The Fantastic Four celebrated the new year on top of the collecting world, but if you really want to see fireworks, wait until the X-Men are announced for the MCU.
KEEP YOUR FANTASTIC FOUR; I’M WAITING FOR THE X-MEN
Disney Investors Day was arguably the biggest boon for comic collectors of 2020.
The company announced a plethora of Star Wars and Marvel projects on the horizon, and it drove up prices for many key issues, most notably The Fantastic Four.
After years of speculation following Disney’s buyout of Fox, fans have wondered when those Fox properties would enter the MCU. At Investors Day, Marvel Studios confirmed that a Fantastic Four feature film is officially in the works.
That news sent ripples through the collecting corners, and those Silver Age FF keys are red hot. As much as I love the FF, it will not hold a candle to the X-Men explosion once their MCU date has been set.
THE YEAR OF THE MUTANTS
Maybe I am being hopelessly optimistic, but I think 2021 will be the year of the X-Men. Sometime in the next 12 months, I predict Marvel Studios will give us a timetable on when the superteam will be incorporated into the MCU. That will set off major fireworks in the collecting circles.
Ever since the Fox purchase, the XM keys have been on the way up. As expensive as many of those have become, those will be bargains compared to when Marvel Studios makes the official XM MCU announcement.
The obvious keys that will get the immediate bump are those major key issues from the Silver and Bronze Ages, namely X-Men #1, Giant-Size X-Men #1, and X-Men #94.
Any of those #1 issues from the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby era of Marvel are holy grails. However, this is the first appearance of what would become the premier superhero team in all of comics. However, it didn’t start that way. The original lineup of Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Angel, and Iceman reminded fans too much of the FF. Despite the original series’ struggles, X-Men #1 still holds a dear place in the hearts of X-fans.
When it comes to these holy grails, most collectors aim for the lower grades. For the past year, the 2.0 has been the most popular grade, selling 19 times since last December. In that span, it has averaged $3,471, which is up about $250 from the 2019 fair market value.
Personally, I see this as the true first appearance of the X-Men and more of a holy grail than X-Men #1. The title was on the brink of cancellation when Len Wein and company revamped the team, adding Wolverine, fresh off his Incredible Hulk #181 debut, along with brand new characters Storm, Colossus, and Nightcrawler to the mix. It gave the mutants a much-needed attitude adjustment and helped break them out of the FF’s immense shadow.
The best part with investing in a Giant-Size X-Men #1 is that you get the first appearance of the iconic team for far less than X-Men #1. Whereas $3,500 will you get you a 2.0 X-Men #1, you can upgrade to a 9.2 GSX #1 based on its 12-month average.
Although GSX #1 may be cheaper than X-Men #1, don’t think GSX’s prices are bargains. Even a 3.0 GSX #1 has an FMV over $1k while a 1.0 typically sells for about $500.
We can’t talk about GSX #1 without discussing X-Men #94. With the “all-new, all-different” X-Men winning over fans at the time, the team made its in-title debut in #94. While that is a milestone in itself, the real credential is that it marked the beginning of the Chris Claremont era, which would revolutionize the title and catapult the team to the top of the comic world throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Like GSX #1, prices are much cheaper compared to X-Men #1, relatively speaking. Take that same $3,500 and invest it in an X-Men #94 and you can get as high as a 9.4, which currently averages $2,713. Even if you want a 9.6, its FMV of $7,394 is the equivalent of a 3.5 X-Men #1.
The 8.0 has been the biggest seller in 2020. Over 49 sales, it averages $634, but the 90-day FMV has jumped to $731.
THE COMING BOOM
The Fantastic Four deserve the attention they are getting from collectors. Marvel’s first family helped keep the company afloat and were the banner carriers for decades. Over time, they have become less relevant to the overall Marvel Universe, and the mutants stepped in to fill that void. When the X-Men get their first movie green-lit, the coming market boom will be bigger than what we are seeing now with the FF.
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