Undervalued Spotlight #400

Superman #400, DC Comics, October 1984.

Well, here we are at Undervalued Spotlight #400. I think this is a great time to thank you all for your continued support and thoughtful comments. Your comments, whether in the shop, at comic cons, through emails or below in the comments field are what keeps me going.  When I started this way back I would get a little nervous of comments that questioned my pick. Today I find myself enjoying all comments, pro and con, it’s the engagement that I enjoy. I also have to thank all the Guest Spotlight writers who’ve helped us get to #400, keep them coming.

How many titles enjoyed an uninterrupted 400 issue run? Or an even harder question – how many characters enjoyed an uninterrupted 400 issue run? This is not an easy feat to accomplish, you have to be good for a long long time. Here’s what comes to mind… Superman twice (Action and Superman), Batman twice (Detective and Batman) – I think they are the only 2 DC characters that have made it. Archie, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man and which others? Thor if you count his Journey into Mystery run. Which ones am I forgetting? I’m talking a specific character run.

Back with Spotlight #100 I picked a corresponding issue #100, I did the same with Spotlight #200 but I got a little too cool for school with Spotlight #300 though I regretted it right away and chose an issue #300 for Spotlight #301. It’s only fitting then that I choose an issue #400 for the 400th Undervalued Spotlight.

Of course, it’s easy to justify this issue #400 when I strongly believe it merits being in the Undervalued Spotlight at any number. The issue I am featuring in the 400th Undervalued Spotlight #400 is Superman #400.

Anniversary issues are always collectible, I know a few guys that are trying to build Anniversary issue collections. Anniversary issues that actually play up the anniversary are that much better, just look at the high demand the recent releases of Action Comics #1,000 and Amazing Spider-Man #800 enjoyed. Superman #400 really plays up the anniversary with a line up of talent that is hard to fathom. Where do I start? Howard Chaykin did the painted cover, Frank Miller did the back cover pin-up, Jim Steranko wrote and drew a 10-page story, contributions also came from Moebius, Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Bernie Wrightson, Steve Ditko, Jerry Robinson, Brian Bolland, John Byrne, Ray Bradbury and more. The only guy missing I think is Stan Lee!

Talk about a Signature Series dream book, I’m sure there are copies out there with an amazing array of creator signatures. Even today enough of this stellar talent are still with us to make for quite a Signature Series prize. Not surprisingly the CGC Census shows 79 blue labels graded versus a very high 43 signature series labels, almost as many yellows as blues.

The market couldn’t care less for this book, a CGC 9.8 recently sold for $62.

I like the long-term prospects for Superman #400, its an early book in the highly collected Copper Age, its an anniversary issue, it has a ridiculous amount of talent associated with it and it’s practically worthless right now. I think it’s a great time to pick up a nice crisp, clean, tight copy.

For added value I’d search out the $2.00 cover Canadian Price Variant, these Canadian Price Variants are enjoying some good demand.

The 47th Overstreet price break for this book is $6/$8/$10 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • Anniversary issue
  • Loads of talent worked on the book
  • A great Signature Series project
  • Very cheap as of this post

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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5 years ago

I think you have entirely missed Walt Disney Comics and Stories. Many more than a 400 issue run .

Chris Meli
5 years ago

Yes, and how about Four Color? Many memorable exploits of Four Color through that run, such as the first meeting with arch-enemy Damien Drab in issue #23, with love interests Darla Daffodil, Debbi Dark, Dina Dusk, Dana Dawn, Dora Deep (all at once in issue #129, and of course Dora a centauress, leading a full SOTI chapter devoted to that one issue), and the great imaginary story “Four Color Red, Four Color Blue, Four Color Green, Four Color That Ugly Brown Color That You Get When You Mix Up The Other Primary Colors” (I always felt bad about the way the other Four Colors kind of made fun of Four Color That Ugly Brown Color That You Get When You Mix Up The Other Primary Colors, even if they were imaginary characters that I shouldn’t have cared about because they weren’t real). Coincidentally Four Color Green and Four Color Red made a surprise “return appearance” on the cover of the #400 anniversary issue (aficionados remember that it was later revealed that these were actually Four Color’s crazy admirers Sir Zywkrmzkpkzmrxzzzzzzzzzzzxkf and The Pretty Unlikely Guy). And of course the milestone issue #1000, celebrating Four Color’s many years of exploits by featuring an inclusive and forward looking cover with Four Color as Todd Andrews as The Grey Ghost, a Confederate officer with a gun threatening an unarmed Union soldier, is so important to the hobby that it rates inclusion in the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. (Unfortunately most of the public monuments to issue #1000 have recently been removed from public view, maybe for cleaning or something.)

Oh yeah and Superman’s pretty good too and everybody should get a copy of #400 even if Howard Chaykin was tapped to paint the cover because these were the American Flagg! heydays and Superman ended up looking like Lorne Greene.

5 years ago

Unfortunately I don’t think I would want that Chaykin cover in the house, so i’d have to pass on this one. The cover of JLA #200 was always one of my favorites, so I would go with that instead. Also an anniversary issue, lots of talent, and cheap! Congrats, though, on 400 spotlights – here’s to the next 400!

5 years ago

PS Lord Snooty, from the British weekly “Beano” managed about 2,500 uninterrupted appearances between 1939 and 1991. Dennis the Menace has been in every Beano since issue 452 in 1951, making a total of about 3,500 uninterrupted appearances. The Bash Street Kids have been going in the Beano since issue 604 in 1954 and not only do they have a run of about 3,400 appearances but the same guy has drawn it every week since 1961! I wonder if the Beano was ever (or is) distributed in Canada? I know some UK humor comics were in the past…

5 years ago

Nice 400th pick Walt. I’d also suggest Batman 400 as a companion to this issue as it has a similar cover layout and also has a massive list of talent who worked on the issue.