For comic books, bronze age is a period whereby there were lots of experiments which resulted in many new titles being launched. These number one issues became a collectible over time as most collectors regard number #1 as key issues to be owned. After almost 40 years, many of these number 1 issues are no longer continued and some are even forgotten. However, I still feel there are some undervalued gems within this patch of bronze age number one, especially with Marvel movies making everything cool again.
My criteria for choosing undervalued are as follows:
- Have a strong reason for price appreciation
- Below USD30 in Fine grade – Anything beyond this price is expensive to me, especially from the Bronze age which is the period where collectors have started protecting their comics.
- Non first appearance – First appearance are very key issues for most collectors. If a number #1 happens to be the first appearance, I am not sure whether the price appreciation is due to the ‘first appearance’ effect or the ‘number #1 issue’ effect.
- Can be purchased easily from Ebay – If an issue is undervalued but difficult to buy, there is no point in listing them here as you can’t take any action with the information.
So, below are the top undervalued issue ones from the Bronze age. They are listed in no particular order.
#1: Defenders #1
The group called Defenders make their first appearance in Marvel Feature 1, another bronze age #1 that I am not covering here (see criteria above). The team proves to so popular that they spin off into their own title after 3 issues in Marvel Feature.
The main reason for selecting this title is all down to Doctor Strange’s rumored movie appearance. It seems likely but nothing is confirmed yet. Given that Doctor Strange is the unnamed leader of the Defenders, fans might still buying this issue when the movie is confirmed.
There is also a small possibility that the Defenders themselves might make a movie appearance. Marvel studio has already has already onscreen Hulk. If Doctor Strange is also made into a movie, that leaves only Namor to deal with. If there really is a Defenders movie, expect this issue, along with Marvel Feature 1, to experience some serious price appreciation.
#2: Doctor strange 1
This issue is picked for the same reason above. When a Doctor Strange movie is confirmed, expect to see this issue rise. Interestingly, this is not the first time that Doctor Strange had his own title. However, in the first series, the numbering started from 169, rather than 1. This might lead to some confusion in the market and drive the collectors to this bronze age number #1. It does not hurt that it has a great cover.
#3: Black Panther 1
Another character that is rumored to make a movie appearance is the Black Panther. His first appearance in Fantastic Four 52 has already skyrocketed in price. The next issue to watch out for is this series, which starred Black Panther in his own title comic. Recently I have already seen some movement in prices so if an actual movie announcement is made next year, I predict it will become a USD50 or more book.
#4: Ghost Rider 1
The 2 ghost rider movies sucked pretty badly. Fortunately, the movie rights have went back to Marvel studio and this means a potential reboot down the road. Right now, there are no rumors of another Ghost Rider movie, which makes it a perfect time to pick up this gem. This book has seen higher prices in the past but has cooled down significantly after the movie sucked. Might be a great to pick one up if you don’t have it in your collection.
#5: Iron Fist 1
The heroes for hire franchisee has also seen some movie rumors. 2 of the key members of the team are Luke Cage and Iron Fist. Luke Cage issue 1 happens to be his first appearance so I am disqualifying this issue. Iron fist, on the other hand, made his first appearance in Marvel Premiere 15 so this makes his first own series cheaper to purchase.
Personally, I see heroes for hire as a potential TV show as the heroes are more down to earth. Since Marvel is going to launch Agents for Shield, a tv show, in September 2013, there might be other TV shows coming down the pipeline. This belief is backed up by ABC’s recent announcement that there should be more collaborations between Marvel and themselves if Agents of Shield does well.
#6: Inhumans 1
If you have been reading comic news, you will know that Marvel is launching a new Inhumans series later in the year. They are also the centre players of a big crossover event called Inhumanity. This seems like an odd choice given that the Inhumans have never been crowd pullers. One possible reason is that an Inhumans movie might be in the works and Marvel comics is laying the ground for Marvel studio. This is not completely new as we already seen previous examples such as Guardians of the Galaxy series supporting the Guardians movie and the Avengers AI series supporting the Ant man movie.
Even if there was no movie, the new series should spark some interest in issue one of the first Inhumans series in the Bronze age. The writer of this new series is Matt Fraction and he can potentially turn this franchisee into a more interesting and popular proposition for fans.
This is one of the cheapest book in this list so I recommend picking up 2-3 copies.
#7: Adam Warlock 1
Adam warlock is a personal favorite of mine so this inclusion might be a bit biased. However I do have my reasons. We all know that at the end of the Avengers movie, Thanos made an appearance and will most likely be the main villain in Avengers 3. Why is this related to Adam Warlock? In the comics, warlock is the only one who can match Thano’s wit. Nothing have been announced but Marvel studios might sneak warlock in one their movies. It is a long shot but worth it for the cheap price that you can pick this one up.
#8: Amazing adventures 1
This is the kind of 2 in 1 team up book that was very popular during the 70s. In this series, it starrs the Inhumans and the Black Widow. I have already explained why I think the Inhumans are worth a look. Amazing adventures 1 predates Inhumans 1 so this series might get hot instead.
Having the black widow in her first starring title also adds to the value of his book. Two for the price of one. Worth a look.
#9: Supergirl 1
The remaining 2 picks do not have movie related news so they are long shots. However, both are established characters that I feel will find an audience going forward. The first is Supergirl 1. Super girl is quite well known, even among non comic fans. Unfortunately, DC has not been treating her well, leading to one cancellation after another. However, I believe the brand of Super girl will soon see another revival and maybe even a movie appearance.
#10: Shazam 1
Shazam is another undervalued character. Recently, he has been featured in JLA’s backup stories. Shazam also has a strong brand that fans will appreciate once more is done with his character. You can currently find a NM copy for around USD30.
This is my personal picks for undervalued number one issues from the Bronze age. I am still personally trying to buy every issue mentioned here for cheap. If you have other recommendations, please leave a comment as well.