BY MATT TUCK
Venom dominated the comic headlines this week, but ASM Annual #16, The Crow #1, and Batman #108 made waves of their own in this week's top-10 comics.
10. BITTER ROOT #1
Regina King earned her nerd credibility with her star-making performance as Angela Abar/Sister Night in HBO’s Watchmen series. When the news broke that she would direct a live-action adaptation of Bitter Root, sales for the series’ inaugural issue took off. Set in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, the story follows the Sangerye Family, a family with a history of monster hunting, as they fight to save New York City from the supernatural.
Back in January, this was a $100 comic for a 9.8. Before that, the standard cover sold for as low as $36 just last year. Now, it has leaped to $300+ territory and going.
9. THE CROW #1
Seemingly out of nowhere, the first appearance of the most gothic superhero of them all has warmed up.
The Crow is once again in the spotlight thanks to the upcoming reboot. Not everyone is happy about that, and Alex Proyas, director of the 1994 original, is pleading with the studio not to remake the film out of respect for Brandon Lee, who died in a fatal accident during filming.
Headlines make for comic sales, and the higher grades have spiked. After a lull in sales, collectors have a renewed interest in the Crow’s first cover appearance and first solo title. The only 9.6 to swap owners online in 2021 sold for $2,210 on May 7, which wasn’t a record, but it is nonetheless impressive. This year, the 9.4 has already picked up a new high when March saw a copy hit $1,800, and this month produced a $1,500 sale as well. There also was an 8.0 that earned a record-high $899 on May 7 followed by an $879 sale on May 11.
8. WEREWOLF BY NIGHT #32
The closer we get to Moon Knight’s Disney+ debut, the higher these prices will go. Recently, Oscar Isaac posted training photos as he prepares for the role of Mark Spector.
The fan base has been ravenous for the character to come to the MCU for years, so any Moon Knight posts simply stoke the flames. That has driven the prices to record highs this month, with the 9.0 leading the way after scoring $5,200. Then there’s the 8.5 that isn’t far behind after selling for $4,650. All the way down to the 4.5, and it’s still cranking out nearly $1,500 sales. And to think this was considered an expensive comic before the Disney+ series.
7. ADAM: LEGEND OF THE BLUE MARVEL #1
With the tease for all of Marvel Studios’ upcoming slate of movies, one of the most-talked about has been The Marvels. The word is that the film will feature Carol Danvers, Monica Rambeau, and Kamala Khan, and we could even see the debut of the Blue Marvel.
There have been rumors of Adam Brashear entering the MCU since WandaVision’s “missing engineer” mystery. Having a movie that centers around the different “Marvels” of the MCU, it stands to reason that Monica’s former flame would make his grand entrance. That speculation has his first appearance bringing lofty prices. It doesn’t hurt that there aren’t many copies to be found; the CGC census lists just 640 total graded copies, and only 199 of those got the 9.8 label. That helps explain why it has now firmly cemented itself as a $2,000+ comic.
6. THE NICE HOUSE ON THE LAKE #1
James Tynion IV has transitioned from superheroes to horror, and he continually sets the market ablaze. The author of the acclaimed Something is Killing the Children and The Department of Truth has yet another massive hit on his hands with the upcoming The Nice House on the Lake for DC’s Black Label imprint.
If you want to get in on the excitement, now is the time. Like pretty much every new comic these days, there are a slew of variants to choose from, but most seem to be selling anywhere from $15-$50. Considering the buzz surrounding this title, those prices will likely double in a few months, so you’ll want to preorder before the June 1 release date.
5. VENOM VS. CARNAGE #2
One day is all it took for Toxin’s debut in Venom vs. Carnage #2 to double its record high. This was carried on the back of the Toxin Easter egg in the Venom: Let There Be Carnage trailer. Before then, there had not been a 9.8 sold online since April 20 when a copy earned $325. On May 10, that record was shattered with a $658 price tag.
Why did it jump so quickly? Astute fans picked up on a character named Detective Mulligan, which was confirmed by director Andy Serkis. The assumption is that he is Pat Mulligan, the original host of Toxin.
While Venom vs. Carnage #1, the first appearance of Pat Mulligan, jumped to $500, Venom/Carnage #2 is definitely the bigger issue. Let’s face it, while Mulligan may have been the first human host for Toxin, the real money is always with the symbiotes.
4. BATMAN #108
Those new character firsts always make the biggest splashes, at least initially. Here we have the first appearance of Miracle Molly, and she happens to be on the cover to sweeten the deal. As we know, modern collectors love the first cover appearances, and it helps matters tremendously that Molly is part of the Batman lore. With her gaining so much traction so quickly, this could be a result of cartoon or live-action speculation. After all, there is a Batman: the Animated Series reboot/continuation in the works at HBO Max, and it would not be a shock to see Miracle Molly or the Unsanity Collective appear in that series. There’s also the upcoming Jim Gordon-starring series on the way to the streaming service, and that presents another avenue to bring Molly to mainstream audiences. The world is her oyster, it would seem.
There are plenty of Batman #108 variants to choose from, and that is good since it means there is a price tier for every budget. At the high end is the foil Stanley “Artgerm” Lau cover, the virgin cover of which is selling in the $60 range, though you can still nab the trade dress for close to $10 or less. Next to that one, the Natali Sanders magazine cover variant is the next-most expensive, and it’s currently bringing around $50.
3. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #361
No question, this is a very hot book, and it obviously comes from the Venom 2 trailer that dropped on Monday. The volume of copies being sold is high, but that is typical for ASM #361. After all, we’re dealing with arguably the most popular villain from the 1990s. The only reason I did not put this issue any higher on this week’s top 10 is because of the sales prices.
Now that Carnage has finally come to live action, you would think the values for a 9.8 would be through the roof almost immediately. Nope. Granted, it is not losing money, but it is not making the instant leaps and bounds that I would have expected given the price inflation for basically every Marvel key in today’s market. Since Monday, the 9.8 has steadily held around $1,400. However, the most recent sales have seen it drop below the $1,300 mark. My inclination is that it comes down to the amount of high-grade ASM #361s for sale at any given moment.
2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #16
The Monica Rambeau keys were speculative darlings since we saw the kid version of her character in Captain Marvel. Once she appeared as an adult in WandaVision, things really began to pick up. When she gained her powers, the writing was on the wall that she would rival Carol Danvers in the near future. Since The Marvels title reveal, the biggest question is which Monica will we get: Captain Marvel, Photon, or Spectrum? Many theorists are leaning towards Captain Marvel and predicting that she will follow her comic roots and assume the mantle before transitioning to one of her other personas, and that has made all her keys much more enticing.
In any event, this has become a coveted issue. Earlier this week, a 9.8 set a record high after selling for $1,211. Ten days prior, a 9.6 reached $450.
1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300
Going back to last year, everything tied to Venom and the symbiotes has been on fire. First we had the Knull “King in Black” crossover, and now we have Eddie Brock and Venom’s return to live action. Of all the characters from the trailer, it's the original Marvel symbiote that has gotten the biggest lift from the attention.
The perennial favorite among collectors, ASM #300 is back on top of the comic world. It is now setting a blistering pace heading into the summer. This week alone, the 9.8 has broken into $8k territory, selling for $8,500 on May 9 before bringing $8,305 and $8,100 on May 13. Across the board, virtually every copy of ASM #300 is selling for ridiculous numbers. When a lowly 1.0 is fetching $250, you get the picture.
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.