Top Three J. M. DeMatteis Comics

by Blaise Tassone

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If you’ve been reading comics for a while you’ve probably encountered the work of writer John Marc DeMatteis. Probably best known for his contributions to DCs horror anthology books and his scripts for Marvel titles such as: Captain America, The Defenders and, most notably, Spider-man, DeMatteis is a mainstay in the comic book industry and is still going strong today.

Currently DeMatteis is penning several comics including the IDW mini-series Impossible, Incorporated and the DC title Scooby Apocalypse. He also has a new graphic novel, The Girl in the Bay, due for release by Berger Books (Dark Horse) illustrated by Corin Howell that will be available in 2019.

DeMatteis began his writing career as a professional musician who also worked as a rock music journalist. He then transitioned into being a writer before he turned his hand full time to comic books. He got his start at DC, and some of his first published work can be found on the anthology series Weird War Tales. DeMatteis actually flexed his creative muscles early on when he introduced the misfit team the ‘Creature Commandoes’ into the Weird War Tales run (in issue #93 published November 1980).

He then contributed stories to Spider-Woman (but who didn’t), before his creative energies gave us an even better creation in the character of Andrew Bennet – the Vampire with a code of honor.

Here I’ll list what are, in my opinion, DeMatteis’s three best comic stories in order from least to most successful. To fully do justice to DeMatteis however would take a much longer list and multiple blog posts. But if I had to choose three stories of his to introduce his work to new readers, I would pick:

 

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(3) House of Mystery #290 (March 1981) – First Appearance of Andrew Bennet aka I, Vampire

DeMatteis apparently read Dracula while still young and the novel must have stayed with him because with the help of Tom Sutton he introduced one of the great comic book vampires in the DC title House of Mystery. ‘I…Vampire’ featured many dramatic twists and turns as it told the tale of an unfortunate cursed soul named Andrew Bennet. Having transformed Mary, the woman he loved, into a super-natural queen of blood bent on achieving undead domination of the planet, Bennet and his colleagues must work together to try and stop her. This comic still has strong sales 37 years after its premiere and an impressive FMV of $550.00 in certified 9.8 graded condition. The last eBay sale, on May 20, 2018 ended at $530.00. Best returns on this Bronze Age classic have also been on 9.8 certified copies – which have seen positive +151.8% after 7 sales since 2011. It is down in all other grades so now may be a good time to buy.

 

 

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(2) Justice League #1 (May 1987) – Beginning of DeMatteis’ memorable run on Justice League

If you haven’t read Justice League or Justice League International (as it’s sometimes called), do yourself a favor and pick it up. This comic shows that DeMatteis could do super-hero and comedy genre stories just as much justice as horror/supernatural tales. Justice League #1 has also been gaining in value lately and it doesn’t hurt that Maxwell Lord, created by DeMatteis in collaboration with Keith Giffen and Kevin Maguire, will be appearing in the upcoming ‘Wonder Woman’ sequel film. On December 9, 2018 a copy of this comic in certified 9.8 grade sold for $120.00 dollars. This may mark a trend in the data for 9.6 and 9.8 sales which all show positive returns. Lower grades however are currently negative and it’s too early to say if that will change or not in the near future.

 

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(1) Web of Spider-Man #31 (October 1987) – ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ story begins

This story is as fresh today as when it was first written. Before I read ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’, Kraven occupied a fairly low status on my list of Spider-man’s rogue’s gallery. Afterwards, I came to view the character in a new light. That’s the power of a great writer and it’s a power that DeMatteis possesses in abundance. This classic story line, written by DeMatteis in collaboration with Mike Zeck and Bob McLeod, has never been out of print since its original publication in the late 1980s. Last week, on Dec 15, a copy of Web of Spider-Man #31, the first part of the ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’ saga, sold in certified 9.8 grade for $160.00. Current FMV is around $110.00 for that grade. Can a Kraven movie appearance change those numbers? Yes. How about a movie version of Kraven’s last hunt? I’m game!

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