Rare Comics: Welcome

Looking for the 2019 guide? Here it is »
Rare Comics picture
Jump: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Z

My name is Benjamin Nobel, and I’d like to welcome you to the Rare Comics Blog!

Below you will find a list of my latest posts by category, followed by a welcome/introduction which I would encourage you to read if this is the first time you’ve landed here.

Thanks for visiting!

Articles & Resources

There are three known instances of Type 1A cover price variants: (1) Canadian Price Variants (2) Australian Price Variants, and (3) Pence Price Variants.

Also see: General Comics Topics; Newsstand Comics; TMNT; Spawn; Savage Dragon.

General Comic Book Topics

 11/2015 – My manifesto: Rare Comics To Collect [ companion slideshow ]

 6/2016 – Star Wars #1-4 35¢ Cover — Also, Other Price Variants You DIDN’T Know Existed! [Related slideshow: 10 Overlooked Star Wars Comics To Rival 35 Cent Variants]

 12/2016 – An Open Letter To Overstreet [C’mon guys, well past time to break out newsstand comics in the guide, especially 1980’s cover price variants]

 1/2017 – Variant vs. Variant: Amazing Spider-Man #678 (Mary Jane Venom) vs. #607 (Black Cat $3.99 Cover Price)

 2/2017 – Lists of Key Comic Books by Year

 3/2017 – Future classic cover contenders: 7 Variants Destined For Future Classic Cover Status [ companion cover swipes slideshow ]

 4/2017 – X-Men Annual #14 (1st Gambit Debate)

 12/2017 – CGC 9.8 Census Comparison: 1970’s Keys vs. 1980’s Keys

 7/2018 – The “Cover Swipe Test”: 2 More Price Variant Keys Passing It

 8/2018 – How Many Amazing Spider-Man Stan Lee CGC SS Books Exist? [11/30/2018 update: How Many Stan Lee CGC Signature Series Books Exist?]

 9/2018 – 6 Epic CGC Labeling Blunders Of Price Variant Comics And What We Can Learn From Them

Newsstand Comics

 11/2015 – Comic Book Newsstand Editions: Understanding The Difference

 6/2016 – Wolverine Limited Series #1 — Where Are The Newsstand Copies??

 6/2016 – Strange but true: Amazing Spider-Man / Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man / Sensational Spider-Man

 6/2016 – Newsstand Vs. Direct Edition Comics

 8/2016 – Newsstand Variants, $3.99 Newsstand Editions, and The Doc Collection

 9/2016 – Newsstand Rarity Discussions & Estimates

 1/2017 – Darker Image #1 — Newsstand $1.95 Cover Price Variant (1st Maxx Appearance)

 2/2017 – People are noticing newsstand comics! The WordPress stats page tells me that someone found my blog today by searching the web on the phrase “why are newsstand comics worth more?” … They have asked a great question — so I put up a new page to answer that exact question! 🙂 [Related: “Nice book, too bad it’s a direct edition”]

 4/2017 – Daredevil #21, $3.99 Newsstand Edition (Superior Spider-Man Cameo)

 4/2017 – Applause to CBCS Now Recognizing Newsstand Comics!

 5/2017 – What If Venom Possessed Deadpool? What If There Was A Rare Cover Price Variant?

 5/2017 – What If Venom Possessed Wolverine? (New Avengers #35, $3.99 Newsstand Edition)

 5/2017 – DC Rebirth, $3.99 Newsstand Editions

 6/2017 – $2.99 Newsstand Edition CGC Census Variants, and, “Partial Cover Price Variations”

 6/2017 – 30 More Newsstand Census Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End

 7/2017 – Amazing Spider-Man #400: Understanding The Real Newsstand Edition

 8/2017 – Applause To CPG Accepting $3.99 Cover Price Variants Into The Price Guide!

Canadian Price Variants

 4/2016 – 75 Cent Variants (Canadian Newsstand Editions)

 6/2016 – A practical guide: Canadian Price Variants — How To Spot Them

 6/2016 – D.C. Comics “Canadian Editions” — Likely Only 2-7%

 6/2016 – Slideshow: Rare 1980’s Price Variants To Collect

 7/2016 – The 75¢ Price Puzzle: Parallels To 35¢ Variants

 12/2016 – Wow, just 1-2% of CGC graded #252 copies for a decade and a half: Amazing Spider-Man #252 75¢ “Canadian Edition” Variant: CGC Census Rarity Over Time

 12/2016 – Marvel Graphic Novel #4 — $5.95 Cover Price Variant (1st New Mutants Appearance)

 4/2017 – 95¢ and $1.00 DC Price Variants: How Do We Know What They Are?

 4/2017 – 66 New Canadian Price Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End, a 16% Increase

 8/2017 – The Orange Cat Phenomenon (and Canadian Price Variants)

 10/2017 – The 2018 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A)

 10/2017 – Amazing Spider-Man #238: The Tattooz Situation

 10/2017 – “Canadian Edition” vs. “Canadian Price Variant”

 11/2017 – Our Type 1A Price Guide Featured In Scoop! [And again for our 2019 edition!]

 2/2018 – Investing in Canadian Price Variants: 11 Tips

 4/2018 – Three Variants That Surprised Me

 6/2018 – Voltron #1-3, Type 1A $1.00 Cover Price Variants

 6/2018 – Incremental Improvement to CGC’s “Canadian Edition” Labeling

 10/2018 – Applause To CBCS’s New “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” Labeling

 10/2018 – The 2019 Price Guide for 1980’s Marvel & DC Newsstand Canadian Cover Price Variants (Type 1A)

 10/2018 – Canadian Price Variants: Noteworthy Sales

 10/2018 – Two Ways To Win Update [ from our 2019 Guide’s new Market Reports & Articles section — don’t miss the other great original articles there! ]

 1/2019 – Archie Canadian/Pence Price Variants and the Betty’s Diary #36 Mystery

 1/2019 – Gladstone Canadian Price Variants

Welcome & Introduction

Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I started blogging about Rare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Comics in 2011, then created a blog for Rare Spawn Comics and Rare Savage Dragon Comics — with these characters ranking among my favorite all-time comic book superheroes outside of the Marvel universe and DC universe. 🙂

The format of those blogs has been to profile specific rare and interesting (and hence valuable and/or highly collectible) comics. For example, I profiled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (May 1984) which is the most highly valued and collectible TMNT comic book of all time, with a print run of just 3,000 copies and featuring the first appearance of the turtles (that blog entry also touches upon Gobbledygook, which was hand-produced on a Xerox photocopier on legal-size paper folded in half and stapled by hand).

I have also profiled the little-known comic Graphic Fantasy #1 (1982) which was a pre-Megaton fanzine self-published by Erik Larsen with a print run of just several hundred copies and containing the first appearance of the “original” incarnation of Savage Dragon. On account of being so incredibly scarce and therefore nearly invisible, the industry completely overlooked it for years and credited Megaton #2/3 with the key first character appearance… But recently some copies of Graphic Fantasy were graded and the CGC “1st appearance credits” for Savage Dragon comics were re-considered and are now allocated differently than they’d been before.

On the Spawn blog I have profiled such comics as the Spawn #1 “Black & White Edition” (1997) which had a print run on the order of 3,100 copies and Rust #1 “Special Limited Edition” (April 1992) which had a restricted print run believed to be limited to 10,000 copies and features a pre-Spawn-#1 full page black & white pin-up by Todd McFarlane to promote the upcoming release of Spawn #1 — that pin-up featuring a sketch of the artwork later used for the cover of Spawn #2, and including a “prototype” Spawn logo that was later tossed aside in favor of the logo ultimately used in the series.

For this blog, I will post about general comic book collecting “themes” that I find to be particularly interesting — like newsstand vs. direct edition comics — and over time I will also profile specific comics outside of Spawn, Savage Dragon, or the TMNT. This blog is also now the home for the hobby’s very first online comic book price guide for Type 1A 1980’s newsstand cover price variants from Marvel & DC.

A recurring “theme” I will return to often in the Savage Dragon and Spawn blogs, is that when Image Comics made its debut in 1992, the Newsstand Distribution Channel for comic books in general was already in major decline. To attain any newsstand distribution against that backdrop was a challenge for Image; collectors would learn in 2013 that Image sold only on the order of 1% of their comics on newsstands versus 99% direct sold to comic shops.

This ratio for Image already creates a disparity in rarity that is critical for collecting early Image keys (where collectors should arguably clearly prefer the newsstand copies which have UPC codes on them — the prevalent direct edition copies lack these UPC codes). But equally interesting is that the challenging nature of newsstand distribution led Image to elect manufacturing choices for their newsstand print runs that in some cases were different from their direct edition print runs — in other words, the newsstand print runs were often produced differently!

These differences were likely to control costs, with choices such as manufacturing the newsstand copies with cheap newsprint paper instead of glossy; or different thickness paper for the cover; or omitting special features like centerfold posters. As a result of these manufacturing differences — when they occurred — CGC treats such newsstand copies as distinct “variants” on the CGC census. Meaning we can actually study some data on how many of each type (direct edition and newsstand) have been graded!

And in addition to manufacturing differences, there are other “special situations” where CGC breaks out newsstand versions as distinct variants on census. You may see CGC graded comics that say “Newsstand Edition” but also “Canadian Edition” — and most recently you will find Newsstand Variants and $3.99/$4.99 Newsstand Editions (that last variant category — a “class” of cover price variants — only being created/recognized at CGC in 2016).

I believe that when collecting comics, it is better to have two ways to win, than just one. When there is a more rare version of a given comic available, but the more rare version is priced with little to no premium due to lack of awareness among other collectors, I want that more rare version instead of the prevalent one… Because if you can obtain the more rare version for similar cost, then you have two ways to win instead of one: the issue number itself may rise in value, and the rarity premium may grow if collectors come to recognize it in the future — much like what happened with 35 cent variants, which were broadly overlooked as a “class” of comics before 1998.

Relative value: that’s what I look for, that’s what intrigues me most, and that’s what I enjoy writing about. Thanks for visiting, and as you read any of my posts, if you have additional information you can add to the discussion that I missed, please do so in the comment section either on the post in question or here on the main page — I continue to be humbled and amazed at how much I learn from readers! 🙂

– Ben

Rare Comics Blog: About

Rare Comics Blog: About Me — From My Kids’ Perspective

Advertisements

93 thoughts on “Rare Comics: Welcome

  1. jesse tapia says:

    What are your thoughts on one of a kind stan lee signature series.? I own the only 9.8 stan lee cgc copy of Marvel Premiere 24 and was wondering how the Market will go for situations like mine.?

    Like

    • Hi Jesse, congrats on owning such a cool collectible!! 🙂 I’ve been wondering myself how the marketplace will respond over the course of time to situations like yours where in the past the collectible would have been considered “replaceable” (by creating a new Stan Lee CGC SS copy) but is now irreplaceable… In the past the replacement value could have been estimated by way of the cost of an unsigned 9.8 of the issue plus the cost of participating in the next Stan Lee CGC SS signing opportunity, but now, you literally own something one-of-a-kind with no other 9.8’s out there that you could theoretically buy as a replacement even if you wanted to…

      In theory I should think the marketplace would reward such uniqueness with a healthy premium in situations like yours where the supply side of the equation is 1, but I imagine that just how much of a premium will boil down to the demand side of the equation: things like how many people are searching for your particular issue number, and, how many other one-of-a-kind Stan Lee CGC SS books are on the market (and how attractive those other issues are by comparison).

      – Ben 🙂

      Like

  2. Hi everyone, the below picture is courtesy of Mr. Cover Price Variant who emailed me this incredible find of a Charlton 15¢ cover price variant (Type 1), which another reader was looking for evidence of:

    For comparison, the regular 10¢ version of the same issue:

    – Ben

    Like

  3. Bill says:

    Just wanted to add that I love this website! I’ve been collecting CPVs for over a year now and enjoy the thrill of digging into long boxes and finding these gems. In my most recent hunts, I discovered a Harvey Comics book with an 89 cent pricing. A quick ebay search on the book revealed a 75 cent pricing, The title of the book is “On Your Mark!..Set!..Go! With Funtastic Harvey Hits Nov, Issue 1. I’m assuming it’s a CPV. Is it rare?

    Like

  4. A really neat find, Bill! Thanks so much for sending me the picture! 🙂 Here it is below for others to see, side-by-side with the direct edition and 75¢ newsstand version for this issue.

    Overstreet lists this series under “Harvey Hits Comics” (11/1986), and ascribes a $7 value in NM- to the regular copies. ComicBase meanwhile gives regular copies a $3 NM guide value and CPG gives regular copies a $6 NM guide value. I saw no recent eBay sales when I looked, for the issue number.

    I don’t know what kind of print run this issue number saw, but I searched high and low and the 89¢ CPV seems to be completely absent from the Internet. Thanks again for sharing it! 🙂

    Best,
    – Ben

    Like

  5. One of the bigger keys of DC’s type 1A price variant window of the 1980’s is Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, featuring the death of Supergirl with a highly memorable George Perez cover. We gave the $1.60 cover price variant a $55 NM- guided value in our 2019 guide; meanwhile the bottom of our guide’s Top 50 list for 2019 came in at an NM- value of $65 so Crisis #7 is only $10 away from the Top 50 just for some perspective.

    Crisis #7 was published 10/1985, but interestingly, I recently noticed that a quite-similar cover appears on the 75¢ variant for Legion of Super-Heroes #296, published 2/1983, with cover art by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt. And then when Steve and I were working on our guide to pence price variants, I was struck when looking at the X-Men #136 variant with 15p cover price, published 8/1980, that it too has a quite-similar cover, by John Byrne & Terry Austin.

    And then it turns out the Daredevil #164 12p pence price variant is yet another cover with a quite-similar pose, this time by Frank Miller, published 5/1980, a few months before the X-Men #136. But we can actually find this pose in comic book covers even earlier in time — here below is Superman in a near-identical pose to that of Crisis #7, but this time holding Lois Lane, back in 1972.

    The two books above are Superman’s Girlfriend Lois Lane #128 (12/1972) with cover by Bob Oksner, and next to it is yet another book with quite-similar pose that came even earlier, Brave and the Bold #84 (published in the summer of 1969), with cover by Neal Adams. And yet there exist still further comic book examples with quite-similar poses published even earlier:

    Above are the 10d pence price variant of Thor #127 (4/1966), with cover by Jack Kirby and then beside it is Batman #156 (6/1963) with cover by Sheldon Moldoff.

    So really quite a lot of artists have given their take on what is really one of the most powerful and moving poses there are for two people to take together: one cradling the other in their arms.

    Does anyone know of other even-earlier comic book examples similar to the above?

    – Ben p.s. Here’s another great pose involving two people: below is Superman #243 at left, and the 95¢ variant for Jonah Hex #91 at right.

    Like

  6. Another example in my inbox this morning (thanks!), Detective #574 (Type 1A $1.00 cover price variant pictured below), quite similar to the Batman #156 with Batman cradling Robin in his arms. Published 5/1987 with cover by Alan Davis & Paul Neary:

    Like

  7. Hi Ben, really digging the site, thanks for all the great content! I have been collecting Canadian price variants for several years now and would be happy to share some scans if needed. Do you have a list of what you’re missing?

    -C

    Like

  8. One of my favorite CPV covers to look at is the 95¢ variant for Batman #366 (12/1983). Featuring the first appearance of Jason Todd as Robin in costume, it marks an important key issue; and Walt Simonson’s cover is an absolute Batman vs. Joker classic.

    [And this issue is among the most rare comics of the 1980’s Type 1A price variant window, with a surprisingly-low 97,741 total copies listed in the circulation statement — walking through the CPV rarity math from that starting point would get us to on the order of just 122 copies in VF or better floating around out there with 95¢ cover price following Doug Sulipa’s rarity estimate walk-through, and on the order of a mere 60-80 copies surviving in 9.2 or better following Paul Clairmont’s rarity estimate walk-through. As of today the CGC census shows just six grand-total CGC-graded variants on record to date for issue #366.]

    One of the interesting “artwork features” of this particular cover is how the usual Batman logo atop the cover isn’t there, but instead, the word BATMAN is integrated in a “non-standard” way into the cover artwork itself — I thought this would be an interesting cover-artwork-theme to explore, and I found some other interesting examples of non-standard logos from the 1980’s Type 1A price variant window. Here are a sampling of those examples below — I hope you enjoy them and that seeing them sparks some collecting ideas! 🙂

    The other example above shown next to Batman #366 is Legion of Super-Heroes #313, with cover by Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt (7/1984). Here’s two more below following this same theme of non-standard-logo integrated into the artwork, Jonah Hex #76 (9/1983) with cover by Ross Andru and Joe Rubinstein, and Saga of the Swamp Thing #25 (6/1984) with cover by Stephen Bissette and John Totleben:

    The very next issue of Saga of the Swamp Thing does it too (#26, 7/1984, cover by the same artists). I also found several examples from the Sgt. Rock title — here’s #376 (5/1983) with cover by Joe Kubert:

    Here’s two more Sgt. Rock covers by Joe Kubert, #393 (10/1984) and #403 (8/1985):

    And for the cover of issue #371 (12/1982), also by Joe Kubert, the words “Sgt. Rock” take up practically the entire page! I found a few other examples of “huge words” on covers; here next to it is Teen Titans Spotlight #16 (11/1987) with cover by Jerome Moore and Dennis Janke:

    I also found some examples of “giant word covers” where the words weren’t the title of the book but were something else instead — examples include Fantastic Four #280 (7/1985) with cover by John Byrne and Jerry Ordway, and Daredevil #216 (3/1985) with cover by David Mazzucchelli:

    It’s fun to look at cool CPV covers, isn’t it?! A similar/related cover “theme” that we often see, is where the cover features the “normal” logo/title, but in such a way that it “interacts” with the artwork. The “interactions” range from subtle to stand-out. Here’s a couple of examples on the more-subtle end of the spectrum to start, Uncanny X-Men #184 (8/1984; 1st appearance of Forge), with fiery cover by John Romita Jr. and Dan Green, where the X-Men logo itself has also burst into flames; and Daredevil #214 (1/1985) with rainy cover by David Mazzucchelli, where the rain is falling onto and dripping down the Daredevil logo:

    I also really like the cover of Batman #367 (1/1984, cover by Ed Hannigan and Dick Giordano), where the Batman logo is getting pulled down along with Batman himself.

    And then Thor #337 (11/1983; 1st appearance of Beta Ray Bill), with its classic Walt Simonson cover, leads me into a series of covers where the logo is getting smashed apart, knocked about, torn, or shredded in interaction with the characters:

    Uncanny X-Men #176 (12/1983), with cover by John Romita Jr., and Fantastic Four #258 (9/1983) with cover by John Byrne:

    Flash #333 (5/1984) with cover by Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano, and Flash #335 (7/1984) with cover by Carmine Infantino and Klaus Janson:

    Green Arrow #2 (6/1983) with cover by Trevor Von Eeden and Dick Giordano, and Wonder Woman #9 (10/1987; Origin of the new Cheetah) with cover by George Perez:

    Team America #12 (5/1983) with cover by Don Perlin and Vince Colletta, and Superman #4 (4/1987; 1st appearance of Bloodsport), with cover by John Byrne:

    Fantastic Four #270 (9/1984; 1st full appearance of Terminus) with cover by John Byrne, and New Mutants #6 (8/1983) with cover by Bob McLeod:

    Marvel Team-Up #139 (3/1984) with cover by Al Milgrom, and Amazing Spider-Man #237 (2/1983) with cover by Ed Hannigan:

    Spectacular Spider-Man #72 (11/1982; 1st appearance of Ollie Osnick) with cover by Ed Hannigan, and Spectacular Spider-Man #77 (4/1983) with cover by Al Milgrom:

    That was fun! 🙂 Some very cool covers there that play off of an interaction between the words themselves and the characters/scenes that are the subject of the artwork. I hope this sparks some collecting ideas — I find it so awesome that the 1980’s price variant window gives us so many different cool comics we can collect, many with especially strong artwork.

    Happy Collecting,
    – Ben 🙂

    p.s. There were even more examples out there like the ones above that I left out to keep this shorter, but here’s two last ones I just thought of that I can’t resist mentioning before I bring this to a close — these two below are actually two of my all-time favorite comic book covers. The first has a fairly “subtle” interaction between the character and the words, where Hobgoblin appears to grab the letter “p” — Amazing Spider-Man #261 (2/1985) with painted cover by Charles Vess. In the second, Wolverine is shredding through the cover of Uncanny X-Men #207 (7/1986), with cover by John Romita Jr. and Dan Green:

    Like

  9. Hi everyone, I wanted to share something I think came out looking really cool. To explain what it is, first off, as a frame of reference, is everyone familiar with the “collage cover” for Amazing Spider-Man #700? The artist, Mr. Garcin, took a whole bunch of smaller pictures and arranged them into a collage that forms the shape of Spidey’s eye — so that if you look at it from a great enough distance, you just see the bigger picture of Spidey’s eye, but if you look at it close up, you can see all of the many individual tiny images of Spider-Man / Venom / etc. It is one of my favorite ASM covers.

    Along with the rest of the CPV guide team and with help from readers like you, I’ve been assembling a database of comic book front cover pictures for many of the price variants included in our 2019 Marvel & DC guide. We have enough pictures databased now that I thought I might take a stab at turning some of them into a collage that forms some larger image. As the larger image, I picked the cover of Wolverine Limited Series #1.

    Among my very-favorite 75¢ variants of the 1980’s are Wolverine Limited Series issues #2-4… Sometimes I wish they had happened to launch this mini-series one month later, or alternatively, that the price variant window itself began one month earlier, because unfortunately issue #1 lands just ahead of when the cover price window began — there is no 75¢ variant for issue #1. So this collage pays homage to “the variant that might have been” (in some alternate universe), forming the cover of Wolverine Limited Series #1 using the covers of thousands of 1980’s price variants.

    The way this was created was by slicing the cover of Wolverine Limited Series #1 into thousands of small rectangles and then an algorithm calculated the average color of each rectangle, then matched up that rectangle to one of the databased CPV covers that had closely matching average color. Here’s a link to open the image in a new window so you can enlarge and zoom in.

    I hope this made you smile! 🙂

    – Ben

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s