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Author Topic: Undervalued Comic Picks  (Read 4998 times)
IMJ
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« on: March 02, 2016, 06:10:43 PM »

Something I've been writing for the Valiant community. If anyone has any picks, put them here too!

Strange Tales #135
-1st Hydra
-1st Hydra Agents
-1st S.H.I.E.L.D.
-1st Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
-1st Helicarrier
-1st Flying Car
-1st Nick Fury as Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
-1st Life Model Decoys (L.M.D.)
-1st Nick Fury story in Strange Tales (replacing the Human Torch)

This is a huge book for Marvel continuity surrounding Marvel's Earth-grounded stories, and basically each of these IP's are now a household name after being embraced in such a prolific manner throughout the MCU. Current aggregate guide value as VF is about $500.00, yet it's listed for less on eBay, and I see it under guide in stores now and again as well. When this generation's young movie watchers embrace the Silver Age back-issue market, we could be looking at a long term key sought after hobby-wide the likes of Iron Man #55.

Without Strange Tales #135, there would be an unfathomable chunk missing from the Marvel Universe. This book is truly an undervalued and under-appreciated Silver Age key.

My small side pick would be The Avengers #85, the 1st appearance of the Squadron Supreme. This is a key book to the wider Avengers Universe, as well as Marvel Cosmic, and also we might see some spillover interest from the hype surrounding DC's Justice League as well.

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The Eternals #2 (1976)
1st Celestials
1st Arishem the Judge
1st Ajak

A book from 1976 that has somehow escaped the market's current Bronze-Age madness. This book could stir the market at any time just as its' sister books such as Nova #1, Ms. Marvel #1, and Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #134 have in the recent past. Do a search for this book online and you'll find it relatively cheap everywhere, and online resources would seem to place this book at about 5 bucks in VF. Consider the obscurity of this series, but now consider that the storytelling device "Knowhere" has become a Marvel canon location both in the books and on film. Also remember that there was a Celestial appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, and that that Celestial was not just a generic giant, but was clearly modeled after Arishem.

Also consider that Marvel has moved forward substituting characters like Iron Man in place of Spider-Man, and the Inhumans in place of the X-Men and it's not hard to see that perhaps the Celestials will take Galactus' place in the MCU pantheon of cosmic giants. It's possible that we'll see the Celestials during the Infinity War, making them even more of a household cosmic curiosity.

Currently, this book sells for only a few dollars as VF or less. And given it's rather obscure series content, relevance to Marvel Cosmic stories, representation on film, and Marvel's recent penchant in media to substitute obscure IP's for popular ones, and you have a solid book in the very undervalued Bronze-era Eternals #2.
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DC Comics Presents #26
1st Cyborg
1st Raven
1st Starfire

Very recently this otherwise undervalued book has seen some activity as movie chasers turn their attention towards the newest market mover fad - in this case the 1st appearance of Cyborg. But even at an aggregated guide value of $100+ in true VF condition, this book is currently undervalued. Not only is this the key first appearance of a pop-culture up and comer, it has social relevance that has yet to be recognized, and also features two other first appearances the likes of which I believe make for great material for use in DC's very popular T.V. series universe as well.

Cyborg has become a key recurring player in much of DC media as of late, appearing in key roles in several of DC's animated movies - a division of Warner's DC Entertainment that has quite frankly put Marvel's animated efforts to shame. Kids like cartoons and superheros, ergo kids watch DC Animation, seeing Cyborg standing strong with DC's bigger name heroes, ergo Cyborg becomes a young generations household name superhero. Furthermore, it seems that Cyborg will be a point of public recognition via DC's developing cinematic Universe, appearing in Batman V. Superman and then the subsequent Justice League movies. Additionally, the character has been written into the Justice League in the New 52 as a founding member, visibly more akin to Marvel's 90's Deathlok, but in spirit more like the Justice League's grounding center of humanity. Cyborg will definitely play an upfront role in the future of DC's properties.

Socially speaking, this is an important character as well. In my opinion, we will eventually see a settling down of the extremist takeover of comics, and a return to inclusion characterization rather than the invasionist mania currently taking place. When rational minds and valid diversity eventually prevail, we will see the market turn towards truly valuable characters such as Cyborg, who represented valid diversity from the beginning. Cyborg is the real deal in terms of both valid diversity in comics, as well as a strong, meaningful characters with a moral center.

DC Comics Presents #26 is currently seeing market speculation sales, but is otherwise an undervalued book. It features the first appearance of a key member of the Justice League, soon to be household name, as well as visionary and valid racially diverse character Cyborg who has seen prominent roles lately in the comics as well as DC Animation. The book also features the 1st appearances of popular third tier characters Starfire and Raven - both strong female characters whose archetypes make for very likely use in DC's T.V. universe as well. DC Comics Presents #26 is the real deal as an undervalued book not only due to it's strong first appearances of key characters, but as well as its valid use of diversity without an agenda.
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Amazing Spider-Man #365 | CGC 9.8
1st Spider-Man 2099
Mark Bagley's Original Spider-Man Run

Many of you might be thinking, why on Earth would I suggest a book like this as an undervalued gem? After all, it's from the 90's mess of speculation sales, and even has one of those "highly collectible" covers that publishers used to slap on books to make them shinier (in this case a fairly well done hologram reproduction of Amazing Fantasy #15). And to top it off, this book probably had a print run of a bazillion copies as well (actual estimates place this book at about 1,871,148 copies)! Undervalued? HA! Well, let's take a closer look.....

First, let's cut a swath through that print run a bit, by limiting this to CGC 9.8's, of which there are currently 269 copies on the Universal census. That's a nice enough market load for investors to buy into and share, but not so many that they are overtly plentiful. Hell, we talk about Valiant variant print runs around this number all the time. Of course, if this book picked up, the census could skyrocket given the number of copies out in the wild, but if that happened, demand would increase for graded 9.8's anyway. So, let's run with this book as undervalued in encapsulated 9.8 condition.

Next, you've got great, mid-career Mark Bagley artwork. Bagley, a truly a seminal Spider-Man artist, contributed greatly to what was arguably the most prolific, if not popular era of ASM ever - issues 300 - 375. Of course, this is just one of many Spider-Man books drawn by Bagley, but his addition to the title is icing on the undervalued cake.

Don't forget that this issue featured the first appearance of Spider-Man 2099. In a world of a very bizarre and often hated family of Spider-Man characters, Spider-Man 2099 has had major staying power. A 90's era character that ushered in the 2099 Universe and has had three volumized series, one of which is in current publication. Spider-Man 2099 has also maintained enough readership interest that the original Volume 1 series is being reprinted completely in volumized TPB's. The character has also appeared in some of the best Spider-Man video games, and is another example of unforced, logical and entertaining diversity in comics. Spider-Man 2099, Miguel O'Hara, did it more earnestly and unannounced than the wildly liberal and unnecessarily forced Miles Morales. It's fine to like Miles, but Miguel was created without an agenda.

Let's not forget that with Spider-Man coming to Marvel films, and Sony still retaining "Universe" rights, it's entirely possible that we will somehow see Spider-Man 2099 on screen someday. Furthermore, with great Bagley artwork from one of the brightest eras of Spider-Man (this is pre-Maximum Carnage and pre-clone here, people), this book has value potential with a recognizable, but not unreasonable 9.8 census as well. I'd say that this is an undervalued book in true, market accepted 9.8.
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Action Comics #544
-1st Luthor's Warsuit
-1st LL JR.

Superman can be a walking paradox for comic fans - the world's most important superhero regularly seems to be the world's least interesting. Often though, I blame lack of creativity for this - Superman is only as ho-hum as any given creative team writes him. With that said, it is only so often throughout the character's 78 year publication history that something truly memorable happens in a Superman book. In this case, the 80's era of cartoon camp strikes in the form of a loud, green battle suit (without a helmet nonetheless), and a long lasting threat to the Man of Steel is refreshed and in many ways reborn.

Action Comics #544 is a rare example of a relevant Superman book, given that it reinvents Superman's arch nemesis from a ranting hater into a formidable physical and psychological threat against the Man of Steel. Of course, the awkward suit that features no melon-protection might've gone the way of DC Superpowers toys once the 80's generation of toy buyers dried up. But instead, this incarnation has had staying power, meaning that Action Comics #544 belongs in any collector's Bring On The Bad Guys first appearance collection. This version of Luthor was given new relevance in the popular Superman Batman series of 2003, and has been seen several times in DC Animation. Furthermore, toy stores will be hosting Luthor's Battlesuit amongst the Dawn of Justice merchandise, perhaps indicating that archetype of the character has more fan affection than previous versions in a purple smoking jacket and self abusing tendencies would have.

Action #544 is an undervalued gem at an aggregated guide value between 7 and 15 bucks in acceptable back-issue-bin condition. Luthor is iconic in Superman and DC Universe canon, and this version of the character creates a new, viable, and clearly recurring threat for the Man of Steel. Action Comics #544 is where the physical battle between the two DC icons really started.

« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 06:13:44 PM by IMJ » Logged

JDD01
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2016, 10:00:30 AM »

Archie meets the Punisher:
The reason is during all those 90's crossovers it was the best due to the fact it embraces both character's worlds yet puts the Punisher in a setting that's unusual to him and his readers. A idealistic town facing a looming criminal cancer called Red Fever whose appearance is similar to Archie is a interesting concept, where added in the fact this causes problems for Frank Castle in multiple fronts with Red Fever's former associates going after the unlucky teenager and saving Veronica from Fever himself.
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2016, 03:51:42 PM »

Archie meets the Punisher:
The reason is during all those 90's crossovers it was the best due to the fact it embraces both character's worlds yet puts the Punisher in a setting that's unusual to him and his readers. A idealistic town facing a looming criminal cancer called Red Fever whose appearance is similar to Archie is a interesting concept, where added in the fact this causes problems for Frank Castle in multiple fronts with Red Fever's former associates going after the unlucky teenager and saving Veronica from Fever himself.

This was a fun pick JD!  But is it really an undervalued investment book, or maybe more of an obscure but fun read?
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2016, 04:36:35 PM »

Adventures of Superman #465
-1st Hank Henshaw

Another first for a DC Villain, but in this case a surprisingly long lasting character born out of what was intended to be a DC parody of Marvel's Fantastic Four. Hank Henshaw was trapped aboard a LexCorp spaceflight with his family when a radiation storm strikes, granting the crew powers. In this case, the rest of Henshaw's crew becomes plot-fodder, but Henshaw himself goes on to gain powers over machinery which first manifest violently in Adventures of Superman #468. Superman, of course, takes care of the bad guy, but legendary Superman scribe Dan Jurgens has a longer outlook for Henshaw during the writer's epic "Death & Return of Superman" story - quite possibly the most widely known and talked about Superman tale ever.

And, so is born Hank Henshaw, Cyborg Superman, a character who otherwise would be a throwaway artifact from an obscure story in the early 90's Adventures book. This character's relevance didn't end there however, as it was the Cyborg Superman, in league with DC powerhouse villain Mongul, who was responsible for the destruction of Coast City - the primary element which catalylzed Hal Jordan's fall to Parallax in the Emerald Twilight storyline.  This took place in the relatively sought-after key crossover issue, Green Lantern #46.  With this story, Hank Henshaw cemented his place as a larger canon DCU villain, and was later utilized in Geoff John's wildly popular Sinestro Corps War as a galactic threat and problem for the Green Lantern Corps.

Adventures of Superman #465 is a Superman, Green Lantern and greater DCU key as it features the first appearance of Hank Henshaw, DC's Cyborg Superman.  This character, an otherwise generic Superman plot device, has moved through the DCU as a key player involved in some of the biggest events in DCs last 23 years of publication. The Reign of the Supermen, the destruction of Coast City, catalyzing Emerald Twilight, and fanning the flames of the Sinestro Corps war.  Also, don't forget that Hank Henshaw will soon be a tween-household name as the character is appearing, and clearly being developed, in the well received Supergirl T.V. series.  And, as a side nugget of craziness, this DCU parody of Marvel's Fantastic Four once tried to convince Superman that Marvel's Galactus was responsible for destroying Krypton. Go Figure. Adventures of Superman #465 belongs in every collector's Superman, Green Lantern, DCU key, or Bring on the Bad Guys first appearance collection, and can be had very cheaply at an undervalued asking price of 3 to 6 bucks from the back issue bins.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2016, 05:02:57 PM by IMJ » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2016, 05:06:46 PM »

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO(Marvel) #26 vol.1:
-1st Origin of Snakes Eyes
-1st Origin of Storm Shadow
-1st Appearances: Hard Master and Soft Master.

For GI Joe fans this issue introduces the origin of the famous rivalry of the franchise and is valued at 9.8 condition at graded value $24 which is way less than the famous silent issue featuring Snake Eyes (G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO #21) whose graded value is $56 dollars. It's a key issue alone for fans of both Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow fans can't miss.
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2016, 12:41:12 PM »

G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO(Marvel) #26 vol.1:
-1st Origin of Snakes Eyes
-1st Origin of Storm Shadow
-1st Appearances: Hard Master and Soft Master.

For GI Joe fans this issue introduces the origin of the famous rivalry of the franchise and is valued at 9.8 condition at graded value $24 which is way less than the famous silent issue featuring Snake Eyes (G.I. JOE: A REAL AMERICAN HERO #21) whose graded value is $56 dollars. It's a key issue alone for fans of both Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow fans can't miss.

I'm not usually too big on the picks that stem from film or T.V. properties as it's usually something on the tube that would normally add to the IP's canon, but this was a good pick! It adds to the IP at large, and rounds out nicely two of G.I. Joe's most popular characters. Definitely undervalued given the value of the previous Snake Eyes book before it!
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2016, 12:48:50 PM »

Industry Mainstays 1st Works
1st Jim Lee Published Work & 1st Mainstream Work
1st John Romita Jr. Published Work & 1st Defining Character Book
1st Frank Miller Published Work & 1st Defining Character Book
1st Greg Capullo Published Work

The hobby we enjoy couldn't exist without talented artists grinding their pencils into paper every day as masters of their craft. Everyone has a favorite pencil whipper, but some artists, unarguably rise to the top as vibrant creators, industry leaders, or simply talented people whose lines on paper are captivating in a manner that surpasses their peers. That means that the books highlighted here are undervalued gems in that they feature the first published works of some of the more prolific creators in comics. These guys are more than industry linesmen, and their first published works are the comics equivalent of a Cooperstown players rookie card for baseball collectors.

Noticeably undervalued is Jim Lee's first published pencils, Marvel Comics Alpha Flight #51 (Oct, 1987), although he previously inked the cover for Solson's Samurai Santa #1 - an obscure book to say the least. At an aggregated guide value of 7 - 10 bucks in various stages of Near Mint condition, Alpha Flight #51 is the first time that Lee's symmetrical but stylish penciling saw publication in comics. This book is even more undervalued considering that Lee graduated to Marvel's X-Men title and had a significant role in the 1990's X-Men #1 becoming the most selling comics of all time, a book wherein Lee's character designs became the foundation for Marvel's popular 90's X-Men cartoon as well. The 90's era of comic book speculation may have cemented Lee as a fluke in an era of inflation for the hobby, but he has been an industry mainstay, opening his own publishing company, and moving on to become DC comics most reliable property-revitalizing creator as seen in the Batman, Superman and Justice League titles. Alpha Flight #51 is where Lee started his penciling for comics, and this book is an easily gotten gem that someday may be more sought after due to the hobby-wide relevance of Jim Lee's artwork.

Another industry mainstay who has managed a long and prolific career is John Romita Jr. A Marvel legacy artist who has most recently moved over to DC to place his chiseled, square linework over Superman's stories, got his start in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15 (1967). Romita Jr. is unarguably an industry leader who most notably worked on Iron Man periodically across decades of that character's first series (first in Iron Man #115, another undervalued gem that started Romita and Layton's legendary, decades long run on the series). Later, he moved across Marvel's platform of titles, bringing his incredibly masculine character work to Spider-Man (80's), Daredevil (90's), Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine (00's), The Avengers, and creating the popular comic-turned-into-film Kick *SQUEE* with Mark Millar. Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15 features Romita Jr.'s first published work, and is widely unknown for Romita's few pages of contribution to the story. Complimenting that title is Iron Man #115, which was the first character that Romita Jr. truly put his stamp on the way that Miller had done with Daredevil and McFarlane with Spider-Man.

Speaking of Frank Miller, few, if any creators have had some trans-media success with their work on comics as Frank Miller. A writer popular for testosterone dialog and gritty stories, and an artist with an art style that spans dynamic, flowing characters to light and shadow pieces, Miller's first published work is an obscure issue of Gold Key's Twilight Zone (#84, 1978) series. Although the book that is often most sought after is Miller's first work on Daredevil, issue #158, that issue is a high priced market mover whereas the rather obscure Twilight Zone #84 is not as well known for Miller's work, and is undervalued for lack of market knowledge.

Another artist who has gone on across various publishers to become an industry leader is Greg Capullo. Capullo is a bit of a chameleon in his artwork, which can range from symmetrical and square (see his run on Quasar and in X-Force), to dark and gritty (Spawn & The Creech), to caricature-like, cartoony lines (New 52 Batman run). Capullo's first published work is an undervalued gem in that it is an relatively unknown indy title, Gore Shriek #1 (1986). Only recently has the price on this book began to climb, but it's still likely that you could find a copy for several dollars here and there. Although the market may now begin to recognize this title's limited availability, it is still an undervalued gem given it's Capullo's first published work, and likely low-print run given it's self-published nature as a New York LCS's indy title.

The first works from industry movers Jim Lee, Romita Jr., Miller and Capullo are undervalued books given their relatively unknown status on the market. Collectors may also look to the first time a creator worked on a title that he made famous, Lee's first X-Men book (#248) is a nice find as well as the easily accessible Alpha Flight #51. Romita Jr. fans can seek out Amazing Spider-Man Annual #15, but might also have difficulty tracking down high grade copies of the artists first work on Iron Man, #115 (side note: especially the Mark's Jewelers variant). Daredevil #158 is regularly sought after for Miller's first work on that character, but the creator was first published in Twilight Zone #84, and high-profile artist, Greg Capullo's first work in indy title Gore Shriek #1 should command more value attention as well.
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Marvel Masterworks Gold Variant Editions
-Classic stories
-Re-coloring
-Cult Following
-Incredibly Limited Print Runs

There are several ways that the market has made room for sought after collected editions. Some value adders for the bookstore trades have included exclusive signed bookplates (i.e., Dark Horse's first Conan HC, signed by Busiek), special bookshelf editions (such as O'Barr's The Crow special edition packaged with a "Fear and Bullets" soundtrack), or simply a uniformity that makes a bookshelf collection desirable (minus one misstep, Valiant's Deluxe Editions fit well here). However, Marvel found a way to do this incredibly well with their high-gloss reprints known as the Marvel Masterworks Collection.

This set has been in publication since 1987, so almost 30 years. However, the line was revamped a bit in the early 2000's, and these reprints of early Marvel stories were re-colored, bringing some stories back to life in vibrant color and lines that had never been seen before.

These gorgeous hardcover collected editions can be a collection focus unto themselves, there are about 230 Masterworks volumes in the set. The books have also inspired many grassroots collector niches such as the Marvel Masterworks library, and a hardcore following even overseas on the Collected Editions website.

But aside from gorgeous presentation, uniform hardcovers, and a cult following, what else makes these reprints undervalued gems? Consider this - that the Gold cover variants have incredibly limited production to the standard hardcovers and paperback versions. As a matter of fact, a complete set (someone has one.. you just know it's true...) is only as possible as the lowest print run Masterworks volume. What is a small run? Here are some examples.....

Marvel Masterworks Vol. 25 - The Fantastic Four (vol. 5 Subset) | Limited to 800 copies
Marvel Masterworks Vol. 20 - The Invincible Iron Man (vol. 1 Subset) | Limited to 390 copies
Marvel Masterworks Vol. 35 - X-Men (vol. 4 Subset) | Limited to 193 copies
Marvel Masterworks Vol. 09 - The Avengers (vol. 2 Subset) | Limited to 160 copies

Those editions are incredibly limited, even by the modern standards for published-monthly variant editions of new books. Most of us have seen the market for Marvel's Omnibus lines, but as loved as those are, Marvel's limited Masterworks volumes are way undervalued given their cult status, bookshelf uniformity, and limited print runs for the gold edition hardcovers.
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The Crow: Death And Rebirth #1, NECRA Exclusive Variant
1st IDW Mini Series Using the IP
Throwback black cover
Very low print run

I remember a conversation about The Crow that I had some time back with a Local Comic Shop employee near my place. In the discussion he said, "The Crow had it's day, but that day has past". And really, his words felt correct at the time, but remember that this is a character that habitually comes back to life...

Without a doubt the Crow has a significant presence in cinema, perhaps due to the publicized events involving Brandon Lee, or the fact that the movie was, at the time, one of the best dark-fiction comic book movies to be on screen (I'd say that it's still a pretty good movie, actually). And with several sequels and a T.V. series, most households know of this character for better or worse. Also, The Crow reboot movie has been started, shot down and revived more times than Eric Draven himself. Eventually the character will find its way back onto the big screen.

Additionally, IDW has kept the dead alive with it's regular support of the IP, releasing at least 6 different series since 2012 and so the Crow is no stranger to print comics nowadays either. There are several other Crow books out there that could be mentioned in this thread - books like Death Rattle or the early issues of the original mini-series. But this book remains undervalued because of it's scarcity, current market obscurity, and of course it's neat throwback cover, if not the content inside. The story about this variant purportedly goes like this:

The writer of the hit film is back and the New England Comic Retailer's Alliance has an exclusive cover! What makes this SUPER RARE is that only 335 of the 1000 copies ordered actually got delivered and out of those LESS THAN 300 were actually in sellable condition! Easily the RAREST of ANY CROW comic ever published

The Crow, although a fairly respected property in comics, is ironically frequently overlooked as fans of the original story have simply outgrown its romantic nature. However, as the emotional component subsides, there is still a case to be made for the actual content of the original book - well crafted story and amazing artwork - that could keep people coming back to the now 20+ year old concept. The character has also had a strong media presence (i.e., several movies, games, card sets, toy lines, T.V., etc) and new books can be found on store shelves today. With that said, the NECRA variant has a small enough availability (around 300 copies) that when attention turns back towards this character, that low print run could easily translate into high, high demand. The NECRA Crow Death and Rebirth #1 variant is definitely an undervalued gem waiting to be brought back to aftermarket life for fans of the Crow.
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2017, 06:12:24 PM »

Shazam #1 | DC, 02/1973
-1st Appearance of Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel after Golden Age
-1st publication and introduction of Captain Marvel as we've come to know him in the DC Universe
-Actually maintains continuity between the Golden and Bronze Ages with a story explaining the character's disappearance and reemergence into the DCU

There are many a Captain Marvel's running around comics publication. The original Captain Marvel, sometimes mistakenly referred to as "Shazam" began as a Fawcett Comics character in the 40's, but this issue is where Captain Marvel enters the DC Comics Universe as a peer to the Brave and the Bold of DC: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. This book features a great a great Bronze era cover with Silver Age sensibilities, as well as three Captain Marvel tales. The first recounts the characters origins, the second explains the Marvel families disappearance from mainstream comics, and the third reprints one of the character's Golden Age adventures.

This book has a unique charm to it that is waiting to for the market to exploit. DC's Captain Marvel has been popping up with relevance in DC's more prolific events - Kingdom Come he was front and center against Superman, and the character has been adapted into DC Animation in several of the more popular direct to DVD movies. Also, with the character slated for a 2019 DC Film Universe movie, as well as a spin-off featuring the Rock as Captain Marvel's arch-enemy, "Black Adam"; this book is an undervalued gem that has significant potential to strike like lightening on the market.
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