Absolute Carnage is building to a showdown between Cletus Kasady and Norman Osborn. What does that mean for your Red Goblin keys?
So far, the added attention on Red Goblin is giving those Amazing Spider-Man #798s a small-but-much-needed boost. The standard cover at a graded 9.8, which had sold for as little as $14 earlier this year, has averaged $41 in the past 90 days. Its popularity is rising as there have been 13 recorded eBay sales in September with the past two sales each passing the $40 mark. On a side note, one 9.8 went for $103, but that appears to be an outlier since no other sale has been even close to that this year.
Of course, $40 is nothing compared to the figures ASM #798 once brought. In the spring of 2018, Red Goblin set the comic world on fire. With Marvel’s mighty marketing machine in full force leading up to longtime Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott’s farewell to the title, fans were hyped months in advance. Sure, there was nothing new happening here (Carnage symbiote + Green Goblin = Red Goblin), but those immaculate Alex Ross covers of Norman Osborn as we had never seen him before captured the comic community’s imagination. Thus, the countdown began, and collectors waited with baited breath on the ever-important first appearance of Red Goblin.
Marvel teased readers for several issues, showing Norman finding the symbiote to him wearing it and exerting his control over the living costume. Then in ASM #798, we were given the first full appearance of Red Goblin in all his glory. Sales for that issue exploded as expected, and its popularity warranted second and third printings. Considering this is the age of the variant, ASM #798 totaled some 20 covers to choose from, and they were all hot sellers at the time. Sadly, the popularity didn’t last.
Something must be said for a cohesive, engaging story. Take away the glitz and novelty of a semi-new character with an eye-catching look, and the story has to stand on its own merits. Unfortunately, this one did not.
By Amazing Spider-Man #800 and the unnecessary series reboot the following issue, fans lost interest in Red Goblin. Where those ASM #798s were bringing top dollar a month prior, they plummeted to the cellar in a short time. Based on 12-month averages, every single cover at a graded 9.8 dropped in fair market value, which is a true testament to how disappointed fans were with “Go Down Swinging.” Then came Donny Cates and Ryan Stegman, and things are quietly changing.
The Cates/Stegman team has breathed new life into Venom since they took over his most recent series. In fact, I have said before that this is the first truly good series Venom has ever had since he was created back in 1988. Now that the duo has turned their attention to resurrecting Carnage, they have graced readers with the epic crossover Absolute Carnage.
Starting with Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1, Cates introduced a new version of Carnage, one that is more monstrous than ever and infused with Knull’s powers. This reimagined Carnage has been such a hit that 9.8 Carnage Born #1s have a 90-day average of $50, and one recently sold for a respectable $53 earlier this month.
In the first two issues of Absolute Carnage, Carnage and his minions break Osborn, who thinks he is Cletus, out of prison, and the two hint at a looming throw down on the way. Not only that, but Marvel announced at San Diego Comic-Con that Red Goblin: Red Death #1 is coming in October.
With all this attention on Red Goblin, ASM #798 will reap the rewards. In the hands of Cates, I expect we’ll get a better interpretation of the Green Goblin/Carnage mashup, and that could mean bigger things for Norman and his symbiote, which will add value to Red’s debut after such a dramatic turn.
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