Wizard Rewind March 2000

Welcome back to this month’s 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 this month we will fast forward from February 1992 and travel to March 2000. Looking back nearly 20 years this time, I was wrapping up my 1st senior year of college. I say first senior year because I had to stretch out to a 5th year at Rutgers due to switching my major from Business to Journalism. I still ended up working in business at Merrill Lynch and now these articles for CBSI are about the extent of my use for my journalism degree. So you never can tell how life will play out. Anyway that’s enough over-sharing for today, so let’s all take a trip together to back in the day…

The date, March 2000. By Mid-March Say My Name would be dominating the Billboard charts for 3 consecutive weeks leading into April…

No, no, no that comes much later. Not Heisenberg. I’m talking about Destiny’s Child. Yes, Destiny’s Child, when they were still a group.

You know, before Beyoncé Knowles became so famous we all just dropped the last name and she joined the elite club of one-named stars like Cher or Madonna. We wouldn’t need the surname, so eventually we’d get just Beyoncé.

Reality TV like Survivor and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire were battling the likes of ER and Friends for viewers at the top of the ratings. Meanwhile March also gave us the debuts of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing on the Cartoon Network, as well as Son of the Beach on FX.

 

Y2K was a thing of the past and Gore and Bush had won their Primaries giving us our candidates for what was to become one of the most controversial elections in our Nation’s history. And 52 stolen Oscar statuettes were recovered from a trash bin by a 61-year-old Los Angeles resident. Anyone else see the irony in finding Oscar in a garbage can?

But before we get back to the Oscars, looking at the box office Erin Brockovich was a hit, Final Destination was spawning a new horror franchise, while Mission to Mars continuing the trend of dueling studio ideas. This was following in the great tradition of Volcano vs. Dante’s Peak, Deep Impact vs. Armageddon, to bring us Mission to Mars vs. Red Planet.

 

But this month the real gem released in March 2000 didn’t make it to theaters. The straight to video release I’m talking about was this little treasure…

This was the 5th installment in the most storied franchise related to an imaginary holiday character, I guess. What is baffling to me is that this was released on March 28th.  Why release a Leprechaun themed movie 2 weeks after St. Patrick’s Day? There was no reason we couldn’t have seen this come out on Tuesday March 14th ahead of the Friday festivities.

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Unfortunately, being a straight to video release it was not eligible for any of the big awards. However, March of 2000 did provide the Academy Awards. Best dressed on the red carpet that year had to have been Matt Stone and Trey Parker tripping acid while lampooning Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress from 1999 and J-Lo’s infamous dress from the Grammy’s the month before.

As far as awards went, American Beauty dominated, almost hitting for the cycle. Only a few films, like Silence of the Lambs, managed that feat. But American Beauty won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor. However, Hilary Swank spoiled the party and knocked off Annette Benning (who probably had the best performance in that movie IMO) to earn her 1st Best Actress Oscar.

Now you tell me, is this a clip from a Best Picture winner or just garbage flying around a parking lot?

Being that this was half my lifetime ago, I am looking at it through a much different lens. This isn’t deep. It’s just garbage. The scene I mean, not the movie as a whole. It could be. I couldn’t condemn a flick like that without watching it again. Haven’t seen it in over a decade, but I have no real desire to.

Ok, now that we are all back in our cargo pants, Abercrombie & Fitch gear, and our Old Navy Fleece’s listening to the new No Strings Attached NSYNC album after frosting our tips, let’s crack open this month’s Wizard.

I have the B cover of this edition of Wizard. Can’t say no to Michael Turner back in those days. This month I am being a bit more ambitious and looking at a bit more of the issue. This particular issue had a feature on Supes, a preview of Chris Claremont’s return to the X-Men, a spotlight on the brand new Crossgen Comics line, and an interview with Dan Jurgens.

Some solid content and a pretty cool art tip section in Basic Training from Jim Calafiore. Whatever happened to him? I liked his art style. It was a pretty sleek manga look without being too cartoony. Oh speaking of manga style, there was a mail-away coupon for a Warlands ½. But let’s get to the nitty gritty of a pretty diverse Top 10 list for March 2000.

Tomb Raider #1 (Tower Records Exclusive)

Wizard Guide Value: $3.00 (gold foil) – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $69.99 on 4/8/18
Raw – $5.99 on 1/1/19

Tomb Raider was a force back in the day. The 1st game debuted in 1996, so by 2000 there had already been a trilogy with a 4th game on the way as well. The film was still over a year out, but this comic hit #1 when it was released in Nov 1999.

This Gold foil Tower Records variant had a print run of 20,000 copies and was going for $15 online according to the Market watch Section of this Wizard. Tower Records also had a Michael Turner Holofoil variant that only had a print run of 5,000 that was going for $35 at the time.

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Elseworlds 80-Page Giant #1

Wizard Guide Value: $200.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $905.00 on 2/7/18
Raw – $199.99 on 3/17/19

A rumored print run of only 2,000 copies of this book that was released August 1999 and recalled in the UK. Given that was only an estimate, there may be far less copies of this actual book in circulation.

Most people know the story with this issue by now. There is that controversial short story that features a baby Clark Kent climbing into a microwave and getting zapped. Baby in a microwave, bad. I get it. But, I mean it’s not like she put the baby in there. Anyway, as you can see, the value has maintained.

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Batman: Dark Victory #1

Wizard Guide Value: $5.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC SS 9.8 – $99.95 on 3/12/18
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $5.60

This was Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s follow-up to their mega popular The Long Halloween. Given the buzz around that maxi-series there was a lot of expectations around this new series.

A pretty decent story and quality art, this isn’t a hard book to find these days. You can happen upon random issues of this series in dollar bins. And it’s not too hard to track down the first part of this 13 issues series for cover price even 20 years later.

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JLA: Earth 2

Wizard Guide Value: $24.95 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – N/A
Raw – $11.95 on 3/2/19

Interesting to see an Elseworlds Hardcover on the list. This was a really cool story from Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. And these evil versions of the JLA have remained relevant and have been used in the DCU plenty since this introduction.

Given this is a Hardcover, there are no graded copies. And with trade paperbacks and other reprints over the years, this can be found today for cheap.

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Rising Stars #1

Wizard Guide Value: $5.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.2 – $9.99 on 3/10/17
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $4.45

Released with 4 equally distributed covers as well as a rarer holofoil variant. Not much of a distinction pricewise over the 4 covers so just pick the one you like best.

This is another title I frequently flip past in dollar bins. I know I am missing a couple from the 24 issue series, but I’m not sure which ones they are and I haven’t been bothered to dig them out to figure out which ones to add to my list. It was a decent read from what I remember, but by now this story is well travelled territory.

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Astonishing X-men #1

Wizard Guide Value: $2.50 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $117.50 on 8/31/18
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $4.00

Yeah another X-men miniseries. I’m not entirely sure what this one was about. Maybe it was related to the one with the thing with the guy in the place?

I think it has the 1st Wolverine as the horseman, Death. I don’t know. This is definitely dollar bin fodder these days. I think the print run was just shy of 90k copies so there’s plenty out there.

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Sailor Moon #1

Wizard Guide Value: $20.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $105.00 on 10/25/18
Raw – $12.00 on 2/22/19

I don’t know much about Sailor Moon. I know it’s a cosplay thing and an Anime folks enjoy, but that’s really all I got. And very little interesting in looking for more. It’s just not my deal.

Looking back on the Wizard write-up, they talk about people loving big eyes and short skirts, which are both still true today. But then they make some joke about being as lame as Martin Mull on Rosanne or something. Just rubbed me the wrong way. No one disrespects Col. Mustard on my watch. Moving on.

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Liberty Meadows #1

Wizard Guide Value: $10.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $125.00 on 12/19/18
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $22.63

We have our first decent price increase on the list. I’m not including graded sales as that is a completely different animal. But this is still a popular title in certain circles.

Seems weird that Frank Cho has been around this long. I am personally a fan of his work. Love his Harley B covers, and he has this new art book coming out called Ballpoint Beauties that is full of art done with ballpoint pens. Truly amazing work. Highly recommend checking it out, or at least his Instagram where he posts his work. Great stuff.

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Superman #151

Wizard Guide Value: $3.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data:

CGC 9.8 – N/A

Covrprice.com Raw Average – $1.70

And yet another new Era for Superman begins where he’s thankfully not just walking across the country. I really disliked that storyline. And I realize that is not the story that takes place in this issue, but I honestly don’t recall, nor did anyone on the internet bother to provide much of a synopsis.

Well, from the little I gathered this seems to be a reset back to the status quo which everyone loves. But I think this cover connects with some other Supes titles at the time which is kinda cool.

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Speed Racer #1

Wizard Guide Value: $2.50 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $130.00 on 2/15/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $7.12

I gotta tell you, I don’t know the criteria to make the Wizard Top 10. This is a cover price book in their own magazine. And it was #120 on the Comic sales list at under 24k copies.

The write up doesn’t offer anything past some self-deprecating humor and simply stating they like the creator, Tommy Yune. That seems awfully familiar to my own routine. Touché Wizard. Touché.

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Before we wrap up this month’s look back, let’s dive into some more features from this issue. Apart from the Top 10 list, Wizard also offered a lot of other features. But before we get to that, let’s take a look back at the news from March 2000.

So, it’s kinda fun to see them promoting Harley’s 1st solo title here. She had had a few appearances in the DCU proper, but here they were prepping for something more. By the context of the story it’s not even settled on being a solo title. We could’ve had more of a Gotham City Sirens type book nine years earlier.

There were a few other short stories promoting Titan A.E. and a preview of the X-Men movie. There was even a story about a possible new TV show focusing on a young Bruce Wayne as a vehicle for Dawson himself, John Moxon. They also offered an update on the possible Tom Cruise Iron Man movie. Remember when that was a thing?

Those were pretty cool, but the real gem from these old issues of Wizard were the Casting Call articles. These were just fun speculation of who they thought should play these characters “if” a movie were to be made. So for March 200, they offered their choices for a Fathom movie based on Michael Turner’s hit title.

Just for fun, let me give it the old college try and see what I can come up with to cast this movie today. If this had been adapted, I could compare their picks to what was eventually cast. But since we haven’t had a Fathom movie as of yet, I’ll have to pitch my own cast without any regard to logic, budget, or star power.

Editor’s note: It wasn’t until I was almost done with the article that I found that there was a whole other 2 page spread of casting. I’m gonna skip that this time out, and just give you what I did on my 1st pass.

Ok, that was my first pass at a Casting Call. This would not have been my first choice of movie, as I am not that well versed in Fathom. I honestly haven’t read that book in close to 20 years. But we play the hand we are dealt.

Another fun feature from the old Wizards was the Top 10 Creators lists. I used to love looking at the lists each month pulling for my favorites to be represented. Seeing the Jim Lee’s and the Garth Ennis’ on the list, somehow validated my fandom in some way. Anyway, let’s take a quick peek at what creators made the cut back in the spring of 2000. Spoilers: No Jim Lee. 

WRITERS

  1. Alan Moore – Looks like someone I wouldn’t mess with
  1. Grant Morrison – Looks like a young Patrick Stewart on his Hawaiian vacation here.
  1. J. Michael Straczynski – Looks a lot like Richard Dreyfus apparently.

ARTISTS

That’s just rude, Wizard. You know his middle name is Francis. This was just unnecessary.

Also in this section is the Market Watch that highlights the Tower Records Tomb Raider books, as well as a fun little insert called Buried Treasure.

Detective Comics #741

If you look above, Wizard said “this one’s a no-brainer to go up in price” so let’s see how they fared.

So this issue may not have lit the world on fire, but I still like it. Quite a bit actually. Apart from the fact that the Joker shoots and kills Jim Gordon’s wife in this issue, it features a stunning cover by Alex Maleev and Bill Sienkiewicz.

Wizard Guide Value: $2.50 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.6 – $27.00 on 1/10/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $3.25

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The final extra little feature I want to highlight is a small insert in the Price Guide that spotlights some market trends, called Ups & Downs.

ups: Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe – One Shot

So Wizard was highlighting how this was pushing $40 online at the time.

It seems to have at least maintained those prices nearly 20 years later. That said I am surprised the CGC 9.8’s are relatively cheap. Typically a $30 raw book pushes over 4100 when it is a slabbed 9.8.

Wizard Guide Value: $30.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $87.00 on 3/2/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $33.01

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Downs: Spawn #1

So according to Wizard, “a crushing amount of Spawn #1’s can be snagged online for about $3, mirroring the book’s current decline in readership.” This is right around issue #93. They think this is declining, wait another 20 or so issues.

Even though there are in excess of 2 million copies, today’s market is still moving this book at incredible rates. Cheap copies are a thing of the past. Sure you can find all the issue 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s you want in dollar bins still, but those #1’s aren’t as easy.

Wizard Guide Value: $15.00 – Mar 2000

Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 – $120.00 on 3/22/19
Covrprice.com Raw Average – $24.92

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Ok so another month in the books. Hopefully, this doesn’t get old and people enjoy reading these as I enjoy looking back to the past. Thanks for your time, and once again, 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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