This evening, as I was watching one of my favorite YouTubers, Swagglehaus, talk about what was on his “2023 Christmas Wish List,” I thought it would be fun to make my own. As both a comic book collector and an investor, I look to purchase comics that are (1) personally meaningful to me; (2) have objective market value (i.e., are considered a “key” issue; and (3) a good deal. Below is a list of comics that I’m hoping to pick up in 2023!
X-Men #101 CGC 8.5
Any serious comic book collector most likely wants or already has this book in their personal collection. Generally considered one of the best Marvel storylines of all time, the story of Jean Grey’s transformation into Phoenix (and later as Dark Phoenix) is Chris Claremont’s brilliant and tragic story about love, power, and self-sacrifice. The story is so iconic, 20th Century Fox attempted to bring it to the big screen two times (and, sadly, failed miserably both times).
Jean Grey’s death (and later, resurrection,) would have a huge impact on the X-Men for many years to come. It may be the most important event in the X-Men’s history. In addition, X-Men 101’s cover by Dave Cockrum is instantly recognizable and has been homaged many times.
I’d love to have a CGC 8.5 copy of this book. A CGC 8.5 would sit in the top half of copies graded by CGC. In addition, like many key issues, this book has experienced a significant correction during 2022. While I wouldn’t say this issue has over-corrected, and it might fall a bit further, it is approaching where I think it should be in terms of its historical ROI.
If I can find a copy for around $550, I’ll probably pull the trigger.
Batman #428 (direct edition) CGC 9.6
This might be an unusual book to see on a wish list, but this comic evokes major nostalgia for me. I first started collecting comics in 1988. At that time, two of the hottest books on the market were Amazing Spider-Man #300 and Batman #428. You’d frequently see these two books on the walls behind dealers at comic conventions and at local comic shops. Of course, more than three decades later, Amazing Spider-Man #300 may have become the most important comic book of the Copper Age.
Batman #428 is not nearly as significant, but I think it’s undervalued. First of all, it has a violent, though still beautifully illustrated cover by Mike Mignola that depicts the death of a hero. Second, the book is historically significant because it’s the first time that readers were able to decide how a story would end — in this case, whether Robin would live or die.
I’d love to have a CGC 9.6 copy of this book. A CGC 9.6 would sit nearly in the top third of copies graded by CGC. I also prefer the direct edition of this book. Although the newsstand is more rare, I don’t like how UPC code replaces the critical question posed near the bottom of the issue’s cover: “Can he possibly be alive?” The placement of the code diminishes the value of the cover for me.
Lastly, although DC key issues never experienced the insane highs that Marvel comics did during the comic boom, this book has also corrected during 2022, losing roughly half of its value during the past year. If I can find a copy for under $100, I’ll probably pull the trigger.
Two other books that I’ll be hunting for in 2023 include a Signature Series copy of Classic X-Men #1. In my opinion, this Arthur Adams cover is the best depiction of the X-Men I’ve ever seen. I’d love to have a high-grade copy of this issue signed by Art.
I’d also love to obtain a copy of a second printing of Captain Marvel #17. Even though Ms. Marvel appears only in cameo in this issue, this is the first time we ever see her in costume (and on a cover). It’s also exceptionally rare (only 536 on the CGC Census).