BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
The Chameleon is more popular than ever after the Kraven casting announcement. Dig a little deeper, and we find that some overlooked characters are getting their due thanks to movie news and rumors as well. Welcome to the only weekly top 10 with updated fair market values to help you get the most bang for your investment dollars.
1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15
This is a two-in-one for collectors. The most obvious reason for its hefty price tag is the first appearance of Kraven the Hunter. The less famous excuse to put this into your collections is the second appearance of the Chameleon. It was confirmed this week Kraven’s shapeshifting brother would be making his live-action debut in the Kraven solo movie, so anything related to Chameleon has been on the move. Of course, before the Chameleon was announced for the cast, Russell Crowe was enlisted as part of the Kravinoff family, raising questions about whether or not Crowe would be playing an older version of the original Kraven.
It all adds up to increased attention on ASM #15.
Since the weekend, the sales have been impressive. A 4.5 sold for $1,500 on Saturday. On Sunday, a 3.5 reached $1,226, a 5.0 brought $2,400, and a 5.5 traded hands for $2,499.
2. XERO #1
On the independent scene, the big news has come from an unlikely source, the old-school rapper, 50 Cent. After he made a triumphant return at the Super Bowl halftime show, he announced that his production studio is developing Xero into a live-action feature film.
Wait, who? I had to do some research on this one. In what could be the most comic booky of comic book origin stories, Xero is a professional basketball player who moonlights as an assassin. After espionage operations, Xero is “the cleaner” sent to make sure all the loose ends are tied up, which basically means lots of murder. While his real identity is the African-American Coltrane Walker, star power forward for the National City Vipers, he disguises himself as a white guy when he puts on his Xero costume. I guess you could see he’s the dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.
It’s caused a rush for his first appearance in 1997’s Xero #1. Over the weekend, raws had sold for as much as $135. Not bad for a comic that was earning $1.79 ten days ago.
3. X-MEN #10
Was that the Savage Land we saw in the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Super Bowl trailer? With so much happening in less than five minutes, no one really knows what to expect from the movie. There were zombies, interdimensional octopus monsters, and Patrick Stewart. Marvel has been quiet on the plot details just to keep us guessing, and it is keeping the theorists busy.
One of the many highlights of the trailer featured a tyrannosaurus rex. Since much of the MCU revolves around time travel, that could be Doctor Strange falling through time or seeing other dimensions. The much more fun theory is that those dinosaurs were from the Savage Land.
This theory is spun out of the Professor X mystery. We only hear one line from Stewart, but it seems apparent that he is bringing the X-Men to the MCU. Taking that into account, it’s easy to connect the dots between mutants and dinosaurs, which results in Ka-Zar and the Savage Land.
Famously, Ka-Zar lives on his very own version of Land of the Lost where all manner of extinct creatures inhabit a secret island. In a clear Tarzan ripoff, the main man of the jungle is Ka-Zar. Guess when he and the Savage Land first appeared? Where else but X-Men #10.
Since last week, both the graded and raw copies of X-Men #10 have been heating up. Raws are consistently earning $300-$400, while the last graded copy - an 8.0 - sold for over $1,600 on Saturday.
4. TALES TO ASTONISH #62
There hasn’t been this much interest in the Chameleon since Spider-Man: Far From Home. If you recall, the theory circulating social media was that the friendly Russian tour guide/SHIELD Agent was actually the Chameleon. That idea was that he would reveal himself in No Way Home as part of the Sinister Six. Clearly, that didn’t happen, but no worries because he is arriving in the Kraven movie.
The trouble with collecting the Chameleon keys is that he is the first Spider-Man villain. His first appearance was in the holy grail, ASM #1. Because of those ridiculous prices for the original Spider-Man self-titled comic, it’s giving collectors a new reason to consider other options. If the values for ASM #15 are out of your price range, there’s Chameleon’s first cover appearance on Tales to Astonish #62. Sure, his head was featured in a bubble on the front of ASM #15, but this is considered by many to be his first full cover appearance.
As an added bonus, this issue also gives you the first cameo appearance of an iconic Hulk villain, the Leader, and it’s all for affordable prices. Yesterday, a graded 5.5 sold for just $268. Most raws tend to stay below $100 for up to mid-grades.
5.THOR #1 2014
The hype is building for Thor: Love and Thunder. Images of Natalie Portman and Chris Hemsworth in full costume are making the rounds as well as the first preview of the live-action Gorr in a Lego set. It’s all leading to a budding excitement for Lady Thor.
There have been arguments about Lady Thor’s first appearance. Many collectors lean toward What If…? #10. That issue marked the first time readers saw Jane Foster pick up Mjolnir and gain the powers of Thor. Only, she wasn’t Lady Thor; she was Thordis. That makes her a different character from the one we will see in Love and Thunder. Lady Thor, on the other hand, made her first appearance in Jason Aaron’s 2014 Thor #1.
Both What If…? #10 and Thor #1 have been gaining momentum as of late, but this week, Thor #1 and her first full appearance in Thor #2 have taken the spotlight. Lately, raw copies for Thor #1 have been approaching the $200 mark. The most recent 9.8 to trade hands sold for $290 on Sunday.
6. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #307
Has there ever been a time when the Chameleon’s keys were this interesting? Over the years, he’s been more or less a second-tier (or maybe even third-tier) villain. He’s a staple of virtually every Spider-Man cartoon imaginable, but he’s never reached that next level of villainy. Could this be the moment that he breaks out and becomes a real threat to the Spider-Verse? It seems to be working for the Riddler at the moment, so who knows?
At any rate, buyers are hungry for more Chameleon keys. Like ASM #15 and Astonishing Tales #62, the fact that everyone’s favorite shapeshifter’s first appearance is a holy grail without his help. On the same token, ASM #15 is a major key in itself, and Tales to Astonish #62 will be picking up steam. The next best thing is ASM #307, which has the added bonus of some awesome Todd McFarlane artwork. What makes this issue special is it tells the Chameleon’s origin story for the first time. Likely, his appearance in Kraven will tie into this issue.
Looking for one to add to your collection? These have been staying in the $20 range for raws as of late.
7. BALDER THE BRAVE #1
Balder gets the Chameleon treatment this week. Their first appearances are so ridiculously priced that it puts buyers on the trail of their lesser issues. Of course, when it comes to Balder, there’s not a lot to choose from. Up to this point, has anyone been terribly concerned about the adventures of Balder the Brave?
Surprisingly, he has not been featured in the MCU quite yet. Despite three Thor movies that brought Asgard to life, there’s been no sighting of Thor’s half-brother. Then came Multiverse of Madness, and the gossip has extended well outside the confines of the Doctor Strange corner of the MCU. Beside the Illuminati and Marvel Zombies, the rumor mill has churned out a theory that Balder will make his MCU debut in MOM.
If you’re like me, your first thought is, how does Balder fit into Multiverse of Madness? Besides being a son of Odin (that guy has as many kids as Zeus), he is a reluctant warrior that is prophesied to bring about the events of Ragnarok. The gossip is that Balder will be revealed as one of Odin’s sons from a separate dimension. Don’t forget that he is the Asgardian God of Light, so he has light-based powers that could come into play, especially against Frost Giants.
Since his first appearance alongside Loki, Odin, and Heimdall in Journey into Mystery #85 is outrageously expensive at the moment, buyers are opting for his first solo comic. In recent days, the raw copies of Balder the Brave #1 are selling anywhere from $5-$20.
8. X DEATHS OF WOLVERINE #1
There’s a new Wolverine being introduced to the Marvel Universe, dubbed Omega Wolverine. This one is from a possible future in which he is the last mutant alive. The future Wolverine is spun from the pages of Jonathan Hickman’s Powers of X. At the end of that story, Wolverine and Moira MacTaggert see the Earth being handed over to the Phalanx. Omega Wolverine is corrupted by the Phalanx techno virus and sent back in time. It’s too early to say what his overall role in the Marvel Comics Universe will be, but it appears he will at least get a decent story arc before he bites the dust.
It’s hard to imagine the Phalanx-infused Wolvie being introduced into the MCU so quickly, but there’s no arguing it impacts the sales for the X Lives and Deaths of Wolverine. Already, it’s causing sellouts across the country. On the plus side, the standard cover is generally selling for cover price on eBay, and the variants haven’t gotten out of hand just yet, either.
9. STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC #1
Compared to other Star Wars keys, High Republic #1 is a bargain. Considering the escalating prices for virtually every Star Wars first appearance since The Mandalorian put the franchise back on track, it’s surprising that High Republic #1 is still under $50 in most cases.
What makes it such a speculative darling is the numerous first appearances included in the story. No question, one or more of these figures will arrive in the live-action Star Wars universe (or maybe a cartoon). Lately, the buzz has been that Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts is in talks to direct a Star Wars project. Whether that means a feature film or another Disney+ series has not been made public, but the rumor is that he could be adapting High Republic for the screen.
10. BATMAN: THE OFFICIAL COMIC ADAPTATION OF THE MOTION PICTURE
These days, nostalgia is a money-making machine. From Ghostbusters to Spider-Man, audiences are latching onto all their old favorites like never before. Thanks to the DCEU Multiverse, the world has rekindled its romance with the Tim Burton Dark Knight. After waiting a year to see Michael Keaton return to the cape and cowl, the latest Flash teaser lets us hear his voice and get a brief glimpse of key items from the 1989 Batman.
Taking it a step further, the Batgirl movie images circulating social media have stirred the market for the first comic appearance of Keaton’s Batman. In the Batgirl pictures, we see Keaton donning an updated version of his ‘89 suit, and it is glorious. Looking for a Batman: the Official Adaptation of the Motion Picture? You can easily find raw copies for about $10-$20, and the last 9.8 to swap owners online went for $115 in June.
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.