What’s up with The Boys?

by Blaise Tassone
the-boys-amazon-main-image-300x169 What’s up with The Boys?

Scene from Amazon’s ‘The Boys’. Left to Right, Jack Quaid as Hughie and Karl Urban as William Butcher

If you haven’t seen the Amazon produced American adaptation of Garth Ennis’s comic The Boys, then you should.

The new show is excellent.

What’s especially impressive about the new series is that, although airing on a much lesser known platform than other independent comics like Umbrella Academy (Amazon Prime shows are nowhere near the level of popularity of, say the Umbrella Academy sponsor Netflix), this well-received series is still managing to influence prices on the original comics.

Could this be the beginning of a trend?

The series stars New Zealand actor Karl Urban as William Butcher, Jack Quaid as Hughie, Elizabeth Shue as Madelyn Stillwell and Antony Starr as Homelander.

The Boys has been compared to Watchmen for the Superhero-movie generation (see here). I think that’s actually a fair comparison. This series will make you laugh, it will make you squirm and, most importantly, it will make you think. Also, much like Alan Moore’s Watchmen, it deconstructs the superhero genre.

Unlike Moore’s work however, which was published before the big breakthrough of all things superhero to movies and television, Ennis’s story is a deconstruction of the genre for the twenty-first century.

Make no mistake about it, the success of Amazon’s ‘The Boys’ is largely due to the source material. However it is the comic plot in tandem with some smart changes made by the writers of the Amazon series script (mainly Erick Kripke), that make it really resonate for a contemporary audience. I won’t spoil the show for those who haven’t seen it, but it can’t be a coincidence that since the series dropped (on July 26) prices of the comics have been spiking.

Here I want to look at the sales trends for The Boys because what these numbers seem to show is that a comic series with strong and artistically successful representation on another platform (and some good word of mouth) can lift prices even if the medium is not a full blown Hollywood movie. With many Marvel properties set to show up on Disney+ and DC continuing to air series from their DC Universe platform, this is an important trend to watch.

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The Boys #1 (September 2006) – First Issue of Series

The comic series launched in 2006. Written by Garth Ennis (Preacher) with help from artist Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan), The Boys comic is much more British than the Amazon series based on it. Although Urban puts on a strong British accent for the series in his portrayal of Billy Butcher, in the comic his voice is compared to that of Michael Caine’s. The Butcher of the live action series doesn’t sound like Michael Caine to me.

There are 615 total copies of The Boys on the CGC census. Before news that it would be picked up for a live action series there was little movement in terms of sales. Just before the series was set to air in July, copies in 9.8 graded condition were going for between $250.00 and $299.99. Then the show dropped on July 26. Within a few days the book shot past the $300.00 mark. The last 3 eBay sales, as recorded on GoCollect.com, show 9.8 copies going for: $374.99 (07/30/2019), $275.00 (07/31/2019) and $385.00 (07/31/2019). That gives 9.8 a current FMV of circa $350.00. Long term returns are up in every grade, with 8.0’s being the big winner after 3 sales and a positive +505.3% roi since April, 2017. Short term returns are mixed, with highest grades 9.8 and 9.6 showing positive returns and 9.4 and 9.2 showing dropping value over the last three months.


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The Boys #3 (October 2006) – First full appearance of the Seven

The good news, if you missed the boat on the first issue, is that most of the series focuses on the dysfunctional super-team known as the Seven. They don’t appear as a team in the comics until issue #3. This comic is currently selling raw from between 20-40 dollars on eBay but hasn’t begun to see prices anywhere near what the first issue has achieved on any of the currently listed 25 copies on the CGC census. The last graded sale of The Boys #3 in 9.8 (don’t settle for anything lower) went for a mere $38.67 on eBay, 10/06/2018. The good news: ‘The Boys’ has been renewed for a second season.

It will be interesting to see if Amazon can continue to maintain the high quality of this show. If so, keep your eyes on these comics.

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Bruise August 4, 2019 - 7:43 am

So would you consider it a time to sell or hold for further bumps?

Blaise Tassone August 5, 2019 - 11:23 am

Hi Bruise.
I don’t have the books, but given (1) that I’m skeptical about most modern books retaining long term value and, (2) we’ve seen a similar bump with ‘Preacher’ (also by Ennis) that is now gone. If pushed I’d say: it might not be a bad idea to sell issue #1, hold issue #3 and wait to see what happens.

The only way I can see issue #1 holding and growing long term is if the Amazon series keeps up its quality and it becomes an event in the sense of ‘Walking Dead’.

Do you think that will happen?


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