The Usual Suspects #28
Welcome to the first edition of The Usual Suspects of the New Year. We are getting back to basics on this one, leaving behind the 10 books of the last couple weeks and going back to our regularly scheduled programming. So as we start a new year, I thought it would be fun to look at some Final Issues that hold some value and aren’t that easy to track down.
Not every series culminates in some planned final hurrah. Where the ending was built up to over time, as the story crescendos to an epic finale. That is something you would find more in non-superhero fare. More independent or Vertigo type titles. As examples, you’d be looking at books like Preacher, The Boys, Y the Last Man, Fables, or even Cerebus. They all tell a finite story that has a definitive planned ending.
And not every series has built up to huge final blowout issue. Sometimes the swan song is temporary, only to be restarted very soon with a brand new #1. Just a story whose only purpose is to reset the status quo. DC had done that with beginning the New 52 and again with Rebirth. However, the biggest culprit of these resets is Marvel, by far. I can’t even tell you how many Amazing Spider-Man or X-Men #1’s there have been the last decade. So it takes away from the impact of the below “Final” Issues.
And don’t get me started on all of the renumbering.
Some books don’t get that fresh start right around the corner. They hang on as long as they can struggling to find or keep an audience. And most of that same audience eventually leaves them behind for the next hot thing or new #1. Books like this sometimes have dedicated fan bases that keep the characters alive even without their own titles. And sometimes they come back, and sometimes they only return in Mini’s or as supporting characters in other books.
Series like this usually have very low print runs near the end. And collector’s looking to complete runs find that those last issues, before cancelation, can be quite difficult to locate. And sometimes they command quite the premium. These are some collectible books and could be good investments over time. Proving that sometimes the below sentiment is flawed.
Granted, there are plenty of final issues of titles that no one really cares that much about. Some titles, it even seems that readers are completely indifferent to how they ended. I’m looking at you guys.
It’s a wonder why none of those titles ever got going again. Apart from the odd one-shot or mini, these guys never got another chance at headlining another ongoing title.
But it takes all kinds. Some titles that were cancelled for low sales and were bound to be revamped. Take Ghost Rider as an example. Volume 2 ended in 1998 and the Spirit of Vengeance didn’t get its Volume 3 going until 2001 in the Marvel Knights line. What’s odd about this one is that they just ended with Issue #93 in 1998, but then they came back in 2007 and wrapped it all up with Issue #94 nine years later.
Both of these issues, 93 and 94, sell pretty well actually. You can usually find them as a set, and I almost covered them below. Just not enough sales data for that. But I still thought it was worth mentioning that the set may run you between $30 and $40. However not many graded sales for either book. Unfortunately you gotta draw the line somewhere.
So without further gilding the lily and with no more ado…let’s get into it.
Now we all know why this book is popular. This book is highly sought after for two very large reasons. It’s got a gorgeous Warren Louw cover, and it’s a low print Final Issue. Are those not the 2 things you were thinking about? Get your head out of the gutter. You should be ashamed.
But seriously this cover is something else. It really gives that Adam Hughes #2 a run for its money. Just take a few moments to look at these two covers.
Both White covers with intense stares and powerful poses. But in looking at the 2 side by side, I might have to give the Louw the win. I love the Hughes, but there’s something about the Louw. I think it gets the edge for me because it has a more interesting angle. It is very close though. It’s not the costume cutout, but rather all in the eyes for me.
That said, I should have made a move on this book a while ago as prices are just a bit too steep for me now. Who knows maybe you can get lucky. I did manage to get lucky on the Hughes #2. It pressed up real nice too. With the white cover, as long as it’s clean you may have a good shot a decent grade. I’d say the copy I got was a VF with minor non color breaking ticks. I pressed it and submitted and scored the 9.8.
I managed to grab the #2 in a lot of 4 Power Girl books for something like $15. It wasn’t highlighted in the listing title. Just noticed the Hughes in the pic. That’s a little tip for you if you are searching for an oddball book like this. It’s not a key, no 1st appearance, and not everyone is aware of its value. So a book like this may be found in a lot of comics that someone, not so tuned in to the game, might be trying to just unload.
Active Listings: A solid 18 results pop up on eBay. Nearly all are graded and some are CGC SS. Personally I just skip over those SS ones like they aren’t there. A CGC signature series 9.2 just doesn’t move the needle. If given the choice of say, a CGC SS 9.6 and a raw that has no shot at a 9.8, I take the raw. I just don’t care about the SS. And it’s not a big thing.
Granted, in the above scenario, if I had the SS I wouldn’t kick it out of bed, if you know what I mean. But at the same time, I’d be looking to flip that bad boy and get a 9.8 Blue Label or even a comparable Blue Label and pocket the extra loot instead of hanging on to it. But again that’s just me. I know plenty of folks like signatures. I argue with a buddy of mine all the time about it. It’s just not my deal.
But anyway, the top dog right now is in fact a CGC SS 9.8 for $599. Considering the SS, that looks like a bargain compared to the trio of 9.8 Blue labels looking for $575 and $585. Only a $15-25 premium for the SS, seems like a deal if you want the Warren Louw signature.
Don’t want a slab? Then you‘ve only got 2 options at the moment. One auction with a few days left and one VF/NM buy it now at My Comic Shop for $160. It’s been my experience that MCS seems to under grade in most cases, to err on the side of caution. So take a good look at the pics and take a chance if it looks good to you as your eyes probably won’t lie.
Market Analysis: This book has been trending up over the last 3 years, but especially as of late. The High sale of $525 was just done in Early November. While there are a couple of red bits signifying the most recent sales have been under the averages, it is worth noting that those drops are quite small. Meanwhile the gains of recent sales in 9.0 and 9.4 are at 30% jumps over the average.
Truly the biggest indicator that the price is on the rise is in the comparison over the recent 3 month average against the 3 year average and those are in the green. Most significantly and importantly there’s been a 25% gain in 9.8 sales. And where the 9.8 sales go, the rest follow.
Raws are also showing big gains, which is another indicator of new price plateaus being set. This will be a solid $100-120 raw book before you know it. And 9.8’s are pretty close to nestling into that $500 minimum range.
I was recently in a conversation that brought back all my memories of my Transformers from the 80’s. Generation 1 Transformers were a highlight of my childhood. Definitely top 2 toy line for me and I was a spoiled kid. I can admit it. So, I had a lot of toys. I literally had a dedicated toy room growing up. That was until my little brother came along. But really, I don’t resent him at all for taking my toy room from me.
I’m just playing. I love my brother. But it’s taking all I have in me not to go down that rabbit hole of listing all the great toys of my childhood from my Megos to Shogun Warriors to M.A.S.K to He-Man to Visionaries to Thundercats to M.U.S.C.L.E.’s to Mad Balls to Battle Beasts to Star Wars to Cops to Secret Wars to Silverhawks to Battlestar Galactica to Rock Lords to Crystar to Micronauts to Super Powers to Rocky to those un-posable WWF guys to…Sorry. Got carried away for a minute.
Anyway this book is pretty tough to find and worth a little bit of coin if you manage to pick one up. Sales were struggling and they must’ve been running out of ideas. I mean we were probably a dozen issues away from them introducing Food Masters, Transformers disguised as sandwiches or some such nonsense.
Active Listings: Not counting issues in full runs or smaller lots, there are just under 20 listings for this book right now. Top listing appears to be a CGC 9.6 up for about $200. There are a couple other 9.6’s up for about $175 as well.
Top raw right now is an Australian Price variant up for $140. You don’t see those often, and some folks are into price variants. For me, I don’t get that laser focused in my collecting. I just want the book. To me personally I wouldn’t pay the premium for an oddball price variant. I prefer to just stay vanilla. Granted if I find something unique, so be it. But I am not going out of my way to hunt for a variant version. It’s hard enough getting the books in the first place. Tangent over.
Now if you are like me and just want a vanilla copy, it can be yours raw for $35 to $70.
Market Analysis: This book follows the pattern of many moderns where it’s 9.8 or just give me raw. CGC 9.8’s are $240 and up, while any grade under might as well be raw. If you look the last raw sale was actually $1 more than the last CGC 9.6. So if you got $240, start hunting you’re your 9.8. Proof is in the pudding. Speaking of which.
You may have been wondering where G.I. Joe was in my toy rambling above. But I didn’t forget. This is the other of the Top Two Toy line of my youth. Both the toys and cartoons were cornerstones of my childhood. I would literally spend hours setting up to play, and then never get around to actually “playing” with the toys.
Without exaggerating, I had at least 90% of every Joe figure produced. Whether it was the mail away’s like The Fridge, Sgt. Slaughter, or the one that was supposed to be you with your very own File Card.
I had bins and bins of figures from Quick Kick to Serpentor to Lifeline to Golobulous to Deep Six to Wild Bill to Ace to Shipwreck and his parrot to Snow Job to B.A.T. to Tomax and Xamot to the one that looked like Pink, Zartan’s daughter I think.
The only thing I never got that I always wanted was that Holy Grail of many a G.I. Joe kid, the U.S.S. Flagg. I remember seeing it on the bottom shelf at a Sears out shopping with my parents and begging for it. They just looked at me and laughed. That sucker was like 7ft long.
Ok, that’s enough reminiscing. This isn’t a toy article after all. This is an article about final issues, and like the books before this one, this is another hard to find and expensive book compared to the bulk of the series.
A final farewell in 1994 to Marvel and the original toy line if I’m not mistaken. I’ll have to brush up on my Joe history and check out that episode of The Toys That Made Us on Netflix once I wrap this up. But it would be well over a decade before IDW picked up the publishing of new Joe books. But again, that last issue is probably the 2nd most desired Joe comic after #21, the classic silent Snake Eyes issue.
Active Listings: by my count I can only find 7 listings up that aren’t part of a full run or lot. Top listing is a CGC 9.6 up for $290. That is followed by a pair of fraternal twin 9.4’s, one CBCS for $250 and a CGC for $235.
Most interesting is a $200 for a raw that comes with the original subscription mailer envelope. I know these are quite collectible, but I was under the impression that the collectability relied on the book still being sealed in the original mailer. But I could be wrong. Because this seems to just be a ripped envelope. It’s pretty cool, but what would I do with it? Can’t put in in the bag and board. I’m out of my element and have no idea what I’m talking about here. But I’ll keep digging this hole for myself.
But in conclusion, the cheapest copy is a raw up for about $100 if you are looking for one.
Market Analysis: Unlike the Transformers it looks like most of the top grades at CGC have value over a raw. Granted a Raw copy is averaging $110 and the last raw sale was for over $150. That makes the most recent CGC 9.58 sale for $260 last month seem like a real bargain.
Ok getting away from the 80’s toy flashback, this is another issue that is riding on the strength of the cover. Adam Hughes comes back to represent on my list with the last issue of Zatanna. Some may argue the merits of the previous issue #15 as being the superior cover. Maybe it is, it’s close but all of his Zatanna covers are pretty sweet if you ask me.
I realize I am only looking at Issue #16 for the purposes of this list, but again, all of these covers deserve some attention. But refocusing back on 16, which that red cover is not easy to find in High Grade. One might argue it’s even tougher then the black cover of #15. Something about that red just makes any color breaks look like gashes in the spine. I still haven’t seen a decent copy of that Vision #7. You know the one I mean.
But like Power Girl, neither of these ladies has gotten another shot at headlining their own series. Maybe they are overdue. Or maybe they work best as Complimentary characters. And that’s ok. There are plenty of great characters that just do not have the same impact on their own as they do in a team or supporting role.
Active Listings: Only 10 listings for this one and most are raw in varying conditions. Big Dog on the block is a CGC SS 9.8 signed by Hughes for $650. That is followed closely by an adam Hughes signed CBCS 9.6 for $600.
Looking for just a Blue Label like I would be? Then your top option is a CBCS 9.6 for $170. And if it’s a raw on your shopping list then MCS and other listers have F-VF copies up from $65-$108.
Cheapest copy is up for $40, but unfortunately its best days are behind it as it is more ticked up than Jigsaws Face.
And that isn’t a slight. It’s just the reality. It’s not a NM book nor is it represented or priced as such. It’s a pretty solid deal really. And truthfully, it’s closer to Netflix Jigsaw rather than Warzone.
Market Analysis: Prices have been pretty consistent over the last 3 years. No big jumps and no big drops outside of some lower grade copies. But again like most moderns, it’s 9.8 or raw. I guess the unknown hope that the raw may one day grow up to be a 9.8 makes it more desirable than a 9.6 for some reason.
Seriously the last raw sale was almost the same as the last 9.6. Again I guess it’s a Schrodinger’s Cat situation where the grade is unknown until it’s submitted.
Ok that’s it for this week, now it’s time for Last Call.
The Final issue of Darkhawk is another book that’s not easy to find.
A character with a small cult following, he has never earned another ongoing series. Could be time to bring him back as many people enjoy Shadowhawk, err, I mean Darkhawk. But seriously, would anyone be surprised if Donnie Cates is announced as bring back Darkhawk in a few months?
I know I’d buy that. But again, this is another tough book to find without many sales. I find it strange that the recent high sales for 9.8 and raw were both on the same day. Weird.
Typical Sales Data courtesy of Covrprice.com:
CGC 9.8 – $180.00 on 11/8/18
Raw – $40.99 on 11/8/18