Rare Comics To Collect

How Many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series Books Exist?

By Benjamin Nobel, November 30, 2018

Stan Lee CGC Signature Series Example

Example Stan Lee CGC Signature Series book: Type 1A Canadian Price Variant copy of Amazing Spider-Man #252

Stan Lee will live forever through his incredible creations and stories. He gave so many gifts to comic collectors; and one of those gifts was the way he embraced the CGC Signature Series. CGC first announced the launch of the Signature Series back in May of 2001 as a solution to the problem of how to authenticate an autographed copy of a comic book.

The advent of the Signature Series was, in my opinion, brilliant — because prior to its existence the best a collector could do was rely on a Certificate of Authenticity (COA for short) as evidence that the signature on a given comic was authentic and not a forgery; another form of “proof” you would often see offered was a photograph of the creator at the signing.

But photographs and COA’s are far from an ideal solution to authenticate an autograph, because even the fanciest/”least-photocopiable” COA’s are still physically separate from the signed comic book itself — therefore making it possible for a forged copy to be “swapped” for the real copy even if the COA itself is original.

But what if there was a trusted authority would both (a) witness the signing, and then (b) immediately take the signed comic into their possession and seal it into a tamper-evident plastic holder together with a COA? That way, to the extent the trusted authority has people’s trust, every collector going forward will now be certain the comic in question sealed inside that plastic holder wasn’t swapped with a forgery!

That’s essentially what the Signature Series does: the Yellow Label is the COA, and it is encapsulated together with the witnessed-signed comic, for permanent signature authentication. As CGC itself has promoted the service, quote, “Having pioneered witnessed signature authentication, CGC Signature Series is a certification service that assures celebrity signatures are 100% authentic.

And what is the most desirable signature on a CGC Signature Series book? Ask any group of collectors today and the most popular answer is bound to be Stan Lee — and between the advent of the Signature Series in 2001, and November 12, 2018, Stan Lee Signature Series books (and Signature Series books signed by other creators as well) were created in a steady stream. By 2011, CGC announced it had reached 100,000 certified CGC Signature Series books.

How Many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series Books Exist?

Each CGC Signature Series book is counted distinctly on CGC’s census — in other words, they come right out and tell us how many CGC SS copies exist out there, for any given census entry for a given issue (or variant of that issue). What they do not tell us on their census, is who signed each Signature Series comic listed. So for the past 17 years worth of accumulated census data, we unfortunately cannot see how many of each issue were signed by Stan Lee specifically — but, we can say with certainty that Stan Lee cannot have signed any more than all of the CGC SS copies on record for any given census entry! Thus, by referring to the CGC census data we can get a good handle on an upper boundary across issues and titles, for how many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series copies there are out there. While that’s not the ideal answer to the question of how many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series books exist, it does still help us by giving us an idea of the absolute maximums.

And as it turns out, the at-maximum numbers are not particularly large… Back in August of 2018, prompted by the news that Stan Lee was no longer going to be participating in public signings, I took a look at how many CGC Signature Series books there were across every issue of Amazing Spider-Man, a title that many a Marvel collector would certainly name if asked for their favorite title. I thought given the news, it marked an important snapshot in time to look at the data, because it appeared that there was only going to be a comparable “trickle” of new CGC SS copies carrying Stan Lee’s signature from that point forward, while meanwhile the flow of signed books from other creators would continue to hit the census unabated. Back at that point in time, the answer for the Amazing Spider-Man title was no more than 60,000 Stan Lee Signature Series copies.  And doing the same exercise today, as of 11/27/2018, with all of the additional issues added to the census since then plus the stream of CGC Signature Series copies signed by other creators, we now see a maximum Stan Lee CGC SS count for Amazing Spider-Man at 66,838 copies; and if you include all issues with “Amazing Spider-Man” anywhere at all in the title/census name, the maximum count is 68,006 [I made use of Greg Holland’s indispensable research website to assemble the information].

A range of 60,000-68,000 maximum copies of Amazing Spider-Man ever signed by Stan Lee under the Signature Series strikes me as a low number in the scheme of things! Imagine for sake of argument that “Amazing Spider-Man CGC Signature Series” was actually one issue.  If we learned it had a print run of 60K that would strike us as a fairly small print run in the context of the average paid circulation numbers for the title (for example in 1970 the average total paid circulation is shown at 322,195 copies; for 1980, 296,712 copies; for 1990, 334,893 copies…).  One way to think about Stan Lee Signature Series copies is that Stan Lee was, in effect, the printing press for such copies, but a printing press that was churning out Signature Series copies for these past 17 years instead of a one-time batch.  And now, the number of Stan Lee CGC Signature Series copies can no longer increase.

Let’s look now beyond the Amazing Spider-Man title, at some other key titles across the Marvel universe — note that I’m not intending what follows to be a comprehensive look at all Marvel / Atlas / Timely titles that Stan Lee may have signed. You won’t find Marvel Comics #1 in the tables (but zero Signature Series copies are on record anyway for that issue). Instead, I have focused on Silver-Age-and-onward Marvel titles that correlate to the major Stan-Lee-created comic book characters that come to mind: Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Black Panther, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and Ant Man, to list some of the bigger names. If your favorite title (or the one you were looking for) is not listed in the reference guide below, then I’d encourage you to make use of Greg Holland’s research website yourself to research those titles.

I believe that using the 11/27/2018 census snapshot for maximum Stan Lee CGC SS counts should be highly conservative given the August news mentioned previously — because since then, Signature Series books from other creators have meanwhile been flowing onto the census unabated — but it is of course still possible that there are some books that were signed by Stan Lee earlier in the year that for one reason or another have not yet left CGC (maybe waiting on CCS services or something of that nature and thus still in the queue months later; but I have to imagine such instances would be relatively very small in number). So with that caveat stated, here’s how to use the tables that follow.

To illustrate how to use the tables that follow, suppose for example you wish to look up the maximum number of Stan Lee CGC Signature Series comics in existence for Amazing Spider-Man #300: First, click the Amazing Spider-Man hyperlink in the table to jump down in the page to that table, then scroll until you get to issue #300, and in that line you will see that there are 3,157 total CGC Signature Series copies of issue #300 on record as of the 11/27/2018 census. Thus, it is safe to say that Stan Lee did not sign any more than all of those 3,157 copies. [If you own a Stan Lee CGC Signature Series copy of Amazing Spider-Man #300, then  because we have that separate Yellow Label census count, it is therefore almost as if you own a distinct Yellow-Label-variant of the issue where at most 3,157 Stan Lee CGC SS copies of that “variant” were created!]

Note that each of the tables below presents every unique census entry found where the name of the census entry starts with the name of the title searched for — in this way similarly-named titles such as “Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows” for example are included in the Amazing Spider-Man table; this search method also automatically includes any Volume 2 issues, any Type 1A cover price variants, any foreign editions, any retailer incentive variants, etc. etc.

Name CGC SS Total Found # of Census Entries Found Average SS Count per Entry
Alpha Flight 246 37 7
Amazing Adult Fantasy 43 8 5
Amazing Adventures 229 43 5
Amazing Fantasy 571 20 29
Amazing Spider-Man 66,838 1,511 44
Astonishing Tales 272 29 9
Avengers 13,654 896 15
Black Panther 1,861 146 13
Captain America 9,766 709 14
Captain Marvel 994 114 9
Daredevil 7,661 618 12
Dazzler 115 29 4
Defenders 589 123 5
Doctor Strange 1,182 177 7
Fantastic Four 8,441 599 14
Ghost Rider 1,218 249 5
Incredible Hulk 7,918 529 15
Iron Man 4,601 548 8
Journey Into Mystery 1,411 116 12
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars 3,802 17 224
Savage She-Hulk 496 14 35
Silver Surfer 2,370 154 15
Spectacular Spider-Man 1,192 181 7
Spider-Woman 613 64 10
Strange Tales 1,702 126 14
Sub-Mariner 523 84 6
Tales of Suspense 2,109 101 21
Tales to Astonish 1,141 100 11
Thing 54 10 5
Thor 4,069 480 8
Web of Spider-Man 1,240 91 14
Wolverine 15,415 668 23
X-Factor 2,068 147 14
X-Men 33,293 1,460 23
Total for the above: 197,697 10,198 19

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35 Cent Variants, Canadian Newsstand Edition, Direct Edition vs. Newsstand Edition Comic Books, Growing Newsstand Awareness, Rare Comics To Collect

Two Ways To Win Update

By Benjamin Nobel, October 29, 2018

“When collecting any given key comic book issue, it is better to have two ways to win, than just one.”

We have just published The 2019 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A), which included a few new features this year — one of which is a new Market Reports & Articles section.

My fellow collaborators have done a fine job presenting discussions about the state of the market for 1980’s price variants, including example sale highlights, and so for my report I decided to approach a discussion from a different angle: to give you an update on the “two ways to win” strategy that I’ve been advocating for so long on this blog.

What is the strategy? For newer readers, let me describe it by painting a scenario. Suppose it is the mid 1990’s and you decide you want to collect a copy of Star Wars #1 (Marvel Comics, 7/1977). Before embarking on your collecting quest, it would be very useful for you to know that there exist both 30¢ cover price 1st print types as well as 35¢ cover price 1st print types of that issue, and that the higher cover price type is actually dramatically more rare than the lower cover price type.

Star Wars #1 35¢ Variant

Star Wars #1 35¢ Variant

Suppose at the time you embark on your collecting quest, the relative rarity of the 35¢ type versus the 30¢ type is not very widely known in the hobby: it might be possible for you to pay “regular price” (or close to it) for the more-rare 35¢ version! If you can accomplish that feat of landing the 35¢ version for a cost basis close to regular market value, you’ve just given yourself two ways to win instead of one: (1) the issue number itself may rise in value, and (2) collectors of the future may be willing to ascribe a hefty premium to the more rare type, as its rarity becomes better known throughout the hobby.

Had you executed such a strategy back in the early days of 35¢ variant awareness, today you’d be grinning from ear to ear — because look where the Overstreet price guide values the two different types today in its most recently released guide (OPG #48):

The regular 30¢ 1st print type is given a $215 value in 9.2 by Overstreet, while meanwhile the more-rare 35¢ type is given an $11,000 value in 9.2 — that’s a premium of ~51x for the price variant over its regular counter-part!

But that ~51x premium didn’t happen overnight… it built over the years, even after the rarity difference was widely known throughout the hobby. For example, check out how that premium has grown over the last eight years — here’s the same Overstreet guide page from back in 2010 (from OPG #40):

star-wars-1-opg-40

As you can see above, back then the regular 30¢ 1st print type was given a $95 value in 9.2 by Overstreet, while meanwhile the more-rare 35¢ type was given an $2,500 value in 9.2… for a premium of ~26x for the cover price variant.

With 20/20 hindsight, Star Wars #1 clearly would have been a good pick for a key issue to collect back in 2010, as its “base value” (the 9.2 Overstreet guide value for the regular 30¢ type) has grown at a +10.7% annualized rate of return during these past eight years.

But what about the 35¢ type? Even at a monster premium of 26x back in 2010, you were still better off collecting the cover price variant: because in the ensuing years, the 35¢ type would increase in value by +20.3% annualized!

Looking at this result, it is clear that those who had the choice but decided to collect the regular 30¢ type instead of the more-rare 35¢ variant lost out on all that additional upside. To illustrate this, suppose in 2010 you had invested $10,000 in each of the two types. At the 9.2 guide values back then, that would have resulted in a box of about 106 copies of the 30¢ type (rounding up a smidge) versus 4 copies of the 35¢ type. Fast-forward to today and here are what the two $10K investments would be worth at today’s 9.2 guide values:

star-wars-investment-growth

“You won in two ways with the cover price variant.”

So in the above hypothetical scenario, had you invested your $10K into the plain old 30¢ type and ignored the cover price variants, you missed out on roughly $21,210 of upside! And that’s from a starting point where the 35¢ variant already had a guide value twenty six times higher than the regular cover price copies! With 20/20 hindsight, clearly you did dramatically better going with the 35¢ variant — because you “won” in two ways: (1) the issue number itself grew in value, and (2) the cover price variant premium over regular copies expanded in multiple. You won in two ways with the cover price variant.

Let’s keep that result in mind, as we fast-forward to a 1980’s key: Suppose you now decide you want to collect a copy of Amazing Spider-Man (ASM) #238 (Marvel Comics, 3/1983). Is there a “Two Ways To Win” collecting strategy?

You bet there is!!!

Before embarking on your ASM #238 collecting quest, it would be very useful for you to know that there were two distinct distribution channels through which comics of that era were sold: (1) newsstand sales, and (2) direct edition sales. The prevalent direct editions have a Spider-Man logo in place of a bar code, and were ordered by comic shops at a discounted but non-returnable basis — that Spidey Head logo was a way for the publisher to identify a direct-sold copy and be able to refuse refund and say “sorry comic shops: you’re stuck with any unsold copies!”

Newsstand editions meanwhile have a bar code, such copies were treated/handled by newsstand staff like magazines (i.e. something to read) and sat on newsstands waiting for a buyer… any unsold copies were returned to the publisher and typically pulped/recycled forward. The newsstand copies that sold tended to be purchased by readers (as an “entertainment purchase”) instead of by collectors (who instead were over in comic shops loading up on direct editions and carefully placing them in plastic bags), and thus newsstand copies saw a notoriously high destruction rate as compared to their well-preserved direct edition counter-parts.

So: collectible-condition surviving newsstand copies of the 1980’s are considerably harder to find versus collectible-condition direct edition copies… That already gives us a second way to win: to go for the more-rare collectible-condition newsstand survivor, versus settling for a prevalent direct edition copy…

But as readers of this market report already know — because you already read our guide intro — during a window of time in the 1980’s, Marvel actually published two distinct newsstand types: a lower cover price 1st print type (60¢ in the case of ASM #238), and a higher cover price 1st print type (75¢ in the case of ASM #238). And that the higher cover price type is by far the most rare type — the target market for that type had ~1/10th the population! [Here is a rarity walkthrough with explanatory graphics, here is Paul’s “common sense approach” to understanding their scarcity, and here is Doug’s scarcity discussion.]

Conclusion: going after that dramatically-more-rare 75¢ cover price variant type gives us our strongest “Two Ways To Win” when collecting our ASM #238.

Back when I began this blog, it was widely possible to collect the cover price variant (CPV) for any given 1980’s key published during the price variant window, and pay “regular price” for it: awareness throughout the hobby about this type of variant was historically sparse back then, so there were many people who owned variants in their collections without realizing it, i.e. they knew they owned Amazing Spider-Man #238, but did not realize there was anything different or special about their copy, with its 75¢ cover price.

“I refer to such listings with generic titles but pictured variants as “mis-listed” variants.”

Such a person, when looking to sell, might look up the recent OPG guide value or the recent market price that the issue number in general was selling for, and then list their rare variant on a buy-it-now asking “regular market price” for it (or auction it off). Since they did not realize their copy was anything special, they would choose a “generic” listing title (e.g. “Amazing Spider-Man #238, Marvel Comics, 1983”) as opposed to a title that would allow CPV collectors to find it in a refined search — no “Variant” in the title, no “Canadian”, no “Newsstand”, no “CPV”, nothing you might search for when looking for this type of variant. But zoom in on the picture to see the cover price, and it would clearly show the variant. I refer to such listings with generic titles but pictured variants as “mis-listed” variants. Many of us have been successfully hunting down such opportunities for years (high five, fellow hunters!).

And that brings me to my Update on the Two Ways To Win Strategy. Applying this strategy to my own collecting of 1980’s CPVs, my approach over the years can be described by the below “decision tree” [it is a general representation of the approach but some things are “assumed” such as, for example, that there is a “grade hurdle” in mind for the variant in advance of hunting for it — personally I aim for “9 out of 10” on the grade scale (VF/NM) and if I can exceed that goal I’m thrilled]:

cpv-decision-tree

For years, my collecting of these variants mostly ran along two paths down the branches — often, I could hunt through listings and either find myself a “mis-listed” variant to collect…

mis-listed-cover-price-vari

… or I felt confident that with enough patience — which I should make clear was often measured in months or even years of waiting — I would eventually see a mis-listed variant come onto the market:

wait-cover-price-variant

I’m not the only one who has pursued this collecting approach, and here’s why the approach is important to understand when considering the current state of the CPV marketplace: for many years, given the state of collector awareness (unawareness) of these cover price variants, I was reluctant to traverse down the branches towards that “pay a premium” box for a given issue. I was so confident that with the passage of enough time I’d eventually land myself a mis-listed variant copy of the issue I was looking for, that I was very reluctant to pony up a premium price.

That may sound hard to understand when at the same time (1) I’d mentioned before that it could be months or even years between mis-listed variant sightings for given issues, and (2) clearly I am someone who has studied the rarity of these variants and I know very well that they are deserving of a hefty premium. So why was I so reluctant to pony up a well-deserved premium? Consider this: suppose hypothetically that you have a given issue where you tend to see a mis-listed variant hit the market once a year. Waiting around for that opportunity might sound nearly futile. But suppose for sake of argument that you have 365 different variants you are hunting for, each of which tends to produce a mis-listed variant opportunity once a year? Well my friends, on any given day you should expect that an opportunity would come your way! You just wouldn’t know which opportunity. [By the way, this was the inspiration for this year’s Top 365 / A Variant A Day list].

So picture yourself executing this strategy of hunting for mis-listed variants over the years… As the years progress, and more and more collectors learn about the variants, more collectors then recognize when they own variants and in turn more often list them properly. Thus, over time, you begin seeing fewer and fewer mis-listed variant opportunities. Instead of an opportunity per day among your hunt list of issues, you’re seeing an opportunity per week… then every couple of weeks… then even longer… Now suppose a new key issue catches your attention to collect, one which you do not already own in any grade — i.e. something you have not been trying to collect or upgrade, until today, so that you do not even own one single starter copy of the variant. How are you going to approach the decision tree? In today’s marketplace of rapidly increasing variant awareness, you are probably going to be increasingly willing to traverse down that “pay a premium” path:

pay-price-variant-premium

And speaking for myself, that above path down the tree is where I have been finding myself these days. For example, one of the issues I collected in the past year was Detective Comics #583 (February 1988, first appearances of Ventriloquist and Scarface, and a gorgeous Mike Mignola cover). It was during one of the proof-reads of our 2018 guide that decided I wanted to own this variant. Let’s go down the tree: Were newsstand copies published for the issue? Yes. Do Type 1A cover price variant newsstand copies exist? Yes! Was I able to find a “mis-listed” variant for sale at “regular” price? No. Not a mis-listed copy in sight, at any price. I decided very quickly that I’d be willing to pay a premium for a properly-listed copy. But there were zero properly-listed copies available. I found myself waiting for one. And waiting for one. And waiting for one…

Detective Comics #583 $1.00 Price Variant

Detective Comics #583 $1.00 Price Variant

Eventually, a variant appeared on the market! It was properly listed, with the listing title identifying it as the variant, reading: “Detective Comics – 583 – Rare 1.00 Price Variant! – DC Comics – NM- 1988″… The buy-it-now cost with shipping was $58.12, representing a premium price over the going rate for direct editions in the same grade. Friends, I didn’t even hesitate: I slammed that buy button. And I’m so glad I did — I have yet to see its equal come onto the market since. In fact, I sent my copy to CGC, and as of today the CGC census still shows only one variant copy on record for the issue… my copy. I tell this anecdote to illustrate how my own behavior has changed over the years, as the hobby’s awareness of this type of cover price variant has grown. How many others like me fit this description, and how are we impacting the CPV marketplace in the aggregate?

I do still see mis-listed variants out there as well — those opportunities certainly haven’t yet “dried up” completely (here’s a mis-listed variant I landed recently) — but nowadays I do find myself time and again traversing the tree down towards that “pay a premium for a properly listed copy” box. If other market participants are behaving like me, then mis-listed-variant-hunters are increasingly losing their patience to wait for mis-listed opportunities and are realizing that the best move, if we actually want to land that variant we’re looking for, is to be willing to pony up that hefty premium (especially in the highest grades where supply is so very limited). This marketplace behavior change which I observe in myself — and then potentially multiplied across other mis-listed variant hunters out there if their behavior has similarly changed — certainly would argue for a continued shift towards higher marketplace premiums paid for properly listed variants. How much of a variant premium is reasonable these days? Each collector will need to find their own answer to the question of what a reasonable premium is, for them, for any given issue in a given grade at a given point in time. (Hopefully our guide is a useful tool to help in that decision).

What kinds of premiums have informed collectors been observed paying lately for properly listed variants? Looking at the new Noteworthy Sales section of the guide and looking at the sales prices for variants compared to where the prevalent direct editions in the same grades have been selling lately, I can confidently say that those cover price variant premiums being paid these days still seem very reasonable to me in relation to the underlying rarity. Still “early innings” is a good way to describe it — and actually, fellow guide collaborator Angelo Virone recently gave a baseball analogy himself (quoted in this post), i.e. what “inning” are we in as far as awareness in the hobby about this type of cover price variant, its extreme relative rarity, and incredible collecting appeal?

Angelo placed us in the second inning as of that day; but as those who have been following my blog already know, there has recently been a major milestone for Type 1A 75¢ variants like our ASM #238 example: CBCS has begun to dignify them with a price variant label, e.g. “75¢ Canadian Price Variant”. That will make for a huge leap forward in collector awareness: The proverbial snowball of growing awareness was already rolling down the mountain at unstoppable speed, but now just got a huge step-up in mass. This is a leap forward for Type 1A price variants.

How much of a leap? Angelo described it as skipping the third inning and jumping straight into the 4th. I have to agree, that this milestone is going to result in a huge step-up of collector awareness about Type 1A price variants (my blog’s “stats page” was on fire with hits when that news broke) — in fact, I have to wonder to myself just how quickly our guided values in our 2019 guide edition will slip woefully out of date? As an example, at the time we conducted our annual value survey for the 2019 guide, our median advisor value for the ASM #238 cover price variant in 9.2 came in at $425… Meanwhile, in between that survey and today, we have seen more record-breaking sales for ASM #238 including a CGC 8.0 (VF) copy selling on the marketplace for north of $600 (fully +44% higher than our 9.2 guided value, for a CGC 8.0)!

And this continued rise in the variant premium over time is our second way to win by targeting the dramatically-more-rare 1980’s newsstand cover price variants: The first way we can win, is by making a strong selection for which keys to collect — looking issue by issue at the collecting merits, and selecting wisely; the second way we can win is the potential for the variant premium to widen over the upcoming years as awareness continues to grow in the hobby and as other comic book “authorities” follow in the footsteps of CBCS in properly recognizing Type 1A price variants for the true 1st print US-published cover price variants they are!

Happy CPV Collecting Everyone! And now please read more Market Reports & Articles from our 2019 guide! 🙂

– Ben

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Rare Comics To Collect

How Many Amazing Spider-Man Stan Lee CGC SS Books Exist?

By Benjamin Nobel, August 31, 2018

Every Marvel collector has a “favorite” comic book title within the Marvel universe — and for many, that top title is Amazing Spider-Man. Here’s a thought experiment: Pick any issue number out of the Amazing Spider-Man title that you wish to collect. Let’s pretend that you tell me the issue number and I then reach behind my back and pull out two slabbed copies of that very issue; in my left hand I offer you a CGC Universal (Blue Label) copy of the issue number you picked out, while in my right hand I offer you a CGC Signature Series (“CGC SS” — Yellow Label) copy in identical grade which has been Signed by Stan Lee: in this hypothetical scenario, which copy do you think is “the more rare” of the two choices?

Let’s think about the answer.

For these many years since the advent of the Signature Series, it has been possible to attend a comic con and participate in a Stan Lee signing. There has effectively been a “floating upper limit” to how many copies of any given Amazing Spider-Man issue could be signed by Stan Lee, if desired. Because getting yourself one was just a matter of securing a nice raw unsigned copy, and then transforming that copy into a Stan Lee CGC SS copy, by bringing it to the convention (or hiring a facilitator to wait in line on your behalf), getting it signed by Stan Lee in the presence of a CGC witness, and then handing it over to CGC to be graded and given a Yellow Label, thereby permanently authenticating the legendary signature of this true icon of the comic book world, and increasing the grand total Stan Lee CGC SS copies of that issue in existence.

So any answer to the question of “rarity” of a Stan Lee CGC SS copy of any given issue number of Amazing Spider-Man has historically always been more of a derivative of the answer to how rare the issue number itself is, and then the cost and availability of the next Stan Lee signing. Said another way: the cost of a slabbed Stan Lee CGC SS copy has historically always had to be “weighed against” the cost and ease of creating a new Stan Lee CGC SS copy of that same issue.

A top collecting “theme” I talked about here in my Rare Comics to Collect themes discussion, is the notion that this situation was always destined to one day change: i.e. that some day in the future, there will be a finite number of comics that have been signed by Stan Lee under the CGC Signature Series and that will be it… At that point, there are bound to be many attempted forgeries of Stan Lee’s iconic signature, and so the trust in the CGC Signature Series will become so important that this unique class of certification will put Stan Lee CGC SS books into a class of their own — becoming thought of as a sort of “variant” if you will.

Enter this month’s news…

Earlier this month, Bleeding Cool reported that Stan Lee will no longer be doing public signings. Screen Rant also reported on this development, saying, “It’s a sad day for comic book fans as it has been announced that Stan Lee will no longer be participating in public of convention signings. Lee is widely considered a comic book legend…”

In the articles, someone close to Stan was cited as follows (my emphasis added in bold):

“To be very clear, Stan is 100% not doing any conventions / public signings. … His private signings had also been paused … Stan is signing a very small amount of items per week at his discretion, some for Desert Wind.”

The “Desert Wind” cited above is parent of Celestial Comics, and as of this writing they are still advertising a Stan Lee private signing on their events page which I’ve also screen-captured below for posterity:

The page states: “As many of you know, Stan Lee has been getting older and as such signing opportunities are getting more rare. And getting books signed that are eligible for CGC Signature Series Grading is becoming more difficult. The exact date and location of this signings will not be announced for security reasons. So we are simply authorized to announce accepting books early and will accept books up to the deadline, so submit early so you don’t get caught by surprise and miss the signing. Prices may change at any moment but currently the price to get a modern tier book signed and graded is $205.00. That price includes grading of a modern tier book, our witnessing and handling fee and Stan’s signing fee. It does NOT include return shipping or the CGC $5.00 form fee. “

So it seems from the above, that there still will be new Stan Lee CGC SS books created from this point forward, but that we may see the numbers grow at a comparable trickle compared to the huge flow of new Stan Lee CGC SS books that were created historically in years past.

9/14/2018 update — Desert Wind has changed the description on their website with new and important details. Here is the full updated message screencaptured below:
Stan Lee 2018 Signing Info UPDATE

The updated info reads as follows: “As many of you know Stan Lee’s signing opportunities are getting more rare. Stan has retired from and is no longer making appearances at conventions and has limited getting items signed by him to private signings arranged through authorized agents. Stan is only signing a limited number of items a day (currently 15-20 items) and as a result, getting your item(s) signed by Stan has now created a huge demand. Desert Wind Enterprises, who is an authorized agent, has been informed by the Stan Lee Management team that signings with Stan will continue to take place BUT the signings will be limited to a specific number of items signed for each authorized agent during a signing. The signing that was scheduled to take place from May until July was postponed and is currently taking place right now beginning in September. Due to the change in Stan’s signing ability, this signing is considered full. The Stan Lee Management team is currently working to get all items for the current signing signed for all agents. It is anticipated this signing will take until the end of 2018 to complete. Once the present signing is completed, the Stan Lee Management team will announce the next signing to take place and the signing price. The next signing is not expected until approximately the beginning of 2019. In response to this situation and high demand to get items signed by Stan, Desert Wind Enterprises has a new procedure for customers requesting to get their memorabilia signed by Stan. Due to the time it may take to get an item(s) signed by Stan, we have created a reservation system for getting onto the signing list. … SIGNATURE QUALITY: Due to Stan’s age and physical stature, his signature may vary and both Stan Lee and Desert Wind Enterprises can not be responsible for the quality/clarity of Stan’s signature.”

If you’re like me, one question you may have wondered about is: just how many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series books are there anyway? [We could also ask how many Yellow Label copies exist at other grading companies like CBCS but for this post I am focusing solely on CGC.]

How many are there?

I asked around to several CGC Signature Series facilitators — what I’d been hoping is that they all might be willing to actually make a guess, much like guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar. [There’s a really neat “wisdom of crowds” phenomenon with jelly bean jar guessing, where the average of the guesses of a large crowd invariably comes close to nailing the answer.] But unfortunately the facilitators I asked were not willing to play the guessing game. I also asked CGC if they had ever published a number of Signature Series books that have been signed by Stan Lee — or in the alternative if that information could be looked up in their system somehow — but unfortunately the answer I got in reply was, “No, I don’t think we would have the numbers for those. Sorry about that.

So how might we collectors try and get a handle on the numbers? Can we come up with some number that gives us at least a clue as to how many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series books exist in total? How about how many Amazing Spider-Man Stan Lee CGC SS Books Exist in particular?

When we consider one individual title like Amazing Spider-Man, how about we turn to one of the great tools that collectors of today have at our fingertips — a tool collectors of the past (or ourselves as kids) probably would never have even dreamed of: The CGC Census!

The CGC census comes right out and tells us the number of signature series copies that exist for any given issue! Unfortunately it does not tell us who signed the books… However, this census data does still give us excellent information as an upper boundary: i.e. if there are, say, 50 Signature Series copies of a given issue of Amazing Spider-Man, then at most Stan Lee would have signed all of those. [In actuality he would have only signed some percentage; problem is we can’t know that percentage — but we do know for a fact that he cannot have signed any more than the grand total shown on the census!]

I wanted to learn the answer (and I wanted to share the answer with you) to the question: if we look up each individual issue of Amazing Spider-Man on census today one by one, how does the Signature Series count tally up? (And looking at the data now marks an important snapshot in time because given the recent news shared earlier, from now on it seems clear that there is only going to be a comparable “trickle” of new CGC SS copies that carry Stan Lee’s signature, while meanwhile the flow of signed books from other creators will continue to hit the census unabated from here — so it should interest us to know what the census numbers look like now).

So I checked! Here’s what I found.

[By the way, some day down the line I intend to examine lots of different Marvel titles and I’ll share what I learn here on the blog at that time; but for today I’m just going to look at the Amazing Spider-Man title; I made use of Greg Holland’s indispensable research website to assemble the information].

The Answer (for Amazing Spider-Man): No More Than 60,000

If we add up the number of Signature Series copies on census for every issue of Amazing Spider-Man, the grand total across the entire title comes in at just under the 60,000 mark. Below I’ll show the CGC SS count for each individual issue — the census data shown will be as of the 8/21/2018 snapshot — but starting with the “big picture” grand-total, it strikes me that 60,000 is a fairly low number in the scheme of things! Imagine for sake of argument that “Amazing Spider-Man CGC Signature Series” was actually one issue… if we learned it had a print run of 60K that would strike us as fairly small in the context of the average paid circulation numbers for the title (for example in 1970 the average total paid circulation is shown at 322,195 copies; for 1980, 296,712 copies; for 1990, 334,893 copies…)

But that ~60K number is spread across 1,324 different census entries (all of the issues and census variants of those issues); so on average there are roughly 44 Signature Series copies per Amazing Spider-Man census entry. And of course some of those census entries have quite a lot more and others have precious few (for more obscure variants, it is even possible to have in your collection the one and only copy of the issue ever signed under the Signature Series… as far as the idea of “rarity” is concerned, this is quite incredible to ponder!). We don’t know how these numbers will look in the future at the point when Stan Lee puts down his signing pen completely, but this snapshot in time is informative in the context of the recent news.

Here below is a table of each census entry for Amazing Spider-Man on census [thanks again to Greg Holland for your fantastic census research tool!], sorted by publication date, and showing how many CGC Signature Series copies were found on record (as of 8/21/2018) — which tells us that, as of this date, it isn’t possible that Stan Lee has signed any more than this number of copies of each issue to date:

Amazing Spider-Man — Maximum Stan Lee CGC SS Count As of 8/21/2018:
Issue Number / Census Variant Publication Date CGC SS Count
Amazing Spider-Man 1 3/63 393
Amazing Spider-Man 2 5/63 138
Amazing Spider-Man 3 7/63 165
Amazing Spider-Man 4 9/63 132
Amazing Spider-Man 5 10/63 131
Amazing Spider-Man 6 11/63 153
Amazing Spider-Man 7 12/63 79
Amazing Spider-Man 8 1/64 83
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 1964 126
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 Canadian Edition 1964 7
Amazing Spider-Man 9 2/64 151
Amazing Spider-Man 9 U.K. Edition 2/64 2
Amazing Spider-Man 10 3/64 91
Amazing Spider-Man 11 4/64 66
Amazing Spider-Man 11 United Kingdom 4/64 1
Amazing Spider-Man 12 5/64 61
Amazing Spider-Man 13 6/64 152
Amazing Spider-Man 14 7/64 316
Amazing Spider-Man 15 8/64 134
Amazing Spider-Man 16 9/64 124
Amazing Spider-Man 17 10/64 91
Amazing Spider-Man 18 11/64 89
Amazing Spider-Man 19 12/64 94
Amazing Spider-Man 20 1/65 138
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 2 1965 31
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 2 Canadian Edition 1965 3
Amazing Spider-Man 21 2/65 52
Amazing Spider-Man 22 3/65 42
Amazing Spider-Man 23 4/65 71
Amazing Spider-Man 24 5/65 44
Amazing Spider-Man 25 6/65 111
Amazing Spider-Man 26 7/65 52
Amazing Spider-Man 27 8/65 49
Amazing Spider-Man 28 9/65 79
Amazing Spider-Man 29 10/65 46
Amazing Spider-Man 30 11/65 43
Amazing Spider-Man 30 U.K. Edition 11/65 1
Amazing Spider-Man 31 12/65 237
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Golden Record Reprint 1966 142
Amazing Spider-Man 32 1/66 32
Amazing Spider-Man 33 2/66 171
Amazing Spider-Man 34 3/66 61
Amazing Spider-Man 35 4/66 42
Amazing Spider-Man 36 5/66 49
Amazing Spider-Man 37 6/66 61
Amazing Spider-Man 38 7/66 80
Amazing Spider-Man 39 8/66 402
Amazing Spider-Man 39 U.K. Edition 8/66 1
Amazing Spider-Man 40 9/66 296
Amazing Spider-Man 41 10/66 262
Amazing Spider-Man 42 11/66 176
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 3 11/66 32
Amazing Spider-Man 43 12/66 95
Amazing Spider-Man 44 1/67 66
Amazing Spider-Man 45 2/67 121
Amazing Spider-Man 46 3/67 148
Amazing Spider-Man 47 4/67 103
Amazing Spider-Man 48 5/67 56
Amazing Spider-Man 48 United Kingdom 5/67 1
Amazing Spider-Man 49 6/67 48
Amazing Spider-Man 50 7/67 635
Amazing Spider-Man 51 8/67 90
Amazing Spider-Man 52 9/67 43
Amazing Spider-Man 53 10/67 76
Amazing Spider-Man 54 11/67 47
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 4 11/67 19
Amazing Spider-Man 55 12/67 68
Amazing Spider-Man 56 1/68 91
Amazing Spider-Man 57 2/68 46
Amazing Spider-Man 58 3/68 58
Amazing Spider-Man 59 4/68 141
Amazing Spider-Man 60 5/68 38
Amazing Spider-Man 61 6/68 49
Amazing Spider-Man 62 7/68 105
Amazing Spider-Man 63 8/68 43
Amazing Spider-Man 64 9/68 117
Amazing Spider-Man 65 10/68 52
Amazing Spider-Man 66 11/68 98
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 5 11/68 40
Amazing Spider-Man 67 12/68 71
Amazing Spider-Man 68 1/69 52
Amazing Spider-Man 69 2/69 66
Amazing Spider-Man nn 2/69 1
Amazing Spider-Man 70 3/69 76
Amazing Spider-Man 71 4/69 54
Amazing Spider-Man 72 5/69 42
Amazing Spider-Man 73 6/69 31
Amazing Spider-Man 74 7/69 47
Amazing Spider-Man 75 8/69 57
Amazing Spider-Man 76 9/69 49
Amazing Spider-Man 77 10/69 49
Amazing Spider-Man 78 11/69 59
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 6 11/69 19
Amazing Spider-Man 79 12/69 20
Amazing Spider-Man 80 1/70 26
Amazing Spider-Man 81 2/70 25
Amazing Spider-Man 82 3/70 32
Amazing Spider-Man 83 4/70 14
Amazing Spider-Man 84 5/70 37
Amazing Spider-Man 85 6/70 24
Amazing Spider-Man 86 7/70 58
Amazing Spider-Man 87 8/70 29
Amazing Spider-Man 87 United Kingdom 8/70 1
Amazing Spider-Man 88 9/70 33
Amazing Spider-Man 89 10/70 28
Amazing Spider-Man 90 11/70 78
Amazing Spider-Man 91 12/70 31
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 7 12/70 7
Amazing Spider-Man 92 1/71 31
Amazing Spider-Man 93 2/71 35
Amazing Spider-Man 94 3/71 41
Amazing Spider-Man 95 4/71 32
Amazing Spider-Man 96 5/71 97
Amazing Spider-Man 97 6/71 135
Amazing Spider-Man 97 U.K. Edition 6/71 1
Amazing Spider-Man 98 7/71 99
Amazing Spider-Man 99 8/71 25
Amazing Spider-Man 100 9/71 372
Amazing Spider-Man 100 U.K. Edition 9/71 2
Amazing Spider-Man 101 10/71 160
Amazing Spider-Man 102 11/71 29
Amazing Spider-Man 103 12/71 7
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 8 12/71 6
Amazing Spider-Man 104 1/72 8
Amazing Spider-Man 105 2/72 23
Amazing Spider-Man 106 3/72 15
Amazing Spider-Man 107 4/72 22
Amazing Spider-Man 108 5/72 11
Amazing Spider-Man 109 6/72 30
Amazing Spider-Man 110 7/72 51
Amazing Spider-Man 111 8/72 15
Amazing Spider-Man 112 9/72 27
Amazing Spider-Man 113 10/72 30
Amazing Spider-Man 114 11/72 9
Amazing Spider-Man 115 12/72 14
Amazing Spider-Man 116 1/73 18
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 9 1973 9
Amazing Spider-Man 117 2/73 13
Amazing Spider-Man 118 3/73 9
Amazing Spider-Man 119 4/73 86
Amazing Spider-Man 120 5/73 43
Amazing Spider-Man 121 6/73 606
Amazing Spider-Man 122 7/73 420
Amazing Spider-Man 123 8/73 29
Amazing Spider-Man 124 9/73 31
Amazing Spider-Man 125 10/73 24
Amazing Spider-Man 126 11/73 21
Amazing Spider-Man 127 12/73 28
Amazing Spider-Man 128 1/74 24
Amazing Spider-Man 129 2/74 1211
Amazing Spider-Man 130 3/74 17
Amazing Spider-Man 131 4/74 9
Amazing Spider-Man 132 5/74 10
Amazing Spider-Man 133 6/74 9
Amazing Spider-Man 134 7/74 36
Amazing Spider-Man 135 8/74 81
Amazing Spider-Man 136 9/74 97
Amazing Spider-Man 137 10/74 14
Amazing Spider-Man 138 11/74 8
Amazing Spider-Man 139 12/74 8
Amazing Spider-Man 140 1/75 6
Amazing Spider-Man 141 2/75 19
Amazing Spider-Man 142 3/75 5
Amazing Spider-Man 143 4/75 3
Amazing Spider-Man 144 5/75 12
Amazing Spider-Man 145 6/75 7
Amazing Spider-Man 146 7/75 5
Amazing Spider-Man 147 8/75 17
Amazing Spider-Man 148 9/75 11
Amazing Spider-Man 149 10/75 57
Amazing Spider-Man 150 11/75 15
Amazing Spider-Man 151 12/75 18
Amazing Spider-Man 152 1/76 20
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 10 1976 5
Amazing Spider-Man 153 2/76 1
Amazing Spider-Man 154 3/76 9
Amazing Spider-Man 155 4/76 12
Amazing Spider-Man 155 30 Cent Price Variant 4/76 4
Amazing Spider-Man 156 5/76 5
Amazing Spider-Man 156 30 Cent Price Variant 5/76 1
Amazing Spider-Man 157 6/76 15
Amazing Spider-Man 157 30 Cent Price Variant 6/76 1
Amazing Spider-Man 158 7/76 6
Amazing Spider-Man 159 8/76 8
Amazing Spider-Man 160 9/76 4
Amazing Spider-Man 161 10/76 24
Amazing Spider-Man 162 11/76 23
Amazing Spider-Man 163 12/76 7
Amazing Spider-Man 164 1/77 9
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 11 1977 24
Amazing Spider-Man 165 2/77 4
Amazing Spider-Man 166 3/77 5
Amazing Spider-Man 167 4/77 11
Amazing Spider-Man 168 5/77 10
Amazing Spider-Man 169 6/77 4
Amazing Spider-Man 169 35 Cent Price Variant 6/77 1
Amazing Spider-Man 170 7/77 3
Amazing Spider-Man 170 35 Cent Price Variant 7/77 1
Amazing Spider-Man 171 8/77 6
Amazing Spider-Man 171 35 Cent Price Variant 8/77 1
Amazing Spider-Man 172 9/77 5
Amazing Spider-Man 172 35 Cent Price Variant 9/77 3
Amazing Spider-Man 173 10/77 8
Amazing Spider-Man 173 35 Cent Price Variant 10/77 1
Amazing Spider-Man 174 11/77 10
Amazing Spider-Man 175 12/77 12
Amazing Spider-Man 176 1/78 11
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 12 1978 5
Amazing Spider-Man 177 2/78 18
Amazing Spider-Man 178 3/78 6
Amazing Spider-Man 179 4/78 8
Amazing Spider-Man 180 5/78 7
Amazing Spider-Man 181 6/78 6
Amazing Spider-Man 182 7/78 3
Amazing Spider-Man 183 8/78 8
Amazing Spider-Man 184 9/78 4
Amazing Spider-Man 185 10/78 12
Amazing Spider-Man 186 11/78 10
Amazing Spider-Man 187 12/78 18
Amazing Spider-Man 188 1/79 5
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 13 1979 3
Amazing Spider-Man nn All Detergent Giveaway 1979 3
Amazing Spider-Man 189 2/79 17
Amazing Spider-Man 190 3/79 20
Amazing Spider-Man 191 4/79 11
Amazing Spider-Man 192 5/79 9
Amazing Spider-Man 193 6/79 13
Amazing Spider-Man 194 7/79 450
Amazing Spider-Man 195 8/79 38
Amazing Spider-Man 196 9/79 12
Amazing Spider-Man 197 10/79 8
Amazing Spider-Man 198 11/79 11
Amazing Spider-Man 199 12/79 11
Amazing Spider-Man 200 1/80 199
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 14 1980 20
Amazing Spider-Man nn Aim Toothpaste 32 pg Giveaway 1980 9
Amazing Spider-Man 201 2/80 36
Amazing Spider-Man 202 3/80 15
Amazing Spider-Man 203 4/80 6
Amazing Spider-Man 204 5/80 22
Amazing Spider-Man 205 6/80 16
Amazing Spider-Man 206 7/80 2
Amazing Spider-Man 207 8/80 1
Amazing Spider-Man 208 9/80 11
Amazing Spider-Man 209 10/80 18
Amazing Spider-Man 210 11/80 35
Amazing Spider-Man 211 12/80 3
Amazing Spider-Man 212 1/81 21
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 15 1981 26
Amazing Spider-Man 213 2/81 10
Amazing Spider-Man 214 3/81 7
Amazing Spider-Man 215 4/81 5
Amazing Spider-Man 217 6/81 6
Amazing Spider-Man 218 7/81 7
Amazing Spider-Man 219 8/81 9
Amazing Spider-Man 220 9/81 17
Amazing Spider-Man 221 10/81 4
Amazing Spider-Man 222 11/81 9
Amazing Spider-Man 223 12/81 3
Amazing Spider-Man 224 1/82 3
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 16 1982 18
Amazing Spider-Man nn 1982 3
Amazing Spider-Man 225 2/82 6
Amazing Spider-Man 226 3/82 9
Amazing Spider-Man 227 4/82 8
Amazing Spider-Man 228 5/82 5
Amazing Spider-Man 229 6/82 14
Amazing Spider-Man 230 7/82 16
Amazing Spider-Man 231 8/82 5
Amazing Spider-Man 232 9/82 5
Amazing Spider-Man 233 10/82 12
Amazing Spider-Man 234 11/82 10
Amazing Spider-Man 235 12/82 11
Amazing Spider-Man 236 1/83 11
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 17 1983 3
Amazing Spider-Man 237 2/83 8
Amazing Spider-Man 238 3/83 470
Amazing Spider-Man 238 Canadian Edition 3/83 11
Amazing Spider-Man 239 4/83 82
Amazing Spider-Man 239 Canadian Edition 4/83 2
Amazing Spider-Man 240 5/83 13
Amazing Spider-Man 241 6/83 16
Amazing Spider-Man 242 7/83 9
Amazing Spider-Man 243 8/83 6
Amazing Spider-Man 244 9/83 19
Amazing Spider-Man 244 Canadian Edition 9/83 2
Amazing Spider-Man 245 10/83 25
Amazing Spider-Man 246 11/83 9
Amazing Spider-Man 247 12/83 7
Amazing Spider-Man 248 1/84 21
Amazing Spider-Man 249 2/84 8
Amazing Spider-Man 250 3/84 30
Amazing Spider-Man 251 4/84 21
Amazing Spider-Man 252 5/84 1079
Amazing Spider-Man 252 Canadian Edition 5/84 20
Amazing Spider-Man 253 6/84 14
Amazing Spider-Man 254 7/84 14
Amazing Spider-Man 255 8/84 10
Amazing Spider-Man 256 9/84 28
Amazing Spider-Man 257 10/84 6
Amazing Spider-Man 258 11/84 18
Amazing Spider-Man 258 Canadian Edition 11/84 1
Amazing Spider-Man 259 12/84 18
Amazing Spider-Man 259 Canadian Edition 12/84 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 18 12/84 12
Amazing Spider-Man 260 1/85 20
Amazing Spider-Man 260 Canadian Edition 1/85 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 19 1985 9
Amazing Spider-Man 261 2/85 28
Amazing Spider-Man 261 Canadian Edition 2/85 1
Amazing Spider-Man 262 3/85 9
Amazing Spider-Man 263 4/85 8
Amazing Spider-Man 264 5/85 7
Amazing Spider-Man 265 6/85 49
Amazing Spider-Man 266 7/85 9
Amazing Spider-Man 267 8/85 8
Amazing Spider-Man 268 9/85 16
Amazing Spider-Man 269 10/85 7
Amazing Spider-Man 270 11/85 10
Amazing Spider-Man 271 12/85 4
Amazing Spider-Man 272 1/86 11
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 20 1986 3
Amazing Spider-Man 273 2/86 6
Amazing Spider-Man 274 3/86 27
Amazing Spider-Man 275 4/86 29
Amazing Spider-Man 276 5/86 17
Amazing Spider-Man 277 6/86 12
Amazing Spider-Man 278 7/86 16
Amazing Spider-Man 279 8/86 5
Amazing Spider-Man 280 9/86 10
Amazing Spider-Man 281 10/86 6
Amazing Spider-Man 282 11/86 28
Amazing Spider-Man 283 12/86 16
Amazing Spider-Man 284 1/87 12
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 21 1987 272
Amazing Spider-Man 285 2/87 48
Amazing Spider-Man 286 3/87 8
Amazing Spider-Man 287 4/87 5
Amazing Spider-Man 288 5/87 1
Amazing Spider-Man 289 6/87 46
Amazing Spider-Man 290 7/87 18
Amazing Spider-Man 291 8/87 4
Amazing Spider-Man 292 9/87 18
Amazing Spider-Man 292 Second Printing 9/87 4
Amazing Spider-Man 293 10/87 144
Amazing Spider-Man 294 11/87 111
Amazing Spider-Man 295 12/87 13
Amazing Spider-Man 296 1/88 14
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 22 1988 20
Amazing Spider-Man 297 2/88 17
Amazing Spider-Man 298 3/88 485
Amazing Spider-Man 299 4/88 358
Amazing Spider-Man 300 5/88 3044
Amazing Spider-Man 301 6/88 265
Amazing Spider-Man 302 7/88 48
Amazing Spider-Man 303 8/88 63
Amazing Spider-Man 304 9/88 46
Amazing Spider-Man 305 9/88 52
Amazing Spider-Man 306 10/88 115
Amazing Spider-Man 307 10/88 41
Amazing Spider-Man 308 11/88 51
Amazing Spider-Man 309 11/88 42
Amazing Spider-Man 310 12/88 40
Amazing Spider-Man 311 1/89 90
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 23 1989 1
Amazing Spider-Man 312 2/89 171
Amazing Spider-Man 313 3/89 109
Amazing Spider-Man 314 4/89 65
Amazing Spider-Man 315 5/89 94
Amazing Spider-Man Parallel Lives nn 5/89 2
Amazing Spider-Man 316 6/89 461
Amazing Spider-Man 317 7/89 113
Amazing Spider-Man 318 8/89 51
Amazing Spider-Man 319 9/89 47
Amazing Spider-Man 320 9/89 30
Amazing Spider-Man 321 10/89 37
Amazing Spider-Man 322 10/89 49
Amazing Spider-Man 323 11/89 110
Amazing Spider-Man 324 11/89 55
Amazing Spider-Man 325 11/89 48
Amazing Spider-Man 326 12/89 12
Amazing Spider-Man 327 12/89 13
Amazing Spider-Man 1 1990 2
Amazing Spider-Man 328 1/90 209
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 24 1990 3
Amazing Spider-Man MPI Audio Edition nn 1990 4
Amazing Spider-Man 329 2/90 14
Amazing Spider-Man 330 3/90 29
Amazing Spider-Man 331 4/90 16
Amazing Spider-Man 332 5/90 22
Amazing Spider-Man 333 6/90 20
Amazing Spider-Man 334 7/90 13
Amazing Spider-Man 335 7/90 13
Amazing Spider-Man 336 8/90 15
Amazing Spider-Man 337 8/90 20
Amazing Spider-Man 338 9/90 14
Amazing Spider-Man 339 9/90 17
Amazing Spider-Man 340 10/90 13
Amazing Spider-Man 341 11/90 18
Amazing Spider-Man 342 12/90 15
Amazing Spider-Man 3 Polish Edition 1991 2
Amazing Spider-Man 343 1/91 16
Amazing Spider-Man 4 Polish Edition 1991 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 25 1991 1
Amazing Spider-Man 344 2/91 98
Amazing Spider-Man 345 3/91 48
Amazing Spider-Man 346 4/91 59
Amazing Spider-Man 347 5/91 56
Amazing Spider-Man 348 6/91 14
Amazing Spider-Man 349 7/91 17
Amazing Spider-Man 350 8/91 33
Amazing Spider-Man 351 9/91 17
Amazing Spider-Man 352 10/91 15
Amazing Spider-Man 353 11/91 24
Amazing Spider-Man 354 11/91 19
Amazing Spider-Man 355 12/91 19
Amazing Spider-Man 356 12/91 23
Amazing Spider-Man 357 1/92 23
Amazing Spider-Man 358 1/92 51
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 26 1992 5
Amazing Spider-Man 359 2/92 21
Amazing Spider-Man 360 3/92 58
Amazing Spider-Man 361 4/92 1378
Amazing Spider-Man 361 Second Printing 4/92 96
Amazing Spider-Man 362 5/92 744
Amazing Spider-Man 362 Second Printing 5/92 12
Amazing Spider-Man 265 Second Printing 6/92 1
Amazing Spider-Man 363 6/92 414
Amazing Spider-Man 364 7/92 10
Amazing Spider-Man 365 8/92 347
Amazing Spider-Man 101 Second Printing 9/92 8
Amazing Spider-Man 366 9/92 6
Amazing Spider-Man 367 10/92 8
Amazing Spider-Man 368 11/92 10
Amazing Spider-Man 369 11/92 4
Amazing Spider-Man 370 12/92 6
Amazing Spider-Man 371 12/92 4
Amazing Spider-Man 372 1/93 10
Amazing Spider-Man 373 1/93 6
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 27 1993 2
Amazing Spider-Man 374 2/93 20
Amazing Spider-Man 375 3/93 320
Amazing Spider-Man 376 4/93 6
Amazing Spider-Man 377 5/93 5
Amazing Spider-Man 378 6/93 60
Amazing Spider-Man 379 7/93 12
Amazing Spider-Man 380 8/93 13
Amazing Spider-Man 381 9/93 15
Amazing Spider-Man 382 10/93 38
Amazing Spider-Man 383 11/93 10
Amazing Spider-Man 384 12/93 8
Amazing Spider-Man 129 Finnish Edition 1994 4
Amazing Spider-Man 385 1/94 7
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 28 1994 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 5 1994 1
Amazing Spider-Man Ashcan Edition nn 1994 1
Amazing Spider-Man 386 2/94 4
Amazing Spider-Man 387 3/94 6
Amazing Spider-Man 388 4/94 11
Amazing Spider-Man 388 Collector’s Edition 4/94 28
Amazing Spider-Man 389 5/94 14
Amazing Spider-Man 390 6/94 1
Amazing Spider-Man 390 Collector’s Edition 6/94 2
Amazing Spider-Man 391 7/94 5
Amazing Spider-Man 392 8/94 29
Amazing Spider-Man 393 9/94 2
Amazing Spider-Man 394 Collector’s Edition 10/94 6
Amazing Spider-Man 395 11/94 3
Amazing Spider-Man 396 12/94 2
Amazing Spider-Man 397 1/95 5
Amazing Spider-Man Super Special 1 1995 7
Amazing Spider-Man 398 2/95 2
Amazing Spider-Man 399 3/95 2
Amazing Spider-Man 400 4/95 25
Amazing Spider-Man 400 Die-Cut Cover 4/95 134
Amazing Spider-Man 400 Die-Cut Variant Cover 4/95 38
Amazing Spider-Man 401 5/95 5
Amazing Spider-Man 402 6/95 4
Amazing Spider-Man 403 7/95 10
Amazing Spider-Man 404 8/95 8
Amazing Spider-Man 405 9/95 2
Amazing Spider-Man 406 10/95 5
Amazing Spider-Man 407 1/96 2
Amazing Spider-Man 75 Polish Edition 1996 1
Amazing Spider-Man 408 2/96 7
Amazing Spider-Man 408 Variant Cover 2/96 11
Amazing Spider-Man 409 3/96 1
Amazing Spider-Man 410 4/96 26
Amazing Spider-Man 414 8/96 4
Amazing Spider-Man 415 9/96 3
Amazing Spider-Man 416 10/96 8
Amazing Spider-Man 417 11/96 3
Amazing Spider-Man ’97 nn 1997 1
Amazing Spider-Man 420 2/97 1
Amazing Spider-Man 421 3/97 1
Amazing Spider-Man 422 4/97 1
Amazing Spider-Man -1 7/97 1
Amazing Spider-Man 425 8/97 2
Amazing Spider-Man 427 10/97 1
Amazing Spider-Man 430 1/98 6
Amazing Spider-Man 431 2/98 8
Amazing Spider-Man 432 3/98 3
Amazing Spider-Man 432 Variant Cover 3/98 6
Amazing Spider-Man 438 9/98 1
Amazing Spider-Man 439 9/98 2
Amazing Spider-Man 440 10/98 7
Amazing Spider-Man 441 11/98 3
Amazing Spider-Man 1 German Edition 1999 8
Amazing Spider-Man 14 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man 2 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man 3 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man 4 German Edition 1999 2
Amazing Spider-Man 5 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man 6 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man 7 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 German Edition 1999 1
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #1 1/99 37
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #1 Dynamic Forces Edition 1/99 46
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #1 Sunburst Variant Cover 1/99 36
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #2 2/99 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #2 Variant Cover 2/99 3
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #3 3/99 1
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #4 4/99 4
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #5 5/99 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #6 6/99 3
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #7 7/99 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #8 8/99 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #9 9/99 4
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #10 10/99 3
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #11 11/99 1
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #12 12/99 3
Amazing Spider-Man 129 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 39 German Edition 2000 3
Amazing Spider-Man 40 German Edition 2000 3
Amazing Spider-Man 41 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 42 German Edition 2000 3
Amazing Spider-Man 43 German Edition 2000 1
Amazing Spider-Man 44 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 45 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 46 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 47 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 48 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 49 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 50 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 51 German Edition 2000 1
Amazing Spider-Man 52 German Edition 2000 1
Amazing Spider-Man 53 German Edition 2000 2
Amazing Spider-Man 54 German Edition 2000 1
Amazing Spider-Man 55 German Edition 2000 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 3 German Edition 2000 1
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #13 1/00 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #14 2/00 1
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #15 3/00 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #16 4/00 3
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #17 5/00 3
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #18 6/00 1
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #19 7/00 12
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #20 8/00 5
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #21 9/00 4
Amazing Spider-Man 252 10/00 7
Amazing Spider-Man 301 REPRINT 10/00 5
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #22 10/00 3
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #23 11/00 2
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #24 12/00 2
Amazing Spider-Man 2001 nn 2001 1
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Amazing Spider-Man v2 #26 2/01 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 41 6/01 1
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Amazing Spider-Man v2 #31 7/01 27
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Amazing Spider-Man v2 #33 9/01 15
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #34 10/01 36
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #35 11/01 17
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #36 12/01 963
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #37 1/02 10
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #38 2/02 9
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #39 5/02 16
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #40 6/02 18
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #41 7/02 11
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #42 8/02 7
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #43 9/02 17
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Amazing Spider-Man v2 #46 12/02 18
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #47 1/03 15
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #48 2/03 17
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Amazing Spider-Man v2 #50 4/03 93
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Amazing Spider-Man v2 #54 8/03 6
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #55 9/03 5
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #56 10/03 4
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #57 10/03 6
Amazing Spider-Man v2 #58 11/03 7
Amazing Spider-Man 500 12/03 294
Amazing Spider-Man 501 1/04 2
Amazing Spider-Man 509 Director’s Cut Edition 2004 1
Amazing Spider-Man 129 2/04 56
Amazing Spider-Man 502 2/04 2
Amazing Spider-Man 503 3/04 2
Amazing Spider-Man 504 4/04 3
Amazing Spider-Man 505 5/04 2
Amazing Spider-Man 506 6/04 2
Amazing Spider-Man 507 7/04 1
Amazing Spider-Man 508 7/04 3
Amazing Spider-Man 50 Sony Pictures Edition 8/04 2
Amazing Spider-Man 509 8/04 9
Amazing Spider-Man 510 9/04 1
Amazing Spider-Man 511 10/04 1
Amazing Spider-Man 513 12/04 4
Amazing Spider-Man 514 1/05 2
Amazing Spider-Man 515 2/05 4
Amazing Spider-Man 516 3/05 3
Amazing Spider-Man 517 4/05 5
Amazing Spider-Man 518 5/05 8
Amazing Spider-Man 519 6/05 12
Amazing Spider-Man 520 7/05 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 523 10/05 1
Amazing Spider-Man 122 11/05 2
Amazing Spider-Man 524 11/05 1
Amazing Spider-Man 525 12/05 2
Amazing Spider-Man 525 Variant Edition 12/05 1
Amazing Spider-Man 527 2/06 5
Amazing Spider-Man 527 Variant Edition 2/06 1
Amazing Spider-Man 528 Retailer Incentive Edition 3/06 14
Amazing Spider-Man 528 Variant Edition 3/06 3
Amazing Spider-Man 529 4/06 158
Amazing Spider-Man 529 $2.99 Newsstand Edition 4/06 1
Amazing Spider-Man 529 Second Printing 4/06 4
Amazing Spider-Man 530 5/06 26
Amazing Spider-Man 529 Third Printing 6/06 5
Amazing Spider-Man 531 6/06 12
Amazing Spider-Man 129 7/06 2
Amazing Spider-Man 300 7/06 26
Amazing Spider-Man 532 7/06 4
Amazing Spider-Man 533 8/06 13
Amazing Spider-Man 533 Convention Edition 8/06 4
Amazing Spider-Man 533 Limited Edition 8/06 6
Amazing Spider-Man 532 Second Printing 9/06 1
Amazing Spider-Man 534 9/06 7
Amazing Spider-Man 535 11/06 6
Amazing Spider-Man 536 11/06 13
Amazing Spider-Man 538 1/07 20
Amazing Spider-Man 538 Midtown Comics Edition 1/07 23
Amazing Spider-Man 538 Variant Cover 1/07 32
Amazing Spider-Man 537 2/07 5
Amazing Spider-Man 537 Second Printing 2/07 2
Amazing Spider-Man 539 4/07 126
Amazing Spider-Man 539 Comic Oasis Edition 4/07 34
Amazing Spider-Man 539 Second Printing 4/07 8
Amazing Spider-Man 541 6/07 3
Amazing Spider-Man 542 8/07 1
Amazing Spider-Man 543 10/07 18
Amazing Spider-Man 252 Niagara Falls Edition 11/07 34
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Amazing Spider-Man 544 11/07 81
Amazing Spider-Man 545 12/07 49
Amazing Spider-Man 546 2/08 23
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Amazing Spider-Man 547 3/08 9
Amazing Spider-Man 548 3/08 6
Amazing Spider-Man 549 3/08 7
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Amazing Spider-Man 551 3/08 1
Amazing Spider-Man 550 4/08 2
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Amazing Spider-Man 566 9/08 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 568 Second Printing 10/08 4
Amazing Spider-Man 568 Sketch Cover 10/08 94
Amazing Spider-Man 568 Variant Edition 10/08 52
Amazing Spider-Man 569 10/08 14
Amazing Spider-Man 569 $3.99 Newsstand Edition 10/08 5
Amazing Spider-Man 569 Second Printing 10/08 10
Amazing Spider-Man 569 Variant Edition 10/08 129
Amazing Spider-Man Family 1 10/08 2
Amazing Spider-Man 570 11/08 6
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Amazing Spider-Man 570 Second Printing 11/08 7
Amazing Spider-Man 570 Variant Edition 11/08 18
Amazing Spider-Man 571 11/08 2
Amazing Spider-Man 571 Second Printing 11/08 2
Amazing Spider-Man 571 Variant Edition 11/08 9
Amazing Spider-Man 572 11/08 2
Amazing Spider-Man 572 Second Printing 11/08 5
Amazing Spider-Man 572 Variant Edition 11/08 15
Amazing Spider-Man 573 12/08 6
Amazing Spider-Man 573 Colbert Variant Edition 12/08 43
Amazing Spider-Man 573 Variant Edition 12/08 20
Amazing Spider-Man 574 12/08 1
Amazing Spider-Man 575 12/08 2
Amazing Spider-Man 576 1/09 3
Amazing Spider-Man 577 1/09 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 579 2/09 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 580 2/09 3
Amazing Spider-Man 581 2/09 1
Amazing Spider-Man 581 Variant Edition 2/09 2
Amazing Spider-Man 582 3/09 2
Amazing Spider-Man 583 3/09 61
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Amazing Spider-Man 584 3/09 7
Amazing Spider-Man 585 4/09 1
Amazing Spider-Man 588 5/09 2
Amazing Spider-Man 590 6/09 1
Amazing Spider-Man 590 Variant Edition 6/09 9
Amazing Spider-Man 592 6/09 11
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Amazing Spider-Man 593 7/09 6
Amazing Spider-Man 594 7/09 2
Amazing Spider-Man 595 7/09 1
Amazing Spider-Man 595 Variant Edition 7/09 2
Amazing Spider-Man 596 8/09 1
Amazing Spider-Man 599 9/09 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 600 9/09 192
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Amazing Spider-Man 602 10/09 32
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Amazing Spider-Man 603 Variant Edition 10/09 10
Amazing Spider-Man 604 11/09 1
Amazing Spider-Man 605 11/09 5
Amazing Spider-Man 606 11/09 206
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Amazing Spider-Man 612 1/10 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 612 Variant Edition 1/10 6
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Amazing Spider-Man 613 Variant Edition 1/10 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 617 Variant Cover C 3/10 6
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Amazing Spider-Man 632 7/10 2
Amazing Spider-Man 632 Variant Cover 7/10 2
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Amazing Spider-Man 633 Variant Cover 7/10 5
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 37 7/10 1
Amazing Spider-Man 634 8/10 2
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Amazing Spider-Man 635 8/10 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 638 9/10 13
Amazing Spider-Man 638 Convention Edition 9/10 227
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Amazing Spider-Man 639 9/10 7
Amazing Spider-Man 639 Sketch Cover 9/10 9
Amazing Spider-Man 639 Variant Edition 9/10 10
Amazing Spider-Man 638 Second Printing 10/10 8
Amazing Spider-Man 640 10/10 16
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Amazing Spider-Man 640 Variant Edition 10/10 4
Amazing Spider-Man 641 10/10 30
Amazing Spider-Man 641 Christopher Variant Cover 10/10 7
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Amazing Spider-Man 642 11/10 2
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Amazing Spider-Man 642 Variant Edition 11/10 7
Amazing Spider-Man 643 11/10 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 649 1/11 9
Amazing Spider-Man 650 2/11 28
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Amazing Spider-Man 651 Variant Edition 2/11 19
Amazing Spider-Man 653 2/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 654 4/11 8
Amazing Spider-Man 654.1 4/11 37
Amazing Spider-Man 655 4/11 28
Amazing Spider-Man 654 Second Printing 5/11 11
Amazing Spider-Man 656 5/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 656 Variant Edition 5/11 6
Amazing Spider-Man 657 5/11 19
Amazing Spider-Man 658 6/11 3
Amazing Spider-Man 659 6/11 2
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 38 6/11 2
Amazing Spider-Man 660 7/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 661 7/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 661 Variant Edition 7/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 655 Second Printing 8/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 656 Second Printing 8/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 657 Second Printing 8/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 658 Second Printing 8/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 659 Second Printing 8/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 663 8/11 3
Amazing Spider-Man 665 9/11 2
Amazing Spider-Man 665 Variant Edition 9/11 2
Amazing Spider-Man 666 9/11 2
Amazing Spider-Man 666 Comic Shop Battle Variant 9/11 4
Amazing Spider-Man 666 Convention Edition 9/11 33
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Amazing Spider-Man 670 11/11 1
Amazing Spider-Man 671 12/11 22
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Amazing Spider-Man 676 2/12 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 679.1 4/12 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 692 Convention Edition 10/12 241
Amazing Spider-Man 693 11/12 7
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Amazing Spider-Man 696 12/12 5
Amazing Spider-Man 697 1/13 1
Amazing Spider-Man 698 1/13 30
Amazing Spider-Man 698 Variant Edition 1/13 15
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Amazing Spider-Man 700 Second Printing 4/13 328
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Amazing Spider-Man 700 Fifth Printing 10/13 8
Amazing Spider-Man 14 C2E2 Edition 2014 75
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Amazing Spider-Man 1 Dimension X Edition 6/14 69
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Disposable Heroes Comics Editi 6/14 2
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Amazing Spider-Man 1 Expert Comics Edition 6/14 674
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Fan Expo Edition 6/14 66
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Amazing Spider-Man 1 Forbidden Planet Edition 6/14 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1 GameStop Edition 6/14 178
Amazing Spider-Man 1 GameStop Fade Edition 6/14 370
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Amazing Spider-Man 1 Jesse James Celestial Comics E 6/14 264
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Amazing Spider-Man 1 Sketch Edition 6/14 990
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Amazing Spider-Man 3 8/14 14
Amazing Spider-Man 3 Mile High Comics Edition 8/14 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 1.3 9/14 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 4 9/14 401
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Amazing Spider-Man 5 10/14 2
Amazing Spider-Man 5 Hastings Edition 10/14 4
Amazing Spider-Man 1.5 11/14 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1.5 Ross Sketch Cover 11/14 9
Amazing Spider-Man 6 11/14 5
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Choo Variant Cover 12/14 4
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Decomixado Edition 12/14 100
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Golden Variant Cover 12/14 11
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Hasbro Edition 12/14 8
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Ross Variant Cover 12/14 5
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Totally Pop Culture Edition 12/14 12
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Amazing Spider-Man 8 Stan Lee Edition 12/14 72
Amazing Spider-Man 8 Stan Lee Sketch Edition 12/14 122
Amazing Spider-Man 8 Variant Edition 12/14 7
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Amazing Spider-Man 10 1/15 2
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Amazing Spider-Man 5 Korean Edition 2015 1
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Korean Edition 2015 1
Amazing Spider-Man 9 1/15 5
Amazing Spider-Man 9 ComicXposure Edition 1/15 3
Amazing Spider-Man 9 ComicXposure Sketch Edition 1/15 2
Amazing Spider-Man 9 Dell’Otto Variant Cover 1/15 6
Amazing Spider-Man 9 Hastings Edition 1/15 5
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Amazing Spider-Man 11 2/15 4
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Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 2/15 8
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Amazing Spider-Man 12 3/15 1
Amazing Spider-Man 12 Dell’Otto Variant Cover 3/15 3
Amazing Spider-Man 12 ESPN Variant Cover 3/15 5
Amazing Spider-Man 12 Variant Edition 3/15 1
Amazing Spider-Man 13 3/15 6
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Amazing Spider-Man 14 4/15 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 14 Variant Edition 4/15 5
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Amazing Spider-Man 16 5/15 3
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Amazing Spider-Man Special 1 Variant Edition 5/15 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 17.1 6/15 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 18 7/15 5
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Amazing Spider-Man 11 Mexican Edition/Variant Editio 8/15 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 12 Mexican Edition/Campbell Varia 9/15 3
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Amazing Spider-Man 19.1 9/15 1
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Amazing Spider-Man 20.1 10/15 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1 12/15 159
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Amazing Spider-Man 1 JScottCampbell.com Edition 12/15 273
Amazing Spider-Man 1 JScottCampbell.com Sketch Edit 12/15 120
Amazing Spider-Man 1 KwanChang.com Edition 12/15 59
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Midtown Comics Edition 12/15 21
Amazing Spider-Man 1 More Fun Comics Edition 12/15 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Ramos Variant Cover 12/15 42
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Ross Sketch Cover 12/15 49
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Ross Variant Cover 12/15 31
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Sketch Edition 12/15 597
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Variant Edition 12/15 13
Amazing Spider-Man 2 12/15 46
Amazing Spider-Man 2 Camuncoli Variant Cover 12/15 4
Amazing Spider-Man 3 1/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 3 Variant Edition 1/16 16
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Mexican Edition/Campbell Sketc 2016 3
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Mexican Edition/Variant Cover 2016 4
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Mexican Edition 2/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Mexican Edition/Campbell Varia 2/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Mexican Edition/Variant Editio 2/16 22
Amazing Spider-Man 1.1 2/16 6
Amazing Spider-Man 1.1 Stegman Variant Cover 2/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1.1 Variant Edition 2/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 4 2/16 4
Amazing Spider-Man 5 2/16 4
Amazing Spider-Man 1.2 Variant Edition 3/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 1.3 4/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1.3 Variant Edition 4/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 7 4/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Variant Edition 4/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1.4 5/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 9 5/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 9 La Mole Comic Con Edition 5/16 6
Amazing Spider-Man 9 La Mole Comic Con Sketch Editi 5/16 6
Amazing Spider-Man 9 Lotay Variant Cover 5/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 9 McLeod Variant Cover 5/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 10 6/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 10 Perkins Variant Cover 6/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 11 6/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 12 7/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 14 8/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 7 Mexican Edition/Dell’Otto Vari 8/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 15 9/16 41
Amazing Spider-Man 15 Aspen Comics Edition 9/16 84
Amazing Spider-Man 15 Aspen Comics Sketch Edition 9/16 35
Amazing Spider-Man 15 JScottCampbell.com Edition 9/16 216
Amazing Spider-Man 15 JScottCampbell.com Sketch Edit 9/16 125
Amazing Spider-Man 15 Lopez Variant Cover 9/16 6
Amazing Spider-Man 15 Second Printing 10/16 4
Amazing Spider-Man 16 10/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 16 ComicXposure Edition 10/16 17
Amazing Spider-Man 16 ComicXposure Sketch Edition 10/16 25
Amazing Spider-Man 16 Marvel Collector Corps Edition 10/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 17 10/16 18
Amazing Spider-Man 17 Stan Lee Edition 10/16 23
Amazing Spider-Man 17 Stan Lee Sketch Edition 10/16 12
Amazing Spider-Man 17 Variant Edition 10/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 18 11/16 3
Amazing Spider-Man 18 Decomixado Edition 11/16 46
Amazing Spider-Man 18 Keown Variant Cover 11/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 19 12/16 1
Amazing Spider-Man 19 Kuder Variant Cover 12/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 19 Ramos Negative Edition 12/16 15
Amazing Spider-Man 19 Ramos Sketch Cover 12/16 13
Amazing Spider-Man 19 Ramos Variant Cover 12/16 14
Amazing Spider-Man 20 Bianchi Variant Cover 12/16 2
Amazing Spider-Man 21 1/17 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 1/17 2
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 Valdes Variant Cover 1/17 1
Amazing Spider-Man Annual 1 Variant Edition 1/17 3
Amazing Spider-Man 22 Bianchi Variant Cover 2/17 1
Amazing Spider-Man 23 3/17 6
Amazing Spider-Man 23 Bianchi Variant Cover 3/17 2
Amazing Spider-Man 23 ComicXposure Edition 3/17 5
Amazing Spider-Man 23 ComicXposure Sketch Edition 3/17 3
Amazing Spider-Man 23 Convention Edition 3/17 50
Amazing Spider-Man 24 4/17 1
Amazing Spider-Man 24 Dell’Otto Variant Cover 4/17 14
Amazing Spider-Man 24 Jusko Variant Cover 4/17 34
Amazing Spider-Man 25 5/17 61
Amazing Spider-Man 25 ComicXposure Edition 5/17 8
Amazing Spider-Man 25 ComicXposure Sketch Edition 5/17 5
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Immonen Sketch Cover 5/17 12
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Immonen Variant Cover 5/17 2
Amazing Spider-Man 25 JScottCampbell.com Edition A 5/17 182
Amazing Spider-Man 25 JScottCampbell.com Edition B 5/17 93
Amazing Spider-Man 25 JScottCampbell.com Edition C 5/17 143
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Johnson Variant Cover 5/17 23
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Lim Variant Cover 5/17 5
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Remastered Edition 5/17 9
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Unknown Comics Convention Edit 5/17 27
Amazing Spider-Man 25 Unknown Comics Edition 5/17 13
Amazing Spider-Man 25 WonderCon Edition 5/17 41
Amazing Spider-Man 29 ComicXposure Edition A 8/17 6
Amazing Spider-Man 29 ComicXposure Edition B 8/17 4
Amazing Spider-Man 29 ComicXposure Edition C 8/17 13
Amazing Spider-Man 29 ComicXposure Edition D 8/17 10
Amazing Spider-Man 30 Variant Edition 9/17 6
Amazing Spider-Man 32 11/17 8
Amazing Spider-Man 32 Variant Edition 11/17 13
Amazing Spider-Man 789 12/17 5
Amazing Spider-Man 789 Ditko Variant Cover 12/17 49
Amazing Spider-Man 789 Lenticular Cover 12/17 81
Amazing Spider-Man 789 McKone Variant Cover 12/17 9
Amazing Spider-Man 789 Shattered Comics Edition 12/17 107
Amazing Spider-Man 789 Sketch Edition 12/17 130
Amazing Spider-Man 789 Second Printing 1/18 11
Amazing Spider-Man 791 1/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 792 2/18 15
Amazing Spider-Man 792 Stegman Variant Cover 2/18 6
Amazing Spider-Man 792 Variant Edition 2/18 12
Amazing Spider-Man 793 2/18 11
Amazing Spider-Man 793 Variant Edition 2/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 795 4/18 4
Amazing Spider-Man 795 Variant Edition 4/18 3
Amazing Spider-Man 796 4/18 24
Amazing Spider-Man 796 Variant Edition 4/18 11
Amazing Spider-Man 795 Second Printing 5/18 4
Amazing Spider-Man 795 Unknown Comics Edition/Second 5/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 797 ComicXposure Dell’Otto Edition 5/18 4
Amazing Spider-Man 797 ComicXposure Edition 5/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 797 Kuder Variant Cover 5/18 16
Amazing Spider-Man 797 Mayhew Variant Cover 5/18 77
Amazing Spider-Man 797 McGuinness Variant Cover 5/18 47
Amazing Spider-Man 797 Ramos Variant Cover 5/18 31
Amazing Spider-Man 797 Remastered Edition 5/18 5
Amazing Spider-Man 797 Unknown Comics Edition 5/18 23
Amazing Spider-Man 797 Variant Edition 5/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 798 6/18 35
Amazing Spider-Man 798 ComicXposure Edition 6/18 6
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Dell’Otto Variant Cover B 6/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Dell’Otto Variant Cover C 6/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Dimension X Comics Edition 6/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Dodson Variant Cover 6/18 7
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Garron Variant Cover 6/18 42
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Kirkham Sketch Cover 6/18 91
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Land Sketch Cover 6/18 6
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Land Variant Cover 6/18 13
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Unknown Comics Edition 6/18 24
Amazing Spider-Man 798 Variant Edition 6/18 60
Amazing Spider-Man 799 6/18 5
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Cave Collector Edition 6/18 11
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Cho Variant Cover A 6/18 50
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Cho Variant Cover B 6/18 48
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Comic Mint Edition 6/18 13
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Crain Variant Cover 6/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Linsner Variant Cover A 6/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Linsner Variant Cover B 6/18 3
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Linsner Variant Cover C 6/18 3
Amazing Spider-Man 799 McGuinness Variant Cover 6/18 18
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Unknown Comics Convention Edit 6/18 48
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Unknown Comics Edition 6/18 31
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Unknown Comics Edition B 6/18 24
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Variant Edition 6/18 11
Amazing Spider-Man 799 Second Printing 7/18 6
Amazing Spider-Man 800 7/18 18
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Bagley Variant Cover 7/18 28
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Bradshaw Variant Cover 7/18 14
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Cassaday Variant Cover 7/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Cho Variant Cover 7/18 10
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Crain Variant Cover 7/18 3
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Dell’Otto Variant Cover 7/18 9
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Dell’Otto Variant Cover C 7/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Dell’Otto Variant Cover E 7/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Dell’Otto Variant Cover F 7/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Dodson Variant Cover 7/18 12
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Frenz Variant Cover 7/18 14
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Hughes Variant Cover 7/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Hughes Variant Cover B 7/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Hughes Variant Cover C 7/18 5
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Hughes Variant Cover D 7/18 31
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition A 7/18 48
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition B 7/18 81
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition C 7/18 51
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition D 7/18 51
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition E 7/18 65
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition F 7/18 70
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition G 7/18 51
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition H 7/18 50
Amazing Spider-Man 800 JScottCampbell.com Edition I 7/18 97
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Kirkham Variant Cover 7/18 17
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Kirkham Variant Cover B 7/18 15
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Kirkham Variant Cover C 7/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Kirkham Variant Cover D 7/18 19
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Land Variant Cover 7/18 19
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Mattina Variant Cover 7/18 14
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Mayhew Variant Cover 7/18 96
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Moebius Variant Cover 7/18 20
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Ramos Variant Cover 7/18 18
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Remastered Edition 7/18 12
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Remastered Sketch Edition 7/18 5
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Rivera Variant Cover 7/18 10
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Romita Variant Cover A 7/18 8
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Romita Variant Cover B 7/18 23
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Romita Variant Cover C 7/18 24
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Shattered Comics Edition 7/18 26
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Shattered Comics Sketch Editio 7/18 20
Amazing Spider-Man 800 Sketch Edition 7/18 17
Amazing Spider-Man 801 Mayhew Variant Cover A 8/18 35
Amazing Spider-Man 801 Mayhew Variant Cover B 8/18 35
Amazing Spider-Man 801 Ramos Variant Cover 8/18 7
Amazing Spider-Man 1 9/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1 AlexRossArt.com Edition A 9/18 20
Amazing Spider-Man 1 AlexRossArt.com Edition B 9/18 21
Amazing Spider-Man 1 AlexRossArt.com Edition C 9/18 17
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Brooks Variant Cover D 9/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Brooks Variant Cover E 9/18 3
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Midtown Comics Edition 9/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Opena Variant Cover 9/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Parrillo Variant Cover A 9/18 19
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Parrillo Variant Cover C 9/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Romita Variant Cover 9/18 1
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Sketch Edition 9/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man 1 Variant Edition 9/18 2
Amazing Spider-Man Free Behind-the-Scenes Edition 1 9/18 7
Amazing Spider-Man Title Grand Total (Across 1,324 Census Entries): 58,807

So there you have it… not the “ideal answer” but certainly one way to tease out an answer, to the question: How Many Amazing Spider-Man Stan Lee CGC SS books exist (how many Amazing Spider-Man comic books have been signed by Stan Lee under the CGC Signature Series)? Our exercise above shows us that as of 8/21/2018, no more than 58,807 can possibly exist.

Stan Lee has given comic book collectors one helluva gift with these CGC SS copies… giving us what essentially boils down to a more-rare variant of sorts that we can choose to collect for any given issue / any given census variant: sure, we could collect a raw copy of the issue, or sure, we could collect a Universal Grade Blue Label copy of the issue, but Stan Lee has given us the gift of yet another even-more-rare option for our collections: a Stan Lee CGC Signature Series Yellow Label copy of that same issue! Thank you Stan Lee for giving collectors such a gift!

To my fellow collectors, I wish you Happy Collecting!

– Ben 🙂

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Rare Comics To Collect

X-Men Annual #14 (1st Gambit Debate)

By Benjamin Nobel, April 5, 2017

There’s an interesting debate in the comic collecting world, over the 1st appearance of Gambit; in this post I will investigate and weigh in.  First thing’s first: let’s change our mindset and mentally transport ourselves back to the beginning of the 1990’s.  There was no eBay.  There was no CGC.  You didn’t even own a 14.4k modem yet.  Many of you reading this post hadn’t been born.  We have to put our mindset back to the era when the phone rang, and you didn’t know who it was going to be on the other end until you picked up and said, “hello?”

It was much harder to do comic book research back then, versus this day and age.  And in the 1990’s, the most prevalent type of comic book sold was the direct edition type [by the way, if you’re not yet in-the-know about the difference between direct edition and newsstand comics, I encourage you to drop what you’re doing and read this link immediately, because comprehending this difference is perhaps the single most important thing you should know if you collect modern comic books].  The reason I mention this, as relates to the X-Men Annual #14 situation, is that if you happened to be tasked in the 1990’s with investigating Gambit’s first appearance, and you picked up a copy of X-Men Annual #14 for reference, odds are the copy you picked up was the direct edition type. 

Let’s take a look at a direct edition copy of X-Men Annual #14 now, with the following question in mind: “Can we tell what month it was published?

Here’s the spine, where we can see it is a square bound book which says “Marvel” at the left, “The Uncanny X-Men Annual #14” in the middle, and “$2.00” at the right.  No month information yet.

x-men-annual-14-spine

Marvel | The Uncanny X-Men Annual #14 | $2.00

How about the front cover?  Any month listed?  Nope, still no month, just the year 1990.

x-men-annual-14-front

The front cover, meanwhile, only shows the year: 1990… Still no month.

The back cover is just a Game Boy ad, which is of no help…  Hey, how about we just “cheat” real quick and look it up on CGC’s census?  We’re not in the 1990’s anymore!  How does CGC catalog this book anyway?  Let’s cheat and find out if CGC has the month, by doing a census lookup:

x-men-annual-14-cgc-census

CGC census lookup for X-Men Annual #14 has no month — just 1990 — but does indicate in the key comments note that the book PREDATES Uncanny X-Men #266.

But CGC doesn’t have a month listed either!  Just the year 1990.  However — and if this is the first time you’ve investigated X-Men Annual #14 then this is where you’re about to become really intrigued — you’ll notice the Key Comments note at CGC indicates that the book predates Uncanny X-Men #266.  But I happen to know that CGC did not always indicate as such in their label note…  here’s an older copy, to show you how their label note used to look:

x-men-annual-14-old-cgc-lab

Label note used to simply refer to a Gambit cameo… nothing about the book pre-dating X-Men #266.

So the part of the present day CGC label note about the book pre-dating X-Men #266 is relatively new.  But if there’s no month anywhere on the book thus far in our investigation, how do we know this earlier publication timeline vs. X-Men #266 to be true??

And here’s where newsstand-focused collectors and long-time readers of this blog will know what comes next in the story.  If you were to ask me what month a given comic was on the stands, and if I couldn’t go online to check, then the first thing I’d do is open my copy to the indicia page.  And you’re about to spot in the indicia picture below that I own a newsstand copy:

x-men-annual-14-indicia

Indicia page for X-Men Annual #14 just has the year, 1990, with no month mentioned.

Did you spot the bar code peeking around the corner?  As you can see, the indicia page just shows 1990… no month.  So the next thing I’d do, is I’d look at that bar code.  Because with Marvel’s newsstand distribution, at least for their monthly issues, the bar code is structured in such a way that a month code appears at the top right.  And as you can see, the bar code for X-Men Annual #14 has “05” at the top right of the code… if this was a monthly issue, we might conclude that Marvel was communicating the month of May:

x-men-annual-14-barcode

Bar code has “05” as the month: could this mean May?

As an annual, rather than a monthly issue it isn’t clear whether we should make this conclusion [4/2019 update: here is a post about Marvel newsstand annual numbering, for Uncanny X-Men that explains further]. So really the only indication we can find anywhere on this comic where a month might mentioned in any way, was related to its newsstand distribution.  Ah, but as long-time readers of this blog are well aware, newsstand copies were a very low fraction of the total sold in the 1990’s, so going back to our early-90’s mindset, it is quite possible anyone investigating this book was doing so holding a direct edition copy in their hands. I’ve never seen a discussion of the “05” newsstand code for this issue, have you? Given that newsstand copies of this issue are such a tiny minority of the total copies sold, I think the principle of “out of sight, out of mind” definitely comes into play.

Given the survivorship difference between the types, the odds are even more extreme today, that if you’ve collected this book recently (without paying attention to the direct edition vs. newsstand difference) that you actually own the prevalent and well-preserved direct edition, not the dramatically-more-rare newsstand edition.  To illustrate this newsstand vs. direct edition disparity, here are a couple of screenshots of available CGC graded copies of this book on ComicLink, and also on eBay, at the time of this writing.  Here’s ComicLink first, and in this screenshot you’ll also notice where ComicLink has apparently sided on the 1st Gambit debate: their description says “1st Gambit App – precedes X-Men #266“:

x-men-annual-14-comiclink

Current ComicLink availability of X-Men Annual #14 — not a single newsstand copy is listed, they are all direct editions.

As you can see, not one newsstand copy is listed; every currently available copy is a direct edition.  And next, here’s the current eBay availability, and I’ll just link you to this next screenshot rather than picture it below, otherwise you’ll be scrolling down forever, but you can see that there are a full 48 CGC graded copies presently listed on eBay and zero of them are newsstand copies, they are all direct edition copies. Picture someone looking for a nice copy to collect — you could easily picture them reaching the false conclusion that the book was a direct edition exclusive!

My point with these screenshots of observed relative newsstand rarity is to ask you to consider just how strong a possibility it is, that back in the early 1990s, someone investigating the Gambit appearance in this book might not have done so in the context of fully exploring what month it was published in relation to X-Men #266.  And if you didn’t know it pre-dated X-Men #266, then think about the context you’d have that would have reinforced the perception that X-Men #266 was the book that contained the character’s first appearance.  For one thing, the cover of X-Men #266 says “Enter the mutant called Gambit”:

enter-gambit-x-men-266

Enter the mutant called Gambit.

With Gambit making an entrance, it gives you the impression that he’d not yet entered before.  And then within the context of the #266/267 story-line, I learned the following interesting tidbit about X-Men Annual #14, from this source (my emphasis added in bold):

Also, Storm is joined in this issue [X-Men Annual #14] by an enigmatic, floppy-haired dude named Gambit. That’s right, this is, technically, Gambit’s first appearance, though with this story set after X-Men #267, his appearance in issue #266 is generally considered his first appearance by fans (it is certainly the issue that commands big money on the back issue market for being Gambit’s first appearance).

Sometimes story-tellers give you the future first, and apparently the story within the pages of X-Men Annual #14 was set chronologically after issue #267. But now think about what this information does to our context of the person we were imagining as the one tasked as being the 1st Gambit Appearance investigator, who may not have realized X-Men Annual #14 was published before X-Men #266, and then if they were reading Annual #14 they would have encountered a story-line that falls after issue #267. I think it is pretty easy to picture a scenario where Annual #14 was overlooked when Gambit’s first appearance credits were first considered!

Today, I think there is no debate on the publication date side…  That link where I quoted the above says X-Men Annual #14 was “on sale at the same time as Uncanny X-Men issues #263 and #264,” and, “this issue spoils the upcoming ‘Kid Storm’ arc.”  I showed you CGC’s present label note already, which clearly indicates their understanding that X-Men Annual #14 pre-dates X-Men #266; and CBCS, similarly, says as follows, that X-Men Annual #14 is the first published appearance of Gambit:

x-men-annual-14-cbcs

CBCS label note says “1st published appearance of Gambit”

So if there’s no debate about the publication order of these early Gambit comics, then the debate here with Gambit and X-Men Annual #14 is really about the scope of the appearance itself and what to call that appearance.  Here’s Doug Sulipa on the subject:

doug-sulipa-x-men-annual-14

X-MEN ANNUAL (Uncanny) #14 (1990; True FIRST FULL appearance of GAMBIT = GAMBIT appears in 15 Panels on 9 Different Pages = Precedes X-Men #266; ** GAMBIT appeared in the X-MEN: Apocalypse the MOVIE, played by Channing Tatum; Taylor Kitsch played GAMBIT in 2009 in the Live-Action X-MEN Origins: WOLVERINE MOVIE; *** The Big-Screen GAMBIT Film/Movie by 20th Century Fox will star Channing Tatum as Remy LeBeau aka GAMBIT; In February 2017 producer Simon Kinberg noted They’ll Probably Start Filming the GAMBIT MOVIE In 2018; The Movie will be directed by Rupert Wyatt; Tatum is set to produce the film with writer & producer Reid Carolin, plus X-Men movie veterans Lauren Schuler Donner and Simon Kinberg; Arthur ADAMS cover & art; 68 page Giant; Fantastic Four, Cable, New Mutants, X-Factor & Ahab appear;

As you can see, he refers to X-Men Annual #14 as the “True FIRST FULL” appearance of Gambit, and indicates that Gambit appears in 15 panels on 9 different pages. That seems like a pretty extensive appearance, does it not?? But let’s give the other side of the debate the benefit of the doubt — maybe there’s something about this appearance that argues it is really more of a “cameo” in nature…  For instance, maybe, perhaps, we don’t actually see Gambit in a “recognizable” way, perhaps for example he doesn’t appear in his full costume or just appears in the shadows? I flipped through my copy to see if I could spot Gambit and it took me a matter of seconds to spot him:

thats-gambit-x-men-annual-1

Unmistakable: that’s Gambit.

That’s unmistakably Gambit… in full light.   So what’s another possible argument on the other side of the debate that we could check into?  Perhaps Gambit isn’t actually named anywhere in the pages of X-Men Annual #14?  I flipped through the book again, this time scanning to try and spot the word “Gambit” and sure enough, here it is!  Here’s the full page and then I’ll zoom in on the specific panel I spotted where he is called Gambit:

calls-himself-gambit

Here’s a zoom-in, and by the way, this panel below also dispels the possibility that the other side might argue the appearance doesn’t rise to “full” because there’s no dialog… because clearly, the two are talking:

gambit-dialog

I don’t know about you, but after investigating this situation I find myself coming down clearly on one side of the debate…  If I didn’t know what the prevailing industry credit was and I was tasked with determining Gambit’s first appearance, X-Men Annual #14 would be my pick, and I would definitely not have deemed what I saw a mere “cameo.”  But I can easily envision a highly-understandable situation where someone would have examined these comics in the past and reached a different conclusion!

I think this situation has resulted in an excellent relative value collecting opportunity, where even the dramatically-more-rare newsstand copies of X-Men Annual #14 can be found out there today (with effort and patience), in high grade, at prices an order of magnitude lower than you would probably expect the first appearance of this increasingly-popular character to sell for…  Here’s one example newsstand copy someone recently won for $5.50:

newsstand-x-men-annual-14-1

Notice that the seller of the above copy did not title it as a newsstand copy, i.e. the “newsstand” keyword did not appear in the listing title.  A newsstand-focused collector searching eBay specifically on the phrase “X-Men Annual #14 newsstand” would therefore not have found this above-pictured copy.  This goes to show just how much opportunity is still out there to this day for newsstand-focused collectors willing to do the extra work of reviewing all copies, despite all the growing newsstand awareness out there.  

Here’s another similar listing for a newsstand copy (but, once again, not identified as such in the title, so much like panning for gold it would take effort to find it), this one advertised NM and the winning bid was just $9.50:

newsstand-x-men-annual-14-2

Unbelievable to me that the opportunity is out there to score an NM newsstand copy of the true 1st Gambit appearance for under ten bucks!

Will Overstreet come around in their thinking on this book and how they apply the first Gambit appearance credits?  And furthermore, will they ever come around on their thinking about breaking out newsstand comics in general (where breaking out Canadian price variant newsstand comics is a great place for them to start — I myself have strongly encouraged them to do so and wrote them an open letter)?

I would encourage you to collect the early Gambit comics based on your own conclusions (and there’s no rule that says you have to choose to collect only X-Men #266 or only X-Men Annual #14 — you can go for both!), and take the current Overstreet view only as one input into your decision-making, because the industry is littered with instances where key appearances were overlooked, mis-assigned, and re-defined.

Not too long ago, for instance, Savage Dragon’s first appearance credits were completely re-arranged. Just this week CGC began to recognize a first Krang appearance in comics…   Feeling more encouraged that change is possible in the industry? Things like this are not written in stone!  We have no way of knowing how Gambit’s first appearance credits might get re-arranged in the future at Overstreet and other “authorities” in comics.

And speaking of Krang, don’t forget, the 1st appearance of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themselves was once credited to a different book than it is today… For the longest time, Overstreet assigned that first appearance credit to Gobbledygook #1.  And had you submitted a copy of TMNT #1 to CGC prior to 2004, you would have opened the box to find that the label made no mention of the 1st appearance of the TMNT.  Having gotten back your copy with no mention of the 1st turtles app., but having read the story about Eastman and Laird publishing TMNT #1 as their very first comic book, you might have then wondered about the true publication date of Gobbledygook by comparison?  You might have then reached out to Mirage for help. They might have shared the following with you:

tmnt-gobbledygook-email-1

So Gobbledygook was made on a photocopier [as a side note, I can’t even imagine collecting it and paying thousands for it, because how would you really know if you’re just buying a photocopy, when every copy was a photocopy?]  Yet, Gobbledygook #1 had historically carried the TMNT first appearance credit in Overstreet!  Maybe although it was hand-made with a copier, it still had a publication date at Mirage?  Nope!

tmnt-gobbledygook-email-2

Subsequently, the industry changed its first appearance credit.  This is for the TMNT we’re talking about!  If it can happen for the TMNT, and if it can happen for Savage Dragon, and if it can happen in so many other cases… then we must conclude it can happen for Gambit.  Until it does, those rare newsstand copies of X-Men Annual #14 sure are one heck of a relative value if you ask this collector!

Happy Collecting! 🙂

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Australian Newsstand Edition, Direct Edition vs. Newsstand Edition Comic Books, Rare Comics To Collect

New Mutants #98 — $1.50 Cover Price Variant (1st Deadpool Appearance)

By Benjamin Nobel, January 14, 2017

I begin this story with a bar code, the kind that appeared on 1990’s Marvel newsstand comics…  There is so much you really should know about newsstand comics versus direct edition comics in general [read this first if you’re not already in-the-know about the difference between the types], but for the purposes of this story all I want you to know right now is that in the below bar code that I’m about to show you, the numbers along the bottom are what you could think of as the “base code” for the monthly New Mut