The Ancient Mariner

by Norman Robinson III

323735_6cdb9a16f78ae5ff7af75309194b01b31e6e576f-203x300 The Ancient MarinerComic rarity is a key element to the value of ephemera, especially in the Golden Age. Take the first printed appearance of Sub-Mariner and his origin story in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (1938). Sub-Mariner has been around a long time, he goes back to November 30, 1938. He is one of the last of the Golden Age superheroes that has lasted into the Modern Age and has not been on the big screen. If  Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 shows up at your local garage sale, buy it immediately. This book is said to only have eight copies and is exceedingly rare. The last recorded sale price for this rare puppy is $60,000. I know, the price is enough to make you sprout gills, but the Golden Age and could make anyone pucker up.  What kind of value does  Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 the Golden Age classic muster?




Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1

  • Grade 9.0 Oct 2005 Sale $43,125
  • Grade 7.0 July 2002 Sale $20,700
  • Grade 5.5 February 2009 $20,315
  • Grade 3.5 June 2017 $27,500

Obviously, the first appearance of the Sub-Mariner is a truly rare book with very few sales to base value on it. However, the fact there are only eight copies is a “big-dot-deal” and value will only go up from here. Due to the fact that Sub-Mariner has yet to book screen time in the MCU there is a huge deal of upside from this point on. It is only a matter of time before Sub-Mariner is kicking tail in the MCU. Are there any other keys of Subby that we might want to hook before a movie sprouts from Disney’s MCU?


100047_0b9c7a55c05dde8b0881720db64e831c5157e623-219x300 The Ancient MarinerMarvel Mystery Comics #4

The first cover appearance of Namor was as a villain attacking the excess of modern industrialization in Marvel Mystery Comics #4.“In his first appearances, Namor was an enemy of the United States. Comics historian Les Daniels noted that “Namor was a freak in the service of chaos. Although the Sub-Mariner acted like a villain, his cause had some justice, and readers reveled in his assaults on civilization. His enthusiastic fans weren’t offended by the carnage he created as he wrecked everything from ships to skyscrapers”(Daniels, Les (1991). Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics). Will this first cover appearance of Sub-Mariner wreck havoc on bank accounts or provide a valuable asset to own?

  • Grade 9.2 Feb 2012 $50,787
  • Grade 9.0 Oct 2002 $20,700
  • Grade 5.5 April 2012 $10,201 +92.8%
  • Grade 3.0 Oct 2002 $1725
  • Grade 2.5 Feb 2008 $2031 +68.2%


too-many-worlds-300x169 The Ancient MarinerWith these Golden Age books, it is hard to get a read on return percentage as they have very few sales. Luckily Marvel Mystery Comics #4 grade 5.5 has returned +92.8% and grade 2.5 has returned +68.2% with a few sales allowing us to procure an adequate return. Similar to the first appearance above, this book has not sold in many years which makes judging current value a crapshoot. That being said the inherent value of Golden Age keys is very apparent, when and if the Sub-Mariner movie washes ashore all of these books could double or even triple in value.


The Golden Age reigned from 1938 to 1956. Historians recognize Action Comics #1 as the beginning of this Golden Age of heroes. Further, Superman became the archetype of the superhero and has since been referred to as the father of modern superheroes. Eventually, superheroes were supplanted by westerns, war, sci-fi, romance, crime, and horror in the late 40s and early 50s. The Golden Age lasted until 1956 and comics from this age are valuable collectibles; that should not be considered speculation. One such collectible is the first appearance of Sub-Mariner in Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1. There is nothing fishy about this investment.


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