Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Batman #181

DC Comics - June 1966

Key Issue Notes
First appearance of Poison Ivy
First appearance of Dragonfly
First appearance of Silken Spider
First appearance of Tiger Moth

By now, most people have heard of the Batman related show Gotham that airs on Fox. Even though they don't follow the comics, other than the character names, I still kind of like it. I've seen worse shows.

For the first two seasons, the character of Poison Ivy was played by a young, 14 year old actress by the name of Clare Foley. Unfortunately for her, the higher ups for the show decided that they needed an older, more mature actress to play the part and recast the role. The actress chosen to fill in the role is Maggie Geha, who is twice the age as Foley. I can assume that they need an older actress to play the role of the sexy character that they wouldn't be able to do with an actress that was only 14.

There are some big differences in the shows version of the character as compared to the comics, one being Poison Ivy's real name. On Gotham, her name is Ivy Pepper and in the comics her name, depending on which comic you're reading, is either Dr Lillian Rose (Pre-Crisis) or Pamela Isley (Post-Crisis). Enough about the damn T.V. show, let's get more into the character as she pertains to the comics.

Bruce Wayne and Poison Ivy
In this issue, back when Bruce Wayne was only a millionaire, he and Dick Grayson are at a museum that is, for some strange reason, honoring the three most wanted female criminals in the world. While Bruce and Dick are distracted by how beautiful the ladies of crime are, Poison Ivy storms her way in to crash the party. She says that her crimes were so perfect, nobody has ever heard of her before now, and she deserves to be the #1 female criminal in the world, and she is out to prove it.

I'm going to leave the summary of this issue there. I don't want to spoil anything for anyone if they plan on reading it, and, truth be told, it's not really that interesting of a story. You can tell that this comic was written in a different era. If this story were to be published today, you'd probably have feminist groups coming at you from every direction. If you do wind up reading it, you'll see what I mean.

Poison Ivy is the result of some dangerous experimental tests that she ended up being a guinea pig for. She is immune to all types of poisons and bacteria as a result. She can also emit a pheromone that can seduce men to do her bidding.

Silken Spider, Tiger Moth and Dragonfly
The last three characters on the list are the public enemies #1 -#3 that I mentioned a little earlier. They aren't important or popular characters in the DC Universe. In fact there are only a few known appearances in comics for them.

The only real information on them is the order that they appear on the most wanted list. Number one on the list is Dragonfly, followed by Silken Spider at #2, and Tiger Moth is obviously #3. There really isn't any more information than that on these characters since they were so seldom used. There's no backstory for them nor do they have a real name, just  their aliases. They didn't make another appearance in comics until The Resurrection of Ra's al Ghul story line in late 2007 and early 2008.

This comic is well known and in no way a sleeper of undervalued. Poison Ivy has been a popular character for a long time. There are not a lot of copies that have already been graded. So far there are only 719 listed on the CGC census. There isn't any one grade that has significantly more copies than another, but there are two copies graded at 9.8 NM/M, the highest for this book. One of the standouts that caught my eye though, there are 25 copies graded at a lowest of the low .5 Poor, and one of them is a Restored copy. I don't think I'll be snagging one of those any time soon. Given that Poison Ivy is such a popular female character and this is a pretty big key issue, I'm surprised to see how many raw copies there still are in the market. I thought for sure that more of them would have been slabbed by now.
Values of Batman #181 on GoCollect

Key issue comics like these usually have a good track record when it comes to sales. There is always a nice steady incline on the sales chart. Yeah, there might be a spike here and there or someone gets a great deal once in a while, but mostly it's just smooth and steady. In this market, things might be moving little faster that normal though. Looking at some sales for mid grade 7.0 F/VF copies, there has been that steady rise. In the last five years, values have gone from around the $350 mark, and gotten up to $625. There was a copy that sold for $700 back in Dec. of last year, but other than that, it's been pretty steady. Sales for most other grades have seen that same increase over time. As you can see, Some of the lower grades have seen a decline, but higher grades are looking good.

I expect this comic to continue to do what is has been doing, even with the character change on Gotham. I don't think there will be a huge boost in demand because of it. There could be a quick boost in value if it ends up being that Poison Ivy appears in the all girl Harley Quinn spin-off movie that I've heard rumors about, but that's a long way off. However, in the comic investing game, there's no such thing as getting in too early.

Find a copy here
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