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

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Marvel - Sept. 2011

Key Issue Notes
Origin of Spider-Man (Miles Morales)
First appearance of Prowler (Aaron Davis)
First appearance of Jefferson Davis
First appearance of Rio Morales
First appearance of Conrad Markus (Marcus)

At this point, it's pretty old news of which character Donald Glover ended up playing in the new Spider-Man: Homecoming movie. There were rumors abound that he was going to play non other than Miles Morales, but it ended up being a character directly related to the young Spidey replacement.

The role that Glover ended up playing is that of Aaron Davis, also known as the Prowler. This isn't the first incarnation of the Prowler in comics. He makes his first appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #78. That version of the Prowler is named Hobie Brown and resided in the main Marvel Universe, or Earth-616. This version of the Prowler is in the Ultimate Universe, or Earth 1610.

When I say that Aaron Davis is directly related to Miles Morales, and I mean that quite literally. He is Miles' uncle. He is also directly responsible for Miles becoming the new Spider-Man. Let me explain how, the nutshell version of course.

Aaron Davis (left) as Prowler (right)
I should start out by saying that the Prowler is a master thief. As he was doing a heist at Norman Osborn's research facility, a genetically altered spider crawled into his backpack full of loot and goodies. As Miles was visiting his uncle one day, he is bit by said spider and gains super human, spider like abilities, which made it possible for him to take up the mantle for Peter Parker after he dies from wounds he got while fighting Norman Osborn and his Six.

Also making their first appearance in this issue is Jefferson Davis. No, not the one that was President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil war. This Jefferson Davis, along with Rio Morales, are Miles Morales' parents.

Jefferson is also Aaron Davis' brother. They have a very distant because good ol' Jeff doesn't agree with his brothers life of crime. Miles was forbidden to see his uncle, but goes behind his fathers back to see him anyway.

Jefferson Davis, and Miles and Rio Morales
If Marvel decides to add Miles Morales to it's cinematic universe, you can bet you will see these two make an appearance.

And finally, making their first appearance is Dr. Conrad Markus. You may be wondering why I spelled his name that way. All of the websites spell his name Marcus. But, in this issue, his last name is spelled with a K, so that's the version I'm going with.

Dr Conrad Markus
Anyway, Dr. Conrad Markus is a biochemist and was in charge of the program that created the genetically altered spider that crawled into the Prowlers bag and eventually bit Miles Morales. In a later issue, he would become host to the Venom Symbiote and would be responsible for the death of Rio Morales, but that's another story for another time my friends.

Well there you have it, all of the items I could find that gives this comic key issue status. Let's move on to the variants section of this post. Since this is a modern book, I'm sure there will be a few.

Some of these variants are retailer incentive covers, but I'm not sure how rare these are. The first cover on the list isn't actually a cover at all, but the polybag that the regular, first print came in.


Pichelli Unmasked Variant

Pichelli Retailer Incentive Sketch Variant
Pichelli Vairant

The sketch variant is by far the most difficult to come by and if you're looking for a copy, it will most definitely cost you quite a bit of moolah to get it.

The CGC census for this comic is a lot lower than I expected it to be. Even though there was a print run of 87,237, only 366 have been graded. I don't know if the 87 thousand includes all of the variants, but the 366 does. Of those, 180 are the regular, first print, non variant cover. And, as I'm sure you guessed, because this is a fairly modern comic, most of these copies are graded either 9.6 NM+ (40) or 9.8 NM/M (94).

I will make a note that the Pichelli Sketch Cover only has 5 copies listed in the census. Three at a 9.8 NM/M and two at 9.2 NM-. This could be a good indication of how low the print run on this particular variant is. I'll go over some values for this cover in the next section
Values for Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1
on GoCollect
Sales for this comic are a little wonky. There have been sales for 9.8 NM/M copies that have gone for over the $200 mark, and one that damn near hit the $300 mark, but those were both Buy it Now sales on eBay. If you can find a copy at auction, you'll only end up spending $50, maybe less. The last copy that sold at auction on eBay went for only $41. 9.6 NM+ copies had a similar spike, but sales are generally dropping at the $30 range.

I'm not sure why these spikes are happening. They all happened before there was any kind of confirmation of the character appearing in the Spider-Man flick. Perhaps they were speculators that had a heads up on everyone else, or maybe they just wanted a copy in their collections, no matter what the cost. Who knows.

Anyway, I couldn't find any sales data for the Pichelli Sketch Cover. The only thing I could find was a copy for sale over at Midtown Comics website. That bad boy is listed at $1,445.43. Buying that sucker will definitely make you wallet a lot lighter. If you want to but it, or simply check it out, click this link here.

The introduction of Aaron Davis in the MCU definitely opens up the door for Miles Morales to show up in a movie in the future. If that happens, or how long it is before it does, remains to be seen. But if it is someday confirmed that Morales will be making his way to the big screen, you can be that this comic, and especially Ultimate Fallout #4, the first appearance of Mile Morales, will see a huge boost in demand. UF #4 is already up there in terms of value, but you can still snag this one for a bargain.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect

Friday, August 4, 2017

Eternal Warrior #4

Valiant Comics - Nov. 1992

Key Issue Notes
First cameo appearance of Bloodshot
First appearance of Immortal Enemy / Juan Caldone
First appearance of Alex Caldone

Jared Leto has been in the news again lately, and not because he will be playing the Clown Prince of Crime in the Suicide Squad sequel. It appears that Sony has approached him to play the title role in the upcoming Bloodshot movie that they have planned. It would seem that Valiant is copying Marvel and DC, and creating their own cinematic universe.

I didn't really care for the way Leto played the Joker, but I don't know if I can really completely blame him for it though. He does have to take direction from the director after all. I really didn't care for the Suicide Squad movie at all, but that won't keep me from having high hopes in Leto playing Bloodshot.

I have to be honest with you, I don't really know a whole lot about the Valiant universe, so this write up is going to mostly be about this issue only. I do have some Valiant comics in my collection, but most of them were filler books in lots I got on eBay and never read them.

There really isn't much to say about the appearance of Bloodshot in this issue. He is only fully shown in the last panel, so we don't really learn anything about him, only that he has it out for our hero. It wouldn't be until his next appearance in Rai #0 that we learn more about Bloodshot's past.

Up next is the first appearance of the Immortal Enemy. He is the arch nemesis of the Eternal Warrior. EW's main objective is to hunt down and kill the body that the Immortal Enemy is occupying. When he is finally destroyed, he moves his soul to another person. At least that's how I understand it after reading this issue. In this issue, Juan Caldone is the current manifestation of the Immortal Enemy.

Juan Caldone /
Immortal Enemy
The last character on the key issue list is Alex Caldone. As you can probably assume, he is related to Juan Caldone. In fact, Alex is his son. There isn't a lot to say about him except that he isn't quite the hard ass, evil POS that his father is.

I'm not sure how likely it is that we will see these last two characters in a future Valiant film. At the end of this story, we see the plane that was carrying all three of the characters listed here, crash into the ocean. I know that the Eternal Warrior survives, but I have no idea about the other two. Like I said, I know very little about the Valiant universe.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no variants for this issue. I know that other companies were publishing both direct and newsstand copies of their comics, but I believe that Valiant was only distributing through the direct market at this time. If anyone knows of any variants for this issue, please click the "contact" tab above and send me a message or share in the comments below.

There were more copies listed in the CGC census than I thought there would be for this issue. I was expecting only a few hundred, but there are 1,205 copies listed. Most of the copies listed are of course very high grade. In fact most of them a are 9.8 NM/M (781 copies). Add that to the 292 copies graded a 9.6 NM+, and you have almost all of the copies listed in the census.

Now these are just CGC's numbers. Since CBCS and PGX don't have a census of their own, there's no way of telling how many have been graded by them. However, if you do a quick eBay search for this comic, you will see a ton of high grade copies that haven't been graded yet. I have no clue what the print run of this issue was, but since it was printed in the 90's, I think it's fair to say that it was probably pretty high.

Values for Eternal Warrior #4
On GoCollect
This comic used to be one that you could get in high grade for practically nothing. You could snag a 9.8 NM/M copy for around the $45-$60 range only two years ago.

Then a trailer for Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe came out. If you haven't seen it, I'll post it for you to watch. It looks like it could've be an ok movie, but since this trailer came out, I've heard squat about it actually being released, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Anyway, Bloodshot makes an appearance in this trailer, and that made values for this comic jump up to well over $200 overnight. When I say overnight, I actually mean it. There was one sale for a CGC 9.8 that sold on March 10th, 2015 for only $90, then another one, on that same exact day, for $225. In fact, there was one copy that sold for $279.99 shortly after that.

Once the hype from the trailer wore down, so did the values for this book. They ended up dropping down to the $100 mark with a few going for less that that. However, now that Bloodshot is back in the news, values have started to creep back up to the $125 to $150 range. How much higher this comic goes will depend on many things, but the more we are hearing about Bloodshot making it to the big screen, the more in demand this comic may become, and Jared Leto playing the lead role would definitely put this movie in the spotlight.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect