Optimus Prime Day

by James Jou

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Spider-Man helped the Autobots fight the Decepticons!? Thanks to the first comic book series being produced by Marvel Comics, that very scenario did indeed occur.

Currently, the Transformers franchise is easily recognized by fans worldwide, but it wasn’t always so. In the 1980s, Hasbro had the challenge of introducing the foreign toy lines of Diaclone and Microman to the US market. To accomplish this, they rebranded them under the new name of Transformers, and created the now much beloved cartoons and comics.

While the focus of Transformers collecting usually centers on the toys (namely the rare and legally dubious G1 Megatron), the comic books have also gained significant market value. Here we look at the current market for a few of the standout Transformers comic books.

 

TRANSFORMERS #1 (1984)

169021_1c7db9480b9c02a1a36ba961c146a56ae3bc151f-196x300 Optimus Prime DayChronologically, the first issue of the comics was released before the cartoons premiered on TV. In this issue, we are introduced to the war on Cybertron; with Optimus Prime leading the Autobots against the Decepticons. Losing the battle, the Autobots escape the planet on the Ark and crash land on Earth.

Below is the sales for Transformers #1, graded CGC 9.8 which is the top 18.7% of census:

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Overall, the sales prices were flat throughout 2016 to 2018, but then suddenly surged upwards in 2019. Let’s zoom in to 2019:

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Two things of note happened. First, the sales prices appears to have flattened within the last few months. Secondly, the sales prices for newsstand editions noticeably decoupled from the direct editions. In the 3 years prior, they sold at similar prices without regard for the version, but a few sales in April and May the differences in value appeared. It would be beneficial to keep track of whether this is an anomaly or the beginning of a new trend.

 

TRANSFORMERS #3 (1985)

169024_6187517330f80abf308c457d4fb71802ee233124-198x300 Optimus Prime DayWith Sparkplug Witwicky captured by the Decepticons, Spider-Man swings into action to help the Autobots. This issue also includes appearances from Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Although the volume of sales and market value of this book aren’t as high as the book above, the cool crossover cover merited attention. Below is sales for the book graded CGC 9.8 (top 24.8%):

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Not much is occurring in the market for this book; sales value is mostly flat, between an average range of $150-250. This book would not be a good financial investment, but the cover is a must have for a collection.

 

TRANSFORMERS #8 (1985)

169031_35d67a8a74131dfe5fa8e579c4edbc57731128a4-194x300 Optimus Prime DayDinobots! Although the first appearance of Dinobots in comics was in Transformers #4, the market appears to prefer this issue, with higher volume of sales and market value. The cover definitely helps. The sales data below is for the book in CGC 9.8 (top 42.2%):

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In June 2014, the feature film Transformers: Age of Extinction was released worldwide. Prior to the release of trailers for the movie, this book was selling in the low $100s. Sales dried up until closer to the movie’s release date. Suddenly, the book’s sales volume increased and began to sell around $300. This book’s value was directly influenced by the movie.

As with most comic books without natural growth and only increased in value due to a movie, the book plummeted in the subsequent months. It appears to have found support at the $100 level, with occasional spikes to $150+ and rare highs of $225.

 

TRANSFORMERS #80 (1991)

169107_0946a014e2c40865aef2b49f4996ed9b0176612c-196x300 Optimus Prime DayThis was the final issue of the first Transformers comic series. The story focuses on the defeat of the Autobots by the Decepticons. The Last Autobot revives Optimus Prime and all the fallen Autobots, who then chase the Depecticons away from Klo. Below is sales for the book in CGC 9.8:

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Sales prices for the book have too much volatility and too low volume to determine a trend. Despite this, it does appear that the book is able to retain value at around the low $200s.

 

THE BOTTOM LINE

  • Transformers #1 – If you acquired the book under $400 and are looking to sell, now is a very good time. At the very least, REDUCE and put the money into books with more reliable value growth.
  • Transformers #3 – REDUCE
  • Transformers #8 – This one could be suitable for a quick flip. ADD close to $100, SELL above $150. On the very off chance any Dinobots movie news/rumors spring up, this book would be the one to benefit like in 2014.
  • Transformers #80 – REDUCE

 

 

“Getting fuel is a piece of cake!” / “Cake is fuel?” – Jazz and Prowl

 

 

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