Now Everyone Loves Taskmaster

by Matt Tuck

Avengers-196-194x300 Now Everyone Loves TaskmasterSuddenly everyone is a Taskmaster fan. Thanks to the recent Black Widow movie news, prices for Avengers #196 are soaring to record highs in only days.

Marvel Studios can light up the collectors market like nothing else.

Recently the studio confirmed that a solo Black Widow movie focusing on her origin was in the works. Only days ago, it was announced that Taskmaster would be the main villain; within hours, collectors everywhere were scouring their collections for his first appearance. Practically overnight, sales were through the roof, and the fair market values went along for the ride. Now, in the course of one weekend, most grades have set new record highs, and there hasn’t even been a casting announcement.

Taskmaster-first-196x300 Now Everyone Loves TaskmasterThe upper grades have shown the most movement, but that isn’t unexpected. Even before the movie news broke, the 9.8 was raising the bar; on March 15, a new record high was established with a $1,009 sale. That gives it a 90-day average of $871, which is over $100 past last year’s FMV of $751.

From the 9.6 down to the 9.0, all of the near-mint grades have set new records since Friday. Up until then, the 9.6 hadn’t sold for more than $350, but two sales surpassed that mark in the same day – one for $355 and another for $400. It was the same case for the 9.4 when two Saturday sales exceeded the previous record of $250 with $325 and $285 price tags, respectively.

The trend continued with the 9.2. On Saturday, it set a new record of $250. Before that, it had never sold for more than $198. Then there is the 9.0, which brought even more with a $260 sale on the same day, breaking the previous record by $95.


Taskmaster-v-Deadpool-300x216 Now Everyone Loves TaskmasterTaskmaster has never been a major villain, but he has a great look and an interesting skill set that has made him a fan favorite. At one point, he was rumored to be the on-screen nemesis for Deadpool, but using the character was reportedly too expensive for the studio. Since then, fans have known that it was only a matter of time before Marvel brought him to life, either in a movie or in a television show. Now that his live-action debut is imminent, the Taskmaster faithful are being rewarded. From the buzz I’m seeing on social media, I dare say that there’s more interest in the movie due to Taskmaster than Black Widow at this point.

As we’ve seen many times over, the initial excitement will wane and prices will plateau. This is especially true for villains’ first appearances, which don’t generally hold their values like the heroes. Still, as much interest as there has been over the Taskmaster announcement, Avengers #196 will continue to flare for most of the year. Eventually things will return to normal, but collectors will be watching for the casting news and the first trailer with Taskmaster. By the time the movie hits theaters, prices will descend.

For the time being, I recommend buyers lying low and not participating in the price surge. It may take some time, but things will settle back down, but the values won’t be at their 2017 levels anytime soon.

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