The Usual Suspects #12

Welcome, welcome, welcome. This week I thought we’d take a look at a couple of books related to last week’s Internet Breaking News. Okay, so maybe Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel reveal didn’t “break the internet”, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m excited for this movie. And judging by the prices of some of her key books over the last few months, I am not alone.

Alright, so last week’s news brought a few new books out of obscurity and into the spotlight. And surprisingly it wasn’t Donnie Cates who sent the entire community to the back issue bins for 90’s overstock. Thanks to the Entertainment Weekly’s sneak peek Captain Marvel pictures, we are now all out hunting for Incredible Hulk 418/419 and Avengers 346. I managed to score a couple cheap copies before the jump. But we aren’t here to look at those books.

It’s about time that we have a female lead Marvel flick, and Kevin Feige landed himself an Oscar winner to do it. That’s two weeks in a row we have Oscar winners in comic pics. Weird. My 13 year old self would never have believed this possible. Thankfully I read this isn’t an origin pic. We get straight into the story and hopefully get to see some more of the Marvel Cosmic Universe. I love James Gunn, but I’m curious to see another take on the Cosmic side of Marvel.

This has all the makings of a hit. C’mon we are getting a 90’s setting, young Dumbledore as Mar-Vell, a de-aged Sam Jackson with hair, a pre dance-off Ronan the Accuser, and a young Agent Phil Coulson with a Bud Bundy Mullet.

 

Ok, so that last one is just a secret wish of mine, but this should be good. I also really like the changes they made to the look of the Skrulls. They are recognizable but different from their traditional purple tights comic look. We already had the full on Thanos Chin, and how many green characters can Marvel put out? Seriously after Hulk, Drax, and Gamorra how many different shades of green can we use? It’s like the X-Universe and all their Blue characters. Anyway, I fully expect Ben Mendelsohn to kill it as Talos.

 

But enough about a movie that’s still 6 months out from release. Let’s take a look at some books. Now Carol Danvers as a character has been around since 1968. So after 50 years Carol Danvers has a lot of interesting key books. But our time here is limited, so I chose two books that seem to be leading the way with regards to her key books.

So, before I get too far afield…let’s get into it.

 

Ms. Marvel #1

(Jan 1977)

 

No, it’s not Carol Danvers 1st appearance. That was in Marvel Super-Heroes #13, which is a great book to own. Sure she started out as a love interest and got her powers in Captain Marvel’s original title. But Ms. Marvel #1 was her 1st appearance as Ms. Marvel, a moniker she held on to for 35 years. Sure along the way she was Binary for a bit adding more powers, and she even went by Warbird adding that belt sash to her look. But for the bulk of her existence, she was Ms. Marvel.

And this book has been on a steady upward trajectory a while now. Some might attribute it to the current uptick in all Bronze Age keys. But I think this is rise under its own power. Sure Hulk 181 is a behemoth, but I don’t think it’s pulling all of these books up with it. Carol Danvers has a Marvel cornerstone even before this movie announcement.

Sure she’s had a bumpy ride of late as I don’t feel they’ve found a proper place for her in the current Marvel Universe. I’ve been pretty indifferent to her recent titles. Picking them up more out of habit. I mean she was downright dislikable in Civil War II. But with this upcoming movie, she gets a blank slate with me. And if I should be reading the current stuff, please let me know in the comments. Always open to suggestions.

 

Active Listings:  Being a Bronze Age book, there are plenty out there. But regardless of the number of copies, if the demand is higher than what’s available, the prices will continue to climb. Quick search for this book yields over 500 listings. And they come in all shapes and sizes. Graded or Raw, High or Low Grade, Single or in a lot, you can pick your poison.

Big dog on the block is an $8k CGC Signature Series double signed 9.6. If you just want a blue label 9.8, prepare to kick in $4k or maybe less if you make an offer. And unlike that $8k SS book, you get free shipping. Maybe it’s just a pet peeve of mine, or maybe I’ve just had a bit too much Cape May IPA tonight, but it really Grinds My Gears when people charge shipping on big ticket listings. I mean, c’mon it’s $8,000. Can’t you factor shipping into the price at that point?

 

 

Yes, if you’ve been paying attention, I reused a reference. Kudos to you for being observant. But seriously, $8,000 and you can’t spring the $14 you want for shipping?

 

Market Analysis:  Well, recent sales are only slightly off the 3 month average. I imagine that may change as we near the 1st trailer release. If you look at the recent sales compared to the 12 month average you can see some solid gains in the mid to high grades.

And a decent amount of sales completed over the last year, proving this is a consistent seller. The below shows that there were 559 Graded CGC sales the last year, which equates to nearly 50 graded sales each month. Sure, I’m rounding up a bit, but 46 a month is basically 50. Quit nitpicking.

Hey look, I even have some numbers for CBCS sales. Look at that, they are only selling about 15% less than their CGC counterparts. Interesting, are they making up ground in the grading battle or is this just a matter of increased demand leading towards all books moving. I lean towards the latter as even PGX copies have moved recently.

I still need a copy of this book. Maybe I can look to score an 8.0 at a discount like the most recent sale on 9/1. I mean that sold for the same price as a 7.0 and was actually $30 cheaper than a 7.5 sold two days later. It’s all in the timing. You catch an auction ending off hours on a random late Tuesday night or on a Fri/Sat night when people are out and about and not comic shopping, you can find some deals.

If you’re listing books for sale, pay attention to when it will end. Sniping tools aside, the effect of a bad end time on your sale price is real. You can look, there are articles out there about this very topic. Check it out. Or if you list fixed price, then don’t worry about it. You do you.

But Raws are moving pretty well. This might be where I look to score my copy. Sure prices are way up, but if you can find a decent copy that may just need a press for a fair price you can do pretty well for yourself, if prices keep trending up as I expect over the next 6 months. And it can continue past her movie release, as I believe she will take a prominent role in the MCU going forward.

Looking again at the Raw sales, this appears to be selling almost daily on average. That’s pretty good for a 3 month period. Consistency and longevity are solid signs at long term potential. Just look at the numbers as they speak for themselves. Yes, I’m bring analytics to the comic world. It’s Money Ball people. But seriously, I’m not pioneering anything here. I’m simply presenting you some data and offering my humble commentary on the proceedings. So take a look at the numbers, do some research, and make an informed decision. Or just read my ramblings, for what it’s worth.

But after 35 years as Ms. Marvel, she took on the mantle of Captain Marvel in 2012. The only question is what took her so long? Mar-Vell died in like 1982. It’s about time.

 

Avenging Spider-Man #9

(Sept 2012)

 

So this isn’t really a 1st appearance. This is just the first time she started going by Captain Marvel (again, about time). Take it for what it is, but it’s a sought after book. Typically name changes don’t command much of a premium, but there are exceptions to every rule. And hey, if you are into previews, you can grab the Summer of Spider-Man Preview that was given out for free as it shows the cover to Avenging #9 ahead of its publication.

 

 

But I’m not in the habit of covering Preview books. I just thought it worth a mention if you’re into that corner of the hobby. A CGC 9.8 of this preview sold for $120 last week and Raws hit a high of $41 last month. Those sales are a testament to the heat on Avenging #9.

I recall dropping this book back in 2012. I was grabbing all the Spidey titles back then and decided to cut Avenging from my pull list after the Daredevil crossover in issue #8, which was the penultimate issue before this big Captain Marvel reveal.

 

 

I realize it’s a stretch to use Penultimate in that context, but it’s in the spirit of the definition of the word, and I wanted to use it. So, sue me.

 

Active Listings:  Even though it is a modern book, it’s not as easy to come by when you compare the 76 active listings to the 500 listings for Ms. Marvel #1. Sure 76 is plenty of options but the cheapest Buy It Now option is still $200. So you could take a chance on a VF Ms. Marvel #1 for half the price, or hope you get a NM copy of this from one of the 100’s of I’m not a professional grader’s out there on eBay.

Highest priced listing is a $2k CGC Signature Series 9.8 signed by Stan Lee. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, why are you people getting Stan Lee to sign books for characters he has nothing to do with? I don’t get it. Hey Daniel Radcliff can you sign my Lightsaber? See Grinds My Gears image above so I don’t need to take up space to reuse it. Or the Homer image, as they are both fitting in this context.

But this book is not cheap anymore. It’s about a $600 CGC 9.8 and a $200 Raw. CGC 9.6’s seem to move pretty well in the $300 range, but outside of that, you are in best I can afford territory. Even the Black & While 2nd Print isn’t cheap anymore. But more on that later.

 

Market Analysis:  Similar to Ms. Marvel #1 recent sales are only slightly off the 3 month average. As these books are for the same character, I can’t say that is very surprising. Again, recent sales compared to the 12 month average are way up across the board. This being a Modern book, it’s really only in High Grade in the census. I mean, who wants to waste $30 to grade a beater copy to get a 5.0 of this? What would be the point?

It’s interesting that there are more 9.8’s of this book than the Ms. Marvel #1. Sure the Ms. Marvel is 40 years old, but there are a ton of them. This being a Spidey book, there was a decent print run. And considering it’s only 6 years old, I should expect more 9.8’s. Or more graded in general. Why aren’t there more “just missed” 9.6’s in the census?

Be that as it may, this book defies most conventions in that 9.4’s sell very close to their 9.6 counterparts. The tiering in the highest grades is usually more distinct, with each grade a clear plateau price point. Could be a sign that the 9.6’s may bump up to $500 soon. And if that were to happen the 9.8 would be a $1k book. Could happen, but time will tell.

I don’t have this book either. Yes my Captain Marvel collection is lacking. And the way things are going with these prices I may be priced out. I missed my window. It happens. However, it will all come down to opportunity and availability. So we’ll see if that happens I guess.

But getting back to the numbers, Raws are moving pretty well. Numbers show it’s selling more than one a day on average at close to $200. And that’s all grades. Being a modern I didn’t break out mid or low grades. They are all in the same pot, and it’s still averaging about $188 raw over the last 3 months. That’s a steep buy in for a name change on a print run over 37,000. But it’s a book people seem to want.

 

As noted above the 2nd Print is also one to keep an eye out for. It’s about a 3rd the cost of the 1st print by comparison. So if you find it, go ahead and grab it. And with the popularity these days in later prints, this book could close the gap to be half the 1st print price before you know it. As with all things Carol Danvers, prices are trending up this year. And with 6 months of movie marketing on the way, I can see them continuing this trend for the foreseeable future.

 

Well that’s it for this week. So I’m gonna continue the inner debate as whether to buy in now or wait as the clock continues to tick on that first trailer release. It’s like playing chicken with my wallet.

And on that note…

 

Well let me just quote the late-great Colonel Sanders, who said…”I’m too drunk to taste this chicken.” – Ricky Bobby

 

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