The Usual Suspects #49
Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. This week I had to pivot off my original plans in how I would be looking at Silver Surfer Black. Prior to the release of issue #1 last week, I was looking to cover some classic SS keys that I haven’t looked at in this format yet, FF49, FF50, SS3, as a few examples. But I will save those for a future feature. For now let’s look at what may come next following that first issue from Donny Cates.
I just love that Granov cover. Definitely my favorite non ratio cover for this book. So glad I pulled the trigger and ordered it off Midtown. Though it makes me wish the interiors were more like this. Don’t get me wrong, I do like Tradd Moore’s fluid, energetic style. I really do. His All New Ghost rider was unexpected and really cool. But for me, it just doesn’t vibe with the Silver Surfer I imagine in my head. But I have very specific memories of this character as he was very important to me growing up. My Surfer will always be like this in my head.
I was lucky enough to meet Ron Lim last month at East Coast Comic Con. His was kind enough to sign one of my first SS issues that really hooked me on this hobby. Something about Silver Surfer and Thanos spoke to me in a way that made collecting sports cards seem boring by comparison. Nearly 30 years later the rest is history. Thanks Mr. Lim.
Sorry I am not the best selfie taker. But anyway, this is the Surfer I like to see and this was the Surfer I was going to talk about this week. But after ready Donny Cates’ take on him, I had to pivot as I said.
Ok from here on out consider this a spoiler filled article as I plan on looking at potential tie-ins to other Donnie Cates written Marvel books. But before I get to all that, I just want to finish my thought on Silver Surfer art. I love Ron Lim’s version, and of course I wouldn’t say no to more Jim Lee.
Like I said, for me, I see Ron Lim’s SS as my baseline. Some folks may only see Kirby’s. Others may see John Buscema’s. But that’s all personal preference and most likely tied to when and how you were introduced to the character. Some of you may even remember SS referenced in movies, most notably by Quentin Tarantino.
I hear you Denzel, but I’ve made my affinity for Ron Lim and Jim Starlin’s Silver Surfer run pretty clear. But that isn’t to say I’m not open to other artist’s interpretation of Norrin Radd. Check out some examples from Jack Kirby, John Buscema, Moebius, Adi Granov, and Gabrielle Dell ‘Otto. Gorgeous stuff.
So I can appreciate a lot of different interpretations of Silver Surfer. I think my main problem is that feel that Marvel is stuck on this current quirky depictions of Surfer and his universe. I think it’s an extension of what Mike Allred was doing on his run. It was ok, but it didn’t really resonate with me. And to see that quirky art style continue with Tradd Moore, I can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed.
I’m not totally opposed to it, and I’m not calling for a return to the 90’s style. But honestly I might’ve liked something more traditional with Cates run. Would I be crazy to suggest that Nick Bradshaw would’ve killed this? I mentioned before how the Granov was my favorite non ratio cover, but just look at Bradshaw’s incentive variant and tell me he wouldn’t have crushed this on interiors.
This has a classic Lim vibe with a hint of Art Adams, and yet it still presents as something new and fresh looking. That said, this is only a mini- series and Tradd Moore’s quirky style did kind of fit the surreal vibe of this issue inside a black hole. So I will do my best to reserve judgement for now and to be open minded. Believe me.
But art discussions aside, I did enjoy Cates’ take on the Sky-Rider of the Spaceways. So with that said…let’s get into it.
1st full appearance of Knull
Ok so by now we all know what happens at the end of Silver Surfer Black #1. And if you don’t, well you were warned. So you knew Knull wouldn’t stay gone forever, but who would’ve guessed he would’ve returned in Silver Surfer? Certainly took me by surprise.
That said, it’s out there and the speculation is that this will somehow tie into Cates’ big Absolute carnage event coming later this summer. So that leaves one wondering what else Cates may tie together with his previous Marvel works.
I mean they were obviously planning for this the entire time. I mean the 2nd print with the spoiler cover came out this week, just 7 days after the first print. Now I am not a big proponent of later printings, but this is an interesting case. Shops had a very short window to order this book. It has an awesome Mike Deodato cover. And with all of the different open order covers and store variants and incentive covers for the 1st print, this book could be the one people look for eventually.
But we were first introduced to Knull in Venom #3. Book came out with heat and has really held very well. Most books are flash in the pan and then drop back down, but this has had a decent hold and may see some gains in the coming months.
A couple different covers to pay attention to aside from the regular cover A. We have the 1:25 incentive that I am still kicking myself for not picking up. I was eyeing it up at my LCS and I decided to hold off a few days for an upcoming sale. Needless to say, the book didn’t make it to that following weekend.
Oh well, you win some and you lose some. But outside of those 2 books, there is also a special convention edition with a Previews logo on a black and white version of the A. Some refer to this as the SDCC edition. But whatever you call it, it isn’t easy to find and trades at a premium to the Regular cover A.
Now I really should’ve cover the 3rd Printing of this book too, but I didn’t. I honestly forgot about it because I do not have one. It happens. What can I say?
That said, it is a good looking book. Villain spec is a fickle thing, but sometimes that hit. Those Teen Titans #12’s don’t seem to be coming down any time soon, so who knows anymore.
Market Analysis: Lots of different versions of this book out there, especially with store variants. But eBay shows over 150 up right now. So depending on what you are looking for there’s plenty to choose from.
Looking for a CGC 9.8? Then a regular cover A will run you around $160. The 1:25 can be up to $400, or you can sneak one for $275. The convention exclusive meanwhile will run you between $200 and $300. All of those prices are well up from the last recent sales and sales averages, but prices are trending up. Keep that in mind as everyone wants to have that new high water mark sale, but no one wants to be the record setting purchase.
Raws also appear to be trending up as those who thought Knull was dead spec and have already bailed may be second guessing that decision. With Knull coming back to the Marvel Universe, this book has seemed to catch a bit of heat as surprises are hard to come by in this spoiler filled world we live in now. That said, who knows how far up this can go. As I said, Villain spec is always tricky.
1st Dylan Brock cameo
So another book that no one saw coming, this issue of Venom featured the 1st Dylan Brock who turned out to be Eddie Brock’s son. Now this may not tie into SS, but you never know. If SS Black ties into Absolute Carnage, then y extension it is connected to the Venom storyline. And with a big symbiote summer event, I can see Dylan playing a big role there.
So this one is still pretty cheap on the market as we are all still unsure what Dylan Brock’s role will be in future. I mean the story kind of got interrupted by this whole War of the Realms crossover. This could be a sleeper.
That said, I will admit it is nice writing about comic book spec based on actual comics again. No movie tie-ins or heat generated based on movie spec. Just heat generated based on the strength of the stories. It has happened on the rare occasion.
But this book had that “secret” variant with the tongue. I’m not sure what the ratio was on it, but this was back when Marvel snuck these covers in. I think that was a great idea to do for issues that actually had something occur in them. Like the Hawkeye secret on Avengers 682, with Immortal Hulk. And then this issue with Dylan. But like everything else Marvel had to run in into the ground.
These Carnage variants were mildly interesting last week, but do you see how many more they have coming? So now, who cares?
Market Analysis: So prices are still pretty low. You can still grab a CGC 9.8 of Cover A for as low as $80. Or take a chance on some auctions that are still in the $30-$40 range. Raw copies can still be grabbed for $10-$15.
The “secret” tongue variant isn’t that bad either with CGC 9.8 copies listed as low as $120ish and as high as $200. However, raw copies of this variant are more in the $35-$40 range.
Cosmic Ghost Rider revealed, to be Frank Castle. SS Fallen One.
So first solicits of this Silver Surfer Black series had most people guessing it would tie back in to his appearance in Donny Cates’ Thanos run as the Fallen One. Now the 1st Fallen One Silver Surfer appeared in Thanos #15.
For that issue I wanted to focus in on this 4th Print with SS on the cover. It was a striking image and another later printing that I am kicking myself for not picking up. I bought so many of those later printings in that run that I eventually just ran out of gas. It was like every week had another printing of each issue in that run, I just couldn’t keep up.
That said, who knows if the Fallen One SS will tie in to Silver Surfer Black in any way. I mean all bets are off with Cates. But there is a Virgin Version of this 4th print cover out there too. I believe it was from Unknown Comics. And of course there is the original cover which is now priced like a minor key issue.
Sure we learn that Cosmic Ghost Rider is not Deadpool even though he is Deadpool, but rather it’s Frank Castle. So future insane Frank Castle with the Spirit of Vengeance and the Power Cosmic = Deadpool? If you say so.
But regardless, the character is here to stay and that cover A is still really cool. I mean Thanos on a throne with the Hulk on a chain leash like some kind of pet. Good stuff. But I guess we’ll see what’s coming next? With Cates it could be anything.
Who knows what ideas and characters Cates will bring back? I mean we all thought Cosmic Ghost Rider was dead spec since it took place in the far off future at the end of the universe, but here we are. Doubt we see SS with Mjolnir in the regular 616, but maybe there will be call backs.
Market Analysis: A few versions of this book so there are a lot of choices again. Starting with the 4th print, the Top listing is a CGC 9.8 listed for $245. However you could grab it for $150 if you shop around. The Virgin variant from Unknown Comics is cheaper in 9.8 as you can get one in the $90 range with multiple options. The original A cover will run you between $135 and $180 in CGC 9.8.
Looking for a raw, either copy of the 4th print seems to be a $30 ask, while the Cover A is a much bigger buy in at about $70. Wasn’t that long ago that it was a $15 book. I know I flipped a few.
1st app. of the Cosmic Ghost Rider
But continuing that thought from above, we can only guess what Donny Cates has in store. Is it possible we see Cosmic Ghost Rider tied in to SS Black in some way? He is Cates’ biggest creation so far. And he also holds the Power Cosmic so they have that connection as well. Wouldn’t be the first time Norrin Radd ran into another Herald of Galactus.
But this issue of Thanos has become a modern key. I didn’t believe in it. I had 2 copies of the 1:25 Albuquerque variant and sold them both. I probably should’ve held on to one, but I’m gonna try to stick to my mantra, “Never regret making money.”
I made a profit, no sense wondering what if. That said, I still like this cover.
But could Cosmic GR tie in to these future stories? I didn’t expect Cosmic GR to be in the 616. Nor did I see him on a new team or Guardians of the Galaxy. But all things considered, it’s seems like a natural fit for Cosmic GR and Silver Surfer to cross paths in this miniseries.
Market Analysis: Well where is this bad boy at these days? As I mentioned before, I was one of the 1st to market 9.8’s of that 1:25 Albuquerque variant a while back and moved that sucker for $800. Still feel good about it, even though the only 2 Blue label 9.8’s up right now are a BIN for $2k or an auction at $500 with over 6 days left.
The A cover on this in CGC 9.8 is a $300 book. And raws of both aren’t easy to come by because they are all either graded at this point, or they are not 9.8’so no one wants to send them in.
So on that idea of tying Cosmic Ghost Rider into to Silver Surfer Black, could we see it also tying into what he’s doing in GotG? That’s not the craziest idea in the world. I mean Surfer is no stranger to Thanos, and with all this “new” Thanos business going on over there, why not tie it together in some way?
I honestly thought Silver Surfer was going to be part of Cates’ GotG team. I mean he was right there on promo materials as a possible member. Seems like an opportunity missed if you ask me. That said, we ae only like 5 issues into that run too, so who knows where it’s headed. There could be a whole new team on the way in a few issues that includes SS and maybe someone like Darkhawk. Ok, I am just rambling now.
But apart from the one per store cover above, which is just a color fade version of a regular cover, there were a ton of variants and store variants. And those killed the market on the below incentive covers. There are just too many copies and too many choices. But the below ratio covers were still very nice.
10 years from now, which will be the one to own? Will it be any? Prob not, but you never know. That said, the cover art is nice and if you can get them at half ratio…
Market Analysis: Not a lot of graded copies of this book yet in any version. That may change as it’s a pretty new release, but it was also a heavily printed book with a lot of versions to pick from.
That said, these are the bigger ratios and the one per store variants that seem to have the biggest demand. Prices are down of late, but if these tie in to a bigger story the heat could come back around on these, and these will be the copies people will want to own as the regular covers a plentiful.
Ok that’s it for this week. I realize this ended up being more about other Donnie cates books that Silver Surfer, but no worries. I will get into SS again to be sure. And also be on the lookout for my next edition in two weeks. Milestone #50, so you know what that means…Anniversary gimmick covers baby.
But that’s still two weeks away, and I still have to squeeze a Wizard Rewind in next week for June. But even before we get to that, let’s look at some Silver Surfer variants I just like.
1:50 Francavilla Variant
Simple, striking image conveys a lot. The loneliness of the vastness of space. The stark contrast of a shining figure in the blackness of deep space.
I have never seen this book in person. 1:50 is an impossibly high ratio for a book like this. How many LCS’s ordered that many copies to qualify for this?
Gotta think this is a tough 9.8 with that all black cover too. Could be a good investment down the line.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 37
CGC 9.8 – $210.00 on 9/18/18
Raw – $130.00 on 12/31/18
1:50 Francavilla Variant
So if not many shops ordered 50 copies of #1, imagine how few ordered 50 copies of issue #2. This is another winner for me. It perfectly conveys that solitude that the Surfer must feel.
Another book I’ve never seen in person, and another on my get around to it one day list. These don’t come up for sale very often. Just not a lot of copies out there.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 31
CGC 9.8 – $250.00 on 11/21/18
Raw – $65.00 on 12/8/18
1:25 Bianchi Variant
Another great Incentive variant and not easy to find. And just a great cover by Simon Bee-an-chee as Mel V would say.
Granted the sideways cover has never been something I’ve been a fan of. And here it’s even more jarring because for all intents and purposes this appears like a wraparound image that should have been on the normal way.
Feels like someone messed up and they just rolled with it.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 21
CGC 9.8 – $152.99 on 3/11/18
Raw – $45.00 on 4/27/19
1:200 Buscema Variant
Gorgeous cover and a classic, iconic image of the Silver Surfer. Too bad it was kind of wasted on this one shot tie in to some Defenders one off story.
A first you would think there can’t be many copies ordered to make a 1:200 a reasonable thing to exist. But when you remember store variants, you figure any store that did a variant gets 15 of these.
That said I haven’t seen one, and wouldn’t mind having it in the PC. But not for the cost it would be to pick one up.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 17
CGC 9.8 – $161.50 on 5/10/19
Raw – $112.00 on 12/16/18
JG Jones Store Variant
Speaking of store variants, I normally avoid them. It just does seem practical to “invest” in a store variant.
However I do buy them when the cover is something that catches my attention. But a book like this is just for my PC so I am fine grabbing the Trade dress for cheap and let everyone else throw $ at the virgin sets.
I’m just glad to have one because I just like the cover and appreciate the swipe of SS #4.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 110
CGC 9.8 – $59.99 on 5/6/19
Raw – $9.99 on 6/14/19