BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
What comics should you be searching for as the hype for Multiverse of Madness gears up? Here’s your shopping list.
No Way Home is making tidal waves in theaters. The nostalgia of seeing the familiar faces from Spider-Man movies of old keeps audiences coming back for more as the film approaches the $1 billion earnings point.
Normally, two weeks is the average lifespan for Marvel movies. With Marvel breaking so much news each month, two weeks feel like two years. Where other Marvel movies sputter to the finish line after a couple of weeks, No Way Home is a different beast entirely. NWH’s popularity is so massive that it has managed to overshadow the trailer tagged to the post credits, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
While the Doctor Strange sequel is being snubbed at the moment, it will pick up steam before its May release date. That will mean profits for these key issues especially as new characters are revealed for the movie.
WHAT IF…? #18
Nothing has been confirmed just yet, but it would seem that Strange Supreme has stepped from the animated world and into live action. When Doctor Strange’s evil doppelganger is revealed as the greatest threat to the Multiverse, it reminds us that What If…?’s showrunners teased one or more of its characters moving to the greater MCU. It looks like Strange Supreme is the big winner of that prize.
When it comes to Strange Supreme key issues, there isn’t much to choose from. Since he’s not actually from the comics, he doesn’t exactly have a first appearance, so What If…? #18 is as close as we get. In this elseworld story, Evil Strange is a follower of Dormammu, and that dynamic could play out in Multiverse of Madness. Since the giant floating head of the Dark Dimension wasn’t killed or imprisoned in the 2016 original, this could be where the apparent Strange Supreme from the trailer comes from. Considering Strange Supreme in his episode of What If…? consumed power from other interdimensional beings, Dormammu could be his fuel source to take control over the Multiverse.
At any rate, collectors are gunning for this once-forgotten What If…?. As for prices, they are all over the place. Since the weekend, copies have ranged anywhere from $5 to over $50 for raw copies.
STRANGE TALES #126
Speaking of Dormammu, his first appearance in Strange Tales #126 has become more lucrative to investors and speculators. For the past couple of years, there have been ample rumors that Doctor Strange’s famous ex, Clea, will debut in Multiverse of Madness. She has taken on a much more important role in the Marvel Comics, and that has implications for the MCU’s magical future.
As part of the “Death of Doctor Strange” event happening in the comics, the good doctor has bitten the dust, and now he is having his mail delivered by the groundhogs. That has left an opening for the job of Sorcerer Supreme. Marvel recently announced that Strange’s magical love interest will fill the void, meaning Clea will rise to the lead character in the Doctor Strange title as the one and only Sorceress Supreme.
Of course, there is no eternal slumber for superheroes. Death is an inside joke in the comics community. Outside of Uncle Ben, hardly anyone of importance stays dead for long; it’s more like a vacation than death. In the years between death and rebirth, someone else takes up the fight in said character’s stead. Eventually, the original returns in grand fashion, making for a quick sales boost thanks to nostalgia, which is a huge seller in today’s market.
No doubt, this is the same formula happening with “The Death of Doctor Strange,” and it’s nothing new to put the Sorcerer Supreme title on new characters. Sooner or later, Clea will pass the torch back to Strange. However, the MCU is a different ballgame. Kevin Feige and company have no problem sliding a new character into a classic role, and that could be on the agenda for Clea. That would make her debut comic even more lucrative.
The added attention on Clea is upping the ante for Strange Tales #126. Just this month, a graded 7.5 sold for a record $800. Meanwhile, a 7.0 brought $900 on December 16.
America Chavez was one of the earlier casting choices announced for Multiverse of Madness, so there’s nothing new to report on that front. Still, it always makes for a buying scramble whenever a character is featured in a movie for the first time. When audiences saw her trademark denim jacket with the embroidered star flashed on screen, it sent investors and speculators on a scavenger hunt across the auction sites.
There is no knowing how big of a role she will play in Multiverse, but the indication is that she will be an integral part of the MCU’s future. After all, not only is America tied to the Multiversal magic of the MCU, but she was a member of both the West Coast Avengers and the Young Avengers in the comics. We’re bound to see one or both of those teams in either a movie or Disney+ series in the not-too-distant future, and the safe bet is that America will be in the mix.
The America boom is here. Earlier today, a graded 9.4 sold for $600, and a 9.8 hit $1,700 yesterday.
THOR ANNUAL #10
America Chavez may get the most attention, but there’s a powerful cosmic character tied to her who should not be ignored. In her comic origin, America comes from the Utopian Parallel, which is part of the Demiurge.
Created in 1982 and debuting in Thor Annual #10, the Demiurge is the living, thinking presence that makes up Earth’s biosphere. It is a being that conjures images of ancient creation myths as the Demiurge is credited with helping to form the Earth itself, which later spawned the Elder Gods. With a magical, all-powerful cosmic entity with direct connections to America Chavez, it is almost a guarantee that the Demiurge will play a role in Multiverse of Madness and perhaps beyond.
This is a sleeper pick at the moment, which means prices are low. The only graded copy to trade hands this year was a 9.6 that sold for $80 in September. Raw copies are easier on the budget and the last one to sell brought only $8.50 in October. For prices that low, it is worth the gamble on the Demiurge.
STRANGE TALES #169
Since Multiverse of Madness was initially revealed, the speculation has been hot for Brother Voodoo. Many theorists have predicted that Jericho Drumm would make his debut in the Doctor Strange sequel. Perhaps he would follow his comic roots and take up the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme as he did in the comics.
The idea of Brother Voodoo in the MCU has ample potential. Since Doctor Strange is not the MCU’s current Sorcerer Supreme, he could vie for the title with Strange, Wong, Loki, and Clea. He could even star in his own movie or Disney+ series, delving into his decades worth of Marvel history. In recent years, he has been part of the Savage Avengers, and his possible arrival in Multiverse of Madness could signal that team being brought into the fold.
To be clear, no one from Marvel has confirmed Brother Voodoo for Multiverse of Madness or any other Marvel project. The rumors, though, have been strong for years now, and we are seeing the persistent gossip tends to be true in the end. Thanks to those rumors, his debut in Strange Tales #169 is getting harder to come by. On December 23, a mid-graded 5.0 was purchased for $400 on eBay. Last week, a 9.4 sold for a record-breaking $3,300.
MARVEL PREMIERE #10
Time to cycle back to that Multiverse of Madness trailer. While it has not been confirmed, it appeared that Doctor Strange was fighting a large, tentacled creature in the footage, and most fans assume that is Shuma-Gorath.
There’s no mystery when it comes to the fabled creature. Marvel previously confirmed that Shuma-Gorath would be a villain in Multiverse of Madness, but possibly seeing him in the flesh should spark a new enthusiasm for his first appearance. There’s also an upcoming Lego set that labels a similar creature as Gargantos, though most theorists assume this is another name for Shuma-Gorath, at least as far as the MCU is concerned.
Having the interdimensional monster in Multiverse of Madness helps solidify the movie’s connection to the What If…? cartoon. Although the creature wasn’t named, it is easy to assume that the recurring tentacles seen in the Captain Carter and Strange Supreme episodes belonged to Shuma-Gorath. As a god of chaos, it would be fitting that Shuma-Gorath was the being both Red Skull and Strange Supreme summoned for its power. Including him in Multiverse of Madness would further tie the movie to the cartoon, which opens many possibilities for the MCU Multiverse.
For those reasons, Marvel Premiere #10 has become an increasingly important issue to collectors. It also helps to propel the sales to new heights. In recent weeks, a raw copy advertised in the very-fine range sold for $177. That was blown out of the water today as an advertised mid-grade copy brought $350 on eBay.
THE MADNESS IS COMING
The collecting onslaught is on the horizon. At the moment, everyone is still caught in the aftershock of No Way Home, and that is understandable. Once the novelty wears off and the Marvel fans shift their attention to Mutliverse of Madness, things will change, and that is especially true if we see Brother Voodoo. Be on the lookout for the second trailer which will likely have some big reveals.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.