asm annual 2Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2, Marvel Comics, 1965

Mike Huddleston’s great post on the Fantastic Four Annuals got me to thinking how much we neglect Annuals. Is it that Annuals reprint stories collectors already have? That’s probably a big part of it. Add that Annuals are out of the main title’s sequential continuity and that some are all reprints while others are not and you end up with an indifferent collector base.

Perhaps we should give more consideration to Annuals.

Today’s collectors don’t pay as much attention to continuity as the collectors of old used to, there are simply less completists these days (there are many reasons for this, the primary one I’d say is the financial constraint of being a modern day completist).

Today collectors and investors focus in on issues that bring individual merit and as prudent investors we try to spot neglected gems before the whole world gets wind thus pricing the book out of reach.

With all this in mind this week I’d like to offer up Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 as my Undervalued Spotlight pick.

Spidey Annual #1 is all the rage right now. It features the first Sinister Six appearance (six already introduced Spidey villains) and people can’s snap it up quick enough with high grade copies fetching 20-50% above Guide.

Currently our Annual #2 is selling in the range of 7-40% below guide in the higher grades and I have a feeling that will soon change.

In this big fat 72 pager we have reprints from ASM #1, 2 and 5 plus a bunch of great one page features on Spidey villains.

What I’d like to focus on though is the 20 page story written by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (with Ditko art of course) titled The Wondrous World of Doctor Strange.

According to the comics database this is the 1st meeting of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. Steve Ditko’s greatest Marvel creations meet for the first time!

Our issue also introduces the sorcerer villain named Xandu.

Xandu is after the Wand of Watoomb and attempts to take it from Doctor Strange, our bumbling friendly neighborhood Spider-Man thinks some robbery is taking place and tries to stop it thus getting himself in way over his head as he teams up with Doctor Strange to thwart the threat..

Xandu doesn’t appear again until the mid 1970s in Marvel Team-Up #21. Of course you should pick that one up too because we all know how undervalued second appearances can be.

Amazing Spider-Man Annual #2 also marks the 1st appearance of said Wand of Watoomb. The Wand is controlled by the holder’s thoughts and it can shoot mystical energy, it can open portals to other dimensions, and more. It’s powerful enough that Xandu wants it bad.

I read on a website that it was used thousands of years before by a priestess of the god Yog against Conan. I didn’t have time to confirm that one but boy did that ever get me excited!

Hey, now there’s a cool collecting strain. First appearances of artifacts. Cosmic Cube, Wand of Watoomb, Orb of Agamotto!

If you read my post you know I’m bullish on early and important Doctor Strange stories. This one is early (1965) and important (Xandu, meeting Spidey, the Wand).

This book is one of those that sits on dealers walls with little or no play. Next time you see one go up and make a lowball offer, chances are he’ll be dying to get rid of it.

The 44th edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide shows $242/$541/$840 as the 8.0/9.0/9.2 price splits.

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

  • 1st appearance of Xandu
  • 1st meeting of Doc Strange and Spider-Man
  • 1st appearance Wand of Watoomb
  • Reprints ASM #1
  • Neglected gem and selling well below Guide as of this post