Undervalued Spotlight #444

Amazing Spider-Man #172, Marvel Comics, September 1977.

This week’s Undervalued Spotlight is so obvious that it’s a wonder it’s still stalled on the launch pad. Make no mistake though this week’s Undervalued Spotlight, Amazing Spider-Man #172, will soon blast off propelled by that dastardly villain the Rocket-Racer.

Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) #172 is hiding in plain sight, it brings to the table many of the fundamentals important to building comic book value. ASM #172 is embedded in the Amazing Spider-Man run fitting nicely in with the full title completists and the more hardcore #1-#200 collectors.

This issue is anchored firmly in the first appearance of Spidey villains collecting strain, you can’t own an ASM #134 (Tarantula) and an ASM #194 (Black Cat) without owning an ASM #172.

ASM #172 has the first appearance of Rocket-Racer alias Robert Farrell, a brilliant scientific prodigy who turns his talents to crime to help support his younger siblings after his mom passed away. I know that Rocket_Racer will never be a Green Goblin or a Venom but he’s ripe to use in future Spidey projects, I like the idea of getting Dazzler somehow involved perhaps ina 1977 Studio 54 flashback??

Its always a bonus when our first appearance is also a cover appearance, Ross Andru gives us a funky first look.

The best part of Amazing Spider-Man #172 is that you can pick up a CGC 9.8 for about $200 or better yet snag a crisp tight looking CGC 9.6 White Pager for $35!!

The 48th Overstreet price breaks for this book are $16/$23/$30 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.

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

  • First appearance of Rocket-Racer
  • Embedded in Amazing Spider-Man title, the most collected title in the hobby
  • Falls into the first appearance of a Spidey Villain collecting strain, a hot strain!
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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: 1578

9 Comments

  1. Rocket Racer grabs me as much as footage from 1970’s Roller Derby shows….errr maybe grab is the wrong word. I have actually purchased some of your suggestions in the past, but I am not a big enough Spidey completist to go for this one. The Dazzler suggestion is a good one tho, maybe they can even weave in the Brothers Gibb as well!

  2. This one seems like such a zero to me that I can’t get motivated to do serious work on it. It seems like the only real hook is that disco thing you mention, which is an ultra-long shot, and would clearly be a camp exercise, which is less likely to get people to take the book valuation seriously.

    I think your comps are exactly the right ones to show that there’s no serious reason to get involved in this book. ASM #194 is not a valid comp in that it is seen as a true key similar to ASM #300, but it is good for beating the bushes on the high grade population. Even given a very dark cover there are four 9.9s, 308 9.8s, and 697 9.6s. ASM #134 is five years earlier, and nowhere near the same key status as #194, so we can attribute some lack of graded population to each aspect. One is real scarcity, the other is not. (You also have to take into account the easier colors of the ASM #134s.) For ASM #134 there are 37 9.8s and 120 9.6s. So let’s wave our hands, split the difference, and guess at maybe double the number of 9.8s and 9.6s if #134 were to achieve the price level of a #194, so say about 70 9.8s and 240 9.6s. #172 falls right about in the middle, so let’s just linearly interpolate to estimate a total of about 175 9.8s and 500 9.6s. This compares to the current population of 76 9.8s and 104 9.6s.

    The punch line is that I expect there are a lot more of these out there, and any significant appreciation will bring these out of the woodwork, depressing prices. And realistically if the price of this book really improves, it means the overall comic market is doing even better, and you would have been much better off buying some rare golden age book in that case.

    I am not saying this is a bad pick – your point about pre-200 ASM and first villain appearance means that this book is going to see some demand for the foreseeable future – it’s just not a good pick. If you want this book I say play it one one or another end of the spectrum. The high end approach is to wait for a good price on a 9.8 and take advantage of some 9.8 lottery winner. Given the recent terrible 9.6 prices I would say less than $150 is a good 9.8 price. The low end approach is the usual “scour the bins” and grab five 9.8 candidates for $10 each. They probably aren’t 9.8s, but if the disco inferno happens you will still be able to sell them for a multiple of what you paid. Either way this is a time and inventory investment for a book that is very unlikely to go anywhere.

    Verdict: And I think it’s gonna be a long long time.

  3. I like the Rocket Man reference but boy are you guys beating me up on this book, obviously none of you went to my 1978 high school dance to see Pat and Laura crowned disco King and Queen.

    Don’t listen to the naysayers folks this book will climb so high it will be calling Ground Control in the not to distant future.

  4. Well selfishly I love the pick because this was the first comic I ever purchased. It was at Simon’s Drug Store in Pickerington, Ohio. Quaint, right?

    I have sold many comics, but still have my original ASM 172 and still waiting for it to appreciate in value… It ain’t a 9.6 or 9.8 though! Might get ten bucks out of it someday.

    Thanks for choosing another personal favorite, Walt! You have done this several times.

  5. Thanks for reaching out with a friendly voice Eric, it’s tough out here getting beat up all day! I wish I can remember with certainty what my 1st comic purchase was, and don’t go selling your copy because its a beautiful memory worth way more than the few bucks you can get for the book.

  6. I am late to the game on this one but will add my support for Walt and Eric.

    And like Eric my first comic was a Spider-Man comic, but it was Marvel Treasury Edition #1 The Spectacular Spider-Man. And, like Eric, I still have the original in tattered and well worn shape, but supplemented it with higher grade version several years ago.

  7. When I saw this one I almost laughed out loud…when this gets big we have jumped a whole bunch of sharks….love this feature either way!

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