Categories
Culture News

Where to Read Graphic Novels Online

We’re approaching a new age of comics. There are lots of potential names floating around, but I like the term: The Digital Age. As we transition, there are more places than ever before to access and read comics and graphic novels online.

Whether you’re into the big 2 publishers, indie titles, creator-owned work or Golden Age greats, there is a service for every person and every budget. 

This week, in honor of some major news in the digital space, we will look at 8 great options to answer the question: where to read graphic novels online.

1. ComiXology
https://www.comixology.com/
ComiXology

If we are going to talk about digital comics, we have to start right here with ComiXology. ComiXology is an Amazon subsidiary and the preeminent source for digital comics online. They have just about everything. From single issues to collected editions, ComiXology has a vast library of titles spanning new releases to classic hits. They are essentially your Digital LCS. 

If you’re looking for a truly comprehensive library, then ComiXology is for you. The big downfall tends to be pricing. Pricing of books tends to be in line with physical books, without offering the benefit of collectability. For some, they don’t care. Digital comics are their preferred way to read the books, but many are looking to read digital at a cheaper price out of the gate, and for those customers, ComiXology has a subscription service. If customers don’t want to purchase books a la carte, they can pay $5.99 for a curated selection 25,000 options of newer books and hits that is very similar to a streaming service or OTT platform. Subscribers also earn 10-15% of regular releases. If all that wasn’t enough, ComiXology offers a free comics selection with some classics like The Walking Dead #1 and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1. 

Maybe you love the model ComiXology boasts but you are more focused on one specific universe. Have no fear, Marvel, DC and even indie publishers have established their own services. 

Read now
https://www.comixology.com/
2. Marvel Unlimited

Marvel Unlimited has a very similar model to that of ComiXology with 28,000 titles available for a $9.99 subscription price or $69 for a one time annual fee. This is definitely the go to option for fans who are really Marvel-specific, offering a similar size and scope of service to ComiXology’s subscription plan, but with a 100% focus on titles from the comic industry’s top publisher. 

There is also a $99 physical / digital combo option where a buyer can get a one year subscription to Marvel Unlimited and all its titles as well as a mystery box containing an exclusive action figure, variant covers, enamel pin and more. 

read now
https://www.marvel.com/unlimited
3. DC Universe Infinite

Having launched in January after the groundbreaking TV and digital comics combo of the DC Universe app was folded into HBO Max, DC Universe Infinite serves as the digital subscription service for the second leading publisher in comics. Offering a similar size library to Marvel, DC comes in lower monthly rate with a $7.99 subscription price monthly, but a slightly higher one-time buy-in at $74.99. 

This service has been extremely well received as DC has done a great job tying in upcoming media properties to available digital offerings, giving the casual fan more info. For instance, did you love James Gunn’s Suicide Squad? Well the DC Infinite service has all the Suicide Squad you could want to read to get you indoctrinated into the world of DC Comics. 

read now
https://www.dcuniverseinfinite.com/
4. Dark Horse Digital
https://digital.darkhorse.com/
Dark Horse Digital

Not to be left out, Indie publisher Dark Horse Comics is at the forefront of the online/digital comics movement with their Dark Horse Digital service. The goal of this service differs a bit from the Big 2’s model in that it isn’t a direct line revenue producer. Instead, Dark Horse Digital offers free downloads of #1 issues of Dark Horse titles in an effort to hook in the reader and have them coming back for more. 

So if you’re interested in a Dark Horse title but not sure you want to purchase the whole graphic novel, check out Dark Horse Digital and read the first 32 pages of the story to see if it grabs you. You just can’t argue with that value to the comic reader and investor for that matter. 

Many comic readers are looking for those old classics that just aren’t housed on many of these digital sites, don’t fret though, we have an option for you as well. 

Read now
https://digital.darkhorse.com/
5. Digital Comic Museum
https://digitalcomicmuseum.com/
Digital Comic Museum

The Digital Comic Museum is an amazing site that may look outdated in its appearance, but it’s a great tool and resource for those wanting to read and research comics from the Golden Age. The selection can be a bit sporadic as administrators are seemingly manually entering these vintage classics into a digital system, but this is the best option for those who want to read a John Wayne story or a classic comic title like Famous Funnies. 

Overall, it’s cool to see different eras of comics distributed through modern means.

Read now
https://digitalcomicmuseum.com/
6. Humble Bundle

Want to read some comics and donate to a good cause all at once? In that case, Humble Bundle is the offering for you. Humble Bundle offers digital comics bundles at set prices and at name-your-own-price levels where the service partners with brands to put together digital bundles—often publisher-wide—at crazy low prices with a set percentage going to charity. 

This service has largely been seen as a win-win in the community with publishers driving awareness, money being made for charities, and customers getting graphic novels that they are chasing at the lowest possible price point. 

The down side of Humble Bundle is that their offerings are constantly changing, making it hard for users to rely on the site for constant options within the guidelines of their desired reading. But while it may never be your go-to source, Humble Bundle is a great source to add to your digital comics portfolio. 

Read now
https://www.humblebundle.com/
7. Hoopla

Hoopla is one of my absolute favorite and most used digital comics services available. It is part of the public library system and users can borrow digital copies of movies, TV shows, books and, yes, comics for free with simply your local library card. 

Libraries are a big part of the spread and accessibility of the graphic novel market and Hoopla is fully supported by the comics industry as a free digital option for comics readers. Hoopla has an excellently curated collection of hits and timely selections of properties currently being popularized in other forms of media such as Black Widow, What If?, Jupiter’s Legacy and more. 

If you’re reading digitally, Hoopla should be a part of your program to do so. Having said all of that, I mentioned earlier that there was news this week on the digital comics front. 

Read now
https://www.hoopladigital.com/
8. Substack

Batman writer James Tynion made news when he announced that he was leaving DC for Substack, a digital subscription newsletter service where he will be posting all his creator owned titles as digital firsts before selling the rights to publishers for physical copies. 

With a model similar to Patreon or OnlyFans, fans subscribe to the creators of their choosing who can offer customizable packages for monthly rates as well as higher end packages with additional perks. Tynion, for instance, will be offering a subscription to his Substack for $7 a month or $75 up front. There is also a $250/year option that gives you  exclusive physical variants for Tynion’s upcoming Substack offerings. 

This made major waves in the industry with Tynion being arguably the #1 or #2 writer in comics (depending on who you ask) and choosing such a radical release method. While just having happened this week, we have seen the effect in the creative world as other A List writers have followed suit, with Skottie Young and Chip Zdarsky announcing subsequent moves to the platform, the momentum is only growing. Time will tell the potential success of this system, but there are definitely moves being made in the digital space and I am positive it had the attention of the Big 2. 

Overall, no matter what service you use, whether it’s free or a paid subscription, physical or digital, as long as you’re reading and enjoying comics and graphic novels then the industry and hobby will continue to flourish. It’s all about accessibility and bringing comics to the masses by delivering in ways that are most comfortable for the end user. Add in new services like Substack, which gives power to the creator, and we may be seeing a digital revolution in the graphic novel space. We are entering a true Digital Age. 

Categories
Culture News

Photo-Cropping Trends Dominate This Week In TikTok

This past week in TikTok was full of the usual fun-filled activities that we are used to seeing from the app. The beauty of TikTok is that it’s always changing, and whereas the platform was previously known as a “dance app,” we’ve since seen TikTok transition into a place where you can literally find anything and everything your heart desires. This week, there was a heavy emphasis on a newer “photo-cropping” trend that’s been taking over the TikTok “airwaves”, and oddly enough, little to no dancing. Let’s take a closer look at what’s been going on in the TikTok community so that way you too can get in on the action.

1. “The Hustle” Van McCoy

The word of the week is photo-cropping. It’s here, it’s present, and making its presence known on TikTok. This challenge is one of many powering this new photo-cropping trend as TikTokers are using the new creative effect to Van McCoy’s 1975 hit “The Hustle.” You already know TikTok loves the 1970s era from the hair trend that dominated early this year, so any challenge pulling from that is already a heavy hitter.

2. “Double Take” Dhruv

We told you this new craze was going to be here to stay. Yet another trend leaning on the photo-cropping feature, this particular challenge features TikTokers pulling from Dhruv’s 2019 single “Double Take.” The song itself is a perfect fit for crops and transitions, and you better believe TikTok has been taking advantage of that to the fullest.

3. “Industry Baby” Lil Nas X & Jack Harlow

It’s Lil Nas X and Jack Harlow. Does anything else need to be said? I’m terms of young entertainers who have an incredible amount of influence, these two are up there when it comes to impact and popularity, and they recently joined forces on their song (and viral music video) “Industry Baby” which had social media buzzing. That’s certainly no surprise right?

4. “She Knows” J.Cole

This song is heavily associated with a new trend where creators use an on-screen text/caption to share a lie or tell a falsehood, while singing part of the chorus where Cole says, “she knows, she knows, she knows.” It’s basically a play on words combined with a tad bit of drama. So get ready to bust out those acting chops because you are going to need them for this one.

That’s all folks! Catch you next time with the next TikTok roundup.

Categories
Culture News

Introducing ONE37pm’s ‘Today I’ and Diving into the World of Psychics

You know what they say: you learn something new every single day. In the spirit of that ethos, today ONE37pm is launching our latest pilot, titled: Today I. Featuring none other than our resident funny man and TikTok legend, Sean Millea, Today I highlights the man, the myth, the legend as he tries to learn some new things and share his findings with our hungry audience. On the inaugural episode of the series, Sean attempts to find the truth about psychics. Thus, the episode is aptly named, “Today I Find the Truth About Psychics.”

A bit of a skeptic, Sean traverses New York City looking for a couple of psychics to help him either prove or disprove the practice. Finding a psychic who is open and taking walk-ins is, apparently, much more difficult than one would anticipate.

Nonetheless, Sean eventually makes his way into a few offices, picking up some pieces of advice peppered throughout readings ranging from accurate to… less accurate. For both skeptics and psychic die-hards, watching Sean meander around the city looking for mediums to put to the test is an absolute blast. Watching the crumbling of Sean’s preconceived notions surrounding the practice is essentially the premise of Today I.

Sean Millea, self-described “skeptic”

I’m not gonna lie, I’m pretty skeptical about psychics. But this kind of freaked me out.

Today I demonstrates that the world isn’t always the way we picture it in our heads. Although Sean has historically operated as a psychic skeptic, when he actually dives into the world of readings, you can watch his world view begin to change. You’ve got to watch the full video to witness which moments spark the most belief out of a self-described non-believer.

You learn something new every day, and with Sean Millea at the helm of Today I, we get to learn something new along with him. Keep your eye on ONE37pm’s social channels, as we’ll soon be back with another episode of Today I and have numerous other shows in store coming your way.

Categories
Culture News

The 25 Best Batman Graphic Novels of All Time

On a weekly basis, I write about my love for investing and collecting comic books right here for ONE37pm. I truly love it. I love the commerce of buying an undervalued book and selling it to its forever home at a profit. But that isn’t all comics are about and it isn’t the main reason I love comics. 

I love to read comics. I was never much of a reader, but graphic novels and collected editions turned me into one. I am very visual and seeing the images depicted in the panels lets my imagination run wild with the stories. Graphic Novels have seen a rise in respect at both the book store level as well as in academia. People are beginning to realize graphic novels are more than just “funny books”. 

Also, graphic novels often collect multiple monthly comics which would be expensive to acquire singularly for reading purposes and would involve the reader risking damage to the books. So graphic novels are an amazing way to read the stories that are shaping generations without plopping down big bucks. 

Furthermore, when it comes to a character like Batman, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Batman currently is over his #1000th issue and that can be daunting to new readers. So with that in mind, ONE37pm and I present to you the Best 25 Batman graphic novels you have to read, ranked.

25. Dark Knights: Metal
https://amzn.to/3jsvCgB
DC Comics

This modern Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo classic seemed like a big swing, introducing new evil versions of DC super heroes. Batman is in full Detective mode in this one and the series gave us the debut of The Batman Who Laughs. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3jsvCgB
24. Gotham Central
https://amzn.to/3ju98M4
DC Comics

This novel actually isn’t really about Batman so much as it is about the city he calls home and the police force he regularly bails out. The story really focuses on Jim Gordon and was the inspiration for the Gotham TV show and the upcoming GCPD show. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3ju98M4
23. Batman: Cult
https://amzn.to/3xxeZVQ
DC Comics

This is a really unique Batman story for a few reasons. First, we don’t see traditional Batman villains as the main foe, but instead a vicious cult. This book also features fan-favorite Robin with Jason Todd in the role, which is only the case in very few stories before Jason becomes The Red Hood. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3xxeZVQ
22. Gotham by Gaslight
https://amzn.to/3ytuAY0
DC Comics

Batman stories tend to give us a little bit of everything. There are honestly Batman stories that would fall under probably a half dozen or more different genres. This story features a noir Detective Batman—a super hero Humphrey Bogart. This is also one of the many stories on this list to inspire an animated feature. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3ytuAY0
21. Batman: Venom
https://amzn.to/3ytuAY0
DC Comics

This isn’t an Eddie Brock crossover, but rather a story about Batman fighting against a new super drug that gives its users super strength and causes madness. Venom is the drug Bane takes to go from a normal human to a monster among men. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/2X4SpaH
20. Batman: Tales of the Demon
https://amzn.to/3fDYUHV
DC Comics

In this sequel to the Son of the Demon story, we continue the nuanced relationship between Batman and League of Assassins leader Ras Al Ghoul.

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3fDYUHV
19. Batman Black and White
https://amzn.to/3fAZDK4
DC Comics

Some Batman stories are about the plot, some are about the villains, and some are on this list because of the art. This one falls into the last category as this modern Batman series features art done 100% in Black and White. The series really hits a home run in detailing and you will find yourself turning the pages slowly and admiring the art.

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3fAZDK4
18. Batman R.I.P.
https://amzn.to/3xtHyUe
DC Comics

This 2008 Grant Morrison madness sees Batman face off against the Black Glove gang. This run of comics was maybe as popular for its covers (done by industry legend Alex Ross_ as it is for the awesome story Morrison unfolds. This story also sees the ascension of Dick Grayson’s Nightwing character taken to new heights, temporarily taking the Bat mantle.

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3xtHyUe
17. Batman: Son of the Demon
https://amzn.to/2Vn6eRr
DC Comics

With the sequel to this storyline already landing on the list, you know we had to include the original. Ras Al Ghoul is one of Batman’s most formidable villains and this story line really introduces a new reader to the character and his relationship with Batman. We see the effect a father figure can have on Batman. So much of the groundwork for later stories with Talia and Damian is laid here in this classic arc. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/2Vn6eRr
16. Batman and Robin
https://amzn.to/2VnxC1L
DC Comics

This is one of my favorite graphic novels in all of comics as it features a character I am extremely bullish on front and center; that is, of course, Batman’s son Damian Wayne. This story really is a proper intro to Damian after he debuted and is all about his foray into being his father’s not so enthusiastic sidekick. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/2VnxC1L
15. Death of the Family
https://amzn.to/3jtyZE2
DC Comics

Another follow up, this one came amidst the Snyder and Capullo new 52 run and gave us the return of Batman’s greatest villain: The Joker. The story crosses over into every Bat-Family title and—while not as iconic as the original story it was inspired by—it’s required reading for Batman fans. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3jtyZE2
14. Batman: Knightfall
https://amzn.to/3s0PXND
DC Comics

Batman vs Bane! This classic matchup is one that has been depicted several times in live action, animated form and in the pages of the comics, but it originates right here. While not the first Bane appearance, this story Arc features possibility his most important with the iconic back-breaking scene, in which Bane breaks Bruce Wayne’s back. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3s0PXND
13. Dark Victory
https://amzn.to/37qQ5wI
DC Comics

This story has a little bit of everything from mystery to murder. The sequel to the popular Long Halloween story, this murder mystery features a new villain and some familiar foes as Batman tries to stop a serial killer from devastating Gotham. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/37qQ5wI
12. The Man Who Laughs
https://amzn.to/3xodTvC
DC Comics

This story is the follow up to the popular Year One story we will cover later and tells the origin of the first meeting of Batman and his arch nemesis the Joker. The title is an homage to the classic film by the same title, which the character the Joker takes inspiration from. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3xodTvC
11. Joker
https://amzn.to/3lEDpKY
DC Comics

This Brian Azzarello and Lee Bermejo classic is less about Batman and more about the man that keeps Batman up at night: the Joker. The story uses a third party to really illustrate the thinking and morality of the clown prince of Gotham and is a great self-contained story to read for anyone who can’t get enough Joker. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3lEDpKY
10. Batman Adventures: Mad Love
https://amzn.to/3jzvUlX
DC Comics

You really can’t take a hard look at the totality of Batman graphic novels on the market and not acknowledge the impact of the Batman Adventures series. The comic that was inspired by the Bruce Timm and Paul Dini animated show was a big hit with kid collectors in the 1990s and has found relevance years later as those kids grew up and became the buying public. 

Furthermore, the Batman Adventures series features the debut and development of one of modern comics most popular characters in Harley Quinn. 

This story is a great intro for someone trying to get into Harley or who connected with Margot Robbie’s character on the big screen and wants to know more about the origins of this character. The story delves into the “mad love” between the Joker and Harley as well as their tumultuous relationship with Batman. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3jzvUlX
9. Batman: The Black Mirror
https://amzn.to/3Cn6IYg
DC Comics

The Black Mirror story played out in the pages of Detective Comics and was the last story right before Crisis and the New 52 reboot that would go on to make writer Scott Snyder a household name among Dark Knight fans. This detective story laid the groundwork for so many of the themes Snyder would later build upon. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3Cn6IYg
8. Batman: Arkham Asylum
https://amzn.to/3lEE1QM
DC Comics

Batman is awesome in and of himself no doubt, but there are also iconic elements around Batman that make him the most popular comic character today. Things like major villains, his Bat family, the city of Gotham as a whole and more really add to the Dark Knight’s mythos. Maybe no background factor plays as much of a consistent role as the prison where Gotham’s most vile villains are held: Arkham Asylum. 

This prison has been the inspiration for film, TV, video games and animated features as it often acts as a character in and of itself, filled with a who’s who of Batman villains. 

Also, for those Batman fans who love Grant Morrison’s signature manic style, this is the writer’s debut with the character and a real tone-setter for some of the stories to come after it. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3lEE1QM
7. Batman: Hush
https://amzn.to/3fD9PBN
DC Comics

This classic early 2000s story is seeing a renaissance as it was declared as the inspiration for a 2019 animated feature. The story introduced us to the new villain Hush but also laid the groundwork for a potential romance between Batman and Catwoman, one that has been heavily explored in recent years by Batman writer Tom King. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3fD9PBN
6. Batman: The Long Halloween
https://amzn.to/3CnLd9N
DC Comics

This is one of my personal favorite Batman stories and the story to read now before the Robert Pattinson run as Batman when The Batman hits theaters. This story inspires both that film (along with Year One) as well as an upcoming animated feature. Much more of a detective story than most, this graphic novel is a mystery that plays out like an episode of Law and Order set in Gotham City. A whole cast of villains appear as Batman tries to figure out who is at the hands of some gruesome murders in Gotham. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3CnLd9N
5. The Court of Owls
https://amzn.to/3CgTTP8
DC Comics

The very first arc in the rebooted New 52 from 2011, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo did something that many people thought was impossible in reinventing the world of this 70 plus year old superhero by adding the element of The Court of Owls. This story arc was an instant hit and sent back issue prices skyrocketing. 

The story line has inspired multiple retellings in animated form as well as on the TV Series Gotham. The secret society has been totally integrated into Gotham’s lore. This is maybe the most modern of any of the truly iconic Batman stories. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3CgTTP8
4. A Death in the Family
https://amzn.to/3CyQN9w
DC Comics

This is the original Death in The Family story arc that set comic book newsstands on fire. The Jim Starlin classic allowed fans to vote on the fate of its characters, resulting in the brutal death of a member of the Bat family at the hands of the Joker. This death would forever change Batman and also set Jason Todd on the path to become the cult popular Red Hood in the 2000s. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3CyQN9w
3. Batman: Year One
https://amzn.to/3jsmZmg
DC Comics

We really can’t take a deep dive into Batman graphic novels without looking at this classic retelling of Batman’s origin. This story arc has been the inspiration for so much that we have seen on film and really reset Batman on a clear path when the arc debuted on newsstands in the 1980s. It gives context to the anger and drive Bruce Wayne feels and shows the events that set him on his path as well as how the young Bruce reacted to them. It seems like this will continue to be a storyline that Hollywood will pull from when looking at Batman’s origin as a base for their storytelling. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3jsmZmg
2. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
https://amzn.to/3lF04qC
DC Comics

This is THE Batman story I would recommend to anyone who isn’t a big comic reader who is looking for a self contained Batman narrative. This one was originally an elseworlds story and has really become a part of the Batman mythos over the years. 

I think this is a great jumping on point for a generation who grew up with Christian Bale and Ben Affleck as their Batman, as both film franchises are set largely in the world of DKR. This dark and brooding Batman was a departure from the campy detective of the past and has resonated with a whole generation of movie-goers. 

What a lot of people don’t realize is the man who wrote this classic, Frank Miller, is also the man responsible for cross-genre hits like Sin City and 300. 

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3lF04qC
1. The Killing Joke
https://amzn.to/3jviXcD
DC Comics

This is the quintessential Batman vs. Joker story. This is especially recommended to those who have read or watched many Batman—or specifically Batman vs. Joker stories—as this graphic novel added nuance and perspective to the relationship that had never been seen before. This story begs the question: “Is Batman really a good guy? The ending will leave you guessing and probably arguing, what happened? Did he kill him? Arrest him? Who knows. And I kind of like the mystery about it.  

Also for DC animated fans, there is an animated feature of the Killing Joke, but viewers beware as they changed some details of this classic storyline and received backlash from Killing Joke die-hards, so do not simply skip the source material in favor of the easier watch.

buy now on amazon
https://amzn.to/3jviXcD
Conclusion:

By now, if you have taken the time to peruse the many Batman offerings listed above, you undoubtedly see that there is a litany of stories to choose from. And these are just the very best; Batman has a more than 80 year history of stories one can lose themselves in. What makes Batman such a unique character is the different genres he plays in and upon. Whether you like superheroes or not, mystery, love, family, duty and honor are all themes used as inspiration for stories and depending on what story you read and whose perspective it comes from can largely shape and even change your opinion on the characters of Gotham City. 

Batman is a timeless character and I suspect we will see Bruce Wayne patrol the streets of Gotham forever. And if DC ever does decide to let the character rest, there is a whole new crop of heroes ready to take the cowl like Damian Wayne, Luke Fox and Terry McGinnis. 

Like any list of this nature, there is always room for personal interpretation and debate. I want to know: What is your favorite Batman story? Hit me up on social media @akamrbolo on Twitter or @aka_mr.bolo on IG and let me know your favorite story from the Dark Knight.

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: Explaining Final Order Cut-Offs (FOCs)

A lot of talk in the collectibles space is about “what” items are worth investing in, but one element of the hustle that gets almost totally overlooked is the “when”. We see books spike, like the indie favorites Something Is Killing The Children or Canto, and we wonder: when is the right time to buy? Is it New Comic Day? Should I get in on the ground floor of cover price copies and load up? Or is it once a book starts to take off? That way you can allow the IP prove itself on the marketplace and go from there. Well, if you’re truly trying to be early and buy at the lowest point in the market, the date you should be paying attention to is a comic’s FOC date.  

FOC stands for “Final Order Cut-Off” and it’s the cutoff date that comic shops and wholesale accounts have to order products from distributors by in order to ensure that they will receive their ordered amounts of said title. This date occurs 23 days from the book’s release, or about 3 weeks. Ordering by this date allows you to lock in a pre-order guaranteed as well as secure the best possible price. Since comics are essentially printed to order up until the FOC date, stores are incentivized to give steep discounts ranging from 10-35% off cover price for ordering before that cut off date. If you’re investing in a new title, this ordering window is essential. It allows the investor to both predictably secure copies as well as lock in the lowest possible price.  It’s for these reasons that FOC ordering is a cornerstone of modern comic speculation and investing. 

This week I want to highlight what I am looking for when evaluating books on FOC lists. Cutoff for this week’s list is Monday at 10 PM EST and there is a title I have my eye on. It’s an indie book and some shops just don’t order those types of titles heavily. I don’t want to wait until release day to try to secure copies; that method just isn’t scalable enough to make my investment impactful. That is why focusing on titles within the FOC window is a must. 

The Last Flight Out:


In scouring the list, one title stands out above the rest: The Last Flight Out. This book checks all of the boxes for me. It comes from Dark Horse Comics, the indie publisher behind hits like Hellboy and Umbrella Academy. Dark Horse has a first look deal with Netflix, making the chances for their books to be picked up by the streamer strong. Because Dark Horse isn’t Marvel or DC Comics, stores don’t generally order dozens of each title. This is why FOC ordering is so important. If it was New Comic Day and you decided this was the title for you, or you were in the store and saw the book and thought it had legs, you would be limited by what your store ordered. Up until Monday, you can pre order any quantity you like. This is a valuable tool, especially when investing in smaller press indie books.

Another thing this title has going for it is its writer. The book comes from Hollywood heavyweight Marc Guggenheim. If you’re not familiar with that name, you are probably familiar with his work.  Marc has helmed the DC Comics CWverse as a producer on Arrow, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  He wrote the screenplay for the 2011 Green Lantern film and most recently brought Trollhunters to Netflix.  Marc is even currently working on writing the upcoming HBO Max Green Lantern TV Series. Marc’s Hollywood pedigree makes this title a natural fit as a Hollywood option candidate, but add in Dark Horse’s relationship with Netflix as well as Marc’s own, and this book seems like a slam dunk. 

The best resource to know what titles are hitting FOC is to use Diamond Comic Distributors own Previews World website as a guide. Once you have identified a target book you would like to order and know the FOC date you need to order by, the next step is to find a place to order the title. I would strongly suggest checking with your local comic shop, but if that is not possible, look for large retailers like Seattle’s TFAW, where you can pre order copies of The Last Flight Out #1 for $3.19, $.80 below MSRP.  For just a $319 investment, you could lock up 100 copies of what could quite possibly become Netflix’s next big hit. Is there any guarantee? No. But this is by far the best and cheapest way to get into the modern investment game. The key is patience; Hollywood development can take some time. Maybe this title will shoot to $10 out of the gate, but most don’t. Instead, I will be happy to have my 100 copies cheap and be ready to have the first to market slabbed 9.8 copies when the book is undoubtedly optioned.  

Whether this book looks like your type of read or investment, this method is a tried and true approach to getting in on the ground floor of a brand new launching indie series. So be sure to check out PreviewsWorld weekly for new titles hitting FOC, and if you are interested in a second look at The Last Flight Out, check out this awesome clip from an interview between the popular comics influencer Simpleman’s Comics and Marc to support the release of the book. You get to learn a bit more about Marc as well as his upcoming Dark Horse release. These are the kinds of tools that can make for smart FOC investors. 

So make sure to get those FOC orders in and join me next week when we take another look at what’s moving and shaking in the comic book market. 

Categories
Culture News

Red Bull Batalla Is Ready For Big Things in 2021

The ability to rap is a gift, and the ability to rap on the spot with little to no preparation is one that sometimes gets under-appreciated. Rap isn’t just a musical talent, it’s a feeling. It tells the beautiful stories of life and all of its highs, lows, and everything in between. In addition to the talent element, it takes a certain amount of grit and toughness to not only make it as a rapper but to elevate to the point where you’re performing on some of the world’s biggest stages. One of those stages is Red Bull Batalla, the world’s largest Spanish-speaking rap competition that gathers some of the best premier freestyle rappers on the planet to go toe to toe and put their talents on display.

Red Bull
Skiper & RC

If you are anything like me, then battle rapping isn’t an unfamiliar concept. I’m from an era (the early 2000s) where kids would rush from the school bus in order to be home in time to watch 106 & Park. The show, of course, was centered in the heart of Harlem eventually moving to Manhattan, and every Friday was “Freestyle Friday.” The segment mostly consisted of rising underground rappers who would square off in battles to determine the champion. “Freestyle Friday” was fun, entertaining, and full of musical prowess. Of course, you may have even been (or be) lucky enough to live in an area where battle rapping surrounds you every day.

Battle rapping itself is something that has been around for decades, and just about all of your favorite rappers have had to do it at some point. The ability to “spit” is largely determined by what you can do on the spot, and battle rapping is the ultimate test. Sort of like the concept of MTV Unplugged. Sure large-scale performances with insane production and effects were awesome, but if an artist could strip all of that away and perform only with a small band in front of an intimate audience—well that’s how you knew an artist was the truth.

Red Bull
Tess La & Juca

Now let’s dive a little more into the importance of battle rapping. As mentioned earlier, it’s mostly freestyle, aka “from the top of the dome,” and back in the day, winners would get bragging rights for being the better rapper. To be successful, one has to know many different rap styles and have the ability to easily switch their flow and cadence while having memorable one-liners. You also have to know your opponent and be emotional while not letting your emotions get the best of you. Simply put—it’s a skill, and not very many people can do it.

That said, there is a small percentage of individuals in the world who can, and many of them will be gracing the stage as we kick off the newest season of Red Bull Batalla. Having been around since 2005, Batalla has provided a platform for the best hip hop improvisers in the Spanish world to connect, develop and compete, becoming the world’s biggest international freestyle battle competition. 

The 2020 season was a record-breaking one, and Red Bull Batalla went through an intense process that required each MC to submit a freestyle video in order to select the competitors for this upcoming 2021 season. The submissions were judged and ranked by a panel of experts, and we spoke with four of them—Yartzi, Jordy, El Dilemma, and Jayco a couple of weeks ago in New York City.

Red Bull
Red Bull Batalla

Yartzi, who hails from Puerto Rico, is a 2x Batalla US Champion. Jordy is a 2021 competitor and 2019 runner-up. El Dilemma is the New York King of Spanish freestyle rap, and Jayco is a 2021 competitor. We talked to them about their personal rap battle journeys, and what they want the world to know about Red Bull Batalla.

ONE37pm: When did you guys first start battle rapping?

Adonys: I first started battle rapping officially about two years ago, but when you are freestyling, you are just going off the top of your head in terms of whatever comes out. I’ve been doing that since I was around 12 or 13. 

Jayco: I started rapping when I was 14!

El Dilemma: I started rapping around 2007. One of my biggest inspirations is J. Cole, and that’s when I really began tapping into freestyle mode.

Yartzi: For me, I started in 2014. I participated in a National Tournament in Puerto Rico called the Punchline Master. It was my first-time battle rapping professionally.

ONE37pm: What is your mindset when you know you have a competition?

Adonys: Well if I know I have a competition in the upcoming weeks, I tend not to over-prepare myself because it’s too much of a synthetic scenario. It’s freestyle, so you just want to flow off the top of your head. I try not to bring issues from the outside into the battle because that can affect my way of executing an idea. In terms of preparing for the competition, I work on my flow, drill, cadence, and delivery, but there isn’t much. Obviously, you want to be knowledgeable about the things that happen every day in terms of history and geography, but for me, it’s more of a mindset.

Jayco: I go into every competition clear headed, and I always try to be culturally relevant to all different cultures so that way when I travel to these different countries I can connect with fans authentically. When it comes to my mindset, I try not to overdo it by competing in too many competitions, but I am always sharpening my toolset by practicing as much as possible.

El Dilemma: Same thing with me! I try to stay clear-headed by not bringing outside problems in and focusing on what’s ahead. When it’s time for a competition I avoid distractions and stay off social media. 

Yartzi: My practices consist of exercises to have my mind stay sharp. I experiment with different formats and situations, and I practice mental agility. Anything I can do to stay on top!

ONE37pm: I know you all said that you try your best to stay clear-headed, but do you pull from your emotions and experiences when battling?

Adonys: I’ve actually done more emotional rapping than battling. I’ve been freestyling since I was 13, and I’m now 25. Out of these past 12 years, only the last couple have been battling. The other years were me having a bad day at work and rapping about it as I’m driving home, so that was my stress reliever. If it comes down to it again, I could do it and dig deeper, so it’s something that is natural for me.

Jayco: I’m an emotional rapper, and I channel that into my style and rhymes. My mood doesn’t make a difference as far as battling and being aggressive, and I use freestyle to let it all out and channel everything that I have been going through.

El Dilemma: My emotions run high when I’m battling, and I channel that energy back and forth. Battle rappers have got to have a lot of aggression when going against each other, and when somebody is going hard, you have to go harder. When I rap I have tunnel vision, and my focus is on my opponent and not letting the element of surprise get to you—especially when you aren’t on your home turf.

Yartzi: I definitely channel my emotions and experiences. You’ve got to have a lot of willpower, the ability to concentrate, and not give up when things get tough. The hard moments and the struggles are the ones that end up being the best battles.

ONE37pm: Last but not least, what do you want the world to know about Red Bull Batalla?

Adonys: Besides being a global phenomenon, I want for Batalla to be seen as an art form. You know Batalla is kind of like a sports competition, and Red Bull provides a great platform for artists to express themselves.

Jayco: Red Bull Batalla has provided a worldwide platform for 15 years, and it’s a stepping stone for a lot of stars through the internet and social media. Batalla has helped put the culture on the map, and I think that is super important to help learn more about the rappers.

El Dilemma: I 100% agree! I want more people to know about Batalla in the USA because it is the youngest movement compared to when you look at other countries. Batalla represents the culture, and we’ve been doing it for a long time. There is a lot of potential!

Yartzi: Freestyling is one of the most impressive things in the world! You have to conquer nerves, have agility, etc., and it’s an impressive thing to do. The world has a certain view of rapping not requiring a certain amount of talent, and it is exactly the opposite. You have to put a lot of practice into it just like with any other career, and battle rapping is prestigious. You have to respect the discipline.

Red Bull
Tess La & Juca

The largest Spanish freestyle rap battle in the world is set to kick off soon, and 36 rappers will have a chance to battle it out. The action starts on August 12th with the prestigious Twitch Battles, a bracket-style battle event where competitors will go face-to-face in battles captured in Austin, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York. These 1v1 battles will be reviewed by a special panel of judges during a live event on the official Red Bull Batalla Twitch channel taking place on August 12 at 7 pm EST/4 pm PST.

The panel of judges, including former Batalla competitors Tito Yang, Kim MC, and Cuban rapper El B, will evaluate the talent and skills of the MCs and decide if one, both, or none of the competitors is selected to move on to the USA National Final. Judges will assess the freestyle ability of each individual MC, and not who beats whom. Multifaceted Argentinian artist and media professional Muphasa is set to host the live Twitch event. 

Following the event, 13 lyricists will advance to the U.S. Finals in Los Angeles on September 18th. Additional information can be found below.

U.S. Finals | September 18

The 13 finalists who emerge from Red Bull Batalla Twitch Day victorious will go on to compete with the three returning finalists from 2020 for the U.S. Red Bull Batalla Championship, on September 18 in Los Angeles. During the competition, 16 will become one as the 2021 U.S. Red Bull Batalla Champion is crowned.

World Finals | December 11-12 

Following the U.S. National Final, the respective champions from over 10 countries including the U.S., Mexico, Spain, and Colombia, will square off for the Red Bull Batalla World Final – where only one contestant can be crowned the 2021 Red Bull Batalla World Champion. 

The Livestream of the 2020 Red Bull Batalla World Finals was watched by over 1.5 million concurrent viewers, making it one of the two most-watched music live streams of the year. To relive 2020 highlights, head to the Red Bull Batalla website. To learn more information about the 2021 Red Bull Batalla season, go here.

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: The National and the Best Sports-Comic Crossovers

It’s that time of year again. Finally, conventions are back! While there are several comic cons going on around the country this weekend,  there is one convention that has the attention of the masses like no other. The NSCC, aka The National Sports Collectors Convention (or “The National” as it’s often referred to as) is moving the needle and even sees some crossover into the world of comics. All of the grading companies are present and a simple walk around the show floor will see an ever growing comic book presence. 

With that said, this isn’t the only time comics and sports have crossed over. In fact, the relationship between the two markets has always been strong. So many athletes have rich comic book fandoms and many comic book professionals and fans also have a favorite team or sport they are heavily invested in. 

In honor of The National, this week we’ll look at 5 of the best sports and comic world crossovers:

5. Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

4. CM Punk Enters the Marvel Universe

3. LeBron James’ Rookie Comic

2. Upper Deck Fanimation (1992-93)

1. Marvel x NY Giants

5. Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Titan Comics

Mycroft Holmes and The Apocalypse Handbook is a story that continues the lineage of Sherlock Holmes, but with his son as the focus. Kareem is of course the all time leading NBA scorer and multi-time champion. In addition to being one of the greatest players to ever step on the court, he is a well respected civil rights activist and author. The guy has become a liberal Renaissance man since his retirement, having dabbled in so many things both basketball and non-basketball related.

I imagine even some of those on the show floor buying slabbed Lew Alcindor (the former name of Jabbar) rookie cards for top dollar aren’t aware of the existence of this book. 

4. CM Punk Enters The Marvel Universe
Marvel Comics

CM Punk has been dominating the news cycle of late with rumors running rampant of his possible appearance on AEW Rampage and the subsequent All Out pay per view right here in the Windy City. Punk is a long known comic book die hard who even pulled his signature “It’s Clobberin’ Time” entrance from Marvel’s The Thing. His wife, AJ Mendez (the former AJ Lee in WWE), has turned to comic book writing in her post wrestling career and Punk would dabble in the same field as he was announced to be the writer of Marvel’s Drax in 2016. 

The popular Guardians of The Galaxy character finds himself stuck on a planet where wrestling style gladiator matches are held featuring some of Marvel’s most popular cosmic characters. The story was honestly fun and really elevated a supporting character like Drax. While Drax may be a smaller character in the grand scheme of The Marvel Universe, he is iconic due to Dave Bautista’s performances as the character in the MCU. For that reason, most were stunned by Punk being tapped for the writing job. If Punk’s UFC career taught us anything, it’s that he is fearless when it comes to trying new careers in the public eye. I personally hope he makes his return to writing again, this time hopefully with a Punisher story that he teased would be his dream to write. 

3. LeBron Rookie Comic – King James
DC Comics (Image from MyComicShop.com)

This promo comic was a giveaway one shot from Powerade and DC Comics during LeBron’s rookie season in 2004. This book features several variant covers (some with downright atrocious cover art) with the epic Jock (DC cover artist) cover leading the way. 

This comic was historically overlooked, but in the last year—largely due to Lebron’s Topps Chrome rookie seeing major spikes and investments—the book seen a rise to prominence, becoming a secondary market darling. I think this book has room to grow as well, as most die hard LeBron fans aren’t aware of the book’s existence and its rookie year tie-in.

2. Upper Deck Fanimation (1992-93)
Upper Deck

Now to hammer home my point about the long history of the sports and comics worlds co-existing: I bring you one of the oldest comic-themed insert sets (looking at you Kaboom) with Upper Decks’ Fanimation. 

This insert set was featured in both football and basketball releases and depicts some of the game’s greats of the time as superheroes in fantastic comic art insert cards. With Bird, Magic, Jordan, Dan Marino, Deion Sanders and so many more, the set really captures some of today’s most recognizable GOATS in the world of sports. What sports fan may miss, however, is who did the art for the cards. 

These inserts debuted right during the heart of the Image Revolution (an amazing documentary of the same name is on Amazon Prime) and featured art by the likes of Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, and Marc Silvestri. Not only are those three wildly popular creators famous for the founding of Image Comics, but they also set some enormous sales records at Marvel. This is an insert set with massive potential. I think both comic and card buyers should be on the lookout for these inserts. 

1. Marvel x New York Giants

This week saw a major crossover announcement as Marvel and The Giants will team up this year to produce a 30k print run promo comic featuring the team’s stars like Danny Dimes, Saquon Barkley and Blake Martinez. 

The comic will be distributed ahead of a Giants vs. Panthers game this season and it will be interesting to see how many mint copies actually make it out of the arena in one piece. 

This type of largely visible collaboration is one that will no doubt resonate with a cross section of fans. We have seen Marvel do promo comics for movies/sports and mock up art for social posts, but a physical comic featuring an NFL team is pretty cool. It will be interesting to see if other teams take a cue from The Giants. 

What comics and sports have in common is that they give us a break from our daily lives and allow us to lose ourselves in our fandoms. It’s only natural that these two worlds collide as today’s sports heroes are truly our real life superheroes, performing feats and heroics most of us could only dream of. Many of the same collectors and fans who go to a Marvel film on a Friday are glued in front of a television watching football on a Sunday. So don’t sleep on these crossover collectibles as both markets explode simultaneously; it’s only a matter of time before this cross section gets its just due. And hey, if you’re a fan of both, what could be cooler? 

Categories
Culture News

Hannah Berner Chops It Up Over Burgers On the First Episode of ‘Eatables’

ONE37pm’s latest series is debuting today, featuring stand-up comedian Hannah Berner and host Nema Vand chopping it up over three of their favorite burgers in the city. Eatables is part food show, part talk show; over the course of 10 minutes and change, the duo dives into the taste and design of a couple of burgers, all while tackling elements of Berner’s exploding career. Traditional talk shows are stale, so adding a flair of taste-testing in there just keeps the viewers coming back.

Hannah Berner wears many hats. Although she’s recently risen to prominence as one of the most beloved comedians on the NYC circuit (with social followings to match), she’s a former nationally ranked tennis player and star of Bravo’s Summer House, in addition to hosting her own podcast. In short, they’ve got a lot to talk about.


Nema and Hannah try three burgers throughout the episode: The MrBeast Burger, Shake Shack’s sandwich and P. J. Clarke’s legendary iteration. The format is simple. Nema and Hannah talk about, essentially, everything, all while diving into a few signature burgers. However, there are also a few mystery sauces on the table, so the threat of an overheating tongue is ever present. “It’s going to be a trust-building exercise,” Nema jokes to calm Berner’s nerves regarding the insidious sauces.

They spend a bit of the episode discussing the similarities between tennis and stand-up (there are more than you’d think), pickle-back shots (if you know, you kn0w) and even some Kendall Jenner gossip. Ultimately, Nema and Hannah could talk about anything all day and it would make pretty good content. Add in the burger reviews, mystery sauces and flame-riddled set design and you’ve got yourself a slam dunk.

Eatables Episode 1 is live now. Watch the whole thing for all the tasty bits of info (and burgers) and make sure to keep up with ONE37pm’s social channels as there is much, much more to come.

Categories
Culture News

The 17 Most Valuable Happy Meal Toys From McDonald’s

When you were much younger, did you drive your parents crazy for a McDonalds Happy Meal? Are you still getting Happy Meals? If you’re like me, you were always asking for them when your parents drove you places. Either way, this is a great time to look back at the 17 Most Valuable Happy Meal toys of all time! Let’s see if you owned or still own any of these Happy Meal Grails.

17. Potato Head Kids (1987)
McDonald’s

Ah, the Mr. Potato Head Kids. These toys were from the animated Potato Head Kids show that aired from 1986 to 1987. The Happy Meal Miniature Mr. Potato Head toys are difficult to find sealed copies; meanwhile, the loose ones are relatively cheap, with a set of 11 selling for $30.05 on eBay in June. 

16. Despicable Me 2 (2013) July
McDonald’s

Despicable Me Minions took over the Happy Meal craze in 2013. The toys were made available at the same time as the movie release, which ended up the 2nd highest-grossing animated movie at the time. The Minions came in a set of 8, and recent sales are around $35.00.

15. Fraggle Rock (1987)
McDonald’s

Fraggle Rock was a part of the Muppet Universe and was immensely popular in the late 1980s. Surprisingly, you can complete this set on eBay for less than $60.00. 

14. Furby (2000) March 24 – April 13
McDonald’s

Furby! The 1998 toy line was a massive success that led to two separate McDonald’s Happy Meal toy lines. The 2nd Furby toy line, the 2000 set of 12 Furby key chains, is the more valuable of the two today. The most recent complete sealed set sold was for $69.00.   

13. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1990) August- September
McDonald’s

The most popular video game character had to make his way to Happy Meals, right? Absolutely! Super Mario made his first appearance in 1990 as a set of 4, including Luigi, Little Goomba & Koopa Paratroopa. The most recent set sold was in April for $69.95. There are still complete sets available near that price.  

12. Inspector Gadget (1999) July 16 – August 12
McDonald’s

The Inspector Gadget set is unique. This is the first set on the list that is built into one character. You would have to have all 8 pieces to make the full Inspector Gadget, which is currently available around $50.00-$70.00 on eBay. 

11. Star Trek Meal (1979-1980) December 1979 – February 1980
McDonald’s

This is certainly one of the more unique Happy Meal promotions. There were 5 custom Happy Meal boxes for Star Trek, which included games & comics for the Movie. One of the notable scenes on the boxes was the death of 2 crewmembers. Imagine that being on a happy meal box today.

The toys available with the Happy Meals were a Star Trek Video Communicator, Star Trek Rings, which snapped together & a board game where you go through outer space on the Enterprise. A sealed Bracelet recently sold for $90.00 in June, and the Star Trek Communicator recently sold for $25.00 in July. Meanwhile, a case of the Happy Meal boxes recently sold for $121.73 on eBay.

10. 101 Dalmatians (1997-1998) December 26 – January 29
McDonald’s

This is probably the coolest set McDonald’s ever released as part of Happy Meals. The 101 Dalmatians were available in happy meals, but there was also the caveat that you could win the whole collection as part of a McDonald’s program that promoted the movie 101 Dalmatians. Recently a complete set with authentication sold for $96.00 at auction on eBay.

9. Clone Wars Happy Meal Box (2008) August 15 – September 11, 2008
McDonald’s

Star Wars finally makes the list! This set is based on the animated Clone Wars show that aired from 2008-09. The Clone Wars complete set of 18 is quite reasonable despite being 13 years old. You can complete the set for under $60.00 if you can find a lot available. There is also a 9 piece collectible box available that recently sold for $135.00 in May. The cardboard boxes that the Happy Meal came in are also desirable, selling for $15.00 recently. 

8. Changeables – Transforming Food (1987 & 1989)
McDonald’s

When I mentioned the most valuable Happy Meal Toys, my father immediately picked the Changeables. These toys would change into dinosaurs and robots from items on the menu. Recently a sealed set of 8 Changeables from 1989 sold for $100.00. 

7. Snoopy (1998-1999)
McDonald’s

The Snoopy World Tour came with 28 figures and was available as a complete set in a case designed as Snoopy’s house. Each toy represented a different country. The 2nd set of Snoopy toys was also available individually in 1999, and recently 27 sealed copies sold for $52.28. There is one complete set in the case listed currently on eBay for over $350.00.

6. Power Rangers (1995)
McDonald’s

The Power Rangers Mania was real, with demand causing shelves to be empty and families calling Bandai direct demanding toys. The demand wasn’t nearly that great for the Happy Meal toys, but they were popular. I remember having each one and enjoying a lot of happy meals when these were released. Recently a loose set sold for $85.04 in May, while a sealed set is valued at over $350.00.

5. Underwater Monsters By Diener Keshi (1979)
Diener Keshi

The first two sets of toys made available in Happy Meals were from Diener Keshi. Both were also multi-purposed as toys & erasers. Loose sets fetch over $80.00, and sealed sets, which are very rare, are valued at over $400.00. 

4. Robots By Diener Keshi (1979)
Diener Keshi

Like the Underwater Monsters, Diener Keshi also made the Robots. These are the first toys available for Happy Meals and the first Keshi toys shipped to the USA. The set contains 14 figures, and some are still available loose on eBay. A sealed set would also fetch north of $400.00, like the Underwater Monsters.

3. TY’s Teenie Beanie Baby Boos (1999) April 11, 1997 – May 15, 1997
TY

If you weren’t around for the Beanie Baby craze, let me just say it was worse than the Pokémon Packs being sold earlier this year. Parents were buying out all the Teenie Beanie Babies at McDonald’s, and with limited supply, there were multiple incidents that led to injuries and arrests. One McDonald’s employee was charged with theft after being caught stealing $6,000.00 worth of the Teenie Beanie Babies. The Teenie Beanie Babies were smaller versions of the Beanie Babies and were available in Happy Meals or individually for sale at $2.00 apiece. Sealed versions of the original Teenie Beanie Babies fetch over $50.00, and as a set, they are worth over $1,000.00. Not bad for 22-year-old Happy Meal Toys. 

2. Hot Wheels (1983)
McDonald’s

The McDonald’s Hot Wheels are the most underrated of all the toys listed. Sealed vintage hot wheels have been climbing in value steadily, and the 1983 McDonald’s set is no different. A complete 15 car sealed set was recently sold with the original sheet for $875.00 in May. Of all the items on this list, these are likely to be the most valuable moving forward.  

1. Pokémon 25th Anniversary Packs (2021) March 1 – March 8, 2021
McDonald’s

To end this countdown, we have to go with the Pokémon 25th Anniversary Packs that were available in the Happy Meals. Why? The craze for packs and cases of packs was ridiculous; people were making offers to store managers and doing their best to buy cases and flip them for insane markups. Simply put, these cards/packs are #1 on the list because the first PSA 10 Graded Holographic Pikachu to be sold went for $17,700.00 on eBay in February.  Four days later, one sold for $910.00. Talk about the fastest Pokémon card depreciation ever? Regardless, this card alone is worth over $200.00 if graded a pristine PSA 10 today, which is more than any other single item on this list. Over 42 years, McDonald’s has included toys in Happy Meals, and yet their greatest individual ‘toy’ in value is a Pikachu Card that’s not even a year old. Considering it’s a part of a set of cards, there’s no doubt that the 2021 Pokémon Cards are #1 on the Most Valuable Happy Meal toy list.

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: The Best Masters of the Universe Books

So much of this hobby and industry is driven by nostalgia. It’s that unexplainable emotion that takes you back to a time that is easy to romanticize. It’s why so many of us, when we finally reach adulthood, spend a lot of our money attempting to buy back our childhood. It seems like the comic market is no different. Kids who grew up in the 80s want GI Joe and Transformers, while kids from the 90s love Spawn and Power Rangers. 

This sentiment has existed in the hobby for years. This week, Hollywood will try to tap into that nostalgia with a major film and a show release. Today, Snake Eyes hits theaters and Masters of The Universe: Revelation lands on Netflix. We already addressed some Snake Eyes books to be on the lookout for, but since I imagine a lot of you will be indulging in some He Man this weekend, it felt only right to bring you to Eternia for a top 5 Masters of The Universe books to look out for.

5. He Man and The Masters of The Universe #1 – Dave Wilkins Variant (2012 DC Comics)
9.8 Price: $3500
DC Comics

This is “THE” variant to get for MOTU collectors. Yes, there are some other valuable modern variants, but this is the grail for many MOTU fans. Skeletor covers always seem to perform better than covers featuring He Man, and this cover is a prime example of that trend. Wilkins is also an iconic artist who has stepped away from doing comic art over the last several years—minus a few exceptions. 

One of those exceptions is a return to MOTU with a brand new cover for Dark Horse Comics new series by Kevin Smith to go alongside the Netflix Series. Wilkins provided art for a Revelation Exclusive Variant from Wanted Comix. If the $600 that the 2021 book commands on the open market is too rich for your blood, you can still grab the Wanted Comix Variant for $21.95 on their site.

4. Masters of The Universe #1 (Image 2002)
9.8 Price: $220
Image/MV Creations

Masters of The Universe has a storied publishing history, having been published by DC Comics, Marvel, Image and Dark Horse over the years. This #1 issue from their IDW run was the forgotten child among #1 issues for many years, but that is largely changing. 

There are two main things this book has going for it: an awesome early cover from cover art superstar J. Scott Campbell and a preview of an upcoming Image series featured in the back of the book. That series was the smash hit and new Amazon Prime animated series Invincible. While that preview may have nothing to do with MOTU, it is an appearance of Invincible that predates Invincible #1.  

For those reasons alone, I expect collectors to continue to seek out high grade copies of this book. It is the most affordable on this list and not one to sleep on. 

3. Masters Of The Universe #1 (1986 Marvel Comics)
9.8 Price: $600
Marvel Comics

While not the first Masters of The Universe #1 to exist on the market, this is possibly the most popular as it kicked off the iconic MOTU Marvel run that spanned 12 issues and is a centerpiece for MOTU comic collectors. 

Star Comics was an imprint of Marvel that focused on properties that were geared toward a younger audience—such as Alf, Care Bears, Kid and Play and Muppet Babies. Among those series sits this 80s classic, which remains the one piece of Star IP in demand today. 

2. Masters of The Universe #1 (1982 DC Comics)
9.8 Price: $750
DC Comics

As I mentioned earlier, there was a previous #1 issue for MOTU collectors to chase, and that is this one right here from DC Comics. DC was a part of the creative force that brought us the initial story elements that gave life to this iconic toy line. 

While the 1986 Marvel counterpart lasted 12 issues, this mini series lasted just three, but can be extremely tough to find in the wild these days. Combine the reignited fandom of this IP with the fact that these comics were essentially published as a compendium for kids who were playing with the toys; collectability of the comics themselves was a bit of a secondary thought, if one at all. Hard grade copies can be tough to find and prices of this issue have been rising in recent months. 

1. DC Presents #47 (DC Comics 1982)
9.8 Price: $2,325
DC Comics

The no-brainer number one entry on this list is this issue from the popular DC anthology series, DC Presents. This series was used to showcase one-off stories, often pairing up unlikely characters or spotlighting unheralded ones. This issue does both as it features Superman and He Man. The issue gives us the first comic appearance of He Man as well as Skeletor. 

This issue was originally used to build awareness for the toy line and has always been popular with collectors. For years you could find copies in the wild ranging from $15-25, but those days are becoming a distant memory as Masters Of The Universe: Revelation excitement has sent this one skyrocketing with raw copies selling for a couple hundred and a 9.8 costing over $2k. 

I still think this is a book with meat on its bones. Will there be a live action film at some point? Is this just the beginning of MOTU’s return to prominence? Time will tell, but I am banking on nostalgia. I love investing in these properties. When people shop for items they are nostalgic for, price often becomes a secondary factor and when that happens, there is usually some ROI to be made. 

I am loving writing my weekly columns here at ONE37pm! Bringing comics and comic book investing to a new audience is my passion. With that in mind, catch me next weekend in Chicago for the National Sports Card Convention where I will be hosting CBCS Live from the main stage of the convention bringing comics to NSCC.