Undervalued Spotlight #87

Someone pointed out that I have not featured a Modern Era comic since my exquisite New Mutants #2 pick in Undervalued Spotlight #79 back in the middle of March (beware the ides of March).

Oddly enough I was just going through a run of Amazing Spider-Man’s I’d just purchased and made a mental note to price issue #441 a bit more aggressively than I did the last issue I put out (which sold within 2 days).

You see Amazing Spider-Man #441 is the last issue in the series. The next Amazing Spider-Man was #1 and part of an ongoing attempt at Marvel to re-launch its major titles to much more accessible #1s. Sure Marvel cheated and went back to the old numbering system, first having new and old numbering beginning with #30/471 and abandoning the new numbering altogether with issue #500 (how convenient).

Still to many a Spider-Man purist issue #441 marks the end of an era, the end to what had become and still most likely is the most collected superhero comic book title.

The great thing about Amazing Spider-Man as a title was its ability to create new and lasting characters, to introduce new directions and events that would always be remembered. The run is dotted with special issues so frequently that collectors from every era have many individual issues to covet. It seems you can go decades in some other major titles before something of note happens but with ASM you go from landmark to landmark. Have a peruse at the ASM title in the Overstreet Price Guide to see what I’m talking about.

Amazing Spider-Man #441 gives us a John Byrne cover and a John Byrne story.

Between 1995 and 1998 the Amazing Spider-Man print run dropped by half. The 1998 levels of under 120,000 (according to a post on CBR) were close to the lowest levels for the title at least until the late 00s when all titles started drifting south of the 100,000 mark.

The important thing to note is that these later low print runs don’t belong in the original 441 issue Amazing Spider-Man run. You’ll find most of the Spidey’s in the low 400s get good market prices relative to issue in the mid 300 or late 400s.

True collectors of the Amazing Spider-Man run can find excuses to avoid issues like Volume 2 #5 etc but they cannot ignore issue #441. Add to all this that #441 marks the end and as I’ve stated before final issues are a collecting strain unto themselves.

Amazing Spider-Man #441 is an important issue every Spider-Man fan and every key comic book fan should own and its one you can acquire cheap!

The 40th edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $4 at the 9.2 grade

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

  • Key issue marking the end of the Amazing Spider-Man run
  • Relatively low print run for Amazing Spider-Man in 1998
  • ASM collecting complete-ists must have it
  • Own a piece of Spidey and comic history on the cheap, the book is underperforming in the market right now with the last CGC 9.8 selling for $21
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. This issue was a ho-hum story and precursor to the atrocious and unreadable Byrne run. Advantage: dollar bin.

  2. I, Warren
    May 30

    this makes me think of the old adage “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”…..and if that’s the case, man do I ever have a treasure trove.  *sigh*

  3. Walt
    May 30

    Often a comic book’s collectibility and value on in the marketplace has little to do with the actual quality of the comic book itself. Some of the early Marvel’s were terrible, ditto for some key DC’s. There’s no denying the collectibility of this comic. I have never had a problem selling this book for $10 though the guide says $4. Anthony if you find any in dollar bins I’ll give you a dollar fifty for each!!

    • Done. This shows how asinine CGC can be though. The greatest copy in the world should not be worth $21. A perfect copy of crap is still crap.

  4. Angus
    May 31

    Love the column! As often as possible, I follow the advice and have three copies of captain Canuck 1 to prove it. Correction required, however! The last cgc 9.8 441 sold for $45. I bought it last night after reading your pick.

  5. Angus
    May 31

    Ps: When it comes to modern books I read them for enjoyment and with little thought for their investment value, and don’t “collect” them as such. Normally, I would have avoided thIs book like the plague, focusing instead on silver and bronze age keys. So when it comes to this issue, I am on less certain footing than normal. Having offered that confession, it seems to me that as far as a 9.8 being a perfect piece of crap, well that may be the case (and I am definitely among the haters when it comes to the clone fiasco) but this is the last issue of ASM, the print runs will have been relatively low, and even though it ought to be some time ere a 9.8 441 manages a great return on my ten cups of coffee at Starbucks, I am willing to speculate on the 20 year prospects… As for CGC being a waste of time, I respectfully disagree. I used to sing the same song, however, and for the record, I prefer buying raw books to slabbed copies. With anything published after 1980, it nevertheless seems that the best way to assure long-term success in the market is to pick up a 9.8 key while prices are relatively affordable. As for my preferred silver and bronze keys, while I tend to buy them raw in upper grade, I slab them without fail once they’ve been purchased. After all, a book published in 1964 that is VF/VF+ in 2011 may not sustain its grade, even bagged and boarded, for ten or twenty years, and beyond. I am less concerned about chipping and tears than I am the inevitable oxidation of acidic paper and the increasingly brown interior leaves that must eventually result. When a book is slabbed, that value is set in stone, or plastic, as it were. Again, I would rather buy raw than slabbed, but in the long run, raw goods spoil.

    • Charlie
      May 31

      I’m in my mid 40’s and I’m pretty sure all books will out live me. There’s nothing worse then an oxidizing middle age comic collector.

    • All comics have their day in the sun (well some comics do any way). The thing to realize is that each books moment may come at a different time. Spidey’s Obama variant was like fresh bread for the hungry masses getting crazy prices during a very short window. Other books need demographic bell curves to try and guess when “peak price” is most likely and for this example we can maybe use G.I. Joe from the 80s. All those Joe kids from the 80s are now in their peak nostalgia years and are willing to buy back their youth at very high prices but once the bell curve goes through Joe books will drop in price. Then of course there are the blue chips. Your Action #1s and your Amazing Fantasy #15s etc which you expect each successive generation to revere and mortgage 3 houses to own. The trick is to know which category books fall into and react accordingly.

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