Machine Man Vol. 1, #19
A comic series comes to an end for any number of reasons: poor sales; a writer/ artist leaving; or even to transition a character to a new series (i.e. DC’s Rebirth). Conventional wisdom holds that the print run of the final issues are considerably lower than at the title’s launch. While not every final issue offers value, there are some that can be hearty investments.
One such comic is Machine Man Vol. 1, #19, published in Feb. 1981.
Machine Man, a Jack Kirby conceived character who originally appeared in 2001: A Space Odyssey #8 (July 1977), received his own series the following year. However, that series had a tumultuous run, experiencing a significant lag between issues #9 and #10 and a detour to The Incredible Hulk #235 and #237. The series resumed publication under the control of Marv Wolfman and Steve Ditko, with Tom DeFalco becoming the writer from issue 15 until the series’ cancellation. Two series later, various other guest appearances and membership in Nextwave: Agents of Hate, the character can be seen with the Domino-led Mercs for Money.
Issue #19 proudly declares on the cover that it’s a “Complete-Your-Collection Special (Or, guess what mag won’t have a 20th issue.” The most notable aspect of the issue is the first appearance of Jason Macendale, the villain Jack O’Lantern, who will become one incarnation of the Hobgoblin. (The issue also sneaks in a Superman and Batman cover appearance!)
There are a total of 89 graded copies in the census with only 23 9.8 copies. It’s very difficult to find a high-grade copy of this book in the wild.
Overstreet values Machine Man #19 at NM+ at $51, but good luck finding one; an online retailer has a NM- copy for sale for $26. The only recent eBay sale was a VF/NM copy in September for south of $20. There’s an online consignment sale of a VF/NM copy for $139; now that’s optimism! Most of the time you’ll see this book in lots.
While rarity doesn’t always translate into money, this issue appeals to a number of collectors including Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko fans as well as Hobgoblin completists. With this 40-year-old character still appearing in the marvel universe (and a connection to Deadpool through Mercs for Money), there’s still potential here, especially if you find a high-grade copy in the wild.