Reprints

Last week I sold a guy some early 1980s Marvel Tales reprints. I got $20 for a nice crisp copy of Marvel Tales #152 from June 1983; the book features the reprint of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) #14 which famously features the first appearance of the Green Goblin.

Buddy was happy as can be, he basically said that he could never afford a nice copy of the original and having this high-grade old reprint (he was a young guy) was fine with him. I mentioned that the book was reprinted even earlier in the same Marvel Tales title: I looked it up and it was in Marvel Tales #9 from July 1967 which was only three short years after the original ASM #14 came out in July 1964. He didn’t seem interested. I think the Copper Age was a sweet spot for a guy his age, he was familiar with the size, thickness, feel, and look of books from this era.

After my Goblin fan left I got curious and checked out GPA on Marvel Tales #9 and #152: a CGC 9.2 copy of #9 sold for $48 earlier this year while a CGC 9.2 of #152 sold for $60 a couple of months before that. I know they are tiny samples of one for each but it’s been an active market, I thought something was off.

We’re in a market where prices are moving up so rapidly on some books that at any given time it may seem like there are other books that are absolute bargains. We talked about Marvel books being so hot that many see some DCs are being undervalued relatively. I’ve even had guys compare realized Bronze Age prices to Golden Age prices and ask “how can this be”, it can obviously be because the market says it is to be.

I was thinking about the stuff I typed just above while mulling over all those 1960s Marvel reprint titles. Focusing mainly on Marvel Tales for this piece I won’t even mention #1 as it reprints Amazing Fantasy #15 and Hulk #1, the first issue of Marvel Tales #1 has always been worth big money. Over my comic book selling career, Marvel Tales started clogging up my bins around #5 and up, I could not get #10 for these ever, if I threw them in the $5 bins they’d go.

I think back a decade and books like ASM #14, 15, 50, 129 etc were all relatively affordable and plentiful, we never really needed an excuse to justify that an early reprint could be seen as justifiable and thus valuable substitute for the real thing, until now. We’ve seen this happening over the years with beat-up 0.5 copies of keys, then incomplete copies of keys, then individual pages from keys, perhaps next is early and contemporary reprints of keys?

Is it possible that we’ll start seeing a trend of specific issues of Marvel Tales, Marvel’s Collectors Item Classics, Marvel’s Greatest Comics etc start making some value gains?

Back to my Marvel Tales #9: ever notice how they re-drew the Tales to Astonish cover to have Wasp busting out of the original cover? They did that on a few including #6, 7 and 8, it adds something a little new.

Somehow this post about the 1960s reprint titles turned into a quasi Undervalued Spotlight for Marvel Tales #9! So be it.

Speaking of X-Men, check out this nice copy that sold last night on our weekly internationalcollectiblesexchange eBay auction. CBCS graded this beauty tight and with its White Pages designation, it’s an easy call, Advantage Buyer!

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Walter Durajlija

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

Articles: 1660

15 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed this trend in facsimile editions (notably the first Miles Morales and FF#1, which are now fetching some crazy prices) and the True Believers series of reprints, as well as Marvel’s pre-heroes reprints like Monsters on the Prowl etc. particularly reprints of Fin Fang Foom (my first exposure was Fantasy Masterpieces #2) and Groot. The originals are getting to be just a bit beyond what many folks are willing to pay, and these are a wonderful alternative. I can only see this trend growing in the years to come. I think reprints of say Fantastic Four #48-50 would fly off the shelves, partly because I would buy copies for all of my friends and neighbours!!!

  2. Reprint titles were some of my favourite books and I bought a lot of them in the ’70-80s because the original issues they reprinted were scarce and relatively expensive.
    My favourite titles were Marvel Tales, Marvel Collectors Item Classics, Fantasy Masterpieces,Marvel Super Heroes, Worlds Greatest Comics.
    Any Giant-Sized, King-Sized or Annuals that came out I tried to collect to read.
    I did a quick inventory of my books and found I have 218 on the Marvel side with more than 24 duplicates.

    On the DC side I liked Annuals, 80pg Giants , DC Special , DC Super-Stars , DC Special Series and Super DC Giant titles for their size and back issue content.
    I found I have 165 books in these titles with 41 duplicate copies

    My preference is the vintage reprints to more modern facsimile editions.

    I bought a Superman #3 Annual from Carry-on comics in Kitchener in 2016 when Ivan and I visited you, Mel
    I even bought 4 issues of vintage reprints from you 12 years ago, Walt.

    Looks like I got some books to pack up and get ready for a future sale.

  3. It was only last week I put a Marvel Tales on my want list: #209, reprints ASM#129 and has a fantastic homage cover by Mike Zeck! The problem is that no one values it enough to list it!

  4. There are 42 copies of Marvel Tales #209 listed on ebay right now. You can buy one for as little as $4.00 plus shipping. At least one copy is in Australia. ‘Nuff said.

  5. I love those big reprint books, Marvel & DC, & hunted them down feverishly as a kid. It is because I had those books that I never chased down the original early Kirby FF’s or Ditko ASM’s. These reprints were very faithful to the originals & better than the garishly coloured versions that we get now [ in the omnibuses & other collections]. I was able to focus my energies on buying books that I never could see being reprinted, such as many obscure Golden Age and pre-code crime & horror books, many of which were far cheaper than those Kirby & Ditko books at the time. Thus I do not own FF #1-10 or ASM #1-10, but I own things like Amazing Man #5, Silver Streak #3 & Wonderworld #3 and many others, books that are far rarer than any silver age Marvel. I can comfort myself that I can buy any silver age Marvel right now 24/7 – providing I have the money, but I CANNOT buy a Daredevil Battles Hitler #1 or a Great Comics #3 whenever I feel like it, whether I have the money or not !

    The trick is- by not buying those early Kirby FF’s or Ditko ASM’s when I had the chance [ back in the 1980’s] for cheap, I will have to pay THOUSANDS of dollars right now to get those books-
    But- if I did not buy the GA & pre-code stuff that I got back in the 1980’s for cheap, I would have to pay THOUSANDS of dollars to obtain them now too !

    Problem is- some of those obscure GA & pre-code books are really rare, you don't see them every day. I still think I did the right thing to chase those books down rather than go after the early FF's or ASM's. I can read those Kirby & Ditko classics in reprint form any time I want, then crack open my Choice Comics #3 & read that too ! And if I really want to get a copy of FF#6, I can find one for sale IN MINUTES, but if I want to track down a Mystic #18 or Mister Mystery #12.........well... I may be waiting for quite some time before one shows up for sale !

  6. In later issues of Marvel tales, letter pages appeared for the first time in reprint issues. New letters regarding old stories. What a joy. To me this added great value to those later issues, and a novelty at the least

  7. LF: You can buy the 1974 Dynapubs reprint of Daredevil Battles Hitler for about $50. USD. I saw one a couple of months ago on ebay.

  8. Klaus- I have the Dynapubs reprint. I have been collecting reprints and original comics all of my collecting life. I focused on buying comics back in the 1980’s that I could never foresee being reprinted, such as much of the 1950’s crime & horror stuff. I don’t regret my decisions at all, in spite of the fact that many of these books have now been beautifully reprinted ! Some of the reprints that we have been treated to over the last twenty years or so are simply outstanding, with much material looking better than when it was first issued. I have many reprints of classic newspaper comics that are breathtaking, and showcase the work in a much more convenient format than a stack of loose, original pages cut from a newspaper.
    There is still a lot of stuff that has not been reprinted, or reprinted properly. Marvel reprinted many of their 1950’s horror comics in hardcover, but they are simply too garish. The Marvel Masterworks series, first appearing in the 1980’s were so lurid that I could not look at them. Marvel Collector’s Item Classics & Marvel Tales are still more successful reprints of these early Marvel stories as they are more authentic! PS Artbooks produce a far better product, with toned down colour & matte pages which work best for me, rather than the glossy pages & loud colours of current Marvel reprints. Reprint books have been a big part of my life and some of my most treasured items are complete sets of Popeye, Tarzan & Prince Valiant ,published by Fantagraphics & others. These books not only present the material in a lovely, convenient format [ without glossy, reflective pages & garish colours ! ] but add some excellent criticism & history of the material reprinted, which simply adds to the overall flavour. Great stuff !- these things will never make me financially rich, but they will enrich my life !

  9. Hey guys… I wanted to highlight an interesting trend:

    • Mar – Sundar Pichai sells 6.2m shares of Google
    • Aug – Tim Cook sell $750m of Apple
    • Oct – Mark Zuckerberg sell $25m of Facebook
    • Nov – Jeff Bezos sells $2b of Amazon
    • Nov – Elon Musk sells $5.7b of Tesla

    And the latest reporting is that Satya Nadella sells $285m of Microsoft recently:

    https://www.cnn.com/2021/11/30/investing/satya-nadella-microsoft-stock-sale/index.html

    Each case has context… be it cashing in a big bonus, leaving the company, supposedly having to pay taxes… or what have you. And CEO’s often sell in chucks for various personal/business reasons. But what’s interesting is that so many are selling this year. This is, of course just a small list of the FAANG companies… but as well, many others and Buffett is also sitting on a record pile of $150b in cash.

    What does this have to do with comics? Well, these billionaires appear to be making discreet financial maneuvers. Whether you believe these guys are super smart or they’ve been informed by their advisors… perhaps they know something that we don’t. And if so… perhaps we should consider what the heck is going on and make our own preparations where the comic market is concerned, as well as our own personal finances.

    The dates listed are that of the article I searched up to confirm this trend. In many cases, in particular Bezos and Zuckerberg have sold much more to date. Actual amounts will vary base on reporting… but my quick Google search does appear to confirm this trend.

  10. Sorry Charlie.
    Starkist wants tunas that…Aw crap! Got sidetracked there. It’s like everybody was talking comics and I went in another direction entirely! But, really, I find it hard to believe that you would somehow relate these high stakes (by our budgets certainly) pecuniary machinations to comic book collectors. We collect comic books! How sad is that, compared to some fat cat who can deal in billions of dollars in a heartbeat?! Logic does indeed tell me that this “doesn’t necessarily mean anything” at all! These guys are cashing in to reduce their “tax burden.” I once sold a whole bunch of lovely FFs to pay my rent years ago (regretted it ever since, but shelter was a cool alternative), and it didn’t make the financial pages! Just keep on reading and loving these silly old relics of our childhood. My buddy Andy’s worst nightmare is the never-before-seen “customer” who walks in the door and asks immediately, “What’s the most expensive comic you have in the store?” Not “What’s the most beautifully drawn comic in the store?” Not “What’s the best-written comic in the store?” These are our childhood dreams and, I know, they are for sale at whatever price someone is willing to pay, but, for crying out loud, they are supposed to be a wonderful and magical escape, not purely a commodity. Jeez! Here endeth today’s rant. More than ’nuff said.

  11. Hey Mel- Charlie is simply telling you to sell all your comics now, while you can still get big money for them. When the crunch comes, you will be lucky to get cover price for them ! Let’s all remember what happened in 2009……

  12. It was an observation… a trend that obviously does not exist in isolation. I can appreciate Mel’s bliss for simple stories and cartoons, but there is a market for this stuff beyond his narrow interest. At the very least, billionaires divesting makes for great “click bait”… The only caveat being that it does not come with pictures to help with comprehension.

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