This series, the first to be titled "Spider-Man" without any adjective before the name (Amazing, Spectacular, etc) is a great series to collect.
First, its early issues were drawn by Todd McFarlane, one of the most popular artists in the nearly 50 year run of Spider-Man stories. McFarlane went on to co-create Image comics and Spawn. (He also created McFarlane toys, one of the biggest manufacturers of super-hero statues and toys. With the profits, he paid $3 million for the the baseball hit by Mark McGwire for McGwire's 70th home run in 1998. The record, since tainted by the steroid scandals and Barry Bonds, is probably worth about $2 million dollars less today. Oh well, at least we know where our money went. Oh, where was I??)
Issue number #1 has several different covers, including the Green cover, Silver, Gold and extremely rare Platinum cover. The issue sold over 2.5 million comics, making it one of the Top 5 selling comics of all time. McFarlane's artwork on Spider-Man was unique and broke the mold, giving him a more spider-like posture. He drew issues #1-14 and #16.
McFarlane's work on Spider-Man turned him into a superstar in the comic book business and these early issues of the series are among his best work on Spider-Man
A good second reason to collect the series is that with only 98 issues, most of which are generally in stock, it is an inexpensive and relatively easy series to collect.
What do you get when Satan and a mortal woman have a son? You get a child with special, potent powers, burdened with fighting with the dark within (thanks, dad) -- a nature that could not only destroy him but possibly entire world. This is life for Daimon Hellstorm, the Son of Satan.
As the child of the most extreme "mixed marriage" in comics history -- his father was Satan and his mother an ordinary mortal -- Hellstorm had to constantly struggle against his inner dark nature -- his Darksoul.
After having appeared in Ghost Rider comics and Marvel Spotlight (1971 series), starting with issue #12, the character of Daimon Hellstrom was such a proven hot seller, Marvel spun him off into this series. Mostly written by John Warner, the series focused on Hellstrom combating the forces of evil (even going against his own demonic father) for the sake of good.
As a side note, his sister Satana, didn't exactly shy away from the family power. The family dynamic was always an interesting factor, as his own father would plot Hellstrom's defeat to stop his interference.
Yes, Hellstorm was unique. How many heroes have a home where the basement contains a portal to Hell? Guess it made it mighty convenient when he wanted to visit Daddy. It was another example of Marvel stretching the boundaries of comics, this time giving the hero the most severe "daddy issues" ever.
And unlike other characters who traveled around on motorcycles, in fancy automobiles, or invisible planes, Hellstorm got around on a chariot pulled by mean-looking, demonic steeds. How cool is that!
Often a first issue of a series can be very expensive and the issues hard to find. However, n this series is quite affordable. The first issue, in Near Mint minus condition is less than $50. And with only eight issues, it's a cinch for the completist who doesn't want to spend 20 years searching for every last issue.
Following the success of the first two Batman movies directed by Tim Burton in 1989 and 1992, the folks at Warner Bros. Animation launched an animated TV show, Batman: The Animated Series. But this was no mere Batman cartoon. It combined the grim and gritty realism of the Burton flicks with the film noir look of the 1940's Fleischer Studios Superman cartoons.
The TV series was a big hit and so was the accompanying DC comic book series, Batman Adventures. The comic book series ran for 36 issues and also spawned Batman and Robin Adventures, Batman Adventures: The Lost Years (highlighting Dick Grayson's journey from Robin to Nightwing), Batman: Gotham Adventures and Batman Adventures (2003 series)
Dark Knight purists take heed - Batman Adventures does not follow the continuity of the DC Universe. sp; Instead, it strictly adheres to the television show. But if you are longing to read a regular series with Dick Grayson as Robin and Barbara Gordon as Batgirl you will be well rewarded. Other highlights include a free Batman: The Animated Series trading card (in the polybagged version of issue #7), the first comic book appearance by Harley Quinn (#12), and the first “animated
style” team-up of the Caped Crusader and the Man of Steel (#25).
Speaking of Superman, he got his own animated series in 1996...and a tie-in comic series as well -- Superman Adventures. Here, we get a classic take on the Last Son of Krypton, in all of his pre-Crisis glory. Lois is still fooled by the glasses and the red briefs are right where they're supposed to be...on the outside! While this retro rendering certainly has appeal to old-school Superman fans, fresh takes on characters like Supergirl and Braniac, as well as the first comic book
appearance of Live Wire (#5), provide just the right balance of nostalgia and contemporary comics.
Both series, the specials, the annuals and all of the follow-ups are amazingly affordable.
The new series of Action Comics, Superman, Batman, Detective Comics, Justice League, Green Lantern and Flash created more news in 2011 than any other comic book event.
After 74 years, DC "re-launched" all its comics and characters.
Superman first appeared in Action Comics (1938 series) #1 and the new Action Comics (2011 series) #1 re-launched him with major changes to his background and powers.
Of course, Superman and Batman have evolved over the years. Back in 1939 Superman couldn't fly he could only "leap over buildings with a single bound" and early Batman comics had him holstering a pistol. However, since the mid 1940s the basic back stories have pretty much remained the same. Back in 1987, DC did a makeover of Superman, but on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the status quo and 10 being a total makeover, it was about a "2".
This time though, DC drastically shook up all their heroes -- changing story lines, characterizations and origins. Everything was up for grabs -- they even changed Superman's uniform -- now he wears jeans and work boots! Oh, what would Jor-el say?
For the current collector, the initial issues may well become collector items down the road. But more importantly, for the new collector, or parent or grandparent who wants to share the joys of a comic book collection with a youngster, this is the place to start.
All DC titles started with a new issue #1, so you can keep current without the need to buy expensive decades old back issues.
So, if you're looking for a landmark series, look no further than the new Action #1, or Superman #1 or for Batman, try Batman (2011 series) #1 or Detective Comics (2011 series) #1.
Although there was an earlier comic called G.I. Joe in the 1950s, this is the first series based on the Hasbro action figure.
The series had an incredibly successful run of 12 years and 155 issues, due in part to the great continuity of the series. Larry Hama, the writer for almost every issue, was known for his realistic, character-based storytelling style. Most of the stories involved G.I. Joe battling the evil terrorist organization, the Cobra Command.
The series was also successful because Hama paid close attention to detail and realism in the area of military tactics and procedures. In style and plot structure, the comic often used overlapping story threads.
There was a TV show in the 1980s with the same title, but the comic is unrelated to it.
When issue #1 was published in 1982, Hasbro created a TV commercial for it, making it the first TV ad for a comic book in television history.
Do you like the Fantastic Four? If you do, this is the most under-rated title in the Marvel lineup that features one of the Fantastic Four. It stars good ole Ben Grimm ("The Thing") from the Fantastic Four, teaming up with a different superhero each issue.
The series follows the same format as Marvel Team-Up, which paired Spider-Man with a different character each issue.
What makes this series great to collect is that since it is not THE primary title to feature a Fantastic Four character, the price of back issues is really low. And for a beginning collector, it showcases an array of Marvel characters. As a result, a new comic reader is exposed to a broad palette of characters to sample. So, if a reader gets issue #8 featuring the Thing and Ghost Rider, and likes it, he or she can go off and start collecting Ghost Rider issues.
Or, like the Thing alot? Then go pick up his own series, The Thing (1983 series)
Spidey Super Stories
"Spider-Man, where are you coming from? Spider-Man, nobody knows who you aaaaaaare!"
Those were the lyrics that greeted viewers of the children's TV show "The Electric Company" back in 1974. The program introduced a live action Spider-Man segment three years before the short-lived Nicholas Hammond CBS version.
However, this media crossover between the Children's Television Workshop and Marvel wasn't isolated to the small screen. Spidey Super Stories #1 hit comic book racks as well, designed to encourage youngsters to read. The size of the type in the word baloons was larger than in regular comics, to make the books all the more inviting for new readers.
The comic debuted with a dynamic cover pencilled by the legendary "Jazzy" John Romita, Sr. An affordable Bronze Age Spider-Man #1 issue with a cover by J.R., Sr.? Do you need another reason to start this collection?!
Well, here are a few more:
THRILL as the Electric Company regulars help Spidey take down the likes of Kraven the Hunter, Doc Ock, the Lizard...and many other vile villains!
MARVEL at the sight of mighty Marvel mainstays like Medusa, Captain America and Iron Man!
BASK in the glow of nostalgia as just about every character in the Marvel Universe of the 1970's makes an appearance, including Thanos (in a personalized helicopter) chasing down the Cosmic Cube!
Most issues included two original stories, an adaptation of an Electric Company feature and a quick Marvel character bio or two. Basically, it's a junior version of Marvel Team-Up, so if you like Spidey tag-teaming through an adventure, odds are you'll get a kick out of this series. And with only 57 issues, it won't take all of your time (or funds) to snag an entire run. Oh, and did we mention each issue has 36 power-packed pages with no advertisements? Uninterrupted
Sure, these tales are aimed at kids. Morgan Freeman as Easy Reader tells us so on each cover but what's wrong with being a kid? That's what comics are all about. Plus...what a great way to introduce a young one to the wild and wonderful world of comic books!
What does Babe Ruth have to do with the Mighty Thor? Well, do your ever wonder what it would have been like to have see Babe Ruth play in his prime? Well, guess what, it doesn't make a difference, because you can't.
In 1961, at the dawn of the Marvel Age of Comics, Marvel retitled and reformatted Amazing Adventures (1961 series) as Amazing Adult Fantasy. Each issue featured about five stories, sporting aliens, monsters, magic, people with special abilities and bizarre events. Billed as the magazine that respects your intelligence each story contained a shocking, twist ending (think The Sixth Sense). The stories bring to mind a sci-fi TV shows like The
Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.
With most stories written by Stan Lee, collecting the series is a great way to see early versions of future Marvel characters. For example, in #14, a teenager exhibits telepathic abilities similar to the X-Men's Professor X. And since this story was published two years before the X-Men debuted, you could argue he's Marvel's first mutant. Add into the mix that he resembles Peter Parker (as drawn by Spider-Man's original artist, Steve Ditko), and you begin to
see the development of the Marvel Age. There are only eight issues (numbered #7 to #14). After #14, it dropped the "Adult" from its title and was renamed Amazing Fantasy and the first issue of that series, #15 featured the debut of Spider-Man.
In a comic book world dominated by male readers, Wonder Woman is the biggest selling comic book in history featuring a female hero.
I always realized the need the for role models for young girls, but it didn't hit home until my own daughter dressed up as Wonder Woman one Halloween.
I'm no psychiatrist nor psychologist, but it's pretty apparent that people always drift to idolizing heroes who are similar to them. Spider-Man was a teenager back in 1963, and guess who the biggest buyers of comic books were back then?
Wonder Woman's creator, William Moulton Marston, created Wonder Woman because he believed in the educational potential of comics. Marston, a psychologist, struck upon the idea for a new superhero, one who could win any battle with love, rather than fists.;
You may think that the women's liberation movement began in the 1960s, but read what Marston wrote in 1943, in American Scholar magazine,
He wrote: "Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power. Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman."
For me, Wonder Woman comic books are important, not only as a positive role mode for female readers but as reinforcement to young men that their female counterparts are equally deserving of respect. (Except, of course, if you live in Saudi Arabia).
The 1942 series features the more expensive earlier issues, while the 1987 series is more affordable. In May of 2011, Wonder Woman was ranked as the 5th most popular comic book hero of all time by IGN.
That was the cover blurb for one of the craziest comic book series of all time. Forget the George Lucas-produced cinematic abomination from 1986 (which bears little resemblance to the comic) and focus instead on these entertaining tales.
Howard is an anthropomorphic duck plucked from his home planet, Duckworld, and transported to earth. Created by writer Steve Gerber and artist Val Mayerik, the cynical, cigar-chomping fowl first appeared as a gimmick character alongside Man-Thing in Fear #19, moved to a backup feature in Giant-Size Man-Thing. One year later he had his own title.
The morose mallard waddled the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, providing satire and social commentary (not to mention Quack-Fu), thanks to the brilliant mind of Gerber, whose real-life world, at times, also crept onto the book.
Gerber perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the 1970's. He was a pioneering author who tacklied such touchy issues as the effects of violence in the media, politics (Howard for President? He got some write-in votes!), and even the comics industry. Gerber gave us a tremendously trippy time with Howard and his zany cast of characters, including companion/girlfriend Beverly Switzler and super villain Doctor Bong. Throw in some spiffy spoofs (including Star Wars) and pencils by
legendary artist Gene Colan (23 issues), and you've got the makings for a "must add" to your comic book collection.
Be warned, Howard may resemble Donald (enough that Disney threatened a lawsuit), but this is not a children's book. The series deals with adult themes, especially the Marvel Max series, Howard the Duck 2002 series, so you might need to check out an issue or two before committing to the collection.
What if...you could take your favorite comic book character and turn his or her world upside-down?
What if...you could rewrite classic adventures and alter the original outcomes?
Well, Marvel did just that in these two series of What If. They are imaginary tales built on the notion (and owing a bit to Robert Frost's poem 'The Road Not Taken') that if you take an event, find a point of divergence, then choose an alternate path, the consequences of that action (or inaction) could make for an equally compelling story. And the editors at Marvel were right!
The first series ran 47 issues and the second for 114, indicating the success of the concept.
From the very first issue (What If Spider-Man Joined The Fantastic Four? - a re-imagining of The Amazing Spider-Man #1), readers were hooked. What followed was an upending of the Marvel universe: What If...Conan The Barbarian Walked The Earth Today? (#13) ...Wolverine Had Killed The Hulk? (#31) ...Spider-Man's Uncle Ben Had Lived? (#46)
Some stories even found their way into Marvel continuity, in one form or another: What If...The Hulk Had The Brain Of Bruce Banner? (#2) ...Elektra Had Lived? (#35) ...Spider-Man's Clone Lived? (#30)
At times, What If was even able to inject some humor into the proceedings such as when Marvel's writers and artists gave themselves the powers of the Fantastic Four. (#11)
A series of one-shots and specials have kept the What If brand part of the Marvel Universe up until today, and they are readily available.
If you're not a fan of Marvel and aren't familiar with some of their classic tales, these issues could be a bit perplexing, so you might want to steer clear. But if you're the kind of fan that always wanted to know What If...Captain America Had Formed The Avengers? (1989 series #29), then these series are for you!
The price is right, too. Most issues of the 1989 series in NM- condition are priced between $3 and $6 and with the exception of the first 14 issues of the 1977 series, most every issue in NM- condition is priced below $8.
It's a relief to pick up an anthology comic book where the only thing you need to concentrate on is the story that you are reading.
That's the beauty of an anthology -- a self-contained story where you don't need to know anything about the characters except what the author is revealing as you read the issue.
And, G.I. Combat was D.C.'s best war anthology comic from 1957 through 1987. Many top artists worked on the series, including Neal Adams and Joe Kubert. The series included stories about WWII early in its run and then switched to Vietnam later.
There were some exceptions to the anthology concept including a series of stories under the titles "The Haunted Tank", and "The Bravos of Vietnam".
The series depicts the state of mind of the American war public relations machine for 30 years. Today, it's interesting to see how the various adversaries are demonized.
This is our biggest selling comic book from the Bronze Age (1970-1983), by far. It's also the most cost-effective way to get a full run of a Spider-Man series.
Whereas the original Spider-Man series (Amazing Spider-Man 1963 series) is pretty pricey, this series is an affordable way to get a long running series (263 issues). The first 10 issues of Amazing Spider-Man in Very Good condition will run you $7,346, but the first 10 issues of Spectacular Spider-Man in Very Good condition only cost $62. That's less than 1% of the cost of Amazing Spider-Man's first 10 issues.
The price disparity makes little sense because stories in Spectacular Spider-Man are all new (no reprints) and the same length as those in Amazing Spider-Man. But this series' prices are much lower. For example, look at the issues published in September 1977 -- Spectacular Spider-Man #10 and Amazing Spider-Man #172. Amazing Spider-Man #172 in NM- condition is $30 and Spectacular Spider-Man #10 in NM- condition is $14 -- less than half the cost.
Archaeologist and adventurer Henry "Indiana" Jones discovers the lost Ark of the Covenant.
Paramount Pictures releases Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first of four Indiana Jones movies.
Marvel launches The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones.
Back in 1981, when Indiana Jones took the world by storm, there was no Internet, no smart phone captures of behind-the-scenes pictures and no "spoiler alerts". In fact, the only way to find out what was going on in sci-fi was to get a copy of Starlog magazine. But, by the time you read it, the news was months old.
So we had no idea what was in store when we saw a movie poster with Harrison Ford (looking much scruffier than he did as Han Solo) wearing a fedora and slinging a bullwhip. But, by the time the boulder started to roll, we all had a new hero and we couldn't wait for his next adventure.
And boy, did we have had to wait! It took Paramount three years to release the second Indiana Jones movie.
And, although Marvel (hot on the heels of their smash comic series, Star Wars) adaptated Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, it took until 1983 for readers to get new Indiana Jones stories.
The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #1 hit the stands with superstar John Byrne at the helm. But he bailed by issue #2.
Regardless of the creative turmoil, the brand was too big for Marvel to give up, and, starting with issue #4, Indy's adventures fell to David Michelinie, who had a great reputation as the writer of Iron Man and The Avengers.
A self-professed huge Indy fan, Michelinie was the perfect choice. His penchant for snappy banter, slavish devotion to research, and adoration for the time period led to some of the series' most memorable tales. Ventures to Stonehenge, the Dark Continent, the Land Down Under and more were highlights.
So, if you're a big Indy fan, this series is a must.
There aren't many comic books collected by non-comic book collectors, but Mickey Mouse is. If ever there was an icon for youthful enthusiasm and fun, it's Mickey.
Today, a comic book is a smash hit if it sells 100,000 copies. But back in the 1960s, Mickey Mouse's circulation topped 500,000 per issue.
The storylines are universal, but the specifics often mimic the times. For example, in 1966 at the peak of the James Bond's movie popularity, three issues (#107-109) were re-titled Mickey Mouse, Super Secret Agent. And, of course, Mickey never had a cell phone back in the 1950s.
If you have a friend who laments about missing the "good old days", then this is a great gift. Because nothing says endless childhood like Mickey Mouse.
Here's a Mickey Mouse animated cartoon from 1936 to give you a taste:
The Watchmen 12-part series is one of most sought after mini-series in comic book history. Written by Alan Moore, with art by Dave Gibbons, the series depcts an alternate history where superheroes emerged in the 1940s and 1960s, and where, by the mid-1980s, costumed vigilantes have been outlawed and most former superheroes have retired or were working for the government.
Structured as a nonlinear story, the series skips through space, time and plot. Watchmen is frequently considered as the best mini-series in comic book history. The 2012 prequel, "Before Watchmen" was created without the involvement of Moore or Gibbons.
One of the reasons I enjoy comic book series that began in the 1960s is that you can chart society's changes by the way the comic book stories reflect the changing moral fiber of the country. Marvel had proven a few years earlier that putting real world issues into their stories made the fantasy of comic books far more interesting. DC was slow to follow, but the Teen Titans finally made the transition to a more politically aware
The original Teen Titan series teamed up the teenage sidekicks of Batman, the Flash Wonder Woman and Aquaman -- Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Aqualad. Their first appearance in Brave and the Bold (1955 series) #60, led to their ongoing series.
At first, the stories dealt with the group helping other teens, ignoring the politics of the day. But, as the raucus 1960s moved to a conclusion, the stories explored some of the real issues of the day -- racial tension, the Vietnam War.
The series is a bit under appreciated and as a result, the books are priced lower than they probably should be. With only 60 issues, its one of the more affordable superhero titles of the 1960s and 1970s.
If you enjoy horror, science fiction or war stories, you should check out this under-rated series because it combines all three genres. Each issue is hosted by "Death", depicted in a different military uniform each issue. Stories included undead characters, paranormal characters and robot soldiers. It's like the Walking Dead meeting Patton meeting the Twilight Zone.
Since it's not a "superhero" comic, and since the series ran for 124 issues from 1971 to 1983, the prices are not in the stratosphere.
The first four issues retell Mary Shelley's original novel. The remaining issues are original. Midway through the series, Frankenstein was put into suspended animation and revived in modern times.
Alas, the public was no better at coping with someone, or something, out of the ordinary in 1975 than they were in 1812 when Mary Shelley first wrote the story.
The series' originally avoided having the monster chumming it up with Spider-Man or other Marvel superheroes. The series' original creators kept him off in a small corner of Marveldom, trying hard to live a life without interference from others. But alas, he finally did meet Spidey.
This series is an interesting take on Shelley's creation and with only 18 issues, is easily affordable.
The success of The Walking Dead TV series brought to mind one of the first successful comic books featuring the supernatural and zombies -- DC's House of Mystery. It was DC's long-running horror comic book with a publication history spanning 321 issues over 32 years (1951 to 1983).
Within this one series, a reader can watch as fear of U.S. government censorship forced DC to drastically alter the content of the series.
The series began as a horror anthology, featuring tales of the supernatural. However, in the mid-1950s, when restrictions on horror-themed stories were imposed by the Comics Code Authority (banning stores with werewolves and vampires), the series evolved into stories featuring science-fiction monsters.
By the mid-1960s, superheroes infiltrated the title, including J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter from Mars, followed by Dial H for Hero.
Finally, in the early 1970s, after nearly 20 years of self-censorship, DC began challenging the Authority and starting with issue #174, the series returned to horror stories. These stories were well-respected and won numerous awards. "The Demon Within", a story in issue #201 won the Shazam Award for Best Individual Short Story.
Later issues (#290 to #319) featured "I...Vampire", about a heroic vampire.
Dazzler was Marvel's 1980s entry in its never-ending quest to attract female readers. Dazzler was a mutant who could convert sound vibrations into light and energy beams. As part of Marvel's strategy, some stories focussed on her career and her family relationships, rather than typical "fight the bad guy" plots.
In the series, which followed her debut in X-Men (1963 series) #130, Dazzler is an aspiring singer and uses her light powers to enhance her performances. In fact, she turns down an invitation to join the X-Men to continue her music career.
The 42 issue series is easy to collect -- a limited number of issues and a low cost for each (issue #1 in Near Mint- condition is only $4).
The first Star Trek comic series was published by Gold Key starting in 1967. It's unique because the series was illustrated by an Italian artist -- Alberto Giolitti. But that's not what's unique. Giolitti had never seen the TV show and he used publicity photos of the cast to draw the characters.
Most stories are original and not adaptations of the original TV series. The series is popular among Star Trek fans and people looking for gifts for a Star Trek fan, because it was the first Star Trek comic series. The look is unmistakenly 1960s.
If you're not a Star Trek fan, don't bother. If you are a Star Trek fan, don't miss it.
When Marvel hit it big in the early 1960s, they changed the entire comic book industry by creating superheroes with faults as well as virtues. Their characters had "attitude".
In contrast, DC's superheroes were just vanilla "good guys" through and through. Marvel's success gave them a certain swagger. And Marvel enhanced that attitude by making fun, not only of DC's characters, but their own. The result -- Not Brand Echh, a satirical look at the entire world of superheroes.
Marvel's top artists and writers -- Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Gen Colan, Bill Everett, John and Marie Severin and Roy Thomas -- flocked to the series to take jabs at the entire genre of superheroes as well as the characters they created. There are only 13 issues, but there are lots of laughs in each one.
When the first Spider-Man movie was released, Spider-Man comics starting to sell like hotcakes and now, years later, they are still the biggest selling comic at NewKadia. Then, when the Batman and Iron Man movies came out, they moved up about 20 spots in our top sellers.
The Black Panther is yet another creation of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and as usual, they created an uniquely original hero.
Unlike DC characters of the 1960s, Marvel's characters had complex, multi-dimensional motivations and none more so than the Black Panther.
As king of the African country of Wakanda, he invites the Fantastic Four to Wakanda. There, he attacks and defeats each one. Why? To conquer the world? Nope. For revenge? Nope. For money and riches? Nope.
The Black Panther (T'Challa) was the ruler of a spiritually-based warrior cult -- and Wakanda was the most technologically advanced nation on Earth. As a 19-year old (in issues #52 and #53 of Fantastic Four (1961 series) he battled the Fantastic Four to test his own powers and to test the Fantastic Four to see if they would be an effective ally to help him protect his kingdom and people from their mortal enemy Klaw.
This was the beauty of Kirby and Lee. They actually created motivations for their heroes, other than the cliched irrationality seen in DC comics -- "I want to rule world, for no apparent reason, other than, why not?".
After his first appearance in Fantastic Four, he starred in Jungle Action #5-24 and then in his own series. The Black Panther was Marvel's first black superhero (a novelty in the 1960s) and beyond that, the series is recognized as the first successful series using mult-issue story arcs. The first arc, "The Panther's Rage" ran for 13 issues in Jungle Action.
Acclaimed writer Dwayne McDuffie raved: "This overlooked and underrated classic is arguably the most tightly written multi-part superhero epic ever. If you can get your hands on it ... sit down and read the whole thing. It's damn-near flawless, every issue, every scene, a functional, necessary part of the whole. Okay, now go back and read any individual issue. You'll find seamlessly integrated words and pictures; clearly introduced characters and situations; a concise (sometimes even transparent) recap; beautifully developed character relationships; at least one cool new villain; a stunning action set piece to test our hero's skills and resolve; and a story that is always moving forward towards a definite and satisfying conclusion."
The series is an under-appreciated madcap combination of comic book genres: part superhero spoof, part black comedy, part magic and fantasy.
Some stories were light-hearted, some were violent. Some readers objected to the series' star -- Norbert Sykes a Vietnam war veteran suffering from multiple personality disorder. Regardless, the title was strong enough to survive for 70 issues and also survived the bankruptcy of its first publisher, Capital Comics.
He is THE original superhero. If not for Superman, there probably would never have been a Batman, Spider-Man, or any other superhero. In fact, we take for granted the existence of superheroes as a fictional genre, but before Superman comics, most people did not. (unless you studied ancient mythology).
If you're a John Byrne fan, this series is required reading. In it he weaved mature topics -- including sex, abortion and the pains of child abuse -- into his stories. This series is definitely not for young readers.
A group of youngsters given up for adoption by single mothers were experimented on by a team of scientists to create a group of super humans. The five escape from the scientists, only to be taken in by a U.S. Government agent.
Byrne broke with conventional comic story telling, that's for sure. In addition to mature themes, he eliminated thought balloons and sound effects. Looking for a different, more mature reading experience? This series is worth a look.
This is our best selling mini-series. We constantly get more copies and they consistantly fly off the shelves. That's what happens to a series that some consider the most important DC mini-series of all time.
Published in 1985, the series was designed to simplify the then 50-year old DC universe. The problem originated when DC re-booted their superheroes starting in 1956 with a re-introduction of a new Flash. To reconcile the new Flash with the Golden Age Flash, DC said that the two superheroes existed on "alternate" earths. In fact, DC threw all of their Golden Age heroes (including a duplicate Superman with gray hair) into that alternate
universe, named Earth-Two. That opened up a pandora's box of alternate worlds, like Earth-Three (where heroes were villains and vice versa) and Earth Prime.
By 1985, it was pretty hard for readers, and DC's writers, to keep track of all the different worlds. Crisis on Infinite Earths tackled the problem by combining all the worlds into one universe in this 12-issue mega event. In the process, DC consolidated everyone into one universe and killed off about 30 characters.
The series was very successful in sparking renewed interest in comics and popularizing "crossover" events, where one story line spans every title of a publisher's line of comics, which is now an annual event for both DC and Marvel.
Quick -- name the most popular comic book character created since 1990. For many, that question is a no-brainer. For them, the answer is Spawn.
Created by Todd McFarlane, who attained superstar comic book status writing and drawing Spider-Man in the 1980s, Spawn was his first creation when he left Marvel to form Image comics.
Spawn is Francis Simmons, a CIA officer who was transferred to the super-secret U.S. Security Group and becomes an assassin. After Simmons is murdered during an assignment and sent to hell, he makes a deal with the devil to serve Satan in return for being returned to Earth to see his wife one more time.
Spawn is certainly not your typical American teenager bitten by a spider origin. Geared to older readers, the title sacrificed a young boy audience in exchange for darker, more adult themes, which made it extremely popular with its more mature audience. You won't find Jimmy Olsen saying, "Jeepers, Mr. Kent" in this series.
So, if you're looking for darker, less childish story lines, this just might be the series for you.
Although Hollywood still can't get the Incredible Hulk right, he remains one of the most popular characters in the Marvel Universe. The first Hulk series in 1962 lasted only six issues. And, like most comics from the early days of the Marvel revolution, the price for each of those six comics is quite high. Even though Marvel cancelled the title, Marvel re-introduced the Hulk in Tales to Astonish #50 just 17 months later. Hulk stories ran through #101 and these issues of Tales to Astonish can also get a bit pricey.
Finally, in 1968, Marvel changed the title of Tales to Astonish to the Incredible Hulk (1968 series) and devoted the entire issue to the Hulk. This series ran for 38 years, until March of 1999 and contains some of the best Hulk story lines.
The Hulk was created by Jack Kirby and Kevin Watson and editor-in-chief Stan Lee summarized the appeal of the Hulk by comparing him to Frankenstein. Said Lee, "I had always loved the movie Frankenstein and it seemed to me that the monster wasn't really a bad guy. He was the good guy. He didn't want to hurt anybody. It's just those idiots with torches who kept running up and down the mountains, chasing him and getting him angry. And I thought, 'Wouldn't
it be fun to create a monster and make him the good guy?'"
So, in a very real way, the Hulk is literature's descendant of Frankenstein. It's a good thing that the copyright for Frankenstein ran out a long time ago, because it gave Marvel the ability to adapt some of his features for its own character. That probably couldn't happen today.
Ever since the U.S. Congress extended the length of copyrights from 28 to 150 years, the ability of new authors to craft characters from existing characters has pretty much been destroyed. You may not think that's a bad thing, but consider the Walt Disney company's use of characters whose copyrights had expired -- Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast and on and on. Disney created new classic versions of these old stories
And that's what Marvel did, too. It makes you appreciate Mary Shelley all the more. She "invented" the idea, and then Marvel really massaged it and fostered it for the next 50 years.
If you are a fan of Harry Potter, then you should give Dr. Strange a try. Or, if you know someone who is a big Harry Potter fan, this is a series you should turn them on to.
He's a master magician, the "Sorcerer Supreme" of the cosmos. He can achieve most any effect -- telepathy, energy blasts, and teleportation. Originally billed as the "Master of Black Magic", potions, spells and strange, often bizarre settings fill his stories.
The series showcased surrealistic mystical landscapes and readers often analyzed the stories for their relationship to ancient myths. The series delved into very abstract realms. Dr. Strange's adventures take place in bizarre worlds and twisting dimensions that resembled Salvador Dali paintings.
Dr. Strange has always had a niche following among readers seeking a challenging alternative to more conventional superheroes. That's the reason that Dr. Strange has never made it in the movies, although Marvel comics constantly tries to figure out exactly how to move the character to the big screen. A Dr. Strange movie has "been in the works" for what seems like a decade. On the heels of the phenomenal success of Harry Potter, it would seem that Marvel's Dr.
Strange could find a home in Hollywood, too.
If you are young at heart (and after all, you are a comic book collector so there's a greater liklihood that you are) then this is a great series for you. Before there was Sponge Bob Square Pants, or Bart Simpson, there were Looney Tunes -- Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd... now come on, these guys WERE the essence of childhood back in the 40s, 50s and 60s.
Anyone born from 1925 to 1965 is a big fan of these characters and Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics capture these nutty guys at the peak of their popularity.
Going head-to-head with Disney, Warner Bros. studios created this group as a more irreverent gaggle of characters than the Disney characters. Any sharp bite that Mickey Mouse had was pretty much gone by the 50s. Really, can you tell me any character trait of Mickey other than a "nice guy". Now compare that with Bugs Bunny and the crew -- they had spirit, they had foibles, they were... well crazy! Gosh, I can still hear Mel Blanc's voice
any day of the week for any of these great characters. And, I do mean CHARACTERS.
Here's a sample cartoon:
If you're looking for a gift for anyone over 50, this will do the trick and bring a giant smile to their face. After all, I've never seen an adult see a picture of Daffy or Bugs, or Elmer Fudd or Porky Pig and not smile. I'm not sure why, but I think I once read that cartoon characters with over-sized heads remind lots of people of infants (whose heads are proportionately larger than those of adults) and as a result, it brings a smile to lots
of people's faces.
By the way, and younger readers might not believe this, but it's true, from 1930 to 1969, when you went to the movies, not only did you get coming attractions and a movie, but you usually also got an original Looney Tunes cartoon. A full 7-minutes of crazy, wacky behavior. The library of these old films later became a staple of kids' TV in the 50's, 60's and 70's.
In any event, if you're a collector this is a great series because there are loads of copies out there, so getting the full set is possible. And, without the Disney hype and the hordes attracted to Disney memorabilia, the prices are much less than comparable Disney titles (like "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories").
So give this title a try. From first glance, you'll start asking everyone around you, "What's Up, Doc?
One of the most frustrating things for a comic book reader is enjoying one issue of a mini-series and then being unable to find the other issues. We've solved that problem. We have over 1,000 complete sets in stock and many sell for under $3 for the entire set (that's $3 for the set, not for each issue).
You might ask, "How good can a series be if it costs under $3?" Well, the answer is surprising -- it can be very good. Here's why.
First, the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide has a bias for pricing continuing series much higher than limited mini-series. And conversly, they have the bias towards pricing limited series much lower. As a result, the prices of limited series complete sets seem arbitrarily low.
Second, because the mini-series is a recent phenomenon (most less than 30 years old) most of their prices have stayed pretty low. Third, you can order the entire series with 1-click. You'll get the entire story and won't be left hanging.
Walt Disney's Comics and Stories is the longest running continuously published comic book in history.
The first issue was published in October 1940 and fresh issues are still coming off the presses today. This is a truly amazing achievement. No radio or television show has had anywhere near that longevity. No other magazine featuring fictional stories has had a longer run either.
It's a tribute to Walt Disney's brand of wholesome family entertainment.
There are many ways to collect the series. Some people collect only the earliest issues, while others collect issues starting with those published in the year that they were born. Still others only buy the most recent issues which are the least expensive.
One of our customers only buys issues which end in a zero -- 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, so she can enjoy seeing how the art styles and the story themes have evolved over the past 70 years.
One customer only collects issues with Donald Duck on the cover, another only collects issues featuring Minnie Mouse.
We don't generally highlight cowboy comics but Jonah Hex is a worthwhile exception. IGN, a great comic book website, voted him the best western comic book character of all time.
Don't let Hollywood's lousy movie adaptation fool you. The comic book series is very good. Hex was the only DC western character to flourish in the 1970s and 1980s. Despite being blind in the right eye, he's an incredibly fast and accurate marksman, an excellent tracker, with a reputation as a ruthless killer, making him a ferociously successful bounty hunter in the Old West.
It's partially set during the American Civil War and the only successful comic book character I can think of who fought for the losing South in the war.
This is the first series named for him and it lasted 92 issues. His earlier adventures appeared in Weird Western Tales (1972 series) (#12 to #38) and before that in All-Star Western (#10 and #11).
In the late 1980's, the character was revived and transported to the 20th century in Hex, which was well received in Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Japan, but mostly ignored in the United States.
So, if you're seeking to broaden your horizons beyond superheroes and willing to try something different, check out Jonah Hex.
Looking for a new title to add to your collection featuring famous superheroes, at a great price? Then, look no further than X-Force (1991 series).
It's a spin-off from the X-Men, one of Marvel's top lines (and the subject of 5 recent movies). X-Force was a re-invention of the 1980s 'New Mutants' team. Led by Cable, X-Force was a bit more aggressive than the X-Men.
Rob Liefield's great artwork propelled the series through its first 9 issues. Throughout its 129-issue run, the series was one of Marvel's best sellers. The series was so popular that Toy Biz launched a line of action figures based on the series.
Because the series was one of Marvel's best sellers, and because the earliest issues are still only 20 years old, there are lots of copies available at a low cost. The average cost for the first 25 issues is only about $1.60 each.
If you have a youngster who is interested in collecting comics, or if you want to encourage one, this is a great starter series, since no issue is expensive, every issue is easily available somewhere and the stories are really good.
If our civilization is dumbing down, Classics Illustrated may just be our last hope, or a part of the contribution.
As its title suggests, the title highlights a classic piece of literature and illustrates it. Hamlet, The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and 166 other of the greatest books in history are given the comic book treatment.
The Eternals were Jack Kirby's first creation after he jumped back to Marvel from DC comics. The Eternals were an offshoot of the evolutionary process that created man. The story line was similar to the New Gods in that it mixed mythology with science fiction.
Pros 1. Another Jack Kirby creastion.
2. Only 19 issues to collect.
3. Cost for the entire set runs from $70 to $111.
Cons 1. If you hated Kirby's 4th World Saga (New Gods, Forever People, Mister Miracle), you won't like this either.
2. Only 19 issues. Readers of the 1970s didn't think this was one of Kirby's best works.
So, even if we don't have the entire series in stock, there's a great chance that we'll have ALL the issues of most of the storylines. Keep a copy of the above list handy and you'll never finish one issue and be left hanging.
If you're looking for the original stories of Marvel's greatest heroes, like Spider-Man, X-Men and the Fantastic Four, but don't want to spend a fortune on the original issues, you can get the same stories for a fraction of the cost by buying these reprints of the original issues. Spider-Man's earliest stories were reprinted in Marvel Tales. The early issues reprinted early Spider-Man stories and early stories of other heroes, but as the series progressed, Marvel cut it back to just Spider-Man.
Issue #137 reprints Spider-Man's first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 and the next 50 issues, reprint the first 50 issues of Amazing Spider-Man (1963 series).
Hey, Marvel did it again. Realizing that they didn't have to pay a writer or artist if they merely reprinted their original stories, the Fantastic Four got the same treatment... great reprints at a fraction of the cost of the originals. The FF reprints started in Marvel Collectors' Item Classics and continued in Marvel's Greatest Comics.
Marvel Premiere also featured tryouts for new characters. Warlock's first appeared in issues #1 and 2, and Iron Fist first appeared in #15 to #25. Today, no collection of the original Warlock or Iron Fist series is complete without those issues.
If you're a fan of either, get them.
The series ran for 61 issues and included runs of Doctor Strange (issues 3 to 14), and an eclectic mix of other heroes and monsters, including Hercules, Satana - the Devil's Daughter, the Legion of Monsters, the Liberty Legion, Woodgod, Monark Starstalker, the Mark of Kane, 3-D Man, Weird World, Torpedo, Seeker 3000, Tigra, Palladin, Jack of Hearts, Man-Wolf, Ant-Man, the Falcon, the Black Panther, Caleb Hammer, Dominic Fortune, Dr. Who, Star-Lord, and even rock star Alice Cooper.
During the early 1950s, as a result of the concern that comic books were a negative influence on adolescents, hundreds of comic books featuring bloodshed and gore ceased publication and the the comic book industry nearly died. By 1955, DC comics was looking for a way to introduce new characters with minimum financial risk. To minimize the number of new publications, DC featured new characters in Brave and the Bold (1955 series) and
If the "tryout" was successful as measured by the number of copies sold, DC would spin off the character into their own comic book.
The method worked. Showcase #4, for example, starred a revamped Flash (modernized from the 1940s hero), and it was so successful, DC gave the Flash his own comic book. Showcase #4 is widely viewed as the first comic of the "Silver Age" since led to DC's revamping of many of its then-defunct Golden Age superheroes.
Similarly, Showcase #22 through #24 launched the new Green Lantern and other superheroes followed: Aquaman (#30-33), the Atom (#34-36), Metal Men (#37-40), The Spectre (#60-61), The Phantom Stranger (#80). All had strong enough sales to launch their own series. Other good series, almost totally forgotten today, also got their start in Showcase, such as Rip Hunter, Time Master (#25-26), Sea Devil (#27-29), and the Inferior Five
(#62-63 and 65).
The Brave and the Bold featured the same "tryout" format from issue #1 to #60. The Suicide Squad (#25-26, 37-39), the Justice League of America (#28-30), Hawkman (#34-36), Strange Sports Stories (#45-49), the Teen Titans (#54 and 60), and Metamorpho (#57-58) all earned their own books from the success of their Brave and the Bold tryouts.
The format changed starting with issue #61 when DC changed the format to superhero "team-ups" -- two DC superheroes working together in one story.
Then, with the Batman TV show creating incredible interest in the Caped Crusader, DC changed the format again and issues #67 to # 200 starred Batman in most every issue, along with a different superhero each issue.
Some people collect the entire series, while others collect only those which feature a hero they're interested in. So, for example, most collectors would agree that a Justice League of America collection is not complete without Brave and the Bold #28 through #30.
But beware! Because both titles featured so many first appearances of characters, these issues are generally more expensive than issue #1 of their own series, which were published after the tryouts.
If you're a fan of Star Trek, this is the series you should be collecting because it gives you a sense of place since it interweaves the Star Trek movies into its timeline.
The series starts right after the events of the second Star Trek Movie, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. Then, starting with issue #9, the series moves to events after Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
The series also integrated some characters from Star Trek: The Animated Series. If you're not a fan of Star Trek, stay away.
Even though Wolverine wasn't one of the original X-Men, he is the most popular.
He first appeared in Incredible Hulk (1968 series) #181 in November of 1974. He is clearly the most popular comic book character created in that decade and Marvel has reacted to the demand for his stories by featuring him in the main X-Men series -- X-Men (1963 series) and Uncanny X-Men -- as well as giving him the starring role in his own series.
In May of 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 by Wizard Magazine as the Top Comic Book Character of All Time. And this Wolverine series, with 189 issues, is the longest series starring Wolverine.
The first Wolverine series, Wolverine (1982 series) was a 4-issue series, but it is this ongoing series that more deeply developed his award-winning character.
Wolverine was typical of the anti-authority antihero that emerged in American culture after the Vietnam War.
The first few issues of Wolverine (1988 series) are a bit pricey, but you can get the great majority of issues for under $5 each. With a new X-Men movie hitting movie theaters every few years, interest in Wolverine has never been higher and prices will probably continue to increase in the years to come.
When a new Three Stooges movie was released in 2012, it renewed interest in their comics.
The Three Stooges were famous for their slapstick movies, each about 20 minutes in length. That's back in the day when you went to the movies you saw a feature film and a 20 minute "bonus" short film. The Stooges churned out 190 of these one reelers. In the 50's the movies became the stock in trade for afternoon kids' TV.
I've found that most people either love the Stooges, or hate them. So, if you're thinking of giving them as gifts, make sure the person you're getting them for laughs when he hears the immortal words, "Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk".
Here's the movie's trailer:
If you were a Superman fan before 1986 you know that Superman left Smallville after his parents died, Krypto was his super dog and Lex Luthor was an evil scientist. Guess what? Everything you learned was wrong!
In 1986, DC revised the Superman mythology, junked his entire previous history and started from scratch. He never was Superboy (instead he only learned to control his powers and went public in Metropolis) and Luthor became an evil Donald Trump without hair, or hair-weave, or whatever is sitting on the Donald's head.
So, if you've been away from Superman, check out this inexpensive 6-issue series and see what Superman has been all about since 1986.
All-Star Superman won the 2007 Eisner Award (the Oscars of comic books) for the best continuing comic books series. Written by Grant Morrison and drawn by Frank Quitely. Morrison's aim was to write a "collection of timeless" Superman stories.
The 12 issues were published between 2006 and 2008, making it one of the first "classic" series of the 21st century.
Written by Frank Miller (who also created the Dark Knight Returns mini-series), with artwork by Jim Lee, this was the first title in DC's "All-Star" line-up. The stories are self-contained story arcs existing outside of official DC Comics continuity. Translation: You don't need to know what's going on in other Batman comics to enjoy these. The series features Miller's non-traditional interpretation of Batman.
With only 10 issues (from 2005 to 2008), it's a relatively inexpensive series which re-tells most of the Batman saga.
There have been several different Captain Marvels published by Marvel comics, but this is my favorite, by far.
An alien, Captian Mar-Vell of the Kree Imperial Militia is sent to spy on Earth. Tired of his commander's malicious intent, he allies himself with the Earth. The Kree brand him a traitor.
We've seen this plot device before. Think of all the movies you've seen where some government agent turns against his former govenment agency. Well, same plot device here but it's exceptionally well-developed in this series.
This Captain Marvel was created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan. His first appearance was in Marvel Super-Heroes (1967 series) #12. The first 16 issues are the best ones. After that, other creators monkeyed around with the character, changed story lines, and even his costume, and for me the series was never as good.
Don't confuse this Captain Marvel with the original Captain Marvel from the 1940s. That's the Billy Batson guy who said "Shazam" and became a superhero. DC comics sued the original publisher of that series claiming copyright infringement on its Superman character. DC won the case and the rights to that character. But Marvel won a different lawsuit winning the right to use the name "Captain Marvel", but not the character. You gotta love
those lawyers?! So, Marvel created a new character. And he's a very under-rated part of the Marvel universe.
If you're a fan of the movie "Alien" or its sequels (and hey, who doesn't love a creature exploding out of a man's stomach?) then you should check out Dark Horse Comics' comics based on "Alien" movies. Most are original stories which expand on the themes and creatures in the films.
Most series are only 3 or 4 issues, so it's inexpensive to get your fix of man-killing monsters.
If you're not a fan of Aliens movies, there's nothing here for you. Move on.
There are hundreds of mini-series featuring Spider-Man.
What is great about them is that each has a complete storyline. And, since mini-series are recent in origin (late 1970's to today) and since there are only 4 to 12 issues of each series, they're quite inexpensive.
If you're a Spider-Man fan, or if you're looking for a gift for a Spider-Man fan, this is a good place to start -- the reader isn't burdened by a long back-story, since most everything they need to know to get "into" the story is contained in the series itself.
And, if the gift recipient enjoys the series (about 22 pages per issue), then you've got the potential for great ongoing gift ideas -- for the holidays, birthdays, whatever.
We have alot of mini-series in stock and we have every issue of plenty of them.
In the 1950's and early 1960's, just a few years removed from the Allied victory in World War II, some of the best-selling comic books were DC's war comics, G.I. Combat and Our Fighting Forces. They appealed both to the adults who fought in the war, and to young baby boomers whose fathers served in the military.
When Marvel achieved incredible success with its superheroes starting in 1961, Stan Lee took aim at war comics. Bringing Marvel's unique creative approach to the genre, Marvel created Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos -- the first Marvel war title in years, and the only one that achieved success in the Silver Age.
The series ran for 167 issues, although new stories alternated with reprints from issues #80 to #120, and only reprints ran from #121 to #160.
What is so interesting is that the title's peak of popularity was during the Viet Nam War, when anti-war sentiment was at an all-time high in the United States. The success of the title was due, in part, to writers being able to incorporate 1960's anti-war sentiment within stories set in WWII -- which had little of the moral ambiguity of Viet Nam.
Sgt. Fury commanded the Howling Commandos, an elite special unit stationed in England during WWII.
Animal Man is one of DC's most under-appreciated heroes. Buddy Baker is Animal Man, who can, based on some exploding spaceship mumbo-jumbo pseudo-science, "borrow" the ability of any nearby animal. The result is an endless supply of novel and unique story lines.
He's also an example of a superhero that DC couldn't figure out how to properly utilize. His first appearance was in Strange Adventures #180 in 1965 and 10 more appearances in various DC comics followed over the next 20 years.
Then, in 1988, when DC re-launched Swamp Thing by Alan Moore, and Sandman by Neil Gaiman, DC also re-launched Animal Man with Grant Morrison writing the first 26 issues.
Intended as a four issue series, sales were so good, it lasted 89 issues. The series championed animal rights (which means it also championed vegetarianism -- since the best way to advance animal rights is not to EAT the animals).
I like the series because it's such an original premise, you never quite know where a story will lead. The possibilities are endless, stories rarely predictable. As with most comics from the this era, the supply of copies in great condition is large and their cost is low -- most copies in Near Mint- condition cost less than $3.
This 2 issue series was so successful that it convinced Marvel to create the ongoing Cable series. This mini-series explored Cable's ongoing battle with Stryfe and its effect on the people that surround Cable.
Both issues generally cost less than $2 each. If you're an X-Men fan, pick it up. If you're not into the X-Men, take a pass.
Comics featuring a Hero's debut
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Before speculating buying and selling comic books, buy some stock in Apple, Inc.
If you bought 1 share of Apple in 2000 for $20, it would be worth about $630 today. That's a 31-fold profit -- a better return than most comic books.
But, if you buy comics to speculate, then you're probably better off buying a comic which features the first appearance of a hero, over any other type of comic.
If the past is an indicator of the future, then these books stand the best chance of beating inflation. It's easy to spot the first appearance of a hero -- the issue is usually numbered #1.
But, there are exceptions. Superman's first appeared in Action Comics (1938 series) #1. Batman first appeared in Detective Comics (1940 series) #27. Spider-Man first appeared in Amazing Fantasy #15.
Many Silver Age DC heroes first appeared in Brave and the Bold (1955 series) or Showcase. So, you can find the first Justice League of America story in Brave and the Bold #28 and not in Justice League #1. The first Green Lantern story is Showcase #22, not Green Lantern #1.
It's not surprising that when actor Nicolas Cage began investing in comics, he bought Action #1.
If you're on a budget, enjoy the window shopping. But, if you just won the Mega Millions Lottery, start shopping for real.
This version of The Flash was so influential, comic book experts mark the beginning of the Silver Age of comics with his debut in 1956. That's right, without this series, there probably would never have been a Silver Age of comics. Superhero comics were at the bottom of their useful life by 1956. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and only a handful of others had survived Congressional hearings into the detrimental effects of some of the more graphic horror comics of the era. Then, in Showcase #4, DC comics re-launched The Flash, one of their heroes from the 1940s. But, instead of just writing stories about the old character, they created a brand new Flash. The 1956 Showcase appearance led
to more appearances in Showcase.
Even with the success of the Showcase appearances, DC was so unsure of the long-term appeal of superheroes, it took them 3 years, until 1959, to launch this series.
This series really is great. Flash's costume is sleek, unlike the original. The artwork is spectacular, by the legendary Carmine Infantino. (In 2006, I went to a comic convention and while the line to talk to Brian Michael Bendis stretched 1,500 feet, you could walk right up to Mr. Infantino and talk to him, which I did, for 1 hour. Crazy. It would be as if you went to a baseball convention
and there was no line to talk to Babe Ruth). Infantino is in the Comic Book Hall of fame and the Comic Book Buyer's Guide's 2000 fan poll elected him the best penciller of all time.
The success of Flash Comic books directly heralded the return of superheroes. DC dusted off other old heroes, and gave them new origins, new costumes and new stories. Without the Flash's success and DC's revival of the entire superhero category, Marvel would never have experimented with the Fantastic Four or Spider-Man.
In short, Flash sparked a revolution. In addition to the great art, the villains are among the most memorable of any superhero.
Don't be thrown by the numbering of the series. The first issue is #105 because DC picked up the numbering where the old Flash series ended. If Hollywood ever makes a good movie or TV show based on the Flash, this series would get more attention. As a result, prices are now lower than they should be, making it a collector's dream.... great comics at slightly lower prices (especially when compared to other comics of the
In 2008, Brian Cronin conducted a survey of comic book readers asking them what their favorite comic book series of all time was. Hundreds responded and the winner was Sandman (1989 series). That alone is reason enough to collect this series.
Created by Neil Gaiman, this series helped make him a legend. The series follows the adventures of Dream, who rules over the world of dreams. It is a great series.
The series is the only comic book to win the World Fantasy Award and the graphic novel which reprinted parts of the series was on the New York Times Best Seller List. It was also one of Entertainment Weekly's "100 best reads from 1983 to 2008".
This series is the comic book industry at its very best.
This one is easy. The 2011 Green Lantern movie moved this title way up the charts. DC is still behind Marvel when it comes to creating great movies, but the Green Lantern movie did well at the box office.
When the X-Men were created in 1963, the team consisted of Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Jean Grey, a great mix. All of these characters appeared in the first X-Men movie. But as the comic series progressed, various writers ran out of ideas for them and the metamorphosis of the team began. By issue #94 of the original X-Men series, an entirely new group of mutants had taken their place.
By 1986, the originals were relegated to other Marvel titles, but not the original X-Men comics series. But the original characters were still great fuel for storytelling.
Enter the X-Factor team. Its members were the original X-Men but with a really interesting twist. Professor X had placed their old enemy, Magneto, in charge of the new team. The five set up a business which they advertised as mutant-hunters for hire.
The series is pretty good for a collector because there are plenty of issues in great condition and most all are $4 or less in Near Mint minus condition. But don't believe me, believe comic book fans -- X-Factor is consistantly among NewKadia's best-selling comic books.
Johnny Depp, who created the behemoth Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise tired his magic again when he starred in a new version of the Lone Ranger in 2013.
And even though the movie wasn't a box office blockbuster, each time a major motion picture has been released, the demand for its comics and their value, have increased.
The Lone Ranger was a character whose exploits started on network radio back in the 1930s and then successfully transitioned to TV in the 1950s. As we've said before, when a character holds the interest of the public for 80 years, there has to be great storytelling connected to that character. A classic is a classic only if the character strikes a chord in the soul of his readers.
The Lone Ranger was an ex-Texas Ranger (not the baseball player, but the law enforcement officer) who fights injustice in the Old West.
The first issues of the 1948 series reprinted syndicated newspaper comic strips. New stories began in #38.
A common theme in literature is a person trapped in a hostile environment or lost civilization. It was the theme of the recently doomed TV series "Terra Nova", the original "Planet of the Apes" movie and countless others.
But one of the best comic book versions is "Warlord", the story of U.S. Air Force pilot Travis Morgan who crashes in the underground world of Skartaris. Quickly he becomes leader, due in part, to his fully loaded .44 caliber pistol.
With its first issue in 1976, the series lasted 12 years (133 issues) which is a testament to its popularity. But somehow, the series never entered pop culture. Perhaps it was that Morgan was a Viet Nam veteran and the series debuted at a time when the war was still extemely unpopular.
Most people know something about Superman or Spider-Man, but ask them about Warlord and a blank stare is returned. As a result, demand for the comic is relatively low as is its cost. But in any event, it is one of the best comic book examples of a hero trapped in a strange world.
During the series' run, several characters appeared in their own back-up stories, including Arion, Arak: Son of Thunder and OMAC.
The TV show and comic book The Walking Dead has everyone talking about post-apocalyptic societies, so I thought you might be interested in "Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth", one of the first comic books to feature such a storyline.
Created by (here we go again) the great Jack Kirby, Kamandi was his longest-running title when he went to DC comics in the early 1970s. Kirby drew 39 of the first 40 issues. The series lasted 19 more issues without Kirby.
According to Wikipedia, DC attempted to get the rights to the Planet of the Apes movie, and when that failed (the rights went to Marvel), DC suggested to Kirby that he create a similar "end-of-the-world" adventure series.
If you love Kirby, you'll love this series. If you love the Planet of the Apes comics or movies, you'll hate it. If you like apocalyptic future worlds, try it.
Frank Miller, one of the most important comic creators of the late 20th century did it again with his 4-issue series.
Set in the near future, the United States has split into several extremist-controlled territories. It's part action story, part political satire. The series was one of the biggest selling mini-series of the era. And it won the 1991 Eisner Award for best mini-series.
In the aftermath of September 11, Marvel created three limited series honoring unsung heroes: Call of Duty: The Precinct honoring law enforcement,
Call of Duty: The Brotherhood honoring firefighters and Call of Duty: The Wagon honoring emergency services workers.
If ever you wanted to give a unique gift to a friend or family member who worked in these professions, this is it. One of the sets usually is priced under $6 and it makes a great gift. But even if you don't need a great gift, the series are short, well-written and well-drawn and makes you appreciate these often unsung heroes. For that reason alone, it's worth the read.
It's tough enough to win an Eisner Award, comic's equivalent to the Oscars, even once. But this series did it three times in a row -- in 1997, 1998 and 1999 -- for best continuing series. And it won in 1996 as best new series. Issue #10 also won the Eisner Award for best single issue; issues #4 to #9 won the award for best serialized story. Industry professionals, who vote for the winners have rarely lavished such praise on any series.
Astro City is a mecca for super-powered beings. The series is an anthology -- some stories are told from the viewpoint of the heroes, some for the viewpoint of average people, and some from the point-of-view of villains.
With only 22 issues, it's an easy series to collect and since it was published from 1996 to 2000, there are plenty of Near Mint or Very Fine issues available. At NewKadia, the price for the entire set varies between $65 and $90, depending on the condition of each issue.
Frank Miller did it yet again! His "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" won the 1995 Eisner Award for best mini-series. In the Sin City universe, Dwight McCarthy is a clean-living photographer who tries to avoid trouble because he knows what he's capable of. When a girl from his past (who he can't say no to) shows up and professes her love, ;they're both in way over their heads. The website "ainitcool news" gushed in its review: "Dare I say the most perfect depictions of noir in illustrated literature form? yes indeedy..."
Not every comic series needs to cost a fortune, and for good stories and art, all 125 issues of Excalibur won't force you to take a second mortgage on your home. In fact, you can get each issue for an average cost of about $1.31 here at NewKadia.
And, it won't take you 30 years to track down each issue. Most issues are usually in stock, and for those that we don't have, come back into stock often.
Excalibur is a superhero group, an offshoot of the X-Men based in England.
Chris Claremont, best known for his years of work on the original X-Men series, wrote the first 34 issues. So, if you enjoyed his work on the X-Men, you'll like this series, too.
Captain Britain is one of the key characters. With superhuman powers granted to him by the legendary wizard, Merlyn.
Excalibur also featured Captain Britain's emotionally unstable shapeshifter lover, Meggan. With the help of a manic, dimension-hopping robot named Widget, they embarked on adventures through parallel worlds.
Starting with issue #68, writer Scot Lobdell changed the focus of the series. Captain Britain was lost and Meggan became catatonic and the newer members were summarily dispatched.
In addition, the tone of the series changed from a lighthearted, fun comic to a grimmer, darker series. Marvel stationed the team on the fictitious Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland and tied the series closer to the X-Men family, casting off most Captain Britain-related elements entirely, in addition to the characters that did not have close ties to the X-Universe (like Kylun and Feron).
In 1994, the great Warren Ellis assumed writing duties with issue #83.