FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Connecting the Dots: RED GUARDIAN>BLACK WIDOW

 

*** ORIGINALLY POSTED FEBRUARY 2019 ***

 

 

There are two types of speculators: those who lead and those who follow. By the time news hits, cheap copies of relevant keys are gone and sometimes all that are left are overpriced, often lower grade scraps. It’s the individuals who actually read and research comics who ultimately profit by making insightful, sometimes far-out, connections that puts them far ahead of the market.

Marvel Cinematic Universe movies are a haven for speculation. Prior to casting news, trailers and premiers, speculators descend on every morsel of information and rumor in hopes of finding relevant keys to purchase. This is especially true of Avengers films. While speculators wait for Endgame to premier in May 2019, they are buying up copies of New Avengers #11 (1st Ronin)  and #21 (Hawkeye as Ronin), Hulk #377 (Smart Hulk) and every single Marvel comic titled “Endgame.”

Multiple outlets are reporting the anticipated Black Widow film starring Scarlett Johansson will begin filming at the end of February for a potential May 2020 release date. Little verifiable information has been released; reportedly character breakdowns from casting calls have been leaked. While this information is far from reliable, it does start the process. Whom are the key characters that might appear in the film? Media outlets have already begun to speculate. The Hashtag Show suggests the Red Guardian (KGB agent Alexi Shostakov) or The Taskmaster might be considered as the antagonist. Shostakov is a logical assumption, considering he was the former husband of the Natasha Romanoff.

Those wanting to speculate on the Red Guardian would immediately turn to Avengers #43, the character’s confirmed first appearance. Published in August 1967, it’s a silver age book that is expensive in the highest grades. The CGC Census notes 193 graded copies, with a single 9.8 listed, (which sold in 2012 for $2,500.) While not a difficult book to find, since it is by no means a major key, this book is probably a safe investment. However, what’s interesting about this character is that in the first issue of the 2011 mini-series Widowmaker, Shostakov becomes Ronin! Ronin, whom Hawkeye becomes in Endgame, is a speculation darling and is connected to Black Widow by way of two characters.

This is where knowledge of the character can reap significant rewards. Widowmaker #1, which has estimated sales of 18,245 according to Comichron, also has a 1:15 Paul Renaud variant, which lowers the number of copies to potentially 2736, and features Ronin on the cover. The book also has one of my favorite qualities: no graded copies.

While it’s likely if Red Guardian and/or Alexi Shostakov appears as an antagonist in Black Widow, it will only be for a single film, like most of the lower key characters in the movies. However, if the character returns as Ronin in some media property, then this book becomes very significant.

While most speculation is conjecture, taking the time to do our own research (before anyone else does) on a character and actually read the books we purchase helps us find hidden or undervalued gems and minimizes a loss of potential profit.

 

**ORIGINALLY POSTED APRIL 2019**

 

 

There are two types of speculators: those who lead and those who follow. By the time news hits, cheap copies of relevant keys are gone and sometimes all that are left are overpriced, often lower grade scraps. It’s the individuals who actually read and research comics who ultimately profit by making insightful, sometimes far-out, connections that puts them far ahead of the market.

 

In part one of our look at potential characters whom might appear in the upcoming Black Widow movie, I discussed the potential for the Red Guardian to appear in the film. Recent rumors now connect several actors to the movie, which begins to clarify its direction and of course fuels the speculation machine.

Many ran out to buy up copies of Ultimate Comics All-New Spider-man #26 (2013) following the news that André Holland was hired and is speculated to play the Ultimate Universe version of the Taskmaster. Sales of the book reached $95, before settling from $15-20.  However, there are other more directly related Black Widow characters whom have yet to be confirmed for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While there’s been some speculation whom David Harbour (Stranger Things, Hellboy) might play, one possibility is Ivan Petrovich Bezukhov, young Natasha Romanoff’s guardian and protector. (He has a long history with Black Widow and he eventually becomes a cyborg!) His first appearance is Amazing Adventures vol. 2 #1 (1970), which is also one of the first Black Widow solo stories. The most recent sale for a 9.8 was $560 in Nov. 2018. (Several 9.6s are currently listed for $300-350.) Damon Dran, an early Black Widow antagonist, is another possibility. His first appearance is Daredevil vol. 1 #92 (1972). It is certainly conceivable that Dran could serve as a primary antagonist, while Taskmaster serves as an enforcer (not unlike Crossbones in Captain America: Civil War). This book has a much cheaper buy in at $300-350 for the highest grade, however, none have come to market in a couple of years.

Although the character has appeared in both X-Men movies and on the ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. some suspect Rachel Weisz might play , the Viper. Originally Madame Hydra, she first debuted Captain America #110 (1969). Throughout her career, Sarkissian fought a number of Marvel heroes, including the Black Widow. She assumes the name Viper in Captain America #180 (1974) after she kills the original, Jordan Dixon. FMV for a 9.8 is Cap #110 is $1550, while a #180 sold for $1550 in January. (This book had the added benefit of being the first appearance of Cap’s Nomad identity, which saw increased activity prior to the Avengers: Infinity War.)

Another comic that may turn out to be significantly relevant to the Black Widow movie is Marvel Fanfare #11 (1983). The book features no less than seven first appearances of potential antagonists. These include: N’Kama, Deadshot Darrance, Iron Maiden (Melina Vostokovna), Laralie, Black Lotus, and Kono. (Issue #12 adds the character of Snapdragon.) While these are hardly A-List characters, a couple have appeared multiple times throughout Black Widow’s history. Therefore, it’s conceivable that some could be utilized in the movie. The book also features an iconic George Perez cover. Marvel Fanfare #11 offers perhaps the biggest return on investment of any Black Widow-related comic. The buy-in is extremely low for a book with so many first appearances. In fact, a 9.8 copy sold for $36 March 12, 2019.

While not necessarily long term investments, much like spec on the Starforce (Avengers #346) and other secondary characters in the Captain Marvel movie, these books could see a significant spike upon confirmation or announcement. Remember, sans an official announcement, none of these characters are scheduled to appear on screen. However, when filming commences in June, perhaps we’ll see official confirmations.

 

 

This Connecting The Dots Friday Flashback was originally posted in February and April 2019 by Jason Shaw.

The post FLASHBACK FRIDAY: Connecting the Dots: RED GUARDIAN>BLACK WIDOW appeared first on CBSI Comics.

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