BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
Those modern Marvel Star Wars keys keep dominating the sales charts, and the market is only getting started for the Kenobi tie-ins.
1. DARTH MAUL #2
Dave Filoni giveth, and Dave Filoni taketh away. This comic is still selling at a fast clip, but the chinks in the armor may be appearing after this week’s BOBF season finale.
As quickly as Cad Bane arrived in all his blue-alien glory, he has gone away just as fast. Fans were rejoicing over the arrival of the space gunfighter into the live-action Star Wars universe in last week’s episode of The Book of Boba Fett. After all, they were waiting for him since he was first seen in the Stars Wars: the Clone Wars cartoon. He managed to make an appearance in The Bad Batch as well, which only fueled the excitement. As BOBF wound down, the stage was set for Cad Bane to face off with Boba Fett in the series’ closing moments. Therein lies the root of Darth Maul #2’s falling prices.
Considering both The Mandalorian and BOBF deal with intergalactic bounty hunters, it was a given that Cad Bane would appear in live action at some point. Once he returned for The Bad Batch, it became more apparent than ever that his time was coming. What we didn’t expect was for him to fall off the map so quickly.
With all the attention on Cad Bane, it had been thrusting his first comic appearance into orbit. Just last week, the standard cover graded for Darth Maul #2 graded at a 9.8 was earning $875. Today, another 9.8 traded hands for $450. Leading up to the BOBF finale, raw copies for the standard edition had been consistently earning in the $150-$200 range. Although there are still sales in that spectrum, the last two sales were for $90 and $69.
2. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #210
Madame Web has quickly become one of the hottest characters in all of comics. This is on the heels of Sony’s recent casting announcement. In case you missed it, Dakota Johnson, one of the stars of Fifty Shades of Gray, got the nod to play the lead in the Madame Web solo movie.
Casting a young Madame Web is causing a bit of a stir. Bronze Age comic fans know Madame Web as the blind, elderly sage who guides Spider-Man as he travels the Multiverse. That has led to cries of foul since Sony did not cast an older nor disabled actress to play the part. Keep in mind there has been more than one Madame Web, and we don’t yet know which version Johnson will be portraying.
No matter which character takes up the Madame Web mantle, the issue to own is her first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #210. This issue featured the debut of Cassandra Webb, who would pop in and out of the Spider-Man comics over the decades. It was her time on the animated Spider-Man and in the Shattered Dimensions video game that she became more familiar to mainstream audiences. Even when the word spread that she would get her own movie, her key issues didn’t catch fire mainly because it seemed so implausible. Now that Sony has cast the lead role, collectors are taking this book much more seriously.
This time last week, raw copies of ASM #210 were staying in the $100-$150 range. In recent days, they’ve been reaching as much as $250. Graded copies are holding their own as well. While there hasn’t been a 9.8 to trade hands since the casting news, a 9.6 earned a record $725 on Tuesday.
3. DARTH VADER #6
The second Star Wars comic in today’s top-five, Darth Vader #6 is gaining attention thanks to the Grand Inquisitor.
Made famous in Star Wars: Rebels, the Inquisitor is the supreme Jedi hunter who answered directly to Darth Vader. He is the highest ranking of several members of the Galactic Empire’s Inquisitorius. They are tasked with tracking down the rogue Jedi who survived Palpatine’s Order 66 from Revenge of the Sith.
The word on social media is that actor Rupert Friend has been cast as the Grand Inquisitor in the upcoming Kenobi series on Disney+. While nothing has been confirmed, the logic adds up. We already know that Hayden Christensen will reprise his prequel role as Anakin Skywalker, and he may suit up as Darth Vader. If that is the case, then he could send out the Inquisitors to find the legendary Jedi, Obi-Wan. That means we will be in for more lightsaber duels, and everyone likes those, right?
The speculation is giving a boost to the Grand Inquisitor’s first full (and second overall) appearance in 2017’s Darth Vader #6. Thanks to all the Disney+ news and rumors, those Marvel Darth Vader comics are setting the market on fire, and this is just the latest. At this point, it would be wise to collect the entire runs considering the number of new characters coming from both series.
Looking for Darth Vader #6? Higher quality raw copies have jumped into the $120 range this week. Since this time last week, the graded 9.8s have been reaching record numbers. On February 3, one sold for $350, and that was topped by a record $360 sale yesterday.
4. VENOM #3 THIRD PRINT
Every time there is a mention of Venom or some other symbiote in a movie, the talk inevitably turns to Knull. Before Let There Be Carnage hit theaters, the rumor mill was churning out the possibility that the God of the Symbiotes would be referenced in the film. Even the end-credits scene that saw Venom tell Eddie Brock about the Hive Mind on Klyntar gave fans a distinct Knull feeling.
This week, a new rumor hit social media. The claim is that an inside source at Sony says the studio is developing a feature film that will star the three Spider-Man actors - Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire - alongside Tom Hardy and possibly Carnage as Knull lays claim to Earth. Much of this is fueled by the “leaked” concept art of Tom Holland with the symbiote costume. That picture, of course, ties into the No Way Home mid-credits scene that saw Hardy’s Brock/Venom leave a piece of symbiote behind in the bar.
There’s more than just the symbiotes to connect Knull to the greater MCU. Gorr the God Butcher will appear in Thor: Love and Thunder. If he follows his comic roots, he will wield All-Black, the Necrosword, which was forged by Knull. The King in Black used that sword to behead a celestial, giving birth to Knowhere in Guardians of the Galaxy.
When it comes to Knull collecting, the top of the list remains the third print of Venom #3 with the God of the Symbiotes on the cover. On February 6, a 9.8 sold for $497, which is the first time it’s hit that mark in a year.
5. DARTH MAUL #3
What do you do when you can’t get your hands on that elusive first appearance? Track down the second appearance. In this case, that means you also get Cad Bane’s first cover.
While Darth Maul #2 is at a record pace thanks to the latest episode of BOBF, collectors are also gunning for Darth Maul #3. In today’s collecting, those first cover appearances can prove to be as valuable - and in many cases, more so - than the actual first in-story appearance. With a character as popular as Cad, buyers are hoping that proves to be the case for the infamous bounty hunter.
The big picture with Cad’s early appearances will be told in wake of the closing episodes of BOBF’s first season. In the season finale, it appeared he had uttered his last Western cliché when Boba stabbed him with his Tusken spear. However, there was a Darth Vader-like flashing red light on his chest that could indicate there’s more to come for Cad.
If he survived the finale, then the fair market values will likely continue to rise. However, if Boba Fett killed him, that could put a cap on his key issues. So far, the prices have fallen off. Raw copies are still regularly earning anywhere from $50-$75. A week ago, a 9.8 reached a record high $400.
6. SPIDER-WOMAN #37
The hype for X-Men ‘97 has officially begun, and it started with a new line of action figures. Recently, Marvel unveiled the Legends figures based on the upcoming X-Men: the Animated Series continuation, X-Men ‘97. Several new faces to the cartoon realm were unveiled, but the standout among the crowd has been Siryn.
Not familiar with the name? The daughter of longtime X-Man Banshee. After he died (and later came back like everyone else), she took up the name Banshee and wore his old costume. In 2012, the character was given a new name and rank. This time, she took up the magical mantle of Morrigan, a Celtic goddess inspired by Arthurian legend. In recent years, she has taken up residence on Krakoa and returned to being Siryn.
Now that she has been confirmed for X-Men ‘97, I would not be surprised to see her take a larger role in the current X-Men run. That will only increase the interest in her first appearance in 1981’s Spider-Woman #37.
There haven’t been any graded sales so far this year, but 2021 saw the 9.8 reach a record $475 that June. By December, the price tag had lowered to below $300. The decreasing value is good for collectors. This week, raw copies were staying in the $20-$50 range.
7. STAR WARS INSIDER MAGAZINE #200
Before you complain, I realize this is not actually a comic. As the name suggests, it is a magazine. However, this is still considered the first cover art featuring Din Djarin, the Mandalorian. Surprisingly, there are few options in this field, especially considering the mass appeal the character has.
With all the bounty hunters being more popular than ever thanks to The Mandalorian, I am surprised he doesn’t have an official comic first yet. The closest we get is the variant for Darth Vader #20 with Din and Grogu on the cover. While it is the first time he is seen on an actual comic, Star Wars Insider Magazine #200 is still the initial cover art.
Until we get an official Mandalorian comic, which I am certain is in the planning stages, this is as good as it gets. Still, the Peach Momoko artwork is clearly comic inspired, and it will appease fans for the time being. Once a Din Djarin comic is released, it will likely increase the value for Inside Magazine #200.
The Peach Momoko variant is the one to own, since it has Mando and Grogu on the cover. Raw copies of the trade dress usually sell for about $10, the virgin variant fetches the bigger numbers. Graded at a 9.8, that one sells for $150+.
8. DETECTIVE COMICS #585
James Gunn is riding the superhero high at the moment. When he was initially fired by Disney/Marvel Studios over controversial Tweets, it looked like his time in the spotlight was over. Then DC/WarnerMedia came calling, giving him the run of the house with The Suicide Squad. The movie was a hit for the company with its mature humor and lavish violence.
This year, Gunn has once again ascended the comic mountain with Peacemaker. The HBO Max series has become the biggest streaming show this year, and it would seem a second season is in order. Before that, Gunn will reportedly unveil another streaming series for HBO Max, and it is once again a spinoff of The Suicide Squad.
While nothing has been said, the most prevalent theory is that it will star Ratcatcher 2. In the comics, there was only one Ratcatcher, Otis Flannegan, who debuted in Detective Comics #585 in 1988. The movie version was a much more sentimental character. Cleo’s father was the first Ratcatcher, using his genius to create a device that controlled rats. When he died of an apparent overdose, Cleo picked up the mantle, using the rats to help her survive an impoverished life on the streets.
The highest grade sold so far this month has been the 9.6, which brought $60 on February 5. In January, a 9.8 earned as much as $500. If you opt for a raw copy, you’re looking at spending about $30 for a direct edition versus $75-$100 for a newsstand.
9. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #88
When Spider-Man gets a new villain, Marvel makes sure we know all about it. The advertising began for this issue months ago, and it has led to a bump in interest for ASM #88. Of course, that is exactly the idea, so Marvel is winning in that regard.
What’s all the fuss about? This issue promises the debut of yet another goblin (at this point, Spider-Man has nearly enough goblins in his rogue’s gallery to be a Lord of the Rings spinoff). This time, it’s the Queen Goblin (or Goblin Queen; I’ve seen both) who is terrorizing New York City. Aesthetically, she looks very similar to the Red Goblin. Although he was a great looking character, the execution of the Norman Osborn/Carnage characters was poorly delivered, and those initial high prices resulted in very little. This could be a similar one-trick pony, but we will have to reserve judgment for later.
The standard cover is generally selling for cover price at the moment, but the Tyler Kirkham variants are reeling in the eye-catching numbers. The trade dress has been selling for about $40 this week while the virgin edition’s price tag has been for as much as $70.
10. UNCANNY X-MEN #345
With so much mystery surrounding the X-Men and their inevitable MCU debut, buyers are aiming for any character firsts that could be featured on the big screen. Here you have the debut of Maggot, one of the many overlooked additions to the X-lineup from the late 1990s.
Not exactly known for having the coolest mutant power, Maggot’s name suits him. For whatever reason, he does not have an actual digestive track. Instead, he carries two techno-organic slugs with him. They appear from his stomach, devour pretty much anything and everything, then return to Maggot’s gut. When he absorbs the nutrients from the slugs, he gets supercharged strength and stamina.
While that may seem like the type of throwaway character the ‘90s were famous for, his first appearance is getting noticed. When Marvel announced its X-Men ‘97 wave of Marvel Legends, Maggot was one of the first to be revealed. How big of a role will he play in the show remains to be seen, but the exposure should help prices for Uncanny X-Men #345. At the moment, raw copies sell for $5 or less.
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.