The Usual Suspects #41
Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week while everyone is heading into theaters for Shazam (myself included), I wanted to get a head start on next week’s release of the new Hellboy movie. And with Avengers: Endgame only a couple of weeks out, this is a great month for Comic movie fans.
I am really looking forward to this. I know, I know; that 1st trailer was very uninspiring. I didn’t know what I was looking at. I recall reading how this was going to be darker and R rated, and then that 1st trailer hit and I was l was wondering why they made it look like Guardians of the Galaxy. I think it was the Billy Idol Mony, Mony song that really gave it the wrong vibe.
But then Trailer 2 hit and it was more like what I was looking for. It felt like it had more of an epic scale. And once the orchestral version of Smoke on the Water started pumping while Hellboy was riding a dragon I was sold on this movie. Get me my ticket.
That said, I was a big fan of the previous 2 installments. Guillermo del Toro really crafted some quirky gems with an interesting design and solid mix of practical effects with CGI. That’s my one worry with the new movie, too much CGI. There’s something to be said for quality animatronics. They can really ground you in the film’s reality.
I couldn’t believe that Wink in Hellboy 2 was actually a 7 and a half foot tall guy in a suit and not some CGI creation. He was a practical effect. A real person in a suit. This was filmmaking. Practical effects are what made The Lord of the Rings trilogy great, while the all CGI Hobbit trilogy was only just ok.
There’s just something special about an actual physical creation over computer animation. Don’t get me wrong. I love CGI and I am constantly amazed by how far they’ve come with each and every movie. But as much as I was awed by Thanos’ performance in Infinity War, there’s still a part of me that misses the old Ray Harryhausen movies like Clash of the Titans and the Voyages of Sinbad.
I’m sorry but the original Kraken would eat the new Kraken’s lunch all day.
That is just my personal opinion. If I didn’t tell you that was the new Kraken, you probably couldn’t pick it out of a lineup amongst tons of other CGI big monsters. Was it the Kraken or a Pacific Rim Kaiju? Or something the new King Kong was wrestling on Skull Island? They all look pretty much the same these days. And I will admit that I am a little biased as the original Clash of the Titans was a favorite movie of mine growing up. And the Kraken toy was a prized possession. No matter how hard they tried my G.I. Joes just couldn’t take him down.
Ok, now that I’ve somehow made this a Harry Hamlin fan club article, let’s see if I can’t reel this back in.
Anyway, going back to the original Hellboy movies, Ron Perlman simply was the character. He had the right amount of charm and gruffness that really made him a likeable protagonist. In comparing the two, I will also say that I think I prefer the samurai top knot hairstyle to the grunge look of the new one. That is only a minor gripe, as the new design is pretty tough looking too. That said, Chief Hopper has some big shoes to fill.
But I am excited to see this new world. I hope they saved a few surprises and didn’t show us everything in the trailer. It’s why I avoid most trailers these days. At least for movies I already want to see. I am already sold, so I don’t need more convincing. Why risk spoiling something? So I just don’t watch. It’s like when movie theaters show commercials for the movie theater you are already in.
You already got me here. I paid my money. You don’t have to sell me anymore. I’m already here. Why are you telling me about the state of the art reclining seats, I’m currently sitting in it. Or the state of the art surround sound system, I can hear it. Again, I’m already here, what are you trying to prove? I mean you never see a commercial for a movie theater chain on TV do you? You only see them when you are already in that theater? Someone needs to tell them they are doing it wrong.
I mean it’s nearly as asinine as trying to sell me on how clear the picture is on this new TV in a commercial I am watching on my crappy TV. I can only see it as clear as my current TV allows. Rethink your sales pitch. In a related topic, what’s with these HD Sunglasses they sell on TV infomercials? HD sunglasses really? It’s reality, there is no High Definition reality. It doesn’t get any more real than this.
Sorry to go off on a rant there. But now that movies and movie theaters are out of the way, why don’t we take a look at some Hellboy books and how they’ve been performing leading up to this reboot. I am far from a Hellboy expert, so feel free to chime in on the comments section if I miss something. This is a collaborative effort and I’m just trying to start the conversation.
So with that said…let’s get into it.
Hellboy cover pre-dates, first U.S. appearance.
So, Hellboy 1st appearance can be a little bit dicey. Like a lot of independent creations, there was a bit of an evolution until the character rounded into the form we all know and love. But to be very clear, Hellboy’s creator Mike Mignola posted this to his Twitter account last year:
A bit of research reveals that this original drawing was done by Mignola at a convention in the early 90’s. As you can see this first pass only bears the loosest of connections to the Hellboy we know. In an interview Mignola revealed he had no intention of doing anything specific with the character when he drew this, but the name stuck with him.
Hellboy would evolve further on the cover of the Italian fanzine Dime Press issue #4. This still isn’t quite there yet, but you can see his form beginning to take shape. Obviously he isn’t his trademark red just yet, but you can see the addition of the right hand of doom coming into form.
Being a fanzine, this book isn’t normal sized and is not easy to find. Plus being published in Italy, there aren’t many that would have survived the trip overseas in great shape. It’s notoriously difficult to get a book from Italy.
Active Listings: Hey-Yo. There is a CGC 9.8 listed for $10k. Yes, that’s four zeroes boys and girls. One of the 8 copies in the census is on the market and it’s a doozy. No tracked sale that I could pull for reference to compare. But it is what it is. You want it? Bring your checkbook. Or sell a kidney…and the kidney of a friend.
This is not my listing. I do not know the seller. And I am not promoting the listing, but I wanted to borrow the image so I could illustrate the size of the book so you can see it in the slab. It’s just a little guy. Almost ashcan sized.
Following that big boy book is no easy task, and you only have 3 other options on the market. You can grab a CBCS 7.5 SS signed by Mignola for $700. Try your hand at an auction with days left or buy one straight up for $225. Both of those raw listings are being shipped from Italy at a cost of $60. And I’ve heard horror stories with books shipped from Italy. So buyer beware, your book could be folded up and shipped in an envelope.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of sales as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of copies floating around. A CGC 9.6 just sold last week for $1200. An absolute bargain compared to the 9.8 up right now. Following that all other grades seem to be in the $250-$400 range.
1st appearance of Hellboy
First, I do want to mention that I did partially cover this back around Halloween. It was an abbreviated bit of coverage so I handled the market review a bit different today. So below, you will see I only covered the last 6 months and compared it to the numbers I had back in October as sort of a market update.
That said, inside this book we start to see more of the evolution of Hellboy in a black and white short story that teases him a bit. We still don’t have the trademark Red since this is in B&W, but his look seems finalized.
Now Things From Another World’s online shop still had copies of this book on their site a couple months back at like $120 or so from what I remember. I thought about buying one, but passed. It happens. Looking at some recent sales, I gave up on some potential profits there. But I am a firm believer in not regretting money I did not spend.
Active Listings: Plenty of options on this one. Highest asking price is $1400 for a 4x signed CGC SS 9.8. A CGC 9.8 Blue Label could run you $1,250 or only $700 depending which listing you like.
From there you have a smorgasbord of options from various grades to raws to lots with Next Men 21, etc. Cheapest buy it now looks to be a raw for $190 if you were so inclined.
Market Analysis: CGC 9.8 last sales was for $665 last week and that’s right in line with the current lowest listings. Going back over the last 6 months since I looked at this book in October it appears that is a slightly about the average. However the average over the last 6 months is down 20% from the $780 average sales I looked at in October.
So recent bump with the movie release imminent, overall prices have trended down over the last 6 months. I would imagine that trend to continue as most books lose heat following release of their movies as buyers simply move on to the next thing. So if you were in the market, your best bet would be to wait a bit for prices to stabilize before jumping on board.
That is unless you know something we don’t and think that Hellboy will outperform Avengers Endgame which triggers a flurry of future sales making prices skyrocket. If you believe that, I have a bridge I can sell you. And…
1st full color appearance of Hellboy
Here’s another book I did full coverage on back in Usual Suspects episode #18. As I noted in my original write up from October, I’m still a little bummed that we never got a 3rd installment from del Toro and Perlman. Missed opportunity.
But going back to this actual book. This story was the first color appearance of Hellboy. We finally got the Red, baby! The story itself is very meta, breaking the fourth wall acknowledging that Hellboy is a comics character drawn by Mike Mignola.
So we still didn’t technically get a full story 1st appearance in the traditional sense. But all the pieces are in place, so grab them all or pick which one you can afford or the one you think is the type of 1st appearance you want to own. Personally, I have the Seed of Destruction #1 and I am happy with that. But more on that later.
Active Listings: This is another book with a lot of options. Top dog is a CGC SS 9.8 signed by Mignola that is looking for over $1100. However there are other sellers offering the same at significantly lower prices with another CGC SS 9.8 signed by Mignola at only $675. But not all sigs are the same, with placement, ink color, quality and readability of the sig, etc. So you pick your poison.
A CGC 9.8 Blue Label will run you about $500 at the moment. Cheapest buy it now is about $110 for a raw copy. Not cheap.
Market Analysis: This book seems to be up on all accounts. Over the last 6 months it is up with recent sales and its average has increased over what it was back in October in all grades. The only blemish on an across the board increase is a cheap auction that ended for cheap a couple days ago.
But auctions are a crapshoot and can sometimes skew the numbers. I mean an auction that end at 11:30 am on a Tuesday will not get the most eyes on it that it can. It’s no surprise it ended cheap. Auction end times make a difference people. There are articles on the subject of eBay auction listing. Remember to do your homework.
Sketch Cover BPRD Fan Club Edition
Getting away from what’s Hellboy’s 1st appearance, I next want to take a quick look at an impossible to find variant. From what I could find on the interwebs, this Fan Club Sketch Edition was made available to members at an event at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con. I don’t know the particulars of how it was given away or what the meet up entailed; but I can tell you that this book is a bit of a ghost.
Seriously, this is not a book you will find at your LCS very easily. If you go in and ask a shop owner if he has it, there’s a better than average chance you will get a blank stare. Most owners won’t know what you are talking about.
But this is a very rare book and I can’t imagine that many copies were made. Less than 30 in the Census and very few on the market.
Active Listings: As I said, very few on the market. Only 3 flavors to be exact. It’s a neopolitan of choices. You can have a CGC 9.8 SS for $725. Or a CGC 9.58 Blue label for $500. Or a signed raw coy for $400.
Market Analysis: Not many sales to speak of. Looks like we only have a pair that sold for around $450 each.
“Death” of Hellboy. “Virgin” cover – Retailer Incentive Edition
This final book is what could be viewed as the end of Hellboy. Check out this epic conclusion and if you can, grab a copy of this impossible to find Retailer Incentive. From what I gather, this seemed to have some form of qualifying incentive that most retailers did not meet and did not know this book was even available.
This would appear to be a must have for a serious Hellboy collector given it’s rarity and the importance of what occurs inside the actual book. Remember we can actually opens these things up and read what’s inside occasionally. That’s my P.S.A for the day. So keep your eyes open for this ghost.
Active Listings: None.
Market Analysis: No tracked sales in the last year and none available. Good luck spending if you can’t even find one. That said, the last CGC 9.8 moved last March and sold for $2k. This would be a buy at all costs type of book if you can afford it. But be mindful of your limits.
Ok that’s it for this week. I realize I covered a couple of books I already kind of looked at 6 months ago, so to make up for it I will give you a few extra books in my new final section, Person of Interest. I feel like this ties in better with the Usual Suspects theme. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
Like I said, this is much like Last Call. In this section, I will present at least one extra book with abbreviated coverage. Could be only one extra or it could be a few. It will really depend on the case. But for this first one, this section will be super-sized.
1st Hellboy in his own title
As I noted before, I like this as my 1st Hellboy. I know it’s not his true 1st appearance, or 1st cameo, 1st image, etc. But it’s the first book I have and the one I can afford so it’s good enough for me.
But one could argue that outside of that 4 page B&W short in SDCC #2, this is the 1st true Hellboy in his own story. No meta drop ins in someone else’s book. Plus most of the 1st Hellboy movie was adapted from this mini series.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 206
1st Nimue, Blood Queen
This book has been hot since it was announces that The Blood Queen was to be the villainess in this reboot. I do not have a copy, but I gather that this is really only a cameo appearance. So grab #3 if you want more Blood Queen and cover your bases.
Regardless, these Hellboy stories should really be collected in total. Grab the whole storyline if you can. Maybe that’s just my OCD. I hate incomplete minis.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 6
1st Ben Daimio
This book is a cheapo one. And it’s a first appearance of a main character in the new film. There was some early casting controversy, which was quickly quelled when Ed Skrein stepped aside from the role.
That left an opening for Chin Ho Kelly to step in. I dropped off after the 1st couple seasons of 5-0 but I always like Daniel Dae Kim and I am looking forward to his were-jaguar? Is that what you’d call it? Suppose I will find out next week.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 0
1st Lobster Johnson
I was surprised to see this book was as expensive as it already was. Didn’t realize there were so many Lobster Johnson fans. I will admit my knowledge of the Hellboy-verse is limited and I know Lobster Johnson had his own spin off, but this sells for more than Seed.
But I really hope Lowell has a decent sized role in the movie. I liked Wings, and I’ve liked most of what I’ve seen Thomas Haden Church in too. Another 3 name actor. Weird.🤔
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 2
1st Merlin in Hellboy-verse
Well, since the chances are slim you will be able to grab that sketch fan edition, there’s no harm in picking up the regular. This is the 1st part of a 3 part mini that is the 1st part of a larger story that has been collected as The Storm and The Fury.
I’ll admit that the lone CGC 9.8 sale kinda sticks out. Why did that sell for $170 when a 9.6 sold for $11.50 and a raw is only $3 bucks? But whatever the reason, there are only 5 9.8’s and one sold for $170. There’s your market.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 5