Undervalued Spotlight #429

Infinity Inc #14, DC Comics, May 1985.

This week’s Spotlight came to me as a friend and I were debating Spotlight #427 which I posted 2 weeks ago. The argument went something like this – in this day and age where the cover rules and where encapsulating a book leaves the rest of the book’s merits known but not seen, are first covers by artists undervalued vis a vis that artist’s first comic artwork?

With the argument still fresh in my mind I present Infinity Inc. #14 as this week’s Undervalued Spotlight.

Infinity Inc. #14 boasts a beautiful cover, it’s the first cover drawn by Todd McFarlane. Mr. McFarlane is one of the more important artists of the modern age of comics and his covers enjoy lots of demand. Recently I was lucky enough to pick up Todd’s Spawn run of homage covers. Spawn #220 to #231 all had homage covers to famous issues like Todd’s own Batman #423, Amazing Spider-Man #300, Hulk #340 as well as other famous covers like Action #1 and Amazing Fantasy #15. The comics flew out of the store and at strong prices too.

Todd McFarlane is a popular artist with lots of fans so it’s no surprise that his first work in comics Coyote #11 (March 1985) enjoys strong demand and an Overstreet value in the 9.2 grade of $24. CGC 9.8 copies of Coyote #11 have sold for $150. By contrast, Infinity Inc #14 which again is his first cover has a guide value of $12 and the last CGC 9.8 sold in March 2018 for $37 (I should note that things seem to be correcting as a CGC 9.6 just sold for $75).

How about other modern artists like say, Adam Hughes? Cover artists are known for their covers and I’m arguing their first covers will be more sought after than their first backup story.

Infinity Inc. #14 is an easy bite-sized morsel you can probably still dig out of bargain bins. Look for tight crisp copies because if you score a CGC 9.8 I think you’ll do a lot better than the person that got $37 for theirs.

The 48th Overstreet price break for this book is $8/$10/$12 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:

  • First Todd McFarlane cover
  • Super duper cheap
  • Fantastic looking cover with lots of pop
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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.
Articles: 1589

4 Comments

  1. While last week’s Spotlight got me to move immediately, this one can hardly get me to elicit a shrug. Reasons that immediately came to mind:

    – Obviously super common. Obviously ASM #300 is far more common, but McFarlane in that case is only the icing on the Spawn and anniversary cake.

    – Even the best McFarlane covers aren’t barn burners Incredible Hulk #340 is seared into the brains of every collector, and yet its appreciation has been very modest in the current “up” cycle (staring say 2014).

    – The cover of Infinity Inc. #14 is nice and colorful, but it’s a far cry from his later work. I can see an argument for early Kirby, early Adams, early Byrne because their style is consistently recognizable. I can’t see any significant McFarlane style here, and having to point to the signature as evidence seems like a big negative.

    – “First art” of any sort is meaningful only for a select few artists such as Frazetta (now that was a good Spotlight), Kirby, etc. At the risk of incurring some wrath, McFarlane is leagues removed. The people who really dig him have plenty of chances to buy original art, and I think that is where they are going to put their money, not in a hundred slabbed copies of Infinity Inc. #14 (which to boot is clearly not iconic McFarlane art). The rest of us aren’t buying it at all.

    – “First covers” mean even less – take it from somebody who has some very nice copies of the first Adams DC covers. These are great books, but as far as the marketplace is concerned, these are “Adams covers”. “First” is not meaningful.

    – The Coyote vs. Infinity Inc. comparison is a problem. Coyote was a weird title (I had never heard of it before I read this post) with limited distribution, while Infinity Inc. was a pretty standard DC book with relatively wide distribution. My guess is that if Coyote #11 were as common as Infinity Inc. #14, supply would be overwhelming demand and the price would be a lot lower. Add to this that Infinity Inc. is not “first art”, and the expectations should be that much lower.

    I can’t see this book being anything more than a conversation piece. There is no harm in picking a perfect cheap copy as a lottery ticket, but no way can I agree that it is “undervalued”.

  2. This cover trend is not going away, if anything it will just get stronger. I think there is opportunity in finding 1st covers by artists who are known for their covers. Todd McFarlane is an important artist whether we like it or not, his covers are celebrated by a large fan base. The 30 an 40 year olds are deciding who the important artists will be in the coming decades and I think it’s clear Todd McFarlane will be one of them.

  3. Personally, I prefer this version of McFarlane art. His “popular” stuff all looks oddly ‘cherubic’ in the faces of guys, girls, man-bulls and crazy clowns. THIS actually looks like real people by comparison. Just my opinion, of course, but I prefer SOME naturalism from my comic artists.

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