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Trending 10: Riddler and Hawkeye Keys

Frankie's Top 10

BY MATT TUCK

Hawkeye’s Disney+ trailer turned heads, but the new footage of The Batman and the buzz around Paul Dano’s Riddler had collectors pining for Batman #171.

10. LOST BOYS #1

When this series first debuted for DC’s Vertigo imprint in 2016, no one thought much about it outside of hardcore Corey Feldman fans. The title found a niche audience, but it faded into obscurity...until now.

The recent news is that a Lost Boys reboot is in development. The 1987 vampire movie will find a new audience (but will there be a bodybuilding saxophone solo?), and that is leading collectors to the Vertigo series. There is not much in the way of Lost Boys comics to collect, so that doesn’t leave many options, hence the dash for 2016’s Lost Boys #1. 

In just a matter of days, the values have doubled. The raw, ungraded standard cover lept from being a $15-$20 comic on September 15 to selling for $30-$40 two days later. 

There are few details about the upcoming reboot, but what you should be listening for is the Blood Belles. The group of female vampires made their comic debut in LB #1, and the new project could be more about them if it is continuing the original story. That would make this a much more popular comic in short order.

9. ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #21

Two weeks ago, the Marvel Zombies made their MCU debut. The superpowered undead shuffled their way into the What If…? series on Disney+, and the word is they will be featured in the second half of that particular entry. If that wasn’t enough, the new rumor has it that the zombies will be getting their very own MCU movie.

Over the past week, modern comic legend Mark Millar commented in his newsletter that the Marvel Zombies would eventually star in a live-action movie. Here I cite the Feige Rule: nothing means anything until Kevin Feige confirms it. At any rate, it gives us something to think about, and that has translated into bigger sales for all those MZ keys, beginning with their first appearance in UFF #21.

The standard cover for this issue generally stays in the $20 range, though one did break the mold and sell for $72 on September 18. The last graded copy to trade hands online was on September 16 when a 9.6 standard cover sold for $150. 

Don’t forget there’s a variant cover on the market as well. Raw copies typically sell for about $25, so it’s not like the Marvel Zombies first appearance is hard to get.

8. Y: THE LAST MAN #1

It took years, but Y: the Last Man has finally gotten his live-action series. The show debuted or FX last week, and the first two episodes have proven to be a hit with fans. If the show continues to be successful, it will keep driving up prices for the first issue of the acclaimed series.

In a lot of ways, the story is nothing we haven’t already seen several times over. A mysterious virus sweeps across the globe, wiping out a large swath of mankind, creating an apocalypse that is more Last of Us than The Walking Dead. What makes this story unique is that this particular mystery virus targets only males, and it is not limited to humans. Male animals are not immune from this world-changing virus, and it leaves Yorick and his pet monkey as two of the last males on the planet.

Many of the early issues from the 2002 comic are on the move online. As for the first issue, what was described as a near-mint raw copy sold for $450 on September 16. There have not been any CGC-graded copies trading hands this month, and the most recent was a 9.6 that brought $635 on August 22.

7. ULTIMATE FALLOUT #4 FACSIMILE

With so much potential for Miles Morales, it pays to collect even the reprints of his first appearance.

Sooner or later, Miles is coming to the MCU. For that matter, the table is set for him to become the primary Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics Universe with Peter Parker taking a hiatus from superheroics. Sure, Ben Reilly is getting the nod at the moment, but it could all lead to Spider-Miles getting his shot at the title.

Since everything is coming up Miles, that leads collectors and investors on a hunt for his first appearance in Ultimate Fallout #4, including all its subsequent printings and reprints.

Only two weeks ago, Marvel issued another of its facsimile editions, printing an almost-exact replica including the ads. These have been popular with collectors, and having a facsimile of UF #4 has proven to be an important addition for those Miles speculators. 

There were several variants for the UF #4 facsimile to hit the market, and prices for those are all over the place, though most tend to stay in the $50 range for raw copies. If you are looking for a standard edition, these are selling for basically cover price. 

6. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #31

Harry Osborn hasn’t had this much attention since the New Goblin appeared in Amazing Spider-Man 2. As widely lauded as that movie has been, there could be an opening to lay those ASM 2 and Spider-Man 3 Harry memories to rest.

First, there are the persistent rumors that he will be part of the highly-anticipated Spider-Man: No Way Home. Although nothing has been confirmed, there were unofficial reports that Willem Dafoe was on set, and we hear his distinct laugh in the trailer. With the assumption that Norman Osborn will be featured in NWH, then it would seem logical that Harry would not be far behind. In fact, some theorists have wondered if instead of the original Goblin, we could see Harry as the New Goblin.

There’s also the Spider-Man 2 trailer for Sony’s PS5. Although we don’t see Harry, per se, he is in the trailer. Going back to 2018’s Spider-Man, the ending cutscenes alluded to Harry being bonded with the alien symbiote to form Venom. Of course that leaves the fan-favorite host, Eddie Brock, in the rain, but there’s nothing that says Insomniac Games doesn’t have plans for him down the line.

Generally speaking, raw copies in the very good range have been earning around $200. There was even a low-grade that the seller described as a “reader copy” that nearly brought $100.

5. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #300

The world’s favorite sentient alien costume is back in the spotlight.

The market for those Venom keys is as hot as it has ever been. For one thing, the Venom sequel, Let There Be Carnage, is only a couple of weeks from its October 1 premiere. Then there is the recent PS5 Spider-Man 2 trailer with a Venom cameo that sent fans into hysterics. It all adds up to a massive Venom market that is boiling over. 

This is a perennial favorite among collectors since Venom is a powerhouse among the comic faithful. It doesn’t hurt that with Donny Cates wrapping up his stint on the comic and Immortal Hulk’s Al Ewing set to take over the writing duties, there’s even more attention on the character. It’s just more reason for ASM #300 to be one of the hottest comics on the secondary market.

Prices are still bringing eye-catching numbers. This weekend, a high-quality raw copy sold for over $800. Meanwhile, a 9.6 sold for $1,725 on Saturday. 

4. BATMAN #155

WarnerMedia announced that a Penguin live-action series is in the works. Since Oswald Cobblepot was one of the stars of Gotham, some viewers may think this is going to be a rehash of what they’ve already seen from the cancelled Fox drama. However, this version is directly tied to Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which is creating major buzz after the test screening. On the heels of audiences reportedly being wowed by the early version of the movie (and some reports claimed it was about three hours long), it has generated plenty of excitement for the upcoming Penguin series.

The show will star actor Colin Farrell, and it helps us understand why he has such a small role in the upcoming movie. It has made Penguin’s first appearance in the Silver Age a popular addition to Batman fans’ collections. Just two days ago, a 5.5 brought $850. The same day, an 8.0 sold on ebay for $2k. These days, even a 4.0 is selling for $550. 

3. TALES OF SUSPENSE #57

The Hawkeye trailer has been dropped, and audiences are pumped for what looks like Marvel’s answer to Lethal Weapon. As Clint Barton gets set to turn over his bow and arrow to Kate Bishop, the original Hawkeye gets his swan song in grand fashion. The footage was filled with the same one-liners and physical comedy that fans have come to expect from Marvel Studios, but the bigger picture is that Kate will be established as the next-gen Hawkeye. That will keep this issue in the spotlight going forward because no matter who wears the purple and black Robin Hood attire, TOS #57 will remain the most coveted Hawkeye key.

Unsurprisingly, that has led investors to pounce on grades of TOS #57. Earlier today, a 7.0 sold for $2,250, and a 3.0 brought $750 on September 16. 

2. YOUNG AVENGERS #1

Did this issue need any more reason to be a major key? Regardless, it has gotten another dose of steroids in the form of the Disney+ trailer. 

There is no doubt that Disney/Marvel see dollar signs all over the Young Avengers. The team is gradually being introduced to the masses, and Kate Bishop is an integral part of Marvel’s answer to the Teen Titans. As she takes up the Hawkeye mantle on Disney+, her official arrival in the MCU should herald the coming of the Young Avengers in the next two years or so. That has made this an even more expensive key, but it has huge potential for the future despite the current fair market values. If you can afford the high prices, then it is a wise investment as the YA will be a central part of the MCU for years to come.

There are not many modern comics that command the attention as YA #1. A standard cover graded at a 9.8 sold for $1,167 on Sunday, and a raw copy brought $200 the day before. This is going to stay a modern major key for the foreseeable future, so that $1k+ price tag may not seem to so bad in a few years.

1. BATMAN #171

Speaking of that Batman early screening capturing the imaginations of Bat-fans everywhere, it looks like Paul Dano’s Riddler is going to steal the show. Test audiences reported that his portrayal of the classic villain is creepy and unsettling. This could create a shift in the mainstream view of Riddler, whom many still associate with the non-threatening guy in green spandex with question marks written across his body. 

Like the Penguin, Riddler’s first Golden Age appearance is a mighty investment for even a low grade. That is why collectors and investors have been aiming for his initial Silver Age appearance for years. With Dano’s performance already being lauded by fans, it will only increase the inflation rate for this SA classic.

Since the test screening reports came flooding in, this has been a red-hot issue, and it has not showed signs of cooling. On September 11, a 5.0 sold for over $800. Meanwhile, complete raw copies easily fetch $200 or more for lower grades. 

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.



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