Marvel movie rumors have turned up the heat in the comic book back issue market, driving prices well beyond the reach of most buyers.
Well, not you, Larry. You got tons of dough from being the heir to the Lake Minnetonka waterslide fortune. Curse you, Larry, for idly profiting as we purify ourselves in the purple waters of Lake Minnetonka.
The truth is that collecting comic books is a wonderful hobby and I actually shared some tips if you want to start collecting vintage comics. I also shared some great Marvel back issues you could grab for $20 bucks or even $100 bucks, for those on a stricter budget.
But this article deals with thousand dollar comics, so I need to splash some cold Lake Minnetonka water on your face. Sure, just about all comic books go up in value…if you live long enough. But just like 90s sports cards, don’t treat comic books as an investment vehicle to send your kids to college. Put your money in a Roth IRA for heaven’s sake. And if you are struggling with your food budget or you’ve refinanced your home, don’t spend $1,000 on a comic book, for heaven’s sake.
But if you are fortunate like a Disney executive or Larry the Waterslide Tycoon and have expendable income and you treat comic collecting as a responsible hobby, there are some wonderful $1,000 Marvel books that would be delightful to own. And, yes, they very likely will continue to go up in value!
7 $1,000 Marvel Investment Comics
Uncanny X-Men 101
This comic tops list of $1,000 Marvel investment comics because the comic itself is tops in my heart.
Uncanny X-Men 101 was published in 1976 and features Jean Grey being reborn as the Phoenix. Remember, the new X-Men team of Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine, and Storm had just been introduced in X-Men 94 and Chris Claremont had only recently taken over the title, so Claremont’s characterization and storylines were barely being established. But like a phoenix rising, they sprang forth.
The Dave Cockrum cover to X-Men 101 is absolutely gorgeous, which only further enhances its value as an investment comic. $1,000 will get you an 8.5-9.0 CGC graded copy.
I have a RAW (ungraded) copy myself, but it is a mid-grade 5.0 at best, which certainly isn’t terrible for a comic from 1976, but you better bet I’d love to pick up a few more copies in better grades if I ever have the opportunity.
Ghost Rider 1
Ghost Rider 1 isn’t the first appearance of the character. That’s OK because the first appearance of the character isn’t even the first iteration of the character. Let me explain.
Ghost Rider began in 1967 as a white-clad, mysterious figure that rode horseback in order to capitalize on the Western genre that was highly popular at the time. But shortly thereafter, Evel Knievel attempted to jump the fountains of Ceasar’s Palace on a motorcycle, so Ghost Rider was reintroduced a few years later as Johnny blaze, a motorcycle stuntman that received powers from a demon named Zarathos.
However, Johnny Blaze’s introduction was in Marvel Spotlight 5, an anthology comic. Anthology comics typically don’t carry the same esteem a solo title often does, but Marvel Spotlight is the first appearance, so it carries a fair market price of at least 2 grand in good condition.
That’s steep. And you should know that when a comic gets to a price point that a typical comic collector can’t afford, the hobby shifts its attention to the next best appearance of a character. In this case, that’s Ghost Rider 1. A thousand bucks can get you a graded 8.0, which represents a nice investment because while not the technical first appearance of Ghost Rider, it is the first appearance of Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan.
Silver Surfer 4
If you are shelling out $1,000 on a comic book, you want that investment to be based upon something solid and not marketing or speculation hype. That’s why this list avoids modern comic trends like variant covers and sticks to classic characters that have been established in the market for decades.
Silver Surfer is a character that has been popular for decades, as is Thor obviously. So my next recommendation is Silver Surfer 4, which features an iconic cover where the Surfer is swooping down on Thor, who has reared back Mjolnir for a strike.
Even a mid-grade copy of Silver Surfer 4 will be difficult to get for $1,000. Yet they can be had, if you shop around. And that Silver Surfer series was perfect bound (as opposed to stapled), so it’s difficult to find in great condition anyway, so a mid-grade copy is A-OK.
As a bonus, Silver Surfer 3 features the first appearance of Mephisto, so it’s a solid book to target as well, as is that entire series, to be honest.
Thor 134 was published in 1966. Remember, Thor was introduced in Journey into Mystery, an anthology title, yet the character became so popular that Marvel eventually retitled it The Mighty Thor at issue 125. The Mighty Thor 134 was written by Sten “The Man” Lee and was drawn by Jack Kirby, so the pedigree alone is worth the interest.
But Thor 134 also features the 1st appearance of the High Evolutionary, as well as the first appearance of Wundagore Mountain, Man-Beast, the New Men, and all those chapters and storylines that have some on to play a pivotal role in the origins of many other characters, such as Spider-Woman and the Scarlet Witch.
The High Evolutionary is also thought to be introduced to the MCU in Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 3, which truly makes it an investment comics. Once the High Evolutionary is seen on that screen the value of the comic will surely rise.
My copy of Thor 134 is pretty beat up, so you better believe I’ll keep an eye out for a nice copy, even if I have to pay $1,000 for it, because it has that much potential.
Fantastic Four 46
Here’s another splash of cold Lake Minnetonka water on your face: You’ll be hard pressed to get a major Fantastic Four key 1st appearance for $1,000. You aren’t getting the 1st appearance of Silver Surfer or Galactus for $1,000. You certainly won’t get Doom. You won’t even get Mole Man or the 1st appearance of the Skulls.
But Stan and Jack were cranking out the hits in the 1960, so the Inhumans were also introduced. Fantastic Four 46 featured the 2nd appearance if the Inhumans and featured Black Bolt’s first cover appearance. A very high grade can had for $1,000.
Fantastic Four keys are probably only 2nd to Amazing Spider-Man keys, so you’ll never go wrong investing in Silver Age Fantastic Four, particularly because they had incredible Jack Kirby covers. Fantastic Four 46 fits that bill.
So, sure, it’s weird that Fantastic Four 46 isn’t the technical 1st appearance of a key character but remember, when those 1st appearances get too pricey and out of reach, collectors will shift to the next best thing.
The first appearance of the All-New X-Men team – Nightcrawler, Colossus, Wolverine, and Storm – was in Giant-Size X-Men 1, but that comic is priced way beyond $1,000. But those characters appeared shortly thereafter in X-Men 94 with Chris Claremont as writer, beginning his legendary 16 year run on the comic.
So, even X-Men 94 is a pricey comic, but a low-to-mid-grade copy can be had for $1,000 and it’s worth it, because there is room still for upside.
Although X-Men 94 doesn’t feature first character appearances, it’s a special comic. The beginning of the Chris Claremont era was a key moment in the history of comics. Furthermore, Disney purchased Fox, so they now have the X-Men rights back, meaning mutants will be introduced into the MCU proper at some point.
That will be a huge deal commercially and MCU are known for wanting to have physical manifestations of their favorites can from the screen that they can own. That will drive further demand for X-Men 94.
Tomb of Dracula 10
There is always the dream of stumbling across a yard sale with a grail like a mint Werewolf by Night 32 – the first appearance of Moon Knight – in mint condition. But for those of us that live in reality, we aren’t getting a Werewolf by Night 32 in even a mid-grade condition for $1,000 right now.
But what if we keep it in the same Marvel horror genre and turn our attention to Tomb of Dracula 10, the first appearance of Blade? That’s a comic where we might be able to grab a mid-grade copy for $1,000.
Tomb of Dracula as a title is an overlooked gem, mainly because comics have changed so much in the decades since it was printed. The Comics Code horror of 70s Marvel where the gore and suggestive situations were only teased yet never shown on the page just isn’t in vogue for today’s readers, who more accustomed to a slaughter-fest and raunchy ride.
But the upcoming Blade movie set in the MCU might draw attention back to the title, increasing its value as an investment comic. And given its vintage, the comic certainly won’t go down in value, so if you have $1,000 to spend, it’s a comic book worth looking into.