The Usual Suspects #7
Welcome back to another installment of The Usual Suspects. Now I wasn’t planning on doing another deep dive, full spectrum review so soon; but the Disney/Fox deal still has me giddy with anticipation. I know outside of the X-men, the next character to make his way to the MCU will have to be the Silver Surfer.
Norrin Radd will always hold a special place in my heart and my collection. I’m thinking back to 1990, I would’ve been about 13 years old. I was in a sports card/comic book store, as was my regular weekend routine with my dad. We would stop at a shop after the flea market in the morning and before the Sunday 1 o’clock games.
I had wandered away from the new Upper Deck packs and began perusing the comic books. Now I had read comics before, but never with any regularity. Just occasionally flipping through my dad’s Conan books or some of his Batman stuff. But that particular Sunday I had come across Silver Surfer #34.
Something about that cover captured my attention. So I grabbed it and brought it up to the counter along with issue #35. They weren’t new releases when I found them. Recent, but not new that month. They were 2 for $3, so I grabbed the pair to give them a try.
I was hooked. That night I had read them both through a couple times and was doodling my best attempts at Ron Lim’s art. And the next week I went back and grabbed the next 2, and so on. And now here we are, nearly 30 years and over 15,000 comics later.
As underwhelming as those Tim Story FF movies were, I will admit that I wasn’t completely let down by the Surfer’s portrayal in that second flick. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it wasn’t the complete misfire that was Galactus. But in Feige I trust, so I fully expect to love the next iteration of the Silver Surfer onscreen.
So here we are with another deep dive into Fantastic Four #48. I am going to keep to my 3 month and 12 month timeframes and continue throw in some CBCS numbers as well.
Enough lollygagging…Autobots, Roll Out!
1st appearance of Silver Surfer & Galactus
I don’t have to explain the importance of this book. This is another case where I can just throw out the number 48, and you know what book I mean.
With that, I never expected to actually own this 1st appearance. I never even saw a copy of it at an LCS back in the day. Hell, even in the comic selling ads in the old Marvel books from East Coast Comics and American Entertainment always seemed to skip over FF48. I’m looking at an ad in my SS #34 from my intro. Hard to read print with everything just smashed as tight as possible. It’s from Comic World from Manitoba Canada, and you can buy VG copies of FF #41-47 for $8 each, or VG copies of #51-60 for $6. That means in 1990 you could buy a 1st Black Bolt or 1st Inhumans for $8, or 1st Black Panther for only $6, but no FF48-50.
(***FYI the highlight is on the image and not my copy.)
I was fortunate enough to find a rough copy of FF48 at a decent price a couple years ago. I had the extra cash and was happy to finally pick it up even in low grade. Lucky for me I made that purchase when I did, because here we are watching another classic key just skyrocket in value over the last 12 months. Prices across the board are up. This is another book that I can see plateauing soon, but spiking again over the next year or so when that inevitable announcement comes.
And let’s not gloss over the fact that this is the first appearance of Galactus as well. If there’s a big bad that can follow Thanos in the MCU, it can no doubt be our big purple friend. And he better be purple. A giant smoke cloud will not cut it. #notmygalactus
Active Listings: As of 8/8, there were about 50 Active Listings on eBay. Plenty of options from graded slabs or low grade readers. Only 1 graded 9.8 copy listed which has a Buy It Now with Best Offer price of $54,995. Yes, $55k. There’s also a 9.6 listed for $17,500. Even an 8.5 is asking $4,400. All prices are well above most recent sales and the recent averages.
Currently this book is not cheap. Lowest priced Buy It Now option is a raw 2.0 copy for $485. There’s even a detached cover copy that’s asking $600. With the recent increases, now may not be the best time to buy. But then again, I’m not sure if prices will dip anytime soon. So just tread carefully.
Market Analysis: Overall most recent CGC sales are averaging over 40% more than they were a year ago. Even the recent CBCS sales are up nearly 30% from 2017. The recent raw sales have also jumped over 42% above the 3 month average. Up, up, up.
Last 9.8 sale was in June for $28k. This was a healthy jump from a $21k sale from 9 months prior. That now seems like a bargain compared to the current $55k asking price on eBay at the moment. The real gains, however, have been in the mid-grade 6.5 – 7.5 range. Recent sales have been up nearly 70% over the average of the last year. With the levels these prices are reaching, it appears folks are grabbing the best copy they can afford. As an example, this demand has pushed 7.0’s up to $2k, even though this time last year a 7.0 could be had for about $800.
Raw copies have been climbing that price ladder too. Two sales this week for high grade raws have reached $2k. Mid-grade raws have been all over with a low of $200 and a high at $900. Seems like people are taking their chances on raws. Perhaps many recent buyers hope to grade and score a $2,000 CGC 7.0 from a $500 raw purchase. Press and submit based on potential is a popular strategy. Not a bad risk to take either, all things considered. A CGC 1.8 sold for $450 just 2 weeks ago.
Reader Copy Sales: This is a very popular reader copy seller. I found 44 low grade/reader sales the last 3 months. And prices on the readers have seen gains as well. Coverless copies have moved for $100. A copy missing a page even sold for over $250. If you want to read it, just get a reprint. But if you want an original copy in your collection like I did, then a GD/VG complete copy may run you close to $300-$400 these days. But give it another decade and that $300 VG copy could be a $1,000 book. The value of these tried and true key books only have one place to go. And the more time that passes it will just get harder to find.
Since we are talking about the first appearance of the Silver Surfer, we might as well look at his first solo series as well.
Just an iconic cover. Unfortunately I still don’t have this book in my collection. Time may be running out for me to grab an affordable copy. While prices on this haven’t risen like FF48, they are also on the uptick. For now I will just have to be happy with my Fantasy Masterpieces #1 copy, I suppose.
Another black cover making high grade a super tough find. And that is represented in the prices. A 9.8 sold for 5 times the 9.4 average. Let’s not forget that a 9.4 is still NM. But people will pay for that difference in grade, and pay handsomely. Which would you rather have a CGC 9.8 or five CGC 9.4’s?
Active Listings: As of 8/8, I’d say there are maybe 50 Active Listings on eBay. This is tough to say with any degree of certainty, as any search will return most of the other issues from that 1968 run. You will also be given a smattering of FF48’s and the many other the other volumes and mini-series #1’s.
A currently listed 9.8 will run you over $44,490. That asking price is more than double the last 9.8 sale I could find from back in November 2017. Next best Graded copy currently available on eBay is a PGX 8.5. Yeah, a PGX. But you can always try to crack and submit that bad boy to CGC if you’re feeling squirrelly. Could pay dividends down the line.
Market Analysis: The numbers really speak for themselves. The value is on the rise, even though a couple of the last sales were at a bit of a discount over the averages. A sign of an impending decline? Unlikely. That recent CGC 9.2 sale may have been at a 17% discount over the 3 month average, but that was a Buy It Now. So the seller got exactly what they asked for. Had they asked for more they probably would have gotten it. And you can see a month later, there is one available for $2500 with 24 watchers. Eyes are on this book.
Plenty of cheaper raw copies to be had too; but they’ll come with their fair share of defects. With these classic key issues, I am totally cool with a broken in book that has been loved over the years. And with these high prices you get what you can afford. And for many like myself, that may be taking a $380 gamble on a nice raw copy or even settling for a $150 VG.
Reader Copy Sales: Another book with plenty of low grade options. You could easily procure a decent VG copy for $100-150 for the PC. Or maybe you grab a $15 coverless edition. But if you really want to save your cash and want a complete book, then just grab a decent Fantasy Masterpieces #1 for $15-20 bucks. Looks really close to the original and you still get that classic image.
And with that, we wrap up yet another edition of The Usual Suspects. Until next time, I leave you to consider that as collectors…
“We take what we want and leave the rest… Just like your salad bar.” – Egg Shen