BY MATT TUCK
FB@ The Comic Blog
The market was in love with the Wonder Twins this week after their DCEU movie announcement. Welcome to the only weekly top-10 list with updated market data to keep you informed.
1. GIANT-SIZE X-MEN #1
Who would have thought that a Doctor Strange movie would cause so much interest in X-Men keys? The moment Patrick Stewart said, “We should tell him the truth,” in the Multiverse of Madness Super Bowl trailer, it ignited a blaze under all things Professor X. The initial reaction was a flood of buyers searching for the Illuminati’s first team appearance in New Avengers #9, but that hype inevitably sent collectors on the hunt for Giant-Size X-Men #1.
X-Men #1 from 1963 may be the team’s first appearance, but hardcore X-fans lean toward GSX #1 as the group’s true first. After years of reprints and dwindling sales that had X-Men on the brink of being canceled, Len Wein and company redesigned the team. Instead of being a Fantastic Four clone, the title would find its own voice with the additions of Wolverine, Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, and the ill-fated Thunderbird, who recently made his comic return (because who stays dead in a comic?). GSX #1 kicked off what would become the golden age for the X-Men from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s.
With Professor X’s seeming return to the silver screen, it’s no wonder collectors want this issue. Values are rising as a 4.5 recently sold for $3,120 on Sunday. Even before the MOM Super Bowl trailer, the fair market values were beginning to pick up after a slight dip at the end of the year. Earlier this month, the graded 3.0 came within $50 of tying last year’s $2,800 record high.
2. SUPER FRIENDS #7
The Wonder Twins are getting a movie, and that is fueling speculation for their first comic appearance in 1977’s Super Friends #7.
It goes back to WarnerMedia’s movie announcement. The reports online have it that the same writer/director of Black Adam will be spearheading the Wonder Twins movie. While it’s much too early to judge Black Adam, the excitement from the teasers indicate that it will be a major hit for the DCEU. If the movie lives up to that potential, then Adam Sztykiel will be a popular name in Hollywood, which will bolster interest in Wonder Twins.
All of the attention on the Wonder Twins is making for a percolating market for any of their key issues, especially Super Friends #7. Cartoon keys have been gaining traction in the past year, and Super Friends #1 had been getting more favor from buyers in recent months. The emergence of Super Friends #7 as a bigger collecting target could spur buyers to invest in the full run from the original ‘77 series. At the moment, SF #7 is surging through the auction sites. Raw copies have brought as much as $225 in recent days.
3. SECRET AVENGERS #19
You know a character is hot when the first appearance of a business suit is bringing top dollar. Maybe it’s not just a business suit. In this case, it’s Moon Knight’s white suit and tie that makes it so special. Readers saw him sport the attire for the first time in Secret Avengers #19.
Let’s not forget we’re talking about Moon Knight. He puts the fun in dysfunctional, and much of his character arcs are built around his mental illness. As part of his dissociative identity disorder, there are many personas tied to Moon Knight. When he rocks his business suit and mask, he is known as Mr. Knight. The latest MK trailer featured a brief glimpse of Moon Knight wearing the white suit, and that has fans wondering if Mr. Knight will be part of the show. It’s a likely scenario, considering the trailers have portrayed the would-be Marc Spector as having multiple personalities.
Multiverse of Madness may be getting the most headlines as of late, but the emergence of Secret Avengers #19 as a hot key is proof that buyers are all over the Moon Knight bandwagon. That being said, how much can you expect to pay for a pristine, near-mint SA #19? At the moment, raw copies are consistently earning $40-$50. There have only been four graded 9.8s sold online this year, and all four traded hands on February 12. One of those set a new record high of $300.
4. DARTH VADER #21 MOFF GIDEON VARIANT
On the heels of the super popular Darth Vader #20 Din Djarin and Grogu variant comes the first comic appearance of Moff Gideon. The fan favorite villain from The Mandalorian’s two seasons has been long overdue for a comic. While he is not featured in the story itself, Gideon and his Dark Troopers storm onto the cover art straight from Mando Season Two.
As I wrote about the Mandalorian, I will write about Moff Gideon. These massively popular characters are destined to star in their own comic series. At this point, it’s more of a surprise that they haven’t made in-story debuts. The first season aired three years ago, and none of the Mando original creations have been inducted into the Marvel Comics corner of the Star Wars universe.
Hopefully, a Moff Gideon or Mandalorian comic is on the table at Marvel. For now, let’s enjoy the Darth Vader #21 variant that showcased actor Giancarlo Esposito in full regalia. The best part is that he was not killed at the end of Mandalorian, so he will return in some fashion. Whether that is the third season of The Mandalorian or in Ahsoka’s spinoff series, we will see more Moff Gideon before his time expires.
So far, the preorders for the Moff Gideon variant are red hot. Luckily, the prices are staying in the $4 cover price range. As popular as his character has been on The Mandalorian, those values will eventually escalate.
5. WONDER TWINS #1
Within minutes of the movie announcement, buyers were digging through the dollar bins for Wonder Twins #1. What had been a $4 comic two weeks ago is now routinely priced between $15-$20.
It wasn’t that long ago that collectors shied away from the first self-titled comics in favor of the first appearances. While those character debuts both in-story and on the cover art are still the go-to for key collecting, buyers have taken a greater interest in other famous firsts as well. Since last year, we’ve seen a noticeable boost for titles like Moon Knight #1 and Wolverine #1 to name a couple.
The newfound interest in first self-titled comics comes from the inflated market prices. If you can’t get a first appearance on the ground floor of a movie or series announcement, obtaining one becomes quite the task, at least for a good deal. Such is the case with Wonder Twins #1.
Although they had been in comics since 1977, the two didn’t get their own comic series until three years ago. Up to this point, it didn’t exactly draw attention. Most collectors overlooked it, which is understandable since they weren’t particularly important to the overall DCU. Now that a movie is in the works, buyers are giving this issue a second chance.
6. EXTREME JUSTICE #9
Wonder Twins powers, activate! Form of…an HBO Max feature film.
Of all the DC Comics characters to get their own movie, I doubt many fans predicted the Wonder Twins would be next in line. All the same, here we are, and WarnerMedia officially has the wheels in motion to bring the transforming siblings to life.
I imagine this will be a tongue-in-cheek campy comedy considering the subject matter. After all, the Wonder Twins were created for the classic 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series Super Friends. The duo became synonymous with both the show and ‘70s cartoons. It wasn’t until 1995 that the twins were folded into the DC Comics Universe, and that is why collectors have been targeting Extreme Justice #9 this week.
Like the other Wonder Twins keys on today’s list, Extreme Justice #9 was not getting the love from buyers before the announcement. All it takes is word of a coming movie to make a comic jump from ignored to beloved in a matter of moments. Values for Extreme Justice #9 don’t compare with Super Friends #7, but EJ #9 is not lacking in sales. This week, raw copies have jumped into the $45 range.
7. BATMAN #121
The Batman is only weeks from its theatrical release date, and fans can hardly contain their enthusiasm. Matt Reeves promises an edgy thrill ride that test audiences claimed bordered on being a horror movie at times. The Riddler has never been scarier, and the Penguin will be starring in his own gangster-themed streaming series. The movie has so much hype behind it that there’s already talk of a sequel (not that anyone should be surprised by that).
What’s interesting as far as any premature sequel speculation is Reeves’ comments from the past week. Collider reported that the director said he would enjoy bringing Mister Freeze into the dark, gritty world of The Batman. It came across as Reeves simply answering a question rather than a full-fledged pitch to make Freeze the next antagonist, but it’s enough to send buyers to the auction sites for Batman #121.
Of course, with added attention come higher prices, and Batman #121 was already expensive. Whether or not Freeze has movie potential, his first appearance will remain a popular collectible simply because he is an iconic Silver Age Batman villain. If Reeves works his magic as he is doing with Riddler, this comic could move to a new level.
This issue has gained so much momentum lately that even the reprints are earning $10 or more. When a CBCS graded 3.0 sells for $1,550, it makes those cheaper reprints more tantalizing.
8. AVENGERS FOREVER #6
Coming in May, Marvel will introduce a new alternate reality version of T’Challa. Instead of being the Black Panther, this dimension’s would-be Wakandan king goes the Iron Man route and forges himself an armor made of vibranium. Guess what his name is? The less-inspired Vibranium Man. The story itself has the Iron Man/Black Panther mash up take arms against Killmonger, who has become the despotic ruler of the entire planet.
Anytime Marvel or DC reimagines a major character, it causes a sales spike. Even though it’s not an entirely new character, those mashups can result in speculation gold. For proof, look no further than the Batman Who Laughs and the inflated prices for his first appearance.
The real potential for Vibranium Man lies in the MCU. What If…? was a hit for Disney+, and Multiverse of Madness appears to be connecting the animated series to the live-action movies. That could have serious implications for a character like Vibranium Man. He represents two characters Marvel Studios doesn’t appear keen to recast in Black Panther and Iron Man. Combining them into one figure could be the avenue needed to bring both T’Challa and Iron Man back to the MCU.
If we see Vibranium Man (or some version of him) in a future What If…? episode, it will send this issue through the roof. At the moment, pre-sales are staying at the cover price level, and that is great news for potential buyers.
9. WHAT IF…? MILES MORALES #1 1:25 VARIANT
On the subject of What If…?, the 1:25 variant for What If…? Miles Morales #1 should be on your radar. Again, the introduction of an alternate version of two popular characters could have MCU potential, at least in the animated realm.
In What If…? Miles Morales #1, instead of being bitten by a radioactive Spider-Man, Miles goes the Steve Rogers route. He undergoes a secret U.S. government experiment and becomes his world’s Captain America. This is the fun of What If…? Miles Morales as the limited series explores the possibilities of Miles becoming other superheroes, like Wolverine and Hulk. It follows the long standing tradition of character mashups under the What If…? banner, going back to stories like Frank Castle as Captain America or a Spider-Man/Punisher combination. In the MCU era, there’s always a chance that Miles could appear in What If…?, and there’s no rule that says he can’t be a different hero than Spider-Man.
There were four variants released for this issue, but it’s been the 1:25 Humberto Ramos ratio variant that has been the belle of the ball. Raw copies have been bordering on $40 sales in the past week.
10. BATMAN #428
On the subject of The Batman sequels, Matt Reeves wasn’t the only one causing a stir. Robert Pattinson was asked about future Bat projects, and he mentioned the desire to adapt A Death in the Family for movie screens.
The infamous story of Jason Todd’s murder at the hands of a crowbar-wielding Joker (and at the fingertips of fans who voted to kill off the second Robin) remains one of Batman’s most controversial stories. Not only did the Clown Prince of Crime prove that he is more than a whacky Golden and Silver Age leftover, but it solidified how much fans hated Jason’s Robin. Their tune changed when Jason was reintroduced as the anti-hero Red Hood, a story that has been adapted multiple times between cartoons, video games, and the live-action Titans.
Reeves’ world of The Batman would seem to be the perfect place to bring Jason Todd’s sad tale of life, death, and rebirth to the silver screen. That is why many collectors are aiming for Batman #428 because the two worlds fit together seamlessly. There is a rumor that the Joker will appear in a cameo in The Batman, and that would further the “Death in the Family” speculation. If there are mentions or Easter eggs related to Jason Todd, then it will send his key issues to new heights, which would include Batman #428. This week, raw copies have sold for as much as $45.
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.