The Usual Suspects #9

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Following up with part 2 of our special installment of The Usual Suspects. Below are five more highlights to the Top 100 Variant List.

While that list still has tons of books that are worthy of follow up coverage, I have to draw the line somewhere. Otherwise I can go an entire year just doing market updates on that list. Worthwhile as that may be, I need to pick and choose my battles. So in the interest of being brief, I chose a few books that I felt worth looking at right now.

I had to scrap coverage of a couple titles I was planning to look at because of a lack of sales data. You try finding a copy of Masters of the Universe #1 1:25 Skeletor variant either sold or for sale. Go ahead. Outside of a couple UK raw sales, I had nothing to work with.

I also wanted to look at a couple more Jason Scott Campbell variants, but the sheer number of worthy books made me hold off to cover them separately in a future special JSC feature. So we’ll just stick a pin in that for now.

So the following 5 books are titles that I wanted to take a look at from the list for the sake of my own curiosity. Mostly just window-shopping as I’m more laser focused on procuring other classic key books at the moment. Grinding out the Wednesday warrioring and Long Box diving for treasures to put together some scratch to pull the trigger on a classic key.

There I go getting off topic again before we even get to the books, and I’m not even drinking.  So, without further gilding the lily and with no more ado…let’s get into it.

 

#10) Uncanny X-Men #510

SCOTT CAMPBELL “PSYLOCKE” SKETCH VARIANT (MARVEL 2009)

Below is the original write-up from 2016:

 

“Somehow, the Campbell #510 variant looks even more amazing with just the white background. This was passed out in 2009 at both the Heroes Con in Charlotte (North Carolina) and San Diego Comic Con. It definitely makes you pay attention to future limited variants like this. Just give them 5 to 6 years and BOOM.”— Matt DeVoe

 

 

BOOM is right. From a $725 CGC 9.8 sale in 2013 to an astounding $12,500 sale just last month. It boggles the mind how high some of these variants may go.

I wasn’t going to cover any more JSC covers (since I’m planning a special feature somewhere down the line), but this has to be in contention for the top prize the next time the list is updated. So I had to highlight that sale.

It is a gorgeous cover, and Matt was right that the white background really makes the image pop. But over $12k? Insane. But this is a ghost. That 9.8 sale was the only sale of any kind that I could find to track. And currently the only option for sale listed is a CGC 9.6 for a whopping $10,999.00.

 

Active Listings:  Just that 9.6 for almost $11k.

 

Market Analysis:  In 2 years I found only one sale. But it was a doozy.

Only 22 in the CGC census. No CBCS or raw sales of any kind that I could locate. There isn’t really anything I can say about that increase from 2013 to 2018. It is what it is. Impressive. Most Impressive.

There were sales I found in 2015 for a CGC 9.6 @ $2,800 and $1,351.51 for a CGC 9.4. And that’s it. And those were over 3 years ago, so I can’t say they are very relevant to today’s market.

Raw copies just don’t seem to exist. The article from 2016 noted a $1,000 average NM sale, but I can’t find a hint of one Raw available the last few months. I would guess that if any Raw came to market today, in any condition, it would probably be listed for $8k. That may sound insane, but with a $12,500 sale, is it really that crazy to imagine a NM raw wouldn’t have that as the asking price?

Hey if you are looking for a cheap copy you can always grab the full color version in a CGC 9.8 for $350. So there’s that.

 

#11) Saga #1

RETAILER SUMMIT RRP VARIANT (IMAGE 2008)

Another hard to obtain variant. This was limited to 500 copies as a Diamond Retailer Summit variant. Looking at the CGC census it looks like about half of those copies have been slabbed. This is probably the most coveted Image variant, and for that matter it’s prob the most sought after Image book in general, as Walking Dead has taken a little hit as of late. Regardless of any comparison, this is a book has dipped a bit recently but is still well up over the last 2 years

 

Active Listings:  We’ve got 7 listings currently. There are three 9.8 CGC Signature Series listed. One is looking for $3,500, the second wants $4k, and the third is asking nearly $5,800.

That’s a big price difference. Gotta imagine it’s gonna be a wait for $6k when there are a pair of cheaper comparable options. Plus one more SS 9.6 for about $2500, which is the cheapest copy of the 7 listed.

Outside of the Signature Series, there are 2 other CGC 9.8’s on the board. Once is asking $3,250 and the other a cool $4k. And finally we have a single high grade raw asking $3k. Is it worth saving $250 for a gamble at the grade or just get the 9.8?

I suppose you could want it ungraded, but really in this high priced variant market, does it make sense to not get it graded? That is unless you are certain it won’t hit 9.8, so raw is the better play. As a buyer, do you take a shot at a raw modern or buy a 7.5? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

 

Market Analysis:  So the last 9.8 sale from 2016 was for $1,500. The last 9.8 sale on 7/4/18 was for $2,285 which is a healthy 50%+ gain from the 2016 price, which was actually a bargain.

The average cost in 2018 for that book has been $2,600 over 7 separate sales. The high hit $3,200 back in May, and the current asking prices are looking for it to rise further.

News of a minimum year-long hiatus hasn’t affected the price of this much. Personally I find the hiatus a blessing as I am waaay behind on reading this title. Got them all ready and waiting in a short box to read, but just gotta make the time.

I suppose that’s a plus of a raw, you can read it. But of course for $3k, you can prob afford to buy a regular copy of #1 Raw for like $200 to flip through or just get the Image First Edition for $1. Just saying.

 

 

#14) Batman #608

RRP JIM LEE VARIANT (DC 2006)

Another Retailer only variant. Jim Lee knows how to do a cover. Still love his art even if it hasn’t changed significantly over the last 20 years. Sure he did his Frank Miller thing a while back, but the bones were always still the classic 90’s X-men Jim Lee. Anyone else watch his live sketches on Twitch or is t just me? Awesome stuff and one of these days I’m gonna win one of those sketches. Mark my words.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, This Batman 608 Retailer variant. So apparently this was an incentive variant given away to retailers who attend the Retailer Round table Program (RRP) conferences run by DC comics.

So I can’t kick myself as I would never have had a shot at this. Well I guess that’s not entirely true as I prob could have bought it 13 years ago for much cheaper, but I digress.

 

Active Listings:  We only have 2 active listings. You can have the CGC 9.8 for $5,800 or you can save a few bucks and just get the 9.6 for cool $3,500. A or B, and no raws for you.

 

Market Analysis:  Prices are still well up on this 2 years later. Doesn’t look like it’s leveling off yet either. You look at that $3,400 sale in 2016 and see it’s appreciated over 60% as the last sale on 7/20/18 was for $5,500.

That’s even up from the 2 year average of $4,685. Still only about 20 sales over 2 years, this isn’t an active book. But at these prices you won’t see a high turnover.

We even had a raw sale for $1,500 last month. And that was double the 2016 raw average. And if this book can have movement like this despite a rough 2 years in the cinema, I don’t think it’s plateaued yet.

Most books these days have price increases driven by movie/media announcements. What’s been optioned this week? Or who’s gonna play so and so in the next flick? So it’s quite impressive that all 3 on this list so far have no media push behind them and yet are still on the rise to varying degrees.

 

 

#33) RED HOOD: THE LOST DAYS #1

MATTINA 1:25 VARIANT (DC 2010)

The one semi reasonably attainable on the list so far. I mean, you didn’t need to be a retailer or at a specific convention to grab one. That said, I have never seen this one in person. Who was ordering 25 copies of some rando Red Hood book back in 2010? But this is a pretty nice Mattina cover.

 

Active Listings:  Despite only 46 copies in the CGC Census, we have 3 currently listed. A 9.8 can be yours for the low price of $900. Or you can grab one of the two 9.6 copies that are listed for $450 or $1k.

Yeah, I think that $1,000 copy h=may have a hard time selling until the alternatives are off the market. Just saying, not many people will pay over double for a comparable copy or a $100 premium for a grade LESS than the alternative 9.8.

 

Market Analysis:  Nothing to really compare back to 2016 outside of raw copies that were moving for over $400 back then. That raw price has pretty much held with a raw sale for $400 back in May.

CGC sales have been slightly down over the 2 year average of late, but not by much. Considering 9.8 sales have been averaging about $1k, a $900 sale this week isn’t much of a drop all things considered. Prices are typically down this time of year. Good time to buy when prices dip as they have.

But when you look at the recent 9.6 sale at only $400, I would consider that very surprising considering that it’s the same cost as a raw. Really that much of a drop because it just missed 9.8? One of these days one would think the huge disparity between 9.8 and 9.6 will lessen. Maybe it will just be for bronze and copper age, and the moderns will maintain this wide gap.

I don’t know, eventually these “moderns” will be old, so what will be the distinction then. The books on this list are all a decade or so old now, so when will they stop being “modern” and some form of arbitrary metal analogy for age?

 

 

#41) ADVENTURE COMICS #515

DARKSEID 1:25 75TH ANNIVERSARY VARIANT (DC 2010)

Yes I picked 3 DC books, so what? I feel I’ve been neglecting DC of late with so many Marvel books. But these books deserve the attention. I have actually been looking for a decent copy of this book for a while now.

It’s probably the best Darkseid variant out there. Sure we may never see Darkseid in a DCEU movie with how they are running their movie universe into the ground. But one day, the inspiration for Thanos will have his time in the spotlight.

 

Active Listings:  None at the moment.

 

Market Analysis:  This is the most reasonably priced book on the list. A 9.8 went for $500 back in March. And a 9.6 followed in June at $350. Even a 9.2 went for $200 just last month. With only 22 copies in the CGC Census, very few sales either graded or raw, I gotta think there are not too many of this book out there.

Raws have taken a dip from the $400 back in 2016. With a recent July sale at only $200, this is looking like a good buy in to me. Not sure if it’s the lackluster DCEU over the last 2 years having an adverse effect on Darkseid or not.

You figure 2 years ago, the DCEU was building towards a huge Justice League movie with Steppenwolf as a precursor to Darkseid. Lots of speculation that we may even have a Thanos type cameo. Well that didn’t really go as planned for the WB, so perhaps the related books are suffering because of it.

 

 

Well that’s it for part 2. I still have more to cover from the Top 100 Variant list. But we are gonna leave it alone for now. No part 3 in the Old West next week. In fact, I think I may even stay in the DC Universe and follow up on Darkseid’s first appearance.

 

And on that bombshell, we wrap up yet another edition of The Usual Suspects. So until then…

 

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

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21 comments

  • A. J. Diesel

    Such a great article. Thanks for putting in the time!

  • millivanilli

    510 sketch variant is a ghost but for 12K?? Not worth it IMO, Id rather put that towards a Key 1st appearance.

    • Totally agreed. For that kind of money, I’d much, much rather have a low grade AF15.

    • At one point the Original Art for X-Men #510 was sold for $4k, and I happen to know where that art is now if anyone wants to make an offer I can help broker that deal. If a “one of many” sketch cover sells for over $12k, what would the original art, which is one of a kind, and not just a printed/reprinted copy of original line work, sell for? I think all of these limited edition (still one of many, although scarce, not one of a kind) should bode well for the Original Art market, as collectors realize the investment value of art vs publications for the same type of initial investment to the potential return on investment as well as the bragging rights prestige of owning the one and only one of a piece.

  • Mike Morello

    Man oh man would I love that Saga. It is so pretty and I have never seen one in person… probably never will. Great job, bud!

  • Ben C

    Amazing job Peter, a great read and I appreciate the time and effort involved!

  • Juno Beach

    Jeffrey, not Jason Scott Campbell

  • A little over a year ago… maybe less, I was going through the sold listings on ebay one night to get an idea at pricing my 1st app of psylocke issue.

    On the list of sold listings there was a X-Men 510 partial sketch that sold for 102$ literally 5 minutes prior.

    I was so bummed! I emailed the seller to ask if he had any other copies he was thinking of selling because I was interested.

    Sadly he said it was his one and oly copy.

    Man… that book can reach 3k in raw NM condition. If only…

  • I put in to CGC my copy of Adventure Comics #515 variant autographed & a sketch by Lee Bermejo at SDCC last month. Haven’t made up my mind if I’m keeping it for while, or put it on E-Bay?

  • Speaking of Maters of the Universe, quite a few of those have some really rare variant issues.

    That seconf print Skeletor cover to issue #1 is pretty hard to find.

    The She-Ra varia tto issue #1 as well is a toughy!

    There’s a really nice holofoil cover to issue #1 of the MVCreation’s run that I believe had less than 400 made and of those 400, 200 were triple signed with COA.

    And don’t get me started on the 2004 Power Con exclusive quadruple virgin gatefold cover. That comic is a real ghost. I couldn’t even find much on this book and the holofoil online.

    There was one that sold recently for 70$ and none of the triple signed holofoils.

    And with the Invicinble movie rumours, there is also a MOTU #1 issue variant from Graham crackers (regular and gold foil variant) that features a 5 page preview of Invincible #1 essentially making it the first App of Invicible.

    That’s what you get when you have really loyal fans and small print runs, those cool rare variant issues and exclusives become total ghosts!!

    Would love to own a copy of that MOTU #1 1:25 Skeletor variant, but don’t thnk will ever be able to afford it!

  • Geoff Johns, Howard Porter and I did a new story for a MOTU give a way comic book at SDCC a few years ago. It introduced a new character. You got the comic for free if you bought a toy at the booth.

  • I got my 510 partial sketch 9.6 slab from a local seller a few months back for only $$$. You can complain about prices or you can dig and beat the market.

  • I also got the Red Hood variant for $2.99 and the Adv. 515 for $15. All books have appreciated well, whether keys, older books, classic covers or modern HTF variants.

  • Great follow up article! Glad to see I accurately predicted 3 of the 5 for the week. Are you going to do these articles for a few more weeks ? If so I have a few more suggestions. 😉

    But again, that Saga book is NOT an “RRP”. That was and is a DC-specific program and there are very few genuine RRP books that they have produced. The Saga book is a Diamond Retailer Summit book (DRS) and is a third printing.

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