Hawkeye’s Bad Guys
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.
Hawkeye fans are clamoring for the upcoming Disney+ stream series, which will feature Jeremy Reiner reprising his role of Clint Barton and his protégé Kate Bishop to be played by Hailee Steinfeld. With her introduction into the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes speculation that the introduction of key characters will evolve into the titular Young Avengers, considering Cassie Lang has already been introduced and rumors suggests one or both of the Scarlet Witch’s children will appear on the WandaVision series. With speculators already jumping on related books, what’s left? Clint and Kate’s antagonists.
The rumor mill suggests that The Hood will be one of the primary foes of the duo in the MCU. The Hood is a supernatural themed crime lord, who has been prominent in a number of Marvel crossovers including Secret Invasion and Dark Reign; Parker Robbins was introduced in the first issue of his own limited series as part of Marvel’s Max line. The Hood #1 (2001) had sales of 30, 821 copies according to Comichron, with 47 graded copies in the CGC Census and only 17 9.8s. The book is notoriously difficult to find in the highest grades due to the black spine. These copies are fetching around $300.
While Young Avengers #1 is the go-to book for Kate Bishop, many ignore the second issue, which introduces her father: Derek Bishop. Throughout her tenure in comics, her father has served as her prime motivator to seek out and train with Clint Barton, who becomes her mentor and surrogate father figure, and has been prominent in her solo series as an antagonist. Sales of Young Avengers #2 (2005) were approximately 76,570, which is why it’s not a particularly difficult to find. There are 71 graded copies in the census, 62 of which are 9.8s.
Another villain who plagues Kate is Iron Man’s old nemesis/lover Whitney Frost a.k.a Madame Masque. While she first appears as the mysterious “Big M” in the pages of Tales of Suspense 97 (1968), nevertheless, she first appears in her familiar form as Madame Masque in Iron Man #17 (1969). This book has more upside than her earlier non-masked appearances, since high grade copies are significantly undervalued. (There are 132 graded copies). Her first cover appearance is Iron Man #24; it’s a bondage cover, which appeals to a sub-set of collectors.
Whose sword does Kate wield in early issues of the Young Avengers series? It’s Clint’s old mentor the Swordsman. Introduced as Jacques Duquesne in Avengers #19 (1965), the Swordsman fought the Avengers for years, before ultimately joining them. While Hawkeye’s had other mentors, most notably Trick Shot from Solo Avengers #1 (1987), given Marvel Studio’s penchant for combining different character’s elements into one, the Swordsman is certainly higher profile than the other. Furthermore, while Kate came onto the scene after Duquesne’s death (at the hands of Kang, who of course is connected to the Young Avengers), she did meet him in the time travel tale Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye (2017), which also features the first appearance of Eden Vale, the Swordsman’s protégé and Kate's foe from the last two issues of her own series. (Eden Vale's first name was revealed in 2017's Hawkeye #13.) Avengers #19 is currently one of the lesser profile Avengers keys. However, considering the meteoric rise of the Red Guardian’s first appearance in Avengers #43 (1967) after the movie announcement, Swordsman’s first is a potential investment opportunity. There are currently 473 graded copies, but higher graded copies are still approachable. Speculators who like modern books, Generations: Hawkeye & Hawkeye has a 1:50 variant of which there are only four graded copies (2 9.8s). With initial sales of 45,069 copies sold, there are only potentially 900 copies of the book. For second print hunters, there is a Francesco Mattina cover, which features Kate Bishop.
Speaking of Kate Bishop covers, perhaps the rarest one is the Jim Cheung partial sketch cover of Avengers The Children's Crusade #1 (2010), which was distributed to SDCC Marvel panel attendees. While specific numbers are unknown, this book has only seven graded copies.
While Hawkeye #1 (2015) popped up on collector’s radars as the first appearance of Ramone Watts, who ultimately becomes Alloy in West Avengers #10, it also features a number of first appearances, including: the first appearance of Aggregate, a minor villain who dies several issues later, as well as the first mention of Hawkeye Investigations.
Most of these books are not long-term investments, rather they are great to have available at the time of movie news and casting announcements to potentially turn a nice profit.