Undervalued Spotlight #94

Last updated on June 24th, 2013 at 10:18 am

My Love #14, Marvel Comics, November 1971

This is a bit of a deviation from my standard Undervalued Spotlight format. I’m featuring Marvel’s entire November 1971 line up using the worthy My Love #14 as the ambassador book.

I’ve chosen My Love #14 to represent the group of books for many reasons. My Love #14 is the only romance title Marvel offered in November 1971 and in collecting circles it is a coveted prize in high grade.

The grey-tonish Gray Morrow cover is beautiful depicting the Woodstock music festival (fittingly held August 15th-18th 1969), this post marks the 42 anniversary of the end of the festival (and many say an end to the Aquarian dream of a utopian society). But I digress.

The 7 page cover story “It Happened at Woodstock!” features Gray Morrow art and a Gary Friedrich script (Freidrich is probably best known for all his Sgt. Fury stories and for co-creating The Ghost Rider). The book also features a story drawn by John Romita and another drawn by Don Heck, there is even an old Jack Kirby reprint story.

My Love #14 is ridiculously hard to find in high grade. The CGC Census shows only 1 graded at 9.4, 2 at 9.0 and 2 at 8.5, the last recorded sale was an 8.5 back in 2005 that fetched $76 dollars. Do you want to make yourself some money? Ask your Aunt if you could look through her old comic collection, give her some good money for My Love #14, get is graded, put it up for auction and then enjoy your holiday down south!

I think My Love #14 is a good November 1971 ambassador. Now let’s talk about the group as a whole.

In October 1971 Marvel cover prices were 15 cents but the House of Ideas had an idea, they were going to raise prices to 20 cents. The price increase Marvel wanted represented a 33% increase and fearing a consumer backlash they decided to insert a 25 cent giant 52 page issue as a buffer. Now that December 1971 20 cent issue will be 20% cheaper than the issue before. Brilliant!

Whether it was a good strategy or not is irrelevant because the plan produced one of the neatest collecting strains in comics. As far as I’m concerned November 1971 is Marvel’s best month ever!

Unofficially I counted 28 Marvel releases in November 1971. Surprisingly not all the comics adhere to the 25 cent giant format. There are 4 titles that went straight to a 20 cent cover (Amazing Adventures #9, Sgt. Fury #93, Creatures on the Loose #14 and Two Gun Kid #101) while 2 titles held on to the old 15 cent cover (Marvel Spotlight #1 and Li’l Kids #3).

Of the 28 titles 3 are actually annuals (Mad about Millie Annual #1, Millie the Model Annual #10 and Sgt. Fury Special #7) while another 4 are reprint titles that already had 25 cent deluxe formats (Mighty Marvel Western #15, Marvel Tales #32, Marvel Super-Heroes #31 and Fear #5).

All this leaves us with 15 core books that adhere to the 15 to 25 to 20 progression. Here we get some very famous issues. I’ll list all the books here for completeness;

My Love #14, Fantastic Four #116, Ringo Kid #12, Conan #11, Rawhide Kid #93, Kid Colt Outlaw #156, Where Monsters Dwell #12 (reprints), Incredible Hulk # 145, Sub-Mariner #43, Captain America #143, Iron Man #43, Thor #193, Fantastic Four #116, Daredevil #81, Amazing Spider-Man #102 and Avengers #93.

The above group contains some legendary comic books! Avengers #93 has the distinction of being the most expensive of all with an Overstreet Price Guide value of $260 at the 9.2 grade (a CGC graded 9.8 copy sold for $12,000 in May this year), Amazing Spider-Man #102 is second at $240 and surprisingly Thor #193 is third at $200. FYI, Sgt. Fury #93 comes in as the cheapest entry with a 9.2 guide value of $22.

Almost all the books deliver something special, Iron Man #143 introduces the Guardsman, Daredevil #81 is the start of the Black Widow run on the title, Hulk #145 retells the origin of the Hulk.

What’s even more fun is that some of these are almost impossible to find in higher grades and yet prices are very reasonable (for now). The CGC Census shows no Kid Colt Outlaw #156s graded, I have not had one as a comic book reseller for years, it’s a tough book, as many of the others are.

I remember when Big B Comics first opened back in 1996. One of the first things we did was feature “The Books of November 1971” in our old comic showcase. They are going to be a lot harder to amass this time around.

This list is unofficial so please add any that I may have missed.

So let My Love open the door to the wonderful world of Marvel’s November 1971.

The 41st edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $39/$62$85 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

 

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

  • Hard to find in high grade
  • November 1971 Giant Size 52 page issue
  • Gray Morrow, John Romita, Don Heck all contribute art
  • Woodstock Concert Cover
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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11 Comments

  1. Mike Huddleston
    August 19, 2011

    Thank you for making my day Walt with this Spotlight.I feel better knowing I am not the only person on the planet who would collect a group of books in this manner. My version is slightly different in that I collcted all of the last 25 cent issues before the switch to the 20 cent cover. Not all of these changes took place in November of 1971 due to book format or publishing  frequencey. It is a great group of books nonethe less. Fun to collect, hard to find in grade  some of them in grade or at all and under valued as a whole. DC 100 page, and Marvel Giant size in the mid seventies are fun too and fall into a similar category. Good call.

  2. Charlie
    August 19, 2011

    So what you are saying is that 1971 is the new 1941, at least for Marvel. Very interesting. Looks like I’ll be spending some time in the basement this weekend digging through my boxes. I picked up a large collection a few years back and I remember seeing a few of these books in the mix. Thanks for the insight ^_^

  3. August 19, 2011

    Glad your weird collecting habits are partly vindicated Mike! You are right though, bi-monthly publishing schedules did not make this all uniform, Sgt. Fury #92 is the 52 page giant and it is the October 1971 issue. Also titles like Conan had 2 comics that were 25 cents back to back, Conan #10 was October I think and #11 was the issue for November. Fill us in on a few more Mike!

  4. August 19, 2011

    In many ways yes. Ed’s post was great and was definitely an inspiration. Hey Charlie, if you find any nice My Love #14s I’ll trade you for some nice X-Force #2s.

  5. Marc
    August 19, 2011

    Marvel Spotlight #2 must fall into this category despite being cover dated Feb/72. Perhaps it shipped late?
     
    #1 Nov/ 71 15 cents
    #2 Feb/72 25 cents doublesized
    #3 May/72 20 cents
     
     
     

  6. Mike Huddleston
    August 20, 2011

    In addition to Marc’s Marvel Spotlight #2 here are few other last 25 cent covers before the change to 20 cent.

    Marvel Feature #2 2nd Defenders March 72
    Western Gunfighters #7 Last Western Ghost Rider Feb. 72
    Others are all Marvel Reprint titles.
    Fear #6 Feb/72, Monsters on the Prowl #14 Dec/71, Marvel Tales #33 Feb/72, Marvels Greatest Comics #34 Mar/72, Marvel Triple Action #1 Dec/71 Special Marvel Edition #4 Feb/72… I am sure there are other westerns and romance titles to be found as well.

    Cheers,
    Mike

  7. Dave Mackay
    August 20, 2011

    Hey Walt:
    Until this time in 1971, DC comics out sold Marvel comics, despite Spiderman and the Fantastic four. Marvel switched to a 25cent cover price from a 15 cent cover and in the inside editorial , Marvel said this change was permanent and related to costs et al, promising more stories and adventures as an result.
    DC immediately changed to a 25 cent cover and 52 page giant format. Marvel had no intention of doing this for more then a month and immediately changed back to a smaller but cheaper comic format. DC continued with the larger and more expensive format, and consequently, young buyers, chose the cheaper 5 books for a dollar vs 4 books for a dollar from DC. Marvel succeeded DC as the largest seller and distributor of comics for the first time . And the rest is history.
    No surprise about the current  prices. Thor 193 has a Silver Surfer appearance. The Avengers has Adams Art. Spiderman Gil Kane and the wonderful origin of Morbius.
    Further the print runs are smaller and the giants are more difficult to keep in great shape.
    And shame on you Walt for not mentioning Millie the model #192.
    Thanks for the great subject Walt !
     

  8. August 21, 2011

    Some great insight Dave, thanks!

    Millie #192 is a classic example of what Mike and Marc pointed out above that bi-monthly and quarterly schedules didn’t make all these books line up in November. Millie #191 was a 15 center dated August 1971, our 25 cent giant #192 was October 1971 and our 20 cent #193 was the December 1971 issue.

    Like Sgt. Fury #192, like Marc’s Spotlight #2 and like the few others Mike listed Millie #192 definately belongs in this collecting group.

    You guys have contributed a lot and perhaps now we should rename this collecting strain the “2 steps forward 1 step back move by Marvel” or “Marvel’s 25 cent deception” honoring Dave’s DC back story.

    Any more additions to the list?

  9. Mike Huddleston
    August 21, 2011

    Just to satisfy the completist in me – the following books were date d October 71 with a 25 cent cover and switched to 20 cent in December 71.

    Astonsihing Tales #8
    Outlaw Kid #8
    Our Love Story #13
    X-Men #72

    Captain Marvel skipped the 25 cent issue as it had halted production in August 71 and went direct to 20 cent in the fall of 72 when it returned.

  10. September 2, 2011

    Hey I found this on a website    http://enterthestory.com/comic_sales.html

    Also, in October 1971 Marvel used a sneaky trick: they raised their page count and price. DC heard in advance and did the same. But DC had to buy their paper a year in advance so were locked into the higher page count. The next month Marvel dropped their pages and prices again, while DC had to keep theirs high. For the whole year Marvel grabbed market share, kept a lot of it even after DC went back to normal.

  11. Rick Hirsch
    April 17, 2012

    Great article. This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I’ve been collecting since I was a kid in 1975 but five years ago I started to seek out higher grade copies of every 20 cent era Marvel–starting of course with November 1971 and extending to April 1974. I consider November 1971 issues to be the start of the modern Marvel era, with the Marvel banner running across the top for the first time. The new cover design template introduced at this time allowed for more dynamic covers, hundreds which were created by my personal favorite cover artist, Gil Kane. I’ve counted 1,043 Marvel comics from the 20 cent era (I don’t include the magazines–only the the comics). So far, I’ve collected 702 so I’m missing 341. I’m on a relatively tight budget, so the challenge has been to find higher grade copies at a reasonable cost. I’m lucky to live in Chicago, where we now have two major conventions per year, so those have been the major source for finding affordable nicer grade 20 centers.Of the 341 I’m still looking for, around 200 are common issues that should be easy to find in time. The other 130 are either expensive (X-men reprint issues, early Tomb of Dracula, early Marvel Spotlight/Ghost Rider, Iron Man 55, Avengers 93, Thor 193) or scarce/expensive (Night Nurse, Millie the Model, Chili, Harvey, My Love, Our Love Story, Li’l Kids, Li’l Pals). I was able to pick up 65 of the books this past weekend so I’m making progress. The most I’ve paid so far was $50 for a Night Nurse 1 in F/VF. I try to collect only VF or NM, but I realize I have to make concessions when it comes to certain books. My Love 14 is defintiely going to be a tough one to find in nice shape.

Make It Good.