Sadjunk’s Bin Dive
It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these comics on a budget columns. That’s on me. Having bought most of the books I set out to get when I started, I turned to other comic collecting, such as getting OA sketch covers done.
I promise to dig more regularly again and share with you interesting books to grab on the cheap. Mostly because I want other collectors like myself to beat the hordes and pay less, not more. It is a lot harder to do nowadays, but it still can be done.
With that in mind, let’s get into a special blend of bin diving that I know you guys will all like! I wanted to bring this column back with a bang, so let’s not beat around the bush — whatever part-of-anatomy-type of man you are, we all like pretty women on covers. Here’s a bunch to chase down then!
Get it now!
Kamala Khan first appearance books
Oh, guess what, you’re too late. (Check one of my very early columns from 2015). People have been talking about this character since her debut. I remember on the CBSI how Khan was referred to as “this generation's Spider-Man.” That's some high praise, and I took it to heart. Back then, I learned quickly the variants surrounding her first appearance(s) are all in limited supply; they still are, since collectors have squirreled them away. Yes, there was a time when you could get the Ms. Marvel #2 Molina variant for less than $80, and with some bin digging luck, the Conner variant for less than $5. Totally true story, btw, I saw the receipt on that lucky find. But now, sellers online are even asking over $200 for that terrible Thor variant cover book now, which yes is a ghost. So dig for those books like a prospector who’s been in the sun too long and pray you get lucky. Otherwise, prepare to pay the price.
Get it now, for real!
Penthouse Comix November 1996
Collectors are beginning to put two and two together. Manara is a pretty awesome artist, whatever your thoughts on erotica. (I know someone thinks he draws butter faces. I’m gonna disagree). Manara’s no stranger to controversy, but it’s ironic that a very tame cover by his standards (Spider-Woman for those still waking up) should have become the source of outrage. The shrewd collector will realize that the pose he used was no coincidence either. This cover (which features Dallas police Det. Jim Leavelle and Bill Murray, among others) mirrors the ‘Outrage!’ Spider-Woman cover. It’s amazing in how it leaves the most salacious aspect of the act to the reader’s imagination. I’ve noticed an uptick in this book’s Ebay activity lately. Cheap BINs evaporate as soon as they are posted by unsuspecting sellers but even higher priced copies are selling at auction. It’s gone from a $10-$15 to a $60 book on the bidding market. So if you can find it, I’d say it’s a pretty wide open opportunity for a flip.
Frank Cho Jungle Girl Season 2 #4 (Risque)
We can’t talk about Manara without mentioning his BFF, Frank Cho. Folks are getting wise to his art too, though the artist misfired on his store exclusive (Sorry Frank, your Black Cat exclusive cover was a wasted opportunity). Now, this book on the other hand, this is what I’m talking about. This book manages to flip Manara’s approach to the Penthouse cover and leave nothing to the imagination, though what it shows is more lack-of-wardrobe malfunction slip than spread-eagle obviousness. Yes he’s done full nudes in sketchbooks, risqué commissions etc., but as far as published comic covers, I believe this is his only risqué one in print. (The pic is censored, the actual cover is not). It retailed for $19 upon its release, but dudes have been picking it up pretty quickly when it hits eBay for $30 to $50. There was a 9.8 SS copy that sold for decent money too, not enough to break the bank, yet. I should’ve grabbed a piece of that!
GI Joe #63 So Much More Fun / GI Joe Special #1 (Marvel, 1995) / GI Joe Snake Eyes & Storm Shadow 19 RI Variant
This is going to be the sole sausage entry on my list, because timeliness of course matters in collecting. Three Snake Eye books worth tracking down though they are never easy to find in the wild or even in your LCS. First up, More Fun is probably among the rarest noteworthy Snake Eyes ‘variants’ out there. (A third print with a 5K run). You can find one cheap, I did. You just have to keep digging. The McFarlane swipe is another Snake Eyes cover any good comic collection should have; probably the coolest Snake Eyes cover I’ve seen. This book will also get a little bit of heat again too, I think. Scratch that, my final entry is another cool Snake Eyes variant that doesn’t pop up often: The Purple Rain tribute. It works very well for the character. One just sold for $75 BIN on Ebay in April. The next one to hit the market will likely get even more.
Vampirella: Second Coming Ashcan #1 Variant A
I told some collecting friends well over a year ago that Jenny Frison was going to be the next Adam Hughes and I still stand by that prediction. It seems the market has picked up on her talent at last, fueled by her work on Wonder Woman, so everyone (though completists I’m sure are leading the charge here) are seeking out all of her works. Arguably right at the top is her run on Vampirella. Frison manages to imbue her women with a sensual, smoky glaze, and well, damn. When your ‘costume’ is nothing but a thong bikini, it makes for repeated great visuals, and smokin’ covers. So this is supposed to be a $2 book, and yet, kaboom, asking prices have jumped from $20 to now $300, and that’s only if you can find it. Partly because it was Frison’s first take on Vampirella (?) or because it was a variant of an ashcan and therefore not easy to find in high grade, I’m not sure. Last auction it went for over $50. Frison also did the variant cover to #4 of the Second Coming run, and it’s also commanding a decent price. That’s compared to some of the other amazing artists who contributed to that run – Suydam, Jusko and Brereton, to name a few. So keep that in mind when appraising her work.
Bonus: Vampirella, Vol. 5 #9
Frison painted a lot of great covers in her Vampirella run. It’s hard for me to choose one. But I think this cover in NM (that’s the trick, the blood red cover makes even the tiniest tics look like gaping tears) will rise to the top. By the powers of comic speculation authority vested in me, I’m going to call it: This is likely going to become the artists ‘Zatanna #16.’ Disclosure: I recently got a swipe of this cover done by a great artist, which was featured in the latest promising artists column by Skot Whitman.
Vampirella (2nd Series) #6
Bonus! A nifty budget grab, Mike Mayhew’s Vampirella books are all really nice looking covers. I’m sure you’ll pick your favorite, but this one stuck out for me — the combination of a good looking woman, a vibrant and complementary color palette, and check out the mechanical detail in the revolvers too. There are lots of interesting variants from that run of Vampirella too if you’re inclined to track them down, and I’ll try to point them out over the next couple of columns.
Vampi #8 (JSC variant)
Whoops here is one of those variants for you right now. What would a list of books from me be without a JSC? Even though even I have to acknowledge his current stuff is getting super stale. Stick to creating one awesome cover rather than be a factory of a dozen boring covers dude. Yeah I said it, tweet at me bro. Oh, what, you sold out in 5 minutes? My bad, you’re right, your fans are greedy too. Well I just wanted to point this book out to bin diggers; Vampi as a series is pretty much forgotten, so you might just find this book lurking in a box, waiting to be taken home. Did you know there were only 500 of these made? So the Internet advertisements claim. I’m not gonna try to figure that one out, just putting this on your radar. Folks who have them up on Ebay are asking $$$ for this book. See if you can find it for under $5, as I did. *Toots horn*
Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #7 (Massafera 1:10) / Planet of the Apes Green Lantern #1 Comicspro exclusive variant
Another artist picking up fan appreciation is Felipe Massafera. Well I really like these two Green Lantern covers, since they feature some pretty girls. The Arisia headshot cover I thought was a nice study of a beautiful face that is about to punch you. Like your crazy hot girlfriend who you gotta calm down because you didn’t even bother to listen to her, again, and she’s had it. The Star Sapphire cover is really nice because of the composition and virgin cover. Yes, DC and Marvel are finally figuring out: fans want to see art, not ugly trade dressing. Maybe they’ll stick to the trend and prevent store owners from ‘virginizing’ every cover that fans have always liked for a quick buck. But I digress.
Thunderbolts #130 (Second print)
You know, beyond just being a not-so-easy, but not impossible to find second print, I love this cover because it actually is a funny Deadpool cover, as opposed to most of the stretched out, played out comedy covers that artists feel like they have to do for him nowadays. It also has a (!) blonde Black Widow … wait what? Quick recap: Blonde Black Widow was Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow after the one you know, Natasha Romanova. In the Thunderbolts storyline, it turns out it is in fact Natasha in disguise as Yelena, and … okay maybe more than you need to know. Just saying, it’s a cover with a blonde Black Widow with Deadpool hitting on her. (And don’t skip out on the awesome 1st print Mattina covers either).
Kabuki #4b, David Mack virgin
Very quick hit on this book, I picked this book for this list just for the cover. Again, virgin covers are gaining appreciation once more, as fans demand more art, less trade. This one is totally lurking in your LCS bin somewhere. Do you know how much Mack charges for original art now? If you’re not one of those dudes who drops rent on books in a 1-percenter comic con in Italy, this is a good substitute. (What was up with that anyways? Dear famous artists, if you don’t like the hustle of a con, try doing some invite-only intimate events for non-1% loyal fans at an LCS instead. Use those email lists for more than just hawking another 7 variants).
DC Solo #7 – Mike Allred Wonder Girl
Wonder Woman (and her younger version, Wonder Girl) brings out the best in artists, and Mike Allred is no exception. I really like the simplicity of this cover, the all-white background helps make Allred’s Wonder Girl pop. And she’s doing the Batusi! You gotta love it! Well maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t come across this book in the wild, and I’ve looked. Solo is always in the DC Misc. bins and while I will find a few of the sausage covers, the ladies are always cherrypicked. And there are a few nice lady covers in this series. But the WW is tops IMHO. (Buyer’s tip: If you really liked this cover but can’t track the Solo issue down, it was also used for the reprint compendium, DC Comics Presents Teen Titans #1 from 2011).
Wonder Woman #128
This is Garcia Lopez’s gorgeous study of Wonder Woman’s face, close up. If you love beautiful women on covers, then you probably have this book in your collection already. For me, the trick was finding an unblemished copy, which was a bit hard. Maybe older fanboys had … thumbed through this book a couple of times. Or at least one blogger thought so! Anyways, not an expensive grab, but a really nice add to the collection. Again, condition is everything with these 1980s & 90s comic books. It might seem like recent history, but this one is 21 years old from the day it came out. That’s nuts when you think about it.
Madame Xanadu Vol. 1, various
There are so many beautiful covers in this series, from the likes of Matt Wagner, Mike Kaluta and Frank Quietly. Not a highly printed series, and probably a straight-to-bin book at the LCS, I recommend you pick up a few just for the art if you don’t read. (If you did read, you’d know a couple of these books feature a bunch of first appearances). Anyways, you’ll probably pay bottom bin prices, but you’ll get some unsung quality covers as a result. The Kaluta covers are favorites of mine, and his special attachment to the character comes through the work. Actually, #11 is a bookend to #’s 12-14, which actually make up a triptych, and then #15 is the other bookend. The entire image is below. Sublime! Now that would be an OA work I’d buy if I was Elon Musk. The Quietly cover is a rarer variant BTW, and depending on your luck, you either are going to pay a lot for it, or next to nothing.
Salem’s Daughter #4
Let me be transparent with you guys. I have never liked this artist’s work because I feel all her references for her drawings are strippers or hookers. I mean, I saw one OA cover of Wonder Woman that she did, and WW was wearing red platform thigh highs. She’s an Amazonian, not a working girl under a street light. (Nothing wrong with erotic poses, just bring some style to it, like Manara or Cho). But look, lots of dudes pay boatloads of money for an OA cover from her and are super jazzed about it. So you guys like her work, you really, really like her work. FINE. Here’s a Natali Sanders book that actually is a nice study of a beautiful woman’s face and doesn’t look like she ripped it off a model in Penthouse; maybe Cosmopolitan. It is in a bin somewhere, patiently waiting for you sailor.
Warlord of Mars #10 (Dynamic Forces variant)
There were a lot of artists contributing great art to this run, and naturally, Lucio Parillo has become a standout. His virgin covers from this run have picked up in price, a knock-on effect from his Vampirella covers. But Joe Jusko was also doing covers for the series, and doing an amazing job on them. I’ve found sellers try to hype up this cover because it is ‘spicy’ or ‘risque.' That’s just tap dancing around what the cover is: it’s a bondage-tentacle rape cover, and that has a specific class of dedicated collector. As such, I’ve never really come across it in the wild, they got em all, it seems. But it’s not impossible. Again, buy it only if you want it. I don’t think you couldn’t flip it for more than $10. But I could be wrong. I'm not the authority on such themed-covers.
Elvira’s House of Mystery #11
Oh look, speculators have ‘discovered’ Dave Stevens … Well congratulations. For the normal comic collecting crowd that has always appreciated Stevens’ work, there are lots of great covers at still very affordable prices to choose from. But I’m of the opinion this book is A) HTF in great condition because of the all-black cover B) among his best works. And collectors have caught on too. No cheap Dave Stevens pull from a bin here. Any male LCS owner will see this book and instinctively price it up. The good news is, you’re not going to have to pay a fortune for it, yet. But like Planet Comics, I suspect it’s only going to follow a steady, upward trajectory in price.
Huntress, Vol. 3, #2 (2011)
This is another quick hit. Guillem March’s work in Gotham Sirens and other rare variants has been extolled at length. Take a look at his art portfolio online for some more NSFW art; he really likes drawing beautiful women in various state of undress. But this is a cheap book featuring a nice cover by him. (If you haven’t noticed, I have a preference for strong single takes on a character for a cover.) Again, there’s no spec here, just a nice addition for your cover collection.
Betty and Veronica #267 (Fiona Staples variant)
This book didn’t come out that long ago. It is a great rendition by Staples of Archie’s two loves as mermaids, with Jughead playing Flounder! It ties into a storybook storyline that was running through the books at the time. They do Rapunzel and Rumpelstilskin riffs too, if you're really interested in the concept. Interestingly, this cover gets its own Overstreet entry in its listing of the series run, and it guides at $15, if memory serves me correctly. It sells for more or less, depending on how lucky you are with online sellers. I just saw a sale of $30 for this book. I stupidly passed on this book when it was on the shelves, but thankfully snagged a cheap copy much later. It’s getting harder to find, so if you can grab a copy for around $10, don’t pass up the opportunity to do so!