Although much of the villainy focus has been on Thanos and more recently Joker, lets not forget about some of the earlier villains that brought their own type of menace to our favorite heroes; specifically, Whiplash and Baron Zemo. Here we will be following up on the current market of their key comic books. By coincidence, the two villains to be examined here both had their silver screen debuts fulfilled by subsequent characters that embodied the identities rather than the first. On a side note, it’s curious why they chose to do so, when they could have just as easily swapped the names with as much ease as they do backstories.
The very first appearance of a Baron Zemo was Heinrich Zemo in Avengers #4 (1964), in which Captain America has a flashback that reveals Zemo as the one who blew up the plane that killed Bucky. Baron Heinrich Zemo would later have his first full appearance a few months later in Avengers #6 (1964), in which Zemo forms the villainous team “Masters of Evil” and attacks NYC. His complicated plans are to use Adhesive X in his attack, with the hopes that the Avengers find a way to counteract the adhesive; because he wants to use their solution to remove the mask that adhered to his face by Adhesive X.
Below are sales for Avengers #6, in the grades CGC 7.0/7.5 and 8.0/8.5, which represent the top 53.0/44.7% and 35.0/25.2% of the census.
In the usual comic book movie fashion, sales prices for Avengers #6 ran up from the moment Zemo was announced until the release of the movie in summer 2016. After the glitz and glamour subsided, Avengers #6 achieved something that few other movie-related key books seem to be able to, which was maintaining its price levels from the run-up. This goes for all the grades examined above. To be clear, the price trend through 2018 isn’t positive by any means, but keeping a massive drop at bay over three years is commendable. After Zemo was confirmed in early 2019 to return in the Falcon and the Winter Soldier series, sales prices finally broke the flat trend and continued upwards. It may be tempting to capitalize on this renewed upward movement, but just keep in mind that it could taper off soon back to flat like the first time. There is however the added benefit that this book is the first appearance of the “Masters of Evil” team name.
The Baron Zemo that graced the silver screen was Helmut Zemo, the son of Heinrich Zemo. Helmut made his first appearance in Captain America #168, in which he attempts to avenge his father by killing Captain America.
Captain America #168 has sold for as high as $749.99 recently for a CGC 9.8 copy but was only one of four recorded sales of that grade in the eight years. Compared with Avengers #6, the market for Captain America #168 has failed to develop. This aspect adds to the question of why Captain America #168 did not experience the same boost in the market as another character currently is experiencing; specifically, Dane Whitman/Black Knight with Avengers #47 and #48. Both are not the first characters to take on the identity; while Helmut Zemo’s market benefit is entirely redirected to Heinrich Zemo, Dane Whitman himself is currently getting a market boost. Perhaps this difference is due to the hero/villain variable; more on that below.
The very first Whiplash, whose real identity was Marco Scarlotti, first appeared in Tales of Suspense #97. In the issue, Morgan Stark plans to capture his cousin Tony Stark as payment for a debt owed to the criminal organization, Maggia. To make sure that Morgan keeps up his end of the bargain, the Maggia send Whiplash as insurance.
Due to the low volume of CGC graded books in the census and sales, the chart below shows a larger range of CGC 9.0/9.2/9.4, which is the top 45.3/30.5/17.8%.
Since 2011, overall sales prices for Tales of Suspense #97 have been trending flat. It did experience a couple higher-priced sales at the 9.4 grade, but again, the prevailing trend is flat. With Whiplash failing to make a splash the first time around, it is highly unlikely that there will be any additional upward catalyst in the foreseeable future.
Like Baron Zemo, the Whiplash that appeared in theaters was not the first to embody the identity. For Whiplash, it was an entirely new character Ivan Vanko, who was created for the Iron Man 2 movie but took parts of his backstory from his in-movie father Anton Vanko, who himself was indeed a comic book character. Anton Vanko first appeared as Whiplash in the modern comic, Iron Man vs. Whiplash #1; which was released just months before the release of the movie as a lead-in. It’s all a bit mixed up, as Anton Vanko was also the Crimson Dynamo, who first appeared decades earlier in Tales of Suspense #46 (1963).
Overall, Iron Man vs Whiplash #1 failed to develop a larger volume of graded sales, and also did not attain a higher level of value. At the moment, near mint raw copies can be found for under the five dollar level.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Avengers #6 (1964) – HOLD
- Captain America #168 (1973) – REDUCE
- Tales of Suspense #97 (1968) – REDUCE
- Iron Man vs. Whiplash #1 (2010) – SELL
“I need someone suitable to become the king of the world — so that I can take away their crown!” – Helmut Zemo
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