Overvalued Overstreet | Amazing Spider-Man #23

Today I am shining the Overvalued Overstreet spotlight on one of my favourite Amazing Spider-Man Ditko covers, and the Green Goblin’s third appearance. It is an early Spider-Man; however, Overstreet does have this book overvalued to the current market. Let’s see if we can come up with some of the reasons why.

First for me anyway is the decreasing popularity of the Green Goblin himself in Silver and Bronze Age comics. Amazing Spider-Man #14 the Goblins first appearance is, of course, immune to the descent. It seems almost bulletproof in its appeal in all grades. The second appearance in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #17 is a book Walt and I have discussed from time to time. Walt sees this book as Overvalued and I see it as a tread water type of book, more or less holding its own in guide especially at the 9.2 split. Almost all early appearances of Amazing Spider-Man do. The cracks in appeal begin to show in the 9.0 and lesser grades. We’ll skip our pick of the day for now and move on to the 4th and 5th appearances of the Green Goblin and the 1st Crime-Master. I love this two-part story and it tends to hold up close to guide. Amazing Spider-Man #39 and #40 are up next. The descent in the Goblins appeal really takes hold here. For many years Amazing Spider-Man #40 was the go-to book of this pair. This is no longer the case. Amazing Spider-Man #39 is seen as the awesome landmark book that it is, first John Romita art in the title, great cover, one of Stan Lee’s best-told stories from page 1-20, and Peter Parker’s and the Green Goblin’s identities revealed. Amazing Spider-Man #40 features the Green Goblins origin and defeat. This book has slipped behind Amazing Spider-Man #39 and #41 (first Rhino) in both the guide and the market. Skipping past the Green Goblin’s next appearance in Spectacular Spider-Man #2 magazine, as most of Spider-Man fandom did, we arrive at Amazing Spider-Man #96-98 the drug stories that also featured the Green Goblin. Amazing Spider-Man #96 gets most of the love here usually making guide, the other two forget it. Finally, Amazing Spider-Man #121-122. Again, it is Amazing Spider-Man #121 and the death of Gwen Stacey at the hands of the Green Goblin that gets the higher place than the “death” of the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #122. Norman Osborn returned in 1996 and has been back almost as long as he was “dead”. I expect this gap between the two books to widen and Amazing Spider-Man #122 to fall in the coming years.

Second, the two movie appearances of the Green Goblin are way in the back of the rear view mirror. I don’t see another appearance in the near future in movies, which does tend to lead to spikes in comic speculation.

Finally, the book Amazing Spider-Man #23 itself. It is the definition of an OK run book for me. Not much really happens in this book except Fredrick Foswell (the Big Man Amazing Spider-Man #10) gets out of prison and is rehired by J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle. It’s early days for the Green Goblin and his clumsy efforts to take over the underworld in New York. He fails in this book to take over Lucky Lobo’s gang as they are captured by the police, with a big assist from Foswell. The Green Goblin has a lengthy skirmish. I wouldn’t call it a battle – they both throw things at each other until they run out of Goblin tricks and Spider webs and then they go home. They don’t hit each other with anything! It does advance the storyline of the Green Goblin trying to take over the underworld, but it is a pretty weak effort and a forgettable story all around. I like Steve Ditko’s cover which won’t hurt it in the CGC slabbed world.

The current 48th Overstreet Price guide splits are 6.0 $138, 8.0 $368, 9.0 $834, 9.2 $1300. I think a 10-15% haircut in prices is due for this book at Overstreet. In the meantime this is a book that can be picked up under guide often at the 9.0 grade and lower, I am just not sure it would be called a bargain.

Mike Huddleston
Mike Huddleston

Mike was born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario. He has read and collected comics for over 40 years. A Marvel Zombie specializing in the Silver, bronze and early copper age of comics.

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Thor Odinson
Thor Odinson
5 years ago

Have to disagree a bit here. Admittedly this isn’t the most compelling or significant issue, event- or plot-wise, but as Goblin’s third appearance, this is still a great book. That bugs me because it’s the only one of his first five that I don’t own!

It’s noteworthy that his identity was still secret at that point, which was a good running mystery that vexed Spidey in the story, excited the fans in real life, and was something of a rarity in the industry at that time period. Most other major villains were either unmasked all the time (Lex Luthor, Penguin, the Vulture, Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Kraven), were unmasked upon their defeat (usually at the end of their 1st appearance, such as many of Spidey’s enemies, e.g., Electro, the Big Man, Mysterio, and the Scorpion), or didn’t even really HAVE an alter ego (The Joker comes to mind here). Doom of course was always masked, but I don’t remember — though I could be wrong — his identity being a big mystery for the characters to try to solve (and of course his eventual origin story revealed him to be an old rival of Richards’s).

Lee and Ditko tried a running mystery one other time in ASM, with the Master Planner (who turned out to be Octopus), but that was solved rather quickly. Same thing in the ’70s with the Jackal and the “imposter” Goblins, Harry Osborn and Bart Hamilton. Off the top of my head I can’t recall another good, drawn-out secret identity/mystery like that of the Green Goblin, until the Hobgoblin and the Rose came along in the 1980s.

Re: ASM #122, as Walt once told me (rolling his eyes as he said it), “It’s still the death issue.” I have to agree. It doesn’t matter that some other writer decided to revive the character over 20 years later. Otherwise there are almost NO death issues in comics.

Ken Bliler
Ken Bliler
5 years ago

Sales on this book in CGC 9.2 or higher has shown the Overstreet current price is undervalued much like ASM 41 that you had a story on last year. Both 23 and 41 are solid books for the ASM 1-100 group and difficult to obtain for serious ASM collectors in high grade.