For many Americans, the pandemic has resulted in record U.S. savings rates. Many haven’t dined in restaurants, bought new work clothes, or taken overseas vacations. As a result, some (including myself) have turned to comic book collecting. Let’s look at some affordable alternatives to 1st appearances!
Due to soaring demand, prices for keys have become unaffordable for many collectors. At some point, the world will turn back on and prices will hopefully moderate for some of these books. Until then, you may want to consider taking a closer look at affordable alternatives such as origin stories. In comparison to first appearances, they are often overlooked, but still provide key information about a character for the first time. I discuss three affordable origin stories below.
Once Marvel revealed that fan-favorite Kit Harrington would assume the role of the Black Knight in the upcoming Eternals movie, Avengers #48, which contains the first full appearance of Dane Whitman as the Black Knight, exploded in value. During the past three years, the value of a CGC 9.8 copy of Avengers #48 has surged 173%. Less rare grades have risen about 33% during the same period of time.
For those of you who have been priced out of Avengers #48, I’d consider Marvel Super-Heroes #17, a Silver Age book that features the origin of the first Black Knight, Sir Percy, as well as the origin of the Ebony Blade, the Black Knight’s sword. Prices for this book are also climbing, but not nearly as quickly as Avengers #48. Raw mid-grade copies of this book have sold on eBay recently for around $50.
The Uncanny X-Men #102: Origin of Storm
While Storm did appear several times during 20th Century Fox’s run on the X-Men, she never starred in any of the films and generally took a back seat to Wolverine, Jean Grey, Professor X, and Magneto. I’m betting Kevin Feige does her right.
Unfortunately, most investors can’t afford her first appearance, Giant-Size X-Men #1, the second most important key issue of the Bronze Age. As one of the affordable alternatives, consider The Uncanny X-Men #102 (UXM #102). Published less than a year after Giant-Size X-Men #1, not only does UXM #102 contain an early appearance of Storm, but it also provides us with her origin story as a young pickpocket in Cairo. Just a few weeks ago, a CGC 6.5 copy sold for only $26 on eBay. To me, that seems like a great deal for a minor Bronze Age key.
Fantastic Four #52: Origin of the Black Panther
As we all know, after the runaway success of Black Panther in 2018, Fantastic Four #52 became one of the hottest books of the Silver Age. Featuring the first appearance of the Black Panther, at entry-level grades, this book is still affordable for many collectors and I personally believe it still has some room to grow.
At the same time, it’s not exactly affordable either. For those looking for the next best thing, Fantastic Four #53 provides a great alternative. Not only does it provide the origin story of the Black Panther, but it also contains his second appearance and the first appearance of Klaw, a villain that appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Black Panther. You can find a nice raw copy of this book on eBay for around $100. Personally, I think that’s a good price for the second appearance and origin of an iconic character and the first appearance of an important villain.