By Benjamin Nobel, October 16, 2021
Earlier this year, I updated my lists of key comics by year with updated census counts/rankings and with CGC label notes included. For those who have explored the 1992 page, you may have noticed three books mentioning Spider-Man 2099 on the CGC label made the toplist (here they are in the order of how they ranked by highest census count):
◉ Amazing Spider-Man #365, published 8/1992, has this CGC label note: 1st appearance of Spider-Man 2099. Gatefold Venom/Carnage poster by Mark Bagley. Hologram cover.
◉ Spider-Man 2099 #1, published 11/1992, has this CGC label note: Origin Spider-Man 2099 (Miguel O’Hara). Red foil cover.
◉ Web of Spider-Man #90, published 7/1992, has this CGC label note: Gatefold Spider-Man 2099 poster by Rick Leonardi. Hologram cover. Mysterio appearance.
Interestingly, as circled on the above labels, you can see that Web of Spider-Man #90 actually pre-dates Amazing Spider-Man #365 by a full month, and inside its pages we see Spider-Man 2099 appearing on a large 3 page gatefold poster! Let’s have a look at that poster, shall we? Here it is:
That’s a huge poster — spanning 3 glossy pages — and the sheer size of the Spider-Man 2099 artwork (overlapping 2 of those 3 pages) is thus quite “satisfying” in the sense that this isn’t just some small one-panel cameo on newsprint, this appearance spans multiple glossy pages within some extraordinary (and physically large) artwork!!
Here’s a question for you: would you consider that poster you just saw to be an advertisement? The thought that this could be possibly considered an ad hadn’t even occurred to me; yet, when Googling the first appearance of Spider-Man 2099 one of the first results (and the #1 result for the search shown below) is a page on keycollectorscomics.com which credits Spider-Man 2099 #1 with the first appearance and then mentions the 5-page preview in ASM #365 and finally says “and an advertisement in Web of Spider-Man #90″:
So apparently keycollectorscomics.com is taking a stance that deviates from that of CGC and instead considers Spider-Man 2099 #1 to be the 1st appearance of the character; and that view “demotes” Amazing Spider-Man #365 to being a “5 page preview” (versus a 1st appearance credit) and meanwhile they apparently consider the Web #90 poster appearance to be merely an ad.
Certainly the poster is included to promote the upcoming Spider-Man 2099 #1 release (and we could say the exact same thing about the preview/mini-comic inside of ASM #365 being promotional…). But, I completely disagree with the stance that this is an ad; there aren’t even any words on it! No, I consider this Web of Spider-Man #90 poster to be an appearance inside a comic book of the Spider-Man 2099 character; and if you see things the same way I do then it is quite interesting indeed that this poster’s publication actually pre-dates Amazing Spider-Man #365 by a full month, making it a book to definitely add to your list of early Spider-Man 2099 keys to collect (and your list of books where the industry is not giving the book its due credit)!
The Overstreet guide does point out the existence of this Spider-Man 2099 poster within Web #90 (and the guide does not refer to it as an ad but rather as a gatefold poster), but does not state that the book contains the 1st appearance (or 1st cameo appearance) of the character. However, Overstreet’s listing does give us some additional interesting information including that issue #90 went to a second printing (with a gold hologram instead of silver), and, that the first printing was distributed in polybags:
|First Spider-Man 2099 Appearance: “It’s Complicated”|
Looking at the 1st appearance credits across the hobby, we can already see that there is disagreement — keycollectorscomics.com having a different view from CGC for example.
First appearance credits can often fall under the category of “it’s complicated” — and this Spider-Man 2099 situation reminds me a lot of the 1st appearance of Invincible in that there is also a “preview” / mini-comic involved. In the case of Savage Dragon #102 though, the Invincible mini-comic was not advertised on the cover; yet sure enough, that book contains an Invincible preview inside and pre-dates Invincible #1.
However, in that case the preview is not credited by CGC with a “first appearance” label note the way ASM #365 is credited with Spidey 2099’s first appearance — it is Invincible #1 that is given the first appearance credit by CGC. Had Spider-Man 2099’s previews been treated the same way, then it would be Spider-Man 2099 #1 treated as the 1st appearance of Spider-Man 2099.
Are there any differences between the Invincible/Savage Dragon #102 preview comic situation and the Spider-Man 2099/ASM #365 preview comic situation? One major contrast I notice immediately is that whereas the preview comic inside of Savage Dragon #102 is not advertised on the cover, meanwhile Amazing Spider-Man #365 does advertise the Spider-Man 2099 preview comic on the cover:
Perhaps this added visibility helped to set the industry’s current 1st appearance credits for Spider-Man 2099; and perhaps like in many other situations it was the influence of the Overstreet guide that led to CGC and much of the hobby at large crediting the book this way. Here is how Overstreet lists Amazing Spider-Man #365:
As you can see above, Overstreet notes “5 page preview of Spider-Man 2099 (1st app.)” in its description. (And by the way, like CGC, Overstreet’s note for Spider-Man 2099 #1 only credits that later book with his Origin).
So let’s take a look at that Spider-Man 2099 “first” appearance in Amazing Spider-Man #365, shall we? Here’s the initial page of the preview comic inside of ASM #365 — where we see there are flying cars in 2099 — with the heading, Here it is! A Sneak Preview of the first Marvel Futureverse title! Spider-Man 2099!
The preview continues: Stan Lee Presents Spider-Man 2099!
And here are the final two pages of the Spider-Man 2099 preview:
Earlier I used the word “satisfying” to describe the Web of Spider-Man #90 poster, and I’ll use that word again here — this preview comic indeed gives a satisfying glimpse/teaser, and I can definitely see why much of the hobby has elected to ascribe the all-important “first appearance of Spider-Man 2099” credit to Amazing Spider-Man #365 instead of Spider-Man 2099 #1.
In addition to Overstreet and CGC, CBCS also credits Amazing Spider-Man #365 with the first appearance of Spider-Man 2099:
As does GoCollect (and note that their 9.8 market value for the newsstand edition is ~2.5x that of the direct edition)…
For comparison, here’s GoCollect’s view on first print copies of Spider-Man 2099 #1, where no 1st appearance credit is given (interestingly, while their direct edition 9.8 value is much much lower compared to ASM 365, their newsstand 9.8 value for Spider-Man 2099 #1 edges out ASM 365 by $100 currently):
And as far as ASM #365 getting the 1st appearance credit for Spider-Man 2099 throughout most of the hobby, in addition to GoCollect, ComicBase also agrees with that stance as well…
As does ComicLink…
And I could go on and on with examples of this agreement (here’s two more — MyComicShop: “80-page giant 30th Anniversary issue, with the first appearance of Spider-Man 2099!” … ComicsPriceGuide: “30th Anniversary Special, (Silver Hologram). 1st Appearance of Spider-Man 2099. Fold out poster by Mark Bagley.”)…
Point being: the consensus across the vast majority of the hobby currently is to treat Amazing Spider-Man #365 as containing the first appearance of Spider-Man 2099 — almost everyone is overlooking Web of Spider-Man #90 as Spider-Man 2099’s true first appearance.
|Don’t Forget Web of Spider-Man #90!|
Almost the entire hobby overlooks Web #90 as Spider-Man 2099’s true first appearance… but not everyone!! My fellow CPV Price Guide collaborator Doug Sulipa is one of the few who gives Web #90 its due credit. Here’s what Doug Sulipa’s Comic World has to say about the issue:
As you can see, Doug calls Web of Spider-Man #90 the TRUE FIRST appearance of Spider-Man 2099. Doug is spot on with this call in my view, and based upon what we’ve reviewed thus far in this post I hope you’ll agree too!
Thus, I feel that the Spider-Man 2099 poster appearance in Web #90 — pre-dating ASM #365 by a month — deserves way more attention than it is currently getting across the hobby… While we do see mentions of the existence of the poster, none of the primary “authorities” in the hobby are specifically pointing out the July 1992 publication month, vs. ASM #365 at August 1992; in other words the typical collector is not being informed that Web #90 pre-dates the book currently the most widely credited as containing Spider-Man 2099’s first appearance!
A “first cameo appearance” credit on grading company labels would arguably be warranted here; or at the very least I feel the grading company labels should be noting that this poster pre-dates the book currently credited by the hobby as Spider-Man 2099’s 1st appearance. (CGC does a version of a “predates” note like this for Gambit, so I picture the possibility of something similar here for Spider-Man 2099).
Collectors themselves seem to be paying much less attention to Web #90 currently, versus ASM #365 and Spider-Man 2099 #1, judging by the fact that a still-sealed polybagged 1st print newsstand copy of Web #90 can currently be acquired for under $10 shipped which strikes me as a bargain given the book’s importance (this recent example below went for $8.99 with free shipping):
Even the gold hologram (2nd print) newsstand copies of the issue are going for a song, despite being dramatically harder to actually find out there (regardless of grade) than the 1st print newsstand copies:
GoCollect, meanwhile, has seen so few newsstand sales in 9.8 that their newsstand fair market value is still “pending” for 1st print copies of Web of Spider-Man #90:
And arguably, the low 9.8 newsstand sales volume in the marketplace is due in part to the fact that Web #90 isn’t currently getting the credit it deserves with regards to Spider-Man 2099, by the authorities in the hobby — and in turn collectors aren’t sending their copies in to be graded to the degree they would be if the labels were properly crediting the Spider-Man 2099 appearance. (And another part of the low 9.8 newsstand sales volume puzzle arguably has to do with the polybags themselves making newsstand 9.8’s incredibly difficult — more on that in a bit). But turning to ComicLink’s presentation of Web #90, we actually find something cool and unexpected (it surprised me anyway when I saw it)…
|Bonus Galactus Venomization!|
With all the focus on Spider-Man 2099, ComicLink, meanwhile, has noticed a 1st appearance within Web of Spider-Man #90 which others in the hobby seem to have overlooked. Remember Doug Sulipa’s listing earlier? It had included a note about “cameo illusions of Galactus, Venom” (etc.). ComicLink has studied these illusions and noticed the following:
As you can see, they state “1st Appearance of a Venom/Galactus Character” — which I find to be an interesting way to state it. I would have gone with “1st Appearance of a Venomized Galactus” because that’s how collectors seem to consistently refer to “Venomization” of other characters (like a Venomized Wolverine appearing on the cover of New Avengers #35 and a Venomized Mary Jane on the variant cover of ASM #678).
Let’s take a look at that Venomized Galactus character, shall we? The scene opens with Spidey battling Venom:
Although in the story above while what we saw may all have just been an illusion, it is still very cool indeed to have seen this “Venomized Galactus” portrayal introduced into comics, marking another reason beyond the Spider-Man 2099 poster to find Web of Spider-Man #90 appealing!
|Web #90 vs. Marvel Age #114|
But there’s another “competing” July 1992 book which Overstreet Advisor Bill Alexander brought to my attention, that also pre-dates Amazing Spider-Man #365 and also contains a Spider-Man 2099 appearance: Marvel Age #114:
Marvel Age is a title that was published by Marvel Comics that was essentially a “preview publication” — in that the entire point of the title was to preview upcoming content. In that sense, even though they produced it in comic book size, it is more akin to preview magazines (like those from Fantagraphics) as its peer set. Here’s how Standard Catalog of Comic Books referred to the title:
But ultimately it is a Marvel publication and many collectors are paying attention to this title (see Marvel Age #97 as one prominent example). And as we saw circled on the CGC label example, just like Web of Spider-Man #90, issue #114 of Marvel Age also shows a July 1992 publication date on its label (but with no current mention in the CGC key comments of anything special or important). And inside, the following glimpse of Spidey 2099 appears:
So: do Web of Spider-Man #90 and Marvel Age #114 “tie” in publication order? Or did one come out demonstrably before the other? For many collectors the July 1992 “tie” for publication month will be enough to want to collect both books… similar to how many collectors will collect both Amazing Spider-Man #252 and Marvel Team-Up #141 (which carries the same 5/1984 publication month and CGC labels with the note, “Ties with Amazing Spider-Man #252 for first appearance of the black costume.“). [See Spectacular Spider-Man #90 as well, from the same month].
However, I’ve also seen some collectors debate those two books and try to “break the tie” by pointing to shipping dates listed in preview publications such as Amazing Heroes, Comic Reader, and indeed Marvel Age itself. In issue #11 of Marvel Age, the shipping date for Marvel Team-Up #141 is shown as January 24, 1984, while ASM #252’s shipping date is shown as January 10, 1984… two weeks earlier.
To some, that small shipping difference matters a lot to their collecting decisions. Some collectors even go after all the various preview publications themselves — including Marvel Age #12 which previews the black costume [and incidentally MyComicShop has chronicled that book as only the 6th “preview appearance” of the black costume overall — here’s a link to their great page on the subject (where Comics Journal #85 is cited as the “winner”/earliest among the preview publications).]
So for those who would prefer to see a true “winner” declared between the pair of Web of Spider-Man #90 and Marvel Age #114 based upon shipping dates, then let’s have a look at the “Coming Attractions” page inside of the previous issue of Marvel Age, issue #113:
As you can see, Web of Spider-Man #90 shipped first. However, personally, I feel that there is no “right way” or “wrong way” to decide which comic book issues to collect and each collector should go after the issues they are most drawn to for their own reasons. For me, when it comes to the black costume I happen to own both the 75 cent variant of ASM #252 and MTU #141 … and similarly, when it comes to Spider-Man 2099 I wouldn’t hesitate to collect all of the issues I’ve mentioned thus far — Spider-Man 2099 #1, Amazing Spider-Man #365, Web of Spider-Man #90, and Marvel Age #114. Why limit yourself to just one issue important to a character when you can collect them all? That’s the way I see it anyway! 🙂
|Collecting Web 90, ASM 365, Spider-Man 2099 #1, & MA 114|
Each collector should figure out on their own which of these issues appeals to them (maybe one, maybe more, maybe all). But, when collecting any of these, I do want to make sure to encourage everyone who cares about rarity and collectible value to approach each of these issues with a newsstand-focused mindset, because the direct editions are just way too prevalent out there to interest me at all, and I know that with all the growing newsstand awareness out there, more and more collectors feel the same way I do and now prize only the more-rare high grade newsstand copies, while panning their prevalent direct edition counterparts.
To get a sense of how many copies Marvel sold for issues of this time period, I’m going to turn to the Standard Catalog of Comic Books which helpfully lists circulation statement numbers — for instance Marvel Age #114 at 81,567 — and also lists order levels made by direct market distributor Capital City (a competitor to Diamond which Diamond eventually acquired in 1996), which can be used to extrapolate a total. That’s possible to do because the authors also researched the market share Capital City represented for each publisher by year, i.e. what percentage of Marvel’s comics were sold through Capital City in 1992? And the answer, according to the Standard Catalog of Comic Books, is 19.9% for Marvel in 1992. Let’s round that to an even 20% for easier math: that means for example that for every 20,000 copies we know were ordered by Capital City, we can estimate that an additional 80,000 copies were sold elsewhere — for a total of 100,000.
Looking up these numbers in the Standard Catalog of Comic Books, for ASM #365, Capital City orders are shown at 221,700. If that number represented 20% of the pie, then the total pie would have been a whopping 1,108,500 copies for Amazing Spider-Man #365! For Spider-Man 2099 #1, the numbers are even higher: Capital City alone is shown to have ordered 300,000 copies… which extrapolates to a total of 1,500,000 copies for Spider-Man 2099 #1! With sales numbers like these, it is all the more important to say “pass” to the prevalent direct editions, and instead zero in on the more-rare newsstand copies.
By contrast to ASM #365 and Spider-Man 2099 #1, Web of Spider-Man #90’s sales numbers — while still “impressively high” — were more modest by comparison. Capital City is shown to have ordered 114,000 first print copies (silver hologram) and 44,600 second print copies (gold hologram)… which extrapolates out to 570,000 1st print copies and 223,000 2nd print copies in total for Web #90.
With these big-picture sales numbers in mind, let’s now take a look at the newsstand:direct disparity. For that, the CBCS census really helps to illustrate the massive disparity in high grade survivorship, because CBCS has helpfully been “breaking out” newsstand from direct edition since 2017. Although their total census numbers are much smaller than larger competitor CGC, we can still learn a lot by looking at the ratios within the books that have passed through CBCS’s doors, so let’s take a look into CBCS’s census (aka “population report”). For Marvel Age #114 they’ve only graded two grand-total copies to date, and both of them have been direct editions, so there’s not enough data to explore a ratio for that one. But newsstand editions are indeed out there; here’s what they look like:
Turning to Spider-Man 2099 #1, for that issue CBCS has graded 175 total copies in the 9.4-and-up grade tiers to date since 2017 when they started differentiating the types, 12 of which — just 6.9% as a percentage — have been newsstand copies, with just 5 of those newsstand examples in the coveted 9.8 grade tier:
CBCS has also graded 21 second printing / “Toybiz” copies of Spider-Man 2099 #1 from 2001. CGC has a distinct census entry for the 2nd print copies as well, and as of this writing has graded 233 of them:
Here’s an example CGC-graded copy to show what these second print 2001 versions look like slabbed — the cover has a white background with black border instead of the red foil that 1st print copies have, and there is a newsstand barcode at the bottom left corner:
Here’s an example of how such copies were originally distributed — the KB Toys price tag on this one reveals that its buyer paid $7.99 for it initially:
Turning next to the CBCS census for Web of Spider-Man #90, CBCS has graded just 38 total broken-out copies in the 9.4-and-up grade tiers to date, only 2 of which — about 5.3% as a percentage — have been newsstand copies, with the highest newsstand grade to date being 9.4:
While the (false) default expectation/perception for polybagged issues might tend to be that the polybag would help preserve the condition of the book inside (and that’s certainly true for some kinds of condition damage — hard to imagine a dog-eared corner for example, for a comic still sealed in a plastic bag), something we saw with poly-bagged copies of Spider-Man #1 (1990) was that the plastic “ridge” in the back actually presses a bend into the paper over time. And along that ridge there can even be spots where the variations in the plastic seal formed larger/heavier points which press even deeper into the paper and can even cause color breaks.
This “polybag bend” phenomenon, combined with the rough handling that the newsstand distribution channel was notorious for, actually caused newsstand-distributed polybagged copies of Spider-Man #1 to have a dramatically lower CBCS census percentage in 9.6-up, compared to both the direct-distributed Silver “no cover price” polybagged copies, and the “regular” Silver copies. See that past post for a more detailed discussion, but here’s a chart to illustrate this phenomenon, showing the percentage of copies within each census entry that received a grade of 9.6 or higher, for Spider-Man #1:
So essentially, what this chart is showing, is that if you’re a polybagged UPC copy of Spider-Man #1 (originally distributed on newsstands) that was sent in to CBCS, then you have only a 13.5% chance of being a 9.6 or higher; if you’re a Silver polybagged (“no cover price”) copy of Spider-Man #1 (also distributed in polybags but via direct sales to comic shops) sent in to CBCS then your odds of being a 9.6 or higher copy almost double, to 25%; while finally, if you’re a “regular” Silver copy (direct-sold to comic shops but not originally distributed in polybags) sent in to CBCS then you’ve got a whopping 75% chance of being a 9.6 or higher copy — that’s triple the odds of the polybagged no-cover-price Silver copies, and over 5 times the odds compared to the polybagged UPC edition!
So not only do we need to think about the stark difference in sales numbers between the direct edition and newsstand types (where by one industry insider’s estimate, Marvel’s newsstand percentage was just 15% by 1990 — see newsstand rarity discussions and estimates), we also need to think about what percentage of the newsstand copies originally sold are actually still surviving today in the top grades!
And just like the the polybagged UPC copies of Spider-Man #1, the back of the Web #90 polybags have this same exact “ridge” feature where the plastic forms a seam down the middle and presses a bend into the paper over time:
And if stacked one on top of another, this ridge then also presses into the front of the copy underneath it too… which in this case means bending the hologram itself:
Ouch! Thus, this polybag-exclusivity in turn should make top graded newsstand copies all the more difficult to find out there for Web of Spider-Man #90 — which adds to their appeal as collectibles (especially those newsstand copies that manage to grade in the coveted 9.8 tier — and perhaps this is the other piece of the puzzle to explain why GoCollect has seen so few NM/MT newsstand sales).
Indeed, the CBCS census presently shows zero newsstand copies on record there to date in 9.6 or 9.8, just two in Near Mint 9.4, and fully 74% of the census copies within the newsstand census entry for Web #90 are below 9.0 in grade. Stop and think about that for a moment… nearly three quarters of the census copies (which were presumably already selected by submitters as their top grading candidates) for newsstand Web #90 are VF+ or lower!
The second print (gold hologram) copies of Web #90 do not have the polybag problem, but CBCS does not appear to have graded any newsstand 2nd print copies yet (I could not find any broken out on their census), just direct edition. But the gold hologram newsstand copies do indeed exist out there, and if your experience matches mine you’ll find that they are a far more challenging find than the 1st print newsstand copies. The 2nd print copies can be identified by the Gold background hologram (instead of Silver) but also by the November cover month; here is a second print newsstand example — or dare I call it, with a wink and a nod to Spider-Man #1, the “UPC Gold Edition”?:
Why November, when the first printing was published in July? Well, I suspect that before putting 2nd printings into the market of their hologram issues, Marvel wanted to wait until after they had finished selling the first printings for all four Spider-Man scheduled titles with holograms that were set to come out: Spectacular Spider-Man #189 had come first in June, followed by Web #90 in July, ASM #365 in August, and Spider-Man #26 in September. Only then did Marvel subsequently put out second printings with gold holograms (instead of silver) for Spectacular #189, and for Web #90… but for some reason they stopped there… I.e. there are no 2nd print / gold hologram versions of ASM #365 nor Spider-Man #26. Could that be an indication that the 2nd printings for Spectacular #189 and Web #90 didn’t sell as well as Marvel had hoped? Perhaps the market was already fully satiated by four first print hologram issues plus two second print hologram issues??
And finally here’s the CBCS census result for Amazing Spider-Man #365, where to date they have graded a grand total of 160 copies in 9.4-and-up, of which 9 — or about 5.6% — have been newsstand copies:
So I say “skip over” the direct editions when collecting any of these issues, as they’re just far too prevalent; instead, concentrate on collecting the highest grade newsstand copies you can find. (And you may need to be more patient & ambitious to find that 2nd print Gold hologram newsstand version of Web #90, or the toy store 2001 bar coded version of Spider-Man 2099 #1, in highest grades).
And if you’re feeling really ambitious, then I have a further challenge for you. Notice in the census screenshot above for ASM #365 that CBCS has an “Australian Edition” census entry with 1 copy on it — that’s actually an entry left over from before they updated to the “price variant” nomenclature for Type 1A cover price variants in 2018 [so apparently they haven’t been submitted any further Australian Price Variant (“APV” for short) newsstand copies since then for #365]. But while the old census name may give off the false impression that it is a foreign reprint, in actuality, that single book on their census is a first print original newsstand comic, published right here in the USA, at the same time and on the same equipment as the other types they produced, by Marvel as the publisher… but distributed in Australia.
|APVs: “The Even Rarer 1990’s Newsstand”|
Have you heard of Australian Price Variant newsstand comics, aka APVs? Here’s why I for one am the most drawn to them as my preferred variants to collect for Spider-Man 2099 #1, ASM #365, and Web #90:
Within the newsstand “pie slice” published by Marvel here in the US for each book, during a short “price variant window” in the 90’s, a small batch was printed with subtle differences (the biggest of which was a higher cover price and cover month advanced to account for shipping time to actually reach the Australian newsstands) and loaded onto the slow boat to Australia. See my prior posts on these awesome variants for more background info: Part I, Part II, and most recently Part III where I discuss the 2019 article published by Alternate Worlds revealing the print run for APVs was 2000-4000 per issue, that they were collated and shipped first — before the other editions — so that they could be rushed off to the boat; and the confirmation that unsold newsstand copies were pulped… Leaving precious few APV survivors out there in high grade.
Like CBCS, CGC “breaks out” these higher-cover-priced copies printed for Australian newsstands too, i.e. gives them their own unique census entries, and as of this writing CGC has seen 4 grand-total APVs for Spider-Man 2099 #1, has seen 2 grand-total APVs for Web of Spider-Man #90, and has seen 9 grand-total APVs for Amazing Spider-Man #365, as screen-captured below. Now that is the kind of census rarity that gets me excited as a collector!
Some collectors out there, when they get a “collecting idea” for a given Modern Age issue they want, have told me they will go after 10 or more CGC 9.8 copies of the issue and really make it “an investment” if they have the conviction. Which makes some sense given how prevalent Modern Age comics tend to be generally — someone who is used to paying thousands for a single Bronze or Silver Age key might think “why bother” about a Modern book that costs a small fraction of that sum… so it makes some sense that they might start thinking in multiples (10x of a given Modern at $100 each would be an equivalent dollar investment compared to 1 older key at $1000). And in the world of direct editions that’s certainly possible to do… (indeed when you have an issue where a MILLION direct edition copies were sold, it should be quite easy to find near-unlimited availability of CGC 9.8’s or “9.8 contenders” raw).
But things change when you enter the world of newsstand Modern Age comics, and especially when you delve into the Type 1A price variant newsstand books: I find it incredible to think, that if someone wanted to accumulate 10 CGC-graded APVs for ASM #365 as their goal, they could buy every single census copy that presently exists and still be one short of ten. And in 9.6-and up there are just three… and in 9.8 only one!
Something else to ponder is the super-high cover price on the copies printed for Australian newsstands, for these hologram issues, and what that may have meant for actual newsstand sales. For ASM #365, as an 84-page anniversary issue, even the regular (North American) newsstand copies were pricey, at $3.95 US each. That compares to prior issue #364 at just $1.25 US… So kids in the USA were asked to pay more than 3x the price they were “used to paying” for the typical ASM comic of the time, for #365. For a “casual newsstand reader” that’s a big price difference! And over in Australia it was even more stark. At ASM #364 the regular price kids were used to paying was $1.80 (notice the price box below):
And then at issue #365, the cover price for the APVs come in at a whopping $5.95! How many kids in 1992 in Australia could actually find the pocket money for that purchase? Did the super-high cover price in turn keep newsstand sales lower than normal? Or did the appeal of the 30th anniversary and the hologram counter-balance sales by generating higher demand? The answer is in the survivorship of the variants and I for one can only observe that from the time I began hunting for an ASM #365 variant in nice enough shape to clear a hurdle of 9.0, checking eBay at least weekly and using eBay alerts, it literally took me over five years before I had actually landed a suitable APV copy into my collection. I found that they hardly ever appear for sale — and when they do, typically they are in beaten-up shape, and often with price stickers affixed by the retailer.
Over at Web of Spider-Man #90, the APV cover price was a bit less but still a very big ask for 1992, at $4.50. And the APVs did apparently get distributed in polybags just like their North American newsstand counterparts, which means they too have that polybag ridge problem; as of this writing the CGC census shows there are zero APVs in the top grades of 9.6-up, with both of the current census copies coming in at 9.2. (By the way, I’ve yet to see a Gold / 2nd print APV, so I’d be shocked if they exist [if you’ve seen one please let me know]).
And finally, here’s an example of what the Spider-Man 2099 #1 APV looks like, with $2.65 cover price:
As shown earlier on the census screenshot, there are just four of these on record at CGC to date, with two lucky 9.8’s!
I realize that in general, collecting high grade APVs would test the patience of a saint. So most collectors reading this will probably stick to the highest grade North American newsstand copies they can find… But definitely “keep an eye out” for these Type 1A Price Variants, set those eBay alerts (near the top of the eBay page click where it says “♡ Save this search”), and who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky?
|Happy Collecting! 🙂|
I hope this post has helped you to explore the collecting opportunities among the comics associated with Spider-Man 2099’s first appearance. For me, Web of Spider-Man #90 newsstand copies in the highest grades — and especially those “Gold UPC” (wink and a nod to Spider-Man #1) 2nd print newsstand copies with gold holograms, and those rare APVs if you can find them — stand out as a great relative value, on account of the Spider-Man 2099 appearance on that 3-page poster pre-dating Amazing Spider-Man #365 by a month, and with the “added bonus” of the 1st appearance of a “Venomized Galactus” (or as ComicLink put it, “a Venom/Galactus Character.”) Special thanks to Bill Alexander for encouraging me to write this up, helping with research, and helping to proofread.
Happy Collecting! 🙂
– Ben p.s. I find the four Spider-Man 30th Anniversary 1992 hologram issues (the other two being Spectacular Spider-Man #189 and Spider-Man #26) in general to be a really neat part of 1990’s comics memorabilia. They marked the very first time holograms were ever incorporated into Marvel comic books — a really big deal at the time (which in turn means that Spectacular #189 from June 1992 gets the trophy for the “1st appearance of a Marvel hologram”). 🙂 So to see how these holograms were discussed / promoted back in 1992 within the pages of Marvel Age 114 was a fun read for me and I wanted to share the below article with you too: