Monday, May 9, 2016

Caliber Presents #1

Caliber Press - Jan 1989

Key Issue Notes
First appearance of The Crow

The Crow is surrounded by tragedy, not only in the comics, but also in real life.

I'd first heard about The Crow when the movie by Alex Proyas came out in 1994. Acutally, I had heard about the movie well before it was released. It made headlines long before it ever hit the theaters. As they were filming, Brandon Lee, who played the main character of Eric Draven (The Crow), was tragically shot and killed by co-star Michael Massee. This was supposed to be Lee's breakout role, but unfortunately that never happened. Some say that the Lee family is cursed. His father, actor and martial arts guru Bruce Lee, also died at a young age. The cause of Brandon Lee's accidental death was ultimately deemed a result of negligence. I'm not going to into details the about his death, but I'm sure if you search for it on Google or Bing, you will find multiple sites with stories of what happened.

It was also tragedy that led James O'Barr to create The Crow. He created the character as a way of dealing with the death of his girlfriend, Beverly, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1978. The Crow sat on a shelf for years after it was created until Gary Reed of Caliber Press saw the potential and decided to publish it.  The rest, as we say, is history.

Caliber Presents is an anthology comic.
An anthology comic is a comic containing multiple stories, usually by different artists and writers, so the stories are usually very short. In the case of the first appearance of The Crow, the story is only eight pages long. In the story, The Crow is trying to get information on the whereabouts of T-Bird and Fun Boy out of a thief referred to as Mr. Jones. We also learn that he is impervious to pain and can't be killed. In the end, he gets the info he wanted from Mr Jones and goes on his merry way, leaving a message for those he's looking for, "Tell them I'm coming, Mr. Jones".

Caliber Presents #1 is estimated to have a pretty low print run of about 10,000 copies, but I couldn't find any definitive numbers anywhere. It sounds like it could be accurate, but as far as I know, it could just be hearsay. That being said, of the possible 10,000 copies, only a small fraction of them have been graded. To date, only 311 have been graded according to the CGC census, most being high grade copies. Over half of them are graded 9.4 to 9.8. There are no copies graded higher than 9.8 at this time, but there are 43 of them at that grade. As prices for this comic rise, and more people start sending in their copies to be graded, you can expect to see the census numbers rise quite dramatically.

Values for Caliber Presents #1 on GoCollect
I consider this comic to be overlooked and very undervalued. Even though there's a low print run and, so far, very few copies have been graded, this is still a relatively affordable key issue comic. However, we are starting to see a rise in demand and in price. As you can see by the chart from goCollect, all of the grades are in the green. 9.8 copies have seen a pretty big boost in sales over the last year. A copy sold on eBay in March 2015 for $450 and just a few months ago in March of this year, a copy sold for $610.
If you're lucky, you can probably still get a 9.6 copy for around $200, and 9.4's for even cheaper. But even those grades are starting to see a rise in price too, So more realistically, you may end up paying between $250 -$300 for 9.6's right now, but that could change in an instant with the market that we're currently in.

If you want to add this comic to your collection, I would recommend getting it sooner than later, especially if you're looking at it as an investment. With a reboot of another The Crow movie coming in the future, a low print run, and as more and more people realize it's key issue status, I'd expect to see prices for this comic to continue to rise.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect


  1. Highly under-valued and over-looked key issue comic. Can't believe 9.8s aren't around the $1000 mark, but it is starting to gain heat.

    1. I agree completely. Especially since it's got such a low print run. Under-valued for sure. I should think about getting a higher grade copy than the one I've got.

    2. They are now. 1400 for 9.8

    3. I'm not sure where you got $1,400 from, but they have been hovering around the $900 to $1,000 mark for a while.

  2. Came across your page. Great work! I would like some advice..I looking to spend around max $500 for a key book of any age. What books would you suggest if I could locate them as a good investment short-term or long-term. Thanks!

    1. Hi there 1ForChrist and thanks for the compliment. Well, this comic right here would probably be a good option with a lot of growth potential. You might be able to find a nice 9.8 copy for $500 if you hunt for it. That would be your best investment option for this comic. You can definitely get a 9.6 copy for less than that. Other than that, I'd probably look at some lower to mid grade silver or golden age key issues with some good track records. If I were to list any grade from any age, this the list would be huge. I was in the same situation you were a couple years ago and ended up getting a Superboy #68. As for a comics I'm eyeballing right now, I'd say a low grade Amazing Spider-Man #2, or early golden age batman comics specifically between issues 20 - 30, they are being overlooked right now and you can probably find a copy for guide price or below. I hope this helps you out a little and good luck on your hunt.