11 : CBSI WRITER WARS Round 1 : The Usual Suspects by Peter Renna




The Usual Suspects: The Starting Five

By Peter Renna (ender6988)


Hello everyone and welcome to the first edition of The Usual Suspects. The starting five books are books everyone knows. I thought it would be a good idea to examine Trends, Active Listings, and Sales Prices of both raw and CGC graded books. For older books we will also look at low grade reader sales as well.


Many collectors already own these key books; but there are plenty of us out there still on the hunt. Maybe this may help somebody find a good buy-in price or perhaps a good time to move a book during an upswing.


Not all spec needs to be this week’s hot book or variant. We all want to find those hidden gems and react to 1st appearance Movie and TV spec, but there’s still something to be said for the long term prospects of tried and true key books and 1st appearances.


The subject of “key” issues is a hot topic in our community, so I am starting with 5 books I feel would not be up for debate. We all know these books and most can identify them just by issue #. For now, I am also going to stay away from those mega key issues that are out the price range for most of us. I personally can’t play in that Big Boy playground of Golden Age Batman’s and AF15’s so I’m not gonna bother peeking over that fence.


And speaking of staying in your weight class, I also thought it would be a good idea to look at those low grade sales for those collectors who either can’t afford that 9.8 copy, or just want to own a book regardless of the grade. Get what you can and try and upgrade later.


For Graded Sales I am only going to look at CGC sales because well…just because. Sure maybe CBCS makes a comeback with Beckett at the helm, but I’m still a bit salty after waiting 6 months for a single book to come back. And now that we all know what goes into a PGX case thanks to the hard hitting investigative journalism by our friends at Unpressable Defects, who wants one of those sharing a short box with their other slabs.


Going forward, I will take suggestions in the comments section or on G+ for other key books people want to see on this tracking list. So without further ado let’s get into it.


New Mutants #98


With Deadpool 2 in theaters a few weeks now, this book has held pretty steady the last few years. Tons available in all grades and conditions and they just keep moving. I’m not sure what it will take for another big jump; but I think this will just be a steady riser over time. After the success of 2 movies Deadpool is a cornerstone character and his 1st appearance will always hold value.


Active Listings:  Currently there are 471 Active Listings on eBay in both Raw and Slabbed copies. This book is not hard to find. You just need to be willing to pay to play.


Market Analysis:  Graded 9.8’s are more than double their 9.6 counterparts. The sheer volume of copies available out there make the 9.8 the only grade people seem to want to own judging by the price differential. Also of note, there were 2 sales over $1200 the last month and both were newsstand copies which command a premium.


Even after the film’s release the recent 9.8 sales seem to be trending up over the last week. Outside of that $830 Auction that ended on 5/29, the other last five sales were all over $900, including the $1,235 high point. With raw NM sales hovering around 8.5 prices it may be worth a gamble if you can find a true 9.8 candidate. Though with nearly 3,000 copies of 9.8’s in the CGC Census, they may be less inclined to hand out anymore easy 9.8’s. So your book better be bulletproof if you want to submit it.


3 Month Sales Data courtesy of ComicCollateral.com
CGC Grade Total Sales 3 Month Average Last Sale Last Sale Date Highest Sale Lowest Sale
9.8 61 $868.03 $830.00 5/29/18 $1,235 $765
9.6 71 $416.87 $396.00 5/29/18 $660 $320
9.4 51 $336.81 $330.00 5/30/18 $400 $268
8.5 19 $272.29 $205.00 5/26/18 $600 $205
7.0 4 $225.50 $300.00 5/18/18 $300 $180
Raw Sales Data over Last Month

with the aid of Watchcount.com

NM 32 $262.15 $280.50 5/29/18 $350 $179
VF 14 $222.85 $231.00 5/29/18 $270 158
VG 4 $110.00 $100.00 5/28/18 $140 $90


Reader Copy Sales: Outside of the recent True Believers reprint it doesn’t look like there are many cheap options available. Only a few sales with the high of $140 for a VG copy; but about $100 seems to be the going rate for a beater copy. Though I did notice a couple of $60 Best offer sales back in March.


Amazing Spider-Man #300

With the Venom movie only a few months out, this book just continues its steady climb in value. It’s another book with plenty of available copies out there, but the demand just keeps pushing it higher. It may see a small decline after the film’s October release. But that should be short lived as this is a proven book that will always have an audience.


Active Listings:  Currently there are 208 Active Listings on eBay which is actually less than I would have guessed. I expect this number to be closer to double after the summer as the film gets a final marketing push.


Market Analysis:  Graded 9.8’s are nearly triple 9.6’s. Once again the massive amount of available copies make the 9.8 the copy to own. Sales have been consistently around $2k over the last year with some highs reaching $2,500 and lows lingering around $1,700. If you played the ebbs and flows you could have made yourself a nice chunk of change buying and selling at the right time.


With raw NM sales down around 25% of CGC 9.8 prices, once again, it may be worth taking a chance if you find the right copy. With nearly a 3 to 1 ratio of 9.6 (2,810) vs. 9.8 (1,003) copies in the CGC Census, the 9.8 is not easy to come by as many try and miss. There are more sales at VF then NM which is also interesting as many buyers seem to be happy with good enough copies for their PC’s. Though raw sales are wildly inconsistent with $100-$200 prices gaps in comparable grades. Remember grading is subjective, so trust your eyes over the item description when shopping online.


3 Month Sales Data courtesy of ComicCollateral.com
CGC Grade Total Sales 3 Month Average Last Sale Last Sale Date Highest Sale Lowest Sale
9.8 15 $2,165.80 $2,200.00 5/29/18 $2,430 $1,876
9.6 22 $738.60 $865.00 5/30/18 $950 $609
9.4 23 $518.88 $560.00 5/30/18 $610 $365
8.5 14 $331.50 $315.00 5/31/18 $360 $294
7.0 1 $263.00 $263.00 5/25/18 $263 $263
4.0 1 $174.99 $174.99 5/22/18 $175 $175
Raw Sales Data over Last Month

with the aid of Watchcount.com

NM 18 $412.55 $375.00 5/31/18 $575 $305
VF 21 $311.86 $234.50 5/31/18 $465 $224
VG 4 $141.37 $185.50 5/27/18 $186 $80


Reader Copy Sales: Marvel’s True Believers reprints have made reader copies easy to come by. Only a couple sales with the high of $186 for a VG copy and a low of only $80. So keep your eyes peeled as you can sneak a cheap copy at a fair price.


The Walking Dead #1

Following this week’s news that Andrew Lincoln is leaving the show, will AMC be able to keep people interested without Rick Grimes? This will be the biggest departure yet between screen and comic. I am interested to see what will happen over the next few months with the price of this book. Few sales to give a strong sense of trend moving forward.


Active Listings:  As opposed to our 1st two books, there are only 26 Active Listings on eBay that I could find. This includes Raw and CGC listings, however I did not count the #1’s included in the few Full Run Listings. Considering a print run a little over 7k, I am not surprised that there aren’t that many listed for sale.


Market Analysis:  Again, low print run means sales figures are sparse. Graded 9.8’s don’t nearly have the price differential of our other 2 books, but a $900 difference shouldn’t be ignored. But with less copies of this book available, plenty of people are happy to “settle” for a 9.6. Not that many sales over the last few months, however, sales have been consistently around $2,300 with one outlier selling for $3,250. The next few weeks may give a hint at the future of this book given the big TV show news just hit this week.


With raw NM sales about half the cost of CGC 9.8 prices, it may be risky shooting for that 9.8. Also without many options at raw copies on the market you may be better served saving up and going for a graded one. This title is still a top seller month after month,and it’s so far survived the less than thrilled response of the fan base over the last 2 seasons. But can it survive no Rick on TV?


3 Month Sales Data courtesy of ComicCollateral.com
CGC Grade Total Sales 3 Month Average Last Sale Last Sale Date Highest Sale Lowest Sale
9.8 11 $2,389.82 $2,377.00 5/26/18 $3,250 $2,126
9.6 4 $1,435.74 $1,500.00 5/29/18 $1,500 $1,244
9.4 6 $1,276.37 $1,087.76 5/20/18 $1,425 $1,088
9.2 1 $985.00 $985.00 4/8/18 $985 $985
9.0 2 $1,050.00 $1,099.99 5/25/18 $1,100 $1,000
Raw Sales Data over Last Month

with the aid of Watchcount.com

NM 4 $1,093.75 $1,200.00 5/23/18 $1,200 $675


Reader Copy Sales: Image First reprints have made reader copies very easy to come by. Other reprints including the Walking Dead Weekly #1 garner some interest as well.  Outside of that, there are no lower grade raw sales recently.


Batman Adventures #12

First appearance of Harley Quinn, who doesn’t want to own this book? Even if you hate the character, you have to acknowledge her cultural significance and the long term continued potential for this book. Lots of copies of this out there, and lots of demand keep the price on the uptick.


Active Listings:  Currently there are 383 Active Listings on eBay which means there are plenty on the market. Even though she is in between movies, I would expect another surge once the next Harley-centric DC film is officially announced.


Market Analysis:  Graded 9.8’s sales are more than double the completed sales of 9.6’s, once again proving how collector’s value the 9.8 over any other grade. Sales have been consistently over $1,500 the last year with some highs reaching well over $2k.


As raw NM sales are under $500, it may be worth taking a chance if you find the right copy. You can either triple or quadruple your investment if you can spot a 9.8 contender. With the gap between 9.6 (995) vs. 9.8 (660) copies in the CGC Census, the 9.8 is certainly not impossible. There are plenty of raw copies available in all grades and the price differential isn’t that great between a NM or a VG copy. Seems many buyers are happy with good enough copies for their PC’s. Grading may be subjective, but you can easily spot defects in many of these listings deemed NM by the sellers, so make sure  you look very close at the pics provided or just ask for better images before buying.


3 Month Sales Data courtesy of ComicCollateral.com
CGC Grade Total Sales 3 Month Average Last Sale Last Sale Date Highest Sale Lowest Sale
9.8 6 $1,711.49 $1,700.00 5/25/18 $2,050 $1,491
9.6 12 $701.51 $720.00 5/21/18 $750 $600
9.4 6 $490.64 $425.00 5/18/18 $565 $425
8.5 4 $380.00 $340.00 5/31/18 $420 $340
7.0 1 $249.79 $249.79 5/30/18 $250 $250
0.5 1 $120.00 $120.00 3/16/18 $120 $120
Raw Sales Data over Last 3 Months

with the aid of Watchcount.com

NM 12 $455.59 $399.99 6/1/18 $630 $359
VF 8 $345.11 $399.99 6/1/18 $600 $175
VG 7 $245.71 $299.99 5/20/18 $315 $150


Reader Copy Sales: There are a few different versions of reprints made over the years which give plenty of options. Fan Expo sets from the last few years have offered multiple cover options including Foil and Acetate editions. There are plenty of these editions available, but you can see the true demand of the original as even a Poor 0.5 CGC copy sold for $120 a few months back .


Invincible Iron Man #55

Finally let’s look at the first appearance of the big bad of the summer, Thanos. This may also be the 1st appearance of Drax the Destroyer, but we all know the real reason people are searching for this book is for the Mad Titan. Gaining steam over the last few years, it will be interesting to see if the dip occurs this summer or after next year’s release of Avengers 4.


Active Listings:  Currently there are 150 Active Listings on eBay which actually seems pretty high considering there haven’t been many completed sales. Are people trying to cash in now that the first film has been released?


Market Analysis:  Graded 9.8’s are not easy to come by and do not show up often. In fact I had to utilize another tool, as the highest grade sales for this book weren’t on ebay but rather on other auctions sites. Huge price gaps over the different grades, so you can see how important grade can be on your investment return. The value from a 9.8 to a 9.6 drops by half; and the drop from there to a 9.2 is nearly the same. And yet again down by half for an 8.5. Grade matters. Interestingly enough, it also seems the prices have been on the rise in the lower grades with the most recent sales being the high for the period.


With raw NM sales under 25% of CGC 9.8 prices, at first glance it may seem to be worth taking a gamble. However when you see the drop from grade to grade you can see it for the gamble it truly is. With the bulk of graded copies in the CGC Census in the mid grade range, the 9.8 is not easy to come by. Considering the price point, you had better be sure before you make that move unless you are happy with your “NM” copy being priced slightly above market if it only comes back an 8.5. There are many more sales at VF/VG then NM. Is this because NM’s are that much harder to find or are buyers seem to be happy with good enough copies for their PC’s? Also it’s worth noting that prices for VF and VG are nearly interchangeable, with a raw VG copy selling for over $1,000 while a VF sale topped out at $875. Keep an eye on those auctions as it appears a few bargains were to be had over the last few months, with a raw NM going for under $900 considering the $1k VG sale.


3 Month Sales Data courtesy of GoCollect.com &  ComicCollateral.com
CGC Grade Total Sales 3 Month Average Last Sale Last Sale Date Highest Sale Lowest Sale
9.8 4 $6,052.75 $5,800.00 5/23/18 $6,500 $5,611
9.6 4 $3,440.50 $3,011.00 5/23/18 $3,725 $3,011
9.2 9 $1,893.45 $1,799.00 5/31/18 $2,300 $1,553
8.5 15 $1,083.54 $1,404.36 5/27/18 $1,404 $849
7.0 7 $733.14 $732.00 5/7/18 $785 $665
4.0 3 $410.00 $380.00 3/26/18 $425 $380
Raw Sales Data over Last Month

with the aid of Watchcount.com

NM 7 $1,386.55 $1,299.00 5/15/18 $2,175 $869
VF 12 $662.24 $725.00 5/21/18 $875 $430
VG 11 $521.45 $380.00 5/28/18 $1,034 $366


Reader Copy Sales: Marvel’s True Believers reprints, as well as the old Marvel Milestone edition from a few years back give collectors options for readers. Looking at the sales for VG copies, they do not differ much from the mid grade counterpart sales.


Well that’s it for this week. I couldn’t have compiled this list without the many awesome tools available to us as collectors. Specifically our friends at ComicCollateral.com, who have a great site and phone App that offer tons of free information. This info is out there to be had, I just figured putting that data in one place with a little perspective wrapped around it would be helpful for anyone else searching for their own copies of these key books.


I scored a keys of my own last year, using this info after flipping some hot modern books (Thank you 9.8 Thanos #13 1:25 variant for my 9.8 NYX #3). There are plenty of more books to cover, so if you like what you read I can try to keep this thing going. My hope is to continue to highlight a couple new books each week; but also maintain a running tracker in some fashion. I guess we shall see, so if you have any suggestions on what books to cover next just let me know in the comments.


“As the sun sets slowly in the west we bid you a fine farewell.” – Clarence Worley



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