Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1990s

October 22, 2023


(Image courtesy Van Dos Santos via Pexels.)

The comic book movie boom of the past decade will create a new generation of comic book readers and investors. Investment takes time. Still, comic book film hype has caused the value of some 1990s comic books to rise in value due to the announcement of upcoming films.  Most of the most valuable comic books of the 1990s are not very valuable now. Not yet, anyway.

What’s important to remember about collecting comic books from the Modern Age is to keep perspective. We live in an era where comic books are making a billion dollars at the box office.

That is why you should research the most valuable comic books of the 1990s. The older a rare comic book is, the more valuable it becomes.

That is something to bank on in the future. Still, whether you’re interested in investing or not, the best way to understand comic books is to dive in and start reading them. This is especially true if you’re a casual reader.

You will find two pivotal and valuable comic books from the 1990s that are worth finding for an investment. Additionally, each suggestion in this list will also have a link to a graphic novel featuring that character as suggested reading potential for casual readers who want to learn more.

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You should invest in the most valuable comic books of the 1990s now. Someone bought a rare copy of Action Comics #1, printed in 1938, for $3.2 million in 2014. That comic would not have been worth $3.2 million in 1942. A return on investment takes time and planning.

Investments in stocks, companies, or valuable comic books take time. It could take decades to get a return. But as previously mentioned, comic book news and hype are making comic books from recent decades more valuable quicker depending on the announcements of new films.

So, you should understand what would appeal to a comic collector a decade from now. Get into comic books as a hobby if you are a curious casual.

The Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1990s

Modern comic books are not as rare as comics published in the early 20th century. But the 1990s are far away enough to feature pivotal comic book moments or now-popular characters where investing in them now could make them much more popular in the future.

The most valuable comic books of the 1990s that featured the first appearances of characters like Deadpool and Harley Quinn could be shrewd investments to make now.

New Mutants #98 (February 1991) Marvel

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Do you know the reason why Ryan Reynolds, now synonymous with the fourth-wall-breaking, wisecracking superhero Deadpool, secured the role?

Reynolds’s first attempt to headline a comic book film franchise, 2011’s disastrous live-action Green Lantern, was a disaster. That film’s failure sidelined his securement of the Deadpool role for years.

Legend has it that every studio was rejecting the Deadpool project Ryan tried to launch. Tim Miller, a noted video game designer, and aspiring film director was hired to direct the live-action Deadpool in 2011.

However, filming on Deadpool didn’t begin until 2015. Meanwhile, there was no interest from studios. Miller, or someone in his department, leaked a pre-visual demo for a Deadpool stunt sequence online before filming began. The stunt worked. The leaked stunt demos created a fan fervor that couldn’t be ignored. 2016’s Deadpool and its 2018 sequel Deadpool 2 collectively grossed over $1.5 billion at the box office.

Comic book fans all over the world are now feverishly awaiting Deadpool 3, featuring Hugh Jackman’s return as Wolverine and wearing the iconic yellow costume, for release sometime in 2025.

Deadpool made his first appearance in the pages of the X-Men spinoff comic book New Mutants #85 in February 1991. The character was created by writer Fabian Nicieza and artist Rob Liefeld.

Deadpool began life as a deadly supervillain but has since morphed into an antihero. And, a bankable household name due to Reynold’s portrayal.

A copy of New Mutants #98 with a CGC grade of 9.8 currently has a collectibles market value of over $1,517. You could buy a copy with a 9.2 or an 8.0 CGC grade for just under $400. If I were you, I would buy this comic. Watch the market movement on this comic for the next 3 or 4 years – it could increase in value as Jackman makes his return as Wolverine in Deadpool 3.

Suggested Reading For Casual Readers – Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe

Deadpool is actually a very tragic comic book character. There is a secret program that uses people with extraordinary abilities and enhances them via intrusive experimentation to groom them as super soldiers. Deadpool was given a healing factor after it was learned that he was dying of cancer. However, the overload of his healing factor keeping the cancer ravaging his body in check has caused his body to be horribly scarred. This process overwhelms his sanity as well.

Deadpool is basically immortal – if you decapitated him, he would survive. This comic is a non-canonical story about Deadpool methodically killing every superhero in the Marvel Universe. If you enjoy Deadpool’s 4th wall-breaking antics in the films, you’ll enjoy his gonzo goriness and killing skills in this classic series.

Get it for $13.49 at Amazon now.

The Batman Adventures #12 (September 1993) DC Comics

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Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a psychologist working at Arkham Asylum. Dr. Quinzel was working on a project to cure the Joker of his murderous insanity.

Instead, Quinzel’s mentality and personality were corrupted by the Joker. She was transformed into his lover and sycophant Harley Quinn.

However, Harley Quinn is now an independent antihero in modern comic books. The character’s first comic book appearance was in The Batman Adventures #12 in 1993.

In April 2016, a copy of this comic with a CGC grade of 9.8 sold for $1,800. The value of a comic with this CGC grade is now worth $2,640.

Harley Quinn originally appeared in a 1992 Batman cartoon and later became a comic book hit. Harley is female, powerless, essentially a Joker-derived analog, and yet is a pop-culture icon. This was not the norm in the 20th century.

The evolution of Quinn from cartoon to comic books to the big screen will appeal to collectors decades from now.

Margot Robbie has portrayed Harley Quinn in several films already. Whether or not she will be recast in the near future is undetermined. A new actress will assume the role in the coming years because WBD will definitely keep using the fan-favorite character on the big screen.

Suggested Reading For Casual Readers – Harley Quinn: A Celebration of 25 Years

This is a 409-page graphic novel that collects over a dozen of Harley Quinn’s most memorable comic book adventures since her first canonical comic book appearance in DC Comics in 1999. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to Harley Quinn, this is a great way start your immersion into the character.

Get it for $39.99 at Amazon.

Value is in the Future

As a collector of Modern Age comics, it’s important to keep perspective. In an era of relatively larger print runs, there is no scarcity of copies right now.

E-comics are popular. This may be the last era of large print runs of physical comics.

The most valuable comics of the 1990s exist now but won’t be valuable until the future. Consider it an investment akin to investing in stocks that you believe will accrue more value in the future.

Read More

Top 25 Most Valuable Comic Books

Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1980s

Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1970s

Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1960s

Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1950s

Most Valuable Comic Books of All Time


3 comments on “Most Valuable Comic Books of the 1990s”

  1. Mr. Francis

    My name is Matt Chamberlain. I had a comic book collection left to me and 95% is books from the 90’s. I’m overwhelmed. I see that obviously if I have certain ones graded they’re worth more. Probably 90% of what I have never been opened and are either in nice plastic “sheaths” and maybe 30% of the 90% have a hard cardboard-like backing. Most are X Men but definitely a variety.
    Do you have any suggestions? There’s 311 I believe and I had some guy come out and offer $50. I’ve looked up about half of them so far and I’ve probably got 4 or 5 that are at least $80 and no more than $300..Again..getting back to the grading….any assistance that you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  2. Allen Francis says:

    Hello Matt! Thank you for reading the column and leaving a comment!

    I understand that you feel overwhelmed. But it’s hard to profit from comic book collectibles – very few people turn a profit with comic book collectibles, and never easily. So, take this process one step at a time.

    My first piece of advice to you is to adjust your expectations. The 1990s comics scene was a self-inflicted comic book speculator nightmare. Comic book companies printed hundreds of thousands and millions of issues of comic books to satiate collectors who thought they were investing in comic books that would be worth fortunes in the future. (The law of supply and demand states that scarcity creates value) Marvel almost went out of business in 1996. They sold the film and TV licenses for many IPs to stay afloat. Marvel almost sold all of their IPs to Sony for $25 million but Sony only wanted Spider-Man. (Marvel Studios was almost NEVER a thing) The comics market and Marvel almost went bust because too many comics flooded the market and 1990s collectors were stuck with too many copies of comics that wouldn’t be valuable anytime soon. I don’t know what comics you have, and I am not saying you are in this predicament. Just be prepared for the possibility that most of your comic books may not be as valuable as you would like to believe. (I didn’t say give up hope, just be realistic.)

    Next, I think you have to do your own research. You want to sell these comics? You have to find a buyer who finds them more valuable than you. You can’t do that unless you understand the market value of each issue. You mentioned some guy tried to buy them all from you for $50, but you knew some of your comics were worth $80 to $300? OK – now do a full inventory. Get plastic gloves and place every comic book in a MYLAR comic book sleeve with a cardboard back. You could read every comic book or look up summaries online, but find out what makes each comic book valuable – does it feature a pivotal comic book history moment? The introduction of a character? The death of one? Does the work of a favorite writer or artist appear in it? Scarcity really makes a comic valuable, but that may not be the case wth a 1990s comic book. You may need to persuade or negotiate with someone about the value of your comic books. You know the market value of a car before you sell or buy one, right? If you don’t know the true value of the comic book you are trying to sell, you could get ripped off. Or you may waste your time trying to sell comic books with no appreciable market value. Check the market value of your comic books at “comic book price guide sites” like ComicsPriceGuide, Comic Book Realm, Heritage Auctions, SellMyComicBooks, or CGCComics.com – you should check the value of every comic book you have on a few of these sites and then cross reference the values you see. Then you can get a ballpark estimate of the comic books in question. (You said you looked up the value of half of them, but you should look up the value of all of them.) You can check the value of the comics online at these sites yourself – but some of them have a process to get graded and a ballpark value estimation by an expert for a fee. Every comic book that you know for certain is valuable should get graded and put in a slab.

    Finally, if you think the few comics you have are valuable, get in touch with a local collectibles dealer. (Personally, I would only do this if market value research shows that you stand to make a few hundred or thousand to make it worth your while.) You should get a collectibles expert to help out, and they may know a buyer who wants them. (A potential buyer is not just going to take your word for it that your comics are invaluable – there are levels to this. It’s a process and to engender trust, show the buyer you understand the gravity of the potential deal) Is this a lot of work? – yes it is. But you look at those comic books and see an investment that could be valuable to the right buyer. There is no such thing as easy money if you are trying to profit from an investment, especially if you are uninformed about the investment and want to cash out quick. (The hard truth is that it is very hard to profit from comic book collectibles – you really must know what you are doing and have the right networking skills to find a potential buyer)

    Some of the comic books that don’t have value right now may acquire value in the future. Don’t throw them away. Assess what may make them valuable to a collector in the future. (For example, collectors are now scrambling to buy the first appearances and important issues featuring Namor, a character that was virtually unknown to non-comic book readers and the general public until Wakanda Forever was released.) There are many comic book characters that will become popular in the future. (This is NO guarantee that those comic books will become valuable. But it is also true that when these films get released, collectors and casual comic book readers scramble to buy old comics or trades to learn about these characters)

    Investors understand their investments and research them exhaustedly. Learn more about comics, why your comic may be valuable, learn the market value of those issues, get the most valuable comic books graded and evaluated, consult an expert, and you may give a buyer plenty of reasons to take them off your hands on your terms.

    Thanks again for the comment, and good luck.

  3. Fred says:

    Pretty sure you meant New Mutants 98, I’m not sure of any significance of 85 beyond Liefeld and McFarlane being the artists. 87 first showed Cable in his grown up form.

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