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.
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
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).
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.