Money in the Bank

Have you guys noticed the strong prices CGC 9.6 grades have been getting lately? I’m noticing it, especially in the Bronze Age and the late Silver Age where there is a relatively good supply of CGC 9.8s. The 9.8s are slowly getting locked away and it’s turning into an event now when we see a 9.6 pop up. I remember we set an eBay record back in 2002 for selling a CGC 9.6 Amazing Spider-Man #122 for $2025; the winning bidder even emailed us saying “congratulations, we made history”. Well either we like that book or that book really likes us because we just set a new record of $2585. As a matter of fact, that book has not cracked two grand since our 2002 sale. I’ve noticed a bunch of other strong CGC 9.6 finishes and was wondering if anybody else has noticed as well.

My splash of the week has to go to Superman #45, Lois Lane, Superwoman. Honestly, the cover to Superman #45 is kind of lame: can you imagine how much Superman #45 would be worth it it had a variation of this splash page on it, the book would be huge. This era of Superman and Batman comics all have lame covers: there was the Batman #32, I think, with the Three Muskateers cover, when I opened it up it had a great Joker splash page. These covers aren’t as hokey and thus not as endearing as the World’s Finest covers.

My ad of the week comes from She-Hulk #1. This is a 1980 book and notice how many of the ads are aimed at comic collectors; I counted 14 on this page. It would be fun to know how many of those businesses are still peddling comics. My favourite ad on this page has to be the one at the bottom centre: “skinny, self-conscious? gain pounds!” You won’t see too many ads like that one these days.

I’d love to own the original art to these two pages from Detective Comics #448. Dick Giordano and Ernie Chua get credits. These pages let you OD on Batman: there are 13 panels over these 2 pages and 12 of them have the Caped Crusader in them. Batman sensory overload, but I love it.

I’d forgotten that Amazing Spider-Man #234 had the 16-page insert, Marvel Guide to Collecting Comics. I don’t think I ever read it when the book came out; I probably thought there’s nothing in there that I don’t already know, ah to be young. My favourite two pages have to be this spread that reads “Better Than Money In The Bank”: it’s beyond ridiculous how true these words turned out to be.

I was counting the pages to Marvel Super-Heroes #13 and I kept running into cool backup stories from the Timely books of the 1940s. Marvel Super-Heroes #13 has Golden Age reprints from Sub-Mariner, Human Torch, Captain America and the Vision (check out the great Vision splash page). You really did get a lot of bang for your buck with these 25 cent giant-size books from the 1960s.

Last night our weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange eBay auctions ended and I can report very strong results. Raw lots continue to surprise me with their strength. The auction I was watching was this CGC 9.6 Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends #1. I remember having so many of these back in the day and selling them in my $2 bins, later they moved to the $5 bins and then I was putting $20 on them. Last night our copy fetched $214.50 USD.

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1674

19 Comments

  1. “Gain pounds, inches, confidence.” One of these things is not like the other.

    Believe me I have noticed the 9.6s. So has my wallet. I hope this continues so later my wallet gains pounds, inches, confidence.

  2. So an ASM #122, sold 20 years ago for $2000 now cracks $2500???….so that’s a 25% return in 20 years. Not a good example for better than money in the bank on that particular issue.

    Yes, that insert on comic collecting (I believe it was sold/published separately too) is a great read – but definitely a sign that investors should diversify; there’s a huge difference in returns between buying Daredevil #158 or Hulk #181 40 years ago…but if anyone wants to use that chart I’ll swap you a Rom, Micronauts & Iron Man #115 for your X-Men#129….and I also have a PeterParker #27 which I’ll swap for a Hulk #181!!!

  3. I’ll say it again because I’ve said it before, the market, at this particular moment in time, is driven by people who know “the price of everything and the value of nothing.” I would take an Incredible Hulk #6 at $5,500 over an incredible Hulk #181 at $8,000 any day! Just think about it! For one thing, it is a far superior work of art. This is classic Ditko! I guess it all depends on where and when you found the hobby, and why you still indulge.I have been reading Daredevil since the ’60s, and I would still take any Gene Colan or Bendis and Maleev Daredevil over a Daredevil #158. Why? For me, it’s all about the art first and the narrative to hold it together. Those Bendis and Maleev Daredevils are still readily available for three or four bucks. The “graphic novel” collections sell like hotcakes! Joy is the aim!

  4. Advertising in vintage comics can be as entertaining as the comics themselves! 1980’s comics still had cluttered up ad pages like the one you picture, looking very much like the jam-packed ad pages of a pulp magazine! I generally despise modern advertising, but this old stuff is a hoot!

    I bought those Giant Size Marvel comics primarily for the Golden Age reprints ! Sometimes I could not care less what was going on in the main feature, the reprints were more interesting !!!

    And now- something that has been on my mind for a while….. old VHS tapes. Well, they have to be old, they stopped making them over twenty years ago !!!

    A nice GRADED VHS copy of the Schwarzenegger movie THE TERMINATOR sold on ComicConnect for $32,500.00 back in February.
    Somehow, this did not faze me- I considered it a flash in the pan, a once in a while anomaly that may never happen again….but it has happened again & is happening lots !

    It is no secret that old video games like Super Mario or Legend of Zelda are selling for thousands, or even a hundred thousand dollars….but VHS tapes ?? They are deteriorating in front of your eyes, that tape loaded with chemicals is hardly an archival storage method, yet people have lost their minds over them !! Nostalgia or Insanity ? That is the question !

    Somehow I have ended up researching this phenomenon and have discovered that people have truly lost their marbles ! Covid has scrambled the brains of many formerly intelligent people & has turned them into zombies !!! Somehow old VHS tapes have been elevated into an investment medium far stronger than comic books & are actually selling for thousands of dollars !!!
    Take a look, folks- I am not going to send you links as they are only good for a short while- go on ebay, type in ‘ DISNEY VHS ‘ and hit enter. Select HIGHEST PRICE & sit back and enjoy.

    Well, did you do it ?? Did you see that certain Disney VHS tapes are listing for A MILLION $$$ ???!!! OK, so none have actually sold for that price, but hit SOLD ITEMS & you will see that many have actually sold for hundreds & some have sold for thousands. A group of nine tapes sold for $10,000.00! One chump paid $700.00 for an empty case !!! Collectors are treating these as FIRST EDITIONS of classic movies, in the same manner as book collectors view First Editions of classic books. But books tend to last, you can read them hundreds of years later…but tapes? They are rotting even as I write & will become unwatchable after only a few decades!

    Hey, most of these movies appeared on film first, generally 35mm & shown in the theatres. Why haven’t collectors gone ape-sh*t over cans of decaying film stock ????

    Guys, dump your comics NOW & make tracks to the nearest SALVATION ARMY, VALUE VILLAGE or local Thrift store & scoop up those investment grade VHS tapes before the rest of humanity wakes up to this development ! It is not just Disney that is selling BIG, but many Horror movies, particularly low budget or cult films that are also selling for a fortune!

    If any of you need a VHS player, I have at least five in my stash. I can let one or two of them go for $250,000.00 each. You need a player to watch your investment grade Disney or Star Trek VHS tapes !!!
    Don’t let this opportunity pass you by !! I am going to start collecting wax-cylinders before anybody else catches on. Now, where do I find a working wax-cylinder player ???

    Honestly, I throw up my hands, I give up. The world has gone insane ! Putin is bombing children in the Ukraine, but our idiots are buying copies of PETER PAN VHS tapes for $2000.00 each !! Nothing makes any sense! I am thinking that we need the bombs dropped on our heads, not Ukraine’s children !!!

  5. You have an eye for those things Meli, nice work, and yes, I too hope the 9.6 prices keep climbing, maybe one day it will get down to the 3.5s

    Spider, that initial ASM #122 was the result of ‘first to market’, I preach against that all the time but now and again I have benefited from it, CGC 9.6s were very very scarce when we posted that initial auction.

    Mel, I love the Bendis/Maleev run, DD was spoiled with the Miller run, the Bendis run then the Brubaker run, all great reads.

    Live Frog, I’m hearing about these VHS sales too and find them hard to justify, I wonder if Eight Tracks will ever be worth anything?

  6. Hey Walt
    I was watching the special features for the Daredevil movie and, when they interview Frank Miller, 99% of the art shots they show are Mazzucchelli. Looks like even Miller can’t stand to look at his own art from that period. Let’s face it, it’s Klaus Janson who makes MIller’s art passable at this juncture in his career. For me, it’s always about the whole package, and, while Miller is a decent writer, I have never really taken a shine to his early material, and his later stuff is too chunky for my tastes. Gets me into a lot of trouble. People wonder how I can be a Daredevil fan and not own a single Frank Miller issue, the same way they can’t understand a Fantastic Four fan who owns not a single John Byrne issue. I’m just as particular about my whisky!

  7. Oh I never said Miller couldn’t write, Walt. Some great plots and scripts from that time, but the pictures? Meh.

  8. Actually, i should even add that I think Batman: Year One is among the best graphic novels ever written, and, fortunately, as with the Daredevil Born Again story, Dave Mazzucchelli handles the art chores, and that makes all the difference.

  9. If only “Genial Gene” were still with us. He could have shown Miller how to use those dynamic filmic layouts he obviously absorbed from Steranko, and given them that lovely Colan panel layout that he used to drag the reader’s eye through the visual. Colan’s panels bend to the needs of the narrative like no other artist in comics. I would have liked to see every artist who ever worked for Marvel have had a stab at that character, and some of the very best already have! Miller and Colan? Sounds good to me! Or Miller and Quesada, or Miller and Maleev, or Miller and Lark…

  10. I was wondering; if someone removed the 16 page insert from Spidey 234, would that change the value?

  11. Great discussion guys!

    How does everyone feel about Gil Kane’s 5 issue in the DD run?

    Completely agree regarding the brilliance of David Mazzuchelli, it didn’t take me long to realise that the run written by Denny O’neil and penciled Mazzuchelli was massively underrated and undervalued solely because it sits between the two legendary Miller runs. #208 is still my favorite, when I see copies I buy them and give them to fellow collectors who don’t know the run.

    I’m actually upgrading a few issues in my Miller run at the moment and rereading them as they come in (and as I sell the lesser condition copy) and they hold up very well, Miller and Janson supplied consistency and street level thugs that were much more in live thematically with the DD character – those silly unbelievable characters (jester, owl, stiltman) really detracted from the book’s realism – whilst an ex-girlfriend from college that returns a trained ninja to kill your best friend..tell me, we’ve ALL BEEN THERE!!!! right???

  12. By the way, if you guys haven’t seen it already, check out manwithoutfear.com for all things Daredevil: chronologies, plot synopses, interviews, creator bios, news and much more. This is clearly a labour of love and the Gene Colan interview alone is worth the price of admission (okay, actually there is no price of admission since it’s free, just a turn of phrase).

    And, Spider, my favourite book in that run prior to Born Again is issue #220 which takes place almost entirely in the fog. It really showcase Mazzucchelli’s amazing talent to great advantage! Just beautiful, and, yes, comic art can be beautiful in the right hands!

  13. Great chat guys ! This is what it is all about !

    The first Daredevil I ever bought was #101 back in 1973. I was eight years old & buying any comic book that had a monster on the cover. I already had a stack of Where Monsters Dwell & Werewolf by Night comics & this one with the big green alien on it should be good ! So I thought- but since the story was by Steve Gerber, it went right over my head & I could not understand a bloody word !!! I was living in England at the time & was fed a steady diet of silly English comics like BEANO & WHIZZER & CHIPS & I marveled at how seriously the US superhero comics were written compared to the frivolous, loopy UK kiddie comics ! I thought that I would never grow out of the silly English kiddie comics, but I did….when I moved to Canada in 1980 & immersed myself fully in Marvel-Mania !!

    US comics were hard to get in my part of England, not so much in Canada. I re-connected with Daredevil half-way through the Miller run [ #180 I think ] & promptly began to pick up all the back issues I had missed. I paid $35.00 for a Fine copy of #158 [ when it was listed at $35.00 in MINT in Overstreet ! ],from my LCS- I did not care about the price, I simply NEEDED to have a copy of #158 !!! I loved the Miller art because it was accessible- It looked like something I could draw, & it was, as I aped Miller’s style when I applied to, & was accepted by Sheridan College of Art in Oakville for their Animation program. I copied his style perfectly for a small portfolio that they required to show artistic aptitude & his style got me into the program !
    I loved Barry Smith’s Conan too, another massive idol of mine…but I could never hope to draw like Barry Smith ! He was from another dimension !!! I loved Miller’s art because I could reach his level artistically….and I did…but Miller is more about just drawing. It is the story-telling, the layout., the pacing that made him so special. The art is just one part of a whole, it is all the other stuff he did that made him stand out ! I can recall walking around Sheridan College with Miller Daredevils stuck under my arm. I can recall some of my instructors showing just how bad his art was, how mis-proportioned his anatomy was & how they tried to correct certain panels that he had rendered, but were unsuccessful as some of his poses were simply anatomically impossible ! It did not help that many of my animation teachers were classically trained, Disney style artists & the work Miller was doing was anything close to realistic !!! You probably can not animate Miller’s art convincingly, but I would be happy to be proven wrong !!

    I think you are right by saying that Janson aided Miller dramatically in his rendering. Yet, when I was reading Daredevil back in those days, I honestly felt that Janson was bringing Miller DOWN ! That is how much I revered Miller’s work! The piece-de-resistance is all the incredible stuff he did with Mazzuchelli, including Batman Year One. Simply incredible stuff that will never die ! This material can be compared favourably to the work of Kurtzman, Krigstein & Toth back in the 1950’s- it is legend !

    The Miller issues are seared into my brain & are as important to me as the Claremont/Byrne X-Men issues are to the mutant fans. Of course I love Colan’s work, but Miller was god !

  14. Mel, I absolutely agree with #220, brilliantly written (I have it noted that Frank Miller was involved in it btw with a ‘special assist’) and another issue that is stunningly inexpensive but is a example of the comic medium at it’s finest.

    Walter, could this be a topic or column idea: key issues have now become solely about 1st appearances – no matter how generic or dull they are (Avengers #191,Scot Lang and Iron Man #118, James Rhodes are two books I’ve read lately that spring to mind) HOWEVER there are amazing generic issues that are just sitting there for small outlay that represent comics at their finest, and they are known only by the obsessives.

    You have Mel and I gushing about #208/#220 (both contain covers that leave me cold but have stunning stories), I would also add Miller’s #191 as a stand alone story to be brilliant too.

    With the wisdom of this crowd we could build a database of fantastic reading comics that have no investment value what-so-ever!!!

    Column could be called:

    Reader’s Corner

  15. Spider, that is a brilliant idea, my friend, and could be a welcome antidote to all the over-priced and over-hyped keys. There are so many great books that languish unnoticed in the 3 to 5 dollar range and a lot of what I would call overlooked keys that offer no substantial financial return on investment. One that immediately comes to mind is Fantastic Four Vol. 3 #56 in which Ben Grimm returns to Yancy Street and we learn once and for all the truth about his Jewish heritage. I mean, for years, Ben has tossed around Yiddish expressions, and we know that he is named after Kirby’s father and good old Jacob (Jack) himself. When the old pawnbroker looks like he may expire and Ben knows giving him CPR would crush his chest, the Thing begins to recite a Jewish prayer for the dead. When the old man turns out to be okay and the villain is all wrapped in a lamp post, old Sheckerberg the pawnbroker asks Ben why he never mentions his Jewishness. Ben tells him that the Jews have had a bad enough rap without adding the stigma of a monster to their ranks. The old man then tells Ben about the Golem who was a monster who protected the Jews when they were in times of trouble. The real kicker is the end of the story where Ben goes over to the subdued villain who asks him incredulously, “And you’re really Jewish?” to which Ben replies, “You got a problem with that?” “No!” says the bad guy. “No, It’s just…you don’t look Jewish.” And… Drum roll with cymbal clash at the end. This issue doesn’t even have a special notation in Overstreet. It also happens to be written by star FF inker Karl Kesel and penciled by Canadian Stuart Immonen! Don’t even let me get started on FF #510 in which the team meet the Almighty on a trip to bring Ben back from heaven after his near death and Himself turns out to be Jack Kirby!!! Neither of these books have any special mention of their contents in Overstreet and they both list for…wait for it…$3 US in mint condition!!! The interesting thing about these issues is that, previously, religion was kind of a no show in mainstream comics. There always seemed to be some some kind of unwritten rule against it. for that reason alone I think these books are significant. They also happen to be just first-rate comic books!

    Is that the kind of stuff you meant, Spider? Because I’m all over it!

    cheers, mel

  16. Mel, can you please locate yourself a copy of Invaders #13 that I am currently reading (i’m half way through as of last night, the wife beckoned me to the marital chamber)…I think you’re going to have a laugh when you read it in the context of your comments!

    By the way – I listened and have a copy of FF#56 waiting for me at the LCS! it was $4.50 in NM condition!

  17. Ah Spider, I envy you having the chance to read FF #56 for the first time. When I first read it I thought it may be one of the best Ben Grimm stories in the series, right up there with the original #51 and #55. Ben has always been my favourite character, the perfect tragic hero in a universe full of heroes. I remember reading those early FFs and thinking what a poor hand he was dealt. While all of the other members had the option of just looking normal if they felt like it, he was stuck in that monstrous body for life! And you got a copy of a milestone book for a whopping $4.50 too! Way to go!

    I have a huge list of 5 dollar and under books that you might like to try some time, including Secret Wars (2015), Infamous Iron Man, Promethea and dozens more if you ever want tips on cheap classics.

    cheers, mel

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