Undervalued Comics in Early 2020

by Ryan Kirksey

Comic speculation in 2020 is a tough game to play. With the proliferation of information available through any number of websites, apps, sales data trackers, etc., it is next to impossible to gain an edge when considering what books will pop in the near future. What many of us are forced to do is resort to waiting for a rumor or an announcement, and by that point, it is probably too late. We’ve missed the boat on tremendous value and are left to ride the roller coaster of news that sends the value of a book on more ups and downs than a leading character story arc.

Case in point: I am not sure even the most hardcore comic news fans had much reason to believe that Disney was planning on a Shang Chi movie before rumors started leaking in early spring 2019. When trying to play connect the dots on the next stages of the MCU, that character didn’t seem immediately relevant, so many likely dismissed it. In the spring, CGC 9.0 copies of Marvel Special Edition #15 (the first appearance) were selling as low as $450-$500. By the end of July, when it became clear Shang Chi would be announced in the MCU, CGC 9.0 copies were selling for $1,000-$1,200. Although they have come down since to an average of about $700 in the last five documented sales, it’s impossible to unring the rumor bell. These books will spike again with the next news cycle.

So how do collectors and speculators find value before the value fades away? Sometimes it’s more about looking back than looking forward. What has recent news drowned out that has the potential to spike back in a significant way? What follows are three ideas of books that could make a resurgence in the months and years to come.

MP47-194x300 Undervalued Comics in Early 2020Marvel Premiere #47

Lost in all the hype of the new MCU entrances (Moon Knight, Eternals, She-Hulk, etc.), plus all of the existing characters who have newly-announced projects (Falcon, Winter Soldier, Hawkeye, Loki, etc.) is Scott Lang’s Ant-Man. We shouldn’t forget that this character has already starred in two wildly entertaining and plot-pushing movies and a third has recently been confirmed.

You have to run down the list of “firsts” a bit before you get to MP #47, which likely keeps it under the radar. It’s not the first appearance of Ant-Man (that is Tales to Astonish #35). It’s not the first Wasp (Tales to Astonish #44). It’s not even the first Scott Lang appearance (Avengers #181). But MP #47 is the first appearance of Scott Lang as Ant-Man AND the first appearance of Cassie Lang, his daughter.

Cassie, who later becomes Stature, has already appeared in two MCU films and if the studio ever decides to green-light a Young Avengers project, she would be front and center (check out Young Avengers #6).

Almost 85% of the CGC census on this book lives at 8.0 or higher, so that’s the range we need to consider. Copies in a 9.8 have begun to sell under $500 in the past five months, and 9.6 slabs have sold for under $200 four registered times since August. Is it a coincidence that this was the timeframe of D23 and the huge Marvel announcements? When Ant-Man was not mentioned, did the price begin to crater? Perhaps, and that means now is the time to act.

SM35-199x300 Undervalued Comics in Early 2020Sub-Mariner #35

As long as we are talking underrated, I have to mention The Defenders. I’m not talking the Netflix Defenders, but the OG team of Namor, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, and Hulk. This group represents some of the most sustainable and timeless characters in Marvel history. And while Marvel Feature #1 (first full team appearance) and Defenders #1 (first solo title) deserve their place among highly-priced key issues, the origin of the team, as it were, is criminally overlooked.

In this story, the U.S. authorities wrongly assume Namor, Hulk, and Silver Surfer mean to take over an experimental weather device, so they call in the Avengers to defend it. After some brief fighting, the mistake is realized and cooler heads prevail. The three heroes go their own way, but the last panel of the comic leaves us with the cliffhanger that Namor believes the “Three Titans” will team up again.

They, of course, do team up again, except with Strange instead of the Surfer. Silver Surfer rejoins the team in Defenders #2. Call it a cameo or an origin story if you must, but this issue is the beginning of The Defenders. With Hulk and Strange already on the MCU roster and Namor rumored to be on the way, this team and book might start heating up soon.

Just over 200 copies exist on the census, with the majority falling in the low-9 to 8.0 range. Based on recent sales data, a copy in the 9.0-9.4 range should not cost more than about $200, with prices plummeting down below $100 if you are happy with an 8.0-8.5. Raw copies are available on eBay right now for less than $30. Under $30? Hang on.

OK, not anymore.

BB54-205x300 Undervalued Comics in Early 2020Brave and the Bold #54

Here we have the classic first appearance of the Teen Titans (Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad). As we saw with Ant-Man, sometimes established characters move into out-of-sight, out-of-mind territory simply because their news cycle has come and gone. We are soon moving into a third season of Titans and there is an established history of the Teen Titans GO animated series, but this book hasn’t moved the needle in some time.

Perhaps because Teen Titans haven’t penetrated the broader DCEU yet, but every grade of this book from 9.2-2.5 (except for 7.5) has a downward trend in sales price over the last two years. This book has a history of multiple sales in an 8.0 grade of $1,000 as recently as a year and a half ago, but the two most recent sales in that grade have been $736 and $660.

If this group can ever push its way back to the front and center of the DC Universe, I would expect this issue and Brave and the Bold #60 (the first time the team name is used) to shoot back up into a four-figure price tag for all copies 8.0 and above.

 

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1 comment

Steve C January 19, 2020 - 10:30 pm

I am one of the few true believers in the first Marvel Daredevil movie staring Ben Affleck. High praise to Netflix for doing Daredevil justice.
In the 2003 Movie people mistake humor for silliness.
Think about it Blade, X-Men, Amazing Spiderman and then Daredevil.

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