Q1 2019


Greetings from the desert fellow CBSI members. It’s amazing, we are already ¼ of the way home thru 2019! With this, it’s a good time to look back at the first quarter to get an idea of what has hot, and what was not. Are there some consistencies in the marketplace or is this hobby and business status quo for the first three months.


Monthly Sales


*Numbers below are courtesy of Comichron





January books showed strong numbers for four titles with new #1s. These included Captain Marvel, GOTG, Conan, and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Interestingly enough we saw several ratio and stores variants for these books no doubt increasing print run size. Batman who Laughs #2 continued a strong surge as well grabbing the number one spot. Anytime sales seem to slip, Marvel hits reboot and boom there come all the different covers and hopes for 1st appearances to justify the purchases especially of the higher ratio variants. Some for the other strong selling books included Young Justice #1, Web of Venom #1, and Detective Comics 997, and of course Immortal Hulk #11 & #12 (Much more on that title later). In looking at the indie books, TMNT Shredder in Hell, Blossoms 666 #1, Punchline #3, Knights of the Golden Sun, Star Trek Q Conflict, My Little Pony Nightmare Nights, White Widow, and Turok all made some noise, many due to ratio variants – are we seeing a trend?

*2nd Print #’s of interestDie #1 (2.4K), Venom #9 (1.7K), & Immortal Hulk #9 (1.4K),





There was more of the same in terms of Top 10 books in the month of February. Batman Who Laughs continued its spot at the top of the leaderboard in terms of overall units sold. Interestingly, you see Conan, GOTG, and Captain Marvel fell out of the Top 10 this month. Why you may ask? Well, most of the ratio and store variants are gone deflating the overall sales. In addition, the story lines did not “grab” the readers such as titles like Batman where there is a consistent amount of books sold. Built in fan base? Yes. Higher quality storylines? Perhaps. One item of notice is only one # 1 made the Top 10 – Avengers: No Road Home. Indie books of note include Red Sonja #1, Stronghold #1, Wulfborne, & Honor & Curse #1.

2nd prints #’s of interest – – – Immortal Hulk #11 (2.1K), Superior Spider-Man #1 (1.9K), Immortal Hulk #7 (1.7K), and Venom #6 (1.1K),




Complete numbers will follow in next article, but we know the clear winner is Detective Comics 1000. There is a lot of variant movement both in ratio and store titles as well including series like Dark Red.





Store Variants


There’s that old saying everything at some point is cyclical and the same can be said for this hobby. If you examine what is starting to become warm, working it’s way to hot again is store variants. There is some belief  there are only a select few that are gaining the heat and attention. However, these are coming with more frequency folks, and some of the artwork is top notch. Case and point these are just a from the last couple of months…



I would hasten to say any of you viewing this see how amazing this artwork is covering different titles and genres. Not to mention, some of them sold out in a matter of minutes. It’s seems we all need to come to the realization that this is part of our world now. Many of us have put up the good fight, and at some point all of us have succumbed to the allure of a cover or two then purchased. In addition, as we all have said before the more these sell, the more of these we will see in the marketplace.

Finally, with Con season in full swing, there has already been a few books that have garnered attention. Undoubtedly, there will be more to come in the upcoming months. Here’s a few of note this early in the year…



TV Spec back from the dead?


It was very interesting to see within this early year, a few TV series creating books to become hot again. As we know, many times of recent date, these optioned or green lit books sizzle for a second, or not at all and die into the abyss of spec land. However, these two books Umbrella Academy (Netflix)  and Niobe (Future HBO) have bucked that trend and done very well as of late. Does this mean TV spec is back? Probably not, at least on network television. Yet I would keep your eyes on stuff that’s actually green lit, not just optioned. The simple difference between the two is optioned means someone bought the rights and there may be a series made if all goes well, This could be years down the line which is the majority of these books. Then there are greenlit projects. This means this is budget approval, staffing, and a future start date of filming. Those of you who are newer to the hobby, please do your homework before rushing out and buying series just because it’s been optioned. It there is ever any doubt, please reach out to the community for help. That’s what we are all where for is to grow our knowledge!

Here are the covers for these two series. Yes there may be some other variants or covers, but for the purpose of this exercise we will stick with these two…



One for the road…


There’s one more item to speak to before we close up shop on the first quarter of 2019 and that is the 2000 pound green elephant in the room known as the Immortal Hulk! I don’t think there are any expletives left to say other than point on facts:

  1. 12 out of 13 weeks this year a Immortal Hulk appeared in the Hot 10 list via a book from the series, or a spec Hulk book involving the series. Please let me know another book that has done this? Okay we will move on
  2. Immortal Hulk #2 has seen sales of the 1:25 CGC 9.8 at $900 and the 1:1 CGC 9.8 at $285. All for a guy seen in Bill Bixby’s old series Dr. Frye. Really, for this cover and this guy?
  3. The draw of this series has created something we all have some opinions about and that is 2nd print ratio books. Immortal Hulk # 16 will feature the first of this kind (I think) which is a 1:25 2nd print book.. Yep, say that outloud again folks to let it seep in, this is where we are at now, good or bad. There could be a thesis written on this alone, but here are a few key factors to think about when looking at supporting a book of this kind. What does this do to the value of 1st print ratios? What does this do to artificially inflate print runs? If these are successful, what in God’s green earth can we expect next? 1:100 4th prints? I don’t think people realize the volatility of this powderkeg. This is not pretty CBSI. Be careful which Pandora’s box you open Marvel, you might not like the results if people finally say enough is enough!
  4. With each new issue hitting the monthly market you are seeing an increase in reader viewership, and spec potential. Every panel is combed they with a fine tooth comb, scouring for clues to a bigger purpose. The only other series of late to we have seen this with is Cates on his Venom series. In all seriousness, Al Ewing has crushed this series up to this point. If he sticks the landing remains to be seen. However it’s made non Hulk fans, Hulk fans. People who haven’t read the big green guy in years, now have a renewed interest. With this, Mr. Ewing cannot be thanked enough as we need more of this in comics. The quality of the material in the inside, not just the outside. Somehow, someway we have lost sight of that a tad to much. Finally, let’s be honest, Alex Ross has killed these covers. There are a lot of memorable ones that will hold some value down the road based solely on the art.


Here is the Immortal Hulk #16 2md print 1:25 in all its glory (sarcasm at it’s max)…



Comic book of the quarter


Well the trend of Immortal Hulk continues with which book is the big winner of these first three months of the year. Let’s see if I can get this out without puking. This issue has all the ingredients for a monster, um it does? Tough in high grade due to color, average size print run coupled with it being a 1:25, and big buzz around a first appearance of a character called Dr Frye. What I refuse to say is it’s a good looking cover. No one can convince most of this group of that. I could understand a book like Spider Ghost # 1 1:100. There at least could be a good debate on whether the cover was good or not. I mean no disrespect to Zaffino, but come on, really? Are we sure this wasn’t drawn by Khoi? As a reminder 9.8s of this have hit $900, while raws have hit $450. So have at it folks, here’s the Immortal Hulk # 2 1:25 cover, the book of the year so far in terms of spec / flip value. There’s a laundry list of books for $900 in which someone could make a sound investment with in terms of mid key books. Hey, it’s your money at the end of the day. What’s that we say…Buy what you like



Well, that wraps up the quarterly edition for this new year of 2019. If there are items which you would like to be discussed or input into the next piece in June, please let me know. It’s hard to look back at an entire year and remember everything. This way at least it’s broke up four times making it not like drinking out of a firehose. I appreciate all the readers each week and please feel free add your opinions.



Talk soon,


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  • Avatar

    Great article!

    For the record I can’t stand that Immortal Hulk #16 2nd print 1:25. I’m no artist, but I don’t like it at all.

    The Immortal Hulk #2 Zaffino variant is alright. I wouldn’t mind having it in my PC, but at those ridiculous prices, it’s not gonna happen. I’m with you, why not take that money and buy a nice key. To each their own …

  • Ben C

    This is fantastic.

    Thanks Clint!!

  • Avatar

    The burthurt over this book, has been fun to read. I know its an opinion, but the hate over it has been tilting. I have been a hulk fun for awhile, 35 yrs now. its the best hulk series in that time period. there have been good runs of incredible hulk, but not in my opinion as good as IH. I felt this way over Thanos 13, I loved Jeff Lemires run more than some guy named Donnie Cates took over. I choose not to buy the 1:25, I had 2 at my lcs in my hand. they were 12.00.

  • Avatar

    lol its a great series and i hope this doesnt cause another 90s market

  • Avatar

    Awesome works! Wonder which store variant the Unnaturals belongs too? Thanks

    • Clint Joslin

      Thanks for reading. The Supergirl homage is Port City Comics, the other is Abba’s Discount. Hope that helps and good luck if you are in the market. Both are great covers!

  • Avatar

    I sold my 1:25 Zaffino variant for IM #2 in January for £50 which at the time I was happy with having bought it for £14. Then this all kicked off just a few weeks later. I don’t think I’ll ever not regret selling it

    • Peter Renna

      I’m with you. I sold my CGC 9.6 of the Zaffino for $110 back around that time as well. Sure I missed out on the meteoric rise in price, but even where I sold it, I made $$$. Never regret making money. It stings right now, but by next year it won’t mater and will be a footnote. Just move on to the next book.

    • Clint Joslin

      Sell while it’s hot, I don’t see us talking about this book at the end of Summer. Thank you for reading!

  • A. J. Diesel

    Excellent work! Thoroughly enjoyed reading. Keep it up!

  • Avatar

    I personally love the Zaffino variant and it caught my eye immediately. I spent $150 total for 5 copies when it came out and have sold 3 of them and have made a $1500 profit. Lovin it!

  • Peter Renna

    Excellent work Clint. Really great insight and coverage. 🤘🧐🤘

  • Avatar

    What comic/issue are those Transformer comics?

  • Avatar

    Groupthink is dangerous no matter where it lurks. Comics are like most human endeavors…leaders and followers. Most people including myself have reassured ourselves how great a read IH is and all that. Bah! Issue #2 EXPLODED and all of sudden everyone and their brother was saying “Hulk is great”! I watched for weeks the flippers and random ass dudes coming into the shops sniffing out IH. That ship has sailed. Get on a new boat lemmings.

  • Avatar

    Very informative and well written. Thank you for the information.

    2nd print ration variants is str8 blasphemy.

  • accustomfigures

    Nice article, Clint!

  • accustomfigures

    Looking at the comments it’s really reinforcing how much really people like to complain. I think most people agree IH is one of the best comic series’ (something Marvel sorely needed) to come along in years. Yet there’s still so much negativity. I don’t get it. If it’s coming from people who missed out on the spec then that’s sad. When issue one came out it was during a time that I’d given up on Marvel and most of DC. My brother told me I had to read it because it was so good, but I still didn’t. So I missed every ounce of spec. But I’m excited because it’s fresh and not based on any movie buzz. Something else the industry needed. Ewing himself just said his IH story isn’t even halfway done, so why not just let it breathe, enjoy it, and quit trying to find something to bitch about?

  • Avatar

    Great Stuff Clint!!!!!!!!🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

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