Undervalued Spotlight #80

Captain Marvel #34, Marvel Comics, September 1974

Another undervalued Captain Marvel? Are you crazy? My Undervalued #77 already featured the too cheap issue #50. This spotlight features the even more neglected Captain Marvel #34.

This has to be the most overlooked and undervalued issue in the run. This issue features Jim Starlin cover and art and it introduces the villain Nitro.

Jim Starin just pulled off an epic Thanos arc that ran through Captain Marvel #25 through #33 and you’d expect a letdown. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Captain Marvel #34 is in many ways one of the most important comic books ever published!!

Like Gavrilo Princip, the Bosnian Serb who in 1914 assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and in the process set off World War 1, Nitro is not much on his own but he’s a very significant figure in history. After detonating himself to get away from the New Warriors, Nitro ends up killing hundreds including 60 school kids. This takes place in 2006 and the event directly leads to a push for the Superhuman Registration Act which directly leads to Marvel’s epic Civil War event. It all started with Gavrilo and it all started with Nitro.

Nitro was changing the course of history long before Civil War though. In this very issue, Captain Marvel #34, Nitro exposes Captain Marvel to carcinogenic “compound 13” nerve gas. Captain Marvel survives the incident but contracts the cancer that will one day kill him.

Is there no end to Nitro’s mark on history?

The Death of Captain Marvel was a superhero death that truly mattered. The Death of Captain Marvel story was told in a new and exciting format known as the Graphic Novel. In 1984 Marvel Graphic Novel #1 told the story of Captain Marvel’s death and it also launched a series of graphic novels that officially lasted 20 issues and spurred rival DC Comics to launch their own series of graphic novels. The rest, as they say, is history.

The 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $17/$25/$32 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • Nitro kills Captain Marvel
  • Nitro starts Marvel’s Civil War
  • Nitro is directly responsible for the success of graphic novels
  • Nitro may very well be one of the most important comic book characters ever and you can get his first appearance for a 1/10,000th for the price of a Spider-Man not even to mention Superman
Walter Durajlija Written by:

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

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  1. March 25, 2011

    I am confused, so Deadpool doesn’t appear in this comic? Why is it an undervalued spotlight then? I was hoping for the 3rd appearance of Deadpool.

  2. Marc
    March 25, 2011

    >>Nitro is directly responsible for the success of graphic novels
    Apparently Walt has decided to turn this feature into a comedy routine.

  3. March 25, 2011

    I think this is a great comic book and my write up explains why. My messing with the logic of if A = B and B = C then… was meant to be playful but I guess it had the opposite effect and may have undermined my argument (which was no joke). It obviously has with you. 

  4. Charlie
    March 26, 2011

    You know Walter, I would have added or taken different angle here. This is classic Jim Starlin stuff. I also value comics by content and quality… which reflects directly on the production team… and there was a time when the market did too, where major works by top talent, like Jim Starlin, was hanging on the wall and commanded a premium. It’s unfortunate that books like Dreadstar is in the dollar bins now but Jim Starlin was a celebrated artist. One of first to create story arcs that felt epic in scale and took you on a cosmic journey.

    I understand you’re connecting the dots with Nitro but I think you could do this with just about any character or storyline. That’s the beauty and fun of comics… it’s a continuum, a world (or universe) in itself that has a history with cause and effect.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong… perhaps this is an important book but I think the real value here is Jim Starlin.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I was introduced to CBD by our good buddy Frank about a year ago. I continue to frequent CBD because…

    1. It’s local, and because of…

    Being local means nothing outside of Toronto… so I don’t think you realize how undervalued “UNDERVALUED SPOTLIGHT” is. I understand that generating content is a lot of work but you guys have to realize that I can get news and opinions anywhere. In fact, I recognize a lot of the sources for many of the topics covered here because I’ve read or heard about it already from other sites. But UNDERVALUED SPOTLIGHT is unique. I haven’t come across anything else like it… It’s a CBD original!

    Sure there are people out there looking for investment opportunities but your blog also introduces new readers to past works and it’s an opportunity to discuss books that our generation grew up with (assuming that Scott does not put the ka-bosh on it). So the “value” is not just monetary but it becomes a confirmation of quality and thus makes it worth collecting.

    All this to say that I’ve got high hopes for this particular feature… and few of your recent selects hasn’t quite lived up to the potential. I wont name names but I think we all know which selects I’m talking about.


  5. March 26, 2011

    It’s interesting to read your comments about CBD Charlie as they were the thoughts I had when I came onboard. It’s one of the reasons we don’t post press releases: you can get them at every site. Yet when I look at our stats the most frequented posts are movie clips and Deadpool mentions: our unique content gets very few hits.

  6. March 26, 2011

    If you look at it from the perspective that The Death Of Captain Marvel was the first in Marvel’s line of graphic novels, and while Eisner created the graphic novel format Marvel made it successful.

  7. March 26, 2011

    A gracious reply Charlie, Thanks.

    I believe we need more personal opinions on comic book news stories. News is factual (hopefully) but opinions are personal and that puts us on a level playing field with anyone in the world. If we’re good enough people will want to know our take on things. Yes we do have a mountain to climb.

    I’d love to get Undervalued read by more collectors, another mountain to climb. Your kind words motivate me though!!

    As far as the “few recent features” it has been interesting reading the comments on the X-Force post both delivered personally at the last comic convention I attended and comments left on the site. The reactions have inspired me to examine this issue in more detail. Look for a Market Trends report next week in this subject.

  8. Charlie
    March 28, 2011

    Scott, I’m not surprised by your stats since it supports the larger trend and demographic. The reality is that people don’t read on the web, they skim and the people who are doing the skimming tend to be younger than me and are more in tune to social media and the likes… all of which I’m sure you’re very well aware of.
    There is a massive shift taking place, not just in comics, but in all media including movies, magazines, television, photography, advertising, newspapers, etc. But, if we take a high view… people really haven’t changed all that much. Our needs and wants remain the same. I hate to sound like Bruce Wayne but people are creatures of habit… empty and lonely. We are disconnected from one another and tend to live in fear. It may be a hard concept to grasp but companies know this and the data they collect from research firms such as Nielsen or Synovate confirms this. So big brands like LV, Apple, Starbucks response to this is to provide comfort and fill that gap in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with this except that it’s artificial. So the big question is, how does CBD take this basic understanding and use it to stand out in a market that’s in flux?
    Let me back up a bit and say that I don’t mean to devalue the other topics on CBD. Obviously Undervalued Spotlight can’t stand alone and we all know that originality or good stuff does not necessarily mean it will resonate with an audience. As well, unique content can easily be copied…

    So my personal take is that CBD needs to be a community and be positioned as the hub of all things comics. Which I sense you’re trying to do but it doesn’t seem to come through in execution. Walter is right about attracting people with your personal opinions. Unlike news, that’s something you guys can own but in order to do that, you need to demonstrate more personality. Think talk radio… people tune in because of the hosts…

    As for the being the hub of comics… I like the idea of getting all my comic news from one source but the market is so diverse… you’d have to identify the major buckets and skew the topics accordingly.

    A perfect example of this strategy in action is Apple. We all know that about 15 years ago, Apple was a buyout target, barely hanging on to it’s 3-6% market share in a commoditized industry. About 10 years ago Apple established the digital hub strategy and today, they are slightly larger then Microsoft by market cap, which is unbelievable when you consider the history between these two rivals.

    I seem to be rambling again and this post has become much longer then I anticipated… but you’ve touch upon another area of my interest. I’m sure you’ve thought of this stuff already and it’s easier to criticize than to solve problems… so take my comments with a grain of salt. On the other hand, at least you guys are out there doing it which in itself is a huge achievement. And I have to believe that you’re all in it for the love of the game… which is commendable.
    My background is in branding so that’s where I’m coming from… and if the community at large has any ideas, maybe they could provide feedback of their own.

Make It Good.