Shang Chi key issues

With news of Shang Chi casting, it is time to look at what comics related to him are undervalued and worth for us to invest in.

Specifically, we will look at

  • Whether Shang Chi’s first appearance in Special Marvel Edition #15 still has room to grow
  • What other undervalued comics related to Master of Kung Fu are there
  • A very speculative bet on where the movie will go

Special Marvel Edition #15 value potential

As usual, we will be using bench marking to see the price ceiling for this book. It has already experienced a run up and the key question is whether is there any room left if we were to buy it now.

I used Tomb of Dracula #10, Werewolf by Night #32 and Marvel Premiere #15 as comparisons for the following reasons:

  • Same era of books i.e. 1973-75
  • Similar tier of characters i.e. 2nd tier
IssuePrices (7.0)
Prices (8.0)
Prices (9.0)
Prices (9.2)
Prices (9.4)
Special Marvel Edition #15 (1973)USD300
Tomb of Dracula #10 (1973)USD500
Werewolf By Night #32 (1975)USD850
Marvel Premiere #15 (1974)USD150

The comparison is pretty interesting.

In terms of supply, it is clear the Tomb of Dracula #10, Werewolf By Night #32 and Special Marvel Edition #15 are more comparable.

Marvel Premiere #15, on average has about 40% -50% more supply in each grade. This could probably explain why it has a lower price compared to the other 2 books.

Another reason why MP#15 is lower priced is probably due to the Netflix cancellation and its poor quality show.

The key question here, however, is whether Special Marvel Edition #15 can catch up to Tomb of Dracula #10 or even Werewolf By Night #32 in terms of value.

Personally, I think there is a chance. Reasons are:

  • Similar supply condition. It should be noted that even though Special Marvel Edition #15 looks to have smaller numbers for 8.0 and 7.0, it is only a matter of time before it catches up to the two 2 books as SME #15 has the lowest CGC census number among the 3. Usually, it will be the higher grade books that get submitted first, followed by the lower grades.
  • Marvel Studios will make Shang Chi much cooler than anyone is expecting. Will explain more in the last section.
  • First asian superhero, similar to how Black Panther is the first African American hero.
  • This book has always been considered a second tier key and not some unknown books like the Eternals.

If you believe that is the case, the potential returns here is 50% minimal, with a potential upside of 2-3X from current prices.

By the way, if you really want an undervalued book, Marvel Premiere #15 is actually not a bad buy right now.

Master of Kung Fun #17

master of kung fu 17

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Compared to Special Marvel Edition #15, this is a very undervalued book. Master of Kung Fu has a number of significance that a lot of comic investors are ignoring:

  • First self titled issue i.e. a #1 issue
  • First appearance of Black Jack Tarr, who is a prominent supporting character of Shang Chi
  • Third appearance of Shang Chi
  • Jim Starlin cover!
  • White cover makes getting a high grade copy challenging

Basically, this will be the second best book to own after Special Marvel Edition #15. Once that book gets out of reach for most, it will be this book that will be bought and saved in collections.

For comparison, I am using Black Panther to see how other self titled #1 issues has been sold for.  I choose him as he is one of the rare few movie characters who have a first self titled issue in the Bronze age. For these non first appearances, I am looking for the highest grade to see meaningful returns.

IssuePrices (9.0)
Prices (9.2)
Prices (9.4)
Prices (9.6)
Prices (9.8)
Master of Kung Fu #17 (1974)USD70
Jungle Action #5 (1972)USD200
Black Panther #1 (1977)USD100

Black Panther first solo is recognized as Jungle Action #5 although it is a reprint. It has a closer supply to Master of Kung Fu #17 so would be a better bench mark. Black Panther #1 was published after 1975, which has a drastic increase in supply.

The table shows that there is a lot of room for potential growth, if Master of Kung Fu #17 becomes as desirable as Jungle Action #5. The best returns will come from 9.4 and 9.6 with an average of 3-4X growth potential. The rest will be around 2-2.5X potential.

Even if we compare against Black Panther #1, a much more plentiful book, there are still some potential gains although they are smaller.

Either way you cut it, this book is undervalued and should see more interest as Shang Chi heats up.

Master of Kung Fu #26

master of kung fu 26

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With today’s casting news of a female asian assassin, the character that came to my mind is Zhang Bao Yu aka Fah Lo Suee.

What is interesting about her is that she eventually changed from a villain to become the Director of MI6. Why is that significant? I will touch on that again in the last section where I speculate where the Shang Chi movie is going. If she was just a minor villain, I will usually give this kind of book a pass.

Anyway, this is a cheap ass book that should be pretty affordable to all. It also has an ok first appearance cover, at least compared to the next book on the list.

Master of Kung Fu #33

master of kung fu 33

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My number one pick for the leading lady for the movie: Leiko Wu. This issue is her first appearance and has been a pretty tough book to hoard. The black cover didn’t help so finding these in high grade has been challenging.

The reason I picked her was because she appeared in nearly all Shang Chi stories. Moreover her agent like characteristic fitted well into what I think will happen for the movie.

The only drawback is that god awful cover for a first appearance. Her first cover appearance isn’t that great either.

master of kung fu 35-2

Among all the books here, #33 might be the most undervalued. Scope them up for under $10 if you can.

Tales of Suspense #50

tales of suspense 50

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Mandarin seems to be main villain for the movie, going by Kevin Feige’s confirmation of this character as well as today’s casting news. It makes perfect sense as the original villain of Shang Chi i.e. his father is not available for Marvel to use.

Mandarin appears in Tales of Suspense #50, a 1964 book that is not easy to come by. It features a fantastic front cover that will not doubt help its desirability. Add to the fact that Mandarin is not a throw away kind of villain, we can see some interesting price action on this book.

For bench marking, I am focusing on lower grades as these are more common to purchase as well as more affordable. We might even see high growth in percentage terms

IssuePrices (3.0)
Prices (4.0)
Prices (5.0)
Prices (6.0)
Prices (7.0)
Tales of Suspense #50 (1964)NA
Avengers #8 (1964)USD270
Fantastic Four Annual #6 (1968)USD100

Compared to Avengers #8, which is another villain hyped book, there appears to only a little room for growth as their difference is around 20-30%.

However, both books have not experienced the full media hype as nothing has been confirmed. My prediction is that both can still grow if they really are used in the MCU.

Where I think the movie is going

From the rumor mill, Shang Chi might be more of a spy movie with connection to the MI6. This makes sense as we don’t have such a spy thriller genre within the MCU now. We caught a glimpse of “James Bond” Shang Chi in the Hickman Avengers run. That might be the version we are going to see in the movie.

If this comes true, then MI6 will be introduced in Shang Chi as well. This is why I am keen on Master of Kung Fu #26 as Fah Lo Suee might take on a Nick Fury type of role but within the M16 context.

It is interesting to note that if MI6 is introduced, then introducing MI:13 is just a step away. That will bring in all the UK characters we have hear rumors on such as Captain Britain, Black Knight and maybe even other MI:13 members.

Assuming the above is true, then the following books might become interesting to comic buying folks.

Master of Kung Fu #42

master of kung fu 42

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This unknown issue might be the first appearance of the M16 agency. Normally, I wouldn’t even highlight this but with all the crazy specs I have seen, it will not be surprising to me if other spec sites start to talk about this. It also features the first appearance of Shock-wave! (I don’t know who the hell shock-wave is lol)

More interesting, below is a screenshot of some of the more prominent MI6 members. Some of the members are already covered above like Fah Lo Suee and Leiko Wu. Others that I like personally is Peter Wisdom, who happens to be in the MI:13 team as well. His first appearance is in Excalibur #86.

MI6 members


Shang Chi looks to be another winner in the MCU universe. It will be refreshing to see a kung fu style spy thriller, with a focus on asian characters and locations. I am sure the actor

7 thoughts on “Shang Chi key issues

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog, great analysis! I gambled on Shang Chi and won! I will follow your recommendations closely..

  2. Aaron, how would you rank this book? Spedial Edtion 15 his 1st App. A Gem? A Slow Burner? A Lottery? Also second question, how do you compare the book to iron fist

    1. The framework you mentioned applies to only modern books because they lack historical context for comic investors like us. For older books like Special Marvel Edition #15, they already have a history for us to know where they stand.

      I have made the comparison for Marvel Premiere #15 and Special Marvel Edition #15 in the table above.

        1. Unfortunately, I don’t have that information as well. Marvel did not publish any statement of ownership for this series

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