Undervalued Spotlight #339

Forever People #1, DC Comics February/March 1971

This week’s Undervalued Spotlight shines on Jack Kirby’s seminal Forever People #1.

I was drawn to Forever People #1 as I was reading about the online April fool’s joke that had Matt Damon playing Darkseid in the upcoming Justice League movie. At least I think it was an April fool’s joke? Anyway the point is there’s excitement building around the movie and around the Darkseid character.

I’ve also been reading on other sites that Darkseid’s appearance in the movie will be minor, that DC will build up the character like Marvel has done with the cinematic Thanos (Thanos, is of course a swipe of Darkseid).

Forever People #1 features the 1st full appearance of Darkseid. I’ve actually had this book in my “future spotlights” page for a few years but when the book started heating up I backed off.

The reason Forever People #1 made it back into the green light pile is that, well, it’s been losing value. Back in 2015 CGC 9.6 copies averaged $832, last sale was $515. Also back in 2015 CGC 9.4 copies averaged $519, last sale was $414.

I see the drop in value as an opportunity, I think this is a good time to jump on and snag a nice tight copy.

I remember Peter Chin posted a great CBD article on 1st appearances versus brief 1st appearances, in that post Peter covered books like Hulk #180 versus Hulk #181 and Jimmy Olsen #134 versus Forever People #1. That one panel of Darkseid in Jimmy Olsen #134 is still propelling the market when it comes to Darkseid, the last CGC 9.4 sold for $1800 recently.

The key here I think will be the Justice League movies and their ability to propel Darkseid to his rightful place as one of the big villains of comicdom. Once that is accomplished more light will shine on his comic book appearances and a new wave of collectors and investors will see the dis-connect in the importance of Forever People #1 and its value.

The 46th Overstreet price break for this book is $89/$195/$300 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment.

  • 1st full appearance Darkseid
  • Market’s current focus on Jimmy Olsen #134 should correct

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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6 years ago

I like this one, Walt, but this is likely an own ’em both scenario. JO134 doesn’t need a market correction as its much tougher in grade than Forever People #1, whereas both Hulks are roughly comparably available in a range of grades.
It’s also easy to get myopic when looking at these “which is the true key” scenarios….Sure, nobody wants to be wrong and miss out on the top pick, but there’s plenty of books far less worth owning in multiples than a stack of Hulk #180, for instance.
I agree that in the emerging Darkseid frenzy, FP1 is the “upside” book; but I don’t see a need to dump 134’s either.

6 years ago

Let’s start by saying that I have spent far more time in my life considering this book than is sensible. So I certainly agree that it is a top choice to _consider_ for the Spotlight. But is it “Undervalued”? Walt is exactly right that the key is the movies. If Matt Damon can work his screen magic in the way that his buddy did with Daredevil and some other comic book character (slips my mind), then this book will head up – otherwise we will have to wait for Paul Reubens to take over the role.

But seriously folks, it is fun to think about this book because there are many other related books to bring into the mix, which are: Jimmy Olsen #134 (of course), Jimmy Olsen #133, Mister Miracle #1 and New Gods #1, and the big gorilla, Iron Man #55. You need to arrange your personal pantheon of these to determine what Forever People #1 is worth to you. My personal peeve (and I know that Walt noted this in 2014) is the relative price of JO #133. Yes of course we are talking about Darkseid and his admitted knock-off here, but I am more drawn by “KIRBY IS HERE!” and its meaning for the history of comics. JO #133 is a milestone, with Darkseid currently the most meaningful exponent of the psychedelic arc that that issue started. Furthermore, as I was a kid when these books were published, I can tell you that I bought some copies of Mister Miracle and New Gods (and then had absolutely no idea what to make of them), but neither I nor any of my friends would have touched Jimmy Olsen – he was just some guy! My point is that this leads me to believe that JO #133 is pretty rare (maybe the rarest?) out of this whole group. In the CGC census there are 441 copies of FP #1 down to 9.0; there are 46 copies of JO #133 down to 9.0.

Now that I got that off my chest: more generally I think all of the above books are great, and I think Walt is right that now is the time to pursue FP #1 if you are so inclined. But I would only do this if you share my love of all of the Kirby books, and equally pursue MM #1, NG #1, etc. I think the poor track record of studios other than Disney in dealing with characters (particularly complex characters like Darkseid) is so bad that Walt’s saying “once that is accomplished” is extremely optimistic. I think a more fundamental argument is that if the comic collecting hobby really has legs, the DC Kirby books will continue to gain ground as long-term keys.

Finally I have to say that I am comfortable with JO #134 being viewed as “first appearance”, and I am not strongly swayed by these “first _full_ appearance” appellations. JO #134 has other things going for it as well: as Readcomix points out, this book is about three times rarer in grade than FP #1 (probably in equal parts because it is dark, and because of Jimmy Olsen shunning), giving it more cachet, and instead of friendly smiling hippies on the cover, it has an EC-esq Adams cover that very much fits current appetites. My emotional response is that, with about the same number of JO #134s down to CGC 9.6 as there are FP #1s in CGC 9.8, for the same price I’d be happier with the JO #134 9.6.

6 years ago

I think this book compared to JO #134 is undervalued. I believe that an appearance on screen should give this book the boost it needs. I agree that if he 1st appeared in a more popular title it would bring more money and demand with collectors. I picked up a raw VF copy last year. So hopefully I will get a price bump in the future market. Also, don’t sleep on New Gods #2 either being Darkseid’s 1st cover & 2nd full appearance.

Steve V.
Steve V.
6 years ago

When Jolly Jack Kirby had a falling out with smiling Stan Lee, left marvel, moved to California and wanted a big DC raise $, as well as unfettered creative control of a title, he was assigned Jimmy Olsen. But apparantly creative control did not extend to drawing superman which was ghosted in Jimmy Olsen by Murphy Anderson. For me 4th world was about Jack Kirby churning out charactors on a pace of one a week in awsome colorful costumes. 4th world for me was not about well written stories.

Beautiful dreamer was original but not a deep charactor. During the original Kirby run, Beautiful Dreamer had been linked romantically to Mark Moonrider, although outside of hand-holding, the exact nature of their relationship was never directly specified. Years later after Kirby, it was shown, Beautiful Dreamer in Superman & Batman: Generations 3, marries Superman, and has his children, Lar-El and Vara. All three are killed by Darkseid.

CHRISMELI SAYS. My point is that this leads me to believe that JO #133 is pretty rare (maybe the rarest?) out of this whole group. In the CGC census there are 441 copies of FP #1 down to 9.0; there are 46 copies of JO #133 down to 9.0

I agree with Chrismeli that Forever People #1 with 441 copies CGCed 9.0 and above is not so collectable, compared with the rarer Jimmy Olsens that were the true first appearances and starting title for Jack Kirbys 4th world. For something to be undervalued, future demand should outpace supply, so scarcer books are the onces that i give preference to, for undervaluatiion potential. I totally get Jimmy Olsen #133!

Beautiful Dreamer is far stronger that any earth woman and skilled hand-to-hand combatant as are all children of New Genesis. She has psionic powers, with which she can create illusions.

Big Bear is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant, Big Bear is among the strongest of the children of New Genesis, making him superstrong by human standards, capable of bending steel and hurling giant redwood trees almost effortlessly. Big Bear’s atomic structure is reinforced by a constant flow of so-called high-density atoms, and he is able to store an excess of free-flowing atoms which he can direct at will to reinforce the power of his already awesome punch. In Forever People #7, he was shown to have been responsible for the historical event that led to the legend of King Arthur.

NATHAN SAYS. I think this book compared to JO #134 is undervalued.

I feel that the cover of Forever People #1 is very iconic having wacky coloful costumes and a motorized trike tricycle popping off the page.

WALLY SAYS. 4th World stuff seems like a segregated block of books.

I agree 4th world and Kamandi, as aJack Kirby product form a separate category, of collectable Kirby creations.

Mark Moonrider has superhuman strength, resistance and reflexes, with a keen mind, has good leadership skills and is well-trained in hand-to-hand combat. He possesses a Megaton Touch. With it, he can cause a tremendous explosion, and no doubt he could easily kill with it if he and his companions were not sworn never to take a life. Used at low intensity, it can cause a severe shock. On one occasion he used his megaton touch to turn solid rock into molten lava.

Serifan is the youngest member of the group. He is usually the most vulnerable. In his hatband Serifan carries “cosmic cartridges” that serve various purposes when fired from his revolver. For example, the cartridges can be used to create a protective shock-repelli-field, to create an anti-gravity effect, to generate high gravitational force, to generate intense heat, to power a vehicle, or to stun an opponent. Although all of the cartridges have never been catalogued, those seen in action have uses such as being able to generate an anti-gravitational force, create force fields, tune the wielder into the “cosmic Harmony” that is linked to the Source, and, in the case of the “Blue Cartridge,” allow Deadman to merge with a “Follower” and have a body of his own once again.

Vykin, throughout the Kirby run, Vykin was referred to as “Vykin the Black”. He was the first black superhero to appear in a DC comic book, preceding Kirby’s Black Racer by approximately seven months.

Vykin the Black possesses “magno-power”, which enables him to project magnetic energy. He can mentally trace atomic patterns, and is therefore good at tracking. Like all New Gods, his physical strength, endurance and reflexes, is several times higher that of the humans, also has a keen mind and is a skilled hand-to-hand combatant. It is Vykin who carries the Forever People’s Mother Box, a kind of sentient computer.

Infinity-Man is Drax, the older brother of Uxas, who would later become Darkseid of Apokolips, and became the Infinity-Man after treachery at the hands of Uxas while attempting to harness the Omega Force for himself.

As charactors Forever people had potential, but from 1971 to 2017, that potential never made for much real story success. The whole concept of forever people is sort of a regenerated Kirby version of the X-men, with differences, but no definate advantages for stories or story telling. In fact, the new X-men in 1977 made the 1971 Forever People forgotten charactors for almost a generation. The superior story telling of Chris Claremont at marvel for the X-men left the Forever People in a cloud of dust.

It is hard for me to accept something as undervalued that has been mostly forgotten. The Forever people are better now called The
Forgotten people. Rather than undervalued, i would call The Forever People under-achievers.

Stevie V.

Steve V.
Steve V.
6 years ago

I previously said….its hard for me to accept something as undervalued that has been mostly forgotten. The Forever people are better now called TheForgotten people. Rather than undervalued, i would call The Forever People under-achievers.

The Fourth World saga then spanned four comic book series:

Firstly, New Gods, which really focused on Orion and his war against Darkseid, but probed more into the other New Gods of New Genesis as well.

Secondly, Mr. Miracle, which focused on Scott Free, who escaped from the clutches of Darkseid and went to Earth to work as an escape artist. Of course, the forces of Darkseid followed him.

Thirdly, The Forever People, featuring the youth of New Genesis — Mark Moonrider, Vykin the Black, Serafin, Big Bear, and Beautiful Dreamer — who, by focusing their energies and saying “Taaru!” could summon The Infinity Man! (It’s kind of like Captain Planet, except with just one word instead of five separate words and a whole sentence, and the Forever People act like
hippies, man.)

Lastly, Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, which Kirby agreed to take on in exchange for launching the three new titles. It’s actually in this series that Darkseid makes his first appearance, but as it’s Jimmy Olsen, Superman appears in quite a good portion of it. It’s here that Cadmus, the genetics labortatory that’s become ubiquitous in most Superman comics since, was introduced, and the Newsboy Legion, featuring some child characters from the 40s that Kirby did with Joe Simon, reappeared. (Another Simon/Kirby creation, the Guardian, reappeared here too.) It also highlighted the silly side of things, and even featured Don Rickles for a couple of issues.

From the basic construction of the concept alone, you can see Kirby’s literary aspirations and artistic ambitions. Aside from the very elaborate mechanics of how New Genesis and Apokolips worked and interacted, Kirby even named most of his characters to be allusions to something with more cache. Izaya evokes the biblical Isiah. Orion is named after the Greek huntsman and the constellation.

The four titles ran concurrently and were built up with a specific vision, and it was like nothing ever seen before.

Jimmy Olsens that were the true first appearances and starting title for Jack Kirbys 4th world. For something to be undervalued, future demand should outpace supply, so scarcer books are the onces that i give preference to, for undervaluatiion potential. I totally get highest potential for Jimmy Olsen #133!

So my opinion of potential upside 2017 values for 4th world big 4 title keys are:

Jimmy Olsen # 133. First 4th worid $ 1,000 Jimmy Olsen # 134. 1st Darkseid $ 900 jimmy Olsen # 135. 2nd Darkseid $ 150
Mr.Miricle #1 (first of longest 18 iss.run) $190
Forever People #1.(3rd app.Darkseid) $350
New Gods #1. (4th app. Darkseid) $200

Worthy of mention(non 4th world)
Kamandi #1. $ 400

Stevie V.

Steve V.
Steve V.
6 years ago

WALLY SAYS…..JO #133 to start closing the price gap on JO #134. It’s still very much a character driven market.

I say….Charactors can be new or renewed. Jimmy O has always been supermans also-rand and gotten no respect. Superman guides for $1000 and comparable Jimmy Olsens for $100. Something is wrong there!

Any thing with Jimmy Olsen is worth a fraction of Superman, even if better artist, better story and more rareity. Jimmy Olsen is the most undervaled charactor in comics 100% by far!

I have always felt Superman to be the most overvalued book in the guide. I have always felt Jimmy Olsen to be the most under valued book in the guide. For the same month Superman books guide for 10 x that of Jimmy Olsen.

Superman gets super respect and super prices. Jimmy O is treated as a cheap joke. He gets no respect as Rodney Dangerfield or Don Rickels would say!

I heard marvel was looking to introduce more spiderman books. Two exciting fresh new titles. They were Spiderman’s pal Flash Thompson, and Spidermans girlfriend Mary Jane, but Marvel felt they would not command reader respect. Maybe Marvel brass read Wally’ s post. Maybe – Not charactor driven enough! Maybe a title called Spider hoards of Apokolips, with a batch of 20 new charactors might sell??

Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #133 is inventive. In a mere 22 pages, in his debut comic book during his 1970s tenure at DC Comics, Jack “The King” Kirby let loose his creative energies and hurled one new idea after another at our tender, unprepared noggins, and those of us who “got” it, those of us who didn’t compare this wild new material to his Marvel stuff with Stan Lee, those of us who were amused by his oft-corny interpretation of the youth culture… well, we were changed forever.

Jimmy O #133 was a prelude to the cosmic mythology by Kirby.

Jimmy O #133 was the first of the new story arc —made up of a 55-issue super sized tale. 4 titles – 55 issues. Due to complexities and interconnectivity, those 55 issues of self contained interconnected stories form a world of their own. Not the 4th dimension but the Fourth World.

The orange-colored Cover to Jimmy Olsen #133 “first” issue was both Orange and unique with California style mortorcycle popping off the page.

To me, The Forever people #1 cover, several months later, was a cover swipe of Jimmy Olsen #133 with motorcycle popping outward.

I hold the Jimmy Olsen #133 book in the highest regard of, at least, the entire JO run. Because of its inventiveness, first DC Kirby and start of the 4th world, which changed comics forever.

In fact i consider Jimmy Olsen #133, the first bronze age book.–On Sale Date: Aug. 25, 1970

But JO #133 was prelude to the 4th world of Apokolips. We get the first inklings of the encroachment of Darkseid and his hordes of Apokolips,

We also get the reintroduction of a bona fide Kirby Kid Gang, The Newsboy Legion. Only now the group has left the gritty despair of Suicide Slum, and instead lives in an amazing futuristic new world of Kirby’s imagination… the best kind of nostalgia and yet not looking back.

And, the Newsby Legion led to a revitalized Golden Avenger, a character reintroducted in that story

What I need to realize is it’s best just to be swept away by Jack’s uncharted creativity. Not worry about whether he drew Lightray’s mask correctly or how Scott Free just happened to be outside Thaddeus Brown’s house at a pivotal moment… I need to let go, let Kirby be Kirby, and be grateful to join the ride and not worry about unimportant matters like continuity and exact location.

What is important is that Kirby arrived at DC Comics with charactors jumping from his drawing pencil’, his imagination unleashed as never before. Think… Darkseid, Super-War, the Anti-Life Equation, Infinity Man, Scott Free, Glorious Godfrey, Granny Goodness, the Pact, Himon, Bug, Kalibak, Glory Boat.

So, as you can see, I hold JO #133 in the highest esteem.

DC published the trio of legendary “orange covers” published between 1968 and ’71, and their super-groovy contents: Wonder Woman #179 [Nov.-Dec. 1968], where Mike Sekowsky began a spectacular run re-inventing Diana Prince as a comic-book Emma Peel; and Superman #233 [Jan. 1971], with Denny O’Neil’s great Orange Cover reboot of the Supes mythos, aided by superb “Swanderson” art (and one of Neal Adams’s finest covers); along with the extremely Orange Jimmy O #133 cover !

These 3 Orange DC covers are a few clear rebuild of the Very Orange Showcase #4. As a wall book i envisage Jimmy Olsen #133″and Showcase #4 side by side.

I love Kirby’s Superman, especially his character, his dialogue. Kirby’s Superman is the “best” Superman seen since the Superman in the first ten issues of Action Comics. My regret is that in the first few issues of JO, more than Superman’s face which was being redrawn, it was the whole damn figure. Many panels which should have been classics (including several of Kirby’s extreme foreshortened straight at the viewer flying shots) are reduced by the DC house style.

Just imagine issue #133, page 19, panel four, as drawn by Kirby.

Kirby’s Jimmy Olsen was a chance to see Kirby working an assignment within the confines of being required to revive the dying sales of Jimmy Olsen..

Kirby was able to retain some of the essence of the “classic” Jimmy Olsen, while making the title his own.

Olsen as Hell’s Angel, The Giant Green-K Olsen, Goody Rickels, Transilvane, and other aspects captured the funky weirdness of the early ’70s Olsen while being distinctly Kirby creations.

The other three 4th world titles are very different in tone from JO,. JO adds a silly fun, to that comic title, like Superman lifting a green car on the cover of Action Comics #1. Jimmy O #133 has a charming goofyness, a lightness which is absent, or muted in the other three 4th world books. It is most fun!

New Gods, was serious , Mister Miracle, dramatic nailbiting , Forever People, new charactors for the sake of new charactors.

I feel collectors focus too much price-value on minor first charctor appearances, in hopes of a new movie elevating those charactors, where a bonefide new-direction first issue gets no respect! I say with absolute certainty, Jimmy O #133 is the Action # 1 of the 1970’s !

Stevie V.

Donato Congialdi
Donato Congialdi
6 years ago

Jimmy Olsen # 135 to me,is the 1st true appearance of Darkseid.He is in more than 1 panel…this book gets no love at all IMO..