BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
Those ‘80s comics were popping this week with the first appearance of Moon Knight’s villain, Harrow, leading the pack. It’s time for the only top 10 with updated market data, #Trending10.
1. MOON KNIGHT #2
For the past year, there has been ample speculation pertaining to Ethan Hawke’s mystery villain in the Moon Knight Disney+ series. Will he play the Sun King or possibly Dracula? The rumors abounded. After Monday’s trailer drop, it has been confirmed that he is playing the obscure character Harrow, who was introduced in the 1985 MK series. If you aren’t sure who that is, you are not alone.
In the trailer, Arthur Harrow is portrayed as a cult leader with an expansive following. If Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s never trust a charismatic cult leader. For that matter, don’t trust an uncharismatic cult leader, either.
The comics portray Harrow as more of a supervillain. He suffers from a disease that causes facial disfigurement. In his attempt to find a cure, he uses forced test subjects that are transformed into zombies. While Harrow doesn’t have superpowers, he works for a mysterious corporation, OMNIUM, that could use its means to thwart Moon Knight.
Confirming Hawke’s MCU villain has made Moon Knight #2 an overnight collecting sensation. Monday, a raw copy listed as very fine sold for $125 while a newsstand advertised as being near mint/very fine earned $170. To think that only a day earlier, these were $5-$10 comics.
2. THOR #378
Thor: Love and Thunder is shaping up to be a Thor Corps movie. From Jane Foster as Lady Thor to what appears to be Thunder Strike and rumors of Beta Ray Bill, the movie is digging firmly into the God of Thunder’s past, especially when it comes to his 1980s and ‘90s costumes.
Last year, the picture of Chris Hemsworth sporting a vest and sleeveless shirt sent collectors on the hunt for Thunder Strike’s keys. Now the spotlight has shifted. The latest image circling the online groups has Thor wearing a full suit of armor. It very much has the vibe of his look from 1987’s Thor #378. In that issue, Thor had been seriously injured by Hella, leaving him as vulnerable and fragile as he had ever been to that point. Since the Protector of Mankind never rests, he sported a suit of magical gold armor that protected him while his body recovered from the fight.
Whether or not this is the plan for the armor in Love and Thunder is too early to tell, but it is nonetheless giving Thor #378 a major spike in the past week. At the moment, none of the sales have been particularly Earth shattering, and that is good news for buyers. For the most part, raw copies are staying in the $15-$20 range. Bear in mind that only a week ago, those same issues were about $5.
3. NEW TEEN TITANS ANNUAL #2
For a series named Peacemaker, it would seem that the title character is being overshadowed. Fans are falling in love with the show’s homicidal maniac with a broken moral compass, Vigilante.
Like all of James Gunn’s superhero projects, Peacemaker is filled with quirky characters, and his take on Vigilante may be the quirkiest of all. In a show with the living action figure himself, Peacemaker, that is a testament to how weird Gunn has made Adrian Chase.
In the comics, Adrian is one of nine - that’s right; nine - characters to call themselves Vigilante. The first was a cowboy, Greg Saunders, who debuted in the Golden Age. Adrian, the second Vigilante, didn’t make his first appearance until the early 1980s. He would don the modern Vigilante costume in his first full appearance in New Teen Titans Annual #2, and that has become the key to own in the past week.
Looking for one to call your own? On eBay, raw copies are selling for as much as $35 in recent days, and a CBCS-graded 9.8 sold for $306 on Sunday.
4. PUNISHER #218
Armor Wars is coming, and collectors are stockpiling for what could be a major fan-service moment for the MCU.
Since last year, there have been persistent rumors that Jon Bernthal was on the Armor Wars set. Why would Netflix’s Punisher be involved in an Iron Man series? Isn’t that show supposed to be the launching pad for Riri Williams as she becomes Ironheart ahead of her solo series? If you have followed the comics in recent years, you already know the answer.
Beginning with Punisher #218, Frank Castle was led to the War Machine armor by Nick Fury. Frank painted his trademark white skull across the chest and helmet and flew overseas to kill some bad guys. Only with the armor, he was more deadly than ever before. While he didn’t keep the suit for long, it made an impression on Punisher fans everywhere.
When the rumors first started, they seemed unlikely. Now that Marvel Studios has bridged the gap between the defunct Netflix-verse and the current MCU, it would seem that nothing is out of the question. That has collectors itching to get their hands on Punisher #218 just in case Bernthal is part of Armor Wars.
Raw copies with the standard cover have been selling for up to $50 over the past week. The one that is bringing the real money is the Bernthal photo cover with the actor in full Punisher attire. That variant sold for $120 on Monday.
5. PEACEMAKER #1
Vigilante may be getting a newfound following, but that doesn’t discount the impact Peacemaker is having on the secondary market. Fans are loving the raunchy superhero comedy with the most obscure characters DC has to offer, and it has elevated Peacemaker to a budding star of the DCEU. What WarnerMedia has in store for him after the season ends is a mystery, but audiences are crossing their fingers for the character to return to the screen in some form.
With all the publicity for Peacemaker, it is no wonder that his key issues have taken off. This began in 2020 when the peace-loving psychopath was first announced as part of The Suicide Squad cast, and many of us did not believe he would survive past the end of that movie. However, James Gunn apparently was enamored with the character, and the Peacemaker streaming series was born.
Now that Peacemaker has infiltrated mainstream culture, his key issues are as hot as ever. One of the most popular comics is his first solo title, Peacemaker #1. The thing to remember here is that there are two versions floating around. There is the original Charlton Comics edition from 1967, which generally sells in the $100 range for raw copies. There’s also the Modern Comics reprint that was published in 1978, and a graded 9.8 sells for less than $150.
6. AMAZING FANTASY #10
Reportedly, Marvel has cast its Nina Price for the upcoming Halloween special. In recent months, the company made it official that Werewolf By Night Jake Lopez would star in the Disney+ special, and now it would seem he’s getting some company.
For those of you not familiar with Nina, you are not alone. The overlooked character is the niece of the original Werewolf By Night, Jack Russell. Instead of being a werewolf, Nina is the Vampire By Night. Apparently, she was afflicted with her uncle’s curse, but she was bitten by a vampire. By sheer comic book logic, rather than transforming into a werewolf, she changes into a vampire…at night (did anyone else read that in their best Spongebob voice?). Now, she is slated to be part of the MCU’s monster invasion.
Once again, we have an obscure character getting a boost thanks to the world of live action. It has sent her first appearance in Amazing Fantasy, vol. 2, #10 on an upward trajectory. Raw copies are consistently earning $100+ lately, while a CGC-graded 9.8 sold for $650 on January 13. Before the MCU announcement, those same raw copies were about half the price at the end of December.
7. DEATH OF DOCTOR STRANGE: BLOODSTONE #1
Like all superheroes, it’s time for Doctor Strange to take a dirt nap. By nap, I literally mean a nap because hardly anyone stays dead in a comic book. In the meantime, he will hand over the title of Sorcerer Supreme, which he has done many times over the years, to a new character, Lyra Bloodstone.
Lyra is the sister of the more famous Elsa Bloodstone, who has been the subject of MCU rumors for years. Just when it seemed that Elsa was on her way to stardom, she is replaced by her sibling. While Strange takes his respite from the world of the living, Lyra has been tagged as the new Sorceress Supreme. Sooner or later, Doctor Strange will make his triumphant return and give his comics a quick sales boost. How long that will be is the real question, and that gives Marvel plenty of time to flesh out Lyra’s character. If she can gain enough of a following in that time, it could give speculators hopes of an MCU premiere, and that will add exponential value to her first appearance.
This issue hit local comic shop shelves last week, and already it’s bringing inflated prices on the auction sites. The standard cover and the Maria Wolf variant have immediately jumped to the $15 mark. Then there is the 1:10 ratio variant that has been earning between $50-$70 as of late.
8. MARVEL SUPER-HEROES’ SECRET WARS #8
That drop of living goo at the end of No Way Home has inspired a new round of speculation for this issue. That and the nonstop gossip that a Secret Wars movie is in the works at Marvel Studios.
If you recall, Jim Shooter, the former editor and writer at Marvel who penned the original Secret Wars series in the ‘80s, said that Marvel had been in contact with him over rights to the title. Shooter explained that he asked the Marvel representative if the company is working on a Secret Wars movie, to which the guy had no answer. Shooter interpreted that nonresponse as confirmation that, yes, Marvel Studios is conjuring a Secret Wars movie.
Nothing official has been said about any SW projects, but the Eddie Brock bonus scene from No Way Home did raise eyebrows. Although he was teleported back to the Sony-verse, the symbiote left behind a piece of itself. Many are hoping this means that either Secret Wars is coming or that we’ll see an MCU version of Venom and the saga of the black suit. Either way, it’s encouraging buyers to hoard as many copies of SW #8 as they can find. Higher quality raw comics are selling for as much as $150. On the other side, the graded slabs are selling for inflated prices. A 9.6 sold for $375 on Tuesday, and an 8.5 brought $300 the same day.
9. DAREDEVIL #168
Elektra’s first appearance has been heating up lately. Of course, everything DD had a fire lit under it after Charlie Cox returned to the MCU in No Way Home and Vincent D’Onofrio reprised his role as Kingpin for Hawkeye. It has led to even more DD speculation than we have seen in years, and that’s saying a lot since there has been plenty of gossip since Marvel turned out the lights on the Netflix series.
When it comes to Elektra, her investment speculation is more than just the MCU. While it is easy to theorize that she will return onscreen in some fashion (sure, she died at the end of Defenders, but when has death ever stopped a superhero?), she’s been making waves in the Chip Zdarsky run of DD. In 2020, she took up the cowl when Matt Murdock was sent to prison. Since then, she’s been the Woman Without Fear, and it doesn’t appear she’s ready to turn in her horned helmet and batons just yet.
The big question for investors is whether or not we will see her as DD in the MCU. That is a possibility, especially with Marvel’s push for more female superheroes on the big and small screens. Either way, it’s causing a spike for her first appearance in DD #168.
Being a popular character’s debut, this issue has commanded higher prices for years, and the added attention on Elektra is keeping the values high. Just this week, raw copies consistently earned $100+, and a graded 9.2 sold for $450 on Sunday.
10. WORLD’S FINEST #1 SEINFELD VARIANT
Rounding out today’s list is one of the newest comic frenzies on the market. Although the issue won’t go on sale until March, pre-orders for the World’s Finest #1 Jerry Seinfeld cover are commanding huge numbers, at least for the ratio variant.
Unless there is something I missed, this would be the first comic cover featuring the iconic comedian. Although his beloved character from the 1990s sitcom, Seinfeld, was a Man of Steel fan, no one usually thinks of Jerry Seinfeld when thinking of superheroes. Yet, there he is on the cover art, driving the Batmobile on his way to drink coffee, I would assume.
One of the driving forces behind the issue’s collectability is the rarity. The original printing had this as a 1:100 ratio variant, meaning comic shops would need to order 100 copies of the standard cover in order to get one Seinfeld variant. Due to the public outcry for more, DC is publishing a second print run that is available to everyone. As fun as that is to see, it’s still the 1:100 ratio variant that will fetch the biggest prices.
Speaking of prices, they are eye-popping for the ratio cover. One pre-order sold for $280. On the other hand, the second prints are staying in the $5-$10 range.
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.