Wizard Rewind February 1992

Welcome to the first edition of Wizard Rewind. Each month, I want to take a look back at a random issue of Wizard Magazine. I think it would be interesting to see what was being talked about and what was considered “Hot” all those years ago. Specifically, the Wizard Top 10 to see how those books are doing today. To better understand the market, we should have some idea of our history.

So with that in mind, before I dive into the Top 10 from February 1992, let me set the stage and bring you back 27 years. If this is before your time, then all of you youngin's will have to use your imaginations. For those of you at least as old as me, it will probably not be too hard to remember when.  I am going to date myself here, but this would’ve been the second half of 8th grade for me. So let’s all take a trip together back in the day…

Ok, so it’s February 1992. Washington is still flying high following their win over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVI. Kristi Yamaguchi was capturing the nation’s hearts in the Winter Olympics. And Right Said Fred dominated the Billboard charts for 3 consecutive weeks.

While Roseanne was at the height of her popularity dominating our Tuesday night viewing on ABC, we were also being introduced to such forgettable fare from CBS as Bodies of Evidence and the classic Fish Police.

Bodies of Evidence was the last miss for George before hitting it big on ER. Imagine where Clooney would be had this forgettable Cop show been picked up for a 3rd season. And yes, I said Fish Police. It was an animated show that last only 3 episodes before getting axed; but had a pretty impressive voice cast featuring Jack Tripper, Benson, Lou Grant, Wadsworth, and Megatron. How did that not work in Prime Time?

My wife mentioned how she was receiving disapproving looks from her grandmother for watching the episode where Brenda writes a term paper about her experiences with her pregnancy scare. I know we all remember that episode, right? Was Dylan out of line for being upset? I’m not so sure.

At the box office Wayne’s World was a certified hit, Memoirs of An Invisible Man was quite invisible to moviegoers, while Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot proved that Sly just stopped trying for a while. After the classic Tango and Cash back in ‘89, he followed it up with Rocky 5, Oscar, and this beauty with Estelle Getty. He’d eventually turn it back around in ’93 with Cliffhanger and Demolition man though.

(**Editor's note: Honestly, I am a fan of Oscar. Shhh! Don't tell anyone.**)

But the real gem released in February 1992 was this little beauty…

Yes, Double Trouble starring the Barbarian Brothers. Loved these guys since I first saw them in DC Cab. Peter and David Paul got sparse work over the 80’s – 90’s but somehow they managed to headline the occasional feature film like this one and Think Big, The Barbarians, and Twin Sitters. They just don’t make movies like this anymore.

The IMDB summary says it all. “Muscle-bound twins try to smash a jewel smuggling ring.” That’s all you needed back then. A “writer” dropped that one liner on a studio exec, and boom we got a movie. Such simpler times.

Ok, now that we are all back in our tapered pants or Umbro shorts and listening to our Jodeci cassette singles, let’s crack open this month’s Wizard.

Image result for wizard magazine 6

I loved getting the new Wizard. I never did the subscription service, though I probably should have. My dad just picked it up every month for me at the LCS when he’d go to get our books. But I would tear into that sucker before any of the comics in my stack, eager to know what went up and what was hot.

This particular issue had a pretty good interview with Sam Keith, who did a Green and a Grey version of the cover. A couple of other features focused on Peter David’s run on the Hulk, a piece on Alan Davis, as well as a look ahead to Batman Returns which was filming at the time. But let’s get to the nitty gritty and the totally X-centric Top 10 list of February 1992.

New Mutants #87

Wizard Guide Value: $63.00 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $385.00 on 2/21/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $65.50

So I’m sure Wizard knew back then that Brand from Goonies was gonna be portraying Rob Liefeld’s creation on the big screen over 25 years later. I’ll dig a bit to see if I can find their casting call prediction in a future issue.

While the heat has died a little bit since the release of Deadpool 2, this is still a book that people want today. Had you grabbed one in 1992 at the NM price and held on, you could’ve made yourself a few bucks. And if that copy graded at a 9.8, you would’ve made a nice profit.

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Uncanny X-Men #248

Wizard Guide Value: $23.00 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $130.00 on 2/15/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $7.12

Jim Lee’s 1st X-Men work. I had a tough time finding this back in the day at a decent price.That said, it still remains a book that most collectors are aware of.

Plenty of copies available online, and it’s not too hard to find at an LCS. Very easy to obtain and prices vary greatly depending on condition. This was the start of an epic run with Chris Claremont, so if you don’t have it, go get at least a cheap copy for the PC.

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Uncanny X-Men #201

Wizard Guide Value: $10.00 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $69.00 on 2/3/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $8.04

Cable was scorching hot back in ‘92. So much so that his 1st appearance (as a baby) even became a desired book.

It’s still regarded as a minor key today, but not really a book that commands much attention. It is interesting to me that it’s Whilce Portacio’s first X-Men work (as inker).  Inkers deserve love too, and we’ll see Whilce again on this list later.  But I am amused that Wizard credited JRR as penciler even though it was Rick Leonardi. Guess the editors missed that one.

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Uncanny X-Men #266

Wizard Guide Value: $8.00 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $469.99 on 2/21/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $120.00

Well this book certainly has established itself as an X-Men key over the years. The 1st full appearance of Gambit is a must have for those of us that that grew up when the X-Men Adventures animated series was on.

Even though the proposed Gambit film has been on and off over the last couple of years, this key issue status is completely independent of any movie spec. Collectors (myself included) just have a soft spot for the Cajun.

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Uncanny X-Men #281

Wizard Guide Value: $6.25 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $68.50 on 2/19/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $1.25

With an estimated print run of nearly 1 million, this is a book you can basically find anywhere. Seriously there are so many copies out there thanks to the overprinting speculation boom of the 90’s.

That said, this book did feature a mutant milestone as promised. With their popularity the X-Men back then, they could easily support 2 monthly books. So they were split into 2 teams. This issue is the Gold Team’s first adventure with Whilce Portacio taking over the art duties on Uncanny with Jim Lee movie on to start a new series.

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X-Factor #24

Wizard Guide Value: $6.75 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $126.00 on 2/16/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $10.75

Gambit not enough 90’s Blue and Fuscia costume for you? Then I give you Warren Worthington’s Apocalypse makeover as the Horsemen of Death, Archangel. This first appearance of Angel’s new look still has interest with collectors.

It has maintained its value better than most books of the time, despite it being basically a costume change. It is curious that if it weren’t for Apocalypse, I’m not sure any X-Factor books would be sought after these days.

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New Mutants #87 2nd print

Wizard Guide Value: $1.50 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $49.99 on 2/12/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $6.50

I told you Cable was on fire. The shirtless padded shoulder armor look with 1,001 pouches, cybernetic enhancements, and oversized electric shaver guns was all the rage. This Gold 2nd Print even made the Top 10 based on his popularity.

I still don’t get the reverse Reed Richards look. That's quite a hairdo you got going there, Cable. Is that a neo-skunk thing? And what’s with his name? Cable. I’m curious, if created today, would he have been called Fios?

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X-Force #1 (white UPC, Cable card)

Wizard Guide Value: $5.00 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $53.00 on 2/16/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $2.24

Once again, carrying this list on his overly broad shoulders, we have Cable leading a new X-team in the 2nd highest printed comic of all-time. This list notes a very specific copy.

This book had 5 different trading cards inserted into poly-bagged copies. Different poly-bagged versions included a black UPC, a reverse negative white image UPC, newsstand versions, and a gold second print. No wonder there are 5 million copies of this sucker out there.

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Uncanny X-Men #282

Wizard Guide Value: $3.50 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $114.00 on 2/17/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $3.94

And yet another X-book on the Top 10. Seriously, did no one buy anything other than X-Titles in 1992? Where’s Todd’s Spidey? Did DC even exist anymore?

Anyway, the X-men were never shy about delving into the time travel story tropes. They were at it again, when they brought us the 1st appearance of Bishop. While this may be more akin to Hulk 180 as a last page cameo, he and his compadres did make it on this cover, so that may have helped support it as his more sought after 1st appearance.

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X-Men #1 E

Wizard Guide Value: $3.95 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $59.99 on 2/16/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $3.00

Here is the most heavily printed book of all time. I’ve seen estimates that put this particular cover version at over 2 million of the supposed 8 million total printed.

This book is Jim Lee moving on from Uncanny to begin the adventures of the X-Men Blue Team with Chris Claremont in tow. It was the 90’s. It was X-Men #1. Is there really anything more to say. There are so many copies, and it is so cheap, that everyone needs one in their PC. Well, one copy or twelve copies. What’s the difference?

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Before we wrap up this month’s look back, let’s dive into one more feature from this issue. Apart from the Top 10 list, Wizard also offered a Comic Watch Feature where they spotlighted a couple issues they felt might be worth speculating on. So let’s see what they wanted us all to pick up back in ‘92.

Amazing Spider-Man #344

Wizard Guide Value: $2.25 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $175.00 on 2/13/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $20.77

Seeds finally coming to fruition, Wizard was speculating on this book in preparation of the arrival of Venom’s spawn in Amazing 361 the following month.  This was the 1st appearance of Cletus Kasady, and it was not a secret that he was set to return eventually as Carnage.

They spent at least a year building up this his introduction.It is still sought after today. Granted it has seen a decent bump thanks to that after credit scene in Venom last year. And I would imagine there may be another bump on the way prior to the sequel. Good tip, and still one to watch.

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Incredible Hulk #368

Wizard Guide Value: $6.00 – Feb 1992
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $120.00 on 10/28/18
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $3.30

Not all “Hot” artists follow the same path. Sam Keith was new on the scene back then and was getting a decent amount of attention thanks to his unique style and visceral renditions of the Hulk and Wolverine.

He went on to create the Maxx and then more independent work over the years. He still has that same unique style that is immediately recognizable as Sam Keith. That is a testament to his talent, as he never had to ape someone else or conform to a house style. He did his own thing and continues to do it today.

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Ok so that does it for this month. I know a lot of other places have done a similar look back at the old Wizard Top 10, but hopefully you enjoyed my take on it. If you would like to see these continue each month, let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for your time, and I leave you with these familiar words of wisdom.

“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.” ― Terry Pratchett 

**Graded sale data courtesy of Gocollect.com and Raw sale averages provided by Covrprice.com**

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    Great read!! I loved the look back … 🙂

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    this is a great idea! Brings back memories!

    Top 10 is all X-related lol

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    Great article idea. Love it!

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    Perfect article! I was thinking about this last week!

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    Awesome. Old Wizards are amazing reads. Crazy that NM87 hasn’t moved in 27 years. Makes me wonder where the industry would be without CGC. Good or bad?

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    Awesome concept! I’ve gone through my old wizards looking for overlooked specs in the current market based on what was hot back then. Its paid off for me a few times. Plus its just fun. I would suggest that you make a general disclosure about the impact of inflation over time. So, that $8.00 UXM 266 would have been around $11.20 in today’s dollars based on my excel work. Not a big difference with a book that has gained a lot like UXM 266, but it could mean the difference between a loss and a gain on a book that has not changed in value much over the years like that UXM 282. By my math its raw price has actually gone down v the guide value in 1992.

    • Peter Renna

      I like it. Highlighting inflation on certain books may paint a clearer picture. This is definitely a work in progress as this was my first attempt at it. So I am open to suggestions like this for next month. Feel free to tell me anything else you’d like to see. More of the features from the issue? Hot Artists? Market Watch? Toy and card sections? Etc. Let me know and I will see what I can do.

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        I’d rather see you keep digging into the hot 10, but as a side note, I always loved the custom figure and toy bits. So much so that that’s what I’m doing for a living now. When Wizard went digital 8ish years ago they featured on e of my custom Iron Fist figures. Looking back, it’s a piece of garbage, but that was pretty exciting at the time.

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        Here is an easy resource to use. Very logical layout. It might be worth it just to run the figures through and get a feel for the impacts. https://www.usinflationcalculator.com/. I assume 2% inflation a year since 1992, but according to this that assumption was low, it looks like its been around 3.5%, so that UXM 266 actually cost around $14.35 raw.

  • Peter Renna

    Thank you all for the kind words. It was really fun to write. I am looking forward to next month. But like I noted above. Any suggestions on what you’d like to see, just drop me a line here in the comments, on G+, on MeWe, Facebook, or on my IG. Anyway you want to reach out, just let me know. Appreciate your time.

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    This is awesome! Thanks so much for the effort.
    The xmen were everywhere! Sometimes I forget how big they were back then (I was in 8th grade in 1992 as well) …makes it seem like an even dumber decision by marvel to try and bury them when they didnt have the movie rights.
    They were the darlings of the comic world.

  • Mike Morello

    This was an excellent read. Man, I miss Wizard. Those and Nintendo Power were required reading, back then. Thanks for the awesome work!

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    I love this article! Thank you!

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    Sweet I can say I have all those top 10 wizard books. I used to love reading hear wizard mags. I like this new article and look forward to see what the hit tv/ movies were of that time also

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    The Hot Top 10 is gold, but I wouldn’t mind seeing what was hot in terms of toys. That would be cool! I still have a lot of my old Toybiz Batman and X-Men figures. I know they have no articulation whatsoever, but I actually prefer them to all the newer stuff. It’s must be a nostalgia thing …

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    This was awesome cant wait for next installment. Thanks

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    Awesome job peter!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Was this article inspired by a certain new YouTube series with two notable comic artists?

    Not that I’m complaining.

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