The most prestigious award in all of the comics community has returned, and this week’s winner is perhaps Marvel’s strangest and most mysterious mercenary, The Orb.
If there is a character in the Marvel pantheon that instantly grabs your attention, it’s Orb. Considering the company has the likes of superhero zombies, a wendigo with a butt-cut, and Galactus with his giant, purple helmet, being the real attention-grabber in the room speaks volumes.
He was frequently on the wrong side of Ghost Rider, but over the years, he’s run afoul of many Marvel heroes, ranging from Spider-Man and Wolverine to Deadpool and Doctor Strange. While he is generally a pushover, Orb actually has some decent powers. He is clairvoyant and can see places in his dreams as well as fire a laser beam from his giant eye. He’s also a weapons expert and can walk up walls. The trouble is that he’s completely insane, which actually makes him perfect for the Oddball of the Week.
Without further ado, let’s dive into his early appearances.
The first time readers saw the man with an eyeball for a helmet was in 1973’s Marvel Team-Up #15. Of course the original character to use the Orb moniker was Drake Shannon, who debuted here. Subsequently, this also marked the first time Spider-Man met Ghost Rider, something MCU fans are hoping to see on the big screen at some point in the future. However, if Orb finds his way onto the silver (or even small) screen, then this issue could have more significance across the collecting board.
How much can you expect to invest? The highest grade sold recently has been the 9.2, which brought $445 on November 17. Prior to that, it hadn’t sold for more than $205 all year. There hasn’t been a 9.8 to trade hands online since one sold for $1,440 in July. Before that record-high sale, that particular grade was typically in the $300-$400 range.
During the Jason Aaron era of Ghost Rider, an all-new Orb took shape. This time, the Agent of Zadkiel’s actual head was an eyeball, which is far more interesting (and grosser) than just a helmet. That’s true commitment to the act. Apparently, he is a sort of mutant, having been born with a giant eyeball for a head. He can’t actually speak, but he does make weird squishing sounds like those you’d imagine your own eyeballs making if you move them quickly enough. Abandoned by his parents and raised in a freak show, the second Orb eventually became a criminal and mercenary. Yet, he was still a pushover.
There’s two covers to choose from here. The standard edition, which has no graded sales on record, sells raw for about $2-$3 on eBay. There’s also a variant from artist Marko Djurdjevic. Last December, a graded 9.8 brought $50.
JUST WEIRD ENOUGH TO FIT IN
As I point out in almost all the Oddball of the Week features, the MCU has become so infatuated with the obscure branches of Marvel Comics that the weirder, the better. In the sitcom stylings of the current Marvel Studios endeavors, the quirky, odd figures are played for the biggest laughs. No doubt, The Orb is perfect for that role, and he basically has served the same role in the comics. That makes him a favorite to at least have a cameo in the not-too-distant future.