The Usual Suspects #13

Welcome, welcome, welcome. This week I thought I do something a bit special. Over the past weekend I went to Keystone Comic Con, my first large convention. If you’re interested, please take a look at my coverage on Con Recon. And with many of the fellas headed over to Baltimore Comic Con next week, and then NYCC following that; I thought we’d take a look at a couple of convention exclusive books.

Alright, so some of these books are straight up ghosts. The first 3 appeared on the Top 100 Variants list from a couple years back. I considered using them on my look back edition, but passed on them due to very limited sales data. And even though we haven’t seen very many sales or listings, I feel these books will be long remembered even if nobody can find one.

And with so little data, I figure I’ll up my coverage to 5 books for this one. So if you find yourself at an upcoming convention, you might want to grab whatever exclusive you can because who knows what can happen. Sure, 90% of con exclusives are forgotten about, so don’t grab everything. Just get what you like. A good rule of thumb is that if you like it, there’s a good chance others will too. Unless you’ve got really odd taste…

…So, without further preamble…let’s get into it.



(Mar 2009)


These Marvel partial sketch variants are solid. I feel like almost all of them have at least some heat on the back market. But this bad boy is a standout. JSC covers are a category unto themselves. I mean, with this one and the other partial sketch for Uncanny #510; these are 2 of the top variants a collector can have in a collection.

This book has a lot going for it. A cover that pops drawn by a top artist, Shuri as Black Panther, a rare exclusive. Check, check, check. From what I gathered, this book was given out for free at a panel at NYCC. Yeah, a free giveaway, and now one of the most desired exclusives out there. You never can tell.

So below is the complete CGC Census for the book, as well as every tracked sale of it I could find. That’s 30 CGC graded copies. That’s it. No one knows what the print run was on this, or how many survived. It was a free book given out at a panel. Who’s to say how many people were handed this and threw them away. Must not be worth anything if it’s free. Might as well be another Comic Shop News shoved in your bag. Or that DC Krypton preview. I must have at least a dozen of those.


Active Listings:  So we have a whopping 3 listings currently. Three. And all 3 are CGC graded, with one of those a yellow label Signature Series.

Big dog on the block is a CGC Signature Series 9.8 double signed by Stan Lee and JSC at the bargain basement price of $15,999.99. Not quite $16k, but seller is taking Best Offers and provides Free Shipping. If you’ve read this column before, you might be aware of my feelings regarding big ticket items and shipping charges. I won’t rehash it, but suffice it to say, this seller is OK by me.



Next up we have a blue label 9.6. By comparison to the 9.8 SS it’s a bargain, so prepare to cough up $6k or maybe less if you make an offer. And it’s got 10 watchers. I wonder if any are serious buyers in that collection of watchers or if they are all just curious lookie loo’s.

The lookie loo has gotta be frustrating for a seller. “Alright, I got 10 watchers and I just listed it this morning. This baby is gonna move.”… “OK it’s been a few days and I picked up a couple more watchers. Someone will make a move today.”… “Last Day, let’s go. Someone is gonna make an offer.”… “What happened? How did no one make an offer? What are they all waiting for?”



And lastly, we have a live auction for a CGC Blue Label 9.8. There are 61 watchers and 3 days left at the time I am writing this. There have been 16 bids and it’s already over $1k. I’m sure there are at least a dozen snipe bids set, but how many will be priced out by auctions end. Any bets on where this finishes on Sunday night? My bet is it easily beats the most recent high and ends up over $4k. If it picks up steam this puppy could end close to five.


Market Analysis:  Well, with only 10 sales in total to work with, the book on this isn’t yet written in stone. You can’t track a trend if there haven’t been consistent sales. And with the sales spanning the last couple years, you can’t make an accurate prediction based on today’s market. All it takes is one person who wants it bad enough and we can see some new records.

Only three 9.8 Sales, and they’ve all been consistently in the $3k range; with the most recent sale just last month. But I have a hunch this active auction will exceed the $3,300 that one sold for on 8/9/18.

After that we have 9.6’s, 9.4’s, and 9.2’s all going for around $800 last year. There was an 8.5 that sold for $1,100 on 8/29/18, but that was a CGC SS so it’s not exactly apples to apples. Personally I’m not a signature guy, but I get it for those that are. And some people pay a premium for a signed book. Not me, but some people.

Raws, however, are tougher to track. No historical pricing that I can offer. Just the 2 sales completed within the last 3 months. But considering the jump from the 1st raw sale in June at $1600 to the $3k raw sold in July, this book may be on a meteoric rise. Or that $3k could have been an outlier. Again, can’t project a trend based on 2 sales.

But as I noted, going with my gut, I feel this is book is trending up. With some speculation that we may see Shuri in the Black Panther costume at some point with T’Challa currently…



… Who knows where this book can go? Again, my money is on a new high water mark come Sunday night. But we shall see.




(Apr 2011)


I loved this show. I loved this NES game. I love this cover, even though I’ve never actually seen it in person. This was supposedly limited to 500 copies, but when you see that Census numbers only show 21 graded copies and no raw sales or listings the last 3 months, I would venture to guess that there are less. The book is simply a ghost as all copies have been gobbled up.



If one were to come to market, who knows where it could go? There is only one listed currently, but we will get to that in a moment. In this current age of hyper nostalgia, this book checks a lot of boxes. Classic cartoon, classic game on a classic system, original (at the time) 8-bit homage cover, rare convention exclusive, and it’s still a relevant property. Heck, I was just watching the current series with my son while cooking dinner tonight. I love me some Duck Tales, A-Woo-hoo!

But the market is ripe for this one to explode, however with a supposed 500 copy print run and no available copies or sales, it at least appears that no one wants to part with their treasures.


Active Listings:  



Yup that’s it. We have one, and it’s a dreaded Green Label CGC 9.6. Sure it’s a green label because of an un-verified signature, but a Green Label nonetheless. I wonder if a verified CBCS Red Label Signature Series would do better. But regardless, I don’t even want to count this one. So let’s move on. But if anyone is interested, it’s out there for just under $1k. Have at it.


Market Analysis:  Not much of a market to speak of. Only 21 CGC Graded copies and only 2 tracked sales occurring years ago. So 2 sales, the last of which was in 2016, so now you see why I didn’t cover this before. But for this topic, I just had to mention it. It’s just too cool of a book, even if it doesn’t sell. Though I don’t believe that’s due to a lack of interest, but rather that no one wants to give this up if they have it. There are only 500 supposedly after all.

But if a high grade raw came to market, I see it going for over $1k tomorrow. A CGC 9.8 hits $2k. Yeah I said it. If a 9.8 Blue Label comes to market, it will exceed $2,000. If a 9.6 can sell for $600 two years ago, there’s no reason a 9.8 of a rare and never available variant doesn’t hit that mark. So if you’re holding one out there, throw it up and let’s see if I’m right. (I wouldn’t if I had it either, but it’s easy to talk tough with no real stake in the game.)




(Jan 2003)


I’m not sure if the term ghost is good enough for this one. This is like a ghost of a ghost. Or maybe a double ghost.



This is an alternate cover to Transformers Universe #1 featuring Unicron. This was only available at the first OTFCC (Official Transformers Collectors Club Convention) back in 2003. I’ve seen mention that there may be only 100 copies of this book in existence, but I might guess it’s even less. There are a total of 2 in the CGC Census. Yup, Two.


Active Listings:  You probably thought I would say there was none, but you’d be wrong. One of those 2 in the Census is for sale. And it’s the big dog. Top of the Census CGC 9.6 can be yours for the low, low price of $5,500 or Best Offer. And considering how rare this is, that seems quite reasonable. Sure you’d typically want a 9.8 for an investment like that, but there is no 9.8. This is the best of the bunch. Oh and don’t forget to factor in the extra $50 for shipping.

I know what you may be thinking, but no, I will not be showing Peter Griffin’s Grinds My Gears today. No, Instead I say…



Market Analysis:  Market? What Market? There were none sold. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Graded? Nope. Raw? Not recently.

Still a very cool book, and near impossible to find. I am curious what an auction would yield for a raw. I can’t even formulate a guess. You can throw out any number and I’d probably agree. A thousand? Sure. Two grand? Why not? I’m just curious.




(Sept 2016)


Jim Lee has always been my favorite artist. I used to emulate (cough cough, copy) his style when I used to draw in my youth. Granted this isn’t his most dynamic cover. It’s a simple character design style cover, but it’s striking nonetheless. Especially against the foil background.

So apparently these were given out at NYCC at a special unveiling event by the USPS. Yes it’s pretty much a USPS variant that was given out at the reveal of the 75th anniversary WW stamps. And another interesting tidbit is that this is considered a 2nd print of the Silver Foil cover of the same image that came out earlier in the year at SDCC.

And yet another interesting factoid, is that there are error copies of this book that were printed with a Silver Foil back. That 2nd print error variant convention exclusive, is quite hard to find and sells at a premium.

This is also quite a popular CGC SS book as well, with more CGC SS sales than Blue Labels. Not something you see very often, so I think it’s noteworthy.


Active Listings:  Of the convention variants I chose, this is the easiest to find of the bunch with 11 copies available right now. Prices are all over the place on this one. Recent sales have been trending down over the last year or so. But there are still some listings looking for those gravy train highs from 2016. I’m looking at you $2500 CGC 9.8 SS Jim Lee signed.



I mean you need to read the room. Why would someone pay 3 times more than the last 9.8 CGC SS that sold in March for $860? I realize this is the only current 9.8 signed by Jim Lee on the market, but $2500 is a bit steep all things considered. I mean I could buy a blue label 9.8 for $600, buy a convention ticket and airfare to the next con he is appearing at and get it CGC SS myself and still have like a grand to spare. Just saying.


Market Analysis:  Market is trending down on this one. Graded sales are down and apart from the $2500 listing most graded listings are at or lower than the recent sales which means those are motivated sellers. A solid offer and you can grab one even cheaper.

A CGC SS 9.0 signed by Jim Lee sold in Feb for $375, but there’s another one listed now for only $270. Not a good sign for the future prospects of this book. Unless you are in the market, then now is about the time to buy.

Just don’t go for a Raw, as the Raw sellers didn’t get the message that sales are down. They are all looking for $400-$1k even though the last sale in July was only $275. Downward trends. If you are looking, I say hold out another week and catch someone with a low best offer as they may be looking for last minute convention cash and will take what they can get. Just saying.




(Jun 2016)


This is a great series and it has been heating up lately. Rumors put this SDCC convention edition at limited to 500 copies. Not sure if it found its way to other conventions after that, but it seems to have premiered at SDCC.

This could be one to watch. The regular editions have been on the uptick, so it’s only natural a hard to find variant would be as well. But the hotter the regular title gets, this will increase exponentially given its rarity.


Active Listings:  Only 2 on the market at present. One raw for a solid $120, and a CGC SS 9.8 for $475. The $120 may be above the 3 month average, but it is still $5 cheaper than the last sale a couple weeks back.


Market Analysis:  As I noted, this book is going up. Prices over the last year or so have nearly doubled. The lifetime average on this is may only be a 2 year sample, but you can see how recent sales have been up about 70%. Even the most recent raw was sold at a 20% premium to the 3 month average.

If you can find one, it may be worth grabbing at a decent price before this becomes a $300 raw book and $1k CGC 9.8. I’m not saying that is where this one is going, but you know how this current market works. Someone mentions this was optioned and the fuse will be lit. If this can make these kind of gains based on quality storytelling alone and positive reader buzz, imagine what media news would do for it.



Well that’s it for this week. I’m going to try to do a variant edition once a month because I know how much everyone loves their variants.



In other news, for those interested my game of chicken with Ms. Marvel prices ended this past weekend as I grabbed a raw under the average at the Keystone Comic Con. Price was right, so I scooped it up. And lucky me grabbing one just 2 days before that trailer dropped. It’s all in the timing.


And on that note…


“Gentlemen… we’re history.” – Rufus

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