The 70s were a bit of a great expansion for Spider-Man, mainly due to the fact that so many people were given the responsibility of writing him. This was a stark departure from the era of Stan Lee’s singular direction. We saw six different writers undertake the role. Many new characters were brought into the fray, several of which remain series regulars to this day. A few even have profound significance in Peter’s life. This post is sort of a sequel to an earlier post I did, which focused on the sixties, and the bargain investments of that first decade of Spider-Man’s life. Like that post, this one will focus on the same types of issues, which I think are good, possibly underrated issues.
Roy Thomas was the first to write a Spider-Man story without Stan Lee. That’s significant because it reflects what the 70s were to The Amazing Spider-Man. It was a time of exploration and branching out. Throughout the decade, several writers undertook the responsibility of creating content for Spider-Man and that brought a handful of spin-offs targeted toward various audiences. Thomas, who started writing Spider-Man in 1971, scripted four issues before handing the reigns over to Gerry Conway in ‘72. While that is a short tenure, it did not stop Roy from introducing Morbius in his very first solo issue, Amazing Spider-Man #101.
First printings of ASM #101 can cost a pretty penny. Well, at least more than I’m typically willing to spend on an issue. Therefore, I think second printings are the way to go. According to GoCollect, 9.6 copies have seen a nearly 25% increase in value since 2017. That’s when such data became available. You’re likely to find these issues in that condition for around $80, maybe less, maybe more. That’s not too bad, considering the fairly strong upward push in value in the last few years. If you’re in the market for a first appearance of a fairly iconic Spidey villain, this would be a good addition to your collection. This is also a great book to own for a collector in general. It’s Spider-Man’s first story not from the mind of Stan Lee.
Aunt May’s Got a Gun
An issue that I find almost inappropriately hilarious is Amazing Spider-Man #115, where Aunt May both knocks Peter out and holds him at gunpoint. In her defense, she only thought she was up against Spider-Man, who proved to be no match for her abilities. I have included this book because it’s really easy to find. eBay is littered with them at various grades. Better yet, they’re dirt cheap but steadily rising. I think finding an 8.5 would be the most cost-effective investment, perhaps an 8.0. Rising at 49.5% and 45.4% respectively, I think there’s clear space for profit.
If you’re interested in fun, side story issues that also happen to make sense at investing any amount of money into, look no further than ASM #115. It’s exactly that.
A Spider-Man First Appearance Bargain Buy
Len Wein began writing for Spider-Man in 1975, and continued to do so for three years, amassing a 30-issue portfolio that even included an annual. While not as prolific as Stan Lee’s 100 issue pioneering run, Wein would become the most consistent voice for the character during this decade. Comparatively, other writers seemed to merely dabble in Spidey’s life. They typically undertook the responsibility for a year or less and only publishing a handful of issues before handing over the reins.
Len introduced Rocket Racer as a character in Amazing Spider-Man #172. If you don’t know who that is, that’s because he really isn’t that important of a person. Not in the big picture, at least. Interestingly enough, it is a character whose mantle was assumed by two different people. Although, the second iteration was short-lived and more underwhelming than the first. Nonetheless, we’ve got ourselves a fairly inexpensive first appearance issue. I’d say that’s grounds for collecting.
I’d pull the trigger on a 9.4 slab, maybe a 9.0 if you’re really trying to save a bit. In the research of this post, I found eBay teeming with slabs. With GoCollect data indicating a 31.4% rise of 9.4’s, it seems only too reasonable to invest. You’ll find that particular grade for $50 or thereabouts. Or maybe $40 or so for the 9.0, mitigating much of the risk investing anyway.
Next Up: 8-Tracks & Hair Metal
The issues compiled in this post represent what I think are some solid, underrated investments that won’t ask too much out of your wallet. There are still quite a few decades to get through, each with hundreds of new issues to mull over. The next post in this line will focus on, you guessed it, the eighties and will come….when I get around to it.