The Usual Suspects #10

Welcome, welcome, welcome. Staying true to my teaser from last week, let’s take a look at the first appearance of the biggest bad of the DC Universe, Darkseid.

 

 

There’s a small debate over his true first appearance. We have another cameo vs 1st full appearance question to consider. The CGC notes confirm that his first appearance, which is a last page cameo, was in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 released in the fall of 1970. And this is truly a cameo, as he only appears in one panel on a small communicator screen. Not even a full page splash reveal like Incredible Hulk #180. This is just this pathetic little panel with his face on a bubble screen. But it is what it is, and the market has decided that this is the book to own for the introduction to the ruler of Apokolips.

 

 

And I find that quite surprising. This is one of the rare instances where the cameo is worth more than the 1st full. This isn’t the case for Wolverine (180 vs 181), or Carnage (360 vs. 361), or even Venom (299 vs. 300). For all of those characters, the full appearance is the copy everyone wants to own. Perhaps it’s due to the covers of the 1st full’s being superior, but for whatever reason, the teaser is the book to own here.

I came to own my copy of this little book from our own dearly departed Razz page. Yup, I was the big winner of a Fine copy from CBSI’s own Howard Kleinman. Thanks again brother. It’s still safely nestled in my 4-drawer Hon filing cabinet that houses DC only books. Now we won’t see Darkseid again until a book to be released in early 1971 that was teased in the back of #134 with an ad for an upcoming series from Jack Kirby, Forever People.

 

CGC notes Forever People #1 as the 1st full appearance of Darkseid. But honestly this is just another glorified cameo as far as I’m concerned. He appears in a handful of panels as almost a background character. Truthfully he doesn’t really get presented as the Darkseid we are all familiar with until New Gods. But no one focuses on those books much. It’s like Lobo’s first appearance. He wasn’t the Main Man in Omega Men #3, but that’s his first appearance so that’s the book to get even if he is rocking a purple leotard.

But those books have risen quite a bit on their own this past year due to the DC announcement of a forthcoming New Gods movie. Will it actually happen? Who will be in it? Who knows? Who cares really? Our hobby shouldn’t be so contingent on media deals and announcements, but again, it is what it is. These books are worth owning strictly for the Kirby awesomeness. And New Gods #2 has the honor of being Darkseid’s 1st cover appearance and it’s pretty snazzy in my opinion. Take a gander for yourself.

 

There I go wandering off topic again before we even get to the numbers. So, without further dilly dally…let’s get into it.

 

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134

1st appearance of Darkseid in, cameo on last page

(Nov 1970)

 

It has a nice classic Superman cover. This was from the days where the cover conveyed a bit of the story inside the actual book. Not just some fancy pin up art. Crazy, huh? Such a novel idea. But I digress.

I feel I gave enough introduction to this book, so I will keep this brief. Just a cameo, but it’s the Darkseid book everyone seems to want in their PC. High Grade is super tough on this book with only seven 9.8’s in the CGC Census and no sales the last year. You have to go back to April 2015 for a 9.8 sale and that was for $6,750 at auction.

 

Active Listings:  Plenty of options available with 87 current listings on eBay. Many grades and conditions are on the market for you to pick up. Whether you want a graded copy or just a raw reader, have at it. And don’t let the pretty boring chart below fool you, the market seems to be rising as far as asking prices go.

 

Market Analysis:  With very few super high grade copies in the census, it’s no surprise that most of the sales are in the mid-low grade range. But if you look at the recent sales compared the 3 month and 12 month averages you can see there hasn’t been much fluctuation in either direction. We’re talking about 10% swing either way.

As I mentioned, asking prices however seem to be double these averages for quite a few copies. CGC 9.0’s are asking $800-$1,000 even though the 12 month average has only been about $580. And the most recent sale in June was even under that at $569.

High grade raw copies presenting themselves as VF to VF+ are asking $500-600. Considering that’s the going rate for a graded copy in the 8.5 range, there isn’t much room for error on the grade. Conditions like this generally indicate a market correction with prices rising to meet the spread in price to grading costs at minimum. Sure you buy a copy you think is VF for $600, even if it comes back 8.5, you’ve already paid over the $470 recent average. And that doesn’t account for CGC costs and shipping costs. You would be overpaying over 40% the recent market.

So we will see what happens with the market going forward. It seems pretty balanced right now when you look at the averages as I’ve already noted. But additionally, the sold (83) nearly matches the available (87) which generally indicates a balanced market. It’s not oversaturated with more supply then demand, and it’s also not indicating a flurry of demand with no availability. That is unless you are looking for a 9.8 of course. If one of those hits the market it could set a ridiculous high water market which could pull all other copies up a tier. You figure that 2015 sale is over double the last 9.6 sale from July. Gotta think it could push it’s ask to $8k for a 9.8.

And if it’s a cheap beater copy you are in the market for there are always copies available to you too. Your best bet appears to be to gamble on an auction ending in the $30-40 range as the buy it now prices for copies missing chunks of their cover are looking for $60-70. So get your snipe tools set and lurk those auctions if you’re in the market.

 

 

All that for one lousy panel of a face on a TV screen. If that’s not your thing, perhaps you want the first full appearance in your collection instead. I remember when I found my copy of Forever People #1. I spotted it on the hold shelf at the LCS near my office. I asked about it and the shop keep told me a collection recently came in and someone had already cherry picked it and set that copy aside to hold it for a week. Out of curiosity I inquired about the price, and the store only wanted $10. I said if the other buyer changed their mind I will take it. It sat for 2 weeks without being picked up, so I eventually convinced the store to sell it to me.

So let that be a reminder to pick up your hold books from your LCS or a vulture will strike on you. They are running a business after all and cash in hand always beats promises for tomorrow.

 

 

 

Forever People #1

1st full appearance of Darkseid,

1st appearance of Forever People

(Feb 1971)

 

Credited as the 1st Full appearance of Darkseid, this book is only slightly trailing #134 by about a grade. Meaning a 9.8 of Forever People #1 is about the same price as a 9.6 of a #134 and so on down the line. An oddball title from Kirby in the early 70’s after he moved to DC. This may have a Wacky Raceland vibe to it, but it’s where we get our first look at Darkseid outside of a communicator screen. Granted half of his panels in this still seem to be through communicators, but there he is.

 

Active Listings:  Can’t get a rock solid number without manually counting listings, and I don’t feel like doing that. The problem is that issues outside of #1 show up along with other volumes of Forever People when you do a simple search. But I will say there are plenty to choose from.

There are currently 4 copies of CGC 9.8’s up right now and they are all looking for about $3k. And that’s the same price point of the last sale back in May so that isn’t a big surprise. What is a surprise is that that there are that many copies for sale out of the total 34 9.8’s in the census. And considering this is came out only 2 months after Olsen #134 and it has a white cover, how are there that many more 9.8’s? Truthfully my copy resembles a smoker’s smile in its yellowishness, but how did so many keep theirs in high grade. I mean the census is showing nearly 300 copies in 9.4 and above compared to under 100 for Olsen #134 in the same grade range.

As far as Raws go, there is a Hilltop pedigree listed for nearly a grand. And for some reason, Mycomicshop has a Fine listed for $585. But with Mycomicshop’s consignment program, there can be little rhyme or reason to their prices. I mean they also have a CGC 9.0 listed for $435. So buy a raw 6.5 or save $150 and buy a CGC 9.0….hmmm. What to do?

 

Market Analysis:  Looking at the chart below, sales have been steady over the last 12 months. And recent sales have been at significant increases over the averages. With no real announcement to tie this too, and with sales scattered all over the last few months, this appears at first glance to be the market shifting towards the 1st full over the 1st cameo.

Will this overtake Jimmy Olsen #134 or will that book make a corresponding shift up in prices as well? I wonder if the availability of this this book in high grade is driving these upticks in price. When 9.8’s reach new high’s they typically pull the other grades up along with them.

But we may be hitting a plateau if you look at the 9.8 sales. We had only 3 sales over the last 12 months, and yet there are 4 available right now. More supply than demand, so we may see a slight downturn if the level off price doesn’t hold.

Raws are already showing the shift down in price. While there have been some impressive high water marks in all grades, when you see the average over the last 3 months is still more than half the high sale price, it proves what outliers those really were. And when you couple that with the recent sales being even lower than those averages, I can only see trouble ahead.

Personally, I think we’ve plateaued, and hopefully there isn’t a steep decline on the way. Sometimes you need to look deeper than that first glance. You see a lot of green and it looks good, but these numbers are just data based on the past. It’s up to you to use it to predict the trends going forward.

But, it’s all a guessing game as it is. All we can do is try to equip ourselves to make the most informed decisions possible. I mean realistically, if Donnie Cates hits twitter tomorrow and says how much he loves Count Chocula cereal, everyone will be scrambling to pick up his first appearance anyway. These are the times we are living in.

 

 

Well that’s it for this week. After covering 10 books total the last 2 weeks, I needed to trim the coverage a little. Spending the last 2 days in Jury Duty didn’t help matters either. Hopefully I didn’t meander too far off the point, as tonight called for some liquid relief. Thought I would try something new tonight with regards to fueling the idea tank.

 

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

“Bye Felicia!” – Craig Jones

 

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4 comments

  • Ben C

    FANTASTIC STUFF PETER!!!

    Thanks for all the time and effort, this was a great read!

  • If it wasn’t for so many cameos before Darkseid’s first full appearance I don’t think Jimmy Olson 134 would the “big book” to own, but he also appeared in I think just one panel in #135… it was just one of those things where he was lingering around for a while before he made it on more than a handful of pages.

    I bought my 134 from a local dealer about three years ago in probably a 7.5/8.0 at I think $115 which was around the going rate at the time.. I was looking for a deal but when going through the book I noticed it has Jack Kirby’s signature on the first page…A higher grade first Darkseid with a Kirby signature not marked up?! I would say I got the deal I was looking for.

    As far as crazy first appearances go, Shuma Gorath is kind of nuts…. From what I recall first he is just mentioned…then taking out of body…then talking through minions…before he is first “seen”.

    • Peter Renna

      That’s quite a score to grab a Kirby sig for $115. Love hearing stories like that. It also goes to show that you should always flip through and read your books. Enjoy them, don’t just stash it away without at least looking at it first.

      • Exactly…I don’t know if the dealer knew about the signature or not…Seems if he did he would have raised the price a bit. Either way, that is my only Kirby signature so I am very happy having in the permanent collection. But yeah, more collectors need to go through everything they purchase if possible. On more than one occasion over the years I have gone through a book at a store or con where the Marvel stamp is missing and the guy selling had no idea…Happens on Ebay more than I would like too. Have had to return more than a few because of that over the years.

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