From out of nowhere, a Bronze Age book that sold for the $50 level has jumped up to over $1000 in the last few months. It could have easily flown under the radar, but luckily we have come upon it. The book of interest is Marvel Team-Up #131, the first appearance of the White Rabbit (aka Lorina Dodson). She is the villain who once captured the Gibbon and tried to ransom him for a billion dollars… but was only offered $2.50.
WHO IS THE WHITE RABBIT?
The White Rabbit has quite dark origins. Born into a wealthy family, Lorina often found an escape in reading Alice in Wonderland. Eventually, against her wishes, she was married off as a trophy wife to someone over thrice her age. Lorina grows restless with her lot in life, so she kills her husband. With the sizable inheritance she gets, she arms herself with an array of creative weapons (including a giant robotic rabbit) and turns to crime for the excitement she never had.
Throughout the comics, the White Rabbit is an antagonist most often for Spider-Man. One of her earlier and more notable team-ups was with the Walrus in Spectacular Spider-Man #185; together they formed the “Terrible Two” to get revenge on Frog-Man. Currently, the White Rabbit is not only a member of the villain team the Syndicate, but she’s also the one that foots the bills.
STRANGE ACTIVITY IN THE MARKET
Within the course of three sales in 2020, Marvel Team-Up #131 (graded CGC 9.8) went from $190 to $710 to $1,009. Even more peculiar is that the closest sales for 9.8 slabs occurred four years earlier in 2016; three slabs for $50, $54, and $108. So somehow from out of nowhere, the book became very popular and very valuable. Perhaps just random YOLOs on Buy It now listings? The last two sales, the $710 and $1009, were auctions. The last one had 4 different bidders competing above the $500 level. It’s not just one person that might know (or at least be really confident about) something we don’t; it would appear a few people do.
This spike didn’t occur in any other grade for Marvel Team-Up #131 at CGC 9.6 and under. Only at the 9.8. For reference, 9.6 slabs have been selling for just under the $100 level for the last year; a good majority of them auction sales. More on this 9.6 grade in a bit.
It has been some time since the White Rabbit’s appearance in the popular Slott or Spencer runs. It would be quite a delay if it was due to those. Perhaps speculation related to a movie or television? Nothing in that realm has popped up in any rumors; neither for Spider-Man 3 nor Venom 2. From some digging, the most major event for the White Rabbit in 2020 is just the release of a Marvel Legends action figure at the start of the year. If that were the cause, this would be the first case of a toy being the catalyst for a comic book’s value spiking. Is it just benefiting from an overall inflation of collectibles? If so, the other grades should also have gone up. Mysteries…
In talking about Marvel’s White Rabbit, it’d be apt to point out that other fictional characters of the same name also exist; namely, the character’s likely inspiration of the White Rabbit from Lewis Carroll’s 1865 book Alice in Wonderland. With Alice in Wonderland in the public domain, Marvel Comics isn’t the only one with a White Rabbit; DC has about three of them. The most popular one is a member of the villain team Pentacle; he first appeared in Shadowpact #1 (2006). The most recent White Rabbit and the one most similar to the Marvel Comics version is Jaina Hudson, who first appeared in Batman: The Dark Knight #1 (Vol. 2, 2011). Neither of these modern comics has gained significant value.
BACK TO MARVEL TEAM-UP #131
The big question we have to ask; given the unusual sales activity, do we follow the white rabbit? With the reason behind the spike a mystery, it’s difficult to take the risk or even weigh it with the high flying sales prices of Marvel Team-Up #131 at the CGC 9.8 level. At the same time, that’s at the CGC 9.8 level. Perhaps there is an opportunity at 9.6. With 9.6 not participating in the spike and the difference in sales prices between the two grades being so large, it could be a more affordable way to dip your toes into the waters of the unusual sales activity. At the very least, it’d be an interesting book and character to keep an eye on.
“I ask for a billion dollars in gold – And he offers me two-fifty?!” – White Rabbit