A Little Light

I was talking to a few comic heads and the consensus seems to be that most of the latest Heritage lots went a little light. I know one guy that had a bunch of stuff in the auction and he was disappointed with the results. Captain America #1, Fantastic Four #1, Hulk #181 and a few others will make headlines but there was a lot in the middle that didn’t meet expectations. I’ll say that when expectations are that each new auction sets new records then we need these expectations to be shattered. The is the market keeping it real and rewarding the stuff that deserves rewarding.

I had so many great covers to choose from in my eBay auction pile this week but World’s Finest #6 won the day because I couldn’t stop looking at it. This is the summer of 1942 and America is fresh into the war: hoakie covers would have to wait as DC focuses on the heroes rallying behind the flag and supporting the fighting forces.

The ad of the week comes from Showcase #32 featuring Aquaman. It’s June 1961 and Comics are still 10 cents: they’ve been 10 cents ever since comics first started being a thing, this is the first real increase in comic book prices ever and it came in at a whopping 20%. We’re starting to see some inflation pressures recently and as a kid that grew up through those late 70s and early 80s high inflation periods I can tell you it is not a good thing. Still, I love the ad, it is so early 1960s, invokes a bit of a beatnik vibe.

The Pre-Code Horror covers get all the hype and they drive the value of those books more and more. Well have a look at the splash of the week; it is just plain nasty, I’ve never seen this splash before and when I first saw it I was glad the comics code came in: look at the guy’s face in the top panel, and the text… From EC’s Shock Suspenstories #15. Damn!

This page comes from Detective Comics #261. In 1957 Dell Comics were probably the best-selling comics on the market and they were full of these puzzles and games. I’ve never seen puzzles like this in DCs from this era, perhaps it was an attempt to compete with Dell? Anyway, I’m glad our friend (or friends, as I’m sure this book passed through many hands) were too enthralled with the story to notice this page.

Our internationalcollectiblesexchange weekly eBay auction wrapped up another session last night and I was jealous of the winner of this little run of Adventure Comics #428 to #430 featuring the first appearance of the Black Orchid. The winner stole this at $33.88 USD.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

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Chris Meli
2 years ago

“I’ll say that when expectations are that each new auction sets new records then we need these expectations to be shattered. The is the market keeping it real and rewarding the stuff that deserves rewarding.”

Amen. I think your comment from last week about “special” is in line with this, and I’m observing this in the issues I own. There was that big run-up in lower grade that you had been commenting on, and it is that stuff that I really see taking it on the chin. I have always been thinking scarcity and demand when bidding or buying, and it doesn’t make sense to me when neither is evident.

From this auction, the competition of most interest to me: Amazing Adult Fantasy #9 9.2 vs. Tales of Suspense #4 9.2. How to evaluate which “deserves rewarding”? The latter is of course best with no competition, while the former is second (one 9.4, one 9.2) with unlikely but possible contenders (four 9.2s). However that still doesn’t make me think the latter should be worth $7.8k against the former’s $1.7k. I’m wondering how much of this comes down to – gasp! – run collectors. AAF is an orphan title, while I could imagine an Iron Man fan with very deep pockets looking to complete a ToS run. Tim Boo Ba would make ol’ shell-head generate a bit of rust, let me tell you.

Shock Suspenstories #15 has a great cover as well, with Crime Suspenstories #19 the prototype issue (thought I would just throw that in to irritate people). I think CSS #19 is underrated with regard to its awfulness and should take its place next to #20 and #22.

I am ignorant as to how completing the Bat-puzzle would affect grade. I would think little impact? Just a note like “writing on page XX, does not affect story”?

Bud Plant
Bud Plant
2 years ago

The Promise collection at Heritage has to be sucking up some of that loose money…so all boats are not going to be lifted when there is so much to spend on. Some stuff will go begging, so to speak. I’m not surprised that more recent material, which I feel is generally over-valued, is softening. You guys are right, it can’t go up forever.

That said, I see no softening in auction results for general Golden Age which is where my interest remains. Nothing on Heritage is going for under or even close to guide, it’s all more, more, more. I hate to tell you how often I am underbidder, since I generally place a bid and walk way. Some !@#$ is nearly always there more than willing to turn me into the underbidder no matter what I bid.

There is a MyComicShop Prime auction on as I type this, and I’ve already lost out on a Active Comics (Canadian) #9 vg- went for $898.. I thought I was aggressive wading in for $400-$600 for it.

And Brave and the Bold #1 in VG+ is well over guide at $987, well over guide, for a raw copy.I was hoping to upgrade mine, but I’ll hold out for something a bit better for that kind o money..

Get this: Real Life #3, with that wonderfully nasty Hitler cover, in raw GD+ is still open for bidding and is at $3661. Yowza. Hitler emperor of hate cover…

The aggressive guys have regretfully found MyComicShop also.

Funny thing about those EC stories…the murdered women were never old or fat or ugly, well, once in a while, a bit overweight, but mostly they are always gorgeous, which I suppose makes it even more impactful to see them bumped off. But I’m with you guys, I wouldn’t want my kidlets reading that. Now when I was 15 or 16 though, I was eating that stuff up, creepy and all. I relished getting new ECs for my collection, savoring each one, long before anyone dreamed of doing reprints.

But I raised my son on Marvel Masterworks 1960s stuff, and my daughter read Little Lulu and Ranma (manga). Even when they were kids, now 25 years ago, I thought contemporary comics were mostly too grim and dark, not to mention the t&a. Sadly, my grandkids, now 8 and 10, have very little interest in comics. A bit in YA graphic novels for 10-year-old April, So I try and find things in Previews to buy for her. I just sent her Neil Gaiman’s & Colleen Doran’s new GN, Chivalry. But even with a ready source like me, they are just into other stuff. Different times….You can lead a horse to water, but….

Alex Sorensen
Alex Sorensen
2 years ago

I also noticed the lower than usual prices realized with the Heritage auction. The FF1 was a fantastic sale, the Tom Reilly Cap 1 was also great. The rest of the sales were mostly ok.

Walter, I like your adage that CM repeated. My adage has always been “buy what you really like, but keep an eye out for what others like if the price is right”.

Chris, the AAF run gets no love, but the Ditko covers are not generally his best. The TOS 4 has the black cover, more action and intrigue. And nothing beats a Martian with a plunge detonator.

This year over last (so far) the greatest increases belong to Manhunt! 10, which, as a Canadian, I can let you know that all the people on the cover live down the road from me, next is Giant Comics Edition 6, with a Matt Baker western cover, and Manhunt! 9, with a muted skull motif; skulls are a very hot buy for the past while. And yes the Promise collection is sucking up the money but not like last year.

For Silver Age the big winners are the 15c price variant of Archie’s Madhouse 22, Tec 230, Batman 133 and Space Adventures 33 which finally had a higher grade sale. SA33 – another Ditko cover.

Falling are Detective 44 which had ridiculously high sales a few years ago, Superman 29, and WDCS 7. Keep in mind the worst falls are in the 15% range.

Bud Plant
Bud Plant
2 years ago

The Hitler Real Life #3 cover sold for $4700. Guide is $1200, so 4x guide….