Undervalued Spotlight #372

Fantastic Four Annual #5, Marvel Comics, November 1967

Comic Annuals have been a neglected collecting strain for years now but thanks to the “pick and choose” mentality of the new collectors and investors specific issues, if they can offer up something enticing, have been finding favor in the marketplace.

This week I’ll focus on a book I feel should be more sought after than it is. It’s a book that brings lots and lots to the table multiple selling points and the cumulative result is hard to ignore. This week I’d like to shine the Spotlight on Fantastic Four Annual #5.

Fantastic Four Annual #5 features some very recent add-ons to the FF canon and thus delivers very early appearances of the Inhumans, the Black Panther and the Silver Surfer.

Divide and Conquer is a 30 page Lee/Kirby epic that features the FF, Black Panther, the Inhumans and the 1st appearance of the villain Psycho-Man. Later in the book we get the 12 page Lee/Kirby gem The Peerless Power of the Silver Surfer, Surfer’s 1st solo story.

The issue throws more at us including some great Kirby pin-up pages and we get Reed announcing that Sue Richards is pregnant (with Franklin). It’s square bound white cover makes high grade copies look stunning.

Relative to the Guide the book is a bargain on the markets, a CGC 9.2 recently sold for $200 (just over 70% of Guide) while a CGC 9.4 fetched what looks like a bargain at $239.

Though Fantastic Four Annual #5 does not deliver one giant reason to own this book it does deliver many worthy ones. If we are to believe that substance will always find it’s way to the front then we should be looking for a copy of this book and it’s lack of love at the moment makes it a good time to pick up some solid high grade copies.

The 47th Overstreet price break for this book is $83/$182/$280 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • 1st solo Silver Surfer story
  • Early appearances of Silver Surfer, Black Panther and Inhumans
  • 1st Appearance Psycho-Man

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

Always thought so, Walt! First solo Surfer was my driver, but that lead story is really an Inhumans/Black Panther team-up, and early appearances of both.
Also for your consideration — ASM annual 25, first solo Venom story. This one ought to at least rise out of the dollar bins.

Chris Meli
6 years ago

Eventually I am going to be banned for my pessimism, but here goes…

I don’t agree. My thoughts:

Pros: Great cover, and as discussed many times, this is important if you can never open the book. (As an aside, that concept usually is associated with slabbing, but I think the bigger driver is simply cost vs. condition. Even if a book isn’t slabbed, if it is worth over $100 and is in NM- or better condition, who is ever going to open it?) The first solo Surfer story is meaningful (but following on Readcomix’s comment, if ASM Annual #25 is going nowhere, why should the first solo Surfer story?). I think the Franklin Richards “first appearance” argument is stronger (like the “first Venom” in Web of Spider-Man #18?). The early appearances of the other characters are of course a plus. And I totally agree that high-grade square-bound books from this era really have a striking appearance. (I focus on the 50-cent 100-page DC issues.) I don’t think Psycho Man is much of an argument (“Is it too late to change the name?”).

Cons: The minor con is that it’s an Annual. While I agree that the current “pick and choose” approach helps these, I don’t see a lot of help, as the Annuals in significant demand are either #1s of big titles or contain a key first appearance. (Perhaps my favorite annual of all time is Avengers Annual #7, but it has gone exactly nowhere.) I think either or both of the Surfer story and first Franklin Richards would have had more traction on prices if they had occurred in the main series.

The big con is that this book is COMMON. The CGC census peaks at 9.4 with 57 copies in that grade. This tells me that there are a LOT of ungraded copies out there, and this population is a sink for whoever just wants to own the book. My general rule is that I won’t touch a book below the CGC peak, because there are still people making the 2002 mistake that the CGC census is frozen. Given price and demand, I’m willing to accept that there aren’t a lot more very high grade (>9.2) copies available, and that $250 is a fair price for a 9.4, but unless the Franklin Richards thing takes off or another key aspect emerges, there are going to be plenty of nice copies of this book to be had. I don’t argue that it can’t see appreciation, but I do argue that it isn’t worthy of a spotlight.

In the current and near future market, I think you have to have a big hook if you are going to argue that 1960s Marvel that is common in high grade is undervalued, and this book doesn’t have one. And if you just generally buy the argument that all of these Marvel “run books” (this looks to me like a “run book”) are undervalued, I’d not focus on any one issue, but just continue to bid low on the less common issues and take what I can get. (As I am already out of storage, I am out of this game.)

6 years ago

Like this pick. I decided to get a nice high grade raw copy last year. If Silver Surfer was on the cover I think this annual would get more love in the market. Still this book has plenty of key issue goodness going for it.

6 years ago

I like this book but as an investment, do all the little things add up to it being a key? Of course not, but with the Fox buy out, I’d say anything FF related has potential as speculators start to mine a rich but somewhat neglected series. It would be nice if Marvel Cinema could pay tribute to Kirby by making an FF movie based around his sensibilities (psychedelic colours and patterns, the crackle and chunky tech…). What a visual treat that would be.

6 years ago

I have always marvelled at how little love these annuals get.I love this book.I picked up a stellar 9.6 a few years ago.You would think that the first solo Silver Surfer would be enough to rev this book up all by itself! Pin ups galor as well!