Although it may be hard to believe, the bestselling comic book of all time is X-Men v2 #1 by Chris Claremont and Jim Lee. Released in the summer of 1991, X-Men #1 was an offshoot of Claremont’s super-successful Uncanny X-Men run started in the late 1970s.
According to Comichron.com, X-Men #1 sold a total of 8, 186, 500 copies when it was released. This is more than enough to earn it a place in the Guinness Book of World Records (2010 edition) as the all time best selling comic.
Some people think the trend started by the success of X-Men #1 led to both the big comic book crash of the mid 90s, and even to some of the more controversial practices still affecting the sales of comics today (i.e. the mania for #1s and variant covers).
The ensuing bust was so bad, in fact, and left so many people disillusioned with comics, that for the next twenty-plus years many 1990s comics, once viewed as great investments, came to be seen as practically worthless.
Here I want to place special focus on the fate of those wide-selling X-Men offshoot books from the early 1990s.
They say that that time and pressure can turn carbon into diamonds and that time heals all wounds. So, have any of the despised 1990s X-Universe offshoot books become diamonds with time? Are these books finally coming to be viewed as collectible and investment worthy items? Join me for a trek into days of future past and present as I look at the data:
Given the sheer number of copies released of this book, it’s not an exaggeration to say that with 2, 299 copies on the CGC census, this comic is still under-represented. While it’s not worthless today, no one seems willing to pay more than $100.00 for one of the more than 1, 577 9.8 graded certified copies. Remember, this comic was originally released with no less than 5 variant covers (a big deal in 1991). Today, the gate-fold cover edition has a FMV of around $70.00, and it would appear that the highest known sale for a copy was on 06/07/2018 on eBay and went for $105.00. In terms of roi, over the past 6 months, returns are decidedly mixed. 9.8 copies are down – 11.6% after 25 sales since June, but positive returns can be seen on the last 3 sales of 9.6 and the last 4 sales of 9.4 certified copies.
At first glance, a much better situation seems to be the case with the #4 issue in the second X-Men series. Although Chris Claremont left the book after issue #3, Jim Lee stayed on and John Byrne took over the scripts for the introduction of Omega Red. The first appearance of that Russian Mutant is the catalyst that gives this book a FMV of around $95.00. With 2,031 copies on the CGC census, it’s also not a difficult book to find. Returns over the last six months on this book are, however, much worse than X-Men #1. Down in almost all grades 9.8’s were especially low after 96 sales and a January 12 sale of $275.00 [!], was followed by five sales all under $99.00. The last recorded sale on January 25 went for $74.03.
It’s pretty much a certainty, given the success of the Deadpool films, that there will be an X-Force movie too. That news is what’s been pushing up prices on this book. When it was originally released, at the same time as X-Men #1, this was probably the only X-book that could come close to competing in terms of sales. X-Force would end up selling almost 4 million copies. But it’s only recently that it’s become valuable to the extent that it has a current FMV of $120.00 in certified 9.8 shape. With 1,197 copies on the census, returns over the last six months are as follows: after 41 sales since June 2018, 9.8’s are down a sharp – 43.4%. This after a series of sales starting in July for $249.99 (07/02/2018), but the last 3 sales look as follows: Jan. 10, 2019 = $51.00, Jan. 12 = $55.00 and Jan. 16 = $125.00. Like X-Men #1, however, 9.6 and 9.4 sales show positive returns and have been numerous.
Coming in fourth place, with a marginally higher FMV than Generation X #1 is the comic devoted to Nathan Summers. The reason for the recent interest in this book is undoubtedly Josh Brolin’s portrayal of the time travelling Mutant in the last Deadpool film. Otherwise, it would likely not be worth the $42.00 in certified 9.8 that it currently is. There are 592 of these on the CGC census. Returns over the last six months on recent sales of some of the 318 9.8 copies are as follows: down -19.9% after 32 sales. Highest sale was for $69.99 on 09/03/2018 and lowest in recent months was for $20.00 on 09/30/2018. Like X-Men #1 and X-Force #1 there have been positive returns on 9.6 and 9.4 but sales have also been few and far between.