Undervalued Spotlight #105

Avengers #8, Marvel Comics, September 1964

For this spotlight I though I’d go through the Avengers title and try to pick out a sleeper that no one seems to be focusing on. With the Avengers movie releasing next May a lot of collecting attention has been turning to the Avengers title. Things should heat up even more over the coming months.

The usual suspects like Avengers #1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 11, 16, 57, 71, 83, 87, 93 and 100 always perform well but are there any issues being overlooked?

I want to argue the case for Avengers #8 the issue that introduces the villain Kang the Conqueror. Kang is a classic Avengers foe; it would not surprise me the least bit if we see him in an upcoming Avengers movie!

IGN.com places Kang as the 65th greatest comic villain of all time. Kang ranks higher than classic villains like Carnage, Mandarin, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Mysterio, Mr. Freeze, Sandman, Clayface and Electro while finishing only a few places behind the likes of Poison Ivy, the Lizard and the Riddler.

Kang is a fan favorite too. On the Marvel website character Powergrid Kang’s fan votes are higher for every category except speed. Kang fans score his intelligence, strength, durability, energy projections and fighting skills higher than the score Marvel has set. Fans love Kang!

You couldn’t ask for a better creative team. The one and only Stan Lee scripts and Jack Kirby pencils. Kirby also draws the cover to Avengers #8 while Marvel legend Dick Ayers gets inking credits. Ayers also inked the interior 21 page story “Kang the Conqueror”. Kang would appear again in Avengers #11 and goes on to grace the covers of many future Avengers issues. Personally my favorite Bronze Age Avengers cover is the Kang dominated Avengers #129.

Avengers #8 (with #6) is the cheapest of the first 10 Avengers. The first 10 issues of all the major Marvel Silver Age runs are always in high demand. High grade copies of any Avengers from #1 to 10 are prized but you may just find some good deals on the sleeper that is Avengers #8.

A quick jump onto CGC and GPA shows what I mean. A CGC graded 9.2 Avengers #8 can be bought for around 1.5X guide while a CGC 9.2 copy of Avengers #9 will set you back over 2X guide even though there are less CGC 9.2s of Avengers #8 (12 #8s vs. 16 #9s).

Who is Kang the Conqueror?

Nathaniel Richards is a 30th century scholar from an alternate earth timeline. Richards first appeared as Pharaoh Rama-Tut in Fantastic Four #19 (October 1963). Rama-Tut next appeared in Fantastic Four Annual #2 (1964) where his meeting with Dr. Doom led him to take the Kang persona. Though Kang is Nathaniel Richard’s second incarnation it is Kang and not Rama-Tut that has left a lasting legacy in the Marvel Universe.

Kang is no one-off villain of the 1960s. He’s been a part of dozens of Marvel story lines including the 1st Young Avengers arc in 2006. Though continuity is an issue for modern Kang fans (there are more than a few versions of Kang the Conqueror today) I do see Marvel shoring up the character’s history as the Avengers team takes center stage in the years to come. Kang is a genius, Kang is feared, Kang has conquered and Kang is one of the most powerful foes the Avengers have ever faced. Kang is good for the Avengers.

The 41st edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $273$537$800 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • Intro Kang the Conqueror, a major Avengers villain
  • Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creative team
  • Avengers issue under #10, will always be in demand
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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Stephen B. Keisman
Stephen B. Keisman
12 years ago

Sorry Walt,With thousands of GA and SA of oollectible
merit and concern, i dont give a damn about Marvel
and its cabel of sheep!!

Stephen B. Keisman
Stephen B. Keisman
12 years ago

Walt, its incomprehensible to me with so many GA and SA comics with artistic, social, cultural, historical
merit, and are rare or scarce are under valued due to
race for topgradeitis! Just to slab any piece of crap
and alot of pr about Marvel really pisses me! A dont
mean to diminish Marvels contribution in the overall
tHistory of comics but i have never seen such propagander in pushing the same old titles over and over!Bestest, Stephen.

12 years ago

Stephen, I know Walt is always looking for submissions to the Undervalued Spotlight. Perhaps you could send in a couple to him for consideration from the vast number of GA and SA comics with artistic,social,cultural,and historical merit. They would need to be Undervalued to the Overstreet price guide (per the Spotlight mantra) and of course not be from Marvel. I’m a bit of an old Marvel/ Timely/Atlas zombie myself, however I know there are lots of other great books from other publishers. Please recommend some.


12 years ago

The fact is, you can point to any nuance and declare it’s importance:

• First time Mr. Fantastic stretched his neck.
• First time Wolverine said, “I’m the best there is…”
• First time Nick Furys gun was used as sexual innuendo as he’s making out with a girl.
• First time Spidey looked muscular.
• First time they used Photoshop to colour panels.
• First time time the price changed to 12¢, 15¢, 20¢ (I still find it hard to comprehend the 35¢ variant… big deal).

Scarcity or “firsts” are a bit of a red herring. White diamonds are not the rarest jewel but it’s the demand that makes them valuable. If De Beers ever decides to switch gears and push emeralds and opals instead, the perception would change… but white diamonds would still be the same in terms of their quantity, quality and usage (or lack thereof).

The value of Undervalued Spotlight is the nostalgia and the insightful way Walter rationalizes his pics, both of which is a nod to history. You don’t have to agree with all his pics to enjoy it.

I have to say, I’m not crazy about Av#8 because Kang = time travel = confusion or the usual “cause and effect” storyline… but that’s just me.

Bottom line is, buy books you like. If you’re in it for investment, stick to the popular books because they have the demand and are thus are liquid. Don’t buy junk just because they are scarce… a rare turd is still a turd.

Come on Walt, when are we gonna publish your first 100? You’ve got the content so half the work is already done. I’ll layout it all out and we can shop it around… or better yet, we can self publish:


50/50 partner?

Stephen B. Keisman
Stephen B. Keisman
12 years ago

Hi guys!Walt please note dumb spelling of propaganda in my last message! Sorry PTSD got in way. Nam.
Rarity,Demand,Condition i know i know. And i love Timely/Atlas/Marvel But a lot of this just buy it because of mindless slabbing drives me nuts!!
Ok, start off with Hi-Spot#2 Hawley Publ. David Innes
of Pellucidar by Burroughs(Edgar, not William of course) Also has a oomic book adapt. of The Sea Wolf by Jack London! More later. Bestest,Stephen

Ethan Roberts
Ethan Roberts
10 years ago

Is this the Steve Keisman that attended the first comic book convention in World History on July 27, 1984? If so, please get in touch with me. I attended as well. I am putting together a panel to celebrate the 50th anniversary of that event to be held during the New York Comic Con (NYCC) between October 9 – 12, 2014. If you are please contact me by e-mail at [email protected].

stephen b. keisman
stephen b. keisman
10 years ago
Reply to  Ethan Roberts

thanks walter. ethan, call 954-431-7943.