Saturday, September 23, 2017

Punisher #4

1st MicrochipMarvel - Nov. 1987

Key Issue Notes
First appearance of Microchip
First appearance of Microchip Jr.
First appearance of Church of the Saved
First appearance of Samuel Smith
First appearance of Keena
First appearance of Ray White
First appearance of Vickie White
First appearance of Melissa White

CGC 9.8As most of us already know, The Punisher is going to be coming out on Netflix, hopefully, anytime now, although there has been no official release date as of yet. I, for one, am looking forward to seeing how they will have Mr. Castle portrayed and am more excited to see this Netflix series more than I have been for the past few that they have released.

But I digress.

Looking over the key issue notes above, you'd think that there's a lot that make this a worthy key issue, but there is really only one real reason that this comic has any significance at this time. The reason being the first appearance of Microchip. All of the other appearances are very minor, but they are first appearances, and no matter how minor they might be, they still make up a key issue status and therefore, I will make mention of them.

I'm not going to go too in depth for these minor characters. Most of them don't really make any appearances outside of this story line, so there really isn't much to talk about anyway.

The Punisher, Microchip Jr and Microchip
As I already said, The Punisher is going to be released soon and Microchip is going to make an appearance in the show. He is a pretty important piece of Frank Castle's life as the Punisher. Microchip is to him as Q is to James Bond. He is the guy that builds the gadget for Frank and rebuilds the Punisher Van every time that it gets destroyed by everyone's favorite anti-hero. His real name is David Lieberman, but he goes by the alias of Lowell Bartholomew Ori in this issue. I don't know in what issue we learn his real name.

Up next we have the first appearance of Louis Frohike. No relation to Frohike from the Lone Gunmen I'm sure. Louis is the bastard son of David Lieberman, and he is also great with computer programming and hacking, and he took his place by his fathers side as Microchip Jr. Junior only has a handful of appearances in comics so I don't seem making an appearance on the small, or big screen anytime soon.

Ray White
I'm going out of order from the list above a little here. Next I'm going to talk about Ray White. Ray is an ex cop who's wife (Vickie) and daughter (Melissa) was seduced into joining the Church of the Saved. That's really all there is to say about these three characters. In the next issue, The Punisher ends up reuniting them all, and they live happily ever after..... or do they?

Now, what is the Church of the Saved? When I was reading the story, I could only think about the events that happened in Waco Tx. in early 1993. I'll get into why in a second.

The leader of the Church of the Saved is Rev. Samuel Smith. He is a man with a gift. He has a silver tongue, but he also has "abilities". They call it The Touch. It's never really explain what The Touch is, but from what I read, it would seem that Smith has the power of persuasion, as well as the ability to heal others. I know, I know, he doesn't really sound like that bad of a guy, but here's where I got a connection to Waco.

Rev. Samuel Smith
Smith, being the leader of the religious faction, even though he is an atheist, was stockpiling arms to eventually go to war with the "Sodom that is America". I'm not saying that David Koresh was going to go to war with America, but he was stockpiling arms and definitely had a silver tongue. There are a few more similarities that I found in the story as well but I could be here forever going on about them.

Anyway, the Punisher goes up against Rev. Smith and the the Church of the Saved and in the end the, the church is disbanded.

Oops, I almost forgot to talk about Keena. He was a troubled, drug abusing kid that found his way to the Church of the Saved with the intent to rob them. Smith got to him, probably using the "Touch", and eventually Keena joined the church and became Rev. Smith's right hand man and body guard, seeing as how big the dude is.

That's all there is. Like I said, with the exception of Microchip, all of these characters are very minor and are hardly worth mentioning. But seeing as how I created this site to go over all things key issue, I felt that I have to talk about them, no matter how insignificant the characters might be. I can't see any of these minor characters making their way into live action anytime soon, if at all.

To the best of my knowledge, there are only direct and newsstand versions of this comic. I couldn't find anything on foreign editions. That doesn't mean they don't exist though.

Newsstand Edition
Even before I looked at the CGC census, I knew that the numbers for this issue were going to be low. This is a relatively minor key issue after all. However, of the 56 copies that are listed, well over half (34) have been graded at 9.8 NM/M. If you're looking for an already graded, high grade copy of this comic, there are some out there, but I would think that your best be would be to find a nice high grade raw copy. Maybe hold onto it for a little while and see if this comic takes off and gets a nice bump in value or not. Because, as of right now, they are not doing much of anything as you will see in the next section.

Values for Punisher #4 on GoCollect
The sales data that I have only goes back to 2013 for 9.8 NM/M copies of this comic. Looking at that first sale, the selling price was a underwhelming $35. As you can see, this wasn't a very sought out book back then. Most of the sales were in 2016 after Netflix announced that they were indeed making a Punisher series. Now, usually after an announcement like that, you will see speculators buying up copies and making some demand in the market, which in turn will usually sent values up. Even though there was a small increase in value, it's pretty negligible. The highest sale was in Dec. of 2016 and it sold for $72. I realize that its double the original sale in 2013, but really, if it's not breaking the $100 mark, it hardly seems worth it. However, if Microchip becomes a more prominent character in the series, we may see this sucker start to creep up in value, but that's some hard speculation right there.

So, if you're looking for a sleeper for a quick flip for a profit, you may want to look for another comic at this time. But, if you want a very high grade key issue comic just to have in your collection, this might be a comic that you could consider. Either way, I wish you luck on your hunt.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect

Monday, August 28, 2017

Astonishing Tales #25 - CBCS 8.0

Marvel - Aug. 1974

Key Issue Notes
First appearance of Deathlok

Well, I guess it's about time I reach into my box of treasures, pull out a comic, and discuss why and how it ended up in my collection. This time I've chosen by random, and what I pulled was a copy of Astonishing Tales #25. As most of you may know, this comic has the first appearance of Deathlok the Demolisher, and if you didn't know that, then now you do.

This comic went on my radar when Deathlok was rumored to be appearing on the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D T.V. show. I was hoping that this book would see a big boost in demand and value if or when the character would appear on the show. I can't remember what year that was, 2014 maybe? Purely a speculation buy.

Anyway, my buddy Vic and I went up to Stockton Con, like we do every year, and one of the vendors that we frequent (Mike's Comics Plus) had a raw copy on his wall. I picked it up, scanned the cover for any major defects, and set it back down on the shelf. This is how I usually go about buying a comic at a convention. I look it over, put it back, then continue on through the con and either find something else I want to buy, or convince myself to snag the comic that I already looked at. Sometimes I do both. This was a case of trying to talk myself into the buy.

See the resemblance? Me neither
I can't remember if I found any other books to buy that day, but I did make a point to head back to Mike's booth and see if I could haggle a price that I was happy with. I'd looked up the value in the latest Overstreet price guide while eating a healthy lunch of hot dogs and nachos, so I had a pretty good idea of what it was worth in the grade that I thought it might have been in. This was my first experience with Mike, and I believe that he had the book listed for $50. I had decided that I wasn't going to pay any more than $40 for it, so I made him the offer.

Most vendors will usually take an offer of 10% lower than the price they have it listed for, but I was asking for 20% less. It was a gamble. He came back at me with $45 which was kind of expected, it was 10% off after all. I looked over the book once more, put it back sticking firmly to my $40 budget, and politely said, "That's a little more than I'm willing to pay" and started to walk away. I got about two or three steps away and I hear him say "Ok ok, $40". I turned around, handed over the cash, and put the comic in my trusty backpack.

When I sent it in to CBCS, it came back at about the grade I had expected it to. It may have been a half a grade higher, so I really wasn't disappointed.

However, I was really expecting to see this comic do more than it did in terms of value. I felt that this was an overlooked character and there was definitely some room for growth. Even after it was confirmed that Deathlok was making his small screen appearance, this comic barely broke the $100 mark for 8.0 VF graded copies.

Could it be that nobody really cares about Deathlok, or was it because the Deathlok on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. looks absolutely nothing like he does in the comics? It could be either of those reasons or a dozen more. Who knows. So, now I have a copy sitting in my collection, waiting for any other news or appearances that may make this comic worth selling.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect