Undervalued Spotlight #301

detective comics 300Detective Comics #300, DC Comics, February 1962

I can explain.

Last week I posted the 300th Undervalued Spotlight but purposely didn’t pick an issue #300 because I thought that a little predictable. That decision came to me after I had already spent some time looking at several potential #300 candidates. One really stuck with me and rather than see it go to waste I thought I’d fiendishly slip it into this week’s Spotlight.

So I awkwardly present Detective Comics #300 as this week’s Undervalued Spotlight.

Of the first 300 Detective’s this (along with #299) has the cheapest Guide value which is puzzling since it is DC’s first #300 issue and deserves at least a little more attention than it has been getting. Oddly Detective (and Action) #’s 100, 200 and 300 didn’t get any special cover treatment from DC. These days milestones like 100th issue, 200th appearance or 300th Spotlight get milked for every last drop of marketing potential.

Anniversary issues like this carry a bit more weight when they can lean on current continuity and there are not many titles left that can do this. DC has gone back to the old numbering system with Detective Comics putting the title about 5 years away from reaching the milestone 1,000th issue. Issue #300 sounds just that much more collectible when you’re holding issue #935 in your hands.

The Detective Comics is probably the Holy Grail title in comics collecting and is definitely hot in today’s market, especially the long dormant era that started in the late 1940s and ended around the birth of Marvel in the early 1960s. Most of these issues from this decade and a half contributed very little to the Batman stable of characters. The thing with books from this era is their very real lack of supply especially in grades of 8.0 or above. Add to this the fact that Batman has never been bigger, copies of his old comics never more sought after, currently this era has many bargains.

To prove my point I jumped on the CGC census and saw only 35 graded Detective #300s as of this post of which only 6 were 9.2 or better with nothing above a 9.4. I then jumped over to GPA and saw that there were only 3 recorded trades of this book in the last 18 months. And as of this post there are zero copies available on the GPA string links.

Detective Comics #300 boasts some pretty cool firsts as well, check that crazy cover featuring the menacing Mr. Polka Dot. Mr. Polka Dot used the Polka Dots on his costume as weapons. That may sound lame but…   …   … yeah, it’s lame.

Detective Comics #300 also has an Aquaman back up story, the last one as the Aquaman title #1 had just hit the stands the same month. The Aquaman story introduces the villain Jeffers. Along with Aquaman there is a J’onn J’onzz backup story featuring the introduction of Aloysius Bean.

As I mentioned above there is squat to buy at the moment, the last CGC 8.5 that did sell only went for $176 which is just a bit above Guide which tells me the book can still be had for a bargain.

The 45th Overstreet price breaks for this book is $89/$195/$300 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

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

  • Anniversary issue
  • Part of one of the most collected titles in fandom
  • Three separate first appearances including the first Mr. Polka Dot

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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Eric K
Eric K
8 years ago

You may laugh now, but when the news leaks about Ben Affleck writing a part for Will Forte to appear as Polka Dot Man in the 2019 Batman movie………..

Charlie Kim
8 years ago

So like… I’m really confused.

Post 301 features #300, post 300 features #1. Number 1’s don’t matter anymore, but number 100, 200 and 300 do, except that DC gave these issues no special treatment, which makes them special cause these days round numbered issues are milked for their marketing potential. Although this series ended and restarted in 2012, it doesn’t count because volume 3 is actually volume 1 so that we can reach #1000 in 5 years, which will make it special because it will have been the 2nd title to reach #1000.

That’s a lot of numero’s to process… it’s blowing my mind.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
8 years ago

I gotta call you out on this one Walt…Weak weak weak !
Is there time to erase this post and go with Little Dot # 1 featuring Richie Rich’s first appearance?

8 years ago

I’ll be a little gentler and interpret Walt’s post based on his third point in his reply above; Detective from this era in general is scarce, undervalued, and increasingly appreciated. Picking #300 as symbolic because some segment of collectors likes anniversary issues (Guilty! And an undervalued anniversary for sure is Showcase #100).
That said, I was traveling last week and missed out on Cerebus. That’s much more “meh” to me. Yes, its symbolically important among niche books, groundbreaking, etc but so are Fantasy Quarterly #1 and Love and Rockets #1, which are much cheaper. This is already a top-tier bronze book.
I guess you can make the argument that its even more important than its current not negligible price point, but if you want to go that route, how about Mad #1, arguably the most influential non-superhero book ever? (I say arguably because one could make a case for Pep #22’s influence but its no longer exactly undervalued.)

Jim Finlay
8 years ago

I think you handled the crowd in your rebuttal quite well, Walter.
The ratio of collectors looking for the the next big score, to books still to be discovered is seems quite high these days and it looks like your ability to research and keep coming up with new books is strong but posting them is akin to feeding sharks by hand.
I appreciate any title with the longevity of the Batman title and hope it makes it to issue #1000 with a team-up with the Polka Dot Pirate.

Charlie Kim
8 years ago

I was just trying to be funny… Seemed like a lot of numbers to keep track of. Surely we can appreciate the nonsensical nature of our hobby…

They can claim that Action and Detective will reach 1000 but I don’t consider it a “true” 1000 (whatever “true” means). Any publisher can print a number on the cover but the real celebration is the actual achievement. If the title hasn’t achieved it’s claim, what meaning does 1000 have?

As for Det #300… I love most books from this era but as an investor, I’d like to see more interest in a book before placing my bet.

• Batman is good.
• Anniversary issue is good.
• 12¢ stamp is good.

Mr. Polka Dot? Well… I think I’d rather double down on a Hulk #181.

Eric K
Eric K
8 years ago

Like Charlie, my first comment was purely “For Entertainment Purposes Only”. I think this is a valid Spotlight choice. It is issue #300 of Batman’s first title. Common sense says that it should be valued slightly above a “normal” issue number regardless of the fact that DC didn’t treat it as a milestone. If a buyer sees #299 and #300 in equivalent grades and can only buy one of them, how many times is the sale going to #299? I think the majority of us are programmed to grab the #1, #100, #200, and #300.

I also agree on the points about the main character and the era. In other words, if you spend your back-issue dollars buying high grade, Silver Age comics of Batman or other similarly popular characters/titles, and you pay fair prices, it seems very unlikely that you’re going to lose your shirt in the process. A 1962 Batman comic is a rather “blue chip” type of investment. It may not gain 200% overnight, but it should be quite solid over time.

I own a Lois Lane #100 (only because I got it for practically nothing), which is another comic that received no special treatment from DC, but even THAT has gets a tiny bump in Overstreet above its surrounding issues! (I think it is around $5 higher, if I remember correctly.) And who is shopping for Lois Lane #100?…

Seriously, who? Please email me if you are. 🙂

I would not be at all surprised to see Detective #300 get a bump of a few dollars in Overstreet soon.

Dave Mackay
Dave Mackay
8 years ago
Reply to  Eric K

Hey …..Walt…any chance you’ll spotlight Sgt Fury it ‘s got a number 50 and a number 100 in the run….I think I overpaid for this run again at a 2015 convention……clearly I need help 🙂