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 (scroll down for newest posts), and then after that list is a welcome/introduction which I would encourage you to read if this is the first time you’ve landed here.

Thanks for visiting!

My Latest Posts (scroll down for newest posts)

My manifesto: Rare Comics To Collect [ companion slideshow ]

• Comic Book Newsstand Editions: Understanding The Difference

• 75 Cent Variants (Canadian Newsstand Editions)

• Newsstand Variants, $3.99 Newsstand Editions, and The Doc Collection [ related slideshow: Newsstand Rarity Discussion & Estimates ]

• A practical guide: Canadian Price Variants — How To Spot Them

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

• Wolverine Limited Series #1 — Where Are The Newsstand Copies??

• 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]

• D.C. Comics “Canadian Editions” — Likely Only 2-7%

Slideshow: Rare 1980’s Price Variants To Collect

People are noticing newsstand comics!  7/6/16: 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”]

• The 75¢ Price Puzzle: Parallels To 35¢ Variants

• 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

• Marvel Graphic Novel #4 — $5.95 Cover Price Variant (1st New Mutants Appearance)

• 12/30/2016An Open Letter To Overstreet [C’mon guys, well past time to break out newsstand comics in the guide, especially 1980’s cover price variants]

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

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

• New Mutants #98 — $1.50 Cover Price Variant (1st Deadpool Appearance) [ related definition: Type 1A Price Variants ]

• Lists of Key Comic Books by Year

• Future classic cover contenders: 7 Variants Destined For Future Classic Cover Status [ companion cover swipes slideshow ]

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

• Applause to CBCS Now Recognizing Newsstand Comics!

• Daredevil #21, $3.99 Newsstand Edition (Superior Spider-Man Cameo)

• 95¢ and $1.00 DC Price Variants: How Do We Know What They Are?

• 66 New Canadian Price Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End, a 16% Increase

• What If Venom Possessed Deadpool? What If There Was A Rare Cover Price Variant?

• What If Venom Possessed Wolverine? (New Avengers #35, $3.99 Newsstand Edition)

• DC Rebirth, $3.99 Newsstand Editions

• AUS Price Variants (Australian Newsstand Editions)

• $2.99 Newsstand Edition CGC Census Variants, and, “Partial Cover Price Variations”

• 30 More Newsstand Census Variants Confirmed at CGC Since Year-End

• Amazing Spider-Man #400: Understanding The Real Newsstand Edition

• Applause To CPG Accepting $3.99 Cover Price Variants Into The Price Guide!

• The Orange Cat Phenomenon (and Canadian Price Variants)

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

• Amazing Spider-Man #238: The Tattooz Situation

• “Canadian Edition” vs. “Canadian Cover Price Variant”

• Our Type 1A Price Guide Featured In Scoop! [And again for our 2019 edition!]

• CGC 9.8 Census Comparison: 1970’s Keys vs. 1980’s Keys

• Investing in Canadian Price Variants: 11 Tips

• Three Variants That Surprised Me

• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: VideoMedia and Archie

• Voltron #1-3, Type 1A $1.00 Cover Price Variants

• Incremental Improvement to CGC’s “Canadian Edition” Labeling

• The “Cover Swipe Test”: 2 More Price Variant Keys Passing It

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

Savage Dragon #156 Herb Trimpe Variant

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

Applause To CBCS’s New “75¢ Canadian Price Variant” Labeling

Canadian Price Variants: Noteworthy Sales

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

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 — 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

Posts on TMNT, Savage Dragon, and Spawn

If you like what I have to say about rare comics in general, you may also enjoy profiles on specific TMNT, Savage Dragon, and Spawn comics that I have written starting in 2011:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (first print 1984)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #3 (NYCC variant)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #4 (misprint)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (2009 Color Special Error Edition)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles v2 #13 (Error Edition)

How To Draw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (Manufacturing Error)

Creed / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Blue/Bronze Subscriber Edition

Graphic Fantasy #1 (First appearance of the “original” Savage Dragon)

Graphic Fantasy #2

Savage Dragon #30 Newsstand Edition (As Seen on TV Variant)

Savage Dragon #10 Newsstand Variant

Savage Dragon #102 (Invincible First Appearance)

Savage Dragon #1/2 w/Platinum Stamp

Savage Dragon #137 (1st Obama Cover)

Savage Dragon Limited Series #1 Newsstand Edition

Spawn #1 Black & White Edition Variant

Spawn/The Savage Dragon #1 (1996)

Rust #1 Limited Edition (Pre-dates Spawn #1 and Malibu Sun #13)

Spawn #9 Newsstand Edition (1st Angela)

Spawn Batman Newsstand Edition

Spawn #1 Newsstand Edition

Spawn Newsstand Values Pulling Away From Direct Edition

1st Appearance of Krang in Comics

1st Appearance of Savage Dragon


81 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.?


    • 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 🙂


  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


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