In celebration of the upcoming All Hallows’ Eve, here we will be bat-watching! Furthermore, instead of yet another article centered on the popular bats: Batman or Morbius; the focus will be turned to the more creature-like bat characters: Man-Bat and Bat-Wing. One DC Comics, one Marvel Comics; to keep things perfectly balanced, as all things should be.
Along with its iconic cover, Detective Comics #400 contains the first appearance of Man-Bat. In the issue, the scientist Robert Langstrom works in secret to create a serum, formulated from bat gland-extract, that can give someone the increased sound sensitivity of bats; a bat-like sonar. The choice of bats wasn’t random as Robert Langstrom’s original inspiration for pursuing such a serum was a desire to be more like the crime fighting Batman. The overeager scientist tests the serum on himself; at first it works the way he wanted, but unfortunately it goes awry with the unintended side effect of transforming him into the Man-Bat.
The sales data for Detective Comics #400 is shown below. This includes the higher grades of CGC 9.2/9.0 (the top 19.0/30.3%) and lower 7.5/7.0 (top 62.7/70.5%).
In any given stretch of 6 months, sales prices for Detective Comics #400 might fluctuate up or down by as much as 20%; but overall, the trend is up. Since 2013, the book has benefited from a slow and relatively steady growth in market value. The presence of this trend is particularly interesting in light of the lower volume of sales that Detective Comics #400 experienced, compared to the higher volumes of typical “slow and steady” growth books; at least of the ones identified so far. All in all, this book has the potential to be a good long-term investment.
- Detective Comics #400 (1970) – BUY
The closest Marvel equivalent of Man-Bat is probably Bat-Wing. One might argue that the real closest Marvel equivalent is Man-Spider; this might be true when considering character popularity but the comparison falls short in the context of Batman and Man-Bat are separate characters, while Man-Spider is a mutated Spider-Man. Furthermore, we are sticking with the theme of bats.
In Untold Tales of Spider-Man #2, several reports pop up about attacks around the city by a mysterious winged creature. Councilman Randolf Cherryh, the victim of one of the attacks, places a bounty on catching the creature, whom people have started calling Batwing. The promise of monetary reward lures Spider-Man to volunteer his services. After a harrowing chase across the city, Spider-Man is able to finally corner Bat-Wing; however to his surprise, he finds Bat-Wing more scared than dangerous. Here Spider-Man learns about Batwing’s origins; that he’s really a boy named James Santini that got lost in some caves with his father. While lost, James Santini drank some water that was unfortunately polluted, the same pollution that his father was investigating; this is what turned him into the bat-like creature. Spider-Man realizes his mistake and helps Bat-Wing escape from Councilman Cherryh’s wrath.
The market for Untold Tales of Spider-Man #2 is very sparse. With few copies of the book CGC graded and in the census, the last CGC 9.8 copy sold for $23.50 in Oct 2017. Raw FN copies can be found in the dollar bin. Compared with Man-Bat, the chances of a live-action Bat-Wing are slim to none. Overall, Bat-Wing’s key 1st appearance issue is definitely an interesting read but offers poor investment potential. If at this point you’re thinking, well if you can’t invest in Bat-Wing, might as well go with the aforementioned Man-Spider then; unfortunately, Man-Spider’s 1st appearance wasn’t in comic books but rather in the Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994).
“You again… always trying to stop me… always stealing the night from me… even though it’s mine not yours! You’re a fake… just a man… not a real bat!” – Man-Bat
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