This year has been another banner year for the comic book industry. The yearly comic collecting cycle seems to culminate in the comic convention circuit during the summer and the release of the new Overstreet Price Guide at around the same time. And the current Overstreet Guide has shown another string of strong price jumps among the key Silver Age Marvel comics. Chief among them is Amazing Fantasy #15 (first appearance of Spider-Man), which has surged to $240,000 for a near mint- (9.2) copy. That’s a quarter million dollars! Other popular and early Spider-Man keys also saw substantial price gains. For example, Amazing Spider-Man #2 (first appearance of the Vulture) now fetches more than $12,000 for a 9.2 copy and Amazing Spider-Man #3 (first appearance of Doctor Octopus) checks in at $9,700 for a 9.2 copy.
Clearly, that’s a lot of money to spend on one comic book. Spider-Man is one of the most popular characters in the comic book world so it’s no surprise that his early key issues are worth so much money. So rather than spend a large chunk of one’s bank account on only one issue, I propose that we look at the overlooked Amazing Spider-Man books that can still be considered bargains. Here are four Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) issues that are still considered bargains…
Amazing Spider-Man #10 (first appearance of Big Man and the Enforcers)
Ok, this early Spidey key is not much of a bargain. A 9.2 copy fetches $2750 and even a well-worn 2.0 copy is worth about $100. But, it is cheaper than ASM # 9 (first appearance of Electro) and it’s cheaper than comparable issues such as ASM #13 (first appearance of Mysterio). Another bonus is that this issue also routinely sells for less than guide price on eBay and at conventions. I also like the potential of these villains because the Spidey universe is now available to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). These characters are under-utilized and they could be a hit as modern gangster characters in an MCU movie or tv series.
Amazing Spider-Man #31 (first appearance of Harry Osborne, Gwen Stacy, and Professor Warren)
This Silver Age issue introduces two important Spider-Man characters in Harry and Gwen and a minor character in Professor Warren. Its current guide value is $36 for a low grade 2.0 copy, and $900 for a high grade 9.2 copy. Harry will go on to become the second Green Goblin, a recurring Spidey nemesis, and Gwen is iconic as Spider-Man’s love interest and her death in issue # 121 solidifies her fame in the series. This issue also begins one of the greatest Spider-Man story arcs of all time. I also see renewed interest in Gwen because of the current popularity of Spider-Gwen and if “Gwenpool” remains popular, it would be another reason for future price increases of this issue. This issue has increased in value substantially over the past few years but I feel it can increase more, and a 9.2 copy could soon crack the $1000 mark. This issue is also slightly undervalued in comparison to similar first appearance issues such as ASM #25 and 41.
Amazing Spider-Man #256 (first appearance of Puma)
Like Big Man and the Enforcers, Puma is another under-utilized character in the Spider-Man universe. He is introduced as a Native American who is fiercely loyal to his tribe and who can transform into a puma-like creature that has agility and super strength. His comic book back story is complex because he has been a villain, a mercenary, and an occasional ally of superheroes. He is definitely an enigmatic character, neither a hero nor a villain. I definitely like this about Puma as he is more like a regular person, neither hero nor a villain. I feel that the Puma, like Big Man and the Enforcers, could become a break-out character in a future MCU movie or tv show. The current guide value for a near mint minus copy is $15 but a movie or tv show announcement could drive the value substantially higher.
Amazing Spider-Man Annual #21 (Wedding of Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson)
In the comic collecting world, annuals are generally not as popular as regular series issues. This issue has a guide value of $20 for a copy in 9.2 condition but it can be purchased for less at comic book conventions because it’s an annual issue. In recent ASM issues, Peter Parker and Mary J. Watson have separated and dated other people. However, this is still the definitive Spider-Man wedding issue, just like Fantastic Four Annual #3 is the definitive wedding issue for Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl. I still see a future between Spider-Man and M.J. and this issue has some fun cameo appearances (in a dream sequence) by Spider-Man villains.
What Should I Buy?
I wrote this article to list ASM issues that would be of interest to any Spider-Man collector. If their values increase in the coming years, that would be a bonus too. It seems that speculation among comic book collectors is all too common these days as some collectors are only chasing books that are connected to movies or tv shows. Instead of chasing the hot speculators’ books, a better strategy is to buy books you like and just enjoy them. Still a different strategy is to buy classic books to enjoy and hope that their values go up over time. As Charlie Kim mentioned in a recent post on this website, buying classic issues such as all the Spider-Man villain issues up to ASM #50, may not result in them all being good investments. There are so many different ways to collect ASM issues and so many possibilities. My final advice is just buy Amazing Spider-Man issues to build a collection that suits your own tastes and needs.