The Usual Suspects 17
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Usual Suspects. Once a month I am going continue to do an all Variant edition. So this week, I thought I’d leave off the TV/Movie related stuff and take a gander at some X-23 variants.
I will admit I was not a believer in Laura Kinney. I still remember grabbing NYX #3 off the shelf at my LCS. Looked like an interesting story and had a pretty cool cover. Never got around to reading it though and just stashed it in a box for a while.
I also remember when I found out that this book was “hot” as it featured the first appearance of a female clone of Wolverine. I thought to myself, “No way this amounts to anything,” as that’s just a dumb idea. So I will happily take the $50 for it (the going rate at the time). This will be cover price in a couple months.
Hey, we all miss more than we’d like. No one likes to talk about those mistakes. But I figure it’s all part of our little hobby. I’m not ashamed to admit when I’m wrong. And that wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last. Another good example of a miscalculation was dumping my CBCS 9.8 Edge of Spider-verse 2 Land variant for $700 last year (again, the going rate at the time). “No way does another gender flipped character last long term,” says the idiot to himself. I have had plenty of misfires.
But I’m not gonna bore you with any more Tales of Woe. Sure, I could go on and on about blunder after blunder I’ve made over the years. From the “why did I sell that’s?” to the “what were you thinking buying that’s?” No, I want to get into the books. So let me stop this train before I get lost on a tangent, rambling on and on wondering what I was talking about.
X-23 has been around nearly 15 years now, and she’s had some great variant covers in that time. That superlative counts for both value of some of her books, as well as quality of the cover art. And I want to look at more books than normal this week as some of these are same issue variants and 2nd prints of the same book. So while I’m looking at 6 different covers, it is really only 3 different issues.
So, without further preamble…let’s get into it.
1:25 Gabriele Dell’ Otto Variant
So we all know this book right? In this day and age, it’s probably one of the most sought after variants. So much so, that it outpaces the harder to find 1:75 by about double even though there should be 3 times as many copies, theoretically. Just an iconic image drawn from an interesting perspective that just evokes a sense of power as she’s looking down upon you, the reader.
And I prefer this with the trade dress over that nonsensical virgin version for X-Men Red #1. I really dislike this recent trend of reused art. With so many great artists out there pumping out quality work, I absolutely loathe the idea of taking a popular cover and slapping a virgin version on an unrelated book. A reprint/foil edition whatever is one thing, I don’t mind that so much. But this practice of recycling art on unrelated books really grinds my gears right up there with my other peccadillos.
That said, this is probably my favorite X-23 cover. I still don’t own one and probably never will. That is barring either some extreme good fortune or a full on comic conversion of my wife. I’m lucky in that when it comes to comics, she gets it, but she doesn’t “get it.” She understands Hulk #181 is worth money, and she understands how books can go crazy like Thanos #13; but she wouldn’t see me spending say $400 on this book as a “bargain.” Not to say I’ve had that opportunity, that’s just simple hyperbole for the sake of an example..
Active Listings: Only 7 listings available on eBay that I could find. You have to sort through all those darn X-Men Red #1 variants, but there are a few there.
So right now the top listing is a CGC 9.8 available for $2,799 with best offer, but with an added bonus a Dell’ Otto Winter Soldier variant. I personally would think you’d be better served separating those into 2 separate listings, but hey they’re not my books. If you just want the X-23, there’s a CBCS 9.8 for $2,477 or a CGC 9.8 for $2,200.
In the market for a raw copy, then that’ll cost you $1,468.87. If you were thinking that’s an awfully random amount, I thought the same until I saw it was $1,899.99 Canadian converted to USD.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of movement on this book, as prices seem to be remaining pretty consistent over the last year. Only fluctuating about 5% either way.
Last CGC 9.8 sale was for $1,475 which was under the recent and 12 month averages by about $100. Not a big swing, and all current listings are for much more than either average as noted in the Active sales section.
For a raw copy you are looking at about $800. I couldn’t put the Overstreet values in this week since the guide doesn’t cover most variants.
1:75 Djurdjevic Variant
Ok let’s look at the same book but with a different cover. This Marco Djurdjevic is a much harder to find variant being a 1:75 ratio, but it is still trailing the Dell’ Otto in terms of “value”. It seems to be gaining some ground as of late, but it is still trending at half price.
Not very many copies so not much more to say.
Active Listings: Only 4 listings up on this one. And one is in a value pack of sorts offering this in a CGC 9.8 long with 5 other 1:75’s for $1,899.99. Not a bad deal all things considered. Maybe I’ll have a beer and ponder on this one.
But outside of that 6 pack of 1:75’s, we have 2 other CGC 9.8’s up for about $1,400 and $1,150 respectively. Only one raw dog on the market and that bad boy is listed at $900.
Market Analysis: Now when you consider the asking prices are all about double the previous sale prices, one can make the determination that the market is expecting big movement on this book. Or it could be wishful thinking. If one of these goes near the asking price, I can see this gaining some more ground on the Dell’Otto. People love follow the leader in our hobby. Oh that guy paid $1,500 so I guess I should too. That said, I doubt it will catch it.
Let’s go one more time on this book, but this time let’s look at the 2nd Print Variant. Yeah I know there’s a debate whether a 2nd print is technically a variant or not, but for the purposes of this article it is. Plus it says so right on the cover. Besides I could care less about that debate.
But I recently picked up a raw copy of this myself. I had been watching a listing for months and finally made a move after I saw Khoi post a 9.8 on Instagram. I will admit that I was never a fan of IG until recently. I guess I just didn’t get it, being a 40 year old fuddy duddy. But now I’m firing away pick-up posts and blah blah blah….follow me….blah blah…link to my twitter…blah blah…..end shameless self-promotion.
Active Listings: Another hard to find book that doesn’t have many listings. That is a recurring theme with these variants. Only 4 listings of this right now.
Only one graded and that is a CGC 9.6 looking for $179.99. Outside of that you only have 3 raws up. One is asking $100, the next $82, and the cheapest of the bunch wants $39.
Market Analysis: Only 2 graded 9.8 sales the last year. One went for $160 back in may while the next went for half that price. That was an auction ending on a Thursday. If you are gonna do an auction be mindful when it ends because it could really affect your sale price. Just saying.
Anyway raws have a few more sales, but still not much volume. Last sale at $40 raw was a high for the year. That coupled with the current asking prices, this may be also be a book on the rise. Or not. At the right price, I’d say it’s worth a flyer. Due to the scarcity, you probably won’t lose much principal. Let’s move on.
This book just seems to be getting hotter as time goes on. I can’t say if it’s just speculators selling to themselves hoping to flip at the next plateau or if people really believe in Gabby, whose first appearance was in this book.
Full disclosure, I have had this book twice. CGC 9.8 both times and flipped ‘em at what I thought was a high water mark. The first at like $250, and the second at $350. Now I could say this should be added to my bonehead moves noted above, but I don’t regret either sale. I made some $ on both and those proceed went towards me getting other books I wanted more. It’s not because I don’t believe in Gabby. I’m just indifferent. You disagree?
Looks like about 9 listings for this one. There’s some reaching going on here as one 9.6 is asking $950. Sure the last 9.8 sale set a new high, but that was still under $600. And that was a 9.8. Where did the $950 for a 9.6 come from? But hey, good luck. You can list at whatever price you want. So same goes for their $750 CGC 9.4 and their $600 9.2.
Maybe it’s that late night bar strategy where if you hang around at that price long enough, someone will go home with your books. Not an awful strategy.
However, it may be tough setting new record highs selling those listings considering there are alternatives listed at half the price. But also in the land of reaching comes a raw looking for $600. If you were to buy that book you better be sure it’s a 9.8 because you could always go with one of the other 2 raw copies for $180 each. Heck you could buy both and have enough left over for a third, if another comes to market for six bills.
Market Analysis: While the census seems behind on their numbers, it’s pretty clear it’s not hard to get a 9.8 in this book. Like I said I took 2 shots and got 9.8 on both. Sure I pressed them, but I’m no expert.
But you can’t deny the prices are on the rise. Slow and steady. Like I said the last sale in a 9.8 was a new high sale price according to Gocollect.com. It’s averaging about $500 recently which is over $100 more than the averaging for the lifetime average on this book. I went Lifetime on this book as opposed to just 1 year since this book is only 2 years old.
Lower grades in the 9.4-9.6 range and raws sell for about the same price for about $250. So this tells me 9.8 or bust on this book. So again, for those overpriced graded copies on the market right now…
2nd Print Variant
Another 2nd Print variant to take a look at. This is not easy to find and was not a hit right away. Just like the regular cover and the 1:25 variant, the prices have just seemed to gain steadily over the last 2 years.
Active Listings: Looks like about 9 listings for this one as well. That’s kinda weird, but the top listings appear to be a couple CGC 9.8’s looking for $280 or so. Raws range from $50-100 on this one.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of graded copies in the census, but with ten 9.8’s and 6 sales, it would appear this is graded only to sell. Not sure what that says about the long term prospects, but my gut tells me there is a ceiling on this. Maybe it’s a bias I have against 2nd prints. Don’t get me wrong I like some of them, but ultimately I will always prefer the 1st print if given the option.
And given this 2nd print is selling at or above the 1st, I can’t fully back that move. It doesn’t even have a unique cover. It’s just a recolored trade dress. But if that’s what you believe in and you want to invest in a 2nd print, I won’t tell you not to.
And I am fully aware that I was just saying how I just bought a 2nd print of X-23 #1 just a little while ago. But that had a different cover and it was…just… I mean it’s not the same situation… it’s got a different… Look, I’m complicated alright.
1:500 Mattina Sketch Variant
Yes, I am aware this is reused art from the previous issue. And I know I just ranted about this just a little while ago. So, I’m not going to contradict myself again. Or am I?
But all of Marvel’s super high ratio variants are reused art, so this fits that trend for them. Plus it’s an awesome Mattina cover with a Venomized X-23/Wolverine. I realize at the time she was “Wolverine” but I never stopped thinking of her as X-23. I mean no one seriously expected that to last long term. Like Riri Williams as Iron Man.
Active Listings: Only about 8 listings for this one. Kinda surprised considering this was a 1:500 variant. But there were store variants so that’s a few extra copies o the market that may not have been there for other high ratios.
Top listing is a CGC SS for $1800. After that most copies are around $1k. You can take a shot on an auctions that is currently less than $200 but still has a few days left.
Market Analysis: Once again, not a lot of graded copies in the census, and not a lot of graded sales to speak of. CGC 9.8’s seem to be trending up slightly and average about $1200. Also consider that this book is less than 2 years old, so Lifetime isn’t much over a year. But sales have been consistent even if they are few and far between.
Also it’s worth noting that 9.6’s are about the same as Raw sales in that $500 range. It’s almost like this book has just been forgotten about. But that happens. This market moves so fast. Sometimes you miss that window and you end up waiting a while for it to open up again.
Well that’s it for this week. Seemed like a lot of books but in reality it was only 3. Just some extra versions thrown in for good measure.
Now I didn’t go into this with the intent of being a Debbie Downer. But as I was writing I guess I found myself getting the sense of too much too soon on couple of these books. But that’s true of most variants in my opinion. And that’s the trick with this market. Books spike like crazy. Record highs one week, and then you can’t move it for anything the next. When a book spikes up, you just need to ask yourself why. Same goes when the price seems to spiral down, you need to consider the reason behind it. The answer to those questions is key to figuring your next move.
And on that note, let’s wrap it up. Next week I want to get into the spirit of the season and highlight some books to get us all ready for Halloween. And for no reason whatsoever…
“The dude abides.” – Jeffery Lebowski
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