You Have No Idea How Much These 5 Comic Books Are Worth
When I write these columns, I love to include backstory about why comic books worth so much accrue such value. It is not enough to just become a comic book collector for its own sake or to chase a fad.
If you understand the comic book, its creator, the era in which it was published, or the crucial storyline it’s attached to, then you gain leverage in understanding how to game the comic book collector’s market to your benefit.
You Have No Idea How Much These 5 Comic Books Are Worth
Here are five comic books with varying levels of worth.
Use what I write here as a starting point to conduct your own research and learn about what you are buying before you buy it.
And just because a comic book IP is made into a film does not mean that it will become a smash hit.
Motion Picture Funnies Weekly 1 (First Funnies) April 1939
If you can find a copy of this comic book in any condition, you should snap it up. It will definitely increase in value.
This comic book features the first appearance of Namor the Submariner before Marvel Comics the company even existed. This comic was later reprinted in Marvel Comics #1, also printed in 1939 by Atlas Comics, which would later be renamed Timely and then finally Marvel.
As everyone now knows, Black Panther 2, which is due to be released in November of this year, will feature the first appearance of Namor in the MCU. Namor, usually portrayed as an arrogant and egotistical antihero in the comics, will play the villain in the film.
And to differentiate Namor from Aquaman, since both have similar underwater-based abilities and rule Atlantis, Namor will be played by Mexican actor Tenoch Huerta. And MCU Namor will be of Mayan Empire heritage instead of Atlantis.
The film will definitely be a smash success and make Namor a household name. And comic books worth a lot of money usually have storied histories like this.
Motion Picture Funnies Weekly was meant to be given out in movie theaters in 1939, but it didn’t happen. There may only be eight of these comics in existence.
A copy of this comic with a 9.0 grade sold for $43,000 in 2005.
Marvel Family #1 (DC Comics) December 1945
Comic book fans and casuals alike are eagerly looking forward to the release of the Black Adam film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And if there is any actor who was born to play the role of Black Adam, it’s Dwayne Johnson.
Imagine Superman with the egotistical cool of Jay-Z and willingness to prove his might to anyone disrespectful enough to demand it, and you get Black Adam.
Black Adam’s Golden Age comic book origin goes something like this; An ancient Pharoah named Teth-Adam is granted incredible powers by the Wizard Shazam. After being corrupted by his newfound powers, the Wizard Shazam changes his name to Black Adam and banishes him to the other side of the universe.
Black Adam spent over 5,000 years flying back to Earth. When he arrives, a new Shazam, originally known as Captain Marvel, is already named.
Anyway, Black Adam is a central character in the Shazam mythos. His origin has changed multiple times in the comics, but he is still a fascinating antihero today.
Black Adam first appeared in Marvel Family #1 in 1945. A copy of this issue with a 9.0 CGC grade sold for $90,000 in January 2022.
Comic books worth so much money already could gain in value as more films are released.
More Fun Comics #55 (DC Comics) May 1940
This comic book features the first appearance of Dr. Fate. Dr. Fate, a character with magical abilities similar to Dr. Strange, will soon be portrayed by veteran actor Pierce Brosnan in the upcoming Black Adam film starring Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson.
The original Dr, Fate, Kent Nelson, was exploring a Mesopotamian tomb with his father when a mysterious gas killed his father. The Nelsons had disturbed the tomb of a cosmic entity called Nabu who had co-opted the agency of Mesopotamian and Egyptian deities.
So, Nabu influenced Kent to become his champion, Dr. Fate. In 2015, DC introduced the new Dr. Fate, Khalid Nassour, who is the canonical grandnephew of the Golden Age Dr. Fate, Kent Nelson.
An issue of this comic with a 9.4 CGC grade sold for $124,000 in 2016. If you can find a copy with 2.0 CGC grade, you could get it for $1,500. There is no telling how comic books worth this much may increase in value after the Black Adam film releases.
Whiz Comics “#1” [No Issue Number on Cover] (Fawcett Comics) February 1940
I want to explain to you the origins of the comic book character of Shazam, who was originally known as Captain Marvel. However, I warn you that you will need some headache medicine, several flow charts, and superhuman patience as I explain.
The original Captain Marvel was published by Fawcett comics in 1939. Captain Marvel is basically a Superman analog who derives his powers from magic instead of science. Fawcett published comics featuring Captain Marvel, the Marvel Family, and Black Adam.
The character was so popular that DC comics sued Fawcett comics in the 1950s due to trademark infringement due to the similarities the character shared with Superman. Fawcett lost the lawsuit and went out of business.
Timely Comics, which would soon change its name to Marvel, trademarked the name “Captain Marvel,” in the 1960s while Fawcett was out of business. DC later bought the Fawcett comics characters and changed the Captain Marvel name to Shazam!. (This story is actually more complicated than my explanation.)
Shazam is a fairly popular comic book character who had a TV show in the 1970s. The character enjoyed more success when Zachary Levi play the character in the 2019 film. Levi will reprise the character, along with the entire Shazam Family, in the sequel to be released later this year.
Want some more confusion? Whiz Comics #1 is the first appearance of Captain Marvel (Shazam), but it does not feature an issue number on the cover. Worse, the interior of the comic mistakenly lists the issue as “ #2” due to a typo.
A 9.0 CGC-grade copy of this comic sold for $281,000 in December 2012.
But as previously mentioned, comic books worth so much in value usually have a storied mystique to them.
Detective Comics #140 (DC Comics) October 1948
The Batman starring Robert Pattinson has failed to break the $800 million profit ceiling. But it can’t be called a failure. Fans and critics alike have praised and hailed Pattinson’s interpretation of a young, inexperienced, and naive Batman with only 24 months of experience as a vigilante.
The film was influenced by several Batman comic books, most notably The Long Halloween, Batman: Year One, and Batman: Earth One.
Colin Farrell’s unrecognizable but committed and spirited take on the Penguin was influenced by the Batman: Earth One comic. In that comic book, the Penguin is a facially scarred and sadistic gangster, and the “Penguin” name is based on the character’s limp and hook nose.
But the standout performance in the film comes from Paul Dano, who portrays the Riddler like a creepy modern-day version of the Zodiac Killer.
If it wasn’t for the October 1948 publication of Detective Comics #140, we may never have had Dano’s performance to enjoy. The Riddler made his first appearance in this comic. And it takes a lot of creativity to create comic books worth so much in value later.
A 9.6 CGC copy of this comic sold for $456,000 in 2021.
Allen Francis is a full-time writer, prolific comic book investor and author of The Casual’s Guide: Why You Should Get Into Comic Book Investing. Allen holds a BA degree from Marymount Manhattan College. Before becoming a writer Allen was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including saving and investing in your own small business.