Undervalued Spotlight #377

More Fun Comics #104, DC Comics, July/August 1945.

I’ve started to focus my comic buying more towards covers. We’ve discussed the power of covers often on this site and I think cover appeal has a bright future in comic collecting.

CBD contributor and good pal Mike Huddleston was over the other day, we talked about all that is good in life, girls, hockey and comics. Mike brought up the topic of why early Superboy issues were worth more than early More Fun issues with Superboy in them. Great topic. I thought it perhaps had something to do with Supeboy not being on the cover of his early More Fun run.

I knew we were on to something, we just had to flush it out.

What are the most prominent 1st appearance issues that don’t feature the character in question on the cover? I’m too lazy to research but obviously our More Fun #101 with Superboy and most famously Archie’s 1st appearance in Pep Comics #22. Archie did’t get the full cover treatments until Pep Comics #36 (if we don’t count the little circle picture on the cover of Jackpot #4). Doc Strange is another one, he 1st appeared in Strange Tales #110 but never really got top billing cover treatment until #130 though he had countless little insets up until then (Strange Tales #118 being the 1st inset issue). Can you list a few more?

So all the talk above did lead me to a book, I’d like to feature More Fun #104 as this Week’s Undervalued Spotlight.

More Fun Comics #104 is I believe the 4th appearance of Superboy and its the 1st Superboy cover and… its currently undervalued.

Comparably, did you know Superboy #4 (9/10-1949), published over 4 years later has a guide value of $2,200. Did you know all the Superboy issues up to #10 have higher Guide values than More Fun #104? Did you also know Superboy #11 to #15 all have $1400 Guide values or just $100 less than More Fun #104?

I’m not sure why all this is the way it is. More Fun #104 offers up a very early appearance, it’s embedded in one of the iconic titles of the Golden Age and it offers up the 1st cover appearance of a major DC character.

The book is tough to track down but copies do sell and when they come to market they end up selling on the cheap, a CGC 4.5 sold a couple of years ago at Guide while a CGC 7.0 recently sold for about 25% over Guide.

The tough part here will be finding one but if you do and its anywhere close to Guide then grab it, I think it’s a gem.

The 47th Overstreet price break for this book is $291/$621/$1061/$1500 in the 6.0/8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • 1st¬†Superboy cover
  • Embedded in one of the most iconic of Golden Age titles
  • War Bonds issue

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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Robin Easterbrook
Robin Easterbrook
6 years ago

Hi Walter: As much as your selection is not really controversial, the investing issue you raise is very controversial. Things like first appearances versus first cover appearances versus first titles. All three are probably driven by different market forces. For example, the investor community may be driven by first appearances and not care less about a character after that appearance. The cover collector community may be driven by great/or iconic covers. The true comic book geek is probably driven more by significance of appearance, first appearances, great story, etc. (and there are some covers I just love for themselves) Sometimes these communities intersect, sometimes they don’t; driving one or the other of the communities to frustration. Sometimes other circumstances take control (and for example lead to the current stagnation or deflation of Carl Bark’s work) Unfortunately, the comic book geek (and I do not use that term in any type of pejorative sense because I am definitely one) is often left at the mercy of the investor that couldn’t care less. On the plus side, in a minor number of cases, the geek can sometimes be left in position of getting some great deals (for them) because they don’t fall into the mainstream categories and being able to sell some truly crappy comic stories/art because they have gained great popularity for some reason (the word Groot comes to mind). I won’t suggest any of those undervalued issues not falling into the mainstream to you at this point cause I still have to pick some up. Still, I always enjoy your column.

steven centonzo
steven centonzo
6 years ago

i am new to this site. have you written about bronze age Marvel Star Wars #7? I believe this is an under valued book. Great article series.!!

Chris Meli
Chris Meli
6 years ago

Robin, if you dis Groot again I can’t be held responsible (the word “large branch through cranial cavity” comes to mind).

I consider myself to stand amongst at least the second rank of geeks, and amongst at least the second rank of investors. I don’t agree that the two groups are necessarily separate. I think it is fairer to state that personal “value” may or may not intersect with market value, and perhaps in your case the intersection is weak because of what you value. In my case I personally value artwork more than the the market does, but this doesn’t frustrate me – the market is just the combination of all of these personal tastes, plus an expectation of how these tastes will evolve. I agree with Walt that the market generally focuses on culturally significant events, either from the perspective of general culture (e.g. my beloved Groot), or comic culture (e.g. Fantastic Comics #3). Where these resonate with me I might play along, and where the don’t, I won’t. I don’t think that there can be a good investor in comics who doesn’t have very strong likes and dislikes – so it’s not possible that a (long-term) investor “couldn’t care less”. So in my case I have a higher proportion of art-themed books (the first DC covers by Adams come to mind), and the market value for these is “too low” for my personal tastes, but nevertheless I still would refuse to overpay (much) for them.

Since I am here, I will give my thumbs down to this pick (sorry). Another reason that the early More Fun might not be worth more is underscored by Walt’s (correct) thesis of cover-driven investing (collecting!). Nobody wants a superhero book with these dopey Dover and Clover guys on the cover. (My son has been telling me how Teen Titans Go! has skewered the Wonder Twins – same idea.) At least More Fun #101 has a cool Green Arrow cover, and most of the Superboy #1-10 covers are decent (#1 is really a Superman cover). Other reasons: Superboy generally a hard sell and something of a wuss (imagine a “young Batman” spanking cover); not extremely scarce/almost post-War (I generally want at least 1944, but I really want 1943); “first cover appearance” doesn’t resonate; “More Fun” doesn’t resonate (do you say “I have More Fun #52” or “I have the first appearance of The Spectre”?).

I think that a good (but hard) vein to mine for Undervalueds is the output of also-ran publishers in the sixties. (I am still fixated on Ghost Manor #13.) I just saw some big lots of these books on eBay, and I had never seen some of the of the titles (“Vulcan”, “Scary Tales”, etc.). I’ll bet there are some really weird and cool hooks in some of these books, and there might be no high grade copies in existence, AND nobody cares at this point.