Undervalued Independent Comic Books

by Joseph Overaitis

110421B-300x157 Undervalued Independent Comic Books Independent comic books are vastly underappreciated by investors, yet these books are highly sought-after by collectors.  Investors should find these books and invest in them now, before others realize their full potential.

Marvel Comics are the hottest comic books on the market.  The MCU is the driving force behind investor interest in these books. Savvy investors realize that there are other books that have investment potential.

Multi-Media Horror Hero

Seeing Patterns

I am a big fan of TMNT.  TMNT has been featured on television shows and appeared in blockbuster movies. The first comic book appearance of multi-media stars is highly sought after by investors.  Collectors seek these books out and investors can cash in on this interest.

caliber-199x300 Undervalued Independent Comic Books

One book on my “always search list” is Caliber Presents #1.  This is the first in-story appearance of the Crow.  The FMV for a 9.6 graded CGC copy has an FMV of only $625.  Investors will never find a copy at that price. The reason is that this book is a severely undervalued book collectors buy but do not sell.

Print Runs Matter

Another reason this book sells for multiple times the FMV is because of the book’s low print run.  Independent comic book companies had very low print runs.  Publishers have to make money and cannot afford overprinting books.  As a result, publishers produce only those books they know will sell.  DC Comics and Marvel can afford large print runs but not these smaller publishers.

Another way publishers saved money was by producing anthology books.  Anthology issues were a way for publishers to introduce several characters to determine what the market wanted.  One drawback to these books was the lack of character promotion on the cover.  Many collectors know who the Crow is but do not know the cover of the book that introduced the character.  I want everyone reading this to close their eyes and picture the first appearance of Wolverine, Venom, and Harley Quinn.  Can you do the same for the Crow, a character who has appeared on the small and large screen?   This book has still room to grow and will explode if another film or television show is introduced.


If you can not find the first appearance there are a few other alternatives.  You can always go with Crow #1.  This is again a harder-to-find book, but the FMV for the same grade as his first appearance is three times my recommendation.  I still think that the book is undervalued even at that price.

Up, Up, and Away

starslayer2-197x300 Undervalued Independent Comic BooksThe Disney Formula

The MCU machine drives the back issue market.  Amazing Spider-Man villain Hydro-Man was a forgotten character until investors incorrectly assumed he would be making an appearance in the MCU.  His first appearance took off.  Disney has a way of making characters relevant.  That makes me question why a comic book with the first appearance of a character that appeared in a Disney movie is so affordable.  This book has fewer than 600 books total in the CGC census with an FMV of less than $100 for a 9.6 copy at the time I am writing this article.  The book I am referencing is Starslayer #2,  the first appearance of the Rocketeer.

Print Runs Again

I have mentioned previously that a book’s print run matters.  Independent publishers have finite resources.  They must be smart to make money.  These companies usually print enough copies to meet their orders.  The 1980s had people buying multiple copies of first issues, but not as many copies of the second issue.  A character that makes a first appearance in the second issue of a series is already benefiting from a smaller print run. The Rocketeer has this going for him.

A Master at Work

The late Dave Stevens is a forgotten artist to many comic book investors and collectors.  That is a tragedy.  His work rivals those of many “hot” artists.

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The Rocketeer was his creation. Dave Stevens’  covers have seen a renewed interest among collectors and I have tracked many of his books rising in the hot GoCollect rankings.  His work is easily identifiable and appreciated so when I see his books rising I know it is because of his covers and not because of collectors seeking to buy issues for a title run.  His collectors are very intense and are willing to pay when they find his work.

I have encountered many fans of Dave Stevens who search for this issue because it is not as common as one would think.   In addition, this is one of two characters that he is known for among fans. I have bid against fans of his artwork and it makes it difficult when you are buying a book not only for his work, but also because it is a key issue.

Reboot the Price

Disney recently announced their intention to reboot the series. I saw a small spike for the book after that announcement.  This was inconsequential when I compared it to other books that were optioned by lesser-known studios.  Disney has a track record for properties and if this character takes off, the sky is the limit.  Investors flock to the MCU and Star Wars universes for investment opportunities and yet ignore this Disney property.  I would do so at your own risk of missing out.

Global Influence

macross-196x300 Undervalued Independent Comic BooksAnime Pick

Investors have seen the interest collectors place on their past.  Comic books about toys and cartoons that used to be ignored have exploded in value.  The Transformers, Godzilla, Rom, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, and other toys have their comics sell now at prices I never dreamed possible. I then wondered, was this the case for a book that was inspired by an anime series?

I watched the Robotech television series that wove three distinct anime series into one television show for the American audience. What I never realized when I was younger was that a comic book was also released on the cartoon.  Macross #1 captures all the magic of the series in the comic.

Print Run Numbers Again?

Macross #1 was published by Comico.  Comico was a company that I could only find at one local comic book shop with any degree of frequency.  That meant low print runs.  I then looked at the CGC census just now and I see that the total population is fewer than 700 copies.  People are not hoarding raw copies because there were not that many to begin when they hit the racks.  The FMV for a 9.6 copy is $270.  I have chased lower-grade raw copies that sold for a lot more.

Local is Relative

I have been high on this book for a while.  I have recommended it to anyone that will listen.  The reason is that the comic book hobby and investing have gone global.

comic-earth-illustration-vector-graphic-260nw-1110983522-e1636143364608-300x222 Undervalued Independent Comic Books

US investors have recently expressed interest in foreign editions of their favorite comic books.  Macross #1 is a foreign edition of a Japanese anime show so it has global cross-appeal.  There is also the multi-media factor. Recently, the American company that holds the US rights to distribute the show has been given the rights to distribute a possible film in Japan.  This news makes this low-priced comic a buy in my book.

Independent Comics for Independent Investors

Collectors have long chased independent comic books.  These collectors have a passion for these books. The problem is that these unique buyers have been ignored by investors that choose instead to follow mainstream opportunities.  The irony is that while these collectors may be few, many times their passions far surpass those of mainstream collectors.  Independent comic book collectors will pay multiple times the FMV of a book because they know that low print runs may make purchasing that book not an everyday occurrence. My advice is to add some of these books as well as other independent books that have a strong following.  You will be glad you did.

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.Kenloi November 7, 2021 - 10:54 am

We always get a sudden rush of indie comics to be proposed for tv or movie. Everyone buys at inflated prices. Nothing happens..They are usually good stories with good art. It seems to happen every few years. They are worth holding onto to see what the future holds. I wonder what happened to Rachel Rising. An amazing story and art. Freakshow a 3 part good comic series was i think proposed a few years ago.With the Thor movie director involved.Moebius The Incal would be a different sci fi tv series. A Saga movie needs to be made..There are countless others that could all be intelligent fresh takes on sci fi and the supernatural. The limiting factor is the budget and executive confidence on viewers and raking back the money spent. I dont think the thought is an amazing different product. Just viewing figures equals profit.

Joseph Overaitis November 7, 2021 - 2:08 pm

Welcome to the boards and I agree with your views. The key to buying undervalued independents is to buy them BEFORE rumors or options are reported. It is riskier and that should be considered when you are investing. There are bargains out there that can be purchased that are inexpensive that you might want to consider rather than chasing MCU announced books.

Ruben Rivera November 7, 2021 - 1:32 pm

Hey Joseph, about Caliber Presents #1 (1st app. of the Crow). You said that several first appearances sometimes suffer because the character is not on the cover. That’s not actually true for Caliber Presents #1. The back cover has: “…also in the this issue…The Crow by James O’Barr” with a beautiful headshot of the Crow by O’Barr that covers the entire back cover. The first app of the Crow is Caliber Presents #1 (which came out in Jan 1989) But the first cover app of the Crow is also Caliber Presents #1. It’s just that the Crow appears on the back cover.

And yet one can find Caliber Presents #1 in CGC 9.8 on Ebay for $3850 OBE. While Crow #1 in CGC 9.8 is going for $24,999.95.

It’s true, there are 88 Caliber Presents #1 in CGC 9.8, while there are 49 Crow #1 in CGC 9.8. But for only 39 fewer Crow #1 9.8s, I just don’t see it worth more than 6x as much as Caliber Presents #1. I think that if Crow #1 is out of reach, Caliber Presents #1 is a great buy that has much more room to increase in value, similar to the way Hulk 180 languished for years behind #181 until people got wind that it was undervalued and the buy drove #180 up massively.

Good luck.

Joseph Overaitis November 7, 2021 - 2:05 pm


Welcome to the boards and now I realize I have to be very specific with readers like you LOL. Back cover appearances do appear on the cover, but it is indicative of the marketing approach that it was a second tier trial in the book. Retailers did not usually show the back cover to promote the book. The irony is that the HQ for Caliber Comics is the next city over to where I bought my books and even that retailer did not heavily promote the Crow. I will put it to the readers though….DO BACK COVER APPEARANCES COUNT IN COMICS AS FIRST COVER APPEARANCES? I argue that first appearances on covers must be front covers just as I say first appearances of characters are not ads placed in other comic books. I am a purist LOL.

I argree with you though that The Crow #1 is out of reach for many buyers even though I think it is still under valued. The first appearance of the Crow is grossly under valued.

Keep the posts coming though because I do value what others think. I will now be higher on caliber presents because some out there may view it as the first cover appearance and that can only increase the value of the book.

A Baer November 8, 2021 - 1:11 pm

Us old timers started this in the 89s…If you want to read an excellent article on the history of Pacific Comics and the people involved see link.


Joseph Overaitis November 9, 2021 - 8:13 am

A Baer

Welcome to the comment boards and keep on posting. I believe that old timers are great sources of information on many topics and the insight and different perspectives people bring to these boards is essential to get get the whole picture. I am a person who does not give ads as worthy of collecting but I realized that others do so if I see FOOM books I will buy them to sell to those collectors and/or investors. Your comment was a great read and I hope you keep contributing to these boards with your valuable insight.

Rob November 8, 2021 - 3:16 pm

If back covers counted, then Deadworld 10 would be the Crow’s first appearance in comics. Killer back cover of the crow on this book and it predates Caliber Presents.

Kenloi November 12, 2021 - 4:40 am

Further to my first waffling comments where is a Mouseguard animated series? The comic series is amazing. Just trying to get the wheels moving. Also Battle of the Planets series? Oh dear what has happened to He man. The new tv series ‘attempt’ is soulless and awful. Made for a younger generation i suppose.Dark Horse character ‘X’ i believe could have been mentioned by one of your commentators years ago or could have been another site as a potential darker Batman. Potential there. Off topic slightly, regarding marvel and dc trying to bring in the horror genre, i await a marvel zombies movie with baited breath. 2010 Del Toros The Wolfman movie is brilliant…

Joseph Overaitis November 12, 2021 - 7:05 am


Many independent comics are under valued. The market is being driven by mainstream MCU titles. Now is the time to find these books and get the deals before others realize their potential.


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