Undervalued Spotlight #186

submariner 34 coversubmariner 35 coverSub-Mariner #34 and #35, Marvel Comics, February and March 1971

Sub-Mariner #34 – dead. Sub-Mariner #35 – deader. Sub-Mariner the title – Deadest.

There are comic books out there that are slower than they should be and Sub-Mariner #34 is one of them. I’m actually going to include Sub-Mariner #35 as well since both these books serve as the prelude to the introduction of the Defenders in Marvel Feature #1.

Is it the fact that these issues are buried in the Sub-Mariner title? The Subby run is a pretty dead run, would this story be worth more if it was published in the Hulk run? We are moving away from titles more and more as collecting strains.

It was actually guest Spotlight contributor Mike Huddleston’s upcoming Comic Book Daily column on story arcs that kind of convinced me to include #35 in this post. Key issues, key arcs, books that connect to others etc are collecting strains that are on the rise!

How many good books are neglected because they happen to be embedded in slow titles? How many Mystery in Space #75s are out there all but forgotten?

The Defenders are a safe bet going forward; Hulk, Sub-Mariner, Doc Strange and the Surfer make a formidable team. Personally I like anything remotely associated with Doc Strange over the next couple of years (these books are connected through the future team formation).

There’s another angle for those of you that like playing long odds. Things would really heat up for these issues if Marvel ever wrestles the Silver Surfer rights from Fox. Not possible you say? I remember a year or two ago reading Marvel trying to work a deal with Fox involving letting Fox keep Daredevil longer if Marvel could get the Surfer and Galactus. Fox obviously never went for it since Daredevil is with Marvel now but what that report did tell me is that Marvel is on the case, they are trying to work deals to make this happen. Fair warning, the moment you hear the news it will already be too late. Load up now!

Little market activity is often a sign of a neglected book and there is very little market activity on these comic books. I took a peek at the recent market activity of Marvel Feature #1 and can report a very hot book with strong 50 point increases in the CGC 9.2 and 9.4 grades over the past couple of years. Will the Sub-Mariner issues follow suit?

Late in 2013 you could pick up CGC 9.2 copies of Sub-Mariner #34 for about $175, a CGC 9.6 would set you back $375ish. But wait! This past week a CGC 9.4 went for $339. Is the cat out of the bag?

On top of that a CGC 9.4 copy of Sub-Mariner #35 just sold for $339 as well: they were getting $143 back in 2012, and the last CGC 9.2 copy got only $80 in November of 2013.

Hope I’m not too late with this post; hope a few more fly into your collection below the radar.

Roy Thomas wrote both issues and the great Sal Buscema drew them. Stan Lee was still acting editor for both issues. I like the cover to #35 better being an Avengers fan.

The 43rd edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide shows $54/$102/$150 as the 8.0/9.0/9.2 price splits for Sub-Mariner #34.

The 43rd edition of the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide shows $41/$676$110 as the 8.0/9.0/9.2 price splits for Sub-Mariner #35.

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

  • Prelude to the Defenders
  • Soft current market prices leave lots of room for growth
  • Early Bronze Age, in that limited and desirable 15 cent era
  • Big potential upside should the Surfer make it over to Marvel studios

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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Mike Huddleston
10 years ago

Really like these books Walt. The Avengers meeting in issue #35 also foreshadows the Avenger/Defender cross-over series that takes place early in the Defenders run (#9-11). There are a few good books buried in the Sub-Mariner title that are spotlight worthy and worth a second look.

Thanks for the shout-out. I am on it as we speak.

10 years ago

What makes these books even better Walt, is that they are among the Silver Surfers first appearances after his own book failed !