The Usual Suspects 4
Welcome back to another installment of The Usual Suspects. It’s been a crazy week with rumors sending speculators into a frenzy. This week I am going to meander off my path a bit and look at a couple books that had price jumps this week due to news related to movie speculation. Rumored character lineup for the new Birds of Prey movie has caused quite a stir. I’ve been spending too much time lately in Marvel-land, so let’s switch gears and head over to DC this week.
Let’s be honest, while the DCEU (or whatever the heck they want to call it) has been entertaining at times, it’s been very uneven. And their future film plans are sketchy at best. I want to like these films much more than I actually do at the end of the day. The one exception so far has been Wonder Woman. I feel like they recognize what they were doing wrong, but I’m not sure I like the direction they are taking as a course correction.
Personally, I don’t want any Joker focused movies, let alone possible multiple versions. Leto? Joaquin? Just make a decision. What are you doing? Is Batfleck still in or not? But with a character like the Joker, less is more. I don’t need someone’s interpretation as to why he is the way he is. Not knowing is way better than some half-assed back story about god knows what.
That being said, I wanted to look at a couple speculation books related to the upcoming Birds of Prey movie. Rumors of the film’s lineup has caused a spike in activity this week. All we know for certain right now is that it may be “R-rated” and it may center on Harley Quinn. Rumors were all over the place as to the lineup, possible plotlines, etc. But this week’s lineup “announcement”, has ignited a flurry of activity for a few BOP related titles. These books have seen significant movement. So let’s get into it.
Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey Special #1
1st appearance of Birds of Prey
Recognized by most as the 1st BOP story, we will start here even if we don’t know for certain the importance of any of these characters with regards to their possible role in the film. Regardless, this book has been gaining some heat and warrants digging it out if you can find it.
This is a book you may still find in dollar bins. I’ve personally have found and flipped a few over the last year or so for way less than this book is getting now. Sure, most $1 bins may have been picked clean. And even if you do find it, dollar bins are not the ideal storage spot for 9.8 copies.
Those boxes are typically either overstuffed or under-filled, many times no bag and board, and they have been thumbed through with complete disregard by so many filthy hands it’s a wonder why anyone even bothers. I still love it though, and dig whenever I get an opportunity. Thrill of the hunt and all. I still get jazzed over finding a $5-10 first appearance for a buck. But I digress.
That said, the CGC Census only shows 49 graded copies and of that 15 are 9.8’s. That white cover, and years of potential neglect in bargain bins from it’s 1996 release will make it difficult to find more 9.8’s without some help.
Active Listings: Currently there are only about 7 Active Listings on eBay left. That is not a lot to choose from. Only 1 graded copy listed which is a 9.8 at a $290 asking price. With only 7 active listings to over 50 sales the last 3 months, you can see that there is demand, even if the prices have been wildly inconsistent. Just the past few days one sold for $10 and another for $60. Full disclosure, I purchased the $10 copy, taking a flier on it that I can clean it up a bit.
Market Analysis: Only two Graded 9.8 sales the last 3 months. There isn’t a deep well to work with here. This book had some heat a few months ago when the Birds of Prey movie was announced as taken the slot for Gotham City Sirens. But that faded pretty quickly. This week’s news/rumor has reignited that flame again.
Best copy on eBay at the moment is a CGC 9.8 priced with a 50% increase over the last sale this week. Again, there are less than 50 graded copies in total at the moment. There more might be on their way to be fast tracked, but that white cover absorbs dirt like a sponge.
The real movement has been in raw copies. Sales this week in high and mid grades have increased 40-50% over the 3 month average. High and mid grade prices have also been moving at the same rate. Listings at NM and VF are all going around $40 this week.
Reader Copy Sales: And as I mentioned before my $10 copy is in the low grade area. I cleaned up the dirt but spine ticks and a split spine leave this in PC reader territory. Just another example where pictures are key. I didn’t ask for more so that’s on me. Happy ending though as after a very simple contact to the seller I was given a complete refund. I would’ve been happy with just a couple bucks knocked off, but who says customer service is dead.
1st appearance of Batgirl, (Cassandra Cain)
This is the book of the week. Copies have been jumping out of people’s carts if they aren’t quick enough on the draw. So many copies moving just the last two days alone the price has been driven up to new heights. I would also like to note that there were many more sales with copies included in multi issue lots, so I didn’t factor those sales into my research. Suffice it to say, this book is hot right now in all grades.
All it took was one mention of the rumored character lineup and this book took off. I maintain “rumored” because until I hear it directly from DC that’s all it is to me. Rumor. We will probably hear for certain this weekend at San Diego Comic Con.
Personally with Harley’s main involvement I thought this movie would be more Gotham City Sirens than Birds of Prey. Or that they would do some sort of 3 on 3 versus situation before teaming up against the real threat at the end. But this could work too.
Active Listings: Currently there are about 20 Active Listings on eBay, all mostly raw. There are 2 graded copies, both 9.8’s but asking prices are currently $500 and $550. Raw copies have hit $150. Yes, $150 and there are more than a half a dozen listings near that price point. I think this has spiked too high too quickly. That or sellers are reaching.
Quick spot of research shows the print run was near 52,000 back in 1999, which is not exactly low. In addition, this book has always had a modicum of interest, so it wasn’t buried in many dollar bins unbagged. Though the dark cover does make high grade tough.
Market Analysis: Graded 9.8’s are more than double the 9.6’s and have nearly doubled their own price just the past couple days. Still not that many copies graded in the census with only about 200. Considering, of that 200, there are 60 9.8’s maybe the dark cover isn’t that tough for this book.
But 9.8 prices were slowly moving up before this news. Starting around $200 in January, a hop up to $245 in March, and onto $265 just at the end of June. Then this week, we had a sale at $320 and $410 both on Wednesday. Where does this go? If the announcement does comes at SDCC will those $500 copies disappear?
Plenty of raw copies moved as well. Most high and mid grades have gone around $30. Random outliers in the mid grade range with someone stealing a couple copies at $2 a piece on July 3rd. We also had a mid grade go for almost $70 at auction on the 18th. And considering that $67 copy was billed as having a UPC sticker on it, I personally felt that should be in the low grade range. Is this a thing now? UPC stickers? No thank you. I prefer my books sticker free regardless of how hard to find they may be.
But the higher grade copies have moved up to $50 with one outlier at $80 so far. If any of those $100-150 listings move we will have new high points set. Is this too high to quick? Though when you consider the 9.8 jumps this week, it’s not surprising that the raws have piggybacked their way up too.
Reader Copy Sales: This book doesn’t have much in terms of reader sales. But if you can find it for $5 it’s definitely worth it. Only reprint I found was a mini comic included with a DC Direct action figure shown below. But even that’s a $40-$75 figure now.
So are we seeing over reactions to movie announcements? Are people just feeding into the fear of missing out? The movie isn’t cast yet, and the recent DCEU track record is spotty at best. And what if that report about the character lineup isn’t what ends up on screen? I mean, if simple announcements can cause Youngblood 2 to jump to a $20 book, I suppose a film with a set filming start date isn’t that bad of a gamble.This is speculation after all.
Until next time, I leave you to consider that at some point, the buy in is just too high. If we could only know what that tipping point is…
“Well that’s the real trick isn’t it?” – Han Solo