Undervalued Spotlight #413

Amazing Spider-Man #134, Marvel Comics, July 1974.

We’ve had some heavy hitters up the last 5 or 6 weeks so I think we’ll take it easy on the pocketbook this week and pick a cool, fun book that’s affordable. Cool, fun and affordable but at the same time Undervalued!

This week I shine the Undervalued Spotlight on Amazing Spider-Man #134.

Amazing Spider-Man #134 features the 1st appearance of the Tarantula! Creator Gerry Conway said that he wrote the Tarantula as a national hero of a Latin American country. Conway lamented that smaller countries did not have noted costumed heroes like USA’s Captain America. It came in due time, Jerry. Hey speaking of which, on a recent podcast I asked – if the Tarantula is a Tarantula then what kind of Spider is Spider-Man?

I don’t think there is a better villain introduction until the Black Cat in Amazing Spider-Man #194. The Romita cover is striking and stands as one of the better Spidey covers of the era. There were a lot of great covers in Spidey’s Bronze Age and this was one of them.

I’m not sure why this book never took off in value, I mean the 1st appearance of a Spidey villain, embedded in the most collected era of the most collected title in fandom. I’m going to somehow try to blame Spectacular Spider-Man #1 with its famous Tarantula cover. Spectacular #1 has never received any love from the markets and maybe Amazing Spider-Man #134 is guilty by association?

Hey did you know Harry Osborn learns Spidey’s ID in this issue? Did you also know that there is a cameo Punisher appearance in this issue? We all know I love second appearances! Amazing Spider-Man #134 is Punisher’s second appearance.

Did I mention the book has wallowed for decades as an also-ran issue? There is a bit of movement now but there’s still plenty of time to pick up nice tight copies on the cheap.

Amazing Spider-Man #134 checks off a lot of the “what drives value in a comic” checklist.

For some really dumb reason, I like the fact that it rests chronologically right in the middle of the Amazing Spider-Man #129 (2/74) and Incredible Hulk #181 (11/74). That’s right, the way I’ve lined this conclusion up those two Bronze Age titans can only serve as the bread to the meat that is Amazing Spider-Man #134!!

Oh, did I mention I really like the Ross Andru pencils in this book?

The 48th Overstreet price break for this book is $41/$76/$110 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • 1st appearance of Tarantula
  • 2nd appearance of Punisher

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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4 years ago

The popular belief still is that ASM #135 is 2nd Punisher. But similar to books like Web of Spidey #18, as more and more Punisher fans make this discovery, we should see increased demand for #134, especially with #129 riding sky high. It’s true that #135 has a superior cover, which features the Punisher on the cover… but hopefully Tarantula can help to offset the scales in this regard.

4 years ago

Speaking of Spidey… initial reviews for Venom is mixed, which is actually better then I thought. One critic makes reference to pre MCU flicks:


“Think Affleck Daredevil. Think Ang Lee Hulk. Think Halle Berry Catwoman. That’s…I mean, that’s really all there is to be said, I think. It’s absolutely bizarre.”

— The Mothmeg

I’ve got some passes set to expire soon so I guess I’m still gonna go see it. How will this affect ASM#300? Difficult to say since the fan base may have a different take on their beloved character. However, I think ASM#300 is a book worth holding… especially if you’re the one guy who paid 3500 US for a 9.8 in August. Time has a way of making things right again.

4 years ago

@Charlie I don’t think anything will really hurt ASM 300–Venom is as popular as ever thanks to Cates working on the main series right now (and doing a good job). He’s too iconic to be hurt by a bad film (if it’s bad—too soon to say but things don’t look great for it so far).

As far as ASM 134 goes–this was one of my favorite covers as a kid. I LOVED Tarantula so happy to see this book on here. Nice choice! He’s also a great “secondary” villain for a movie—not flashy enough for a main, but still cool enough to be a challenge and make an impression in a movie.

Chris Meli
4 years ago

I was never a big Spider-Man fan (I’d say the height of my appreciation is now due to Tom Holland’s approach to the character), so I don’t have a feel for the importance of The Tarantula. The question of which type of spider Spider-Man is strikes me as ripe for development. While the emphasis has always been on the irradiation, it could be that the main driver was the spider, with the irradiation providing the activation of the characteristics of a very strange/unique variety. Here is a spider identification chart to help get the community starting on postulating the particular culprit species:

comment image

A tarantula and other spider sandwich is of course a good October-themed pick.

Echoing Steve-o, great cover. Big characters, action, one of them in mid-air, multiple forms of violence – all good.

The argument about differences amongst “cameo”, “appearance”, and “other” is so collector geek that I have to love it. I picked up a nice copy of Lois Lane #17, second “appearance” of Brainiac, but his appearance in this issue is via Superman relating a story about him – does that count? (Also I now see that CGC misspells their comment on the label for this book as “Braniac appearance” – shades of last week’s “Montezuma’s Revenge”!) What about Eddie Brock’s hand (Undervalued Spotlight #16)? Based on recent prices it seems like it finally counts for something.

“Cameo _second_ appearance” is geek squared, so even better. We need to come up with arguments about how other street extras penciled into the panels are actually foreshadowings of other key characters (“Mark Spector had a jacket just like that!”) There is no reason that this book isn’t just the meat, but the linchpin of the Marvel Universe! As Walt and Chris pointed out on the podcast, the crazy thing is that given the scale of the movie productions, this kind of layering is actually a key feature of the films.

So no question this is a great book, but in which grade is it best? Clearly the interest in grading falls off rapidly around 9.4, so it is clear that there are many many copies out there in the low 9 range. To me this is the “collector” rather than “investor” range. This is a book worth looking for in great shape at a relatively low price. My guess is you can easily find the former but not the latter, so this is good for some digging and negotiating fun. If it ever really takes off you will see a return of multiples on a fairly small investment.

On the graded front I think you have to go with 9.8 or 9.6, and I think there are arguments for either. Sticking with the “approachable” theme, I would say a well-centered, white CGC 9.6 for around $300 is the way to go. I don’t think the 9.6 and 9.8 population stand to explode the way 9.4 and below will if this book ever gets hot, and the 9.6 should show equal or better percentage appreciation relative to a 9.8 in such a situation. Also, given this is ASM, it doesn’t seem that a 9.6 value could fall very much except in a total meltdown situation, while the much higher priced 9.8s seem to be much more volatile.

Overall thumbs-up on this one, but I think that you will need to put a bit of effort into finding the truly undervalued copies and grabbing these.

4 years ago


4 years ago