BY MATT TUCK
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier caused huge waves in the collecting world, but it will all pale next to the Wolverine tsunami on the horizon. Welcome to Frankie’s Top-10.
10. CAPTAIN AMERICA #312
I doubt we will see much more of the Flag Smashers after FATWS, so their time in the MCU is coming to a close. In the meantime, Karli Morgenthau has gathered a following of her own, which is propelling sales for the first appearance of her gender-swapped comic basis, Karl Morgenthau. The original Flag Smasher debuted in Cap #312, and this issue has been hopping in recent days. The 9.4, for one, is averaging $136 after being a $42 comic only a year ago.
My prediction is Karli will not make it past the final episode of FATWS, so Cap #312’s inflated values likely won’t hold for long after that.
9. ALL-NEW WOLVERINE #1 HIP-HOP VARIANT
Marvel’s line of variants inspired by hip-hop album covers have been slowly heating up for the past couple of years. With the passing of famed rapper DMX, prices for All-New Wolverine #1 began surging as this particular issue featured Laura Kinney homaging the cover for DMX’s best-known album, “Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood.” It also is an imposing piece of Keron Grant artwork.
Unfortunately, celebrity deaths sell merchandise. Whether it is profiteering or simply a way for fans to mourn, when a celebrity passes away, it puts that person’s name back in the public spotlight, and merchandise sales get a short boost.
The numbers tell the story. Two years ago, a 9.8 averaged just $57, but it rose to $92 with a record-high of $150 in 2020. Following DMX’s death, this comic is on fire. Even on the days of his hospitalization, Wolverine #1 had sold for $200, $390, and $456. On April 9 when the news of his death broke, a copy sold for a new record $510.
8. WOLVERINE #1 1988
Having Sam, Bucky, and Zemo visit the Princess Bar in Madripoor got things stirring for Wolverine’s first ongoing series from 1988. While it is still lagging behind 1982’s limited series, the interest is growing for this #1 since it was here that Wolverine debuted his “Patch” moniker, and the Princess Bar’s mysterious owner was taken as a nod toward Logan in FATWS.
Earlier this week, a new rumor made the internet rounds, stating that Wolverine would star in his own Disney+ series. That has given speculators even more incentive to buy up this issue.
Since April 8, the 9.8 has been setting a blistering pace. Over the four sales in the span, three have been for $600 or more. Up to this point, it had never sold for more than $415, which was set in 2020. Before that sale, it typically stayed in the $200-$300 range. Those days are long gone.
7. MOBILE SUIT GUNDAM 0079 #1
The word on the internet is that the classic anime series is getting the live-action treatment. Mobile Suit Gundam has a massive following around the world, and a decent movie will reignite interest in the franchise for a new generation of fans. That will translate into even higher prices for the title’s first U.S. comic. Released in 1999, it was an English version of the original 1986 manga. If you can get your hands on that Japanese manga, you really have something special, but the 1999 version is not looking bad at all.
After a director was announced for the Gundam movie, this issue has been breaking records. A 9.0 sold earlier this week for $199 after that same grade brought $70 in 2020.
6. CAPTAIN AMERICA #168
Baron Helmut Zemo is stealing the show on Disney+. Whether it’s his viral dance moves or his meme-worthy observations, Zemo is quickly becoming the most popular character on the series. While Henriech Zemo first appeared in the Silver Age, his successor, Helmut, debuted in the Bronze Age, though he was originally seen disguised as “The Phoenix.”
With Zemo’s growing popularity, this comic will continue to reach new heights. In March, a 9.6, which had been a $221 comic last year, sold for $1,300. The most recent sale was for a 9.0 that brought $175 on April 10. That will likely be eclipsed in a matter of days.
5. JOKER #2 1:50 RATIO VARIANT
Pre-orders are selling out everywhere for Joker #2, especially the Santa Prisca variant. This issue features the debut of yet another new character, Vengeance, the daughter of Bane. While the standard cover is doing well on its own, this ratio variant is the one to have since it will be Vengeance’s first cover appearance. In today’s market, cover appearances are ruling the comics world, so it makes sense that speculators are targeting this one. On eBay’s sold listings, these are already selling for over $250 and will likely pass the $300 mark within a week.
4. UNCANNY X-MEN #266
This was the best-selling comic on eBay last week, according to GoCollect. Of course, UXM #266 is a perennial favorite among X-Men fans, and there has been talk of Gambit getting a solo movie since the Fox days. Many fans are banking on him being a central figure in the MCU’s version of the X-Men, and that keeps this comic as hot as ever.
Since April 13, the 9.8 has sold for $1,200+ three times in five sales. Even the 9.6 has earned over $500 earlier this week.
3. CAPTAIN AMERICA #117
FATWS dominated the comic market this week, and for good reason. This is the hottest show in the world at the moment, and each episode gets even more intriguing. It also is doing a perfect job of rallying fan support behind Sam Wilson, and it helps that Anthony Mackie is getting an opportunity to show his acting skills in a starring role. All of this is leading to big things coming for Falcon in the future MCU, which is only driving up prices for his first appearance in Captain America #117.
Eight different grades of Cap #117 have sold this month alone, and all of them have been commanding ever-growing price tags. In the past 10 days, the 6.0 twice sold for $850, and another sold for $750 just last week.
2. MACHINE MAN #7
Something major is being hyped for the fifth episode of FATWS. The series has teased the Power Broker as a significant character who seems to own the Madripoor black market. The show runners have promised a huge moment for Episode Five, and the speculation is that it will be Power Broker’s reveal. Will we see Curtiss Jackson from the comics or will Power Broker simply be a moniker for an even bigger character?
In any event, Machine Man #7 is pulling in record numbers. On April 7, a 9.8 sold for $1,122 after it had never sold for more than $110 to that point.
1. INCREDIBLE HULK #181
That latest Wolverine rumor will have this issue breaking even more records in short order. Then again, it has been slashing through the market for months now, setting new highs week in and week out. Even without confirmation, the excitement of Wolverine not only coming to the MCU but doing so in grand fashion with a solo Disney+ series is enough to send collectors running for whatever Wolverine keys they can get their hands on.
The sky is the limit when it comes to Hulk #181, and these values will be nothing compared to what happens when Kevin Feige gives anything official regarding Logan. As it stands, there have been records falling one after another. A 9.6 brought a record $31,200 on April 1. Then there was a 9.0 that set a record of its own with $13,900 on April 6. Less than a week ago, a 3.0 sold for an astounding $3,500. Even an incomplete 3.5 that is missing the Marvel Value Stamp earned $2,700 this month. That is impressive.
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.