September Back in ’63 (What a Very Special Time for Me)

by Ryan Kirksey

avengers1-197x300 September Back in '63 (What a Very Special Time for Me)OK, so the original lyrics by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons were “late December, back in ’63, what a very special time for me…” but you gotta work with me here. I think even the boy with the golden voice would agree that September 1963 was a very special time to be a comics fan; past or present.

Whether you are a Marvel fan or a DC fan, a fan of the individual superheroes or prefer the superhero teams, September Comics from 1963 may have solidified comics themselves and their popularity that soared for decades to come.

Imagine being a kid back in the fall of 1963 and visiting your local five and dime or wherever your comics were sold and staring back at you was some of the most profound, monumental pieces of comic history ever created. You might have already been introduced to Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Hulk. You likely bought every issue of Batman, Action Comics, and Flash that hits the shelves. But suddenly in September, you are introduced to a whole new world of characters and teams that are nothing like you have seen before.

See below why this month in history is truly unparalleled in its significance to comic book history.

Comics Released in September 1963

Flash #139 – First appearance of Reverse-Flash. In this issue, the Flash investigates a series of future events (from the year 2463) and discovers an evil Professor Zoom who dons the exact opposite suit as Flash and carries out crimes under the moniker Reverse-Flash.

Over the years, Reverse-Flash has become an incredibly desirable first appearance as two copies in a CGC 9.0 grade sold over the last seven months for more than $2,000 each. In all grades, this book has been sold about 50 documented times just in 2020 as it remains one of DC’s most popular villain first appearances.

ASM4-199x300 September Back in '63 (What a Very Special Time for Me)Amazing Spider-Man #4 – First appearance of Sandman. Here we have another overwhelmingly popular first villain appearance. Besides being an early ASM, Sandman has proven to be a formidable foe over the years and has made appearances on the big screen, small screen, video games, and countless comics since his introduction.

ASM #4 frequently sells for five figures in any CGC grade 9.0 or above. The most recent documented sale of this book was on May 24th when a CGC 3.0 copy sold for almost $700. As an early Spider-Man, its value is sure to hold or increase over the years, and adding a mega villain to the mix just makes this book all the more popular.

Avengers #1 – First appearance of the super-team. Comic fans had been introduced to Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Wasp, and Ant-Man in earlier comics but this was the first time they appeared together, battling Loki as a unit. This story obviously was reflected decades later in the MCU as this team has taken the lead in most pop-culture-relevant super-squad.

It will come as no surprise to hear how popular this book is, and how sustainable the value has become. Last month a CGC 9.0 copy sold for over $50,000 at Heritage Auctions. If you want to get in on this book for under $1,000 you will likely have to settle for a CGC 1.0 grade. Even sales of a 1.5 grade have sold for more than $1,100 in recent weeks.

Fantastic Four #18 – First appearance of the Super-Skrull. Perhaps September 1963 was just a great month for villain introductions, but we have a major hero introduction still to come. The Skrulls were first introduced in Fantastic Four #2, but #18 introduces us to Super-Skrull.

Blessed with the powers of all the members of the Fantastic Four, Super-Skrull was sent to destroy the earth and would have succeeded if the First Family hadn’t been able to cut off his power source. Now that the Skrulls have been introduced to the MCU across multiple films, you can rest assured that we will someday see the super version of this solider down the line. While mid-range copies of this book are mostly affordable – coming in at under $400 – a CGC 9.4 sold in May for almost $6,000, quite a sum for a series that had been around more than a year and a half at this point.

tos-45-200x300 September Back in '63 (What a Very Special Time for Me)Tales of Suspense #45 – First appearance of Pepper Potts and Happy Hogan. In this issue, we have some best supporting actor and actress candidates who have seen their popularity soar since their inclusion in the MCU from day one. While “Peppy” may not reach the status of other ancillary characters such as Mary Jane Watson or Foggy Nelson, their popularity in this first appearance continues to hold strong.

A CGC 7.5 copy of this book sold in April for $733, a price tag never before seen according to GoCollect’s database, so these two (particularly Happy who seems to have carved a niche in the next MCU phase) still have their devoted fans out there.

X-Men #1 – To cap things off, September ’63 also gave us our first glimpse of mutants and the formidable X-Men. To say this group changed the landscape of comic books would be like saying Columbus accidentally finding the east coast of America changed the course of history. Its significance really can’t be stated with enough forcefulness. For Marvel to introduce a group of humans who have these powers as part of their DNA and they can pass those x-genes on turned the idea of superheroes on its head.

Clearly, I don’t need to state the value of this book as it is seen as the ultimate grail by thousands of comic collectors. What might be more relevant is to show you the return on investment this book brings. Below are changes in the market value each grade has seen since 2010.

values1-117x300 September Back in '63 (What a Very Special Time for Me)values2-114x300 September Back in '63 (What a Very Special Time for Me)

Basically, if you bought this book 10 years ago, the worst you could have possibly done is a 32% increase in your investment. And that’s if you had a CGC 9.4 and you dropped almost $90,000 on it, based on sales data. So no one is complaining.

The Two Possible Comic Contenders

There are arguably two months that might rival September Comics of 1963. The first would be a few months earlier in March 1963. That month introduced the first issue of the incredible run with Amazing Spider-Man #1, it gave us the first Hulk/Thing meeting in Fantastic Four #12, we also got the last of the first Hulk run with Incredible Hulk #6, and finished strong with Tales of Suspense #39 – introducing the world to Iron Man.

What August 1962 lacks in quantity, it certainly makes up for with quality. While there was no Fantastic Four released that month, but the world was introduced to Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15 as well as Thor in Journey Into Mystery #83.

But for my money, September Comics from 1963 gets us the most bang for the buck (or for each 12-cent issue, depending on how you look at it). The unforgettable characters, the teams that still exist today, and the villains that are still antagonizing comic book pages almost six decades later. “What a lady, what a night!”

Which month gets your vote? Did I miss one? Let me know in the comments!

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James June 7, 2020 - 10:58 pm

Awesome write up, Ryan, I really enjoyed It. I have three of these books and I’m working towards a fourth one.

Ryan Kirksey June 7, 2020 - 11:48 pm

Thank you and good luck!


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