Hello, and welcome back to our weekly column where we take a look at a couple 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 Silver Age. Let’s get started.
First Appearance of Aqualad
The disparity between DC and Marvel Silver Age comics continues to grow. As prices go up, Marvel books rise faster. Then when prices decline, DC books fall in a steeper trajectory. Such is the case for Adventure Comics #269, the overlooked and undervalued first appearance of Aqualad. Now, I’m sure this statement will cause some guffaws out there in collectorland; this is, after all, Aqualad I’m talking about. I’ll admit to finding some humor in the situation as well. However, hear me out.
Aqualad, although admittedly a B-rate DC hero, is still a hero nonetheless and a founding member of the Teen Titans. In a world where first appearances of Marvel B-rate villains command top dollar, surely there must be some love for Garth, AKA Aqualad.
There are only 103 copies of Adventure Comics #269 in the CGC census, with the highest grade coming in at 9.2. Here’s a look at all of the sales of graded copies of this book so far in 2022:
The highest price paid for this book was $3,050 for a 9.0 copy in a fixed-price eBay sale in September 2020. Now let’s compare this to the debut of a Marvel B-rate villain like, I don’t know, let’s say… the Wizard. Here are all the sales of Strange Tales #102 so far this year:
Same number of copies sold, and not a tremendous difference in the prices. I can buy that there are some collectors out there who rate the Wizard as being roughly equal in importance to Aqualad. But if that’s the case, why are there nearly triple the number of copies of Strange Tales #102 in the census (308 to be precise) as Adventure Comics #269? And why is the top price paid for a copy of the Wizard’s first appearance 145% higher – $7,500 for a 9.4 Pacific Comics Pedigree copy sold in a Heritage auction in November 2021 – than the highest price paid for the first appearance of Aqualad?
Sure, it’s a pedigree copy and in a higher grade. But there are eight 9.4 graded copies of Strange Tales #102 floating around out there and only three 9.2 graded copies – the top grade – of Adventure Comics #269. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I will say it again: if you’re looking for solid Silver Age investments, there’s no better place to look than DC keys. Adventure Comics #269 is one of those keys.
Later Issues of Nick Fury
Despite everything I said above, there is still some value to be found in Marvel Silver Age comic books. Not all are overpriced, and many of the overlooked and underpriced ones are solid comics that are worth including in your collection. There are few Marvel Silver Age series that completists can chase quite like Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD. Comparable series in terms of number of issues in the run like Silver Surfer or Doctor Strange have always been – in the case of the former – and more recently – in the case of the latter – out of reach from a financial standpoint for many collectors.
In particular, the later issues after Jim Steranko had left the series and was no longer contributing covers, and before the series had turned to reprints beginning with Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #16, are among the most undervalued and overlooked Silver Age Marvel comics to be found. Let’s take a look at Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD #11 as an example.
There are only 158 graded copies in the CGC census, an extraordinarily low number for a Silver Age Marvel comic. The latest sale? A 9.0 graded copy selling for a slashed $110 on June 10. The highest price paid? $837 for a 9.8 copy signed by Stan Lee, which sold in a Heritage auction in August 2016.
This is an exceptionally affordable comic as are all of the later issues of this series. They’re also decent reads as well, much more enjoyable than Strange Tales #102.
Next Week: Copper 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 Copper Age comics.