“Batman is easily my most favorite character beside Spawn.”
Sure, Todd McFarlane has drawn many iconic covers for characters such as Spider-Man, Venom, or Wolverine, but it was his early Batman work where he really made his name. Here we examine the market for a few of Todd McFarlane’s more popular Batman comic books.
The first Todd McFarlane Batman cover and penciling was Detective Comics #576 (1987), the second chapter of the Batman: Year Two story arc. Outside of the Todd McFarlane significance, the book also contains the first appearance of Jason Todd in the Robin costume.
For the last seven years, sales prices for Detective Comics #576 has been fairly stagnant. The only change that has occurred was an increase in the price range trade-in; the higher end of the range experienced a jump in late 2015/early 2016, but the lower end has remained the same. The sales for Detective Comics #576, graded CGC 9.8, is shown below. This represents the top 46.5% of the CGC census. An interesting sale of note for this book is the only CGC 9.9 copy that sold for $388.38 in 2011.
While Detective Comics #576 does not offer a good long-term investment opportunity; the overall flat trend but very wide price range could be suitable for a quick flip should a copy (in CGC 9.8) be acquired at the lower end of the range, but again, the key here would be to sell immediately. The higher end of the range does appear to be trending downwards, so further emphasis on the “quick” part of the flip.
Another popular and one of the most valuable Todd McFarlane Batman comics is Batman #423 (1988). In this issue, the story written by Jim Starlin stirs in the reader a deep and foreboding sense of… Just kidding. What more needs to be said about this book other than, for a lack of better words, the cover is amazing. Again, not to take any credit away from the story, but yeah, what a cover…
From 2013 until early 2017, sales prices of Batman #423 were fairly flat to ever so slightly positive. At the same time, there was very little difference between the sales prices of the 1st printing and the 2nd printing. Both of these changed greatly in late 2017. Suddenly sales prices skyrocketed upwards and the 1st printing left the 2nd printing on the ground. The prior multi-year resistance of $200 was not only broken, but a CGC 9.8 sold for as high as $649.95 in late 2018; a nearly +350% increase in the span of just 2 years. That’s quite amazing… uncanny… super? Sales for Batman #423, graded CGC 9.8 and 9.7 are shown below; with the 1st print in blue and 2nd print in green.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason for this upward movement; or why the price separation of the 1st and 2nd printings for that matter. It can’t be the same catalyst as Detective Comics #576 as that jump occurred about 2 years earlier. One possibility could be just indirect benefit from all the Spawn live-action movie news that started snowballing in a similar time period. In this regard, Batman and his cape’s appearance on the cover are very reminiscent of Spawn, but that’s just subjective. Either way, the mystery of the upward move was countered in late 2018 with an equal and sudden downward move.
Overall, the bad news is that sales prices of Batman #423 appear to have retraced the entire late-2017 to 2018 surge; the easy money has come and gone. The good news is that loss of value at the CGC 9.8 appears to be slowing down, with CGC 9.6 already flattening. A further risk to the downside is still present, but could be decreasing as the book, in CGC 9.8, approaches the previous low $200s.
In a Todd McFarlane comic book Venn diagram, it would be no surprise that a huge overlap would exist between Batman and Spawn. With that, one of the more popular Todd McFarlane comic books is Spawn-Batman (1994), in which the two heroes collide head-to-head. Below are sales for the book, graded CGC 9.8; an overwhelming large top 49.7% of the CGC census. Interestingly, also only one CGC 9.9 of this book exists.
The market behavior of Spawn-Batman is very similar to Detective Comics #576; a flat lower end of the price range, with the higher end, jumping up but also staying flat/slightly negative after the jump. The major difference between the two books is that the higher end of Spawn-Batman’s price range didn’t make its move until late 2017; which is two years after Detective Comics #576’s and more in line with the beginning of Batman #423’s upward movement. Like Detective Comics #576, this book is not suitable for a long-term investment, but rather, a quick flip opportunity.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- Detective Comics #576 (1987) – In the long-term, REDUCE. But there is a quick flip opportunity, see above.
- Batman #423 (1988) – Look for CGC 9.8 price support around the low $200s; possibly by summer to late next year.
- Spawn-Batman (1994) – In the long-term, REDUCE. But there is a quick flip opportunity, see above.
“Every time someone farts, a demon gets his wings.” – Spawn
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