Auction Spotlight #3

Scott started up the Auction Spotlight recently. He’ll cover one random art auction result a week and I’ll cover a random comic result. I’ll still do a full Auction Highlights when a big auction takes place.

I found this result on eBay, it closed yesterday March 29th.

Fantastic Four #1 from Marvel Comics, November 1961. A CGC 4.0 copy with Off White to White pages sold for $4,750.

I believe Fantastic Four #1 is poised for some long overdue appreciation. The Fantastic Four have suffered from some very blatant neglect. Marvel is doing nothing with their once flagship title. Fox is doing worse than nothing with their crap movies. I think we’ll see Marvel get to do a Fantastic Four movie like they are getting to do a Spider-Man movie right now. I think when the Marvel FF movie project eventually gets announced you’ll see the FF back on the new this week stands at your local comic book shops. I also think the Fantastic Four concept works and can work for today’s comic readers, this property should still be able to attract new fans.

On the GPA there was a February sale for $5,378 so this seems even  ore a bargain, I better start looking at eBay more often.

Advantage Buyer.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1688


  1. Fantastic Four #1 was once a desirable book selling for the same number of “clams” as Amazing Fantasy #15. Spiderman has proven the wiser choice. A 4.0 cgc Amazing Fantasy #15 would now fetch upwards of #30,000. The problem is many kids and wayward adults wear Spiderman costumes at halloween. Regretably my girlfriend will not wear Sue Storm invisible clothing. Noone cares about the firebug torch. Reed has streched his welcome. FF are a dead title….gone to the negative zone. I can see a low grade Fantastic Four #1 falling down to the $500 range, where an Amazing Fantasy 15 will soon never again sell in any grade for under $40,000 !

  2. The inker of Fantastic Four #1 remain 56 years after the fact anonamous. Although Stan Llee chose a great penciller for this new title Fantastic Four #1….he selected a crappy inker who was quickly replaced by the great Dick Ayers at issue 4. Who was the inker ti Fantastic Four#1 ?? Noone will fess up to that crime. The mole man looks like a fat old guy who loves to dress in exclusively green pans and green shirts and carry a cane.But the real problem with Fantastic Four #1 is its boring white cover. The heros dress costumeless in street clothes. The while cover simply lacks beauty and ages a dull mirky brown. Amazing Fantasy #15 is a thing of beauty in rich brown, red and yellow ! There is no doubt the the most collectable issue of Fanrastic Four is not issue #1. Rather it is issue #5 because Doctor Doom is the ultimate villain in all of comics —- and is more iconic— himself alone—- that the all of the Fantastic Four.

  3. Hey Steve, so you say Advantage Seller!

    I’m not saying it will be worth what AF #15 is worth. I’m saying it will appreciate from today’s prices.

    Good art and good stories don’t always equate into valuable comics and bad art and bad stories don’t always equate into cheap comics.

  4. It’s true that Spidey, Wolverine and Deadpool are the stand outs from their respective eras but that doesn’t minimize the significance of other key books just because they are not the most popular. I think FF#1 has suffered from bad live action interpretations, they are off the radar due to lack of “push” from Marvel… and yes, they are campy, but no less campy than how Fox has interpreted the X-Men. All this seems to suggest that the FF#1 is actually good Undervalued candidate.

  5. I feel like this blog should be subtitled “The FF #1 Defense Society” – I have seen the kvetching about the relative value of this book many times here. I kind of get it emotionally, but the market is the market. If I am going to play that game it is going to be with TTA #35. The above was a relatively good price for FF #1 in this condition, but even with appreciation back to its highs of the past four years, after selling costs you’d be lucky to be made whole.

    I am also generally uncomfortable with low grade versions of plentiful keys. But here my emotions really seem to be out of line with the market. Somebody wrote: “What all this translates to are investment books valued at about $2k to $3k, possibly up to $5k depending on the book. Yes, I can consolidate ten $2k books and buy one $20k book but without that network of high end buyers, I have to consider what people around me are willing and able to afford.” (Actually it was the previous poster.) I agree completely and see this effect over and over, and it is interesting to look at FF #1 in GPA in light of this. The lower the grade, the better the recent (~10yr) % performance it seems. If you had bought a 4.0 at the average 2009 price and sold it for above (neglects selling costs), you would be up 43%; if you had bought a 2.0 at the average 2009 price and sold it at the last recorded sale, you would be up 126%. My sense is that only mega-keys (JIM #83 8.0 sold for a new high of $22k yesterday) can fight this – and unfortunately for the Defense Society, FF #1 is not a true mega-key at this point. Otherwise it seems people would rather have a bunch of different keys, so to be able to do this they don’t want to pay more than ~$2k. I don’t grok this – can’t get interested in owning a plentiful book that has been through the mill – so I play for less major keys in reasonable (>= 6.0) grades, or in lower grades if they are really scarce (Bizarro, Krypto). But I am still operating in Charlie’s framework, that ten $2k books are going to be a lot easier to deal with than one $20k book.

    There is also the “how green is the monster” question for FF #1. (There is a similar question for X-Men #1 – a not-very-green 9.0 ending tonight.) The example above is nice, so I would award that a premium. If I ever buy this book, rest assured that my monster’s coat will be a healthy and lustrous green that distinguishes it as a truly brutal and murderous subterranean beast.

  6. As the chairman of the FF#1 Defense Society, I feel compelled point our certain truths about this book. If “key” books are primarily defined by first appearances, logically speaking, the big bang of Marvel comics should be ranked at the very top. But I do recognize that there are a lot of factors at play. I’m not sure what the definition of a “mega-key” is and there’s no denying Spidey’s popularity… but just imagine what could happen if the FF was part of the MCU, or if new, exciting stories were written about them, or if young buyers currently chasing Venom books were introduced to… or understood how it all began. Normally, I don’t bet on “ifs” but circumstances are very much in the realm of possibility, which is essentially what being undervalued is about.

    I’m not talking about personal preference or taste, of course. If people don’t like the FF, nothing is going to change their mind. But this book does have support beyond this website. It’s just not a spec book…. Active buyers are too preoccupied with the flavour of the month and sellers need to follow suit, which has it appearing to languish by comparison. Still, even before the establishment of GPA, past performance has this book rising steadily indicating that patience is a virtue. I understand that newer, flasher books can appear more exciting, but there is nothing wrong with being predictable and any positive news will be a bonus.

    What a boring market we would have if everyone had the same interest, and we also champion the things we love. Thanks for referencing my past write up. It’s good to know that people are at least thinking about what I wrote

  7. A 4.5 copy went for $6557.00 tonight on c-link.Very nice to see.Of all the key books, this is my favorite.The story contains everything that made the FF”The Worlds greatest Comic Magazine”.I have a 4.5 White Pages , and it is a great green monster.

  8. Hey Charlie, I wanna be chairman! At least let me be treasurer…

    That’s a strong result on that 4.5 Dennis, good to see.

    I think I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t see JIM #83 as a big key. Yeah it belongs on the Early Marvel key pile but I’ve always viewed Marvel’s adaptation of classic mythology with a bit of suspision. Much like the 35 cent Star Wars #1 variant JIM #83 keeps proving to me just how wrong I can be.

  9. Wally from Big B and ICE says……..I think I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t see JIM #83 as a big key. Wally…you are right that you are 100% wrong. You are out on a limb without a tree!! Does that make you more than 100% wrong? Likely 1000% wrong IMO. At least you know you are wrong.

    Journey into Mystery #83 from August 1962 is the first Thor! It is the a Mega Key. Journey into Mystery #83 from August 1962 predates Amazing Fantasy #15 which also has Aug.1962 as cover date but in the indicia Amazing Fantasy #15 reads September 1962. So Thor predates Spider-man ! The Amazing Fantasy 15 Spider-man was a one-shot and did not gain a title until March 1963. Journey into Mystery #83 from the start was granted its own series and continued in issue # 84 monthly.

    Thor verses Hulk !! —- At the time of of Journey into Mystery #83 at August 1962 Thor was flying aroung from valhalla to earth in a deluxe red cape with blue and golden costme with super weapon urhu hammer and super powers of time travel and ability to fly and toss his mighty hammer in a boomerang fashion.! JIM #83 is therefore the first Super Mega Key where the hero was crated with costume and superpowers from series inception. At the time in Hulk #2, no ability to fly, nor costume nor transformation powers existed for the early grey frankenstein hulk, who was transforming randomly from Bruce Banner with full moons. Early Hulk was a brute and anything but hero.

    Wally from Big B and ICE says……..I say it belongs on the Early Marvel key pile but I’ve always viewed Marvel’s adaptation of classic mythology with a bit of suspision. Wally…wake up and smell the value. !! Thor is the most iconic beautiful superhero key issue cover. The “A ” iconic design kirby format layout design of central cover with Thor fighting circling stone aliens from saturn is pure superhero.

    At the time of journey into Mystery #83 at August 1962, Thor was the only true costumed marvel superhero from first inception. The Fantastic Four lacked costmes until issue 3. Sgt.Fury has no powers. Hulk was a monster. Antman had no costme and was not given his own title until september 1962 in tales to astonish # 35. Ironman did not exist until march 1963.

    Wally from Big B and ICE says……..I
    Much like the 35 cent Star Wars #1 variant but JIM #83 keeps proving to me just how wrong I can be. You can collect tin-foil early 2000’s covers too if you want.

    Journey into mystery is one of the rarest marvel key issues. Arguably only hulk 1 and tales to astonish 27 ( in grade) are tougher.

    Thor verses Fantastic Four !! —- At the time of of Journey into Mystery #83 at August 1962 Thor had (as Dr.Don Blake) found this super weapon urhu hammer. In a subteranean cave, he located a stick-like cane. Upon tapping it, he became Thor! The green shirted and green trouser clad mole man carried just such a stick in Fantastc Four #1. Fortunately mole man did not find thors magic hammer. Imagine the trouble for Donald Trump now, if mole man had Thors mighty powers instead. ….But i have digressed off topic.

    Tales to Astonish #39 will sag behind. Fantastic Four #1 is about as likely to rebound in $ value as skrulls are to get their own skrulls verses kree war title in 2017-2018 with Groot as the back-up story.

    Speaking of Groot, i think his very first Tales to Astonish #13 appearance may exceed strange tales # 110 in investment potential next year too. But strange tales #110 fate is tied to the life of artist Steve Ditko and upon his inevitable death will get a huge boost, making issue #110 the better long range investment book.

    The point is Journey into Mystery # 83 will be the 3rd best investment marvel in 2017-2018 only to be eclipsed by hulk 1 and Amazing Fantasy #15.

    Stevie V.

  10. The low grade is due to the back cover having a crude sketch of Thor on it, because the original owner wished that it was really a copy of JIM #83.

  11. Okay… I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Stevie likes JIM#83. With so many Defense Societies vying for recognition… the only way to resolve this is to have a dance off, ala 80’s style:

    I’m dustin’ off my jump suit… Team FF is ready to jam!

  12. As a self-appointed secretary of the FF#1 Defense Society, I second the motion for a dance off Charlie.

    But on a serious note, FF#1 is too important a book not to be considered a Silver Age mega key. And when Disney gets the rights back and maybe turn it into a Netflix-style tv series, its value will move steadily upward again.

    I have fond childhood memories of Byrne’s terrific run on the series. And I am continually re-reading the classic stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby that launched the franchise.

  13. I officially have to go for a little nap after I get through one of Steve’s comments. Awesome passionate stuff Steve. But I will hold my position. I put the comics that bring new characters into popular culture way ahead of ones that adapt existing characters from popular culture or folklore. Yes there are countless influences on all creations but a Spider-Man creation from thin air should always trump a Thor adaptation from centuries of folk lore. I’ll even be so bold as to pick TOS #39 over JIM #83, this will eventually happen, the only thing slowing the process is the relative abundance of the TOS 39s. In time though.

    Dance off in the lobby at the Niagara Con folks, we have 2 months to practice.

    Oh yeah, FF #1 is just starting a value appreciation run!

  14. Right on, Peter! No arguments from me. Speaking of “rights”… Fox can make movies but not TV. Marvel has given them the “ok” to produce Legion… so what did Marvel get in return? Do I have it all wrong? I’m amazed that no one is talking about this…

  15. For the life of me, I cannot understand the zero sum arguments here, nor the lack of historic perspective….I can read on lots of blogs today a variation of the “Spider-man/Batman/Wolverine/Deadpool forever” argument, like people have some need to permanently cast top key status from every era into marble. Well, I don’t and neither does the market long-term. There was a time when Supes and before him Capt Marvel were more popular than Batman; one could argue that the DC women led by Wonder Woman might dominate in a decade; one could have convincingly argued 5 years ago that Iron Man was the new Spider-Man….yadda yadda…And as keys go, Marvel Comics #1 was once top dog in GA, and All Star #3 waaay before that….AA#16 is still a paper monster, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have the balls….
    Yes AF#15, Tec 27, Action #1 will rule the SA/GA roosts for the foreseeable future, but could’ve also made a killing on a Cap #1 bought a decade ago, or More Fun #73, and one could certainly have held Marvel Comics #1 too long. And things can always change in a thinly capitalized, volatile market.
    There’s room for both the JIM83 and FF1 arguments. I’m not 100% that 83 is scarcer than FF1 but other than that I buy all of both arguments as possibilities. However, the one thing that cannot be taken away from FF#1 (like Showcase #4 and in GA Action #1) is that sort of granddaddy status…the open question is whether the market will favor the case again.
    As to Thor, I remember writing a letter as a kid to Stan (still have his reply) over the rumor of Thor’s cancellation (1970’s). The essence of the response was don’t worry, he’s our Wonder Woman and he’s going nowhere.
    Ups and downs will vary with the passion and ability of creative teams…stop fighting, enjoy the ride and, if need to maximize EVERY penny in buying your whatever grade copy of JIM 83 and FF1 you probably cannot afford to be buying them, be they $4,000 copies or $20,000 copies.
    Love the discussion everyone, especially the cases made for speculating in various directions, but I can’t buy into anything that amounts to “100% can’t miss….”

  16. Readcomix you say lots of wise things – but “stop fighting”? Never! This kind of blog is the deepest nostalgia for me. The Superman/Flash races or the Hulk vs. Thing battles are the essence of this sport for me. This is just a variant, and just as enjoyable. Others can have their Amazon vs. Apple, but I’ll take Krypto vs. Bat-Hound any day!

  17. Chrismeli says – but “stop fighting”? Never! This kind of blog is the deepest nostalgia for me. The Superman/Flash races or the Hulk vs. Thing battles are the essence of this sport.

    I whole heartedly agree that when the torch gave the thing a hotfoot, and the thing fired a fire-hose back at him, the marvel charactors became real to 9 year olds in the school yard. DC charactors had a secret identity but not much other personality or real faults. Batman and Superman were crusading in perfection, but Peter Parker was neurotic. In issues #105 to #115 of Journey into Mystery, Thor loved Jane Foster and was banished from Asgard, to the delight of Loki, for disobeying Odin and continuing to court her.

    Read comix says…..There’s room for both the JIM83 and FF1 arguments. I’m not 100% that 83 is scarcer than FF1 but other than that I buy all of both.

    My research finds 1,750 CGC total Fantastic Four #1 and a mere 1,450 Journey into mystery #83. Fantastic Four has a CGC 9.8 along with 2 copies in CGC 9.6, but Journey into Mystery #83 has none above 9.6 and only 2 in 9.6. Fantastic Four has 230 copies in the most plentiful grade of CGC 3.0 but Journey into Mystery #83 only 168 copies in its 4.0 most plentiful grade.

    Wally of ICE and Big B says….I put the comics that bring new characters into popular culture way ahead of ones that adapt existing characters from popular culture or folklore.

    A key issue is not so much about new charactors IMO. Spider-man by Jack Kirby planned for Amazing Fantasy #15 was rejected by Stan Lee as a swipe of Joe Simons Simon & Kirby1959 Red Circle title The Fly. Steve Ditko was required to redraw it. The Torch in Fantastic Four #1 was a revived Timely star in teen-age reincarnation. Captain America frozen in ice. Mr.Fantastic was a swipe of plastic man.

    I feel that what actually makes a comic a key is what flows from and after it. Journey into Mystery #83 had almost 100 well-collected issues of Thor by Jack Kirby flowing after, until the great John Buscema took over the art.

    The collectability of Fantastic Four #1 is diminished by many collectors prefering Joe Sinnotts inking after issue #44. Arguably, likewise the collectability of Hulk #1 is diminished by its cancellation after issue #6. The collectability of Spider-man #1 is arguably diminished too by many John Romita collectors feeling the title peaked after issue #39 with the intoduction of Mary Jane.

    I would love to do a for-real dance-off with Charlie but, break-dancing hip-hop is not my style, but I am up for a competition in ballroom Paso Doble dancing , (in my Thor costume,) with Wally as the judge.

    I am redesigning my Thor costume for that Paso Doble dance competition, and am sketching a few new designs of it in pencil on the back cover of a few old FF comics.

    Stevie V.

  18. Thor was more a continuation of a comedy of errors in Shakeshere’s Midsummer Nights Dream, than of norse mythologhy. The warriors 3 spoke in mideivel english. Loki was at times spreading mischief and chaos as was faustus. Oden always misjudging Thor in error. To swipe Shakespearian style is not bad for a comic book.

  19. Those census numbers as quoted by Steve can be interpreted differently, such as, people loved the FF more and took better care of them, which can’t be proven either way, and doesn’t mean much today even if true.

    This discussion is really about nuances… was Jordan better for his slam dunks versus Larry Bird with his perimeter 3 pointers? Was McEnroe better for is volleys versus Lendl’s baseline power forehand smashes…? Is the FF better for predating everything else…? Of course!! But it doesn’t mean the other players… or books weren’t or aren’t as dazzling. Simple solution, buy what you like.

    I’m gonna have to bow out of Paso Doble… I’d never fit into that dress.

  20. Marvel’s adaptation of classic mythology introduced me to Norse mythology and led me to discovering it. Thank you Stan and Jack. If anything, this makes Thor a bigger and broader character as the streams of its origin took me elsewhere and Im grateful for this. Go Thor and Steve !
    Walts theory is flawed. By his thinking we should consider Hulk # 1 less consequential as its roots lie in the Doctor Jeckle and Mr Hyde classic novel.

  21. Hey Steve V., the Marvel Database lists the inkers on FF#1 as George Klein and Christopher Rule. Although Sol Brodsky was frequently touted as the suspected inker, in fact he only designed the FF cover logo.

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