Paging Dr. Frye

by Matt Tuck

Immortal-Hulk-2-193x300 Paging Dr. FryeImmortal Hulk #2 introduced readers to a not-so-new character, but if you don’t already have a copy in your collection, now is not the best time to buy.

The running theme of Immortal Hulk has been the significance of the gamma radiation. In the latter issues, it’s even used to summon Hulk’s version of Satan, the One Below All, by way of the green door. We see it corrupt Sasquatch (who is far more interesting as a villain in my opinion) and even takes Hulk to Hell itself.

Immortal-Hulk-2-Panel-191x300 Paging Dr. FryeAs we’ve seen in Hulk comics for years, other characters attempt to harness the gamma powers with horrific results, which is where Immortal Hulk #2 comes into play. In this issue, we are introduced to a new villain, Dell Frye. His father is a scientist who thought he had unintentionally killed his son with gamma experiments. Those same experiments turned Dr. Frye into a glowing, walking corpse. As it turned out, Dell wasn’t dead but was buried and changed into a hideous irradiated creature like his father.

 

 

 

 

 

Hulk-Frye-TV-300x213 Paging Dr. FryeWhile Immortal Hulk #2 may be his first comic appearance, Dell Frye is not a brand new character.

Frye first appeared in the classic Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno Incredible Hulk television show, specifically season four, episode 12. Like Immortal Hulk #2, Frye underwent gamma radiation experiments, but the TV version saw him transform into a Hulk-like creature rather than the ghoul we saw in Immortal Hulk #2. Frye turned out to be one of the more memorable villains from the show, and it is an intriguing Easter egg to toss into the comic series.

The implications are that Frye will play a bigger role in the Marvel Universe, not only in the pages of Hulk but possibly in other titles. That has pushed his first appearance into new territories of collectability.

Immortal-Hulk-Dr-Frye-226x300 Paging Dr. FryeJust about all issues of Immortal Hulk have gained popularity among collectors, but Frye’s first appearance is reaching an entire new level. Copies of the standard cover in “raw” form are selling on eBay auctions for around $75 for higher grades. There haven’t been a slew of graded copies trading hands on eBay quite yet, but the one recorded sale of a graded 9.8 was for an impressive $350 on February 15.

 

 

 

 

 

Hulk-Frye-Profile-281x300 Paging Dr. FryeThe 9.6 has been the most popular, though only four have been sold. What is interesting is the progression of the sale prices. Last September, a slabbed 9.6 sold for just $16 before only increasing to $24 in November. By December, it had gone up to $41, and earlier this month one sold for $79.

 

 

 

 

 

Immortal-Hulk-2-variant-194x300 Paging Dr. FryeWhere the real money has been lies with the variant edition. At a 9.8, it has averaged $290 over three sales since December and last sold for $320 on February 2.

The 9.6 grade has been even more popular, selling five times since November. Like the standard cover, its progression has been significant. From November to December, it averaged $75 and sold for a high of $100. Then on February 14, a 9.6 sold for $299.

The Immoral Hulk has become 2019’s Thanos Wins. All six issues of that story line shot up in value after the premiere of Cosmic Ghost Rider. Now that he’s made his mark in the normal Marvel timeline with his self-titled series and inclusion in the revamped Guardians of the Galaxy, his first appearance has been even more valuable. Of course, he’s an anti-hero, and heroes’ first appearances tend to hold their values better than those of the villains. Still, the more Marvel does with Frye, the more collectors will want Immortal Hulk #2, and we can watch its value continue to climb.

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