BY MATT TUCK
Sunday is here, and that means it is time for your weekly top-10 buzzworthy comics. No doubt Shang-Chi has ascended the ladder with his new movie, but the No Way Home trailer continues to spur the market.
10. NOCTERRA #1
The creator-owned titles are all the rage in 2021. With the MCU and DCEU taking up all the household names in the superhero realm, any company outside the Disney or WarnerMedia banners is left to mine the independent scene. That has opened the door for the lesser-known gems that abound in the comic community.
Scott Snyder, the creative voice behind DC’s Dark Nights: Metal and Death Metal crossovers as well as the co-creator of the massively popular the Batman Who Laughs, revealed on social media that his non-DC title, Nocterra, has been given the moviemaking green light.
What is Nocterra? Another post-apocalyptic fantasy, this story centers on the idea that the world has been drowned in darkness for ten years. People are being transformed into monsters, and the only way to ward them off is with artificial light. That sounds like elements of Pitch Black and the XBox’s Alan Wake and Dying Light, but it could still be interesting. At least it’s not more zombies.
Despite the buzz surrounding the upcoming movie, Nocterra #1 has not reached the ridiculous phase as far as fair market value. Plenty of raw copies are trading hands, but the standard cover is generally nestled into the $20 range. However, a Tony S. Daniel glow-in-the-dark variant graded at a 9.8 did sell for $133.50 on September 4. That same day, a Scorpion Comics variant at the same grade brought $150.
9. STARSLAYER #2
The hot gossip is that the Rocketeer is returning to Disney. Millennials may not remember the name, but the pre-Marvel superhero movie holds a dear spot in the hearts of Gen-Xers. While not a critical success, the 1991 film spotlighted an obscure hero with an Iron Man flare. It was a tribute to the Golden Age of comics, and it struck a chord with audiences.
After 30 years on the shelf, the Rocketeer will fly again. The word on the internet is that David Oyelowo will produce - and possibly star in - the reboot that is set to be a Disney+ exclusive. It has given rise to an increased interest in the character’s first appearance like we haven’t seen in years.
So far, there has not been a flood of graded sales, but that does not mean it is not trending in a big way. The raw copies are on the move, with most copies earning $50+. On the graded side, a CBCS 9.8 sold for $385 on September 2.
8. OBLIVION SONG #1
Another day, another Robert Kirkman post-apocalyptic epic gets the mainstream spotlight. From the creator of The Walking Dead, Oblivion Song is the story of alien monsters invading Philadelphia. After years of war, the government decides to cut its losses and create a quarantine zone for part of the city. That decision leaves thousands of citizens at the mercy of the interstellar creatures. It sets the stage for the protagonist, Nathan Cole, to illegally enter the QZ to search for answers while risking his life against the aliens.
Last week, the standard cover graded at a 9.8 sold for as much as $260, and it consistently stayed hovered in the $200 territory. The prices have come down since then, and the most recent sale was for $175 on September 4. If you are looking to save a few dollars and don’t mind the risk, the raw copies for the standard edition are still selling for about $20.
7. BATMAN #635
Week after week, those Titans keys keep trending, and Jason Todd is leading the way.
After Jason was introduced as Dick Grayson’s replacement as Robin, Titans viewers have been waiting for the moment that he would follow his comic roots and become the anti-hero, Red Hood. Although not the first character to use that moniker, Jason is by far the most popular. He has appeared in video games and cartoons, and now he finally has arrived in live action. That has created a feeding frenzy for those Jason Todd key issues, specifically Batman #635.
The fair market values have been responding in kind to the burst in excitement. Only yesterday, a graded 9.8 brought $550. The raw copies are understandably much cheaper, but even the higher grades are earning $200 or more.
6. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #1 (2020)
A week has gone by since the casting news took the internet by storm. Reportedly, Marvel Studios is looking to bring Werewolf by Night to life in his very own Halloween special on Disney+ in 2022. Ever since the Moon Knight series was made official, the WBN rumors have picked up steam. The casting news seemingly confirmed those suspicions, but it also put the collecting crosshairs on the first appearance of the new WBN, Jake Gomez.
In the comics, Jake is a Native American and member of the Hopi Nation living in Arizona. The casting announcement claims that Marvel is searching for a Latino actor, which leads fans to believe that Jake will be the MCU’s Werewolf by Night. That has made 2020’s WBN #1 white hot in a very short time.
The sales have remained strong for the past week, but the raw copies are still reasonably priced for what could be a major moment in the character’s history. Jake’s first appearance averages about $30+$35, which is where it has been since the announcement. The graded 9.8, on the other hand, reached a record high $400 on August 31, so that is one to keep your eye on.
5. ALL-NEW GHOST RIDER #1
The Midnight Suns RPG is brimming with anticipation. Recently, gameplay trailers were released, and the video game is on track to make a crater in the market. The most obvious impact is on those early Midnight Sons key issues, but the buzz surrounding the game has renewed interest in what had been a written-off MCU character: Robbie Reyes.
It wouldn’t be Midnight Suns/Sons without Ghost Rider. However, the GR in the game footage is clearly Robbie Reyes. If you recall, Robbie was last seen in Agents of SHIELD, but fans have been wondering if the events of WandaVision and Loki effectively eliminated that series from MCU canon. It left the question of whether or not Robbie was still the MCU’s Ghost Rider.
Flash forward to the proposed Ghost Rider live-action Hulu series. Although Marvel nixed the idea along with several other Hulu shows, the rumor had been that the new MCU GR would be the traditional motorcycle-riding Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch. However, the Midnight Suns trailer has thrown a wrench into things, and theorists are questioning if the game is a preview of what will be in the MCU with Robbie as the official Ghost Rider.
The raw copies are making the biggest waves in the market. On September 2, the standard cover, which was described as a near-mint copy, sold for $50. The last graded 9.8 earned $275 on August 31.
As you are stocking up on All-New Ghost Rider #1, don’t forget about the second print. Although there has not been a graded sale in 2021, last year saw a 9.8 earn $125. Adjust for inflation, and that could be a solid addition to your collections.
4. SILVER SURFER #3
The face that spawned a thousand memes is back. The trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home has created more buzz than anything Marvel has done since Endgame. There is so much to unpack in the three minutes of footage, from the returning Sony-verse villains to the possibility of three Spider-Men joining forces. Then there is Mephisto.
Ever since WandaVision, the comic fandom has been anticipating that Mephisto would make a significant impact on the MCU. Well before the NWH trailer was released, the plot details - Peter needs magical help to alter the timeline to make people forget his secret identity - created rumors that Mephisto would be at the heart of the story. While Marvel’s Satan was not featured in the trailer, there is a theory making the rounds that it is not Doctor Strange conjuring that incantation, but Mephisto. That has once again caused a massive spike in sales for Silver Surfer #3.
The Doctor Strange/Mephisto theory has kept Silver Surfer #3 trending once again. Lower-graded raw copies are earning $200+, and even a reprint in Marvel Masterpieces is fetching $20 as of late. A 4.0 sold for $610 on September 2, which is approaching the $695 record from August 8.
3. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #238
The Hobgoblin is coming, at least according to theories across the internet. Whether or not we see him in No Way Home is debatable, but the inclination seems clear that the other Goblin is on his way to the MCU. Much of this comes from actor Jacob Batalon’s body transformation after he lost 120 pounds and appears much more physically suited to square off with Spider-Man. Don’t forget that in the past, Batalon has said that he would like to portray the villain. Put those two pieces together, and you get an idea why fans are thinking we could see Hobgoblin come December.
The attention has had an immediate impact on sales of ASM #238, the first appearance of the Hobgoblin. One of the easiest ways to gauge a comic’s market heat is to look at the lower grades, and this one does not disappoint. A raw copy missing the removable tattoos sold for just under $100 on September 3. Meanwhile, another ungraded, low quality ASM #238 with the tattoo pack brought $163.
2. INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #9
Riri Williams continues to be one of the hottest characters in all of Marvel. The indication is that she is the Iron Man of the MCU future. Between the Disney+ series Armor Wars and Ironheart, Marvel is giving her a major platform to become a star. There are rumors that Robert Downey, Jr. will voice her artificial intelligence, basically serving as her version of J.A.R.V.I.S. If Riri doesn’t become the next big thing in the MCU, it won’t be for lack of trying on Marvel Studios’ part.
Riri’s push into the spotlight keeps her first full appearance at the top of many collecting wish lists. It has kept this issue on a blistering pace with higher-quality raw grades easily selling for $200-$300 at times. The graded 9.8, which topped at $1k this year, is still earning between $800-$900. For that matter, even the second print graded at a 9.8 is a $600 comic these days.
1. SPECIAL MARVEL EDITION #15
Going into Thursday night’s premiere of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, there were predictions that the movie would be a disappointment. However, the early figures claim the film far surpassed expectations, and it could set records for a Labor Day weekend opening. That has immediately shifted the attention toward the sequel, which is a lock after such a strong showing at the box office. There also is a mid-credits scene that sets up The Eternals, and the indication is that Shang-Chi will be important to that film as well. It should help to keep the Master of Kung Fu in the spotlight for the foreseeable future.
The reception for Shang-Chi has been wildly positive, and it has created a new star in the MCU. Not surprisingly, that has sent his first appearance to new heights. Earlier today, a raw copy sold for $709.26. Yesterday, a graded 8.0 brought $865 while a 4.0 earned $399. Although neither of those sales were record breakers, it is evidence for how popular this issue has become thanks to the hit movie.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.