Undervalued Spotlight #392

Green Lantern #3, DC Comics, Spring 1942.

I noticed my most recent Spotlights have featured some easy to source books, this week I’ll mix things up and go with something much more elusive.

I was chatting with a long time customer in the back of the shop about Green Lantern (his favorite hero) and somehow we got on the topic of how awful most of the Golden Age Green Lantern covers are, All American covers included. I’m a terrible artist and an even worse critic but I’ve been around comic book covers enough to have a sense of what works, after all did I not formulate the now famous Durajlija’s Equation for Iconic Golden Age Covers (DEIGAC)?

We called out some favorites, he really loves Green Lantern #1 with the huge lantern in the background and while I agreed it’s a great cover I thought week’s Undervalued Spotlight, Green Lantern #3, was even better.

What Green Lantern #1 and #3 have in common is that they were both drawn by Martin Nodell, the creator of Green Lantern and the principle interior artist for the first few years of the character. Martin Nodell only drew 3 Green Lantern covers, #1, #3 and #7 and all 3 are among the best in a very mediocre 38 issue run of covers.

DC Comics featuring World War II covers are coveted issues commanding strong prices. Part of the mystique around DC wartime covers I think is the fact that they are relatively scarce. Publishers like Timely Comics and Quality Comics focused on wartime covers while DC used the war sparingly. Wartime covers on Batman and Superman books are some of the hottest Golden Age books on the market with Nazi covers being the most sought after.

I think there was only 5 Green Lantern war themed covers over both All American and Green Lantern and of those only this week’s Spotlight Green Lantern #7 featured Nazis and only the Green Lantern #7 cover was drawn by Martin Nodell. For me its the strongest of these wartime covers.

While the book is harder to find it does trade, there have been 7 recorded CGC sales over the past 2 years and almost all went for below what I think are too low Guide prices. A CGC 7.5 sold for $2705 over a year ago while a CGC 5.5 $1525 last year.

Covers drive comic book values especially in the Golden Age and Green Lantern #3 offers up the very best of a very small supply of World War II covers featuring the Green Lantern. I think the market is overlooking this book I think it’s a strong enough cover to earn the same kind of demand enjoyed by similar covers featuring Batman and Superman.

The 47th Overstreet price break for this book is $660/$1320/$1980/$4818 in the 2.0/4.0/6.0/8.0 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

    • Rare DC wartime cover
    • Nazi cover drawn by Green Lantern creator Martin Nodell

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

Walt regardless of the facts that I had exactly the same thought about the GA Green Lantern covers, that I was not aware that the creator only drew three of the covers, that of the three this is the only war cover with Nazis in an incredible composition, that Captain America Comics #12 from the same date is about the same scarcity with a non-war cover selling for 2x-3x as much, I could not disagree more with this pick. This book is clearly fully-valued and almost certainly overvalued, and should not be considered by any collector for purchase. I would advise readers of this column to avoid this book at all costs. In fact, if they were to see a nice copy for sale or put up for auction, I would urge them not to take a second look, and also contact me ASAP about the listing so I could warn away others from such a poor investment. I am always on the lookout to keep my fellow collectors from even thinking about such examples. No need to thank me, it’s all in a day’s work.

6 years ago

Two of the most dangerous words in comic book speculating are “could” and “should”. From a fan perspective, pretty much every comic “could” and “should” but as we all know, only a few actually “will” or “is”. Buyers need to adopt clarity of purpose or risk getting burned.

Ivan Kocmarek
6 years ago

Walt, I think there is a bit of irony and a lot of sarcasm in Chris’ comment. If you read all the way through it, he agrees with you and just wants this book all to himself.

6 years ago

Green Lantern 3 is one of the top plummeting comics of the CGC era. From 9.4 sales of $50,787.50 in ’07 and $33,460 in 2010, to my calculated current value of about $10,000. However, the time to buy Golden Age GL is now, while the prices are low.
If I did not buy when low and listened to great advice I would not buy FF 1 from 2014 to late last year while it sat at $160,000 for a 9.2 while in the past few months has gone to closer to $300,000 (I didn’t).
Bottom line is collect what you like and can afford. GL3 is currently affordable.

Barb Goedeke
6 years ago

Alex, Golden Age comics have some difficulties to overcome before prices really jump. 1) the characters are unknown and not house hold names. 2) prices are scary to the younger collectors – 10K? yikes. 3) A fear to enter into the market even when there are some classic issues that are easily obtainable. Catman #32 comes immediately to mind.

Regardless, some awesome conversations happening here.