I’m happy to bring you the latest quarterly installment of Undervalued Comics in 2021. Books that, in this high-priced market, actually seem to hold strong future value potential. If you missed any of the previous iterations of this piece, you can find them here.
The Comic Industry Today
I find myself in conversations ALL THE TIME about the state of the comic industry. Is it the right time to invest? Is it the right time to sell? How big can the comic bubble get? Everyone has their opinion these days, so I wonder if mine is the same as yours.
Think of it like this. When my son is chewing a whole wad of bubble gum, he tries to blow the biggest bubble he can. When he gets a really big one, he comes and finds me. His arms wave in the air like, “Hey dad – look at my bubble!” This is inevitably right before it pops all over his face. Well, right now I believe we are at the stage of the comic bubble where we are staring at the kid who just blew the huge bubble. It’s just about to pop.
Remember the spirited and unending debate over Ultimate Fallout #4 over the past year+? Well, the fair market value there has dropped from above $3,000 to just above the mid-$2,000’s. It’s happening all over the place. Does it happen for long? Does it happen for all books? Only time will tell.
Regardless, here are my thoughts on three undervalued comics in the market going into summer.
Amazing Spider-Man #51
Kingpin, who first appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #50, is a villain who looms large over several franchises. He may not have the cosmic cache that someone like Kang will bring to the MCU, but he plays significant roles in Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Punisher storylines over the decades.
If rumors are true that Charlie Cox’s Daredevil character makes an appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home, then you can be assured Kingpin shouldn’t be too many movies behind.
It will be a fun and convoluted new multiverse version of the MCU over the next decade, but Marvel is still going to need some action to take place on the streets, and who better to run the City That Never Sleeps (as a gangster or mayor) than Wilson Fisk?
ASM #50 and its iconic red cover always steal the show here as Kingpin’s first appearance, but Amazing Spider-Man #51 is Kingpin’s first cover appearance and is an underrated Silver Age ASM classic. If you wanted a decent grade of CGC 7.0 for this one, copies have settled in around the $350-$450 range lately, while a 5.0 looks like it could still be yours for under $200.
As you have surely seen, second appearances are all the rage right now, as many first appearances have gotten out of the financial range of many collectors. This is a good one to own and one that has not exploded in value yet, making it one of many undervalued comics.
Black Lightning #1
It certainly took a while for DC to introduce its first Black solo title, but when it did with Black Lightning #1 in 1977, they inserted a superhero into its roster that has withstood the test of time and continues to play a major part in their print and screen intellectual properties.
Of course, we know that Black Lightning just finished a four-season run on The CW back in May, so the question for the future of the character is clearly “What’s next?” We saw Black Lightning merge into the Arrowverse as part of the new Earth-Prime in the latest Crisis on Infinite Earths TV event, but recent rumors of Black Lightning appearing in DCEU movies have been quiet for some time.
What’s likely to happen is Black Lightning does appear in some future DCEU projects, but not with Cress Williams, who played the character for four seasons on the CW.
During this downtime with little or no news, the value of this first appearance has been somewhat stagnant, with the top graded copies in a 9.8 hovering around $1,000 to $1,200. But you can get a CGC 9.6 copy on eBay right now for under $300, and a CGC 9.0 for under $150.
This seems way too cheap for me considering the future potential of the character and the fact that the DCEU will likely look to increase its diversity moving forward. Invest with confidence in this solid Bronze Age book.
Marvel Spotlight #28
Much like second appearances, first solo stories are having a bit of a moment as collectors realize that many of their favorite characters were often introduced in other “preview” formats or in other ongoing titles (think Punisher in Amazing Spider-Man), so they are beginning to flock to first solo books.
Moon Knight certainly qualifies here, as he was introduced first in Werewolf by Night #32, then appeared in two other WWBN books plus a Comic Preview magazine before settling into his own story in Marvel Spotlight #28. This first solo story was published less than a year after Moon Knight’s first appearance and has begun to creep up in value, although not reaching stratospheric levels yet.
There are only 75 or so CGC 9.8 copies of this book in existence, so most collectors are focusing downstream in the 8.0-9.4 range. In fact, the majority of graded books on the CGC census live in that range. Grades of 8.0 have recently crossed the $500 mark, while a 9.4 will likely set you back more than $650. But affordable copies still remain in the mid-range. A CGC 6.0 copy just recently crossed $200, with 7.0’s yet to pass $300.
We know Moon Knight will be premiering on Disney+ sometime in 2022, so this is only going to gain steam until then. The pairing of Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke should be an instant success, and if Hawke ends up playing someone like Dracula (which has been rumored), then hoooo boy, this series will become the epicenter of all things Marvel for a significant period of time.
What About You?
What are you buying these days? Which book seems like one of the most undervalued comics to you right now, if such a thing actually exists anymore? Let me know what you’re investing in down in the comments!