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HOT 10

Analyst X aka @x here again with week 15 of the new and improved Hot 10 where we break down the hottest, most in-demand back issues each week! Issues featured below are the Hot Keys from the period beginning Friday, October 9th through the 15th. The list will be refreshed on October 23rd.

Low $80
 | 
Mid $290
 | 
High $875
  • 1st full appearance of Venom.
  • Classic and often swiped cover.
  • This all-time classic with one of the greatest covers in comics hits the hat-trick with a third week at number one.
  • Climbing to dizzier and dizzier heights is the most graded comic in CGC history.
  • This week we saw several records in grade with a 9.4 almost hitting four digits at $985 (up from $850), a 9.2 at $900 (up from $795) and an 8.0 at $460 (up from $420).
  • But the real story is the Newsstand edition. And oh man are we going to be talking about Newsstands a lot this week.
  • Now, this is interesting because Newsstand edition prices got flipped-turned upside down and I'd like to take a minute, just sit right there and I'll tell you how the Hot 10 built the town called Newsstand fev-air!
  • You guys read that with the Fresh Prince tune right? In all seriousness, gonna pat myself on the back because old @x was the one who started pointing out the Newstand trend of 2020 before it really took off.
  • We've been getting emails lately thanking us for it (when really they should just be thanking me, I mean what do these other bozos at Key Collector know really?) and asking us what we think is next (really they mean me, @x, and could care less about the rest of the KCC team. I mean who needs the hundreds of other categories, key alerts, thousands of issues, insightful commentary and all for just $1.99 a month right?). Mark Jewelers. No joke. 9.8s are out there and the smart money is on the hunt. Mark (Jewelers) my words, it's gonna be a thing.
  • Anyway, so the real story. Two 9.4 Newsstand editions sold this week for $1,345 and $1,425 (the all-time high in grade for a direct edition is $985).
  • Which is surprising because up until recently the Copper Age Newsstand premium has been limited to just the 9.8 copies. Now we're seeing it expand beyond. We saw the same thing a few weeks ago with ASM #365 9.6 Newsstand.
  • CGC 9.8 copies meanwhile continue to hover the $5k mark.
  • When the Venom movie was released in 2018, this book went into orbit.
  • It subsequently cooled and prices retreated but a new wave of demand spurred by Knull becoming one of the most popular characters introduced in recent years, an ever expanding Symbiote mythology in the books and the upcoming Venom movie sequel have sent it beyond 2018 prices.
  •  An all time classic cover, a massive 1st app, a superstar artist at the peak of his powers. ASM 300 has so many things going for it that it's always in demand but now it's also the top of the hottest books in comics.
Low $525
 | 
Mid $2.2k
 | 
High $5.5k
  • 1st full appearance of Wolverine.
  • Slicing back onto the Hot 10 and entering at number 2 is the Amazing Spider-Man #300 of the Murphy Brown era (what? turns out TV sucked in late 87 and that was the best reference I could find).
  •  We saw a strong uptick in volume of sales this week. Precipitated by nothing seemingly...always a fishy sign.
  • Regardless we saw a 3.0 hit $2,200 (up from $2k), a 4.5 hit $2,907 (up from $2,600), a 6.5 hit $3,500 which is the highest all-time except for a lone sale in 2019 at $3,913 (and looked like shilling).
  •  We also saw a 7.5 hit $4,080 (up from $4k) and an 8.0 finish at $4,700.
  • Quick recap: When the Disney acquisition of Fox was announced in 2018 it sent X-Men keys (which had been to that point overlooked by collectors in favor of keys involving the MCU characters) rocketing to new heights.
  • As the first wave of FOMO took hold and collectors scrambled to pick up copies, books from all periods of X-Men history made big jumps.
  • Giant Size X-Men #1 and X-Men #1 have, of late, had price jumps shortly after Hulk #181 does so expect some more movement on those soon.
Low $150
 | 
Mid $350
 | 
High $900
  • 1st appearance of Captain Fab
  • 1st appearance of Tankers in a pin-up
  • Also features one more to be revealed 1st appearance.
  • Estimated print is approx. 250 copies (though many were thrown out).
  • Holding again in the top 3 this week is the book that many, including the one and only Comic Tom (check out his sweet comic videos on YouTube!), have started calling 'the hottest new book of the year'.
  • This book keeps growing. This week it crossed a major milestone and became one of the few modern comics to consistently sell in raw grades for four figures.
  • We saw several raw sales over $1k this week including sales on eBay for $1,000, $1,025, $1,075, $1,008 and $1,043.20.
  • We have confirmed reports of 3 additional private sales over $1k and a private sale for a CGC 9.8 at $1,400.
  • The smaller spread between raw and graded prices may have to do with the books stiff cover. Reports suggest that it weathers wear and tear better than a standard comic and therefore grades well.
  • The most surprising news this week though is the interest level from a usually jaded contingent of comics buyers: industry insiders.
  • We continue to receive reports from stores that major figures from the big comic publishers, Diamond Comics Distributors, Comixology, major creators and high profile celebrity collectors from Hollywood have shown a particular interest in ensuring they have obtained a copy.
  • Pure conjecture on my part but this type of behavior is really only seen when they know something that the general public doesn't yet know and that would materially impact the book.
  • So the question is 'what don't we know yet?'.
  • Add to that that the fact that Bad Idea co-CEO, Dinesh Shamdasani, revealed that in addition to being the first appearance of Hero Trade and Tankers, there is still one more 1st appearance hidden in the book.
  • Bad Idea recently announced their slate of books (they look pretty fantastic) and the excitement sent people running for copies of The Hero Trade.
  • One of the announced books (Tankers) features heavily armed mech suit wearing soldiers sent back in time to fight dinosaurs.
  • This concept is seen in a pin-up in The Hero Trade.
  • Once again, every copy available for sale this week, including every buy-it-now (save the one priced on eBay at $5k), live stream and privately available copy found a home. No easy feat.
  • With such a small number available, fans are racing to pick up a copy before supply disappears and books are hidden away in collections. The book has now been out a month so copies are now beginning to dry up.
  • At the time of writing, only 2 copies were available for sale in public auctions. And one is the $5k buy-it-now
  • This level of heat and discussion is unprecedented for the first comic from a new publisher and bodes well for their future books.
  • Bad Idea stormed onto the scene with a crazy plan to self distribute their comics, a vow to forgo variants, digital and even collections, and a program that used a series of rules that stores had to agree to in order to sell their comics.
  • This limited stores that could carry Bad Idea comics to just 100 to date.
  • Taking their already insane plan even further they tweeted in response to fans asking when they would finally release a comic that a book called The Hero Trade #1 was magically already in stores. Like a sneaker drop.
  • Turns out, several weeks prior, Bad Idea had sent one copy of the book with no indication it was from them or who the creators were to each of their stores (154 copies. One per location as some stores have multiple locations) with a letter asking them to sell it and instructions for ordering more.
  • Because running a comic shop is actually very hard and discourages risk taking, especially from a self-publisher, only 4 stores ordered more copies. We have learned that the number of ordered copies is approx. 50.
  • So why are people going gaga?
  • Bad Idea announced a killer line up. The team behind the scenes are responsible for some of the best independent comics in recent memory. And the co-CEO is Dinesh Shamdasani.
  • Shamdasani just happens to also run his own film and tv production company. He produced both the Bloodshot movie and the Witcher tv show. He's producing a Gideon Falls tv show, a Final Fantasy tv show and a movie about EC comics.
  • Fans are speculating that he has big plans for Bad Idea comics.
  • Expect the heat on this book to continue as Bad Idea market and release their slate of books.
  • Written by Matt Kindt and illustrated by David Lapham.
  • Bad Idea will reprint this story in ENIAC #3.
  • 1st comic book published by Bad Idea (disguised as the 1st comic book by Buttoned Up Comics).
Low $18
 | 
Mid $50
 | 
High $180
  • 1st Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles one-shot spin-off
  • 1st appearance of Casey Jones.
  • New to the list and replacing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this week with some big moves is the 1st app of the man that retired Wayne Gretzky should have become.
  • Of late, the turtles first appearance has been hotter than a delicious green meaty soup that's been banned in most countries but remains tasty nonetheless.
  • Prices for high grade 1st printings are akin to buying a car. Collectors with copies of any grade of the 1st print are reluctant to sell while the book is climbing. And any available copies of the other printings have mostly been priced way beyond even the lofty new market prices.
  • Having said that, we did see two raw 3rd printings finish at $500 and $925 (about the price of a 9.8 3rd printing in 2019).
  • Collectors have moved quickly to the second most important Turtles book and prices have started to jump.
  •  This week we saw a 9.6 finish at $1,020 (2019 ave of $238 and a previous high of $780 set in September).
  • A CGC 9.4 at $685, a 9.2 at $700, an 8.5 at $330 and a nice looking raw at a shocking $1,076.
  • In private sales the book has been even hotter. We've confirmed a CGC 9.8 sale of $3k (2019 ave of $620 and a previous high of $2,200 set in September).
  • Prior to August of this year no copy of this book had ever sold for more than $600.
  • Expect this book to go nuclear hot if a 9.8 makes it to a public auction.
Low $140
 | 
Mid $550
 | 
High $2.7k
  • 1st appearance of Nathaniel Richards as Kang the Conqueror, previously Rama-Tut and later Immortus
  • Nathaniel is the father of Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four.
  • A new record-breaking sale hit the boards this week at $3,966 for a CGC 9.2 copy, overtaking the high in 2019 by $600 and eclipsing every other year's high sale since 2002 by $2k
  • For the third week in a row, an all-time high CGC 7.0 sale has been shattered after a $1,325 sale blew past last week's $1,250 record. This time last year, the value for Avengers #8 in this grade was approximately $700
  • Now mid-grade books in the 5.0 range are creeping their toes up to the $1,000 mark
  • One could only imagine the potential of this book if recent rumors are soon announced to be true
  • Last month, news broke that Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) has been cast as the villain in Ant-Man 3.
  • Rumors surfaced that he had signed a multi-picture deal and that he would be playing Kang.
  • If Kang truly is headed for the MCU than it stands to reason the Fantastic Four will follow. Please keep in mind that rumors are just that
Low $5
 | 
Mid $15
 | 
High $50
  • 1st appearance of Jo, April, Molly, Mal, Ripley, Jen, and Rosie.
  • Early appearance of a trans-person in comics (Jo).
  • Lumberjanes fans showed their love for the series by breaking the previous $200 CGC 9.8 record three times this week with the possible new regular asking price of $250
  • That's right, three sales at $250 each but it didn't stop there
  • Lumberjanes #1 variants experienced impressive sales as well with the black and white Brooke Allen character design webstore variant, limited to 250 copies delivering a phenomenal $550 sale for a 9.8 CGC graded copy which is interesting because it actually has the most 9.8 CGC graded books
  • According to the census, there are 22 9.8 copies of the Webstore exclusive but the 1:25 and 1:15 both show under 5 graded 9.8 copies...COMBINED
  • The 1:25 Lauren Zuke virgin variant #1 posted sales of $75-$100 ungraded and one $129 sale graded CGC 9.6
  • 1:15 sales graded/ungraded are elusive aside from one in October
  • Either these books are out at CGC getting graded, waiting to be listed when there is more hype or will remain unlisted as collector keepsakes which is often the case for a unique, quality series with a low print run
  • Comichron reports under 16k copies purchased by retailers of Lumberjanes #1 which would include all variants
  • There are presumably fewer than 1,000 copies of the second printing that went on-sale in June but Comichron does not report any June numbers for Lumberjanes #1 (for the fact-checkers who see 2,667 copies sold in May 2014, those are reorders)
  • Lumberjanes #1, is a mini-series that became a 6 year ongoing and is closing out this December.
  •  As Key Collector told you in the 10/6 Key Issue Alert: An animated series is in active development with first round of scripts in approval process.
  •  Picked up by streamer HBOMax.
  •  Boom is on fire this year with many indie hits and has filled the gap left by Image and Valiant (the biggest indie sellers of the last decade who have bought suffered since changing leadership).
  • Boom has done a great job around all it's books this year.
  • Boom's fortunes are likely very tied to film and tv success and they have done a good job of getting out from under their Fox deal (though Fox is still an owner in the company) once Disney bought Fox and put the stops to every Boom film and tv project.
  • Mouse Guard most famously was shut down in pre-production and with tens of millions already spent.
  • Lumberjanes precedes this latest trend and is arguably Boom's highest profile and most beloved series of all time.
  • Especially since creator, Noelle Stevenson, has become a much liked figure in Hollywood.
  • Stevenson is writing and exec producing one episode that will release before the series launches (with a different creative team).
Low $15
 | 
Mid $50
 | 
High $150
  • 1st appearance of Cobra Commander, Baroness, Snake-Eyes, Scarlett, Hawk, Grunt, Breaker, Rock 'N Roll, General Flagg, Stalker, Zap and Short-Fuze in comics.
  • For many of us, when hearing someone say the words "now you know" in our heads we finish the popular G.I. Joe cartoon sign-off it with "and knowing is half the battle." With this type of nostalgic muscle memory, it should come as no surprise that the comic book series, which the cartoon is based on, would sustain a steady demand for decades
  • The G.I. Joe comic vein is rooted even deeper in Marvel history as it was based off of an early 80s concept that Vietnam veteran and writer Larry Hama was working on called Fury Force featuring Nick Fury
  • Serendipitously, Hasbro was looking to team-up with Marvel at the same time as relaunchng the new 3.75-inch action figures (a term coined by Hasbro) and Hama's Fury Force concept was a snug fit for G.I. Joe
  • G.I. Joe comics have been published by Marvel, Image, Dreamwave, Devil's Due and IDW almost without interruption for almost 40 years
  • The most significant absence of new stories occured between 1995 (after the Todd McFarlane G.I. Joe Special) and 2001 when Image launched their first ongoing series
  • Despite multiple relaunches on the comic series and multiple movies, the demand has not caused any significant price spikes until the beginning of April 2020 when the $350-$400 9.8 CGC graded G.I. Joe #1 breached the $500 mark three times
  • This set a new standard of pricing for the book until the next milestone was cracked at $600 in July 2020
  • Since then, the book has had momentum, fueled in excess by Snake Eyes movie leaks (coming October 2021) and just recently, John Cena teasing Instagram with an image of the character Duke (although no confirmation of an upcoming role announcement)
  • August 2020 saw graded 9.8 sales sell between $600-$750
  • September 2020 posted early all-time highs of $900 and so far, a $600 9.8 has not been seen since
  • Last week, G.I. Joe sold for an all-time high $1,000 and this week, for the second week in a row, G.I. Joe #1 notches another $1,000 sale under its belt and retains its #7 spot on the list
  • Now you know...
Low $12
 | 
Mid $40
 | 
High $120
  • 1st appearance of The Boys led by Billy Butcher, an elite CIA squad that police a corrupt and reckless superhero community
  • The Boys season 2 ends on a spectacular high-note with 97% audience freshness on Rotten Tomatoes
  • The TV show enjoys exponential success largely from being the right series at the right time, using satire to comment on relevant cultural hot buttons including the death of Jeffrey Epstein (at the hands of Stormfront)
  • With season three shooting already scheduled for early 2021 (Coronavirus be damned) and a spin-off series that will focus on a team of younger heroes fast-tracked to production, Garth Ennis' The Boys is having a banner year on TV
  • Now let's look at the comics. The Boys #1 got its first taste of back issue demand in Spring 2016 when an adaptation for Cinemax was announced with series creator Eric Kripke attached alongside Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
  • The next big spike didn't happen prior to the show airing July 26, 2019 which one would expect but really started to heat up throughout August as the show caught fire
  • CGC 9.8 graded sales were in the $350 range then cooled down in February 2020 to around $200
  • Season two kicked the book back into gear, revving the average 9.8 sales up to $400 with a $500 high on October 3
  • Momentum continued through the show’s season falling short of $500 by just $1, twice
  • Still, for the first month ever, October has yet to yield a 9.8 sale below $400
  • Throughout October, 9.6 graded books remained comfortably seated in the $200+ resale range with 7 sales. Prior to October, the same grade hit $200 5x for the entire year so it would seem $200+ is the new standard in this grade
  • 9.4 copies hit a new high this week at $275 marking the first time that this book crossed the $200 threshold in this grade although it’s a bit too extreme to be anything more than an outlier
  • A 9.2 copy grasped an all-time high record with a $180 sale this week after struggling throughout 2020 to break past the $100 mark
  • Yet there are a handful of recently released variants that haven't struggled to bring in premium resale prices whatsoever
  • Most notably, The Boys spin-off series, Dear Becky exploded out of the gates with an incredible Homelander cover by Raf Grassetti that sold this week for $650 CGC 9.8
  • An equally masterful cover by Carla Cohen depicting Starlight raked in $400+ in 9.8
  • Check out the Trending list to see The Boys: Herogasm's uptick in sales after this week's Season 3 rumors
Low $250
 | 
Mid $900
 | 
High $2.3k
  • 1st comic book appearance of Harley Quinn.
  • Newsstand edition.
  • Introduced as a villain and a romantic interest for the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series. She was the star of her own animated show as well as the Suicide Squad & Birds of Prey feature films. Will star in the upcoming The Suicide Squad movie from director James Gunn
  • Along with Deadpool, she is arguably the most popular character created in the last 30 years.
  • At this point, every week is seeing a Copper Age heavy weight jump onto the list as a super rare 9.8 Newsstand edition hits the market, goes for a bananas price and sends everyone scrambling to find copies.
  • This week it was Harley's turn with a CGC 9.8 Newsstand copy finishing on eBay for an all-time high for any edition of this book for $4,617.89 (obliterating the previous high of $2500).
  • Four weeks ago, the Newsstand edition of Amazing Spider-Man #365 made the Hot 10 with 2 four-figure sales for 9.8 grade copies (the all-time high sale for a direct edition in 9.8 is $300).
  • Three weeks ago, the Newsstand edition of Amazing Spider-Man #299 saw a monster $1,918 sale.
  • While Newsstand UPCs are not uncommon in this era in other grades at the 9.8 grade they are incredibly rare and in some cases, virtually ghosts.
  •  Newsstand copies in this era were not ordered at the same levels as direct market (comic shop) copies.
  • Newsstand print runs for books from this era are approximately 20-30% of the total run.
  • However, Newsstand orders are different from direct orders. Direct copies are ordered by stores based on confirmed sales and customer interest. These copies are not returnable meaning the stores are stuck with them. Any unsold copies go into back issue bins. This is why comic stores today tend to order fewer copies than they actually think they can sell.
  • Newsstand copies are ordered by the publisher. They chose how many copies to send the newsstands. Those copies are fully returnable. Meaning newsstands are only obligated to put them on their racks for the month of sale and then can rip off the covers and send just those back to avoid being charged for copies not actually sold. The percentage of copies remaindered can be anywhere from 50-80%.
  • Moreover, distribution, display and browsing practices are very different from direct market systems and most times issues were carelessly handled or read significantly. Ergo the 9.8 copies that exist do so despite the system.
  • Unlike Amazing Spider-Man #299 or #365, this book has become an established collector blue chip and commands high prices in any condition. Add the Newsstand premium and you get prices that are out of this world.
  • If this one follows the trajectory of the two ASM books we'll see a spike in interest of either or both the regular edition of the book and lower grade Newsstand editions.
  • Another factor helping push this book is the upcoming The Suicide Squad film and the recently announced Peacemaker TV series. Anticipation is high for both and they are reminding collectors to jump back on the Harley train before it leaves them behind.
  • Last week saw Fightin Five #40 (1st Peacemaker) hit number 2 on the list. That book was originally published by Charlton and is so rare that CGC has only ever graded 21 copies. A lack of available high grade copies for sale kept the book off the list this week but expect to see it jump back on as soon as a high grade copy comes up for public auction.
  • Of note is a CGC 8.0 copy that is currently at $1,075 with 25 bids on eBay (all-time high price for this grade is $375).
  • Expect to see 9.8 Newsstands of books from the 80's to the present continue to separate in this way across the board.
  • There is an even more pronounced premium and a premium in all grades for books from the modern era where Newsstand print runs were minuscule as most newsstand vendors were no longer stocking comics or out of business completely.
  • Current data places Newsstand print runs at approximately 1-3% of direct market orders for the modern era.
Low $225
 | 
Mid $800
 | 
High $2.5k
  • 1st appearance of Miles Morales.
  • 1:25 variant cover art by Marko Djurdjevic.
  •  Swinging back onto the Hot 10 this week is a book that just refuses to cool down.
  • Rumors abound that Sony has cast their live action Miles Morales and fans are gobbling up copies again before the news is officially announced.
  • We at Key Collector have been hearing these rumors for weeks and have been working to confirm them for just as long.
  • Don't miss the Spec Deck. Those following the category got the news of the rumor days before anyone else ran it.
  • We have yet to confirm 100% that the rumor is true but our sources are being unusually and suspiciously tight lipped.
  • With Sony looking to mine as much of the Spider-Man family as they can, the success of Enter The Spider-Verse for Sony and Kevin Feige, who has openly discussed wanting to push the Marvel characters into diversity, producing all the pieces feel aligned for this to be a major part of Spider-Man 3.
  • We've already heard rumors that Toby McGuire and Jaime Foxx will return to their roles from previous incarnations of the film franchise.
  • Moreover, Doctor Strange is confirmed to be appearing in the sequel. A likely sign that they will be expanding the multiverse consequences of Doctor Strange 2 and a logical way to integrate Miles into the MCU.
  • Moreover, this books incredible run up this year (from a 2019 average of $2,325 for a 9.8 to a 90 day average of $8,375 and all-time highs of $9,000 in August) feels like something more than just collectors finally giving this book, it's rarity and this character their due.
  • Could this run up have been fueled by Hollywood insiders working on or working in a capacity that they were privy to details on Miles Morales' entry into the MCU.
  • It's happened before with books like Fantastic Four #52. Seemingly forgotten books are zapped to life for no apparent reason weeks or months before a major MCU announcement.
  • If the rumors prove true and if Miles is entering the MCU and not just a featured cameo from the multiverse, this book will likely run up again.
  • But where will it top out? How high can it go? This book has become the defining book of its era and it's a very good time to be an era defining book. Case in point: Incredible Hulk #181 and Amazing Spider-Man #300.
  • After dipping slightly in recent weeks we've seen a flurry of activity this week with 9.8 copies hitting as high as $8k.
  • Even more surprising is that we are seeing a volume of sales that surpasses anything we've seen for this book this year.
  • We've confirmed four 9.8 private sales in the last two days at $8,000, $7,750, $7,500 and $7,750, a 9.6 sale at $3,400, a 9.4 at $2,000 on eBay and a raw copy at $1,850 on eBay.
  • As insane as these prices are the variant is not the king of the Miles roost. Be on the lookout for the incredibly rare Newsstand edition.
  •  This edition features the A cover with a newsstand barcode and 'Black Panther' erroneously printed in the UPC box.
  • A CGC 8.0 copy sold on eBay this week for a staggering $2,750 once again proving that there is a larger premium placed on Newsstands for this book than any other edition.
  • 2020 has seen an explosion of interest in Newsstand editions with modern era Newsstands outpacing their ratio variant counter parts.
  • CGC does not currently break out Newsstand editions making it difficult to accurately pin down numbers.
  • Unlike direct market (comic shop) orders, Newsstand sales were returnable and unsold copies were destroyed. Current data places Newsstand print runs at approximately 1-3% of the 74,000 direct market orders for Ultimate Fallout #4.
  • Experts have tracked approx. 50 discovered Newsstand copies so far with only 4 confirmed CGC 9.6 copies and 1 confirmed CGC 9.8.
  •  Newsstand editions are notoriously difficult to find in high grade. Distribution, display and browsing habits are very different from direct market systems meaning oftentimes, issues are carelessly handled or read significantly. But it's not just the ratio and Newsstand variants that are doing well. Every cover of this book saw an explosion of sales volume this week from the A cover to the second print.
  • Whether the rumor proves to be true or not this book has proved it is going to keep growing.
  • And with an upcoming video game and a sequel to the Enter The Spider-Verse movie underway there is lots to get collectors excited.