‘Avengers: Endgame’ made it fairly clear that Tony Stark and Steve Rogers will not be leading the Avengers in upcoming installments. With Tony dead and Steve now older than Moses, it would be quite a challenge to focus any future films on these character’s playing a leadership role. So, how are sales of Iron Man and Captain America’s key comics doing now that the MCU has effectively retired these A-list heroes?
According to the data sales are doing perfectly fine, thank you very much! Whether it’s very first appearance or later Silver Age reintroduction’s of Cap and Iron man both are still managing to more or less retain their value.
Here’s a Marvel classic that can be considered a cornerstone book of the burgeoning Marvel universe. It’s priced accordingly: the hypothetical value of a 9.8 first printing of this Golden Age key currently stands at a mind-bending $17, 600,000.00. Sounds like the kind of number you would expect someone would ask for the original Mona Lisa. In any case, this is the first appearance of Captain America and with a total of 166 copies on the CGC census and the highest graded copy at 9.4, the long term returns are strong across the board with the only negative data found on the aforementioned 9.4. After 2 ComicConnect auctions, after a $343, 057.00 sale on 08/09/2011, the next sale on 06/12/2013 saw a final price of $306, 050.00 bringing a negative -10.8% return. But the most recent sale of a 7.0 on Heritage on 05/16/2019 ended at $228,000.00. Just below the currently expected fair market value for this book at that grade.
The very first Iron Man is a more affordable but no less iconic comic. The right time to have picked this comic up would have been the early 1990s (the 1989 Overstreet value in NM = $420.00[!?!]). Yet, who on earth would have predicted back then that Brat Pack alum Robert Downey Jr. would make Tony Stark a box-office phenomenon. Not even Doctor Strange. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the desirability and scarcity of these Silver Age Marvel keys, this comic shows no signs of depreciating –even with Tony’s death in Endgame. A much higher supply holds for the first Iron Man appearance too. 2,147 total units (but only 1 a 9.8). Long term returns: same story as Cap—all strong across the board except for a 9.6 this time. There we see a dropping off after the last 3 sales. On 09/14/2017 a ComicConnect auction ended at $276, 000.00. Then, on 11/16/2017, a copy sold on Heritage for $155,350.00, and another Heritage auction on 05/16/2019, saw a $111,000.00 price tag. That’s a drop of -51.7%. And other than a slight drop on 8.5 grades, over the last two years this book has positive numbers. I don’t see a sell off happening soon.
What a cover! That’s prime, grade-A, 100% Kirby goodness true believer. And yes, it is still selling for strong returns. This is important since, if any Captain America comics would be in danger of devaluation by a diminished onscreen appearance, it would be his later series, starting with his Silver Age re-appearances. With 3,750 total copies on the CGC census, the good news is the long-term returns are strong all over with 1.8 grades being the only exception. With a $4, 800.00 FMV in 9.8 grade, the 12 week returns are as follows: Trending up with positive +6.7% returns on 9.0 (after 7 sales) and positive +25% on 8.0 grades after (7 sales). The last 9.0 sold for $999.00 on eBay on 06/09/2019 and the last 8.0 sold for $500.00 one day later on 06/10/2019.
Don’t knock the importance of covers in this era of slab and seal. Here’s another iconic cover: ‘I am Iron Man’, shouts this Silver Age beauty of a cover by Gene Colon. With a total of 5, 418 copies on the CGC census and 9.8 certified copies valued at $18,000.00, the long term returns mirror those on CA #100. Strong positive numbers all across except for 1.8 (down negative -2.3% after only 4 sales over the last 7 years). Three month returns are as follows: a sharper decline in low and mid-grade than CA #100, but growth on the higher grades. 9.0 shows best positive returns of +22.5% after 5 sales (last sale: 06/10/2019 on eBay for $2, 639.00). Balance this with the negative -22.3% decline on 5.0 (last eBay sale, 05/31/2019, $400.00), and what we see is a mixed outlook trending down. Remember, that’s after a strong long term growth over the last few years.
What’s the take away here? Movies come and go, but comic book pedigree and history cannot be created by Hollywood and so it shouldn’t surprise anyone that it cannot be taken away by what happens in a film.
Even if all comic book movies stopped today (as unlikely as that sounds) there would still be a lineup of collectors wanting Tales of Suspense #39 and Captain America #100. In investment terms: these are the blue chip stocks of the comic world and for now are holding steady.
Iron Man is trending down but was already priced far above Captain America #100 for a long time. The latter book seems to currently be catching up.