BY MATT TUCK
Forget the MCU, Henry Cavill is set to star in a Highlander reboot, and you should be watching Dynamite’s first Highlander limited series.
THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE (SUPERMAN)
For months, we have wondered where Henry Cavill will wind up. After suiting up in the red and blue spandex for the DCEU, the modern Superman has seemingly been pushed out of the spotlight. Now that WarnerMedia has announced that it is looking for an African-American actor to portray an all-new Man of Steel, that has left questions about Cavill’s future. It has also sparked plenty of rumors of him joining the MCU in a variety of roles, most notably Captain Britain and Hercules. There’s also the possibility that he could return to the DCEU as Superman.
Despite the speculation, Cavill, WarnerMedia, and Marvel Studios have all remained tight-lipped on the subject. Of course, that only sparks even more debate among fans and theorists. At this point, it is hard to say if Cavill will move away from comic adaptations altogether.
Even if he stays out of the superhero realm, Cavill is not exactly struggling for work. He’s had success on Netflix with both The Witcher and Enola Holmes. Now he will further solidify his sci-fi credentials as he will officially star in a Highlander reboot.
The plot from the 1986 Highlander movie revolves around Connor MacLeod, an immortal Scottish warrior. After coming of age in 16th century Scotland, he finds himself in 1980s New York City, where a battle between immortals takes place. Hence the catchphrase, “There can be only one.”
The franchise has been dormant for years, but in its day, it spawned a number of sequels and even a television series adaptation. Now with Cavill starring and John Wick director Chad Stahelski at the helm, this is shaping up to be a big-budget extravaganza that should resurrect Highlander for a new generation of fans. With that renewed interest will come higher values for those overlooked Highlander key issues.
The first issue didn’t start with #1, but instead with issue #0, and the story takes place before the events of the original 1986 film.
Will the new movie take inspiration from the comics? There have not been any details released, but that is a possibility. Considering how successful comic book movie adaptations have become, it stands to reason that the filmmakers would look to Dynamite Entertainment for ideas. What should sweeten the deal for collectors is that cover art phenom Gabrielle Dell’Otto actually did the interior artwork for this series, which is a rarity since he primarily works as a variant artist.
Sales data for Highlander #0 is all over the place. If you are willing to take a gamble on the grade and buy raw copies on eBay, the standard covers are cheap. At the moment, the sold listings for most issues tend to stay in the $10-$20 category. Even the RRP and retailer incentive editions are selling for about $10 on average this month. Those slabbed copies are a different story.
Apparently there can be only one graded sale in 2021. That belongs to a 9.8 retailer incentive Highlander #0 that brought $125 on March 9. Before that slab was on the market, there had not been a sale since a 6.0 signed by actor Christopher Lambert was sold for $99 in 2019. Other than that, there was a 9.8 that sold for $125 in 2018.
My advice is simple: buy up the standard, retailer incentive, and RRP covers, and if you have 9.8 candidates, get them slabbed. You’ll be looking at an investment around $50 per comic including the grading fees, but that may be a small price to pay. If Cavill’s reboot is a hit with fans, you could be looking at a decent profit margin once the first trailer is released.
Collectingwise, Highlander #1 is only narrowly trailing Highlander #0 in fair market value. The standard cover at a 9.8 brought $75 in 2018, while a 9.8 RRP edition fetched $125 the same year. The most recent sale was a 9.8 retailer incentive variant that earned $100 in 2019.
Outside of #0 and #1, there are only two other issues that owners have slabbed: #2 and #11. Neither of those brought anywhere near enough to pay for the grading fees, so there’s not much to say about those. It just further makes the point that #0 and #1 are the only issues you should worry much about.
HIGHLANDER ORIGINS: THE KURGAN #1
Here is a comic that could take everyone by surprise. Unless you are a hardcore Highlander fan, most collectors are hardly aware of the origin of the Kurgan. In film lore, the Kurgan is the antagonist of the 1986 movie. Since his first death in 970 BC, he has roamed the earth killing other immortals, and that eventually leads him to a showdown with Connor MacLeod, the Highlander.
Where does this comic come into play? It would not be out of the realm of possibility for the movie to flip the story and focus on the Kurgan’s past. That could make him a fan favorite, and this comic potentially could make an impact.
Being a Dynamite comic, there weren’t many copies of Highlander Origins #1 printed, at least not compared to the major publishers. That could explain why raw copies of both the first and second issues have asking prices between $100-$150 for high grades, though there have been few actual sales. In fact, there is no graded sales data on record, which makes this one difficult to track. However, the movie hype could make this series much more popular.
With a superstar like Cavill’s name attached to Highlander, there is no doubt that it will bring attention to those Dynamite adaptations from the early 2000s. Having Stahelski behind the camera lens should give it a modern edge that will surely entice John Wick fans. Even if the key issues don’t suddenly become market behemoths, at least it should bring attention over to the world of Dynamite.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.