Connecting the Dots: THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT TO SPEC ON (STARGIRL!)
There are two types of speculators: those who lead and those who follow. By the time news hits, cheap copies of relevant keys are gone and sometimes all that are left are overpriced, often lower grade scraps. It’s the individuals who actually read and research comics who ultimately profit by making insightful, sometimes far-out, connections that puts them far ahead of the market.
While TV spec is often fleeting, as is often said, having copies of relevant issues upon announcement can often be profitable. When the DC Universe streaming service announced Stargirl as a 13-episode show set to launch in 2020, her first appearance in Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. #0 became a premium book. As more information becomes available about the cast and premise of the show, more opportunities abound to pick up key issues.
The official description of the show, who will star Brec Bassinger as the titular character, paints her as a teenager coming to grips with a new school, new friends and a new step father, who just so happens to be the former sidekick Stripesy. That description also includes the comment, “Courtney becomes the unlikely inspiration for an entirely new generation of superheroes.” This certainly opens up the possibility for appearances for a number of second generation characters, including Maxine Hunkel (Cyclone), Jakeem Thunder and Yolanda Montez (Wildcat II).
Maxine Hunkel, the granddaughter of the original Red Tornado, Abigail “Ma” Hunkel, becomes an honorary member of the Justice Society of America as well as Courtney Whimore’s best friend on the team. With the confirmed inclusion of the JSA on the show, Cyclone seems like a natural choice. Her first appearance is Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #1 (2007). Be warned, the print run for this issue was enormous: sales of approximately 102,982 copies according to Comichron. Still, the CGC census only reports 62 graded copies of the regular Alex Ross cover and 101 of the Dale Eaglesham variant 1:10 cover. There is also a Dynamic Forces signed edition of the regular cover that was limited to 499 copies.
Jakeem Thunder is the current caretaker of Johnny Thunder’s Thunderbolt, who now resides in an ink pen given to him by Jay Garrick. Courtney and Jekeem are close in the comics, so it seems possible that their friendship could play out on screen as well. Jakeem’s first “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” cameo appearance is in Flash #134 (1998), which has approximately 42,668 copies sold. His first full appearance is JLA #26 (1999), which sold 89,255 copies a year later. Despite the high numbers of copies, there is still an investment opportunity: only two graded copies of Flash #134 exist, both 9.8s. There are currently no graded copies of JLA #26 in the census.
Perhaps, the biggest long shot that’s not really a long shot is Yolanda Montez, who ultimately becomes Wildcat II. After Ted Grant is injured during Crisis on Infinite Earth, longtime Infinity Inc. staple picks up the mantle of her family friend. It seems this character was planned from the outset of the series as her first appearance is technically All-Star Squadron #28; she appears in a promotional image for Infinity Inc. as La Garro, wearing a gold version of the Wildcat uniform. Her first physical appearance as Yolanda Montez is in Infinity Inc. #12 (1985). Again, there are great investment opportunities in low census numbers: Infinity Inc. #12 has only one graded copy, a 9.8. Crisis on Infinite Earths #6 has a far greater representation (303 copies) as it is also the first full appearance of the Anti-Monitor. There is a Canadian price variant for this issue.
Why is this version of the character most likely to appear on Stargirl show? Few realize that her father, Juan Montez, and mother Maria have already been cast to appear! Wilmer Calderon and Kikéy Castillo are actors.
While Stargirl does not have many high-value variants, there is a very undervalued 1:50 Lee Moder Superman #38 (2015) cover, which has only 12 copies (7 9.8s) in the census. At approximately 48,987 copies sold, that puts the variant at 980 copies. This variant was apparently available in DC value packs at Five Below stores, which typically means that there are copies to found. It also means that due to poly-bags and stock handlers, high-grade copies may not be plentiful.
If DC is looking to attract a younger audience to their streaming service, Stargirl fits the bill. While the show has already cast the older Justice Society members, it seems logical that they would also want to surround Courtney with her peers. Remember TV spec is always a risk, but buying these keys now, means not having to overpay later.