The Movie/Comic Book Tie-In: Sometimes Lackluster, Always Blockbuster

by Connor Vance

444F483D-7787-4C8A-B8A1-6BC127262A01-198x300 The Movie/Comic Book Tie-In: Sometimes Lackluster, Always BlockbusterThe entertainment industry is laden with grubby, suited executives squeezing money from franchises in about any medium imaginable. Whether it’s a television show, movie, book, or a coloring book—if it exists in one form, you’re probably gonna see it in another. Fortunately, these practices don’t necessarily mean that the industry is bloated with garbage material solely existing to line someone’s pockets. One example of this is the inevitable comic book tie-in that tends to follow before or after movie releases. We have seen many of these throughout the decades, and while the quality of these editions can sometimes vary, I think they deserve a spot in your collection.

Die Hard, But Not Yet

By the time this post is published, the holidays will most likely be behind us. Therefore, all of the “Die Hard is a Christmas movie” jokes will hopefully be left to slumber with the Ghost of Christmas Past. Despite overused jokes and constant meme-ification, Die Hard remains one of my comfort movies. I have fond and nostalgic memories of watching this film at various points in my life when I was younger and it continues to be a flick that I tend to watch at least once a year or so.

Naturally, as a collector and a fan of Detective McClane, I was drawn to Die Hard: Year One, the eight-part series detailing a few of John’s policing escapades before the events of the 1988 film. These prequel issues were first published in September of 2009 and concluded the following April, featuring the artwork of Stephen Thompson and the writing of Howard Chaykin. Chaykin, who some would recognize as more of an artist on account of his work on various publications going back to the early 70s.

How Do I Find It?

The eight issues in this limited series are collected within two hardcover volumes. You can also purchase all of them one at a time on a very low budget if that is more your thing. Unfortunately, GoCollect does not have much data in regards to a fair market value or sales trends for these issues. However,  quick internet searches will yield you thousands of low-cost results across several outlets. The individual copies and their respective variants can all be found for 2-6 dollars per issue.

In my research, I found that these books were extremely accessible and available for purchase basically everywhere. Unfortunately, the prices for these books are so low because, well, they’re low. The value of both the hardcover volumes and the individual issues probably aren’t going to see any massive price changes in either direction. Therefore, the worth of these additions may not be much more than intrinsic to the collector. I own Volume 1 simply because I like Die Hard. I am definitely not holding out on a big payday someday, which I’m sure goes for most people.

1B5671EA-2843-48CA-892B-9D3B4F475330-194x300 The Movie/Comic Book Tie-In: Sometimes Lackluster, Always BlockbusterOf Many Spider-Men

There are definite camps in which to reside on the topic of what face lies under Spider-Man’s mask. It would seem that the last three generations, in addition to the normal societal dynamics and generational politics that come with each subsequent generation, each have a Peter Parker to call their own. These three actors apply their own filter to the character and, in addition to directorial and art differences, help craft a uniquely generational Spider-Man aesthetic. We could talk about the differences between Tobey Maguire’s iconic, turn-of-the-century approach to the web-slinger, Andrew Garfield, and Sony’s attempt to revive the character or Tom Holland’s contemporary approach with all its massive budget and flair. But that’s for a different blog; we wanna talk about comics.

In terms of this post, Andrew Garfield wins. Not because he’s my favorite, or that I particularly enjoy his two films, but because the comic book tie-in related to Sony’s theatrical release of the first movie is pretty dang cheap and in fair circulation. There are two in particular, and they serve to expand upon the plot of the first movie. I won’t go as far as to say these are great, significant comics, as these types don’t tend to be. However, they are an extremely cheap option for a collector looking to add some depth. I’ve seen both issues go for as low as less than a dollar on eBay. The price doesn’t get much higher than that on other platforms.

52B97861-105E-443A-96E7-45575E1F9B31-194x300 The Movie/Comic Book Tie-In: Sometimes Lackluster, Always BlockbusterA Dark Horse Publication For George Lucas’ Dark Horse

Another cross-generation marvel of cinema and science fiction of which every single person on the planet is at least a little aware of would be Star Wars. Darth Vader may be the most iconic, immediately recognizable villains ever created.  I don’t think it requires too great of a stretch of the imagination to believe that the entire franchise is sitting on top of James Earl Jone’s original legendary vocal performance. However, George Lucas’ contribution to the galaxy should not be overlooked.

The prequel trilogy attracts a fair bit of criticism and discussing them amongst your peers can be abrasive at times, but these movies brought the franchise to new, massive heights. With Episode I, we are finally introduced to the world of Star Wars, or more accurately, the galaxy. All of a sudden, we’re thrown into a political plot. We’re given a disparaging look at the stark contrasts of the cultured life on Naboo versus its foil, Tatooine. Finally, we meet the Jedi council and their role in the galaxy. Of course, before all of this, there were plenty of novelizations and comics to help expand on the world. For the layman entertainment seeker, these were probably out of sight, out of mind. So, for these people, the prequels were the first taste of Star Wars they’ve had since Episode VI. Huge.

Collecting a Comic Book Tie-In

Needless to say, we got comics. Like the other movies in this post, the prequels got their fair share of related comics and novelizations. In terms of comics, you could truly just pick a movie and find a book for about the cost of the electricity needed to read this right now. However, for the sake of specifics, we can focus on Episode III, my favorite in the trilogy, and seemingly everyone else’s as well. In tandem with the movie release, Dark Horse Comics published a Spider-Man detailing the events of Episode III. Not a prequel or sequel, but just a series released in congruence with the events of the film. This is dissimilar to the other titles mentioned in this post.

I’ve personally never owned any of the four issues, nor do I remember finding them in person. As a result, I’m not sure how much luck you’d have by trying to go out and collect in person. Fortunately, these issues seem to be fairly abundant in the online domain. The collection of all four in a single book can be found even more prominently than those. Like the other books, GoCollect doesn’t have much information. Of course, it isn’t like there is a huge market for these issues or any other comic book tie-in.

What About Pricing?

Pricing can be weird on these books. Sometimes you’ll find them for far more than you should be spending. For all those listings, there are plenty of reasonably priced books as well. Taking a quick glance at eBay will present you with a common range of ~$5 to $15 for a single issue. Of course, that’s with variance in regards to, well, variants.

You won’t really make money by investing in any of these comics. Frankly, I don’t think many of us are in it for the money. I’ve made a few bucks selling comics, and I will make a few more, but I collect because I appreciate. I think comics are a precious part of pop culture and art. Not every book I collect will carry the same weight in regards to their significance to my collection and my wallet. However, each was brought into my collection for the purpose of adding to it.

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