Super collectible: The cost of first appearances of 2016's heroes

Sometimes, you really can buy your heroes.

 

The trend of comic book characters leading TV and movies seems to be a keeper, as movies like Doctor Strange, Suicide Squad, and Captain America: Civil War held court on the big screen while concepts like Supergirl and Luke Cage wowed on television. These recent appearances in other media have strengthened the interest and collectability in some of the key comic book issues that inspired these properties.

If you have some of these issues, hold on to them. If you don't...these might be some comics that you'll want to seek out for your collection.

[Comic book values are courtesy of ComicsPriceGuide.com unless otherwise noted. Images come from the Grand Comics Database at comics.org]

DOCTOR STRANGE


 

The First Appearance:

Doctor Strange made his first appearance in the back pages of Strange Tales #110, a backup feature to fill up pages not already occupied by the Fantastic Four's Human Torch. If you want a high-grade "near mint" copy of this issue, you're going to have to shell out a good amount of money: This 1963 comic book, which originally sold for 12 cents, can easily go for five figures, and possibly six if it's a slabbed or graded copy. Lower-grade copies can still go for over a thousand dollars.

Strange Tales #110 also may be one of the smartest investments to make as far as Silver Age comics go, as there are surely many more copies of early appearances of characters like Spider-Man than there are of this one comic. Some who may have owned this issue may not even realize they have this gem, as the character's appearance isn't even mentioned on the cover!

 

Other Alternatives:

Doctor Strange #169, which picked up the numbering from Strange Tales in 1968, was the first issue to feature the recent movie character as headliner of his own comic book. While the book lists for over $600 in Near Mint condition, a decent copy can still be had for under $100... but it probably won't be that cheap for long as the character gains more fans.

 

 

SUPERGIRL

 

The First Appearance:

While some prototypes of the Supergirl character appeared earlier, the first comic book to actually feature Kara Zor-El as we know her in the Supergirl TV series and in other media was Action Comics #252 in 1959. Near Mint values have a wide range but you'd be looking to drop 5 figures for a high-grade copy. The comic book that introduced Superman's cousin also contains the first appearance of the villain Metallo who also recently appeared on the television series.

 

 

Other Alternatives:

Remember how we were talking about prototypes?

Published a year before Action Comics #252, the original Superman #123 featured a "Girl of Steel" with a look and a costume much like what we'd see from Kara later. This issue also is a bit more affordable, with the issue valued at about a quarter of the price of the full-fledged first appearance. This issue is probably less circulated than the other comic is which would make it a strong investment.

 

 

HARLEY QUINN

 

The First Appearance:

Considered by many to be the star attraction of Suicide Squad thanks to the performance of Margot Robbie and the overall popularity of the character, Harley Quinn first appeared in the original Batman: The Animated Series cartoon in the early '90s. Harley didn't make her way to the regular DC Comics universe until 1999, but her first comic book appearance was actually much earlier in Batman Adventures #12 from 1993. As the older fans may have overlooked buying this tie-in comic and the younger ones might not have kept it in very good condition, you're looking at at least $500 for a near-mint copy, if not more.

 

Other Alternatives:

The Batman Adventures: Mad Love special told Harley's origin in a more prestige format a few months later, marking Harley's second comic book appearance; this issue is not as rare, but it still will go for over $100 unslabbed in Near Mint shape.

 

 

THE SUICIDE SQUAD

 

The First Appearance:

The first iteration of "Task Force X" appeared in issue #25 of DC's venerable Brave and the Bold comic book series; after the Suicide Squad's first test run, DC would introduce the Justice League in the same title. This version of the team wasn't a whole lot like the group that we'd see in the movies, though Rick Flag was always a part of the concept. A Near Mint copy of the first appearance would still set you back at least $2,000 with a perfect, non-slabbed version currently valued at over $10K. As this comic book came out in 1959, pristine copies might be hard to come by.

 

Other Alternatives:

A copy of the 1987 Suicide Squad #1 can still be had rather affordably and #1 of a later 2001 reboot can be found for cover price; fans of the movie might be the most interested in the first issue of DC's "New 52" Suicide Squad series from 2011, where Near Mint copies are going for over $100. At the time of its publication, the Squad wasn't as big of a deal, and this issue also contains the first "New 52" appearance of Harley Quinn, making it more sought after.

 

 

THE PUNISHER

 

The First Appearance:

The first appearance of The Punisher in The Amazing Spider-Man #129 has long been one of the most heavily-traded and sought after comics of the past 30+ years; consequently, there are many copies out there on the collectors' market. However, with the Punisher landing on his own Netflix series next year, the demand for the issue can and should continue to grow. Right now a non-slabbed Near Mint copy of Amazing #129 would go for as little as $1200 or as high as $9000 for a perfect specimen.

 

Other Alternatives:

The Punisher's first comic book series ended with issue #104 in 1995, and while the issue itself is unremarkable, those later issues are a lot rarer than those that came before. If you can find one, a Near Mint Punisher #104 can be found for under $20 but a slabbed copy will go for many times that. Eventually, when people are looking to finish their runs -- and note that Marvel has not reprinted any of these issues -- issues like Punisher #104 will become more and more sought after.

 

 

LUKE CAGE

 

The First Appearance:

Luke Cage, Hero for Hire #1 introduced the character that would be the star of a popular Netflix series, and while his look has definitely changed over the years, it is interesting to see the roots of the concept in his early comics. While his first appearance won't set you back as expensively as a first appearance of the Punisher would, a Near Mint Luke Cage #1 is currently valued at over $500. In lower grades, the issue is even cheaper, which makes it good investment material. Do note that with the black cover border it might be harder to obtain a high-grade copy of this issue.

 

Other Alternatives:

The first issue of the Alias comic book from Marvel's MAX imprint contained the first appearance of Jessica Jones, but more importantly, it featured the first appearance of Luke Cage as we have come to know him in the modern era. He's not in the issue much but he does provide quite a bang to set off the series. The first printing of Alias #1 non-slabbed can go for between $50 and $100 in Near Mint condition; as interest in Luke and Jessica grows, so should the value of this issue.

 

 

BATMAN/SUPERMAN

 

The First Team-Up:

While the characters often shared covers in World's Finest Comics, Batman and Superman didn't actually meet until Superman #76 in 1952 -- and at that time, no, they didn't fight.

The issue titled "The Mightiest Team on Earth!" can go for thousands of dollars in Near Mint condition, and slabbed versions of lower-grade copies can even go for that much.

 

Other Alternatives:

After the success of the first Superman-Batman team-up, DC Comics decided to lower the page count of World's Finest and these team-ups became a monthly occurrence. Titles including Superman/Batman and Batman/Superman have been released by DC in the past decade; the classic story from Superman #76 was retold with some tweaks in 2006 within the pages of Superman/Batman Annual #1. That particular comic which can still be found for cover price or near it is worth checking out as a not-so-thinly-veiled version of a fan-favorite Marvel merc with a mouth can be seen within.

 

 

DOOMSDAY

 

The First Appearance:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice wasn't even the actual first appearance of Doomsday in live action...that honor belongs to Season 8 of the CW television series Smallville. However, the Henry Cavill/Ben Affleck/Gal Gadot starrer was the first time a lot of audiences would see the character in live-action, with big-budget visual effects.

Doomsday's first full comic book appearance in Superman: The Man of Steel #18 can be found very cheaply for the simple notion that, like with the New Mutants #98 Deadpool comic listed later in this article, everyone has it. So, you might be able to obtain a good unslabbed copy of Man of Steel #18 for under $50.

 

Other Alternatives:

A better investment might be to purchase the fifth printing variant for Man of Steel #18, noted by the "V" underneath the price in the comic's corner box and a different colored logo. There are certainly fewer copies circulating, and right now, this variant goes for nearly three times the cost of the first print.

 

 

APOCALYPSE

 

The First Appearance:

The first full appearance of Apocalypse in X-Factor #6 is a key issue that has risen more in recent years even if Oscar Isaac's movie version didn't really impress. A Near Mint sixth issue of X-Factor will set you back between $100-200, though you should know that there are a lot of copies out there.

 

Other Alternatives:

A copy of 1995's X-Men: Alpha #1 can still probably be found for cover price, but it's a key issue as it kicked off Marvel's "Age of Apocalypse" storyline which was one of the first to really show the characters in an alternate universe in the long-term. As we get farther away from 1995, fans looking to relive their childhoods might seek this one out, ensuring a rise in value even though there are many copies out there.

 

 

DEADPOOL


 

The First Appearance:

According to ComicsPriceGuide.com, the first appearance of Deadpool in New Mutants #98 in a near-mint, unslabbed condition could go for only $300, which is a bit of a steal considering it's the first appearance of the character in the modern era. Why is it not as expensive as some other books on this list? The main reason is that at the time the issue was published, the New Mutants comic was one of Marvel's hottest titles thanks to artist and Deadpool co-creator Rob Liefeld, which also means that it was one of the best-selling comics of 1991. In other words, almost every collector from that era has a copy of this one, so there are a lot of them on the market.

 

Other Alternatives:

The first issue of Deadpool's first ongoing series published in late 1996 might be a better investment. There are fewer copies of that issue on the market and it is the first comic book to completely embrace the character traits that Deadpool would later be most famous for. The run by writer Joe Kelly & artist Ed McGuinness is so popular that this creative team now helms Marvel's current Deadpool/Spider-Man comic. Deadpool #1 can be found in Near Mint condition for around $80. Another "hot" issue to watch out for is Deadpool #54, a very rare issue guest-featuring The Punisher. This issue from near the end of Deadpool's first ongoing title sports a cover by the recently-deceased Steve Dillon. While there's an abundance of New Mutants #98 on the market, there aren't as many Deadpool #54s to go around.

What you deem as "collectible" is ultimately up to you. But with a wallet, an internet connection, and the right place to shop, you, too, can buy your heroes.

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