Wizard Rewind October 1994
Welcome back for another edition of Wizard Rewind. Each month, I want to take a look back at a random issue of Wizard Magazine. So, let’s review what was being talked about and what was Hot all those years ago. And this month I am skipping the Casting Call in part because it did not yet exist in Wizard, but also because there was nothing interesting to me to do one from scratch. But that is not the point of these little look back’s so let’s just skip that portion this month. So, let’s review the Wizard Top 10 to see how those books are doing today. Once again, to better understand the market, we should have some idea of our history.
With that in mind, before I dive into the Top 10 from October 1994, let me set the stage and bring you back on a trip to 25 years ago. So, let’s all go back in the day…
Ok, so let’s turn back the clock to October 1994. So, 1994 may be most remembered as the year that gave us the OJ Trial, or the year that Kurt Cobain took his own life, or the mud fest that was Woodstock ’94.
Granted, all of that occurred earlier in the year. So, more specifically, what was life like in the autumn of ’94? Well let’s see, we had the NHL Lockout to start off the month. Remember when the NBA attempted to address decreased scoring by shortening the distance of the 3-point line from 23 ft 9 inches to a uniform 22 ft around the basket?
Or when John Nash won the Nobel Prize? Yeah, I don’t remember that either, but they did make that movie about it with Russel Crowe. Remember boring Fight Club at Princeton?
Ok, well how about Halloween 1994 when Venus Williams debuted at 14 years old, or when TLC released Creep, Creep.
Sticking with the world of music, remaining atop the Billboard charts for Oct ‘94 was Philly’s own, Boyz II Men with “I’ll Make Love to You.” That song dominated from August ’94 through November. You know it just sticks in your head and makes you want to sing along. Yeah, I can’t sing either, but I do it anyway.
Turning our attention to the small screen, let’s quickly look at a series that only debuted a few weeks before in Late September. It was part of that absolutely dominant NBC Thursday night that featured the classic doc drama, E.R. as well as my personal favorite Seinfeld. The little show I am referring to was Friends.
Insanely re-watchable, there’s a reason this has been syndicated as long as it has been. Sure, not all of it was top notch, and the series had its ups and downs. Much like Chandler’s weight.
That said, it may not be a show for everyone. Can it be very shallow and breezy? Sure. But not all of my television needs to be epic or introspective. Sometimes I just want mind-numbing fun. There were so many classic episodes from this series that go back to this first season. So for the month of October, we had “The One with the Thumb”, “The One with George Stephanopoulos”, “The One with the East German Laundry Detergent”, and the classic “The One with the Butt”.
But also premiering in October 1994 was a cartoon series that has a lot of folks buzzing these days due to its inclusion on the forthcoming Disney + Streaming service. And the series I am referring to is seeing some heat in the comic series the last month or so, and that would be Gargoyles.
Great stuff. I can’t wait to revisit this series and introduce my son to it once Disney Plus drops. But finally let’s turn towards the big screen. There were a few so-so outings that were mildly interesting. I’m looking at you “The Specialist”, “Wes Craven's Nightmare”, & “Stargate”. Ultimately just, “meh” movies.
But this month also gave us 2 all-time indie classics, the first of which holds a special place in my heart due to it being 100% Jersey. And that would be the shoestring budget, black and white, cult classic from Jersey’s own Kevin Smith, Clerks.
Insanely quotable and coming during that age when film and TV writers gave their thesauruses an absolute workout trying to prove how broad their characters vocabularies could be. I mean between this and Dawson’s Creek, I had to pretend I knew what they were saying half the time. More so Dawson than this, but the mid 90’s was all about the script. In half the scenes you can see the actors are reading their lines because it was so verbose.
I wouldn’t even know where to begin with this one, and there’s a lot that decorum prevents me from repeating here; so, I will just leave you with Berserker, 37, Snowball, and independent contractors.
If only that were the greatest contribution to cinema from October 1994. Personally, I feel that distinction falls with my final offering, Pulp Fiction. Yes, it premiered at Cannes earlier in the year and was also given a platform release, but it didn’t hit most theaters around the country until October 14, 1994. Such a classic poster image that’s even found itself the subject of a few pretty cool homage covers over the years.
Now I could probably give you 5,000 words on this film by Quentin Tarantinoalone. Add in his library of directorial efforts and scripts he’d written, and I could even do a decent job tying it back into comics considering how much love and respect Quentin has shown the comic community in his work.
But that’s not why you are here. You want to look at this month’s issue of Wizard. So, let’s bypass going over Quentin Tarantino’s filmography and foot fetish and get into the Wizard for October 1994.
Before we wrap up this month’s look back, let’s dive into a couple more excerpts from this issue. Apart from the Hot 10 list, Wizard also offered a lot of other features. This issue had a few books in Good and Cheap, Comic Watch, and a fun little game called Missing Link.
But before we look at those, one other bit of interest in this issue of Wizard was an article all about Bad Girls. Yup, if you didn’t get enough of these gals in the Top 10, here’s a spotlight on the Belles of the Ball in 1994. So, let’s take a quick look at it.
The article goes on to question the sustainability of a female led title, pointing to the struggles of Wonder Woman and She Hulk over the years. And they are not wrong. Some of these titles had early success and then faded over time. How many times has She Hulk been rebooted? Wonder Woman had a bit of a renaissance thanks to an excellent film adaptation, but prior to that she was never a top seller for DC.
Even looking at today’s market, despite short term success in titles like Catwoman and Wonder Woman, does anyone search out many classic stories and first appearances in those back issues? Unfortunately, most of the interest is driven by covers, most notably by Adam Hughes.
It’s just interesting to consider that despite strong publisher support why can’t any of these titles maintain success? How many times has Vampirella or Red Sonja been rebooted? I have no clue honestly. And again, the main interest in back issues on those titles are for Lucio Parrillo, Jenny Frison, and other covers.
Part of the problem is determining exactly who the target audience is? Are females really interested in these characters or is it just older men who like overtly sexy covers? How many of the copies that are sold are actually opened to be read? A few for sure, but I think the majority just want the covers.
I can admit that I find myself in that second camp more often than not. I bought into those recent Kendrick “Kunkka” Lim covers for Vampirella and Red Sonja. I am a fan and despite my normal no store variant policy, I had to make an exception for these.
So, the Bad Girl genre is still alive and well to some degree, but it’s definitely more niche than it was in the mid 90’s. That said, let’s take a look at some of these key 90’s Bad Girl 1st and see how they’ve held up today.
First up, I am gonna skip the 1st issues of Lady Death and Shi since they’ve already been covered above in the Top 10. But I will note that Coffin Comics is still pumping out limited Lady Death books, and even Bill Tucci just celebrated the 25th anniversary of his creation Shi with an ASM 300 homage.
So instead of looking at their 1st issues, let's look at their 1st appearances since that is more the focus of today’s collector. Issue #1’s are over printed variant laden affairs these days, so the modern collector seems to prefer that random 1st appearance in some other title whenever possible. So, let's have a look at the 1st appearances for these 2 ladies.
RAZOR ANNUAL #1
EVIL ERNIE #1
Wizard Guide Value: $4.50
Recent Sales Data:CGC 9.8 Census – 257
This embossed gimmick cover was par for the course for the early 90’s. This series featured a newly redesigned Catwoman and Jim Balent’s busty vision of the character.
Style over practicality here as I’m not quite sure where she stores that whip when she’s not using it as this appears to be a pocketless purple unitard that offers no protection, concealment, or any real benefit for a thief.
Also why leave your hair exposed if for nothing other than the 90’s cape-like hair flourish so the artists can make it look windy, even indoors.
Wizard Guide Value: $3.95
Recent Sales Data:CGC 9.8 Census – 2
Anyone else recall when Dark Horse tried to start their own superhero universe with X, Vortex, Barb Wire, etc.?
Now Barb Wire could’ve made this list too, but I am sticking with Ghost who had some pretty sweet Adam Hughes covers.
Wizard Guide Value: $4.50
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 1
Ah, the Malibu Ultraverse. Yet another company’s attempt to make a cohesive superhero universe.
These books weren’t half bad, but they eventually lost readers and momentum. But books like Prime, Nightman, Rune, and Mantra here were the start of something interesting.
These books litter dollar bins these days. Grab a couple to check out if you are looking for something nostalgic and different.
Moving on, let’s take a look back on this month’s Good & Cheap. Now this section is there to spotlight a good read that could have been found for cheap back in 1994. There wasn’t any implication that this was speculation play or that there was any implication that this was a good investment. Just a “Good-readin’ book you can still pick up cheap” as the section says.
Wizard Guide Value: $4.50
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 132
I’ll be honest. I am a fan of Jim Starlin, but I have never gotten around to reading this one so I cannot support Wizard’s claims that this is good readin’.
That said, this is a dollar bin book all day so keep an eye out while you are digging if you are interested. Could be worth a buck to check out. Can’t say, I’d recommend buying online as even at $3 as shown above, there was another $3.50 for shipping. But do what you like.
Wizard Guide Value: $1.95 cover
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 0
Now Wizard spotlighted this random Team Youngblood issue because this was the lowest printed Rob Liefeld penciled issue released at the time. There were only 90,000 of these issues printed in 1994.
My how times have changed. 90k would be good enough for Top 10 these days akin to the latest issue of Absolute Carnage.
Wizard Guide Value: $2.50
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 187
This series may have been Jim Lee's version of The X-Men, but it was still fun. Not a huge fan of the Initialism in the title with CATs being Covert Action Teams but what can you do. Not sure if Initialism if the proper term, but whatever.
Also this issue had a coupon in it for Image #0, so some folks might have cut it out. So take a peak inside if you want a complete copy.
Wizard Guide Value 1993: $7.50
Wizard Guide Value 1994: $8.50
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 189
I’m not sure if this was just for informational purposes or if they were tooting their own horn for this pick in gaining $1 in value over the 12 months between issues.
That said, this was the 1st appearance of Ivar, The Eternal Warrior. Not the Viking Raider.
Wizard Guide Value 1993:$3.00
Wizard Guide Value 1994: $4.00
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 18
I can only assume they chose this issue because it was the 1st appearance of Solar the Destroyer. Looks like Solar as designed by the Image boys.
But again, is this a humble brag that the book went up an entire buck?
Whatever the case, these are both now dollar bin filler or less. Does your shop have quarter books? These might be in there along with most of the Valiant 90’s stock.
So, not a lot of hits in these picks in today’s market. But this is the type of stuff that you can mine out of dollar bins if you find it intriguing. Or if for nothing else you can treat it like a scavenger hunt game. If you are like me and you enjoy dollar bin digging, why not see if you can find these books just for schnitz’n’giggles.
Anyway, our next section was a fun little game that Wizard dubbed, Missing Link. They showed 3 issues that have something in common and if you mailed them the answer, you could win a prize. Yes, in the Mail. This was pre internet as we know it boys and girls.
Wizard Guide Value: $3.00
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 40
Seems to be a pretty common issue of Fantastic Four. This is a book you may find in dollar bins despite it being numbered sub-200.
Wizard Guide Value: $3.00
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 11
Another potential dollar bin book if you want to play this game. Might be worth a grab and a read anyway for a buck.
Wizard Guide Value: $20.00
Recent Sales Data: CGC 9.8 Census – 537
Well you won’t find this one in a dollar bin, but it is a classic issue as part 2 of Days of Future Past and well worth a place in anyone’s PC.
Ok, normally this would be time for the Casting Call feature. But this issue didn’t feature that section, nor did it have an interesting feature on which to build a Casting Call. Bad Girls is a topic, not a film idea, and Gen 13 is one I’ve already done. I briefly considered a Wolverine themed idea, but I know some folks aren’t fans of the Casting Call anyway, so why force it. So, I am just gonna skip it this month.
Well, that’s yet another month in the books. Hopefully, you enjoy reading these as much as I enjoy looking back to the past. Thanks for your time for those that made it this far, and once again, I leave you with these familiar words of wisdom.
“If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong.” ― Terry Pratchett
**Graded sale data sourced from Gocollect.com**