Undervalued Spotlight #295

cap vol 5 11Captain America Vol. 5 #11

Time for another great Guest Spotlight from the indomitable lion that is Mike Huddleston. Mike’s on his way out to the east coast of Canada for some fishing; my bet is he’s got a secret stash of comics coming with him for when the fish just aren’t biting. They’ll be in that false drawer in his tackle box where he keeps the cat nip; it gets cold out on the lake early in the morning. Mike’s picks are always top notch and this contribution is no exception.


**SPOILER ALERT** There are some details of the Captain America Civil War movie in this post.

Today’s Undervalued Spotlight takes a book from Captain America’s fabulous Winter Soldier storyline. I’m a sucker for a good origin story so I picked Captain America issue #11 and part 3 of the Winter Soldier story as our featured book.

This issue details the origin of the Winter Soldier, and what actually had happened to Bucky Barnes instead of his apparent death back in World War II. Captain America obtains a file on the Winter Soldier and reads it. It is presented dossier style to us throughout the book, as Captain America discovers to his horror, how his friend survived and suffered unending torture and brainwashing at the hands of his captures, and how they turned him in to a lethal assassin. It is a pivotal point in the Winter Soldier story. The story was not told in the second Captain America movie. It is told in Cap’s third and current movie – Captain America Civil War, and it is almost a direct lift from this comic to the screen. A credit to the strong writing by Ed Brubaker. This book also plays an equally pivotal role in the movie.

So here we have an all-around excellent comic book with great art and story featuring the well-respected creative team of Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting. The whole Winter Soldier story has been used in two wildly successful movies in the past five years. Back issue demand for these comics should be high. Comics in the bins or on the walls at higher prices.

The 45th Overstreet Price guide value for our spotlight book is… 9.2 $4.00

That is correct. Actually this is the Overstreet value for all of the books in the Winter Soldier arc (Issues #8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14). You can pretty well buy any of them for the same price as the day they hit the comic store over 10 years ago, or less if you can find them in the bargain bin.

The lack of back issue demand is not a new story, but it is a cautionary one. Back issues have not been adding value to themselves for some time now. Why?

  1. I think the additional purchasing options for comic books has really hurt the back-issue market. Digital and Trade paperbacks with collected arcs being the prime culprits. Digital you read the book on your computer, tablet, phone, cheaply and with no storage – done. Trades are even more popular. The whole story arc in one book. JK Rowling proved people would wait for stories they were engaged in. 6-8 months for a trade – no problem. Lots of others to buy while I wait.
  2. This may be chicken and egg but most comic shops only pay a fraction (.10 – .25) of the price of a new comic. This was OK when a book cost a buck or two. Today with exchange these books can cost over $5 – not so good. You can usually make a much better deal with a Trade paperback by either selling or trading it back to your dealer.
  3. Is adding a hologram or a #1 to the cover the only way to make a comic a collectible now?

You can see creators are concerned about the comic as a collectible in the future as well. Ed Brubaker for one adds content to his comics that “is exclusive to the comic” not to be part of a trade paperback and it is usually quite personal in nature.

I am going to make the bet that someday collecting and owning high quality comics and story arcs like those contained in Captain America’s the Winter Soldier will win out. There is only a very small downside to tracking down and collecting these books, and I think you will find they are some of the best comic books you have ever purchased.

Reasons for buying this/these books as an investment:

  • Great story and art by the Brubaker/Epting team
  • Storyline is part of two great comic-book movies
  • High quality comics and still “cheap as chips”
  • Print runs for these books are still historically low

Mike Huddleston
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.

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8 years ago

Mike, do you have a rough ballpark on what kind of print run this book might have had?
I think its easy to think older is always scarcer due to attrition, but on the other hand I was flipping through a small collection I had bought last week, and one off them, Tales to Astonish #97, had the annual publisher’s circulation statement in it. If memory serves, “single issues nearest to filing date” was about 467,000!
No wonder the May 1968 explosion happened; the anthology titles were popular!
And of course, mid-grade copies are reasonably priced and among the easiest silver Marvel to find and obtain.
If Bucky’s Winter Soldier character remains relevant in storylines, I could see where a nice tight copy might cost a few more bucks 15 years or so from now. (And sooner, but I’m talking about a good-sized price gap).
I could see it; I may not stockpile in anticipation, but a copy won’t hurt.

mel taylor
mel taylor
8 years ago

For anybody who loves Brubaker and Epting, I suggest they dive into Velvet from Image comics. These guys create some of the most intelligent and elegant comics I’ve ever read, and I’ve been reading and collecting comics for 56 years.