Undervalued Spotlight #449

Micronauts #8, Marvel Comics, August 1979.

I didn’t dare go toe to toe with Stephen’s epic Spotlight #448 from last week I thought I’d grab a nice bite-sized late Bronze Age book we can all aspire to own.

This week’s Spotlight shines on a book a friend of mine picked up raw and in high grade for $20 Canadian at this past weekend’s Niagara Comic Con, the sweet little pick up was Micronauts #8.

Micronauts #8 features the first appearance of Captain Universe. The Captain Universe concept is massive and complex with infinite potential for good storytelling. The Uni-Power force is from the extra-dimensional that can possess a person in a time of crisis turning that person into Captain Universe. Captain Universe is the guardian and protector of eternity, an important job. What’s good for Micronaut fans is that the Uni-Force seems to be connected to the Microverse which is the domain of the Micronauts.

Most of the time through the history of the character the Uni-Force possesses normal humans though in the past it has possessed Spider-Man, Bruce Banner, Doctor Strange and other heroes.

Captain Universe is also tied into the Guardians of the Galaxy storyline which makes Micronauts # 8 a great spec book for Phase 4 Marvel. Micronauts #8 gives us a pretty strong Captain Universe cover, an important consideration in this age of covers.

Micronauts #8 can be had on the cheap, you can grab a CGC 9.6 for less than $100 and a CGC 9.8 will cost you less than $250.

Micronauts #8 is a 1979 book, soon to be 40 years old. The late 70s and early 80s are a great period to mine for cheap future keys and I believe Micronauts #8 has the makings of one.

Current Overstreet splits for this book are are $19/$30/$40 for 8.0/9.0/9.2.

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

  • First appearance of Captain Universe
  • Embedded in the very collectible late Bronze Age
  • Heavily tied to Cosmic Marvel, which is a good thing
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
4 years ago

You accomplished your objective of not going toe to toe.

I have to go back to the title, “Undervalued”. “Spotlight” is fine – you make a lot of plausible speculative arguments – but “Undervalued” is not supported.

I looked in GPA and the last recorded sale for #9 in 9.8 is $11. Imagine going to the trouble of finding a perfect copy, sending it to CGC, paying all of their crazy fees, and you get this. I would have used it as a serving tray or something rather than take that measly $11.

So when you give me #8 with last recorded 9.8 sale at $215, I am skeptical. I am further skeptical when I look at the graded population distribution. With it so top-heavy at 9.8, you have to wonder. You don’t have to wonder any more when you look at the GPA price distribution. This book saw a pretty continuous run-up into 2014, at which point it reached a level around $300, and people went into their long boxes and sent their never-read copies to CGC. This led to the price bottoming out around $150 last year. There was a pop early this year (why?), but it has been dying back since. So it sounds like this song was sung before (2013 or so), and so far nada. Meanwhile people continue to mine their long boxes as long as the price stays above $200.

I don’t know about the premise, but “Captain Universe” sounds more like something you would find in a “reading is fun!” Free Comic Book Day comic than a concept that Disney is going to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at. (Yes they made top properties out of a tree man and a trash-talking raccoon, so I am not saying impossible.) The Micronauts in general are another Transformers wannabe that most lend themselves to a television cartoon, and unless it becomes a giant hit like Teen Titans Go!, you aren’t going to see much impact on the book value.

Here is my story. Eternals #1 9.8 slowly climbed from $150 to $250 from about 2014-2017. The distribution was not top heavy, and this book was smack in the cosmic Marvel continuity, and Kirby through and through, which was always going to make it collectible. I was also amused by it because in my memory it was the stuff of five-for-a-dollar bins, so funny to me that it now had cachet. I waited for a relatively poor auction and got a copy. Lo and behold, a movie is announced and it quadruples in value. Good luck but not why I bought it. The point is that the only reason it seems _to_ buy Micronauts #8 is looking for this kind of lottery ticket outcome. None of the other factors that led me to Eternals #1 is here.

So yet another book for bin digging at a con. “VF” copies go for about $20 plus shipping on eBay, so I think you need to be looking for NM+ copies at the same price at a con. That sounds harsh but just do the math. Suppose you track down four “9.8” candidates for $20 each. You send them all to CGC for screen and only grade 9.8s. If you are _lucky_ you will get one, the rest returned to you. Add up all the shipping, insurance, screening, grading, etc., and you are still losing money on the deal if you sell the graded copy for $250, and it will take you a long time to sell the remaining raw copies for the $20 you paid for them.

Wow, I’m depressing myself. But I think the picture is that bleak. There are a bazillion high grade copies of this book out there and you can get a cheap one if you want it for your collection. If you are looking for appreciation look elsewhere.

Verdict: micro not

Robin Easterbrook
Robin Easterbrook
4 years ago

I won’t dispute Chris’s comments but I do believe that the initial 10 or 12 issues ( whatever the initial story arc was) of Micronauts is at the very least under appreciated. It has been 40 years now since I’ve read them (guess I’ll have to correct that soon) but i seem to remember them as being a pretty good read with decent art. Of course my memory isn’t what it used to be.