Undervalued Spotlight #450

X-Men #9, Marvel Comics, January 1965.

This is a Spotlight I’ve had lined up for well over a year and yet for some reason I’ve been slow to post it. Now I actually may be a couple of months late as it seems things are heating up for this week’s Undervalued Spotlight, X-Men #9.

X-Men #9 features the 1st meeting between the X-Men and the Avengers. On its own, this fact may not generate tons of excitement from the old comic collecting crowd and indeed this fact has never proven enough to push X-Men #9 to lofty values relative to the issues around it. But we do not live in old comic collecting times, we live in a world where the immensely successful X-Men cinematic universe, which produced 12 films with a box office haul of over $6 billion and includes characters like Wolverine, Deadpool, the X-Men and X-Force are now free to merge with the Marvel Cinematic Universe which produced 22 films with a box office of over $21 billion.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know what this really means and what it will bring. The market is obviously starting to react to these two worlds inevitably colliding by putting some heat on the comic book that holds the first meeting of these two huge franchises.

The market action seems to be in the lower grades though while high-grade copies look to be surprisingly stale. CGC 9.2 copies were fetching $1517 back in 2017 and a January 2019 sale came in at $1536. A CGC 9.4 copy used to get $2383 back in 2017 yet back in September 2018 one got only $2069. As I mentioned the lower graded posting some May 2019 sales show good 50% jumps over their 2017 results but I honestly think this more a correction to poor Guide values for 8.0 grades, an 8.0 should not be $340 to a 9.2’s $1,200.

I’m thinking the play here is a CGC 9.2, try for a White Page copy and try for one with strong gloss and good centering with nice tight corners, if you can pick it up below $2,000 I think it is a good play to see where this whole thing will take us, there would be very little downside if things don’t pop like I think they might.

X-Men #9 is a good hold in high grade simply for the fact that it is an early X-Men issue, issues #1-10 of the early key Marvel titles are always going to have strong demand, X-Men is right up there near the front of the pack too when it comes to collectible titles.

It only helps that X-Men #9 can offer up a first appearance, we get the first appearance of the villain Lucifer. We also get a Jean Grey – as Marvel Girl pin-up!

I like the Jack Kirby cover because it is a battle scene and because there are so many recognizable heroes on it. Having the dream creative team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee produce the 20-page story adds even more reasons to like this book

Current Overstreet splits for this book are $340/$770/$1200 for 8.0/9.0/9.2.

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

  • The first meeting of X-Men and the Avengers
  • Early X-Men issue
  • First Appearance of Lucifer
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
Chris Meli
4 years ago

Now we’re talking. My visceral reaction is that this is a really cool book. My next reaction is that I already have a bit riding on the other first X-Men crossover (FF #28), so I had better not fall in love with this one immediately. My third reaction is that this looks a lot like U.S. #430, Tales to Astonish #63. Lo and behold – same month! The split screen definitely reduces impact, but on the other hand it has that nostalgic comic book busyness that is endearing – nevertheless in the grand scheme that will be a drawback.

While I have money riding on the FF/X-Men crossover, I am always working in the “undervalued” context, so I tried to get into this book at a price that was already seemingly good relative to the _current_ market. While I do see it as a play for future movie developments, I don’t care much for this kind of speculation, and would confine it to $20 “NM+” Captain Universes. So for this book, I think we should first evaluate “undervalued” in the current market, then add some speculative value (but not a lot).

The easy first comp is FF #28. This is a somewhat earlier book and hence a bit scarcer (both pluses). On a population-adjusted basis, X-Men #9 is about 1.5x the price, so no clear indication of undervalued on this point. However I think the comp is questionable because a) X-Men as a series seems to have more collectors of run or quasi-run books, b) it seems like “first ten issues” is Marvel collecting strain.

I looked for another crossover comp, but I couldn’t come up with anything suitable. As there are a lot of first appearances in the early X-Men, this makes within run comparisons difficult, but I am willing to believe Unus is not too big a draw, so I looked at X-Men #8. There is some scatter, but I think #9 is about 1.3x the price of #8 adjusted for population, so again no strong undervalued sign.

At this point, with a cooler head, I am leaning against the pick. There are a lot of crossover books out there, this is not a particularly important one, and generally I can’t think of non-first appearance crossovers that are highly valued. Yes “The Avengers”, but these are the old movie crew, and any big screen crossover is unlikely to include the members pictured. The cover is not impressive from a distance. The first appearance of Lucifer is probably a non-event as everybody has their money on Mephisto and too many devil guys is too confusing. The comps already show this book as fully-valued.

So I am sticking with FF #28 as the right crossover play. I do think X-Men #9 is a very cool book but it doesn’t have what it takes to be an “it” book. However if you do want to play, I think your pricing is way off. A 9.4 sold for an admittedly bargain $1.5k last year, so advising $2k for a 9.2 is not appropriate. Looking at recent sales in various grades I would put the market level for 9.2 at more like $1.4k, so I would advise looking to pay no more than 90% of this for a 9.2. I perceive strong resistance to this non-key at levels >$1k, so for appreciation at current market levels I would move down to a 9.0 if you could get one around the levels of earlier this year (around $800). At this grade you are still in top 100 (barely) and top 10%, and if there is an uptick the resistance level will probably move up as well.

Verdict: Pass over this crossover.

Gerald Eddy
Gerald Eddy
4 years ago

For those who can’t afford it I believe it was reprinted in the first X-Men annual which came out after the series was in reprint status.