Undervalued Spotlight #435

Amazing Spider-Man #113, Marvel Comics, October 1972.

I’ve been buying up a lot of collections these past couple months, I’m getting my convention season game on and am aggressively trying to hunt down and buy quality books for the bins.

The one obvious observation that jumps right out at me is the unwillingness of collectors to get up off their Amazing Spider-Man run – gah! I mean I’m buying up Iron Man runs and Cap runs and FF runs and Strange Tales runs and I’m buying them up cheap because they are tough sells and when they do go they tend to go cheap. Amazing Spider-Man issues are a whole different ball game, these days all the issues pretty well below #150 are treated as treasures and top dollar is asked for. Gone are the days when you can buy up Spidey runs on the cheap.

A few years ago you could still get Spidey run books in bulk at bulk pricing, the little soft spell of Amazing Spider-Man #103 to #118 were easy pick ups and had to be discounted to sell. These days there really is no weak spot up through the Bronze Age.

This week’s Undervalued Spotlight shines on a book smack in the middle of the #103 to #118 run, it shines on Amazing Spider-Man #113.

Amazing Spider-Man #113 features the first appearance of Hammerhead, a greatly underappreciated Spidey villain. Amazing Spider-Man #114 with its great Hammerhead black cover is the current darling of the hobby but I’m hear to argue that it’s issue #113 that is the buy.

Look, covers are all the rage right now but I don’t want us to forget about the sound fundamentals of value, a first appearance is still the most important driver of value. In Amazing Spider-Man #113 Hammerhead is actually involved in the plot, this is no quick cameo, I believe he makes three page appearances including the mega splash page that sets up the next issue. I also think Hammerhead is on the short list as a future movie villain, he’s such an obvious choice.

That’s not to say that the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #113 is some weak detriment, far from it, John Romita drew up a dandy with Doc Oc front and center.

And remember what I was mentioning above, its slowly but surely getting to the point where every Amazing Spider-Man below #150 will be something coveted to own. I can see it in the way collectors are guarding their Spidey runs and selling only when buyers pony up.

CGC graded 9.8 copies can be had for $1,300 with 9.6 copies fetching just over $300 and 9.2 copies about $240. The 9.8s are at about 40% of the value of 9.8 #114 and while I do admit #114 is about twice as scarce in that grade we have to factor in issue #113 being the first appearance.

Amazing Spider-Man is in the very collected #1-150 run Amazing Spider-Man #150 contains the first appearance of a great Spidey villain and we all know how active the Spidey villain collecting strain is. Hammerhead is a character that will soon be called out of the bullpen and I think he’ll play so well that he’ll climb Spidey’s villain ranks. I’m recommending a nice tight CGC 9.6 that’s square to the corners and has tons of gloss.

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

Strengths that make this comic a good long-term investment are:

  • First appearance Hammerhead
  • Embedded in the heart of the Spidey Bronze Age run
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
5 years ago

I am not going to argue for or against this one on a relative value basis, but I am going to state my (as usual) heretical views. To me, collecting those bronze age ASMs is like buying Microsoft for your stock portfolio. Everybody knows and admires the name, it has fantastic historical performance, and really the discussion is whether you should buy more of it relative to Apple, Alphabet, etc.

Snore. Most of my money is invested in this boring way. Comics aren’t simply an investment to me, but also a hobby. So while I am looking for appreciation, that is not my only goal, and because there is consumption value (I love looking at the books, even when they are sealed in plastic), that is part of the return on investment. So I am just not interested in thinking about relative value in the ASM run, because I think it is a very deep market (and so unlikely to show much mispricing), and I’m not excited by either Spider-Man or Romita (I told you this would be heretical).

So this could be a fine call, but to me it’s like reading an asset manager’s pick of the best brake supplier to invest in. To bring it back to the title of the topic, it’s not just “Undervalued”, but also “Spotlight”. ASM is always in the spotlight, and I’m much more interested in seeing something that is or has been out of the spotlight.

No opinion.