It’s been a minute since we checked in on Adam Warlock/HIM to evaluate key issues of this captivating cosmic character. It’s not worth speculating whether or not Warlock will appear in the MCU, that puzzle has been solved. During one of the post-credits scenes of Guardians of the Galaxy 2, we not only see the famous birthing chamber (cocoon, if you will) but we also hear his name. That’s more than we can say for Beta Ray Bill, Scorpion, the Fantastic Four, or any number of other rumored MCU up and comers.
The only remaining question is when will Warlock appear. But really, that’s not a difficult riddle to answer, either. Adam Warlock has so much history with Guardians of the Galaxy and with Thor, it would be foolish to think he is not appearing in GOTG3. In fact, in the post-credits scene, we hear Ayesha proclaim she created Adam with the intention of destroying the heroes of the Galaxy. He’s coming, folks, so let’s speculate on his classic key issues and some under the radar picks.
Fantastic Four #66 and Fantastic Four #67
For HIM/Warlock fans, these two books are Ebony and Ivory. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Cap and Bucky. You can’t have one without the other, so we will look at the market of these two classic keys together.
Forget about a 9.8 or 9.6 for Fantastic Four #66 (the origin story). There are 13 total that exist, with only six total sales of these books in the last seven years. If you ever run across a 9.8 in an auction, I hope you get it for closer to the 2012 price ($2,629) than the 2015 price ($19,120). What a crazy difference.
A 9.4 can be yours, however, for less than $1,000. It’s interesting to track the sales of this book over the last 18 months. The price dropped consistently from February 2018 until June 2019, then shot way back up in September and October of this year, presumably as news of a confirmed GOTG3 began to leak.
For the rest of us, a solid 6.0 mid-grade will cost well under $100. A solid buy ahead of movie news if there ever was one.
Fantastic Four #67, the first cameo of HIM, is the more recognizable cover and the more popular key. There is a surprisingly large 1,834 blue label CGC in the census, with the top 50% at 7.5 or above, so if you want a high-grade copy they are available. You will have to drop down to 9.0 to get a copy below one thousand dollars, but I prefer mine in the mid-grade, which can be had for under $200 for a 6.0 as recently as last month. If you look hard enough, you can find a 4.0 under $100.
PAUSE. My wife just asked me what I was writing about, and I told her it’s about HIM. She asked if that stood for “Heroes In Masks.” My goodness. Horrible. OK, RESUME.
Two years after we get the cameo appearance in FF#67, we finally see a full appearance of HIM (not yet Warlock) in Thor #165. I would venture to say that this book is less recognizable than the Fantastic Four issues, but its popularity has gone nowhere but up in recent years.
Members of GoCollect should click on the Analyzer tab for this issue and see the massive amounts of green flowing over the page. Every grade of this book (except 3.5 for some reason) has double-digit positive returns when we consider the last 500 sales of this book.
Hardcore Marvel fans know what they get with this book and they realize the value of acquiring it before we see any solid confirmation of Adam Warlock in an official MCU capacity.
Marvel Premiere #1
This famous issue seems to be a popular jumping point for collectors looking to wade into the Warlock waters. Universally recognized as the origin story of Adam Warlock and the appearance as “Warlock,” this book has several things that appeal to collectors:
First, it is the, um, premiere issue of Marvel Premiere. Collectors love that #1 on their copy, and since Marvel decided to give Marvel Premiere #1 and Marvel Premiere #2 to Warlock, we reap the benefit.
Second, as a 1972 Bronze Age key, it is more affordable than the Silver Age issues listed above. Any issue at 9.6 or below can be owned for under $2,000, with sales in 4.0 ranging between $50 and $130 in 2019.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, we get the first appearance of a significant part of the character – his name! We won’t get “Adam” until Marvel Premiere #2, but the first utterance of “Warlock” is in these pages. For what it’s worth, MP#2 is also a cheap way to get in. The most recent 9.8 sold in September for $125.
The first issue of a solo series is always a strong addition to the canon of a major character. In this case, there are at least a half dozen appearances or cameos leading up Warlock #1. After the success of Marvel Premiere #1 and #2 in the spring of 1972, the company decided by August that Warlock needed his own book.
Despite well over 200 copies of Warlock #1 at 9.0 or above on the census, less than 15 tracked sales have been made in 2019. It’s hard to tell at this point if the book doesn’t have much traction or if the graded copies are just not making it up for sale, but if you find an available copy, anything under 9.8 is likely going to set you back less than $400.
Below 9.0 however, the book is seeing mixed returns with ranges of +100% to -12%, all with small sample sizes. This issue is likely more for the fan of Adam Warlock rather than the investor in the MCU character.
Annihilation: Conquest #6 and Guardians of the Galaxy #1
In back to back months in summer 2008, Marvel introduced Warlock as a member of a new team of Guardians – the team we know well from the MCU: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket Raccoon, and Groot. These being modern books, the supply is moderate and prices are still suppressed.
For Annihilation: Conquest #6, there has been one sale of a CGC-graded 9.8 that has crossed the $150 threshold, back in April of this year. Remove that outlier, and a top-level copy of this book is being sold for an average of $106 in the past 12 months. There are only 97 CGC 9.8s in the census (which is 50.7% of the supply), so you may have to hunt. Fortunately, the hunt should pay off with a reasonable price tag.
Guardians of the Galaxy #1 has more action, being a flagship book for the team. More than 150 9.8s exist out there in the galaxy, but sales average $155 over the past calendar year.
It’s quite clear to see a path to sustainability for Warlock in the MCU. He is awakened and is sent to destroy the GOTG, but eventually rebels against his creators, which stays true to the comics. He then joins GOTG in their cosmic adventures – which is what happens in these two modern books – or perhaps the MCU takes him out on his own. But at this point, it’s money in the bank that he is appearing in the next Guardians film.
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