BY MATT TUCK
It’s new versus old in the collecting world: Ultimate Fallout #4 or Incredible Hulk #181? The numbers say Miles’ first appearance has a long way to go to catch up to Wolverine.
Without a doubt Ultimate Fallout #4 is in high gear. As hot as it may be, it is not on the same level as Incredible Hulk #181. Not yet, at least.
SPIDER-MILES RULES THE MODERN AGE
Ever since Into the Spider-Verse introduced Miles Morales to mainstream audiences, those 2011 Spider-Miles comics have been on a blistering pace. Then those prices got even higher when Sony announced that Miles would star in his own Spider-Man game that would launch with the PS5.
Just when it looked like those Miles’ keys could not go any higher, along came 2021. Now Miles Morales has conquered the collecting world, and the values are only going up.
His early appearances are breaking new records virtually by the week. The standard cover of UF #4 at a 9.8 is blazing a major fair market value trail. Last year, it topped out at $1,420. Then it surpassed the $2k point on February 24 only to crack the $3k just weeks later on March 7. As of the time of this writing, the current record high stands at $3,204, and that will surely fall in a matter of weeks if not days.
It’s more than just the first print of UF #4 that has a rocket strapped to its back. The second print at a 9.8 is pushing closer to the $1k every day, and it last sold for $800. Miles-mania has gotten so overwhelming that even the Marvel Previews #95 catalog featuring a preview of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 on the cover sold for $5,750 last month. For that matter, the standard edition of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 graded at a 9.8 brought $1,225 last year.
At this rate, there is a growing number of collectors who are comparing Miles Morales’ booming popularity to that of Wolverine, and some are claiming UF #4 is the next Hulk #181. Maybe someday, it will be, but for all UF #4’s impressive market surge, it has a long way to go to catch up to that Holy Grail of Holy Grails, Hulk #181.
BY THE NUMBERS, WOLVERINE IS STILL THE BEST AT WHAT HE DOES
Take that 9.8 UF #4. Its FMV growth is catching many eyes, and for good reason. Let’s say that it hits $4k next month. For that same price, what grade of Hulk #181 could you buy? Based on March sales data, you could get a mid-grade 5.5. Now use that $5,750 you could spend on a Marvel Previews #95 and invest it in Wolverine’s first full appearance, and you could take home about a 7.0. And that’s for near-perfect Spider-Miles keys. Basically, you can trade your Miles Morales firsts for upper-mid-grade Hulk #181s. To get a 9.8 #181, you would need $50k’s worth of UF #4s, Previews #95, and Ultimate Spider-Man #1s.
The most expensive Miles Morales key on the market is the variant edition of UF #4 at a 9.8. That one last sold for an astounding $15,864. As awesome as that was, its sales price would net you a very nice 9.4 Hulk #181.
THE LOW GRADES TELL THE STORY
Where you really see the difference is in the low grades. Bear in mind that 37 years separates the two comics. Naturally, low grades for a UF #4 are not the same as low-grade Hulk #181s. To be fair, let’s compare the lowest grades of the two. For the UF #4, that would be a 3.0, and it last sold for $153 in November. Don’t get me wrong; $153 for a 3.0 is a testament to Miles’ popularity. However, it doesn’t compete with Hulk #181 in the low-grade department.
The same $153 you could spend on a 3.0 UF #4 would only get you the fourth page of #181. If you want a complete 3.0 with the Marvel Value Stamp, get ready to spend about $2,000. Of course you could opt for a green label without the MVS, and that last sold for $700 in 2017.
For a complete copy of Hulk #181, the lowest grade sold this year has been the 0.5, and it brought $1,000 in February. Let that sink in.
There is no question that UF #4 is the hottest of the modern key issues. It is gaining at an unbelievable pace, and we are sure to see it surpass $4k in the coming months. At the rate it’s going, that could be at the end of April.
Someday, UF #4 could rival Wolverine’s first full appearance in terms of FMV, but that won’t happen for a long time. As hot as Miles Morales’ keys are now, those Wolverine issues will blow the roof off the market once Logan and the X-Men enter the MCU. Then we will see phenomenal numbers for what is already a near-unobtainable comic. Of course, the same can be said for Miles Morales, but it still will not be the same as the crater Wolverine’s MCU debut will leave in the market.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.