What the devil is up with prices on Shanna #1? Recently a 9.6 sold for over $300.00. In what follows I’ll take a look at the data and try to make sense of the prices for this book and whether or not it’s worth the investment.
Created by Carole Seuling and George Tuska, Shanna O’Hara or Shanna the She-Devil made her first Marvel Comics appearance in the eponymous Shanna the She-Devil #1 (cover-dated December 1972).
The origins of Shanna can be connected to the social focus of the emerging Bronze Age trends in the early 1970s.
The swinging seventies, building on the Civil Rights movement initiated a decade earlier, was a time when the women’s movement began to go main-stream. Being basically a liberal and progressive type of person, Stan Lee used the opportunity to release a series of female-centered books.
Along with the revival of Linda Carter Student Nurse (now: Night Nurse) and Trish ‘Patsy’ Walker fighting crime as the Cat, Shanna was the first in a trifecta of Marvel girl power launched in 1972. Of all the female-centered books, Shanna was the most original since she was not a continuation of an earlier Atlas character, but she was simultaneously the most closely connected, genre-wise, to the Golden Age tradition of female action comics.
More precisely, Shanna was a Bronze Age revival of the concept of the good girl in the wild, the jungle princess forced to survive using her wits.
The tradition of a female ‘Tarzan’ was all the rage in the Golden Age. In fact, this type of character was more or less a regular phenomenon. Starting with Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, before long there was: Judy of the Jungle, Lorna the Jungle Girl, Jungle Princess Vooda, Jann of the Jungle, Rulah Jungle Goddess, Tegra Jungle Empress, Princess Pantha and more.
So, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Fast forward to 2019 and we see movie studios and the comic book companies still vying to promote female properties. From Wonder Woman to Captain Marvel, to She-Hulk. Is the growth in all-female heroes a sure thing? No, not really, there are still female protagonists whose books have done less than stellar – even with a TV show behind them (think of I, Zombie #1 which has not exactly broken price records). What makes Shanna different?
Shanna #1 has two important factors speaking in its favor. The first is that it’s an early Bronze Age book. These books (pre-1975 Bronze Age comics) generally have lower print runs and were less eagerly hoarded or kept in as good condition by readers. Second: Shanna is a Marvel female protagonist. In the Marvel universe, she is most closely connected to Ka-Zar and her book also has a direct connection to the Savage Land. Given Marvel Studios’ track record of fearlessly developing every corner of the Marvel Universe, a lot of people think that a Savage Land appearance will happen in the MCU. If so, you should also keep your eye on X-Men #10 (March 1965) – which is the first Silver Age appearance of the Savage Land and Shanna’s future husband Lord Kevin Plunder (aka Ka-Zar). The above factors are probably the reason that Shanna #1 now goes for $800.00 in 9.8 grade. Long-term data on GoCollect shows that the book is up in all grades by significant percentages. Three-month averages show 9.8 has especially been spiking. The last two sales were for: $849.99 on eBay (07/20/2019), followed by a $949.99 sale on 09/26/2019 (also on eBay). That gives this comic a positive return on investment of +11.8 % in the last three months alone. Impressive! 9.6 graded copies have also been gaining, but with less individual sales. If a Shanna Marvel appearance happens, either in an X-Men movie or another vehicle, this book’s rise will only increase and grow. So, I’d say – if you don’t have Shanna already – keep a lookout for good deals on this Jungle She-Devil, you’ll be glad you did.
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