BY MATT TUCK
It was an active news week in the comic circles. DC impressed with Fandome, and the world is still reeling from the Adam Warlock casting announcement. Welcome to the #Trending10, the top trending comics across the secondary market with the data you need to stay in the collecting and speculating game.
10. SUPERMAN’S GIRLFRIEND LOIS LANE #70
The new trailer for The Batman is simply impressive. While the action sequences with Batman and Penguin’s car chase may be generating plenty of buzz, Catwoman is stealing the spotlight. Now that fans are anxious to see Zoe Kravitz’s portrayal of Selina Kyle on the big screen, it has collectors looking to cash in on her key issues.
The trouble is, Catwoman is a Golden Age creation. If you are looking for her first appearance, you will find that in Batman #1, one of the holiest of holy grails. What’s been the next best thing? Her Silver Age debut after a 12-year absence in Lois Lane #70.
The 7.5 has led the way in sales in recent weeks. Since September 27, it has not sold for less than $766 over four transactions. To that point, it had generally stayed in the $400-$500 range. On Friday, an $850 sale set the new record, and that was followed by a $799 purchase the next day.
9. BATMAN #171
Test audiences have been raving about Paul Dano’s performance as the Riddler in the upcoming Batman entry. Judging by the trailers, this appears to be a Riddler like we’ve never seen before, and he has traded the flamboyant tights for more psycho killer chic. If the movie lives up to the hype, then it will make a major star out of both Dano and the Riddler, who has long been viewed as a lesser Batman villain.
With the prospect of a larger role in both comics and movies, collectors have been on the lookout for those Riddler keys. Like Catwoman, his Golden Age issues prove to be too expensive for the average collector, thus his Silver Age debut has been the go-to key for years now. Only this year, it has reached new heights and is continuing to soar.
The lower grades tell the story of Batman #171. Take the 2.5, for instance. On Saturday, that quickly became a $555 investment, obliterating last year’s record of $300. Yesterday, a 4.0 brought $647, which was not a new record, but it was less than $20 from the mark.
8. FANTASTIC FOUR #66
Anything and everything connected to Adam Warlock is on fire at the moment, including a piece of his history that doesn’t actually feature the famed character. Back in 1967, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were selling clickbait decades before clickbait was even a thing. The pair teased the arrival of HIM, who would later become Warlock, and FF #66 provided the backstory for the new character. While readers would have to wait another issue to discover what lies within the cocoon, the cover art of Thing desperately trying to rescue Alicia Masters has become iconic in itself.
The records have been falling since the big casting news. Since 2016, the water mark for a 9.2 had been $853. In the five years since then, it didn’t exceed $757, and that was in 2020. Then came James Gunn’s Tweet confirming the GOTG Vol. 3 news, and suddenly the 9.2 became a $995 comic. It doesn’t stop there. A week ago, the 7.0 hit a new high of its own when a copy sold for $370 on October 11. The next day, another slab brought $350. Just yesterday, a 6.5 set a record with a $299 when it averaged $91 only a year ago.
7. FANTASTIC FOUR #67
Speaking of Warlock, his first appearance remains a hot property for the second week. Between this issue and Thor #165, FF #67 is the consolation prize. HIM appeared only briefly in these pages before he flew into space for his date with Thor. Had he appeared on the cover art, this would be a much different story. Still, FF #67 is a key moment in the character’s history, and collectors have been tracking down copies in droves.
Following FF #66’s trend, Adam’s first appearance has been breaking records as well. A true sign of the times is the 9.2. Keep in mind that this grade had a fair market value of $1,229 over 12 sales in 2020. Then on October 17, it jumped to a record $3,100. Last Monday, an 8.0 sold for a record $1,099. Before this year, that grade had never sold for more than $575.
6. ETERNALS #1
With What If…? having wrapped up its first season and Hawkeye over a month away from its premiere, Marvel Studios shifts its attention back to the silver screen with its next entry, The Eternals. Like Black Widow, this movie has been scheduled and rescheduled for over a year now thanks to the pandemic. No matter because this will be another sure-fire hit for Marvel, and the waiting game will likely play into their favor. All the waiting and buzz for the movie will continue to propel the sales for the team’s first appearance, and that should not slow until after the movie premieres.
Eternals #1 was at its peak in terms of FMV earlier in the summer. However, the sales volume cannot be disputed. Since last Monday, there have been a dozen CGC-graded 9.8s sold in October, and one brought as much as $3,200 less than a week ago. The price drops significantly when the grade falls to a 9.6, but that is good news for buyers. Based on this month’s values, you can get that grade for about $600-$700.
5. SHAZAM! #28
Just like last year, DC Fandome is lighting up the market this week. One of the most talked about trailers has been Black Adam. With a major star like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson suiting up for the film, it will be a major hit for the DCEU, and that is what has collectors digging out their copies of Shazam! #28.
Although technically his second appearance, this Bronze Age jewell is faring better than his debut in Marvel Family #1. Of course, whenever we’re talking about a Golden Age key issue with a significant first appearance from 1945, prices are automatically high. Just like those Batman villain keys, collectors shy away from the massive price tags of Marvel Family #1 in favor of Shazam! #28, which also sees him on the cover art for the first time.
The new trailer is already spurring the market for this issue. On October 16, a 9.8 brought a record $6,999. Yesterday, the 9.4 hit a record of its own with a $1,850 sale. The records are being broken all the way down to the 6.0, which brought $420 on Sunday.
4. MARVEL PREMIERE #1
When the Silver Age firsts become too expensive, lean into the Bronze Age. Just like those funky disco beats, those 1970s keys will always be there for you. In this case, the super sounds of the ‘70s will also save you some money.
In the Bronze Age, Roy Thomas decided that Warlock needed a makeover. Inspired by the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, the golden god-man was filled with inspiration straight from the New Testament. Since then, this has been the model for the modern version of Adam Warlock, and we are likely to see Thomas’ influence in the MCU version of the character.
Between this being a Warlock key and a cheaper alternative to his Silver Age shenanigans, it is no wonder collectors are watching Marvel Premiere #1. Still, it’s not like this is an inexpensive comic. It was only yesterday that a 9.4 sold for a record $2,035. At this pace, you can’t buy anything lower than an 8.5 for less than $1k. For that matter, even a 3.5 will cost you over $200.
3. YOUNGBLOOD #2
It’s easy to skim past Rob Liefeld’s time in the infant stages of Image Comics. In the early 1990s, he was one of the hottest artists in the industry, and he joined fellow superstars Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee in forming the creator-owned publishing house that has become a true force in the market. When Liefeld took his talents to Image, he created the superhero team, Youngblood. They would gain a modest following, and they were set to star in their own cartoon series, but then the title faded into obscurity. They could be on their way back to life now that a movie is in the works.
Of course, this is not a Youngblood movie. Instead, it is another Liefeld creation, Prophet. However, it is likely that we will see some names from the Youngblood team in that film, and that could mean more to come if Prophet is, well, profitable.
Those early Image Comics were not short on print runs, and that helps keep the prices low. Just because the FMVs aren’t as flashy as the other comics on today’s list doesn’t mean it isn’t any less hot. On October 14, the 9.8 sold for a record $399 after averaging $89 in 2020.
2. SUPERMAN: SON OF KAL-EL #2
At first glance, this may not seem like a key issue, but the recent Jon Kent news is making believers of many collectors. Here we have the first appearance of journalist the Truth, Jay Nakamura. DC made huge waves when the company announced the former Super Son will be written as bisexual, and his love interest will be Jay. That has caused a surge in popularity for this issue.
With a comic that was only published in August, it is no wonder there aren’t any graded sales on record...yet. The raw copies are on the move in a big way with practically every cover selling in high volume. As far as prices, the standard cover is generally earning about $20. Meanwhile, the second print and most of the variants have been selling for less than $10.
Once again, Thor #165 remains the hottest trending comic on the market. After years of teasing, James Gunn is finally ready to deliver Adam Warlock to the world in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and the fan reaction has been overwhelming.
Since Ayesha already name-dropped “Adam” in the second GOTG film, it is likely the MCU Warlock will skip the early stages of his comics career. Back in the Silver Age, he was known simply as HIM, and he was created by the Enclave to be the perfect human specimen. It wasn’t until the Bronze Age that his name was changed to Warlock minus the Adam.
With the surge in popularity, all the Warlock keys are bursting at the seams, but they all take a backseat to his first full appearance in Thor #165. This is the Adam Warlock key to own, and it is barreling through the market with authority. Virtually every grade has experienced record sales figures this week, and there is no sign of this train losing steam.
On October 13, a 9.0 sold for a record $5,500. Last Monday, an 8.5 set a new high mark after earning $3,500. Also on October 13, an 8.0 reached $1,801. Two days earlier, a 7.5 brought a record-breaking $1,580. It doesn’t stop there. The 7.0 is now a $1,650 comic, the 6.5 has now broken the $1k mark, and the 6.0 is getting closer to four figures after hitting $850 on October 12. Now even the 5.5 is selling for $775.
One after another, the records have fallen over the past week, leading to a $400 sale for a lowly 2.5. Values will eventually plateau once the excitement wears off, but these prices will not take a significant drop for quite some time.
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.