Outside of monthly group or team books which feature a regular line up of heroes we find the team-up or cross-over title. These comics combine individual heroes in monthly cross over events with another hero or popular character.
Judging by sales, comic fans love these books, which is understandable since every month they feature a different team up. This trend of teaming up separate heroes took off in the Silver Age, was strengthened in the Bronze Age, and is still with us today. Thus, ignoring DC’s World’s Finest title, which was strictly a Superman-Batman monthly series, the Brave and the Bold, starting with issue #65 became a Batman team up book in the Silver Age.
Marvel launched Marvel Team Up and Marvel Two-in-One (doing the same for Spider-man and The Thing respectively, in the Bronze Age) and so, by the Bronze Age, the popular modern team-up concept became an established genre.
With an eye to these classic team-up issues, it’s hard not to notice that recently a few of them have really taken off among collectors and are now sought out and regularly fetch high prices at sales and auctions.
In this post, I want to take a look at four classic team-up issues that I think are worth seeking out and purchasing. The comics I’m looking at have been selected for a combination of desirability, importance and speculation value. Namely, the popularity of the characters featured in the books, the individual issues status as keys that are important to collectors, and finally, the probability that the book under discussion will actually maintain and (perhaps) eventually augment in value.
I’m looking here at both DC and Marvel titles:
I start with the already mentioned Brave and the Bold series. Although this title originally started out as an anthology and try-out series, by the Silver Age – largely due to the popularity of the Adam West Batman TV show (In Color!) – Brave and the Bold effectively became a Batman Team-Up book. Most of the stories appearing in these issues were passable, and the title was far from the worst thing DC published throughout the Silver and Bronze Age (volume 1 was cancelled with issue #200 in 1983, it would be relaunched as a mini-series in 1991 and then again as an ongoing series in 2007). In Brave and the Bold #85 we get one of these team ups with a difference. This is the first Green Arrow appearance where that character sports his modern costume. The cover by Neal Adams is reason enough to pick up this book. The new-look Green Arrow (with goatee) would soon be partnered with Green Lantern for a classic series of team up stories also penciled by Adams. Outside of Jack Kirby there’s probably no modern comic book artist who has played a more significant role in transforming the look of the medium than Adams. The cover alone makes this book worth seeking out.
The modern Marvel Universe was given a real jump start when Jim Starlin started writing his cosmic cross over tales. Recently this cosmic side of Marvel has again become popular thanks to the appeal of characters like Thanos in the recent Avengers Movie. Marvel Two-in-One featured the Thing from the Fantastic Four and a special guest star in every issue. In Annual #2 the Thing teams up with Spidey and the Avengers as well as Captain Marvel to conclude the Cosmic Cube Saga which is also the first big Thanos story arc. In this issue we see the Avengers, with help from Spider-man, defeat Thanos. A 9.8 is currently worth $400.00. Prices have started to dip but may take off again with the next big screen appearance of Thanos. Concluding an epic cross over story arc, this comic is worth seeking out.
This book took off in value four years ago around the time that Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D introduced the character of Bobbi Morse. Before that, it was a bargain bin comic. The Marvel Team Up title was meant to do for Spider-man what Brave and the Bold did for Batman. Every month it would partner Marvel’s most popular character with another figure from the Marvel Universe. As was common with Brave and the Bold, most of the issues were readable but not especially collectible. These are one and done stories. Occasionally, as is the case here, a new character is introduced. This comic is currently dipping in value, now is a good time to pick it up but don’t pay too much. 9.8s are fetching just over $200.00, but prices could spike if Mockingbird is used in another movie or hit TV show.
DC Comics Presents was a Superman team up book and as such meant to capitalize on the popularity of Superman. In issue #26 the publishers included a small pull out preview written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez called ‘The New Teen Titans’. The New Teen Titans would go on to be DC’s bestselling book of the 1980s and a real game changer. The Superman-Green Lantern team up in this issue is unimportant compared to the Titans pull out. This comic is therefore important for the connection to the Titans, a DC property going back to the 1960s but still popular today largely thanks to this incarnation of the group by Wolfman and Perez. Values of this book are consistently going up precisely because of that connection. Currently 9.8 graded copies of this comic are worth $700.00. A Teen Titans big screen appearance featuring characters like Cyborg, Starfire and Raven (first introduced here) could push that value even higher.