Hello, and welcome back to our new weekly column. We’re taking a look at a few undervalued or overlooked comics from one of each of four comic book eras – Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age, and Copper Age – all in an attempt to find value for you, the comic book investor and collector. Whether you’re a high roller or a bargain shopper, there will be something in here for everyone. This week, it’s the Bronze Age. Let’s get started.
Magneto vs. the New X-Men
Magneto is easily in the top five Marvel super-villains. He’s been around since the inception of the X-Men and he’s fought nearly every Marvel hero. So, why is his first battle against the likes of Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler undervalued?
Uncanny X-Men #104 is the first time that the all-new X-Men of the mid-1970s face off against the master of magnetism. Now, obviously, being that this is an early new X-Men issue, it’s hardly overlooked by collectors or investors.
There are 1,735 copies in the CGC census, and the current FMV for a 9.8 is $2,200. However, that’s down 48% from its peak sale of $4,200 in June 2021. In the mid-grade of 6.0, this book has sold for astonishingly low numbers, with a high sale price of just $73 in March of this year. Let’s compare these prices to a couple other Uncanny X-Men issues from early in the run.
Uncanny X-Men #107, featuring the first full team appearance of the Starjammers, along with Gladiator and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard, has a current 9.8 grade FMV of $6,000. That’s nearly triple that of Uncanny X-Men #104.
In the 6.0 grade, the latest sale is for $104 in December 2021. However, some collectors may be unaware that two of the five members of the Starjammers made their first appearance in an earlier issue. Which issue, you ask? That’s right – both Corsair and Ch’od made their first appearances in Uncanny X-Men #104.
Meanwhile, Uncanny X-Men #109, the first appearance of Weapon Alpha/Vindicator/Guardian, has a current 9.8 FMV of $2,700 and a 6.0 FMV of $95, both higher than Uncanny X-Men #104 – and that’s with nearly an additional 600 graded copies in the CGC census.
The current prices of Uncanny X-Men #107 and Uncanny X-Men #109 are being driven almost entirely by MCU speculation, the idea that Marvel will somehow squeeze all of the Starjammers, every Legion-like member of the Imperial Guard, and each member of Alpha Flight into an upcoming film or TV series. So, you have to ask yourself: What’s more likely? All, or even some, of those characters showing up in an upcoming MCU project? Or is it more likely that we’ll see Magneto facing off against members of the new X-Men much, much sooner? A large number of collectors are betting on the former. A smart investor will look at the current undervaluation of Uncanny X-Men #104 in comparison and bet on the latter.
Start of a Classic Batman Run
The same year as the Uncanny X-Men issues above were released (1977 to be precise), Steve Englehart started a legendary run on Detective Comics. These are highly regarded issues, although the run was somewhat fleeting.
Two of the issues – Detective Comics #474, featuring the first modern appearance of Deadshot, and Detective Comics #475, with a classic Joker story and an equally classic cover by Marshall Rogers and Terry Austin – are highly prized by collectors.
Detective Comics #474 will set you back about $750 in a 9.8 grade based on the 30-day and 90-day averages, while a 6.0 last sold in May 2021 for $42.
Detective Comics #475 last sold in a 9.8 grade on April 14 for a slashed $1,500 price tag, and the current FMV of a 6.0 copy stands at $350. Now, neither of these issues are undervalued or overlooked. However, two issues earlier in Englehart’s run are both incredibly overlooked and undervalued.
Detective Comics #469, the first issue written by Englehart and featuring early artwork by Walt Simonson, has only 192 graded copies in the CGC census. It also marks the first appearance of Doctor Phosphorus. The most recent sale of a 9.8 was in May 2021 for $270. That’s down 53% from its high sales price of $575 way back in January 2015.
Detective Comics #471, meanwhile, has even fewer copies in the CGC census: 179. This issue is the first modern appearance of Hugo Strange. It’s also the first issue by the stellar Englehart/Rogers/Austin creative team. This issue had a recent spike in the 9.8 grade with a peak sale in June 2021 for $540, likely due to the rumor of Hugo Strange appearing as a villain in the upcoming HBO Max Batgirl series.
With census numbers being so low for both these issues, mid-grade sales are sporadic at best due to how few copies below have been graded. As a result, the data is inconclusive; if you’re a mid-grade collector, you’ll likely be hard-pressed to find a graded copy. That’s how undervalued and overlooked these issues are. Which is a shame. They’re really good comics with fantastic creative teams. In the present-day zeal for first appearance keys, collectors are missing out on some amazing comics. Check these two out. They’re among the best Bronze Age Batman comics that DC produced.
Beginning of a New Galactus Trilogy
Speaking of great creators and stories, John Byrne’s run on Fantastic Four is slowly but surely beginning to be noticed by collectors and investors. Fantastic Four #243, a late Bronze Age book with a classic cover showcasing the Fantastic Four, Avengers, and Doctor Strange in battle with Galactus, has caught collectors’ eye. Sales of 9.8 graded copies have been spiking since January 2021. The most recent sale was on April 19 for a slashed $460.
Fantastic Four #244, featuring the first appearance of Frankie Raye Nova, has become a bona fide key issue. While not up yet to its peak price of $1,333 for a 9.8 in August 2021, an April 22 sale for $995 has the book climbing once more.
And then there’s Fantastic Four #242, the start of this incredible Galactus trilogy, with guest stars galore. This book is pretty much ignored by collectors. A 9.8 graded copy last sold in January for a measly $100. Once again, we have here an example of the beginning of a great story being overlooked by investors for covers or first appearances that might have something to do with the MCU.
Folks, you’re missing out. This is a top-notch Marvel comic storyline, and you’re not seeing the first act. Plus, Fantastic Four #242 has one of the greatest Ben Grimm punches ever put to paper.
Next Week: Silver Age Undervalued & Overlooked
Well, that’s all we have time for this week. Join us next week as we take a look at some undervalued and overlooked Silver Age comics.
Are there any Bronze Age comics you think are undervalued and deserve more attention? Let us know below.
*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.