Undervalued Spotlight #352

Daredevil #16, Marvel Comics, May 1966.

The back issue comic book market is robust these days. It seems there is healthy activity in almost all segments of the market, Golden, Silver, Bronze, Copper and Modern Age books continue to break records, the high grade market is nuts, the variant market is nuts, prices for key first appearances are beyond nuts. It’s safe to say the market has gone way past where most of us old timers thought it could go.

I’m going to interpret all these new buyers entering into the market clamoring for the good stuff” as a very healthy and sustainable trend. The only caveat I’d throw in is that the new buyers like to float in and out of books at a quicker rate than those collectors and investors of the old days meaning there is a bit more volatility in the market.

Prices for key 1st appearances seem to move farther out of reach by the hour, this has led to a healthy spillover of buyers looking around to see what else merits collecting. Times like these bring tons of opportunity to mine the comic book heaps of the past for little gems that have long been stagnant.

This post will dig up one of those old stalwart books that has for some reason been forgotten about in this chaos for all things 1st, different and perfect. I present this week’s Undervalued Spotlight as Daredevil #16.

Daredevil #16 is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many more we’ll explore over future Spotlight posts.

Daredevil #16 is the 1st John Romita work on Spider-Man, he also worked on #DD #17 and then very famously moved over to Amazing Spider-Man with #39. For me Spider-Man will always be that ‘perfect’ superhero creation delivering originality, mass appeal, approach-ability and a hundred other things that the market at large is heeding these days as Amazing Fantasy #15 (Spidey’s 1st appearance) sets new price record after new price record.

John Romita is looked upon by many as the definitive Spider-Man artist. Many can argue that others drew Spidey ‘better’ but it’s hard to argue the stamp Romita put on Spider-Man, Romita more than any other artist defined the character.

And that cover! Covers sell comics and they also deliver value in the marketplace. The gorgeous reds and blues of Spidey and Daredevil set atop the grey cityscape below is stunning, especially in high grade.

Again, this Spotlight is focusing on a comic that has always enjoyed demand but for whatever reason has stayed flat price wise over the past several years. My argument is that books like this are starting to break out. I can point to an example like Lois Lane #70, which enjoyed a price appreciation two decades ago but remained flat on the market for what appeared a lifetime but the book started reviving a few years ago and has enjoyed steady double-digit growth in value since.

Daredevil #16 is also poised for a nice little appreciation in value in my view. Over the past 3 years Daredevil #16 has floated up and down between $430 and $525 (with what looks like an $890 anomaly 2 sales ago). Copies graded 8.0 were trading for $225 in 2012 and are trading for $265 today, bargains for sure but I’m recommending you pay a bit more and aim for those tight, crisp and square to the corner 9.2s and 9.4s.

Daredevil #16 is a book with a hook, actually many hooks, it’s early Marvel, it’s a Spidey cross-over, it’s Romita’s 1st Spidey work, it’s boastful of a fantastic cover and it’s been languishing on the fringes of the market for too long.

The 46th Overstreet price break for this book is $124/$275/$425 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment.

  • 1st John Romita Spider-Man
  • Fantastic cover

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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Chris Meli
6 years ago

Hmm, I think this is an okay pick, but not a great one. Here’s why:

– The main justification of first Romita, while “meaningful”, doesn’t translate into value. Look at Amazing Spider-Man #39, which has basically done nothing for ten years. I have some “first Adams” books because I think they are meaningful, but I actually think it is a long shot that the market will wake up to this. Even if the market wakes up, there are lots of these types of keys to choose from.

– While a beautiful cover, it is not a “battle” cover. It seems like people want to see the good guys fighting with each other. Even real battle covers sometimes aren’t enough (e.g. Avengers #53).

– #16 is clearly prized over #15 and #17, so it’s not as if the cover has been overlooked. It’s hard to say exactly, but I’d say that it is priced about 2x in high grade.

– As I looked into this, I saw that coincidentally Amazing Spider-Man #16 is the first Daredevil crossover cover for that title. Leaving aside the Romita argument, if there was a real interest in the crossover I would expect it to be reflected in this book’s price. No dice. In high grades this book has been performing very poorly.

In conclusion I’d say that even at 2x the prices for #15 and #17, I’d rather have #16, but I can’t see a strong argument that it is undervalued.

David Mackay
David Mackay
6 years ago

Hey Walt…compare Romitas best villians created to Ditkos best spidey villians…no contest Mister. Romita just drew Spidey the “Marvel way”…ie the Kirby approach……very little new or lasting villians under Romita. Id suggest the Kingpin was his best invention.

mel taylor
mel taylor
6 years ago

Hey Walt
This strikes me as a rather good pick, not so much for the first Romita Spider-man, but for the first Daredevil crossover. I hesitate to admit it, but I’m one of the few people I know who thinks Romita should have stuck to romance comics and left the superheroes to the really heroic artists. His Spider-man was simply one of the biggest let-downs in my collecting life and pretty much put me off a character I had grown to love. I know a lot of people think Ditko’s art was a little bit dated thanks to his weird retro fashions, but he had a unique style all his own which I don’t think has ever been matched. And, trust me, I don’t imagine many people will agree with me on this.

cheers, mel

6 years ago

I find this scenario plausible. Not much mainstream silver age that’s terribly undervalued, so it’s not a bad bet. But I see nothing in the argument that is going to give it a “moment,” just slow and steady. Think dividend stock, not some high risk, high reward biotech play.

Dennis De Pues
6 years ago

If I was forced to make a decision regarding Romita or Ditko ,I would choose Romita, but I think it is primarily the nostalgia factor that does it for me when it comes to Spider-Man. Ditko is a master as is Romita, but I think the embellishment to the great villians Ditko created , added to the Spidey mythos. It’s like two totally different versions of the same character for me. Ditko is the early Spider-Man and Romita is the one that I walked in on.When I go from #38 to #39 it’s like walking through a time portal.From the late 50’s early 60’s to the swingin’ summer of love and the late sixties man on the moon vibe.That being said,I do love them both!
I think this issue is a great pick moving forward with a slow and steady rise.Either way it is a great book!

6 years ago

I like this book and it has a nice cover, but I think it will not see any major sell increases in the market. Maybe a little undervalued in high grade. I do see your point though in trying to find other types of good comics that people might be missing out on.