Overvalued Overstreet | Green Lantern 76, April 1970

Green Lantern 76One of the most critically acclaimed comic books to hit the stands in early 70’s was Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neil’s Green Lantern/Green Arrow run. I didn’t know much about DC comics but I was very familiar with Neal Adams, who had just finished a ten issue run with the X-Men (#56-65) and then the title was suspended after issue #66. I was a freshly minted teenager back then and I didn’t understand “freelance”, and thought he was a turncoat leaving Marvel and working for the Distinguished Competition.

I recently had the opportunity to read eight books from the fourteen issue (GL#76-89) Adams/O’Neil run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow as part of some research for a future Arcs & Runs column, and I must say I came away very impressed. I liked all of the books I read but mostly enjoyed the “road trip” aspect of the run. The run itself famously features socially conscious stories including racism, native people’s mistreatment, drug addiction, and the population explosion. All hot button issues of the day, and sadly forty-five years later –  still today. The material was right up Dennis O’Neil’s ex-journalist street.

Our featured pick today Green Lantern/Green Arrow #76 focused on the use of power. Who has it, how and who has the right to use it. Why? When? Where? These same themes are being played out over and over in comics today. Marvel’s Civil War being a very visible example. Dennis O’Neil did a masterful job in writing these books and Neal Adams art matched it. It richly deserves the accolades it received. Without question it is DC’s bronze age key book.

So why do I think it is overvalued by Overstreet? I will explain. First we will take a quick look back at the books recent history and then get to where we are today.

In Overstreet #39 Green Lantern #76 was valued at $1200 in 9.2 grade and it’s Marvel Bronze age key counterpart Giant-Size X-Men #1 was valued at $1250 in the same grade. Very fair I thought, two heavy weights with approximately the same value. The 39th Overstreet guide is a couple years before the Green Lantern movie. We jump to the same two books and grades, and the 45th Overstreet price guide. Green Lantern #76 has jumped to a whopping $2700. Giant-Size X-Men is $1400. I wish I had copies of my old guides to see when the big jump in value for Green Lantern #76 occurred, but I give my old guides away to people that don’t own one. Maybe a CBD reader can chime in. It wouldn’t be too hard to surmise that it happened just before the movie was released and the book was being heavily spec’d.

Green Lantern #76 Neal Adams original cover art - one of the most important pieces of comic art ever created - readies for auction

Today’s 46th Overstreet Price guide values for Green Lantern #76 are 8.0$788/9.0$1734/$2700.

GPA approximate averages for past couple of years Green Lantern #76 are 8.0$725/9.0$1410/$2050.

Although I don’t think GPA is gospel, I do believe that in this case it is much closer to reality than Overstreet. I have observed many books going for much less than the guide in all grades at auction and raw at local stores. The books are trending down. A minimum 10-25% haircut on all grades would bring Overstreet closer to reality, but don’t hold your breath.

The next Green Lantern movie is slated for 2020 (The Green Lantern Corps). It might spur some interest in Green Lantern #76, although I would think Showcase #22 (first appearance Green Lantern Corps) may receive more of the love.

This might be a bit of cautionary tale for comic movie speculators. Will we be talking about Fantastic Four #45 or # 52 the same way in a few years? I know they are Marvel movies, however as the old saying goes past performance doesn’t guarantee future results.

A final note on Adams/O’Neil. A great combo that went on to Batman and produced some terrific work there. What are the odds of them going back to back on two cancelled titles in the X-Men and the Green Lantern? It does show that when the character(s) have lost their audience it doesn’t matter how good the art or writing is – they’re gone. If only for a little while ^-^!

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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.
Articles: 101

16 Comments

  1. Hey Mike
    The biggest leap in price was from $1200 to $2000 between issues 39 and 40 of Overstreet, then another $500 jump between 40 and 41, up another $100 the next year and settling out at $2700 as of issue 43. We’ve seen the same kind of crazy price leaps in Fantastic Four #52 over the last while with the announcement of an upcoming Black Panther movie. It never ceases to amaze me how much films have come to dictate the price of paper collectables. The only comic book movies I have ever found enjoyable were Guardians of the Galaxy and a couple of adaptations of Alan Moore (which, of course, he hates). To me, the movies dilute what I love about my favourite hobby.

    As for Green Lantern #76 being overvalued, I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for another great post!

    Excelsior!

  2. Love the post, Mike! I like the book but it makes me nervous as a key and has for a long time. Besides the iconic cover (which it will always have going for it) the book rests on “ground-breaking social consciousness-type” stories. Like ASM 96-98, pioneer stories but very much at risk of feeling dated too. I bought TPB’s of the Adams/O’Neil GL/GA run to read and wound up dumping them as I felt they did not hold up (other than Adams’ art). Clearly you disagree, but my point is others could read them as I did and ask themselves “What’s the big deal?” And the more someone is removed from events of that era, the more possible that reaction is.
    I still have my copy, and my #87 because I’m not yet convinced that GL 2020 is Hal Jordan, but I dumped my others from the run in a trade for Avengers #1 and #4.
    As to DC Bronze keys, this is the titular icon but I wouldn’t bet against House of Secrets #92 in the long run.
    Lastly, the corollary point to GL #76 being overvalued is Detective #395 is waaay undervalued, given that its the beginning of the Adams/O’Neil reinvention of Batman and a Ras al Ghul prototype. Neither this nor Brave and Bold #79, the first time Adams drew Bats, is called out in the Guide. GL #76 was the more ground-breaking work, but Detective #395 is the beginning of the changes that led to Miller’s Dark Knight on to Batman as he is defined today, and harkening back to pre-Robin Detective. As such, its had the more lasting impact on DC.
    I love my GL #76; but I’d never pay what my high mid-grade copy would cost me today.

  3. Thanks for the Overstreet help there Mel. Overstreet has been jumping on the movie speculation hype in there guide. Will they react the same way in a re-treat? We’ll see..

  4. Thanks Readcomix. Walt will also thank-you for more Undervalued spotlight suggestions:). I enjoyed the Green Lantern run more for how it captured time and place than anything else. It was a first for comics back then and I also liked that. If I owned them I would have done what you did, and that is sell them and by trades. I only keep or buy a few originals that are important to me nowadays. A nice Adams Batman #227 is somewhere on my want list. I also agree with you on the House of Secrets #92 and I probably should have used that instead of Giant Size X-Men as a comparison.

  5. Actually, I imagine it will be something like a poor coffee crop. Prices go sky high, but the next year when they have a bumper crop prices don’t automatically drop. Much of the problem with Overstreet is that an annual guide cannot reflect abrupt changes in the market as quickly as they need to be of any use as a guide. If a movie is announced just after the release of the latest guide, those changes in the market will not be reported in the guide until the following year. In between, people just set their own prices according to demand. That’s why it’s just “a guide” I guess.

  6. Thank you, Mike! I thought your analogy was perfect; I just like #92 as a DC bronze key moreso than GL #76; in agreement with you re: overvalued.

    Funny you mention Batman #227; I had one in hand yesterday and may yet acquire it. I met a retired guy who wants to sell his 605-book collection: approx. 595 of which were bronze superman run books and Dell photo covers, and the other 10 of which were Batman #’s 181, 227, 232, 234; Supes #233, JLA #75, Detective #359 and #411, Gold Key Jonny Quest, and the last issue of My Little Margie, with the Beatles cover. Trying to slowly get him to realize that its worth real $$ but not $9,000. Open to any suggestions on how to respectfully let someone down and get them to accept reality and a fair wad of cash…

  7. Even the online price guides are all over the place;
    Comics Price Guide 8.0 $800 / 9.0 $1600 / (assuming 10.0) don’t ask
    Comic Book Realm 8.0 $722.50 / 9.0 $807.50 / 10.0 $1275.00

    I’m sure thoughts about online guides have been discussed before but in our neck of the woods, these 2 sites are what most people turn to.

  8. Hi Jay,

    I personally don’t use those sites but I know some people who do. I still use the Overstreet guide, the latest auction and e-bay sales, and now GPA analysis to make my best guess at the value of a book before I purchase it.. I can’t see going forward how Overstreet can not have an on-line presence and still hope to remain a relevant source of pricing information. Price speculation can change the price of a book too quickly, to wait a year for updated information. They will miss out on the younger / older collectors and investors who reside almost exclusively on line.
    Hope your enjoying the site Jay – welcome aboard!

  9. I couldn’t agree more! I’ve been saying that book is over priced for years. I love me some Neal Adams-Denny O’Neil combo, and fantastic cover, but insanely high price for a book that talks about slum lords and not having a first appearance of a character, or death, or even an origin. Give me a House of Secrets #92 released roughly the same time and close to the same price range any day. I’ve read this book, and I would like to have a copy in my personal collection, but have never been able to pull the trigger at the prices that book demands.

  10. Mike, you’re killing me with these picks! This is another book that I love… but yes, I do see your point about the inflated Overstreet prices. You guys sum it up nicely… it’s an era specific book that isn’t so unique any more. As well, creators are less valued as a premise for investing these days. Too many “edgy” stories with too many awesome illustrators producing too many books. I also feel that 1st appearances are being more delineated. That is, more and more people seem to only care about 1st appearances, which GL#76 is not.

    Still, Neal Adams was probably the first of the realists offering a glimpse of what it might be like if superheroes actually existed, and for all the other reasons mentioned, I’m hoping to pick up nice affordable copy for my collection.

    Speaking of GSX#1, I do think this book is undervalued relative to other similar books from its time and era. The last couple of 9.8’s ended for about $7k on ComicLink (but remains unrecorded on GPA) while 9.6’s have dropped… so, I’m not sure what to make it in terms of its direction.

    Great stuff Mike!

  11. I enjoy the front portion of the Overstreet but as far as values go, they come from a limited source and even once you get the guide, it’s 3 months out of date.

    Looking forward to more insights!

  12. Hey Jay, I agree, the front of the book is very useful and fun. I love reading the market reports, there are some pretty knowledgeable people there handing out some free observations.

  13. Love this post Mike. You are preaching to the choir here, I think the collective hobby saw this book as the gateway to the Bronze Age (Conan #1 keeps coming up too). Perhaps the weight of that contributed to it going past where it should have gone. I know another book that has an inflated value based on everybody hanging the birth of the Silver Age on it but I’m not naming names on this post.

  14. Thanks Walt. Don’t worry I am leaving that Silver age pick for you to write someday!

  15. Walt and Mike…I doubt from other posts that you mean FF#1, so…you’re going to blast Showcase #4 as overvalued?

    What else is ever viewed as “start of silver age” except Detective #225 by a few chronological purists??? It’s a tough book and a first appearance of a top of second tier character, but who can really take it seriously as start of the silver age, from a kick open the sales floodgates point of view?

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