Seven Undervalued Villain First Appearances You Should Buy Now

by Joseph Overaitis

032823B-1024x536 Seven Undervalued Villain First Appearances You Should Buy NowGreat stories all need a worthy villain, but not all villains are created equal. Villains are like tools and each fills a different role in storytelling.  The key to determining what villains have potential is to first identify the nature of the villain and then look at what characters can fill those roles.  This is the key element in what makes a villain’s first appearance undervalued.c

The Villain Toolbox

1. Hero in their own story

A classic example of this type of character is the MCU’s Thanos.  He was a villain who was capable of genocide, yet he viewed his actions as a necessary action for the greater good.  This was true even if it meant sacrificing his greatest love.  Their actions are justified because their cause is “pure” and necessary. These are the most complex villains.

The problem is that companies like Disney started to overuse them. Loki, Helmut Zemo, Namor, the Scarlet Witch, and others became this cookie-cutter-type villain.  These villains are still the gold standard for use in comics, television shows, and movies and offer the greatest value to collectors and investors.

2. Want to watch the world burn

Some characters are not as complex as the previously mentioned category.  They have an objective and want it – period.  Steppenwolf was such a villain in the “Justice League” film as was Joker in “The Dark Knight”.  A character with no redeeming qualities still has great potential if the storyline takes advantage of this attribute.

These are the villain’s villain –  who exist to cause mayhem and destruction. The hero’s fight to defeat this evil is greater because of the single-minded ruthlessness these types of villains possess.

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3. Lower-level threats

These villains still can impact lives but their goals are much smaller.  Rather than world domination they want money, power, revenge or fame that is much more tangible to viewers. These characters think on a much smaller scale.  Villains on this level are still evil and can do really bad things like kill characters or rob a bank.  The purpose of these types of villains though is to bring danger to a more relatable level for fans.

Identification Leads to Evaluation

After identifying the different types of villains, it becomes much easier to find those that have great potential in comics and other media. The greater the character’s potential to be compelling and interesting, the greater this character’s first appearance should be valued. Appreciation by fans leads to demand, and that leads to higher prices.  As a result of that type of evaluation, the following villains are truly undervalued.  (The position that they appear in does not reflect any ranking.)

Humanistic Villains – Darth Vader and Jack of Hearts

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Star Wars #1

The origin of Darth Vader is one full of potential.   The character had a chance to be a source of salvation but life events put him on a path of destruction. His story has been told to several generations.  What makes this an undervalued book is that it has many first appearances besides Darth Vader. This comic also has major cross-appeal.

Comic book fans have long sought out this book, but Star Wars fans now seek this book out as well. While the character has been well fleshed out, that does not mean all Darth Vader stories have been told.  Fans demand more insight into this character.  Star Wars #1 should be on everyone’s radar.

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Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #22

Fans will shout that Jack of Hearts is a hero and does not belong on this list.  The reason he was included in this list is that one of his first adventures had him fighting Iron Man as a perceived villain. This is the classic hero-viewed-as-villain battle.  An underused hero would make a very humanistic villain.  This was done in Hawkeye with Echo.

Where Jack of Hearts exceeds Echo’s potential is that he is part human and part Contraxian.  This allows him to be usable as both a street-level or planetary villain.  Another bonus is that his powers were granted by an accident that puts his life in constant danger. Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #22 (cameo) and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu #23 (full) should be in most buyers’ sights.

No Redeeming Qualities – Darkseid, Sabretooth, and Court of Owls

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Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134 

Darkseid is every bit the planetary despot that Thanos is in the Marvel Universe. The villain has the added advantage of being created by Jack “The King” Kirby in a series largely forgotten by comic book fans in the day. He is an evil manipulator of cosmic pieces that can create danger on a planetary scale.

His allies are formidable enough to be a challenge to even the greatest of heroes.   As a result, Darkseid would rather watch the conflict from the shadows.  A more ruthless take on the character would make Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134  rise in value to a level this type of character’s first appearance should be worth.

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Iron Fist #14

The mutants are coming.  Namor was the first but not the last.  The mutant villain with the greatest potential is Sabretooth.  He is a being of pure evil with little to no good qualities.  Rather than try to contain him like in his previous incarnations, a bloodthirsty sadistic portrayal would fit well in the MCU.

Done correctly, Sabretooth could steal the show in an ensemble project or as a solo threat.  He is also versatile enough to appear as part of a cosmic battle or challenge Spider-Man in the streets.  Iron Fist #14 may seem expensive but when he is in the MCU  the sky is the limit.

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Batman #6

These are relatively the newest threat on the block but that does not mean they are not formidable.  A secret society of rich citizens who use their wealth behind the scenes to manipulate events.  The Court of Owls already appeared in the tv show “Gotham”.  They will also be the prominent villain in the upcoming CW’s “Gotham Knights”.

The reason these characters appear in the undervalued list is because of the one on one interview with Doug Bradley, Joe Chill on the show. The show’s take on this group and how they have manipulated historical comic events could be shown on a global scale that extends well beyond Gotham.

Think of how powerful Lex Luthor is in the DC Universe and then imagine a hundred Luthors working together.  The Court of Owls could be one of the greatest power brokers that exist in the DC Universe.  This potential makes their first appearance truly undervalued AND under-appreciated.  Read the interview and see how comic book and television executives see the group.  Batman #6  is a modern comic that even Silver Age collectors should add.

Low-Level Threats – The Prowler, Bullseye, and Lady Bullseye

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Amazing Spider-Man #78

One truth is that Miles Morales’ fever permeates the collecting market.  His keys are always in demand among consumers. Another truth is that early Spider-Man villains also are in vogue. The market may be down but tell that to the collectors chasing Spider-Man keys. The one big exception to both of those truths is Amazing Spider-Man #78.

This book is always the ignored pre-hundred issue ASM key.  The character may appear to be lame but that is because of past perceptions.  Sometimes the grandest of tales begins with simple beginnings. The Prowler has untapped potential that can only last so long.  Get in on this book while the timing is right.

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Daredevil  #111 Daredevil #131

Bullseye, a street-level assassin that has no qualms about who he kills.  This individual can also turn any object in his hand into a weapon of death.  A character like this could pose a threat to a lot of heroes.  Most see him as a Daredevil nemesis, but that only limits his potential.  This character can explode in comics or on the screen as a threat to anyone.  Daredevil #131 is one of the keys of the Daredevil run, but that book is still underappreciated by fans and collectors.   Consider it the Daredevil curse.

Lady Bullseye is a different character than Bullseye.  She has already appeared on Hulu’s Hit-Monkey series.  The character can serve in the same role as Bullseye, but a different gender may appeal more to fans and media executives. The problem is that if they try to soften the character she will lose her appeal.  She is a sadistic street-level villain. The fact that she also is an attorney would be intriguing in that she could confront characters such as Matt Murdoch and Jennifer Walters on two fronts. Daredevil  #111 is a nice addition to any hall of villainy.

Bonus Evil Pick – Lady Death

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Evil Ernie #1

Readers always like something extra – so here is a bonus pick.  Independent comic books are often ignored by fans.  That does not mean that there are not great choices out there that are even more ignored than those from the big two.  One of the most undervalued villain picks out there is Lady Death.  This character has appeared in many incarnations that prove the character’s versatility. The character can appear as basically a burn-it-down or innocent-turned-villain type character.  In a pinch, the character could also appear as a low-level street villain unaware of her great potential as well.  This range is not lost on most collectors and investors.

The fact that her first appearance came in an unknown comic book only adds to it’s desirability.  Not many fans purchased Evil Ernie #1 when it came out because the main character was unknown. The addition of an unknown antagonist did not drive sales either. Finding this book in any grade is not easy and locating it in a high grade can be a  true challenge.  As previously mentioned, there are many different versions of this character, but Evil Ernie #1 is the gold standard for her first appearance.

Upgrade2_Footer Seven Undervalued Villain First Appearances You Should Buy Now*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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jon brousseau March 29, 2023 - 11:03 am

Several of the books that you mentioned are not “undervalued” some are quit pricey depending on the grade.

Joseph Overaitis March 29, 2023 - 12:03 pm


I love the comment. When I say undervalued I mean it. These books should rise in value but are currently undervalued. I was told by a wise collector years ago that Hulk #181 was undervalued. I thought it costs $800 for a raw copy that now grades at 9.4. That person told me instead of buying variants and lower books to save up because that book was primed to explode in value. That book now sells for over $15k. Years ago you could buy a ASM #1 but now people are willing to pay money just for a single page.

Some of the books I mentioned are quite pricey but that does not mean they are not undervalued. My thing is if you can buy one of those books or several weeks of new books you may be better off saving and buying an established “undervalued” book even if it is pricey.

Dane Hill March 29, 2023 - 1:25 pm

Evil Ernie 1 definitely has potential for growth. Don’t overlook Evil Ernie 2 though as Lady Death’s first cover appearance. Collectors love her covers. And there’s less than half the amount of graded copies of Issue 2 than Issue 1. Much tougher book to find, particularly in high grade.

Joseph Overaitis March 29, 2023 - 6:18 pm


Very few believers in Evil Ernie…until you try to buy one on the cheap. Then Good luck!!!!

Mike F March 29, 2023 - 7:28 pm

Evil Ernie #1 also has a special limited edition cover that I found in the wild in NM condition a couple of months ago! Was thrilled to find it and it has lady death on the cover!

Kenloi March 30, 2023 - 4:00 am

Batman 2 new 52 the first appearance of Talon. Appearance before the Court of Owls were known to exist. Undervalued as well as 6. Both modern long term holds…

Joseph Overaitis April 1, 2023 - 1:59 pm

I agree with you…those are perfect books to add..nice call

GQGuyforComics April 2, 2023 - 9:59 pm

i have been eyeing on lady bullseye and especially evil ernie #1 . either a 9.8 or 9.6 ss , for a time i can notice its been dropping a bit but now that it appeared here , my chances to see it goes further down is close to bleak … hahaha not hurling anything at you. you do know a good book when its really good , always a fan of yours. looking forward to your next write up

Joseph Overaitis April 2, 2023 - 10:28 pm

Thanks for the kind words. I try to put research and thought into a lot of the articles I write. I deal with CFP and people who have assets most dream of owning. Many fans chase the new stuff and yet there are keys out there that are so ignored. At live auctions you see a room of people that ignore the good stuff, until two walk in that see it. There are times at auctions I visit where books like evil ernie and lady bullseye are so ignored and I have seen people bid on them that expect others to bid and yet they win. Moral ===keep your eyes open and you will find those books.


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