Undervalued Comics #31 – Top silver age comics to invest in for 2020 and 2021

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Here is a detailed analysis of the top undervalued comics in silver age that you can make a handsome returns on. (Note, they are not ordered in any particular way)

Key Silver Age ComicGrade to InvestCurrent PriceExpected PriceProfits
X-men #496.0$100$250$150
Fantastic Four #367.0$350$600$250
Thor #1346.0$150$300$150
Strange Tales #1238.0$200$400$200
Tales to Astonish #638.0$250$700$450
Tales to Astonish #908.0$150$300$150
Justice League #216.0$200$350$150
Thor #1298.0$200$400$200
Links above are to Ebay. If you buy something, I will get a commission from Ebay as part of its affiliate program. If you want to support my research, using my links to buy from Ebay will be the best way.

A glance at the table above will show you that all the characters and issues highlighted here are not your Tier A characters. That is to be expected if you are looking for undervalued silver age comics. This era has been mined so extensively that it is going to be tough to find any kind of diamonds in the rough.

While not Tier A characters, these characters I picked at at least not one off or minor characters. All of them have been making close to 200 or more appearances and should be familiar with anyone who collects comics.

However, all books need catalysts, be it movies or new series or just market talk. If the catalysts do not happen, the prices of these books will not move.

 

Criteria for undervalued

As outlined in my listing for undervalued comics, I used 3 ways to determine if a comic is undervalued.

  • Undervalued relative to its importance or character popularity. New modern books usually will score zero here.
  • Undervalued relative to its peers. This is why I used the benchmark approach to find undervalued comics as demonstrated in my post on tomb of dracula #10 value before any news was made.
  • Undervalued relative to its historical high i.e. books that have cooled off despite the character still being an important one.

For each book recommended here, I will highlight why it is undervalued using one or more of the reasons above.

 

X-Men #49

Date of Publication: 1968
Sale number: 273,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Polaris

2. Great Jim Steranko cover

3. White cover might make this one hard to get in high grade

 

Among all the non first tier silver age x-men first appearances such as Havok, Banshee, Sunfire, Mimic etc, Polaris might have the biggest chance to break out and become the next must-own X-men book.

Prices on all X-Men books have been going up since the Fox buy out but there is still room for growth.

Undervalued relative to importance

Unknown to most, Polaris was the 7th X-men after the original five and Mimic. Banshee appeared earlier but was portrayed as a villain.

More importantly, Polaris does not lack a fan base.

I analyze the appreciation thread length in the cbr forums for most of the popular X-ladies. Here is how Polaris stack up:

  • Jean Grey and Storm are the leaders with over 150 pages of worth of comments in their appreciation threads
  • Psylocke was in third with over 100 pages
  • Polaris was in fourth with over 50 pages. The rest like Emma Frost, Kitty, Rogue, Magik all had 25+ pages

This indicate that either Polaris has many fans or her fans are very passionate, thus generating such a long thread of comments.

Either way, this is to show that Polaris is a character to watch out for among the many X-men members.

Undervalued relative to peers

I picked 2 books to benchmark: another X-men issue within the same run as well as another Marvel 1968 book which has went through the media treatment.

Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
X-Men #49 (1968)$50 (14)$100 (38)$250 (130)
X-Men #28 (1967)$70 (20)$110 (60)$300 (131)
Captain American #117 (1969)$120 (80)$230 (165)$450 (208)

Currently, X-Men #49 is not behind any of its surrounding X-men issues such as X-Men #28, thus this book is not undervalued from this perspective.

One reason is that this whole run from #20 onward is undervalued. This is because none of the characters who first appeared in this run has received any big media push.

If we look at other Marvel 1968-69 books which have received such treatment, such as Falcon Captain America #117, the price gap is more obviously. Even with more books on census, Captain America #117 is commanding at least 2X the prices of X-Men #49. This indicates room for growth.

Why is it undervalued

1. Undervalued relative to the popularity of Polaris

2. Undervalued relative to their other Marvel 1968-69 books that have receive the media hype

Risk factor

There are so many X-Men members that Polaris might be left at the side to focus on the most popular members such as Wolverine, Gambit, Storm, the original five etc.

Fantastic Four #36

Date of Publication: 1964
Sale number: 250,000 (estimated)

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Frightful Four

2.First appearance of Medusa

 

I picked this book not from an Inhuman angle. We all know that MCU will likely introduce Inhuamans in the Kamala Khan as all Inhumans keys might see some interest again.

However, I picked this book mostly from the Frightful Four. With Fantastic Four coming back to MCU, the Frightful Four is a natural nemesis and one that will be fun to watch, rather than fighting Dr Doom again.

Undervalued relative to importance

Frightful Four was an ongoing threat to the Fantastic Four for the longest time from the 60s to the 90s. As the FF lost its popularity before the Fox bought over, so did the Frightful Four.

However, I expect this team of villains to regain some of its impact as the FF rise back to its popularity.

Undervalued relative to its historical high

I bought many copies during this book during 2014 to ride on the Inhumans wave.

Sorry for the blur image

All copies were sold for solid profits. I remembered the 8.5 was bought for $520 and sold for $1000. The raw copies were mostly in fine or very fine- shapes and were sold for $200 each.

Prices have since came down due to the failure of the TV property. A 8.5 was recently sold for $650, which was nearly what I paid for 6 years ago!

If you believed the Inhumans will make a comeback, or the Frightful Four might show up in the MCU, this book is undervalued from its historical high.

Why is it undervalued

1. Undervalued relative to their historical importance of the Frightful Four as a natural nemesis to the Fantastic Four.

2. Undervalued relative to its historical high when Inhumans were in the news

Risk factor

Frightful Four might be seen as too childish to be used

Thor #134

Date of Publication: 1966
Sale number: 296,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of High Evolutionary

2. Have spiked before so we know how high this book can go

3. High chance of appearing in GOTG #3

 

Thor #134 was not featured on this blog before but it was heavily talked in CBSMT, a group that I used to help moderate. The reason why I am bring this up again because the prices have soften to the point where I think it make sense to purchase this book again.

Undervalued relative to importance

High Evolutionary has been a recurring villain in the Marvel Universe with 190 appearances made since he first appeared in Thor #134.

He was more prominent during the late 1980s with the Evolutionary Wars storyline compared to current. However, you can see him appearing in Cosmic storylines in the 2000s. Given how cosmic will be important to the MCU, there is a chance that the High Evolutionary might be more than a one off character.

Undervalued relative to peers

There is a ideal benchmark and that the first appearance of Annihilus. Both are villains and both appeared in the same year.

Of course, the FF annual #6 is also the first appearance of Franklin Richards. However, I wonder whether how much of the spike in this book last year was due to Franklin, rather than Annihilus.

Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
Thor #134 (1966)$70 (16)$150 (41)$400 (51)
Fantastic Four Annual #6 (1966)$150 (52)$350 (95)$700 (113)

The table makes it pretty obvious that Thor #134 has an opportunity to increase by almost 100% in very grade.

Undervalued relative to its historical highs

I bought into books in 2019. Here is some of them. The CGC graded copies were not included in the image.

I have solded a 7.5 for $370, having purchased it for $185. The profits have paid for all the remaining raw copies which I bought for mostly $20-30 range.

The importance thing is that prices retraced almost back to where I first bought them. A 7.0 can be had for $250+ whereas it is $370-400 at its peak in July 2019.

The reason for the softening is probably due a lack of movie news, which is expected given the current Covid situation. However, I am 90% confident that High Evolutionary will be coming to the MCU and it is a good time to pick these, especially in raw.

FYI, a VF raw just sold for $100. What a steal!

Why is it undervalued

1. Somewhat undervalued relative to the amount of appearances the High Evolutionary has made and also the number of key storylines he is involved in.

2. Undervalued relative to similar villains first appearance such as Annihilus in Fantastic Four Annual #6

3. Undervalued relative to what it was selling for in Summer 2019. Once the news cycle restarts, I expect this book to go back and even exceed its prices in 2019.

Risk factor

The main risk is that the High Evolutionary will not appear in GOTG 3. However, my personal view is that this character has a high chance of being the main villain in that movie.

Strange Tales #123

Date of Publication: 1964
Sale number: 215,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Abner Jenkins, who then went on to become Mach-1

2. High grades in vf and above are hard to come by

3. Good first appearance cover

 

With Thunderbolts becoming more and more likely, most of the first appearances of its recurring members are still ignored by the market. Abner Jenkins is one such character.

Undervalued relative to importance

Abner Jenkins has made over 277 appearances in comics, which come as no surprise if you are a regular Thunderbolts reader. This character has been present is almost all the different team iterations, either as core members or a supporting character.

Here is a video showing the result of a poll conducted on Comic Alliance about their favorite Thunderbolt members. Abner Jenkins aka Mach-1 was on the list.

Undervalued relative to peers

The most conservative book I can find is Avengers #43, the first appearance of Red Guardian.

Here is a character who:

  • Made only 24 appearances compared to Mach-1’s 277
  • Looked totally uncool in the movie
  • Appeared in late silver age book, which has more supply than Strange Tales #123
Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
Strange Tales #123 (1964)$30 (2)$80 (11)$200 (28)
Avengers #43 (1976)$90 (17)$130 (27)$300 (39)

Despite Avengers #43 being such a poor candidate for comparison, it still outperforms Strange Tales #123 in price performance across all grades.

In the event that Abner Jenkins in introduced in the MCU vis the Thunderbolts IP, the upside will be stronger than what Avengers #43 has accomplished.

Why is it undervalued

1. Undervalued relative to how many appearances Abner Jenkins has made and how crucial he is to the Thunderbolts IP

2. Undervalued relative to their other Marvel minor keys that have received media spotlight.

Risk factor

Thunderbolts have so many members that Abner Jenkins might not be chosen for the MCU.

Tales to Astonish #63

Date of Publication: 1964
Sale number: 207,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First full appearance of the Leader

2. High grades in vf and above are hard to come by

 

This and the next book are very closely relative.

  • Both characters have been introduced into the MCU but have been forgotten
  • Both are related to the Hulk IP
  • Both might be related to future Thunderbolts IP in the MCU

Undervalued relative to importance

The leader is the nemesis of the Hulk. He has made 192 appearances in comics and has been listed as #63 in IGN’s top 100 villains.

In other words, the Leader is not a one of kind of villain with no depth or track record. He actually became the leader of one version of the Thunderbolts with the Red Hulk in it. That goes to show he can be a Loki type of character rather than Hela.

Undervalued relative to peers

Picking a benchmark for the Leader is tricky. To remedy this, I picked a bigger range so that you can determine what is a good benchmark for yourself.

My first choice is Avengers #8 because both books are from 1964, thus they have similar supply on the CGC census. Kang has also made similar appearances as the leader (195).

In fact, I think the Leader is a better villain because he can become an anti-hero while Kang seems more like a one off kind of character.

If you think using Kang is too aggressive, another silver age villain for benchmarking can be Annihilus. He make less appearances (152) than the Leader and also has more supply of books. If his first appearance is worth more than Tales to Astonish #63, surely the later is undervalued.

Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
Tales to Astonish #73 (1964)$50 (2)$200 (11)$250 (34)
Avengers 8 (1964)$250 (90)$600 (119)$1000 (104)
Fantastic Four Annual #6$150 (52)$350 (95)$700 (113)

Whether is it comparing to Kang or Annihilus, the Leader’s first appearance is undervalued. One reason is due to the Leader being off the radar for so long that comic investors have forgotten about it.

Why is it undervalued

1. Undervalued relative how the Leader has been used in the Marvel universe

2. Undervalued relative to their other Marvel silver villains such as Loki,

Risk factor

Villains are always more risky as most of them do not hold their value. Having said, the price points are currently low enough that even if prices start to retrace, you should be able to make a healthy return.

Tales to Astonish #90

Date of Publication: 1967
Sale number: 269,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Abomination

2. Silver age introduction of Doctor Fate

 

The catalyst for this book becoming hot is the same as Tales to Astonish #63, is the Thunderbolts IP. MCU might being him back for being the muscle of the group, which should excite his fans.

However, out of all the books in this list, this will be my least favorite as Abomination seems like such a one off character. Unless Kevin Feige do some magic to transform his appeal, the sustainability of this book is questionable.

Undervalued relative to importance

Abomination was ranked #54 on IGH top 100 villains list, which is higher than the Leader.

He already appeared in the MCU, which signals his popularity or else he will not be used.

Undervalued relative to peers

For bench marking, Avengers #43 makes a perfect comparison. Both books are published in 1967, with very similar census numbers.

Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
Tales to Astonish #90 (1967)$50 (5)$70 (10)$140 (40)
Avengers #43 (1967)$90 (17)$130 (27)$300 (39)

One look and it is obvious the book have room to grow if this character gets hot again.

My personal projection is that it will do more just because Abomination has more fans than Red Guardian. One thing that isn’t so ideal is that god awful cover. If only the cover of Tales to Astonish #91 is his first appearance.

Why is it undervalued

1. Undervalued relative to Abomination’s popularity relative to other villains.

2. Undervalued relative to Marvel’s other minor keys that have received media hype.

3. Undervalued relative to what this book is selling for during the Hulk movie in 2008.

Risk factor

Abomination lacks the sophistication to be a long time villain like Loki, Thanos or even the Leader. Still MCU has make Drax the Destroyer successful so anything is possible.

Justice League of America #21

Date of Publication: 1962
Sale number: 340,000

Key strengths of this book
1. Silver age introduction of Justice Society of America as a team

2. Silver age introduction of Doctor Fate

3. High grades in vf and above are hard to come by

 

There seems to a lot of media attention on the Justice Society recently, from all the Black Adam movie news and the Stargirl TV show announcements. I hope such attention can bring a spotlight to a team that has been undervalued for so long.

FYI, I highlighted this book before in 2016 in one of my articles on undervalued DC comics for 2016.

Undervalued relative to importance

Anybody who knows the history of comics will know that Justice Society of America in the golden age is considered one of the first ensemble of heroes in comics.

Over time, due to the popularity of Superman and Batman, Justice League has become DC’s number one team. However, Justice Society remains a team that has important historical significance and still has fans today.

With all that being said, the book to own is of course All Stars #3. Unfortunately, unless you have tens of thousands lying around, the next best thing is to invest in their silver age appearance, which is this book.

Although Justice League of America #21 is no golden age book and cannot be compared with in terms of scarcity, it is also not an easy book to have relative to Marvel pre 1964 silver age keys. An 8.0 will already require some waiting.

While the introduction of the entire team in the silver age is already a good reason to own this book, my personal reason is actually Dr Fate. I feel he has the design element and fan base, among all the members to really stand out.

Undervalued relative to peers

Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
Justice League of America #21 (1963)$120$200$800
Adventure Comics #260$200$350$1000

The above compares Justice League of America #21 with other DC books that have introduced golden age characters into the silver age.

The best benchmark will be Adventure Comics #260, with its silver age introduction of Aquaman.

The table reveals that the opportunity is in the mid and lower ranges where there is more than 50% potential returns. At the high grade, the returns is only 20-30%.

However, bear in mind the prices fro Adventure Comics 260 are in the cooling off period. In other words, you might get higher returns if JSA #21 heats up and you sell when they are hot.

Why is it undervalued

1. Undervalued relative to their historical importance

2. Undervalued relative to their other DC silver age introduction such as 1st Silver age introduction of Aquaman

Risk factor

The overall trend is against DC books at this moment. (See my article on why betting against the trend is risky). Even though this book might check off all the right boxes, the market might simply ignore of this because they do not trust DC books at the moment

Thor #129

Date of Publication: 1966
Sale number: 296,000

Key strengths of this book
1. First appearance of Ares in Marvel comics

2. Ares was important of the Dark Avengers storyline

 

Ares

Undervalued relative to importance

Ares has been playing minor roles during his introduction in Thor #129. His reinvention came in the 2006 self titled series that make the character more 3 dimensional.

In this regard, I would not say he is a super important character. However, he definitely deserves more respect than what he is getting currently.

Surprisingly, Ares has already made more than 270 appearances in comics, more so than the Leader, High Evolutionary, Abomination that have been featured in this list.

Undervalued relative to peers

If Ares made it to the rumored Dark Avengers movie, then we can use Thor #134 as a suitable benchmark since they are in the same run.

Another conservative benchmark is Avengers #40 that we have used previously.

Price of 4.0Price of 6.0Price of 8.0
Thor #129 (1966)NA$70$200
Thor #134 (1966)$70 (16)$150 (41)$400 (51)
Avengers #40 (1967)$90 (17)$130 (27)$300 (39)

Currently, Thor #129 is so cheap that I do not think there is any downside you need to worry about.

Whether you compare against the Red Guardian or the High Evolutionary, Ares is still a undevalued character if MCU introduces him via the Dark Avengers IP.

Why is it undervalued

1. Somewhat undervalued relative to how many appearances Ares has made in the comics

2. Undervalued relative to other similar first appearances who have underwent the media hype

Risk factor

Dark Avengers is still a unconfirmed rumor so Ares might not show up in MCU.

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