Sad Junk went into a comic shop, you won’t believe what happened next!
All right guys, it is time for a super extra-long edition of bargain picks. A number of folks are picking books based on covers. So here's a selection of books using that criteria.
Before we get started, I have one piece of advice for you: anyone who quotes Warren Buffet doesn’t know jack about investing, comics or otherwise. Real players know Peter Lynch was the man, and his best advice was the simplest: “Invest in what you know.”
Here’s my simple promise again: Original picks that work for the PC or flip, are budget-friendly and flying under the radar of many buyers/sellers. But act fast. I write with the collector in mind, but lots of spec artists/shop owners read this column too.
Buy it now!
The zombie herd is feasting on all things Venom right now, and there is much to feast on. But the smarter collectors among you have already realized that with a Venom there must come a Carnage. And his variants are fewer by comparison. Step back here for a second; what the hell is up with the pricing of his first appearance? You can get a NM copy for peanuts considering symbiote first app pricing (If you have followed the trajectory of Anti-Venom’s first or second printing of his first app, you’ll understand). So if you don’t have one you should lock that s**t down. Then you need to find ASAP the variants for Superior Carnage #1 and #2. They are damn hard to find, especially that #1. Man it took me a while to lock one down. The Chechetto cover is amazing, and will get a second look with more work by him. Again, it’s not as costly as a similarly HTF Venom variant.
Then, chase down that Wolverine #308 ASM in motion variant featuring Carnage. I hear that is also hard to find but I found some online for prices that won’t break the bank. Two others are the Carnage Vs. Deadpool #1 (easier to find) and the Carnage USA #1 Ramos variant (HTF, $$, but ugly and so I’ve passed). There are some others (the Carnage #3 Putri variant in the Top 10 being the prime example) but the chatter I’ve heard surrounds these books in particular.
It’s one of those Venom mini-series from the late 90s that most folks forgot about or don’t even know about. But the last issue in the series has a pretty wild cover by Kyle Hotz. Not surprising, as his Instagram demonstrates his choice of art subject is horror. The cover with its red background and Venom’s maniacal smile jumped out at me from the dollar bin. There were 29K printed, but the dollar bin is where you are probably going to find them in the wild. You know what that means – high grades are hard to come by. Online, that seems to be borne out, as there are not many copies listed in high grade. One place advertised a NM- copy for $5, and I sat on it for a night. The next morning, poof! It’s like someone at the NSA is noting all my comic searches…
Extra: Nightwatch #5, #6
Just to get under the skin of the Venom completionists. Yeah you thought you were pretty savvy for finding those Quasar, Nova, Nighthawk and Iron Man books from the 90s with the Venom appearances. OK, challenge mode: find either of these 10K print run (being generous here) books from the mid 90’s in high grade in the wild. Go on, I’ll be waiting to hear from you. This hunt has nothing to do with the future value of these books, this would be about bragging rights. For anyone writing this down, let me tell you this is some water-damaged, dusty-ass dollar bin diving for real.
Journey Into Mystery #646 – #650 Lady Sif variants
The price train already left the station on some of these books, but it’s worth pointing them out in case you might enjoy some good luck and stumble upon these beauties at your LCS or an unsuspecting seller online. And they are beauties for sure. What’s more amazing is that they are incredibly low print run books. Anyone who was chasing either the Venom or Marvel 50th anniversary sets and had to find the JIM variant learned that pretty quickly. Anyways, one look at these books and right away I knew that this is a superbly done and very undervalued variant cover set, equal to the art brilliance / rarity of the Red She Hulk variants. If you were savvy enough to get them when no one was looking for them, hold on to them. They will only continue to gather steam.
Take a deep breath – this is not a variant! This book is a moderately printed (32K) one-shot from the Joker’s Asylum storyline in 2008. But it features a sexy Poison Ivy cover by Guillem March, who actually does those covers pretty well but doesn’t get the attention of say, JSC or AH even though he got plenty of exposure (pun!) doing the covers for Gotham Sirens. You should be picking up more of his work if you like good art and sexy ladies. I think he’s underappreciated. Consider how March’s Superboy #2 variant certainly took off, featuring the same femme fatale. I noted that more than one LCS seller lists this book at $10. But I bet you can do better digging.
Brightest Day #14 / Forever Evil #4A / Batman: In Darkest Knight
People really dig Batman with a Lantern Power Ring. Look at the demand that persists for the Sciver variant of Batman with the Green Lantern ring. It’s an awesome cover for sure. But for some reason people like the concept, which has much to do I guess with the idea that nobody has greater willpower than Bruce Wayne. Or, folks just like to see Batman powered up and in hues other than black. Brightest Day is just the regular cover but it is a great rendition by Finch of the White Lantern Batman. FE is a variant that you can find cheap in the wild, trust me; avoid eBay and save yourself some bucks! Same goes for the Elseworlds book, though it’s a bit older and might not be the easiest to find in higher grade because of its premium format. Good hunting!
Shout out to variant scholar Van Denby for pointing out this Sienkewicz regular cover that shows the kink in the Joker’s madness. Imagine if Jared Leto dressed like that for Suicide Squad? Absolutely terrifying! It’s easy to find, cheap and just bats$#!% crazy. Your Joker cover collection is incomplete without it!
Don’t ask me. Just look up some of the asking prices for this book. I guess it’s because of upcoming the Justice League Dark animated film, i.e. Batman, Zatanna and the House of Mystery. There are better books for that sort of spec in my opinion. Well for hoots and giggles add it to your list and check the kids’ comic bins, or wherever they stash these books at your LCS. You know the story about these books meant for kids. Low print runs, not much stock stayed high grade, etcetera.
The Incredible Hulk #441
This book really confuses me. It’s as if sellers are not paying attention to one another. On eBay one guy lists this book for $3, another for $80. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. I don’t know why anyone would want to pay more. The pricing discrepancy is not just online either: an LCS I frequent had it up on their wall(!) for double digits as well. Maybe it’s the yellow cover? I personally didn’t find She-Hulk to be the best drawn. Nice cleavage but that face – who made Jen a paper bag date? And sure, Pulp Fiction is a classic, but is it still relevant to swipe that poster anymore? I leave that to you to debate; my advice is do what I did: find it in a bin and don’t pay more than $5.
Sheena Queen of the Jungle #3D Sketch variant (Devil’s Due)
Since we’re on the topics of cover swipes… how about yet another McFarlane Spider-Man #1 cover swipe? Yeah, it’s not like Sheena was a big book to begin with, so if you didn’t know about this cover it’s understandable. Anyways, believe it or not, there are two versions of this – color and B&W, and the B&W version is of course rarer. Now I’ve noted that there are completists out there who collect Macfarlane swipes. Do you have this book in your collection? I hate to put this on your radar. But the print run was only 10K for this book, and this is the “D” variant, so… good luck, find it cheap?
The Invincible Iron Man #76 (#421)
Let’s flip the script here and talk about a classic cover that has spawned a cover swipe. This is courtesy of the eminently underappreciated Adi Granov, who re-imagined the Iron Man armor for a contemporary era so well that his work became the basis for the Iron Man that Marvel represented onscreen. (Ed’s note: He was in fact hired as a consultant for the movie by Marvel! Ed’s other note: Actually there is no “Ed.” I’m just showing you the research that’s involved in an informed pick.)
You know how CGC notes “classic cover” on their slabs? You can bet this one in 20 years is going to get that tag. In fact, it’s already been noted in that massive compendium of all things Marvel that Taschen published. Also note the grayscale cover – CB ticks stick to this book like glue. So try and find a high-grade copy, get Granov to sign that puppy, and slab it for posterity. It will be referenced repeatedly.
Bonus: Punisher #17 (Vol. 3)
I have to throw this one in for the collectors who are suckers for cover swipes. Second to last issue of a short run of the Punisher in the late 90s that swipes the Death of Superman cover! (That’s Superman #75 Vol. 2 for folks who weren’t around then.) You will find this book in a bin hopefully. If you see #18 there too, no harm in grabbing that since it’s the last issue of the series. Again, this is a novelty pick, not a get rich quick scheme.
5 Ronin #4 variant
Return of the David Mack! I like this book for its cover. Damn, I admit it. Don’t hate me. But the cover wins this for me. The story was ehhhh, tbh. Anyways I found some in the wild. I bought one and left the rest for other collectors to find. Online they are usually $10 and up, depending on the seller. All things Psylocke were hot for a while, and then the movie came out and let the air out of those balloons. But there’s a good chance she’ll be back on screen again, and Psylocke is the kind of character who is catnip for fanboys and girls. Find it cheap! You will admire it.
This Greg Land cover isn’t a variant. I like the color combo and composition. Unlike usual Land works, this one isn’t really over the top. And it’s cheap when you find it in a bin. If you’re lazy and go the eBay route you’ll spend more than you should. Dig a little.
Another Greg Land cover, this one featuring a combo of Scarlet Witch and Rogue. Again, it’s a nice composition and not over the top. Not that easy to come by in the wild but you will find it. Not expensive though some sellers try to hustle collectors, ultimately relenting and putting it in their 75% off Black Friday bins.
A Greg Horn cover that is totally over the top or should I say down the top. LOL I don’t have this book, I don’t suggest you hunt for it but if you come across it what the hell eh. All I really wanted to do with this is just tick off some Mary Sue readers.
Oh yes, Invisible Woman, Frank Cho, black cover, and dat … force field bubble
Chorus: All I really wanted to do with this is just tick off some Mary Sue readers.
Chassis #1 (1998)
One more to rile up the Mary Sue crowd! Why not! If you’ve noticed a trend lately the spec herd has discovered Adam Hughes did covers for Catwoman and Wonder Woman a while back. And man, the ones with more skin = more demand and more moolah! Yes we are a bunch of very mature collectors. Well I bet that crowd had little idea about this cover which, given its age, probably served as a prototype for the subsequent covers he’s done featuring plunging cleavage for Tomb Raider, Catwoman, Wonder Woman, etc. … Anyways if you like it, find it cheap, buy it! What’s the worst that could happen?
Bonus: Fairest #31
Hats off to Topher on G+ who made me take a second look at this cover. The placement of AH! Just great. Some pretty AH! covers in this series when you think about it. Oh oh, I think the herd just shifted direction …
Dig! Find a book you’d buy for a dollar!