Should ASM #51 be Considered the 1st Full Appearance of the Kingpin?

by Don Y

clean-2-195x300 Should ASM #51 be Considered the 1st Full Appearance of the Kingpin?A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Hulk #181 rule; a commonly held belief that a character’s first appearance occurs when that character is: (1) a major part of the comic’s story; and (2) featured prominently on the comic’s cover. Hulk #181 establishes this rule. Even though Hulk #181 isn’t the first time Wolverine appears in a comic (Hulk #180 is), it is considered his first appearance because he: (1) is a major part of the comic’s story; and (2) appears on a cover for the first time.  This rule is critical for investors since, as we all know, first appearances are much more valuable than cameo appearances.  Let’s talk about this rule in regards to ASM #51.

Should the Kingpin’s Appearance in ASM #50 be Considered a Cameo?

As I wrote in my previous blog, this rule hasn’t been consistently applied. Below, I make the argument that investors should consider Amazing Spider-Man #51 as the first full appearance of the Kingpin.

detail-1-195x300 Should ASM #51 be Considered the 1st Full Appearance of the Kingpin?Amazing Spider-Man #50 is widely considered to be the Kingpin’s first appearance; however, I think it’s closer to a cameo appearance. He doesn’t appear in the comic until pg. 11 (and even then we don’t see his face, only his back). He appears in a few more panels, but he is more important to the story as a puppeteer pulling the strings behind the scenes. He and Spider-Man don’t appear in a scene together and he doesn’t appear on ASM #50’s cover.

One of my fellow GoCollect bloggers argued that a cameo is the “character appearing on only a few panels or even just one panel in the interior pages. Basically, the cameo is a very limited intro of the character, a teaser.” Although it can be debated, using the definition above, ASM #50 appears to be a cameo since Kingpin only appears in a few panels.

ASM #51 is Much More Like Hulk #181

RCO002_1469440286-195x300 Should ASM #51 be Considered the 1st Full Appearance of the Kingpin?In contrast, ASM #51’s cover features Kingpin (and his name) prominently. He drives ASM #51’s story; his image takes up the entire first page of the comic; he appears throughout the comic; and he and Spider-Man fight for the first time, a battle that lasts for four full pages.

Applying the Hulk #181 rule here, ASM #51 should be much more valuable than ASM #50. Investors, however, have instead flocked to ASM #50, driving up its prices. Specifically, according to GoCollect, the FMV of a CGC 9.8 copy of ASM #50 is $66,000.00 — or nearly thirteen times the value of a CGC 9.8 copy of ASM #51. If comic investors were consistent about cameos and first appearances, shouldn’t the values of these books be reversed? At least to me, arguing that ASM #50 is more valuable than ASM #51 is like arguing Hulk #180 should be more valuable than Hulk #181 (or that ASM #299 should be more valuable than ASM #300).

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, the market determines which comic books are valuable and which ones are not; however, it appears to me that ASM #50 is an inflated stock driven up in price by herd behavior. In my opinion, if comics were stocks, ASM #50 is a hold and ASM #51 is a definite buy. To quote Warren Buffett, buying ASM #51 is like buying a wonderful company at a fair price.

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Alan January 29, 2021 - 8:21 pm

You have an argument, but ASM #50 has a classic cover that collectors flock to, even if Kingpin’s appearance is a cameo. The market sometimes just loves great looking covers. And it has a great story, to boot!

Rick January 29, 2021 - 8:29 pm

Opinions vary. I tend to be in the school that a characters first appearance is when it first appears in a dream sequence or on the last page. A first full appearance is an entirely different description.

S B January 29, 2021 - 11:15 pm

Hulk #180 is his First Appearance, though in a Cameo significance/contribution to the issue. Hulk #181 is his First FULL Appearance, meaning he is fully integrated to the story. I don’t know anyone that knows the contents of these two books and claims (or simply says) that Hulk #181 is Wolverine’s First Appearance. They always state it as his “First FULL Appearance.” Not every first appearance is a full appearance.

And, cover has zero to do with it. If Wolverine didn’t appear on a cover until Giant-Sized X-Men #1, Hulk #181 would still be more desired and gained a higher cost than both GSX #1 and Hulk #180. Yes, Hulk #181 has a great cover (and that ADDS to it’s desirability), but it isn’t needed to justify the desirability of the content: The first time Wolverine is fully integrated into an issue, showing his personality and style.

Steven Moore January 30, 2021 - 3:14 pm

I checked my copy of ASM #50 and Kingpin appears on three separate pages. The definition of a cameo that my local comic store taught me as a kid (almost 30 years ago) is that the character appears on no more than 1 page or two panels. I agree that Kingpin is not highly featured in ASM 50, but I think it’s too much to classify as cameo. Implicit in this is the idea that the burden of proof falls on the person trying to argue that a first appearance is a cameo…something that collectors may not agree on anymore.

To me, the really tough cases are when a character’s first appearance clearly meets the definition of a cameo based on the inside of a comic, but then the character is also featured prominently on the cover, e.g. Bishop’s first appearance in UXM #282. Or Kamala Khan on the Captain Marvel 17 variant.

Nick February 2, 2021 - 3:09 am

As the others have stated: A first appearance is a first appearance is a first appearance. A fully integrated character story or a key event can be a more VALUABLE comic, which is totally fine. Collectors love the story and contributions of Wolverine in Hulk 181, like they love the contributions and cover with Kingpin in ASM 50. No one can force a uniform valuation rubric to comics, but you can use common language. The first appearance of a character is just that. Maybe their 4th appearance is the hot book because it was rare or drawn by a new artist, etc. But it doesn’t change the contents of the comic.

joey February 7, 2021 - 12:08 pm

i agree that by any reasonable, generally accepted definition that this is the 1st FULL appearance of Kingpin.

joey February 7, 2021 - 12:23 pm

Value of ASM #50 vs #51 is entirely a different story. Some collectors covet the iconic ASM #50 cover, and the cover alone, just like Batman #423 with the McFarlane (Spawn-esk?) cover. Speaking of McFarlane cover, why is Batman #423 cgc 9/8 about 10X the price of Detective #576 ? I would argue this book more important since that’s McFarlane first Batman cover, and it’s the Jason Todd in Robin costume.


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