One of the hottest back issues on the back issue market right now is Spectacular Spider-Man #176. The book features the first appearance of a character named Corona. Prior to a few weeks ago nobody was talking about this book or even aware of it. This becomes painfully obvious when you consider that there are a total of four graded copies on the CGC census. You could find this book in $0.25 bins everywhere.
Spectacular Spider-Man #176’s rise to prominence is an unusual one but something that I think is pretty important to consider in light of what is currently going on in the world. COVID-19 or the Coronavirus has had an impact on the global economy and humanity in a way that very few could have imagined. It has drastically altered almost every facet of our lives, including the comic collecting hobby. Local comic books stores are closed almost everywhere, Diamond is no longer distributing, and books are no longer being published.
Spectacular Spider-Man #176 introduces a character called Corona who spreads a deadly virus throughout New York City. Seeing that New York is currently the epicenter of the US virus outbreak, this is an incredibly eerie coincidence. However, collectors are buying this book quite aggressively and it is not sitting well with everyone in the community.
Is Spectacular Spider-Man #176 Investment Worthy?
To be clear, I am not suggesting that anybody invest heavily in this book because of potential future gains. However, my guess is that this book will stay in the $20 range for a long time. I recently purchased a copy of this book for myself from my LCS. They had an online auction they held the week that Diamond stopped distributing.
I bought SSM #176 for a few reasons. The first was the need to help out my LCS. We are at risk of losing many local comic shops as a result of the Coronavirus. The second was that this book has come to be the visual representation of the impact the virus is having on our community. For me, Spectacular Spider-Man #176 sits right next to Amazing Spider-Man #36. I know there are stark differences between the two books but I view them similarly. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not expect Corona to be a character Marvel will use again going forward.
As we get through this terrible situation, I think the importance of this issue will cement itself in comic book collecting lore. As a result, I expect to see this book on display at conventions as a symbol of the resilience of the people in our community. I plan to have my copy graded and I will display it proudly whether it comes back a 2.0 or a 9.8. It will serve as a reminder of how quickly life can change from good to bad…..and I hope from bad to good.