With the X-Men’s return to stardom, 1991’s X-Men #1 and its numerous variants are getting the rub from the surge in popularity and the MCU speculation.
Love them or hate them, the 1990s left a massive impact on comic history. X-Men #1 encapsulates what is both great (the dramatic, detailed artwork) and eye-rolling (remember the holographic covers?) about the decade. If you were a collector in 1991, you bought one of these issues. Chances are, your choice for covers has gained value. Let us take a closer look at the current values for each variant.
THE HISTORY OF X-MEN #1
Whenever the comic community discusses the multitude of variants in today’s market, the inevitable mention of the 1990s market crash is brought up. Many collectors blame the gimmick covers and the numerous variants for the crash, and I see that trend truly starting with X-Men #1. Sure, Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 had its share of variants, but 1991’s X-Men #1 set records that still stand even today. It is even listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest-selling comic of all time after selling over eight million copies.
Having the creative superstars Chris Claremont and Jim Lee steering the ship helped kick off the second volume of X-Men in grand fashion. It also marked the decade of the X-Men as Marvel Comics’ flagship title. After the success of X-Men #1, many X-titles would flood the market. As a kid and avid X-fan, I bought every one of them, and I have no regrets.
THE X-MEN #1 MARKET
There were many fans in 1991 who collected all five variants. The trick here is to have them in 9.8s because that is where the sales are garnering attention. In fact, each variant at a near-mint-plus has been selling for above its fair market value in the past month. Here’s your breakdown.
The Magneto cover is the most prized X-Men #1 among collectors. Personally, I think it is because Jim Lee was on his game when he drew the most gorgeous creation of the Master of Magnetism ever put to paper. It carries a fair market value of $90. The last two sales were both edging towards the $100 mark, at least at a 9.8.
If you don’t mind compromising on the grade, the 9.6 is less than half the price with an FMV currently at $40.
This is a quartet that defined the new team Marvel was looking to capitalize on when the second volume debuted. Definitely having the likes of Gambit, Psylocke, Colossus, and Rogue on the cover helped boost sales and showed they would be getting more of the spotlight.
The 9.8 is averaging $55, but July has been a big month for this variant. Four of the six sales this month have been between $60-$83. If you picked this up back in ’91, hold tight.
Even Beast got a chance to be front and center of a variant cover. Again, Lee’s talent shines as he features Professor X, Jean Grey, Archangel, Storm, and, yes, Beast for this edition. The 9.8 averages $70, but four sales this month have surpassed that mark, with one reaching as high as $90.
There’s no shortage of amazing Wolverine art drawn by Jim Lee, but this ranks among his best. Personally, I do not think Cyclops has ever looked better, and I wish the current editorial team would put him back in his 1990s attire.
Although the 9.8 has an FMV of $70, it will soon pass that mark. In the last five sales since July 11, this variant has not sold for less than $79.99, and it has reached as high as $90 twice.
The last of the X-Men #1s, this one featured a foldout, wraparound cover that merged all four variants into an epic action sequence. This may be the best cover to collect simply because it has everything in one place.
Like the other variants on today’s list, the collectors’ edition has been faring well in the summer heat. So far in July, the 9.8 has consistently sold in the $70 range. July 6 saw one copy sell for an impressive $85.
Have you upgraded to a premium subscription yet? Our fees will increase on 8/3 but you can maintain our low rates for life! Upgrade today and ensure your subscription doesn’t lapse.