The Usual Suspects #16
Welcome to this week’s edition of The Usual Suspects. Following my recent coverage of Venom and the Joker books, this week I thought I’d direct our attention towards the small screen. In what I hope is my final installment of my low expectation adaptation trilogy, I ask you, who else is shrugging their shoulders at the new DC Universe Titans series?
Where to begin with this one? My first thought, which is a common one I’ve had when it comes to DC’s properties, is: who asked for this? Just when I think DC has learned from their mistakes, they seem to just double down and lean into them like Chase Utley taking a pitch.
I mean seriously, I feel like I’m looking at extras from Hot Topic Suicide Squad Joker’s gang here. Did the costume department put in any effort? I’ve seen cosplayers do better than this. Apparently all you need is either hair dye or an obnoxious wig and you’re done. Instant super heroes. And what is the deal with Starfire? Was the bright red/orange wig and purple rubber stripper dress not enough? Did they really need to sell the street walker look with the fur coat? I think Milt from Bachelor Party is still looking for her.
Oh and then there’s Robin, who actually has a pretty decent costume, which makes him stand out from the rest who look like the staff at a Spencer Gifts. So maybe we have something to work with here. Robin will be the leader and most likely focal point of the show. Alright they got the look down, as long as they don’t mess with his characterization, this might be decent.
And then we get, F%#$ Batman. DC what are you doing? Who is this for? Have you not yet found a corner of your fan base that you have yet to alienate? I mean we all know how well the Godd@%m Batman went over. It’s like they are taking the worst aspects of the grittiness of the Nolan Trilogy and trying to combine it with the faux edginess of the Suicide Squad. Quit trying so hard DC.
Seriously, is it that hard? You have great characters at DC and decades of history to draw from, what are you doing? That said, I did read that the show is not that bad and it’s already renewed for another season. Now was it renewed based on the quality of the work or is DC just leaning into it again?
Ok, ok enough ranting. Time to reset and refocus back on the comics. So with the release of Titans on DC’s new streaming service, I thought it was a good time to look at some Teen Titans keys. Who knows if the masses will want to pay $7.99 a month for their streaming content long term to keep it viable? Regardless of that, we will always have these books.
And I decided to try something a bit different with my numbers this week. For Raw sales, I’m going to forego all the effort I put in gathering individual sales and piling them into excel and will instead rely on our friends over at Covrprice.com who are already doing that great work for us. And I also decided to throw in what the current Overstreet Guide has to say on things, just because.
So, without further pomp and circumstance…let’s get into it.
Origin & 1st appearance of Teen Titans
Going back over 50 years to the Silver Age on this one for the first appearance of the Teen Titans. The team has had many different make ups and rosters over the decades, but it all began here with Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad.
Now they did not go by the name Teen Titans in this issue. That didn’t happen until their next appearance in The Brave and the Bold #60 when Donna Troy joined the boys as Wonder Girl. So do we have another Detective Comics #850 vs. Gotham City Sirens #1 debate on our hands? Is it all just semantics?
I’m going with the market on this one. It’s issue #54. Truthfully there isn’t much of a debate as both CGC and Overstreet say it’s this book, so that has apparently already been decided long ago.
Active Listings: A solid 34 listings available on eBay. Not too bad for a book that’s over 50 years old. You have your choice of raw or graded copies. And being a Silver Age book, this is liquid in all grades.
Right now the big boy book is a CGC 9.6 available for $14,500. No offers. Straight cash homie. Too rich for your blood? Then maybe a CGC 8.0 at $1,299.99 is more your speed?
Still too steep? Plenty of slabbed mid grades in the 4.0-7.0 range for between $415 and $870. Perhaps you are not interested in a Slab? Then can interest you in a raw copy listed at F+ for $550. Or perhaps your budget will only allow a GD/VG raw at $135.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of action on this book, though prices seem to be trending up in most cases. I suppose the big highlight is the lone CGC 9.8 copy has just sold back in September for just about $40k. Based on that price, one would think that the available 9.6 is a bargain by comparison at under $15k.
Most of the movement in slabs is in the mid-grade range. That’s where most of the volume is coming from on this book. Granted the 3 month averages are only showing slight gains, while gains over the last year seem pretty steady.
Not a lot of big jumps, but with a classic key such as this one would expect it to perform more like a bond. Consistent smaller gains over time. Besides, let’s be honest, most of the fans of this new show won’t be looking for this book. They probably won’t look further back than the “classic” Geoff Johns run. They might be surprised to find it’s completely different line up; but then, the Brave and the Bold line-up doesn’t match up either.
1st app. of New Teen Titans, 1st app. Raven, Cyborg & Starfire
Now if you want the Teen Titans line up from the show, then this is the book you are looking for. I still need one of these for my personal collection. Not only do you get the 1st New Teen Titans team in this book, but 1st appearances of Raven, Starfire, and Cyborg. Which reminds me, where is Cyborg?
I get it. Judging by the budget of the show, they couldn’t afford to CGI up Cyborg full time. But did they really need to CGI up Ray Fisher through the entire Justice League movie? I mean couldn’t they have just used some practical effects for most of the scenes? But no, they wanted to give us the Michael Bayified Transformers version because you know, every loves that stuff.
I’m getting pretty far off topic again, but most people already know about DC Comics Presents #26. Is there really anything else needed to demonstrate why this is a key book? Three key first appearances should be enough. I’m just saying the Titans team is incomplete without Cyborg. Not my Titans. Couldn’t they just give us a crappy Cyborg like they did on Smallville. I mean you already mailed it in on everyone else not named Robin. This is just better. That’s all I’m saying.
Active Listings: A quick search for this book yields 80 results. This gives you options ranging from a $20 starting bid to a $1300 buy it now CGC 9.8 slab.
And that is the big dog on the market at the moment a CGC 9.8 Newsstand for $1,296. Are newsstands still a thing? Or has everyone already moved on to price variants and foreign editions? I’m just curious. Just curious if people still paying premiums for newsstands or is it like dabbing now?
Market Analysis: Now at a quick glance it would appear that this book is on the decline. Recent sales in most grades are below the recent 3 month average. However when you look at the recent averages compared to the yearly average, you can get a better sense of the market at a macro level. I felt I was placing too much importance on the most recent single sale. As we know, there are outliers in this business, so in order to avoid allowing a potential outlier to influence my metrics, I decided to add a new column to my spreadsheet to compare the recent 3 month average to the average over the last 12 months. Should give a better gauge of the price change over time. Sorry, I went all Lewis Skolnick on you for a minute.
But back to the numbers, the last 4 sales in CGC 9.8 have all been between $800 and $850 showing the demand on this is still on the rise as all were about the 3 month average. Granted while many of the other mid grades also appear to be trending up, the recent sales for high grade 9.0-9.6’s all appear to be down. Not sure what that is telling us. Probably nothing since those same grades are all still showing an increase over the year.
Below 7.0 is another story, as prices seem to be reeling when you look at the percentages. But it’s all relative. So while a 20% drop over the last year seems like a huge drop in 6.0, when you see you’re only talking about a drop for $76 to $62 it’s not that big a deal.
That said Raw sales are all over the place with over a $300 spread between the lowest and highest sales. That is also a new addition to my Raw prices. Figure it could be helpful. Plus I had the column space. And granted those Raw numbers are for all grades; but if you paid $330 for a raw copy, you had best be sure it’s high grade because anything less than 9.8 and you overpaid based on the market.
1st appearance of Beast Boy
While DC Comics Presents had the 1st appearance of half the Titans team, you may have noticed Beast Boy wasn’t in there with the others. That’s because Beast Boy has been around quite a bit longer. Granted he doesn’t go back as far as Robin, whom by the way, we will not be looking at his first appearance because Detective Comics #38 is just ridiculous.
You won’t find that outside of a museum or high end auction house. We’re talking CGC 9.6 for over $100k ridiculous. Not many people can afford to play in the game. That’s beyond a big boy book. That is unless you got it like this guy.
Getting back to Beast Boy, who dates back to the Silver Age, who first appeared as a member of Doom Patrol. And Doom Patrol is also going to have their own series on the DC Universe streaming service too. Wouldn’t it be weird if they had 2 different Beast Boys? But hey, we have 2 different Jokers, so why not?
Active Listings: It’s a little surprising to me to find 32 active listings on eBay when there were only 25 graded sales over the last 12 months. I’m not sure if the increased availability is due to the Titans show or Doom Patrol. I will say that the upcoming Doom Patrol series has shown much more comics accurate photos so far.
You may think this looks silly, which it does. But I will take silly over that group of Manic Panic junkies every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Best available is a CGC 8.5 which is looking for about a grand. That sale would be a healthy jump for the $640 sale of an 8.5 in August. A FN/VF raw copy is even looking for over $500. That said, you can try your hand at an auction hoping to land a decent copy for cheap. Or you can throw down about $130 for a solid VG copy and be done with it.
That would be more my speed if I were in the market. While I would like to own a copy of this, I will admit it is much further down my priority list to make a move right now. Plus the asking prices all seem to be on the high side at the moment. So now might not be the time to buy, unless you are predicting a huge jump ahead.
Market Analysis: So not a lot of movement over the last year to make much of a market analysis. But looking back you can see two CGC 9.6’s sold over the last year and both were for about $3k. Mid grades will run you a few hundred depending on how much extra you want to throw in for another ½ point in grade. Low grades will run you about the same as a raw in the $100-200 range.
Speaking of raw copies, there were about as many sales there as the graded copies. Depending on the listed grade, raw copies sold from between $48 and $255. And as I noted above, current listings are aiming higher at present.
This could be a matter of a quality book finally catching up to its actual value. Personally I don’t believe it’s gaining much heat based on either show. More like the show reminded people of a character they may have forgotten or simply wrote off as being nothing more than the silly incarnation from Teen Titans Go.
Well that’s it for this week. Personally I’m jealous of our foreign friends who will get the new Titans series on Netflix. On Netflix, I’m watching it. Paying another $8 a month fee just to watch a show I have no faith in along with a bunch of old stuff I either already own or already have access to? Eh, Not so much. Maybe once the Swamp Thing show hits I will reconsider.
But please not much CGI in Swamp Thing. It’s unnecessary. Practical effects all day. Just get some of the artists from Face Off. I already miss that show. Anyway, just give me back this guy and we’re good to go.
And on that note, in honor of the Titans…
“Waffles.” – Beast Boy and/or Cyborg