The Usual Suspects 52

Welcome back for another edition of The Usual SuspectsThis week I wanted to take a look at the always controversial idea of Cameo 1st appearances. Everyone wants to weigh in with their position on the great Cameo vs. Full debate.


But I’m gonna start and say, I think the debate is in the wrong place. We will probably never come together and decide what should be considered a 1st appearance, 1st cameo, 1st full, or whatever. But is that really the argument? Whether you feel the market should decide, or this is just the way it is, or if you have certain criteria you think we should all follow, what is the argument really about? $$$, right?

Isn’t it always about money? I mean, why should I care personally if you think Kamala Khan’s 1st appearance is Captain Marvel 14? Or 17? Or Marvel Point One? It’s about what I think should be valued more in the aftermarket. Right?

It’s not really about some altruistic teaching moment to educate others on the history of the character. It’s all about driving the market prices, right?

But really, that should be a different discussion. Why does it always have to gravitate around the perceived value? That’s all it is. Perception. Do we need to have a debate whether the below is a 1st appearance? Or just a cameo?

Sure, it’s one panel, she’s unnamed. And we don’t find out who that was until months later. So, does not knowing who she was at the time negate that as her first appearance? She appeared, even if we didn’t know who she was, there she was.  I mean I continue to exist, even if we haven’t met in person.

Whatever our position is, doesn’t it simply come down to what we each individually feel is the book to own and the $ value we feel that book should bring? I mean otherwise why there are arguments if it isn’t about $$$?

I mean we aren’t talking about a debate over whether this is actually the characters appearing or not?

And we aren’t debating whether a cover only appearance ahead of an appearance in story counts as an appearance. That’s a whole other thing that I don’t want to get into right now.


We can argue over whether an unnamed character appearance over a single panel as Kamala above, or a few panels (as below) should be considered the 1st appearance or not. We’ve just had a touch of that recently with Jennika in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle #51. A few panels, two lines, and no name or face reveal.

Now some might say it isn’t an appearance until the characters face or name are revealed. A valid point, otherwise how do we know what we are looking at? Example continued in issue #52 below. Here we find out who we were looking at.

But then sometimes the market can confuse matters. Take Thor: God of Thunder #25 as the 1st appearance of Lady Thor. It’s obviously her. It’s a gorgeous double page splash, but is it anything more than a teaser image? Is this considered in story or is it more like an advertisement?

And then we have Thor #1, which really isn’t much lengthier than what we had in God of Thunder #25. It’s really an O.G. Thor issue until the last 2 pages. But folks flocked to this issue even though, by all rights, this is again just a cameo by most definitions.

But I think a big factor may have been her appearance on the cover. That goes a long way with collectors. Covers are king.

We can make whatever arbitrary rules we want, but what it comes down to, is at an individual level which book do you want. Or in some cases, NEED to own as your collection isn’t complete without it?

Personally, I try to cover all bases because I am a completionist at heart. Something deep seated inside tells me that I need them all.

But that isn’t always an option as books become more and more expensive. And as more and more collectors join the game, there’s more competition, and more money changing hands out there driving prices.

So again, it comes down to the all mighty dollar. The market decides which books are more desired, as it is reflected in the prices of books. Now we can get into a discussion over whether the market is being controlled or manipulated by some conglomerate of trend makers who have a stake in keeping certain books in the lofty status as the one to own. Maintaining the status quo if you will.

But regardless of all that, if people are paying more for Book A over Book B, then that is the book to own if you are looking for a return on investment. Right or wrong, isn’t that what all the fighting is about?

Because if a group of like minded individuals are arguing the merits of Book B over Book A, what is the purpose? Is it to really set the imaginary record straight as to what book should be regarded as the 1st whatever? Or is it simply that they wish the drive the market to shift to make Book B more valuable? Is it a secret agenda?

I’m just playing around with all the conspiracy talk. What it comes down to, is that each collector must make their own choice as to what book they want to own and then simply go get that one. The market will work itself out. Supply and Demand, and all that jazz. Agendas and conspiracy theories aside, the market will dictate which book is more valued and that will be reflected in the price, and whether that means this is the 1st appearance or not is a secondary discussion.

Because more times than you would expect, the actual True First is probably an advertisement, Marvel Age, magazine preview, or Ashcan anyway. Right Topher?

So, let’s look at a handful of these books that most consider “Cameos” and not the 1st Full appearance just for fun. This isn’t a competition, and I’m not trying to sway you one way or another. These are widely considered Cameo appearances, so you decide which book you want in your PC. Without further preamble, and no more to do…

Incredible Hulk #180 

(Oct 1974)

1st appearance of Wolverine in, cameo on last page

This is probably the most famous debate out there. Is this issue the 1st appearance of Wolverine? Is this just a cameo and not a true first full appearance? Do we even need that distinction? You decide for yourself. His appearance is confined to the bottom last page of the issue as shown below.

Do I think this is a 1st appearance? Personally, yes I do. Is it clear who he is? Yes. Do we see the character clearly? Yes. Do we know his name? Yes. So, to me this is Wolverine’s 1st appearance.

Also, just to put this out there, I’m not one who advocates advertisement previews as 1st appearances. They are cool, but they are just a fun novelty to me. Like this ad in the back of Daredevil #115 which came out between 180 and 181.

But that said, do I think that means that Hulk #180 should be valued more than Hulk 181? Honestly? No, I don’t. Because personally, I want that cover appearance. I want that full story. That to me is what I would want to own and cherish. That is the image built up in my mind since I was a kid that I need to get 181 one day. I mean, a one panel splash is great. It’s really cool. It’s a striking image, and it’s his 1st appearance; but it’s buried at the back of the book and is only a tease for more to come…in 181.

It’s like a movie trailer. Sure, that sizzle reel has me excited; but it has me excited for the full story to come which is what I want to actually see/read. I’m not gonna buy a movie trailer.

Editor’s note: back in college I did purchase a movie trailer on actual film. I don’t know why as I did not have a projector. I just thought it was cool and was a big-time movie geek. Still kinda am, but not at that level anymore. OK sidebar over.

Ok, that’s my personal take on it. And I made sure to obtain both books because as a completionist, I do want that splash page 1st appearance. But the book I want to show off is that 181.

The truth of it is that so much of this hobby is built around the cover. You can’t show off that last panel at the back of the book if it’s slabbed. Nor do you want to be man-handling a raw book more than necessary.  So almost by default, 181 wins out. But 180 is still a must own in my opinion.

Market Analysis:  This is a book that has been gaining ground on 181 the last few years. Is it because more people are getting onboard with this as a true 1st? Is 181 getting so far out of reach that more folks are turning to the book they can afford? Or is it simply getting more recognition as a book to own?

Lots of copies on the market but twice as many sold, so this is still a book in demand and rising prices are reflecting that. Looking for a cheap copy, maybe a foreign is the way to go.

Or you can try your hand at an auction. Cheapest BIN is a Fair 1.0 copy from MCS for $200.

Big dog on the block with a stack of cash to burn, then there is a CGC 9.8 on the market for $12,500

Amazing Spider-Man #299 

(Apr 1988)

Venom cameo

Much like Hulk 180, why isn’t this the 1st? If you look at the last page splash, there he is, clear as day. So do I think this is the 1st appearance? Yes I do.

Once again, it’s clear who this is, the character is named, and introduced to readers. But again, while this should be more sought after than it is, ASM 300 is still the book to own and no amount of lobbying by anyone will change that now.

Now this discrepancy would have to have less to do with the cover than Hulk 181. I mean this is a great cover. It’s iconic. It’s been homaged more times than I can count, but what I mean is that the cover doesn’t factor into the appearance debate. Venom’s 1st cover doesn’t come until ASM 316. A great cover and also undervalued in my opinion.

So do you want the appetizer (299) or the main course (300)? Again, all things being equal and if I had to choose straight up between the 2 books based on cover and content alone, I am going 300. And the huge price difference is reflecting that most people feel the same.

This isn’t a chicken or the egg argument. I don’t want 300 because it’s higher value. That value is a byproduct of it already being more desired by collectors. Again, a one page splash is awesome, but I want the meat and potatoes of it if I had to choose.

But that doesn’t mean 299 is trash. Far from it. I still think it should be more valued. It should be much closer to 300 for the 1st appearance factor alone. Maybe that gap will get closer like we’ve seen on some other books, but for now I think this is still very undervalued by the community. It shouldn’t be on par with #298 which is really a cameo tease. Almost like an after credits scene.

Market Analysis:  Looking for a CGC 9.8? Then expect to pay between $250 – $500 for this one. More copies are listed under $300 than over and there are plenty on the market. A high grade raw could cost you up to $200 too. Quite a few lots available if you are looking for #298-#300.

Rather go cheap? Then foreign could be an option again. Grab a Greek edition for $25, or German for 430, or Dutch for 435.

Not looking to go overseas, then you can still grab a decent raw stateside for $30-$40.

Superman: The Man of Steel #17

(Nov 1992)

Doomsday cameo on last page

It may not be worth that much these days, but growing up in the 90’s, Doomsday will always have a special space in my heart. The build up for him was ridiculous. Tease after tease making you have to pick up all Superman titles for fear of missing out.

So this is just a tease. Again, much like an after credits scene. You don’t get much of a look at him, and it’s also not clear what his name is. Sure, now we know it’s Doomsday, but just reading this issue, I wouldn’t know who or what I was looking at.

This issue began the build up we would see over the month in all of Superman’s titles. These last page teases continued in Superman #73, Adventures of Superman #496, and Action Comics #683.

Looking at these all put together like this, all I can think of is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

But after all that build up, we finally got the pay off in Man of Steel #18. That books has 5 printings BTW, and those 4th and 5th printings are pretty tough to come by and come at a premium. And everyone loves a DCU variant.


Market Analysis:  If you’re patient, you may still stumble into a cheap copy in a dollar bin. Could be a later printing, but these Superman books had high print runs, and it’s not uncommon to flip past them in a 90’s fluff box.

Not feeling lucky, then you can grab a decent raw for $20. Or if you’d rather hunt big game, you can grab a CGC 9.8 for as low as $75 right now.

Avengers #195

(May 1980)

1st appearance of Taskmaster in cameo on last page

Taskmaster will continue to heat up as we get closer to Black Widow. But truthfully, he’s already been on the rise for months now. But once again in traditional Marvel cliffhanger style, we get a final splash page introduction to the man with photographic reflexes.

That’s a pretty cool intro for sure, but just like our other Marvel examples above, which one would you want in your PC? The real 1st appearance here, or the following issue with that iconic green cover?

That’s what I thought. This cover is just too cool. In fact, I feel like the entire idea of a 1st “full” appearance was just something that someone came up with to justify wanting these next appearance books more. They liked it a lot and wanted others to share that sentiment.

I’m just saying, that while these qualifiers make sense in some circumstances; they are really being overused in our market. I mean ASM #298 makes sense as a Cameo, we don’t know who that is, the character isn’t yet named, and is mostly in shadow, teasing more to come. ASM #299 however is a full on in story appearance simply kicking off next month’s action early.

Just like the transition from #195 to #196 here. It literally leads right into the next issue. But until recently, 195 got little to no love from the community.

But is that because more folks are accepting of these as 1st appearance books that should be more valued in the community, or is it simply a matter of being priced out of the big-ticket issue, so they move on to the one they can afford?

Market Analysis:  The time for cheap copies of this book has passed. People have been all over Taskmaster for months. Expect to drop $325-$400 for a CGC 9.8.

You could score a decent raw for $25 still, but those high grade copies will run you closer to $100. Keep an eye out for Avengers lots, as you may be able to sneak one listed in a lot that the seller is unaware of what they have as most Avengers books in that range are just bin fodder.

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #134

(Dec 1970)

1st appearance of Darkseid in cameo

I actually covered this book last year in Usual Suspects #10. So, what did I have to say about it last August?

It has a nice classic Superman cover. This was from the days where the cover conveyed a bit of the story inside the actual book. Not just some fancy pin up art. Crazy, huh? Such a novel idea. But I digress.

I maintain what I said as true. This was a sweet cover and I do miss the days when the cover could be a snapshot of events from the interior. But if you want more details on Darkseid’s 1st appearances, then go ahead and click on the link back, as I don’t want to rehash stuff I’ve already written.

But for those just want to move on, why was this only considered a cameo? Is it because it’s only a one panel appearance and it’s of Darkseid’s face on a TV screen.

Yup that’s it. Little grey face in a box. Seriously it looks like a head in a box, like Jambi. I’m waiting for him to start chanting, “Meka Leka Hi, Meka Hiney Ho.”

I mean that’s honestly pretty lame for a big deal villain’s 1st appearance. Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a good book to own regardless. I have one. But when you compare it to say, his Marvel knock-off counterpart, Thanos, I’ll take that purple pants less shot all day.


Marvel really should have had Brolin rocking the metal codpiece and high boots look. I mean it kinda looks like something Grace Jones would have sported back in Conan the Destroyer. But what was with these big villains’ outfits? Thanos looks like he’s showing off a sweater dress like Lana from Archer and Darkseid’s original look seems awfully close to Becky Lynch’s newest gear. Not in color, but in overall design.

Anyway, this book is still in demand and is still the book to own. It’s priced well above your other options early Darkseid Options Forever People #1 or New Gods #2.

Market Analysis:  This book could be jumping off soon with rumors of an appearance in Ava DuVernay’s New Gods movie. That said, this isn’t a cheap book regardless of how small the appearance.

A CGC 8.5 will cost you close to $1k right now. Granted if you browse around you could also scoop an 8.5 up for closer to $550-$600 to. Look around before you act. Sure you could miss out on a rare book if there is only 1 copy out there, but more often than not, you will save yourself a few bucks by shopping around a bit.

Looking for a raw copy, then they could run you as low as $100 for a reader up to $500 for a decent looking copy.

Ok that’s it for this week. But before I let you go; I have a gaggle of other quick hit Cameos to look at. So, with that, let’s get into it.

Amazing Spider-Man #360

First cameo appearance of Carnage

Carnage was another character Marvel built up over issues before dropping him in ASM #361. But this was a mid-story full page introduction. You get the face, the name, story action. I say 1st appearance, but 361 will always be king, just like ASM 300.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 298
CGC 9.8 – $148.99 on 7/10/19
Raw – $20.50 on 7/28/19

All-Points Bulletin

Avengers #54

First cameo of Ultron

He wasn’t even called Ultron yet. He was the Crimson Cowl, and it was a one panel reveal that he was the Ultron we would soon come to know and love.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 4
CGC 9.8 – $2,475.00 on 4/13/15
Raw – $24.50 on 6/29/19

All-Points Bulletin

X-Men Annual #14

First cameo appearance of Gambit

Gambit appears in a few panels and has no dialogue, but that’s him. Storm even references her adventure with him in Uncanny.

This just seems more like a publishing snafu as this came out 2 months before #266. I still like the 266.

Typical Sales Data:


All-Points Bulletin

X-Factor #5

First cameo of Apocalypse

My, this book has come down quite a bit. $10 raw, and only $31 for a CGC 9.8. That’s basically grading fees and shipping.

That X-men movie was bad, but not this bad. Here’s to hoping either Marvel print brings back Apocalypse to his former glory, or they get him right in the MCU in about 10-15 years.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 824
CGC 9.8 – $31.00 on 7/14/18
Raw – $10.36 on 7/30/19

All-Points Bulletin

Wonder Woman #7

First appearance of Barbara Minerva (Cheetah)

This one has been on the rise since Cheetah was announced as the villain in the next Wonder Woman movie. Attention has shifted a bit to #9, but this is still a desired issue, despite some concern about the casting of Kristen Wiig. She’ll do fine, in my opinion.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 137
CGC 9.8 – $325.00 on 7/20/19
Raw – $23.50 on 7/28/19

All-Points Bulletin

Green Lantern #20

Jessica Cruz Cameo

Well this one has been covered pretty well already. I did a whole thing back in Usual Suspects #30, so go check that out for more details.

There’s also a Combo Pack variant and an Incentive variant of this book as well.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 126
CGC 9.8 – $95.00 on 7/6/19
Raw – $12.50 on 7/29/19

All-Points Bulletin

Invincible Iron Man #7

Riri Williams Cameo

Yes, this book has been on speculators radars for a while now. Prices seem to be down a bit, but who knows where or when we will see Riri show up. I still feel she’s gotta a better chance at showing up on Disney + before the MCU.

Women of Power variant of this seems to be the hotter cover, despite it being pretty underwhelming. But all you get is that last page appearance until issue #9.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 476
CGC 9.8 – $137.50 on 7/26/19
Raw – $19.99 on 7/29/19

All-Points Bulletin

New Mutants #86

First cameo appearance of Cable

Yeah, we all know Cable’s 1st appearance is NM 87, but I think a lot of folks forget he actually appeared before that issue. No, I don’t mean Baby Nathan in X-men #201, I’m talking about the last page tease shown here.

Plus, you get a tag team homage to Ditko by Liefeld & McFarlane.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 82
CGC 9.8 – $51.00 on 7/1/19
Raw – $14.99 on 7/29/19

All-Points Bulletin

Ms. Marvel #16

Mystique Cameo

These 2 panels are all you get. And it continues to get slow played thru #17, until we finally get to see the Mystique we know and love in issue #18.

Haven’t added this one yet to my PC. Eventually, but I’ve had enough Mystique personally after her inflated role in the recent X-flicks due to Jennifer Lawrence’s celebrity.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 88
CGC 9.8 – $500.00 on 5/15/19
Raw – $34.99 on 7/25/19

All-Points Bulletin

Uncanny X-Men #282

First appearance of Bishop

Now this is an odd one because it’s only a last page cameo, but he also gets the cover. And it’s listed as his 1st without the cameo qualification.

I agree it’s a 1st, but by all accounts. I just find it strange that the market supports it and doesn’t treat it like Hulk #180. It’s gotta be the cover.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 901
CGC 9.8 – $133.50 on 7/13/19
Raw – $15.50 on 7/29/19

All-Points Bulletin

Fantastic Four #67

First brief appearance of HIM (Adam Warlock)

This is one of those debated 1st appearances along with those Thor issues. 

But we won’t be diving into that yet. We’re gonna save that for a future article once we finally get some Adam Warlock MCU News.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 11
CGC 9.8 – $7,400.00 on 5/23/18
Raw – $72.00 on 7/28/19

All-Points Bulletin

X-Men #120

First cameo of Alpha Flight

Who knows, we may see Canada’s premiere super team again eventually. This is a classic X-Book and part of an iconic run of Classic Claremont and Byrne goodness. 

It’s weird that this is considered a cameo, with this team rundown. But Vindicator is throughout the book and Sasquatch shows up as well.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 70
CGC 9.8 – $1,625.00 on 2/10/19
Raw – $30.00 on 7/28/19

All-Points Bulletin

X-Factor #23

First cameo of Archangel

In this issue we get a couple of pages with Archangel as Apocalypse’s newest horseman, Death.He was such a cool character back in the 90’s, but everyone gravitated towards that 1st cover on #24 instead of this book. This cover is awful so I can see why everyone has gone that way.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 25
CGC 9.8 – $75.00 on 3/22/19
Raw – $12.99 on 7/27/19

All-Points Bulletin

Bloodshot #6

Ninjak cameo

I believe a lot of the Valiant characters cameoed in other books before getting their own series. I’m looking at you Bloodshot, Rai, and Shadowman, etc.

But I chose Ninjak, the ninja Bond, as he seemed to signal the end of that original Valiant universe for me. Bad cover though.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 901
CGC 9.8 – $133.50 on 7/13/19
Raw – $15.50 on 7/29/19

All-Points Bulletin

The Saga of Swamp Thing #25

John Constantine appearance

This is another one of those debated 1st appearances but this time, is it even him? 

We know John Constantine was modeled after Sting, and this dude looks like Sting. Is that enough? 

But regardless, this is a sweet cover.

Typical Sales Data:

CGC Census 9.8 – 66
CGC 9.8 – $150.00 on 2/8/18
Raw – $37.00 on 7/30/19

All-Points Bulletin

…And with that, we are done. Cheers….

The post The Usual Suspects 52 appeared first on CBSI Comics.

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