Undervalued Spotlight #436

Sub-Mariner #8, Marvel Comics, December 1968.

My buddy Dave and I were talking comics and were arguing about some of the toughest books to get in grade. We were being reasonable and talking late Silver and Bronze.

I liked the book Dave argued for so much that I decided it had to be this week’s Undervalued Spotlight, the book in question is Sub-Mariner #8.

Dave collects high grade bronze and he says he’s been frustrated hunting down a tight crisp copy of Sub-Mariner #8 for his collection.

Sub-Mariner #8 features a classic battle cover by the mighty John Buscema, the battle is set to a jet black background making high-grade copies next to impossible to get.

When I compare Sub-Mariner #8 to Buscema’s other stellar battle covers with black backgrounds like Silver Surfer #4 and Fantastic Four #112 I see just how great a value Sub-Mariner #8 is at the moment.

Let’s put aside Surfer #4 because it is so iconic and just compare to a Fantastic Four #112. Sub-Mariner #8 came a full two and a half years before Fantastic Four #112.

Sub-Mariner #8 is actually scarcer in higher grades, compare the 125 copies CGC graded at 9.2 or better to the 185 copies at CGC 9.2 or better for Fantastic Four #112 and then compare the market prices. Much like I was you’ll be surprised that Fantastic Four #112s fetch crazy prices like $1560 for a 9.4 and $570 for a 9.2. Meanwhile Sub-Mariner #8s are getting $381 for a 9.4 and $177 for a 9.2. These market prices seem so off that they must be! I’m thinking Sub-Mariner #8 in high grade is such a buy right now.

Let’s not forget that as a comic book character Sub-Mariner’s star has already started to rise and has plenty of height still to climb. He’s a great character to do some specing on.

Like always aim for a crisp tight copy, square to the corners and holding lots of gloss.

The 48th Overstreet price breaks for this book are $64/$132/$200 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

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

  • Classic battle cover
  • John Buscema
  • Tough black cover
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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David Mackay
David Mackay
5 years ago

Hey Walt…Much Like Subby #8, your undervalued spotlight has garnered little response. It’s Funny, methinks the Submariner Series #1 to 72 has many very collectable appearences. Number one and # 6 as you mentioned. An early Dr Strange, new look as well as Capt Marvel new look , appearence. How about the Hercules issue, the Defenders issues, spiderman covers and the Submariner Thor battle? And is there a better villian then Tiger shark? And Id be remiss not to mention Subby 58…the introduction of Tamara…nuff said…yipes!! Thanks walt and say hi to woodsy

Chris Meli
5 years ago

If this were a new pick I would probably put it through the analysis mill. While I just wrote a comment dis-ing relative value analysis of ASM, I can get interested in this one for a lot of reasons. Thing vs. Subby makes me think of the continuing to climb FF #4, which is enough to hook me. It seems like every Subby battle cover is prized, and this black earlier issue is a standout for various reasons.

Nevertheless it has been going nowhere since a significant decline after the 2009 bubble. I think this means that it is a bet on a future move, but similar to my feeling about Giant-Size Conan #1, I think this book likely has a good asymmetric return profile. If the general comic market hangs in there I don’t see it declining much, but there are a number of reasons to think it will get hotter in the future. Also less and less likely higher grade copies are going to surface. So my thought is a 9.4 or 9.2 at slightly sub-market price (say $350 or $175 respectively) as a keeper.

Solid agreement.