Ultron is an evil robot bent on the destruction of humanity. Which, frankly, makes him a real bummer at parties. But it makes him a huge hit in your bank account.

One of the most common questions we get at Hi De Ho Comics is, “What comics should I get as an investment?” Our answer almost always comes down to “Who’s in the next big Marvel movie?” And right now, the answer is Ultron, Ant-Man, and Black Panther.

Marvel is releasing Avengers 2: Age of Ultron on May 1. The main villain, Ultron, first appeared in comics in Avengers 54 and 55. According to comichron.com the print run of Avengers that year was 269,234 per issue. Avengers #53 professionally graded at 9.4 (A near perfect grade) recently sold for $269.99. Avengers #55, the first real appearance of Ultron sold in the same grade for $992.70. The supply for both books is essentially the same, yet Avengers #55 is worth 300 percent more because it has the first appearance of the new big bad guy in the Marvel universe.

Later this year, the movie Ant-Man comes out from Marvel. A few characters have ended up with the Ant-Man moniker — this movie stars Paul Rudd as Scott Lang in the Ant-Man role. Lang’s first appearance in comics is Avengers 181 — recently selling for over $500 in 9.8 condition. The issue before, #180, holds no special significance and recently sold for $4.25.

The point here is how much demand changes the value of comics. Old comics are good. Old comics that have a first appearance in them are great.

But it isn’t just that first appearances are more valuable than the issues prior. It is important to note just how much those characters appearing in a Marvel movie sky-rockets their price tag. Five years ago Rocket Raccoon was a C-List character at best. He made relatively few appearances in his comic career and was considered kind of a joke. But ask any 10 year old (or grown up!) now and they’ll tell you that Rocket is the coolest member of the Guardians of the Galaxy. What I can tell you is that five years ago, Rocket Raccoon’s first appearance (Incredible Hulk #271) sold for one dollar or less. Today, you can click over on eBay and see that same issue has sold for $600. Can you name any stocks that have grown 60,000 percent in five years?

Even just the announcement of a movie is enough to move the financial needle! Black Panther first appeared in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s legendary Fantastic Four run at issue #52. It has always been a moderately valuable comic. I had a copy that was rather beat up (Probably a 4 out of 10 on the grading scale.) I had it sitting in my office on a stack of other comics I had recently purchased. Then Marvel made an announcement that Black Panther would be getting his own film, to be released November 2017. The next day I got a call from another comic book dealer, and he needed that first appearance bad. I was expecting to get maybe $50 for that book – before the movie announcement. The other comic book dealer offered me $250 – which he has since sold for even more. In one night Marvel Studios increased the value of that comic 400 percent

So when people ask me where to invest — the safe answer is always, “What is Marvel going to do next?”

Geoffrey Wood Patterson II co-owns Hi De Ho Comics, 1431 Lincoln Blvd., in Santa Monica.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.