Undervalued Spotlight #54

Last updated on May 30th, 2013 at 02:04 pm

Strange Tales #135, Marvel Comics, August 1965

In the summer of 1965 spies were still all the rage. Thunderball, the 4th James Bond film was even more popular than the first 3 (Dr. No, From Russia with Love and Goldfinger for those of you counting). The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a T.V. hit and the Cold War was still raging. Marvel had over a year earlier noticed this demand for spies and introduced the Black Widow (Tales of Suspense #52 – covered here on Undervalued Spotlight #8 Stan).

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were in their Midas years in the mid 1960s and were making all kinds of very good decisions. Their decision to turn Sgt. Fury into Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and introduce him to the world in Strange Tales #135 was a just another of those good decisions. I should note that Sgt. Fury was promoted to Colonel and acted as a C.I.A. agent in an earlier issue of the Fantastic Four (Fantastic Four #21, December 1963) but that issue merely segues to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Nick Fury enjoyed great success in his Strange Tales run especially during the experimental Jim Steranko years. Steranko’s creative style pushed the boundaries of sequential art and storytelling to new heights, just check out Strange Tales #154 to #162 to see what I mean.

Nick Fury got his own title in 1968, Nick Fury Agent of SHIELD lasted only 15 issues (plus 3 reprint issues). In the early 1970s Nick Fury made a few guest appearances in titles like the Avengers but the magic of spies had worn off, Nick Fury came in from the cold.

Fans had to wait until 1988 for a new Nick Fury and SHIELD story. I personally think Fury never really hit his modern day stride until the 2003’s 1602 mini-series. In 1602 (a non continuity story) Sir Nick Fury was Queen Elizabeth’s chief of intelligence. Fury’s presence in the series contributed greatly to the series’ success. Marvel would again use Nick Fury wisely in their very popular 2008 mini-series Secret Invasion.

Today Nick Fury is safely in the thick of the Marvel Universe and his position in the fold will only get stronger as he’ll be very prominent in many upcoming Marvel projects (comics and film). It is a great time to pick up an investment grade copy of his first appearance (I’d consider a CGC 9.0 or better to be investment grade for this comic book).

The Overstreet Price Guide shows $129/$252/$375 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

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

– Origin and 1st appearance of  a very strong fictional character

– Written and drawn by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

– Nick Fury is positioned to be an important part of the Marvel U

– Nick Fury was played by The Hoff, David Hasselhoff, in a 1998 made for T.V. movie and still survived as a character!!

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

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. Frank Chang
    September 15, 2010

    This book will be one of those classic cases of a comic that should be worth more but is never reflected in the guide. TTA #44 1st Wasp is another example of a pre 1966 issue that never gets the appreciation it deserves.

    But in the real market Str Tales #135 in hi grade 9.2 and above commands alot of respect as it sells for multiples of guide.

    But Tales of Suspense 65 has got to be the most undervalued of them all as it features the 1st appearance of the Red Skull. This is Cap’s major villain and is one of only a few mega villains in the Marvel universe. Doc Doom, Magneto, Loki, Green Goblin are the others in the 1st tier. Each hero has an arch nemesis who’s value is sky hi and based on Cap’s popularity why is this still under 1K in 9.2? Its a 1965 comic for petes sake. But all my ranting and raving will go un-noticed in the guide. Bob Overstreet has a personal interest in making Hulk 1 and GL 76 go further up in the guide and his focus is on these books solely recently.

  2. Frank Chang
    September 15, 2010

    TOS 65 is 1st Silver Age Appearance of Red Skull of course. Cap#1 in 1940 was the 1st ever appearance of Red Skull.

  3. ComicBookDaily
    September 16, 2010

    Yes, based on Red Skull’s comeback TOS #65 should be looked at more closely. Personally I seem to shy away from the re-intro books. I still think books like Showcase #4, FF #4, Avengers #4 (hey, I think there’s a pattern), Showcase #22 and others are given too much importance. I’ve said it before though, I seem to be in the minority and the market seems to love and respect these books much more than I do.
    Here’s the great debate. Are all the Silver Age books that re-intro Golden Age characters too over hyped or are they not hyped enough?


  4. Frank Chang
    September 16, 2010

    The reason they are well respected is because they were in such hi demand during the golden age then writers figured lets bring these superb characters back and generate bigger sales in the silver age. In my opinion most of these are not hyped enough. Re-Intros are done for a valid reason and as such deserve even stronger valuation in the market.

Make It Good.