iconic cover art of Batman #423. McFarlane loved this piece so much, that he later did a homage to it with his own comic book, Spawn #230 – which itself goes for a pretty penny, as a 9.8 just sold for $625 (USD). This iconic Batman cover is on the list of any comic investor, as it is blowing up on the market.
Back in June of this year, a 9.8 grade of the book sold for as high as $1,650! An absolutely smashing deal.
Now look, I could list off any and all iconic covers of the Modern Age that are selling for quite a lot, but then I wouldn’t have material for a follow-up, part two-piece. Let me know if there are any iconic covers that you think are worth being considered as a Modern Classic!