All of the top-selling Silver Age comics were from Marvel during May. Of those four, three of them are Fantastic Four books, huge keys. The FF books are true old-fashioned Marvel keys that have been slower to increase in value and hurt by several bad movies. These rankings are from the GoCollect website which crunches data on some of the major auction houses and eBay to give a pretty accurate model of price trends in the current comic book markets. The second place finish is a prominent character in the MCU, yep, Iron Man. Played by Robert Downey Jr. to impeccable perfection. His performance has broken the mold, recast it in his image and given us a twentieth-first century Iron Man. May was the month of Marvel, and these books are just going up from here. Can you guess the titles that helped Marvel dominate the Silver Age in May?
First up is Fantastic Four #48 which is, of course, the first appearance of the Silver Surfer and Galactus. To give you some idea of the relative strength of this book a fair grade of (1.0) has an FM value of $350. The range on this cosmic comic is huge with mint condition (9.8) going for $27,500 FM value recently in February. The returns over time have been stellar: (9.8) +139%, (8.5) +129%, (7.0) +115%, and even the lower grades participating with (3.0) up +138% (GoCollect). The power of the Silver Surfer, the pre-eminent Herald of Galactus, cannot be denied. This book moved in May to the fourth most popular Silver Age comic on GoCollect.
This book taking third was a shocker for me. After all, who has heard of the first appearance of “Him?” Well, we all have, we just know him as Adam Warlock, the hero that escapes the soul gem and defeats Thanos turning him to stone. This is the seventies version of Thanos not his reincarnation 1990’s unbeatable version. There is a great deal of speculation as to when Adam Warlock will show up. The price appreciation in Fantastic Four #67 is due to the Warlock saga perhaps playing out in the Avengers #4 movie. Bad news, the oh so righteous Russo brothers have confirmed this character will not be in their film (source: IGN May). This comic FF #67 has performed well with near mint (9.2) returning +25.9%, and the FM value for (9.8) is $8,000 (GoCollect). I predict this one will drop significantly after Avengers #4 in 2019.
Iron Man is in second place in these May Silver Age listings. Every time I see a picture or movie with Iron Man in it, I can’t help but hear the music to AC/DC’s “Shoot to Thrill.” There is no wonder that this character is the epitome of an American hero. Superstar, entrepreneur, playboy, philanthropist, comedian, scientist, and super-hero all rolled into one Tony Stark. His books are going to play out to become some of the most expensive Silver Age books, especially Iron Man #1. The FM value on this comic in mint condition (9.8) is around $14,000. Its percentages are not as substantial as the other comics in this listing. However, most are still positive returns, like a (6.5) grade up +19.1% (GoCollect). Tony Stark is here to stay, especially with Robert Downey Jr. playing the most convincing role of his life.
This book was big before there was any talk of a movie with Black Panther. It has been one of the most sought-after Fantastic Four books for at least a decade. Back 8 years ago I purchased one for my kid and it cost us $32 for a (6.5) which we had to CGC. Now fast forward almost a decade and that book has an FM value of $775 almost 24 times the value of the originally inflated Silver Age key we purchased back in 2010. Fantastic Four #52 is the first appearance of everyone’s favorite Black Panther. This character and book were created by Stan Lee (script) and Jack Kirby (pencils). Black Panther is just beginning as an MCU super-hero and has plenty of staying power with the current very popular actor, Chadwick Boseman, playing the Panther. The best returns for this comic is in grade (8.5) +28.2% (GoCollect). This should run you on average around $2700 to $3400 in cost. This is only a long-term investment. This is not a speculation piece. We will get to a point where this is not available in the marketplace at all. At that point, the prices will explode every time one comes to market.
The Power of the F.F.
The power of the Fantastic Four with Sue, Reed, Ben, and Johnnie is a springboard for other super-heroes first appearances. Whether that is Silver Surfer or Black Panther, all these characters were given life from one of the most popular comic series for Marvel, the Fantastic Four. I read them as a kid and loved them. Even today 35 years later I remember some of the stories fondly. My bet is there are plenty of people like me that adore The Thing and Sue Storm and the whole bunch. Now we need Hollywood to make a movie that gives this team it’s due, a mega-movie hit. Regardless, Black Panther will always be on the prowl at higher prices. Fantastic Four #52 is a great book to purchase, early in the sequel process and still within price reach. This is a collectible book that should be purchased and held unlit the right time. The speculative turning of this book is a waste because if you hold it a year the value will continue to soar, buy and hold.