Summer for comic collectors is usually an extremely exciting time. Over the past 20 years, we have grown accustomed to seeing our favorite characters on the big screen, catching glimpses of teasers from movies still to come, enjoying free comic book day, or hearing about upcoming series. Generally reveling in the best time of year to be a comic book fan. But this year is clearly different. Movies are delayed and plenty of local comics shops are still closed (many permanently). Disposable income is at its lowest point in at least 10 years in many households.
The Past Few Months For Comics
The beat of the comic book sales drum continues to march on. As many are unable to browse and buy from their local comic shops, the e-tailers increasingly see more of our business. This often means higher fees, shipping, insurance, etc. So as us collectors and speculators try to navigate the choppy online purchasing waters as well as the disappointment that these past few months have brought. What books have gone under the radar? How can we look ahead (sometimes far ahead) and determine books that might be undervalued presently?
Here are my thoughts on four undervalued comics in the market going into summer.
Currently Undervalued Comics for Summer
All things Venom and Carnage are having a moment right now. After the booming success of the early Venom run from a couple years ago and its recent strong ending to the Venom Island story, Marvel followed it up with the Absolute Carnage stories and tie-ins. Even with the pandemic doing its best, it doesn’t look like these characters will be slowing down anytime soon. By the time Venom 2: Let There be Carnage hits theaters a year from now, we will have likely reached full-blown Venom and Carnage overload. So while ASM #300 and ASM #361 continue to see strong returns and lead the way for modern books, the first appearance of Cletus Kasady (who becomes Carnage) seemingly trails far behind.
The first thing to point out with this book is that 95% of the CGC graded copies are in grade 9.0 or above. Don’t even bother with anything below that. Thinking of spending $25 for a graded 6.5 copy? Do yourself a favor, buy one raw, and hope for a better grade upon submission. It doesn’t make sense to go to those lower grades because a CGC 9.8 copy is so affordable right now. 101 9.8 copies have sold in the past 12 months, according to the GoCollect database. Only about 10% of those have sold for more than $175. There is a trend of prices popping up between $175 and $215 over the past month, however, so the time to buy this under the radar first appearance is certainly now. Before things start to get crazy.
These two comics from the boom of the early 1990s are the first appearances of Stephanie Brown (in #647). She shortly thereafter becomes the vigilante named Spoiler (#648). There aren’t many characters in the DC extended universe who can claim to have been a popular character such as Spoiler, have been Robin for a spell, and who currently patrols the rooftops as Bat Girl. For good measure, she has also popped up in Teen Titans and Birds of Prey. To quote my good buddy Eric (VoodooMaestro on IG), she would be the perfect character for DC to develop on the CW or HBO. She can be used across multiple platforms and crossovers in their future. This is all complete speculation, of course, but DC seems to have a knack for introducing young versions of characters and developing them over time. This is particularly true in their TV shows.
Both of these books can be had for a song right now. Neither has seen a CGC 9.8 copy sold for over $100 in at least a year. At those prices, picking up the pair seems like a wise move for the purposes of holding your copies in case DC ever makes a move to bring the character to screen. Both books are also scarce on the CGC census, however. Both have less than 200 graded copies registered. The most economical route would be to pick up a cheap near mint raw copy and get it graded yourself.
You will have to dig a little deeper into your pockets for the last one on the list. This first appearance of Blade is now firmly entrenched as an early Bronze Age classic. We saw its value shoot through the roof this time a year ago after the Marvel announcement that they would be rebooting the vampire slayer with Mahershala Ali as the half-man, half-vampire.
With the delays in Marvel’s Phase 4 and Phase 5, that movie has been pushed so far back it might as well be next decade. Over the past 12 months, the demand for TOD #10 has waned considerably, particularly in higher grades. All of the grades 9.8 (down 16%), 9.6 (21%), 9.4 (13%), 9.2 (10%), and 8.5 (10%) have seen a significant decrease in demand and price over during that time. In fact, a CGC 9.8 copy sold last month for under $10,000 for the first time since May 2019. Prices on an 8.5 grade – around $1,600 to $1,700 at this time last year – have dropped to around $1,000-$1,100 in recent weeks. If you’re good with living in the mid-grade area, CGC 5.5 copies are frequently selling for $550 right now when they were going for an easy $800-$1,000 one year ago.
I, for one, have full faith Ali is going to turn Blade into just as great a character as Wesley Snipes did 20 years ago. Blade will be on the leading edge of whatever the MCU’s horror strategy is for the foreseeable future. Investing now ensures you get in on the bottom floor when that day comes.
What undervalued comics are you seeing these days? Tell me your thoughts on some value books in the comments!
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