Most Popular Comics: Bronze Age

by Norman Robinson III

136817_8e3ff5aa88ccd7039e17801a025f68ea08e9c08b-196x300 Most Popular Comics: Bronze AgeThe Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 has the top ranking last month for the Bronze Age, but investors are chasing the price of the runner-up Amazing Spider #252 instead. They are chasing it straight up the proverbial side of the Empire State building. The price for ASM #252 is essentially double the price of Secret Wars #8. Why? What is the main difference between these two comics? Both are Modern Age but have slightly nuanced particulars. The ASM #252 has the black suit in all it’s glory on the cover. This comic was published on May 10, 1984. It was created by Roger Stern and Tom DeFalco (writers), with Ron Frenz on pencils. The issue notes state this is an homage cover to Amazing Fantasy #15. Yep, an homage to the very first appearance of Spider-Man. That is nice and certainly a minor key for that reason alone but this book has been very popular for the last year. Often battling within the top three ranks. Ultimately this is the first black Spider-Man suit in a regular series.

In comparison Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8. Is the first Spider-Man symbiont black costume. This is where it gets weird. Secret Wars #8 was in stores on December 10, 1984. It was created by Jim Shooter (script) and Michael Zeck (artist). Spider-Man was whisked away to the Beyonder’s fight club planet and begins to do battle with not only the X-Men but all of Marvel’s bad guys. Fortunately, all the other superheroes are there with him. In the course of all this, he comes across the symbiotic costume. Now in real-time, this happens well after the costume has already been introduced into the series in Amazing Spider-Man #252.  To be exact seven months earlier, this out of sequence event, in my opinion, is the true first appearance of the black costume and perhaps the symbiont.

169123_94522eeacb8699bb21e4438c18ecd8fc5df95273-201x300 Most Popular Comics: Bronze AgeMarvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8

This comic was a fun read back in the day. You had no idea where they were going with the black costume symbiote creature. I prefer the old costume but Spidey has always got to be new and fresh looking. How else do you attract a new generation of fans? That is one thing Marvel does well, hook succeeding generations with their Spider-Man headliner. We know that ASM #252 is more expensive but is it more profitable? Let’s compare these two big Bronze books.

The Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #8 has had astounding success as a latecomer key to the Bronze Age. The current mint condition grade (9.8) regularly sells for north of $200 FMV. The cheaper grade of (6.5) fine plus has an FMV of $55. Is Secret Wars #8 the secret sauce in the symbiote keys? Time will tell but current returns have been promising from a long-term perspective:


Grade (9.8) is worth $220 FMV and returns +33.2%

Grade (9.6) is worth $130 FMV and returns +9.3%

Grade (9.2) is worth $90 FMV and returns  +42.7%

Grade (7.0) is worth $65 FMV and returns +49.1%

136817_8e3ff5aa88ccd7039e17801a025f68ea08e9c08b-196x300 Most Popular Comics: Bronze AgeAmazing Spider-Man #252

In real time this is the first true appearance of the black Spider-Man suit symbiote or no symbiote. I think over time this will win out as top dog key. Besides who doesn’t want to own the beautiful homage cover of Amazing Fantasy #15. Everything about this book says the primary key to me. Furthermore, Secret Wars #8 is more of an origin story than the first appearance. I am sure fans will sharpen their knives at the mention of a change in popularity in pre-Venom keys. We had better let the results speak for us. The following returns and prices are over the long-term:

Grade (9.8) is worth $575 FMV and returns +52.4%

Grade (9.6) is worth $210 FMV and returns +52.1%

Grade (9.2) is worth $130 FMV and returns  +51.2%

Grade (7.0) is worth $70 FMV and returns +58.2%

Obviously, the results are fairly straight forward and easy to read.  Any way you cut it Amazing Spider-Man #252 dominates Secret Wars #8 both on overall price and return. Proof you just can’t beat classic homage covers or the actual first appearance of a new costume. Second place last month, or not, better get a copy before this comic starts scaling something much larger than the Empire State and suddenly starts wall-crawling the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (Currently, the tallest building in the world at 2717 ft.). Carabiner yourself to Spidey, enjoy the view, and the mind-numbing returns on a Modern Age classic Amazing Spider-Man #252.

220px-Burj_Khalifa-171x300 Most Popular Comics: Bronze AgeBurj Khalifa

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