Strange Tales Annual #2, Marvel Comics, July 1963
This comic contains an original story in which Spidey and Human Torch join forces to beat the bad guys. In what is now classic Marvel fashion our two heroes start off fighting each other. Spidey finally convinces Torch that he too is a good guy, just in time to save the day. It’s been written that this comic was a kind of a passing of the torch (ouchh – really bad pun). Johnny Storm had been Marvel’s leading troubled teen for about a year and a half but I think Stan/Jack/Steve and the boys at Marvel saw the potential of Peter Parker and wrote this story with Spidey as the lead. I’m pretty sure they made the right call on this one.
Strange Tales Annual #2 is considered the 4th appearance of Spider-Man (tied with Amazing Spider-Man #3). Taking a look at the Overstreet price guide value for Amazing Spider-Man #3 you see a $2520/$4860/$7200 split for the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades. These prices make our comic look down right cheap.
The 2009 Overstreet price guide value for Strange Tales Annual #2 is $604/$1152/$1700 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades. Being a square bound annual it is tough to find in the higher grades. The CGC census shows only 45 graded at 8.0 or better (Universal grade) and only 4 copies exist graded above a 9.2.
This comic is simply not traded at these higher grades. The last time a CGC 9.4 (there are only 2 of them) traded was back in 2003 and it went for a bargain at $4000.00. There are only 8 9.2s and the last one sold in May 2008 for $2800.00.
Strengths that make this a good long term investment are;
– Very early Spidey appearance (tied for 4th)
– Very, very tough to find in the higher grades with not much likelyhood of many more surfacing
– Spider-Man is THE Marvel character and he’s right up there with Batman and Superman in terms of being collected
– ‘Passing of the torch’ view makes this comic important historically
– Great Jack Kirby cover
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario.