The Usual Suspects 54
Welcome back for another edition of The Usual Suspects. After my Hot Pick of Recalled Comics for last week’s Hot & Cold List, my interest was piqued in the subject of recalled comics. How many hold their values? How many times has this occurred? And how many copies could be out in the wild?
Let me first preface this that I do not particularly like recalled comics personally. I don’t believe they are good investments; and outside of a passing curiosity, they are nothing more than a footnote to me. So, I am not advocating running out and buying up copies of Supergirl #33 and Superman #14.
That said, there are exceptions to every rule. While most recalls are done for printing errors and the like, with the publishers typically asking for copies to be destroyed as replacements are being sent out; there are those rare occasions where something more interesting occurred. And it’s those types of books that piqued my interest.
Before I go any further, I would like to give a shout out to Recalled Comics, as that site has a lot of good info as it relates to recalls and error comics and I used it as one of my resources for researching this topic.
I have a degree in Journalism, so I feel it only appropriate to note your sources. Can’t say the same for all the other channels, sites, and apps out there. Burn.
That said, let’s quickly look at what sparked this topic with the recent recalls of Supergirl #33 and Superman #14. Now this is all from a couple weeks ago, so I am just gonna lay it out as I remember.
Shortly before release day on 8/14, the publisher asked retailers to destroy the copies that were delivered as replacements would be provided. DC cited discrepancies between the covers and actual story content, and the community’s first guesses were that it was related to the Year of the Villain banner now appearing on most DC books.
And those banners are the only similarities with their cover B’s, so that seemed like a logical conclusion.
Next, a lot of speculation centered on the Legion preview that appeared both on the cover and supposedly as a small feature in the guts of the book. But why would that be necessary as speculation has been that a new revamp of Legion was coming from Bendis, and the existence of these images and books only confirm that. It wasn’t a secret, so what was all the hubbub about?
Then there were reports that the true reason behind the recall was due to an issue with the ethnic portrayal of a character in Legion. I believe it was Lightning Lad. But if you look at the promotional image, it looks like there was a mistake made on Bouncing Boy too? Take a look below.
That’s it. And yet DC maintained the reason was content/cover related. It looks like an old version of the promo image was used and at some point, a couple characters changed races.
Who cares? Is this really that big a deal that DC had to lie about why it was recalled? It’s not like these characters had been introduced yet. They are 2 different images drawn completely differently based on changes to the characters. Whether editorial decided to make a change, or the artist made a mistake, or Bendis himself decided to change the characters completely, does it really matter? It’s also not like it was a coloring error or something more sinister.
I realize the above may have a different connotation to it after Michael Richards blow up at a comedy club all those years ago, but I still love Seinfeld and this situation made me think of that episode, so I’m sharing it. There’s a time and place for social commentary and this ain’t it.
But we live in a day an age where sensitivity and overreaction are at all-time highs. Where a director can lose his job over insensitive bad jokes made over a decade ago that were already known about and apologized for. Why the publisher felt the need to lie about the reason for a recall, it made it a bigger deal than it would have been had they simply said, “the wrong promotional material was used.” Just own the mistake.
Regardless, I still wouldn’t invest money in those recalls personally, but to each their own. But like I said, the whole thing got me thinking back at other recalls I could remember, and some were definitely more interesting than these two books.
So, with that in mind, just sit back, and let’s get into it. Recalled Comics.
So, this one perturbs me a little bit. This book was recalled by DC Comics for “cover content.”
If you look at the cover, what do you see? I see a grown man sharing a drink with his father. Why is that wrong?
Don’t give me the “kids could be influenced to drink because Superman does it” argument. That’s lazy parenting. I don’t expect Superman to raise my kid. I will teach my son right and wrong and to make good choices for himself. If a kid is so easily influenced to drink by seeing Superman holding a beer, or smoke cigarettes because a cartoon camel does it, maybe there are other issues afoot here.
I mean, in theory; the law says you can’t drink until you’re 21 anyway. So regardless of if Superman is doing it or not who is being negatively influenced? 17-year old’s so impressionable by Superman to drink before they are legal? Trust me, those high school kids drinking aren’t doing it because Superman is doing it.
Or are we concerned about 6-year old’s? Yeah, I have a 6-year old, and he is quite impressionable. But regardless of whether Superman is drinking on a comic or I am drinking a beer in front of him, he’s still not allowed to have it.
I mean, a kid can’t drive until he’s 17 or 18 in some states, so do we have to censor Batman out of driving the Batmobile? Oh, and Zombies and violence are Ok to show kids on a cover, but not a grown man drinking a beer with his dad.
And who’s to say this is even beer? It could be a root beer for all we know. I’m just saying.
Market Analysis: Not a lot of options for this one. In fact, I only got 6 results back. CGC 9.6 and Raws listed in the $180-$220 range mostly. There is one auction that’s only at $60 but it still has days to go.
Most of what’s sold have been about $250 CGC 9.8’s and the cheapest sale was a CGC 9.4 for just over $100 bucks.
This one is great. Leave it to Alan Moore to not only stick it to Marvel in a clever way, but to do it in a way that is historically accurate.
So, in case you weren’t aware, this issue featured an advertisement for a Marvel-brand douche from the early 20th century. You know those old timey snake oil ads you might see in movies about the turn of the century. That’s 1900’s not the Y2K one.
Once again, DC freaked out and ordered a recall and for the entire print run to be destroyed, fearing that Marvel would sue over it. Not many copies made it out, but somehow some did, and this is an expensive book.
Now this is the type of recall I am interested in. Yes rarity, makes it desirable, but say there were 2 million copies out there, I would still want one because Alan Moore is just awesome.
He’s so cool, he even created a “Miracle Douche Recall” headline on a newspaper in his comic Top 10. This headline not only references this LoEG recall, but also his past dealings with Marvel involving Marvelman/Miracleman. Let’s use our magnifying glass to zoom in.
What more can you say about Alan Moore?
Market Analysis: This is a super hard to find and expensive book. Only 2 copies up on eBay right now. A CGC 9.8 for $1700 or a 9.4 for $1300.
Only recent copies that sold were a pair in the $800 range, one CGC 9.8 and the other a Raw.
This one is just funny to me. And this is another book that I could get on board with investing in, due to it just being amusing.
So apparently, some folks at Marvel didn’t like former editor Bob Harris. One artist in particular, Al Milgrom, disliked him so much that he lost his job sneaking a hidden zinger in this issue. Kudos to the person who noticed this in the background of the below panel. Let’s bust out our handy-dandy Magnifying Glass again and take a look. Also, I am using the image from Recalled Comics as it clearly lays out the message in an easy to read manner.
So, if you go to page 28 you can see the above parting shot from Milgrom to Harris, “HARRAS HA HA, HE'S GONE, GOOD RIDDANCE TO BAD RUBBISH HE WAS A NASTY S.O.B.”
Now Milgrom was fired over this, but they apparently re-hired him not long after. Guess Marvel just wanted to make sure nothing came from this and they weren’t going to be sued for libel. I mean it’s not that bad really. It’s not like he hid “sex” in a blowing leaf pile or inserted a sexual aid on the cover of a Little Mermaid VHS Clamshell case.
You can look up the Little Mermaid one on your own. It’s worth it.
But that said, this book also had a couple of Dynamic Forces variants that also contained the libelous bookshelf.
Market Analysis: This is not a cheap book either. Don’t let the below sale prices fool you. Most listed are pretty expensive asks. Raws are asking $350-$400. CGC 9.8’s are $2,500. There’s even a CGC SS signed by John Romita Sr. listed for $10k.
This is yet another book I wouldn’t mind owning. In practical terms, I get recalling a book that has a baby in the microwave. But contextually, I feel differently considering that the baby is Superman and is totally unharmed by the incident.
This occurs inside this Elseworlds 80-page Giant in a short tale called “Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter.” The aforementioned the Kryptonian toddler crawls his way into a microwave and gets nuked.
So, DC once again overreacts and demands all copies recalled and destroyed. What is funny is that even though DC panicked and had this book pulped because of this story, this short tale actually went on to win an Eisner award. Years later this would be reprinted by DC, conceding that they overreacted.
It’s a cute story with plenty of other hijinks. I mean you can’t lock a baby in a cage either. Or let them chew on a power cable like a mynock.
So little Clark found his way into a microwave. He was fine. The same can’t be said for this poor Gremlin.
Market Analysis: Once again, not a lot of options out there. If you want a CGC 9.8, it’ll run you about $1k. Raws and 9.6’s are more in the $500 range.
I read rumors that this book was released in the UK which could explain why prices are a little cheaper there. Even with the international shipping you can get yourself a Raw from overseas for closer to $250.
This one is a lot easier to find and a bit less interesting than the last few. Curse words in a Batman book lost its shock value by issue #10 considering we already had the G.D. Batman.
But in this issue, they apparently used a darker black to try and cover charcoal gray typeface to minimal success. If you look at the word bubble you can still see the curse words underneath. I kinda scratched out the “F” like I did above, so you know it’s cleaner, but you still get the idea.
My question is, why did the letterer even put the curse words in originally? Were there plans for an unedited version at some point? Were they toying with the idea of a DC Black label even back then? Or was this just an oversight?
Regardless, I wouldn’t invest too heavily in something like this. I mean Batgirl cursing isn’t very shocking by today’s standards considering what you can get away with saying now on broadcast TV. Plus, we’ve all seen the Batman’s little sidekick and his dynamic duo now thanks to Batman Damned so a few naughty words are old news. Thanks Adam West for the assist on the cover up.
Market Analysis: So, the Frank Quietly B cover seems to be more desired out of the 2 trading at about double the cost of the Jim Lee Cover A. Raw copies of A can be had for $20 while B may run you $40. Sets of both can be had in the 450 range as well.
CGC 9.8s of the B cover can be had for $125 to upwards of $250, while the Cover A in 9.8 can be had for under $100.
Now this one is impossible to find and would be one that I personally find hilarious. So apparently nearly all copies of his book had to be pulped due to the fact that the interior artist, Marco Rudy had drawn very phallic looking tentacles.
Yeah, the coloring didn’t help here either. But they probably could have gotten by without pulping if not for the 4th panel. Now we know where that sexual aid from the Little Mermaid cover ended up.
That is just unfortunate placement. Though, I would find it hard to believe that the artist didn’t know what he was doing here. Seriously, from Arcane’s placement in frame, to where the “tentacle” arises from off panel, to the expression on her face. This could be a panel from Cherry Poptart, or some Japanese Hentai.
But the edited version takes that unnecessary distraction away. And makes it no less effective, so I would say this was a good call.
Market Analysis: There are 2 copies in the CGC census, and there are no recorded sales or listings to be found anywhere on this. So, this one is an absolute ghost.
So, this is the infamous “nude” Elektra book. Not really a lot going on here as she appears nude in shadow. There really isn’t anything too racy as the naughty bits are completely in shadow. Luckily the artist didn’t draw a shadow of a nipple or we could’ve had more to talk about.
But seriously, Some of Greg Horn’s covers were way more suggestive than these few panels. And this already had a Mature/Violent Content advisory warning on the cover. The scene isn’t changed in the slightest by the addition of underwear.
Market Analysis: Plenty of copies out there even if there are only about a dozen on the market right now. But a CGC 9.8 would run you around $200+ or you could nab a Raw for $90. I check every copy of these I see in the wild as this book is in plenty of dollar bins. But that’s all the “corrected” edition is worth, so look if you can before you buy.
I think we are all familiar with this one as it’s still pretty fresh. The controversy over the title stemmed from the Image book having the same name as a restaurant that also happened to use a comic for their menu.
I can see the similarities, but are either of them giving royalties to Donnie Darko?
Regardless the Image comics are being released under a new name. Now called Dead Eyes, will this renew interest in these recalled copies, or will they just be an interesting footnote? That remains to be seen. It’s still unclear to me if the 1st two issues will reprint the recalled comics or just continue on the story because it doesn’t appear that anyone actually returned or destroyed the originals.
Market Analysis: Raw copies available for as low as $10 and CGC 9.8’s only $70 at the moment for the regular #1. About the same for issue #2. Sets are available as well as the variants. Tons of copies so it doesn’t appear as though the recall was very effective.
I remember going into shops and still seeing these on the shelves after all the hoopla. I didn’t load up as I expected it wouldn’t amount to much. So far, despite some spikes, I feel pretty good about passing on them.
This is more of an administrative error than a cool recall. This issue #4 of Witches was printed with Issue #3 on it. Not really a big deal.
But this error and recall was done on a store variant, so it was already limited. Only some copies got out before they realized the error and recalled and corrected the rest, so this is pretty tough to find. Below is the corrected version where you can see “issue four”.
But rarity is really the only interesting thing here as it’s just misnumbered. Wrong numbering hasn’t done much for that Justice League #51 as that’s only a $6 book which is only a small premium over cover. Heck I’m not they even bothered to try and correct physical copies of Issue #67 of The Boys.
Market Analysis: This book is pretty pricey right now. So, if you want one, CGC 9.8 could cost you in the $450 range. Unless you want to buy from the one seller with a 9.8 listed for $1,250. Or you can splurge $570 on the lone Raw copy if you are so inclined.
Personally, I wouldn’t touch this one at these prices, but if I did the CGC 9.8’s would be the way to go.
Anytime you’re dealing with a racial slur, things get dicey. So, this recall doesn’t have much cache to me. Not something I really feel the need to own, but I can see a Wolverine completionist needing a copy.
But in this issue an editorial error and misunderstanding led to the anti-Semitic slur being used in the book. As it goes, Brian K Vaughn was brought in to doctor the script and changed word assassin with Killer. This update was misinterpreted from the handwritten correction that was supposedly cut off in the faxed update.
Personally, I only know of this word thanks to Porky’s. While it may not affect me directly, out of respect for those who it might offend; this is as far as I go. So outside of showing the panel above, I am not using it in my text.
Now, Brian goes on to correct him in this scene, going so far as to spell it out for him, but again, I didn’t want to use more than I already have; but I always liked this scene.
Market Analysis: Tons of these books out there. If you want one you can have one for under $10 raw. Even CGC 9.8’s are well under $100.
Ok that’s it for this week. But before I let you go; I have a selection of other recalls I thought worth mentioning but didn’t want to go too in depth into them. So, with that, let’s get back into it.
Recalled for being Too Mature
This was one that I didn’t know about. It was supposed to be released at theaters. No errors or fun innuendo, this was simply deemed too mature for casual moviegoers.
That seems silly considering the movie was rated R, so theoretically those going to see the movie could handle a mature comic book. This is not hard to find as this was a promotional comic so who knows what the print run was.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 76
Incentive Foil error
This book is a 1:10 Incentive Variant and was foil stamped incorrectly. Diamond asked for the covers to be stripped and returned but I’m not sure many did.
But to be honest, no one much cares any longer. Considering this was quite recent I figured it was still worth a mention though.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.6 – 3
Cover Too Dark
Honestly, look at the two covers. Do you think anyone would’ve noticed if Image didn’t recall? This was hot the week of release but now one literally sold for $1.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 73
Die Cut Error
This book tried to do the Sleepwalker #19 mask gag, but they screwed up the die cut so the perforations were all jacked up.
Valiant requested error copies be destroyed, but you know how that goes by now. But prices are quite cheap, all things considered.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 32
Weapons Manufacturer & Comics?
Now who thought this was a good idea to begin with? Recalled during NYCC 2017, this was handed out to kids as part of a collaboration with military contractor Northrop Grumman and Marvel.
Typical Sales Data:
CGC Census 9.8 – 2
…And that’s all we have this week. I was going to go back to Arnold with Total Recall, but I just couldn’t resist a shirtless Connery from Zardoz….