Affordable Marvel Key Issues To Invest In under $25 (2020)

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For budget investors, here are 14 affordable Marvel key comics issues that you can invest in under $20. At the end of the article, I also link to at least 9 more cheap Marvel key issues that I have talked about in other articles.

Selection Criteria

With thousands of books to choose from, I focus on the following:

  • Characters with more than 50 comic appearances
  • Potential to appear in MCU
  • Strong covers

These criteria ensure that I don’t just pick speculative comics. Most of the characters here will be pretty well known to anyone who is not new to comics. In case, the movie rumors do not panned out, you are still left with a solid Marvel key issue in your collection.

Marvel Chillers #1

Date of Publication: 1975
Sale number: No Information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Modred the Mystic

2. First appearance of Chthon who had some ties with the Scarlet Witch

 

This book was suggested by one of Mewe’s community member. Since it fitted the selection criteria, I had to include it in after completing most of the articles lol.

Undervalued relative to importance

Modred made around 61 comic appearances and had strong connections to Marvel’s mystic side. Unfortunately, he wasn’t that memorable a character and has never had his own series.

However, this book also contains the first appearance of Chthon. This guy made a lot of trouble for the Scarlet Witch and I could see him being part of the WandaVision Disney plus series that is coming this year end. Chthon might also turn out to be the big bad for the supernatural side?

Overall, I would say this book isn’t that undervalued compared to its fundamentals.

Undervalued relative to peers

What better benchmark book then an issue from its own series? Lilith, who appeared in Giant Size Chillers #1, is also a minor character who made less than 50 comic appearances.

Recently, she got hot due to movie speculation. Hence, her first appearance would be a good benchmark to see what could happen to this book if Modred or Chthon made an MCU appearance.

Price of FinePrice of VFPrice NM
Marvel Chillers #1$10$15$20
Giant Size Marvel Chillers #1$30$50$100

Compared to Giant Size Chillers #1, Marvel Chillers #1 still has lots of room to grow. Both characters are very familiar in terms of their significance so if one can achieve these prices, the other should be able to do so as well.

The only difference is that the Giant Size book is harder to come by in high grades due to the thick blinding. Hence there might be a stronger premium for Giant Size Marvel Chillers #1 relative to Marvel Chillers #1.

Vision Vol 2, #1

Date of Publication: 2015
Sale number: 42,119

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearances of Vision family including Viv

 

Vision #1 was featured as part of the Gems list on the recently improved PSM model. Most of the other Gem comics in that article will cost you more than $25 but this is the only Marvel comic that is still staying under $25.

Undervalued relative to importance

Viv has, on average, made 23 comic appearances in a year since her debut. This means she is in more than 1 series to be able to record that number of appearances. Specifically, she was in the Vision, Champions, and many other event books.

For a modern character with so many appearances, her first appearance is surprising cheap. However, her variants have started to move so that might signal that the regular cover will move soon.

Undervalued relative to peers

If we compare Viv to other modern Marvel characters, you can see she is pretty undervalued.

SupplyPrice of NMPrice of 9.8
Vision Vol 2, #142,119$15$120
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #138,133$25$250
Invincible Iron Man Vol 3, #751,748$70$220

For both raws and 9.8 graded copies, we can see some gaps between Viv and her peers. All 3 characters were launched around the same time with almost similar appearances.

The only difference is that Ironheart and Moon Girl received more film rumors than Viv. Rather than wait for rumors to surface, buying her book now for cheap might not be a bad idea.

All New Ghost Rider #1

Date of Publication: 2015
Sale number: 50,712

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes)

 

Robbie Reyes as Ghost Rider saw some interest when he was aired on TV as part of Agents of SHIELD. In fact, response to him was so positive that a spinoff series was in the works.

Unfortunately, due to changes in Disney management, the show was canned, resulting in the lost of interest in this comic book.

Undervalued relative to importance

While the show was canned, the response to the character was good. I believed this current ‘cold’ period for Robbie Reyes is temporary. Once MCU sorts out how they want to handle the Ghost Rider franchisee, this book will see interest again.

Robbie Reyes has also been heavily used within the Marvel comics. Since inception, he made a total of 85 appearances within 6 years, resulting in an average of 14 appearances per year.

That is a pretty healthy number. For comparison, a normal character with his/her own series will make only 12 appearances per year.

Undervalued relative to peers

The comparison used by Vision #1 applies to All New Ghost Rider #1 as well. As such, they indicate that this book is currently undervalued relative to his peers.

Once Robbie gets more confirmation from the MCU side, expect this book to rise again.

Strange Tales #179

Date of Publication: 1975
Sale number: No Information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Pip the Troll

2. Part of the well collected Jim Starlin run

 

This book is borderline under $25 for VF condition. Usually you can only get this price if you buy it through auction, rather than BIN.

Pip the Troll is the type of character needed in movies to supply humor. With rumors circulating that the old GOTG team might be retired, new characters are needed for the next iteration of the team. Pip the Troll can be the clown for this new team.

Undervalued relative to importance

Pip the Troll is always a supporting character and nothing more. From this perspective, I will not say he is undervalued.

Undervalued relative to peers

Strange Tales #179 is caught between 2 prominent books that make good benchmark books

Price of VGPrice of FinePrice of VF
Strange Tales #179 (1975)$1015$25
Strange Tales #178 (1975)$15$40$60
Strange Tales #180 (1975)$30$70$110

#178 and #180 gives us a glimpse into books before and after media hype. #180, with Gamora already on screen, is a $100 book in VF. #178, in contrast, has about half of its value because Magus isn’t rumored in any films, despite being a strong character.

#179 trails behind these 2 books. If Pip the Troll is featured in the MCU, #178 might be where it can hit in terms of price ceiling.

Eternals #13

Date of Publication: 1977
Sale number: No information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of the Forgotten One

2. Already confirmed for Eternals the Movie

 

Eternals #13 features the first appearance of the Forgotten One. In this case, it looks like his name also reflects how collectors are treating him i.e. completely forgotten.

Undervalued relative to importance

It is hard to recall any first appearance comics that have a confirmed movie character and yet are so cheap. Even Nebula in Avengers #257 is more expensive.

One reason is because prices for Eternals spiked too fast, which eventually lead to a downward price spiral. Some collectors are caught by this, which left a bad taste for Eternal comics.

However, I believe the movie will spark interest again, especially from those who were not caught in the previous speculation cycle.

Besides Eternals #13, #5 and #8 are also cheap. However, I think this is a better book than the other 2 because:

  • Being the latter part of the run, Eternals #13 has less supply especially in high grade. 9.8s of this book for example, is still commanding a high premium. This will help the book to pick up more steam when interest comes back.
  • The Forgotten One was also part of the Avengers in the 80s. It might be possible that he will be part of the new Avengers team once the Eternals movie is done.

Undervalued relative to peers

Lets compare Eternals #13 with his peers.

Price of VGPrice of FinePrice of VF
Eternals #13 (1976)$8$10$15
Eternals #3 (1976)$15$25$40
Eternals #5 (1976)$12$18$25

Even as all Eternals book have retrace in prices. Eternals #13 has retraced the most heavily. I expect when these books rebound, Eternals #13 can hit at least the current price of Eternals #3, while #3 itself will go higher.

Tomb of Dracula #25

Date of Publication: 1975
Sale number: No Information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Hannibal King

 

If you have missed Tomb of Dracula #10 when I wrote about it, the next best thing is to look for is Blade’s strong supporting characters. This is because no character can hold up a movie without other characters. Knowing Marvel, some of the supporting characters can turn out to be really popular.

Undervalued relative to importance

For Blade, one of the more prominent characters is Hannibal King. From Tomb of Dracula in the Bronze age, Nightstalkers in the Copper and in Blade’s own series in Modern, Hannibal King has appeared regularly.

Despite this, his first appearance in Tomb of Dracula #25 has hardly moved when Blade was announced for a movie.

Undervalued relative to peers

For a fair comparison, I am picking Vampire Tales #2. Satana is a supporting character to Daimon Hellstrom and also belong to the supernatural genre.

I also included first appearance of Daimon for additional comparison.

Price of VGPrice of FinePrice of VF
Tomb of Dracula #25 (1974)$10$15$35
Vampire Tales #2 (1973)$70$150$250
Ghost Rider #2 (1972)$30$50$80

Even with the TV shows being on Hulu, you can see both Satana and Daimon having more expensive first appearances. The important difference is that both have been exposed to media hype while Hannibal King has not, at least not in the MCU era.

So, if Hannibal King was to play a role in the Blade’s franchisee, the minimal his first appearance should go for should match either one of the benchmarks.

However, I expect more if the above prediction comes true.

Invaders #12

Date of Publication: 1977
Sale number: No Information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Jacqueline as Spitfire

 

Continuing with the Marvel supernatural theme, Invaders #12 gives us the first appearance of Spitfire, who eventually became a vampire after being bitten by Baron Blood.

Undervalued relative to importance

Spitfire has made 137 comic appearances since her introduction. She wasn’t a popular character by any means. However, she has some ties with Blade and the overall vampire world.

For example, do you know that Spitfire and Blade actually became a couple in the Captain Britain and MI-13 series?

However, I would not say she is not undervalued relative to her historical importance. Instead, I would say she has a chance to play some strong supporting roles in Blade’s MCU future.

Undervalued relative to peers

If Splitfire receives some media exposure, we can use books like Eternals #5 to see where is the price ceiling for the book. I choose Eternals #5 as this book also comprise supporting characters and was published around the same times as the Invaders.

Price of FinePrice of VFPrice of NM
Invaders 7 (1977)$8$10$15
Eternals #5 (1976)$20$35$50

Compare to what this book can potentially reached, there is still opportunity for 2-3X returns.

Ghost Rider Vol 2, #1

Date of Publication: 1991
Sale number: 180,000-200,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch)

 

While the Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider is the one getting all the speculation attention, it is Danny Ketch’s Ghost Rider that really took the character to new heights in the 1990s.

Undervalued relative to importance

Danny Ketch used to be a popular character. As the saying goes, what was hot will be hot again.

Below shows Wizard Magazine Top 10 hot comics during the early 90s. Notice how the other books such as New Mutants #87, Amazing Spider-Man #361, X-Men #266 etc have popped?

For a character who has appeared 327 times in comics, and was a hot property, his first appearance is incredibly undervalued.

I believe with the proper push, this book will become hot again.

Undervalued relative to peers

Lets look at some of the books above in terms of their prices

Price of NM copiesSupply
Ghost Rider #1 (1991)$10180,000
New Mutants #87 (1990)$90170,000
X-Men #266 (1990)$150415,000
Amazing Spider-Man $361 (1992)$120544,000

The pricing gap is very obvious. While Carnage and Gambit is clearly more popular, their first appearance books also have to content with a supply that is 2.5-3 times that of Ghost Rider #1.

In fact, New Mutants #87 provide a relatively good benchmark to predict what prices can be, if Danny Ketch was to be promoted.

However, his first appearance is currently not getting the love it deserves, which represents an opportunity for us to get in.

Print run for this book is high but there are 2 editions that are difficult to come by in high grades: newsstand and 2nd printing. The 2nd printing book is a especially hard book to get and most are in vf or below condition.

Darkhawk #1

Date of Publication: 1991
Sale number: 100,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Darkhawk

 

I briefly mention Darkhawk #1 in my Nova key issues article but here is another angle to consider.

Undervalued relative to importance

If you notice the Top 10 screenshot I posted above, another book that was hot but has not heated up again is this book.

While there are others who think lowly of Darkhawk, keep in mind he was hot enough to enter the Top 10 back then. His 90s series also continued for 50 issues.

All these show that he has some historical significance, at least to a lot of his fans. From that perspective, the current pricing on this book is undervalued.

Undervalued relative to peers

The same table for Ghost Rider #1 applies here so I wouldn’t repeat it.

The only thing you need to consider is the relatively high potential of returns vs the potential losses if this spec doesn’t turn out well.

If this spec is correct, you are looking at making 7-8X your investment. If Darkhawk remains stagnant, you might lose a few dollars.

Currently I am buying only the newsstand versions of this book.

Marvel Two in One #54

Date of Publication: 1979
Sale number:

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Songbird

2. Black cover so high grade copies are tougher to find

 

With all the Thunderbolts rumors circulating around, I cannot believe this book has barely moved in prices. Maybe most speculators have never read the series and realise how important Songbird is to the franchisee.

Undervalued relative to importance

Songbird (Melissa Gold) has made close to 300 comic appearances. Most of them occur in the long running Thunderbolts series that stretched to over 180 issues.

In almost every iteration of the team, Songbird is part of it.

Given such historical significance, the fact that you can buy a VF copy of her first appearance at below $20 is a steal.

Undervalued relative to peers

To be ultra conservative, we can use Iron Man #118 (first appearance of James Rhodes) as a benchmark. This allows us to see where prices for Songbird can go if she became part of the MCU.

Side note: For War Machine, his 1992 appearance in Iron Man #282 is actually worth more than #118. However, I do not want to use a modern book as a benchmark for a bronze age comic.

Price of VFPrice of NMPrice of 9.8
Marvel Two In One #54 (1979)$12$20NA
Iron Man #118 (1979)$20$60$250

Even with such a conservative benchmark, we can see the prices of Marvel Two In One #54 can still be considered low or undervalued.

Moreover, Songbird will surely be a more prominent member on Thunderbolts than War Machine on Avengers so I expect these prices to be the floor.

Marvel Secret Wars #7

Date of Publication: 1984
Sale number: No Information

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Spider-Woman (Julia Carpentor

 

This book is starting to appear on speculators radar after the Mdm Webb announcement. For those who are unaware, Julia Carpentor eventually took over the Mdm Webb mantle in the Marvel comics continuity.

Undervalued relative to importance

Putting aside the Mdm Webb movie rumors, Julia Carpentor has been a regular Marvel character, though she is always out shined by Jessica Drew and other Spider Women. In total, she has clocked 228 comic appearances.

What the movie rumors did is to put the spotlight back to the character and this book.

For a character who is related to Spider-Man (arguably the biggest Marvel franchisee), had her own series, and is still active in Marvel comics, her first appearance seems criminally undervalued.

Undervalued relative to peers

It is hard to find a suitable benchmark. Currently, there are no copper Marvel characters who had spearheaded his or her solo movies. Nebula will be one choice but she was not the lead so her prices tend to be low.

Price of VFPrice of NMPrice of 9.8
Secret Wars #7$10$20$130
Avengers #257$20$30$150

From the comparison, Marvel Secret Wars #7 doesn’t seem to be undervalued. In 9.8 for example, both books have almost identical prices.

However bear in mind my earlier comment that Nebula is not the lead of a movie. She also didn’t appear on the cover of Avengers #257, which might hurt its appeal.

At the minimal, you are not going to lose money. If you buy into Secret Wars #7 at these prices, Avengers #257 has shown that post movie, it can still hold these prices.

Bear in mind though that the 80s Marvel books had high print runs. Marvel secret wars, being one of its best selling titles, had even more copies. Try to go for the Canadian version as they are harder to find and will find a higher ceiling if this book heats up.

Amazing Spider-Man #637

Date of Publication: 2010
Sale number: 56,301

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Mdm Webb (Julia Carpentor)

 

If you like Marvel Secret Wars #7 because of Julia Carpentor, you might want to pick up Amazing Spider-Man #637 as well. This is an important issue for her as Julia takes on the Mdm Webb identity.

This book has 2 covers and a 2nd print. Interesting, the second print seems to be commanding a higher price. This is in line with what I said about 2nd prints overtaking 1st prints.

Undervalued relative to importance

The fundamentals are the same as for Secret Wars #7 so I shall not repeat them.

The only thing to add is that Julia has been carrying the Mdm Webb identity for almost ten years. This is probability an identity that will stick on for a long time for Julia.

Also, with the rumors circulating a Mdm Webb movie, this book might become more important to Julia if she is indeed the one carrying the movie.

Undervalued relative to peers

The easiest book to compare is the first appearance of Jackpot in Amazing Spider-Man #546.

SupplyPrice of NMPrice of 9.8
Amazing Spider-Man #637 (2010)56,301$12$50
Amazing Spider-Man #546 (2008)127,856$20$180

First of all, there is a big difference in the supply. Even with that, it is amazing that #546 still manages to command a higher price than #637, especially for the 9.8 grade.

The difference between the 2 books lies in the lead character. For the Mdm Webb movie rumors, folks are blindly rushing for the Amazing Spider-Man #210 issue. In contrast, for Jackpot, everyone is zooming in on #546.

This means that if the movie turns out to be Julia, we can expect this book to jump in prices. Due to the supply difference, I would say it can jump 2-3X what #546 is selling now.

Black Panther Vol 5, #5

Date of Publication: 2009
Sale number: 29,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Shuri as Black Panther

 

Shuri has become quite a popular character after the Black Panther movie. While her first appearance in Black Panther Vol 4, #2 is a book that is beyond $25, her first appearance bearing the Black Panther mantle is still reasonably priced.

Undervalued relative to importance

Shuri taking over the Black Panther mantle is an important turning point in the character’s development. The market is currently not paying attention because it has not happen in the movies yet.

However, given how movies always follow comics, especially for important character development, I suspect this will happen eventually. In this case, I do think the market is undervaluing this important issue for Shuri.

Undervalued relative to peers

Comparing against her first appearance is probably the most logical comparison to make

SupplyPrice of NMPrice of 9.8
Black Panther Vol 5, #529,000$15$150
Black Panther Vol 4, #247,474$55$250

Currently, Black Panther Vol 5, #5 is lagging behind Vol 4, #2, as it should be. However, the gap seems too big, especially if you take into consideration the smaller supply of the former.

If the movie follows the comic and make Shuri the Black Panther, #5 will have a chance to reach prices that are closer to #2.

Thor #412

Date of Publication: 1989
Sale number: 170,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First full appearance of Night Thrasher

2. First full appearance of New Warriors team

 

While there is going to be a debate on whether we should pick up Thor #411 or Thor #412, my personal preference is the latter due to the a better cover and the full New Warriors story within the comic.

Undervalued relative to importance

This book has 2 great things going for it. One is the full appearance of the New Warriors team and the other is the full appearance of Night Thrasher.

Let me talk about the team first. If you grew up in the 90s, New Warriors is one of the more popular teams. So popular than their debut issue make it into Wizard’s top 10 hottest books for more than 1 month.

Similar to Ghost Rider #1 and Darkhawk #1, what was hot might get hot again.

In fact, there are evidence that Marvel has not forego this team and might give them some push.

  • A new New Warriors series will be launched
  • A New Warriors show was supposed to be on the cards until the Disney reorg

So, both signs point to the possibility of the team is still on Marvel’s radar.

Now, lets talk about the second great thing about the book: Night Thrasher.

One of our Mewe community members mentioned that there might a stronger focus on Black characters given the current climate in US. Night Trasher falls nicely into something Marvel can use.

Of course, there is also Black Panther and Luke Cage but you wouldn’t be able to buy these for under $25.

Night Trasher is a pretty good alternative and one that is still affordable. As further proof that he is a pretty popular character, here is an image showing characters who are trending and debuted in 1989. Notice that Night Trasher is there?

Undervalued relative to peers

There isn’t a lot of characters from Copper age that has made it to the big screen. One of them is Ghost. I pick him as he is not a big character and hence will present a conservative benchmark.

SupplyPrice of NMPrice of 9.8
Thor #412 (1989)170,000$15$180
Iron Man #219 (1987)175,000$25$270

We can see that even for a minor character like Ghost, there are nice returns to be had after some media exposure. This issue will have a much higher gain if the same thing happen to either the team or Night Trasher.

Other Marvel first appearance comics that are affordable

For the books above, I try to include those that I have not mentioned before. However , this blog is full of other first appearances comics that you can buy for cheap.

Below are some other books that I have written about. You can read about them if you have not done so before.

Cheap Spider-Man comics to invest in: this set of books are cheap Spider-Man keys that have not been hyped yet. They contain great characters but are still affordable.

Cheap Batman Beyond comics to invest in: If you like Batman, this set of books are cheap Batman Beyond first appearances you can buy. Most have low print run, which make them more susceptible to big price spikes when news come.

If you want first issues that are less commonly talked about, you can read up on these cheap speculation picks that I have writing for my Comic Book Speculation Sunday series.

Children of the Vault
Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos
Next Wave

Conclusion

While Marvel has thousands of first appearance comics that are still cheap, I picked those that are more important. They also have some potential to climb up in prices over time, either due to nostalgia or media hype.

If you have other recommendations, please leave them in the comments.

2 thoughts on “Affordable Marvel Key Issues To Invest In under $25 (2020)

  1. I’ve seen different things about the 1st app of Spitfire. I’ve seen Invaders 7 as well as 11…. So is 7 1st Jacqueline, 11 is a spitfire cameo, and 12 is first full?? I don’t own the books so I can’t confirm.

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