Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Amazing Spider-Man #300

1st full VenomMarvel - May 1988

Key Issue Notes
First full appearance and origin of Venom
Last black Spider-Man costume

As we all know by now, the rights for Spider-Man is now shared by Sony Pictures and Marvel, but many of the other great Spidey characters are still owned by Sony. Since that's the case, there are still rumors of Spider-Man spin-off movies.

A while back, before the disaster of a movie known as Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony was teasing us with the idea of a Sinister Six movie, a Black Cat movie and a Venom vs. Carnage movie. Well, it would seem that these movies are still a possibility. I'm assuming that Sony is seeing how well everyone's favorite webslinger does in the new Spider-Man: Homecoming film that comes out later this year.

It would seem that Sony's plans have changed slightly. Now the spin-off is only going to feature Venom, which seems like a good idea to me. You can't have Carnage without Venom after all, so let's get some backstory on these characters before we have them go head to head on the big screen.

Anyway, since I've already talked about the first appearance of Carnage, it's now time to tackle the first appearance of Venom.

From Amazing Spider-Man #299
Acutally, if you want to get technical about it, this is the third appearance of Venom. In ASM #298, we see the alien symbiote envelope the hands of who we now know is Eddie Brock. This might be considered a cameo appearance, but I'm not exactly sure since only the hands are shown. Neither CGC or CBCS note any appearance of Venom.

He also makes an appearance in three panels of ASM #299. This time, we get to see the full character, not just his hands. This issue is considered the first cameo appearance of Venom by the big two grading companies, and Overstreet recognizes it as his "1st brief appearance".

It isn't until issue #300 that we get our first full story featuring the villainous Venom. We also learn that underneath the symbiote. is disgraced journalist Eddie Brock, and he isn't the "Lethal Protector" that he's become today. He started out as a unforgiving killer, hellbent on revenge.

Before Eddie was writing "venomous celebrity exposes", he was a journalist at the Daily Globe, writing an expose on the serial killer Sin Eater. He was getting information from someone claiming to be the Sin Eater himself. When Spider-Man captured the real Sin Eater, Brock was left to look like a fool for writing false stories. He became the laughing stock of the journalism world and was forced to write the garbage that he was. He blamed Spider-Man for his downfall. Add that to the hatred that the alien symbiote has toward Peter Parker for being rejected, and you have one mean, hateful, superpowered badass.

At the end of the issue, Peter Parker decides to go back to his original red and blue tights instead of the black ones. Now that Venom exists, the black costume would be more likely to strike fear into people than a feeling of hope.

This comic has been on the radar for a long time and Venom is definitely one of the more fan favorites of Spider-Man foes. And even with all of the copies that are out there, this issue still demands a good amount of cash for high grade copies.


There are also a couple of reprints and foreign editions out there for you variant hunters. I'm not going to get into the foreign editions, but I will go over a few of the reprints in the order they were released.

Chromium Edition
First, in 1998, Marvel came out with a Chromium Edition of this issue. This reprint has an estimated print run of around 3,300 copies. What would the 90's be if we didn't have a chromium cover of this bad boy. I seems like all of the comics in the 90's were getting the chromium treatment. Even though this is a reprint, the low print run makes this a desirable comic and is quite expensive in high grades. It's not as valuable as the original first print, but it's not too far off. Even though the print run is low, you shouldn't have any trouble finding a copy online.

Wal-Mart Mini
The next copy was the mini version that was released in 2006. This was a Wal-Mart exclusive that was included in the Spider-Man 2 DVD's. The Sam Raimi version, not the Amazing Spider-Man 2 that starred Andrew Garfield. This version if actually far more affordable, but was harder to find copies online than the Chromuim Edition was. I'm not sure if that's because it has a low print run or because people just shoved them into their longboxes, but my bet would be the latter.

The third and final reprint that I'm going to talk about was released in 2007. While the first two reprints sported a cover that was similar or even identical to the original, this cover has completely new artwork by Patrick Scherberger. It is known as the Niagara Falls Edition. These copies are listed as "hard to find" on eBay, but I don't know just how hard. There are a few copies listed on there and it looks like a high grade copy might set you back a couple hundred bucks. So, not as expensive as the Chromium Edition, but a bit more than the Wal-Mart Mini copy.

Niagara Falls
If you're a variant hunter and want to add any of these to your collection, you can click on any of these variant pictures and you will be taken to the current eBay listings.


Ok, enough about reprints, let's take a look at some census numbers for the first print of ASM #300. Being an 80's comic, you can rest assured that there are plenty of copies, especially one of key issue status.

In the CGC census there have been, at the time of this writing 12,800 copies. That's more than the entire print run of some comics. And that's only the copies graded by CGC. There have also been multiple copies graded by both CBCS and PGX. If you're looking for a good investment copy, you should probably only be looking a 9.8 NM/M or 9.9 Mint copies. Right now, there are 850 9.8 NM/M copies, and, believe it or not, 10 copies graded a 9.9 Mint.

The market place gets flooded as soon as you move down to the 9.6 NM+. There have been well over 2,400 copies at that grade and there are even more graded at 9.4 NM with over 2,600 copies. With so many copies at this grade, I don't see values rising up for these very fast.


Value of Amazing Spider-Man
#300 on GoCollect
Speaking of values, it' that time in the post that I talk about some sales figures. It looks like, for the 9 months or so, that 9.8 NM/M copies have consistently sold for over the $1,000 mark and have started to creep their way up to the $1,100 and $1,200 mark. However, 9.6 NM+ copies are selling for much less. Sales have been hovering around the $400 mark for close to the past year, which is only slightly up from $300 to $350 the year before that.

Sales for copies below 9.0 get a little weird. In Jan. of 2016, you could get an 8.5 VF+ copy for slightly more than what some people were buying 4.5 VG+ copies for. They were both selling for slightly less that $150 at that time. That is interesting to me, but also confusing at the same time. If I had the choice to spend $150 on a comic, I would definitely buy the highest grade I could at that price, not settle for a crappy low grade book for the same price, but that's just me.

Anyway, this is a popular comic, and does sell quite well, especially in high grades. It's consistently #1 or #2 on the most active list at GoCollect. If Sony does make a Venom, or a Venom vs. Carnage movie in the near future, this comic could see a nice bump in demand, and in value.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pep Comics #22

1st Archie AndrewsMLJ Magazines - Dec. 1941

Key Issue Notes
First appearance of Archie Andrews
First appearance of Betty Cooper
First appearance of Jughead

Superheroes aren't the only characters from comic books making their way to the small screen. The CW network is home to many popular comic related T.V. shows like The Flash, Supergirl, and Arrow, is now coming out with the show Riverdale.

This new show, which premiers later this month, looks as though it's going to be based very loosely on the characters of Archie, Betty and Jughead, who all live in Riverdale. It seems as though they are taking the light, comedic tone of the comic, and turned into a much darker teen drama. At least that's how it looks from watching the trailers.

Tucked in between stories with Golden Age heroes like The Shield and The Hangman, is everyone's favorite red head from Riverdale, Archie Andrews. This comic came out just as the U.S. was entering into WWII, so many of the stories are war based or have our heroes battling the evil Germans in some for or another. The war was everywhere during this time, like in the newspaper, on the radio, and even in comics, the lighthearted nature of Archie and his pals was a nice change from all of the news of the war.

Archie and Betty
Not only does this comic have the first appearance of Archie, it also has the first appearance of at least two other long time Archie characters, Jughead and Betty Cooper.

When we first meet Archie "Chick" Andrews, he is walking along a fence, trying to impress a pretty young girl. That young girl is none other than Betty Cooper. Betty has been a love interest of Archie's from the very beginning. However, it wouldn't be long before she had to compete with Veronica Lodge for Archie's attention, but I'll get to that at another time.

Later in the story, we get to meet Forsythe "Jughead" Jones III. He is Archie's best friend. He's sarcastic, a bit on the lazy side and wants nothing to go with girls and all of the "problems" that come with them. He is kind of like Archie's sidekick. He also reminds me of Whimpy from Popeye, in the way that he is almost always eating something, usually a hamburger.
Archie and Jughead

This comic here is pretty damn near impossible to find, raw or graded. The CGC census numbers are very very low. To date, there have only been 23 copies graded by them, and almost half of them have been Restored. Most of the copies listed are low to mid grade, but there are a couple high grade copies on there as well. There is one 9.0 VF/NM and one 9.4 NM, both of which are Restored. If you're looking for a blue Universal label, you'll have to go down to a very respectable 8.0 VF.

So it looks like this is a very scarce comic. If you're lucky enough to find a copy, expect to shovel out some serious cash for it, do to fact that there are so few copies, and that Archie is still a very popular character.

From Heritage Auctions
There isn't a lot of sales information that I could find for this issue, but what I did find really blew my mind. There were a couple of copies that sold recently at Comic Link. Both were low grade and one is restored. The first is a CBCS Certified 2.0 G copy. This low grade sucker ended up selling for $31,249. The next copy, a CGC Restored 5.5 F-, sold for much less at $21,250. If there is any debate if restored comics sell for less that unrestored, then there's your answer. A  higher grade copy, a CGC Universal 7.0 F/VF, sold at Heritage Auctions back in Nov. 2014 for $143,400. So, you're gonna have to have some pretty deep pockets if you want to add this comic to your collection.

To the best of my knowledge, there haven't been any eBay sales for this comic in the past 4-5 years. I don't have any information on any sales that may have come before that.

At the time of this writing, I could only find one copy available for sale online at MyComicShop. I've included the other links below because you never know when a copy will be thrown on the market. If you can't find anything at the links below, you can also check out Heritage Auctions for a copy.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect

Friday, January 6, 2017

Aquaman #29

D.C. Comics - Oct. 1966

Key Issue Notes
First appearance and origin of Ocean Master

Sorry folks, I know it's been a while since my last post. Between work and getting ready for the holidays, I was pretty busy and didn't have a lot of extra time for anything else. But now that the holidays are over, let's get back to some key issue comics.

While I was away, it was announced that Patrick Wilson, who played Nite Owl in The Watchmen, was cast in the "now in production" Aquaman movie. Wilson will be playing the role of Orm Marius, Aquaman's half brother, that is also known as the villainous Ocean Master.

Tom Curry is the father of both Ocean Master and Aquaman. He is a human that fell in love with the exiled Atlantean princess, Atlanna. They fell in love and had a baby called Arthur, who would grow up to be Aquaman. After the death of Atlanna, Tom remarried and had another child, Orm, with Mary O'Sullivan, who was also a human.

Ocean Master
Since Orm has no Atlantean blood in him like Aquaman does, he doesn't have any of his abilities. Orm was always jealous of Aquaman and his anger often got him in trouble as a lad, and was always being bailed out by his brother. One day, Orm was struck in the head by a falling rock and lost his memory. He couldn't remember who he was or that he even had a brother at all. Soon after that, Orm vanished, but he would return years later as Ocean Master.

I'm a little surprised at how few of these comics have been graded by CGC so far. At the time of this writing, there are only 188 copies listed on their census. Most of the copies are graded between 5.0 VG/F all the way up to 9.6 NM+. There are three highest grade 9.8 NM/M copies, none of which have been restored. So if your looking for a nice high grade copy, there are some out there. Whether they are for sale or not, that's a different story.

Don't let these census numbers fool you though. This book might not be quite as rare a you may think they are. Although I don't know have print run information, there are a lot of raw copies floating around out there. And let's not forget the copies that were graded by CBCS, but since they still have no census data available, there's no way of knowing how many there are.

Values for Aquaman #29
On GoCollect
It wasn't that long ago that Aquaman comics were very affordable, even for key issues, but ever since they announced that the character was going to appear in his own movie, values for these early Aquaman key issues has soared through the roof. Just one example of for 8.0 VF copies. In 2012, before all of the hype, a copy sold on eBay for the small price of $39.99, and after the sales went up to $575 in 2015. It was the same thing with 9.0 VF/NM copies. In 2012, a CGC copy sold for $43.25 pre-hype, and jumped up to $1199.99 in Sept of 2016.

A buddy of mine was hunting for a lot of these early Aquaman key issues at the very beginning of the movie rumors, and now I can understand why. I really don't know where the values will continue to go, but from looking at other hype books like this one, I don't think it's going to go up, but I've been wrong before. However, I do know that if you have a copy, now might be the best time to throw it out in the market and try to make a nice chunk of change.

Find a copy here
eBay - ComicLink - MyComicShop - ComicConnect