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Culture Movies/TV

What Could the Mystery MCU 2023-2024 Movies Be?

The Marvel Cinematic Universe officially kicked off in 2008 and has been delivering some of the biggest moments in cinematic history. 

For those of us who have been there from the very beginning, the double whammy of Infinity War and Endgame marked the end of some of our favorite MCU onscreen personalities and major story threads. Now the fourth phase of the MCU is currently underway – new heroes are being introduced, familiar faces are being phased into new roles, and an overarching plot is clearly building up to an all-powerful new baddie. Walt Disney and Marvel Studios already have a huge lineup of films and TV shows on the docket – as of this moment, there are two films left to drop in 2021, four movies set for 2022, five films ready to go in 2023, and four movies prepared for 2024. While we actually know what a few of those films are, a good majority of them are still untitled.

That’s left us with one thing to do – MAKE BOLD PREDICTIONS! There are a ton of clues floating throughout the MCU’s most recent story developments that point to what some of those mystery films could possibly be. Join us as we try to break down what the MCU could be giving us on the big screen in 2023 and 2024.

July 28, 2023 – ‘Fantastic Four’
Marvel Studios

When you take a quick peek at the MCU Phase 4 film schedule, the final film within that lineup marks the MCU debut of Marvel’s most famous “First Family” of superheroes – the Fantastic Four. We’ve already been treated to three films of middling quality regarding the foursome of Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), Sue Storm (Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing).

Now that the F4 have transitioned from Twentieth Century Fox to Walt Disney & Marvel Studios, they now have a legit chance at being in a great film. Since their MCU debut is arriving after Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (May 5, 2023), it seems like a safe bet that this movie date is put in place for the Fantastic Four. With Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Spider-Man: Far From Home, and Spider-Man: No Way Home) in the director’s chair, this second Fantastic Four reboot could truly be something special. All we know is this – whoever gets chosen to play Dr. Doom better knock it out of the park!

October 6, 2023 – ‘Blade’
Marvel Studios

The great Mahershala Ali has been chosen to play the part of Marvel’s beloved half-human, half-vampire hybrid hero within the MCU. Wesley Snipes’ interpretation of the character was amazing, so we just hope Ali measures up to the high standards set by Snipes’ films. Stacy Osei-Kuffour has signed on to write the film while Bassam Tariq has been handed the directorial duties, so it’s safe to say that this Blade reboot actually has a chance at succeeding. This October movie launch date seems like the perfect month to bring the vampire hunter back to the big screen. Vampires and the month dedicated to Halloween makes a ton of sense, right? Debuting a new version of Deacon Frost to play the part of Blade’s main foe in this film could work. But we’d be more open to seeing Blade come into contact with Dracula and his daughter Lilith from the jump.

November 10, 2023 – ‘Captain America 4’
Marvel Studios

If you’ve seen the entirety of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, then you already know Anthony Mackie’s Falcon has fully taken over the mantle of Captain America. The deal has reportedly been closed in regards to Mackie’s return to the role as he’ll save the world once again in Captain America 4. It’s worth noting that this film is being scripted by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier head writer and creator Malcolm Spellman. This date gives Spellman and the crew ample time to cook up an amazing film on par with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War. Setting up this movie as a tentpole fall film seems sensible enough, don’t you think? A fourth Captain America movie that features a fully formed Thunderbolts team or even Red Skull’s daughter Sin are two amazing possibilities we’d totally be fine with.

February 16, 2024 – ‘Deadpool 3’
Twentieth Century Fox

According to Collider, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed that the next Deadpool film is official and will be a part of the MCU. Ryan Reynolds’ fast-talking mercenary has technically done some MCU crossover work already by doing a quick trailer review with Thor: Ragnarok’s Korg, so the synergy is clearly already in place.

The Molyneux Sisters (Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin) have signed on to write the film and it’s clear that it won’t go into filming for a long time (2022 seems like a safe bet). Feige’s confirmation about the film’s R rating has us confident in its ability to mimic the vicious, gory feel of the last two series entries. If you remember, the first Deadpool debuted in theaters on February 12, 2016. So this February 16, 2024 date seems like a nice return to form for the foul-mouthed merc. We’d pay good money to watch Deadpool and Josh Brolin’s Cable team up to take on the MCU’s introduction of Mister Sinister.

May 3, 2024 – ‘X-Men’
Marvel

Now there have been a couple of strong X-Men films from Twentieth Century Fox – the first movie, X2, X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Logan were and still are cinematic heavy hitters. But the extreme lows of the previous X-Men movie franchise broke a lot of fans’ hearts. Now that Walt Disney & Marvel Studios has reclaimed the film rights to the X-Men, we’re hopefully due for a complete reboot that does right by Marvel’s most revered superhero squadron.

Now it’s going to be pretty tough to figure out a way to introduce the X-Men to the MCU as a whole. Will they be mutants that have been in hiding for years? Or will they spring up from one of the many realms within the multiverse? It’d be pretty wild to see Wanda Maximoff’s role as the Scarlet Witch play right into the formation of the X-Men and team up against an overwhelming threat such as Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Getting new big screen renditions of Wolverine, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, and Rogue has us super hype. And setting them up for a Spring 2024 debut seems sensible to us.

July 26, 2024 – ‘Shang-Chi 2′
Marvel Studios

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings ended up being one of the best superhero films of all time and one of the more satisfying introductions of a hero to the MCU. Trust us when we say that it’s right up there with Iron Man and Black Panther! Based on the financial and critical success Shang-Chi garnered, there’s clearly going to be a sequel put into development for the next MCU Phase.

Based on the post-credits scenes the film delivered (don’t worry, we won’t spoil them!), something major might be connected to Shang-Chi’s mystical ten rings armament. We’re sure that tease will play a major role in who’s going to be the main villain in the next Avengers movie. But for this sequel, we’d love to see Shang-Chi square up with Midnight Sun (look him up cause his origin story is wild!), Moving Shadow, or the Si-Fan Cyber Ninjas as a whole. Setting up another Shang-Chi film for a 2024 release date gives Walt Disney & Marvel plenty of time to bring it to fruition.

November 8, 2024 – ‘Avengers 5′
Marvel Studios

This late 2024 release date seems like the perfect time to drop the next highly anticipated entry in the Avengers films. The mega threats seen in the movies thus far include Loki/The Other/the Chitauri, Ultron, and Thanos. Now, which super baddie could be overwhelming enough to force a new generation of The Avengers to come together and defeat it? Galactus, perhaps? Based on what we learned about the ten rings’ mysterious origin in Shang-Chi’s first post-credits scene, the planet-eating menace could certainly exist within the MCU.

Getting a teaser of Galactus in the Fantastic Four film also seems pretty feasible, while the rest of the movies set after could continue to build him up for the next Avengers movie. Just imagine this scenario – the new Cap, Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, Lady Thor, Shang-Chi, The Eternals, and everyone else engaging in a climactic battle with Galactus! Phase Four and the one right after it will most likely set up the next universe threatening villain for the Avengers to clash with.

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Culture Movies/TV

Who Should Be The Main Villain in ‘Captain America 4?’

Major kudos to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s quality rendition of Steve Rogers aka “Captain America.”

He delivered a hat trick with the strongest trilogy in the MCU via Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Captain America: Civil War. And by the end of Avengers: Endgame, he laid down his trademark shield to pass it on to Falcon and live out his final days as a senior citizen. And due to the events of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, we now know that Anthony Mackie’s days as Falcon have come to an end as he is the new Captain America. Years from now, we’re slated for a fourth Captain America film with Mackie in the lead role as the proud and powerful superhero. Now that Marvel’s new USA hero representative is in the driver’s seat, who should be his latest onscreen adversary? 

After taking a peek at Cap’s entire Rogues Gallery, we arrived at three potential villains and even a dangerous stable that could present the new Cap with a worthy challenge.

1. Sin
Marvel

The very first MCU baddie that Steve Rogers came into contact with was the infamous Red Skull. This classic WWII-themed baddie got his comeuppance in The First Avenger, but he eventually sprang back up in Infinity War and Endgame as a Stonekeeper. In the comics, he actually fathered a daughter named Sinthea Shmidt aka “Sin.” Her backstory is a bit silly when you really think about it, however – Red Skull basically used a machine that instantly aged her into adulthood and blessed her with superhuman powers. If she was adapted into the MCU, we’d prefer her origin story to get a bit of change-up. 

Having her play the part of a sympathizer that adopts Red Skull’s views and building herself a stable of fellow believers in the Sisters of Sin to target America’s newly appointed Cap sounds like a plan to us. Sure, that concept sounds similar to the Flag Smashers in theory. But it’s about time that someone with a close connection to the first film’s villain comes to life on the big screen against Mackie in his first solo outing. And here’s a dream scenario we’d love to see come to fruition – what if Captain Carter hopped through a multiverse portal into the live-action MCU to fight side-by-side with Captain Mackie against Sin and the Sisters of Sin? We’re sure Dr. Strange could make some sort of arrangement there…

2. Scourge of the Underworld
Marvel

The Scourge of the Underworld may have the right intentions when it comes to his mission statement, but the way in which he acts it out is pretty sinister. He’s an assassin that carries out his own form of justice by killing known supervillains. Having him play the part of Cap’s new main adversary could make for an interesting film that pits the hero’s moral ideals against his foe’s more immoral actions. It’d be interesting to watch the public’s reaction to the new Captain America being forced to confront someone that’s doing something good in their eyes, but going about it the wrong way according to Cap. An MCU Scourge that carries out assassinations on corrupt political officials could be the perfect foe for Cap to take on as our hero comes to grips with the government he’s meant to fight for and the negative influences he seeks to eliminate from it.

3. The Serpent Society
Marvel

If Captain America 4 is meant to go the Civil War route and feature Cap teaming up with some familiar faces, then they’ll need an overwhelming threat to come to blows with. The perfect group of villains they’d engage in epic battles with would most definitely be the Serpent Society. This powerful collective of supervillains is a sort of labor union that seeks to help each other accomplish their sinister goals and rake in all the cash from their seedy business partners. One of the organizations they’re known to work for is A.I.M., which played a huge role in the events of Iron Man 3

We think it’d be pretty cool to revive the evil faction and have them revealed as the Serpent Society’s true benefactors as they look to replace the now-defunct Hydra. We’d pay good money to watch the team of King Cobra, Anaconda, Bushmaster, Death Adder, Rattler, Constrictor, and Viper wreak havoc across the MCU and garner the attention of Cap and his most trustworthy allies. Just imagine how dope it would be to see Cap team up with Winter Soldier, War Machine, Hawkeye, and Shang-Chi. And hey, maybe we could even see Valentina Allegra de Fontaine’s U.S. Agent and her very own Black Widow Yelena Belova lend them all a hand!

4. Taskmaster
Marvel

Now if the MCU can right its wrongs with the way it initially presented The Mandarin, then it can damn sure do the same for Taskmaster! Black Widow’s onscreen version of the character was nothing more than a mute rendition of the beloved baddie that only retained the original’s battle prowess. Once the stink of that first Taskmaster wears off after a few years, it’d be smart for the powers that be at Marvel Studios to revive the copycat character and showcase him as he was truly meant to be. 

The man is a shit-talking mercenary that carries out his assignments for the highest bidder and utilizes his photographic reflexes in order to defeat his foes. A revised Taskmaster going at Cap’s head on behalf of A.I.M. could make for a great film full of action-packed clashes between the two. And hey, maybe we could have A.I.M. put some other baddies into play to get rid of the new Cap! MCU renditions of Karl Stryker and Abe Jenkins’ Beetle moniker (who could later become a member of the live-action Thunderbolts) could make for some cool side villains, wouldn’t you say?

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

These 4 DC Characters Need a James Gunn TV/Movie Adaptation

Ay, James Gunn really doesn’t miss when it comes to these superhero films! 

He took a relatively unknown Marvel Comics property in the Guardians of the Galaxy and turned its cast of interplanetary heroes into household names thanks to his 2014 film adaptation. Then he delivered the equally entertaining sequel in 2018 and has already been tapped to handle the directing duties for the third film that drops in 2023. The recently released The Suicide Squad has earned plenty of acclaim and has plenty of fans excited about his future DC endeavors. DC Films president Walter Hamada basically confirmed Gunn’s future involvement in the production company’s future film and TV renditions during a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter

Since he was pretty much given free rein to go as crazy as he wanted to be with the direction of The Suicide Squad, we’re guessing he’s going to be afforded the very same freedoms on his follow-up DCEU projects. Gunn’s penchant for focusing on gut-bustlingly funny moments, warm character interactions, and explosive action sequences can be seen throughout all of his Marvel and DC helmed movie adaptations. With all that being said, there are four noteworthy DC characters that would make for an incredible movie or streaming series with Gunn in the director’s chair. Let us all bow our heads and pray to the New Gods in hopes of getting these films in Prime Earth instead of Earth-1.

1. Lobo (Movie)
DC

There was a point in time where Dwayne Johnson’s name came up every time some sort of update arrived concerning a Lobo film. After years of rumors, the project seemingly just disappeared into the ether. Now “The Rock” is preparing to lay the smackdown on the DCEU as none other than Black Adam. Since Gunn has mastered the art of zany space capers with a whole lotta attitude and hilarity, it’s about time he got to revive the Lobo film adaptation. “The Main Man” only exists to raise hell as he fulfills his space mercenary duties – he’d make for the perfect anti-hero that would lend a Gunn-helmed project the mature themes it would thrive on. Pitting DC’s baddest bastich against signature foes such as Bludhound and Loo so audiences get a taste of Lobo’s overwhelming strength through their battles could be just what the doctor ordered.

2. Deathstroke (Movie)
DC

The post-credits scene for Justice League pointed to a pretty exciting future concerning the creation of an anti-Justice League. Joe Manganiello, the actor who portrayed Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, excited everyone and even made an additional appearance in the Snyder Cut. This version of the superpowered mercenary was meant to be the main antagonist for Ben Affleck’s version of The Batman, but those plans sadly fell through. Joe’s perfect casting of Deathstroke shouldn’t just be left to die – James Gunn should get his hands on the character and bring it to life in a standalone film. Telling his origin story and having him clash with the likes of rival assassins Cheshire, Deadborn, Ebrax, and Forgotten could produce an action-packed DCEU cinematic joyride. Gunn’s bombastic directing style would do wonders for a Deathstroke film.

3. WildC.A.T.s (Movie)
DC

Some of you may not realize this, but the WildStorm Universe that was originally created by Jim Lee and Brandon Choi is a part of the DC Universe. The standout superhero team from that comics line is called the WildC.A.T.s, which is a covert action team that ended up getting caught up in the alien conflict between the Kherubim and the Daemonites. Gunn certainly has a knack for producing films focused on lesser-known teams within the comic book realm, so it’d make a ton of sense for him to work his magic for the WildC.A.T.s. Grifter, Zealot, Ladytron, Void, and the other members of the team’s latest incarnation would make for an incredible ensemble on the big screen. Watching a Gunn-directed movie adaptation that sets the WildC.A.T.s against an equally powerful threat would definitely elicit The Suicide Squad vibes. 

4. Plastic Man (TV Series)
DC

Patrick “Eel” O’Brian aka “Plastic Man” has always stood out as being one of the more humorous characters within the DC Universe. His malleable physiology affords him the ability to stretch his body into a bevy of shapes and sizes. If Warner Bros. is willing to cut a big ass check for Gunn, we think he’d have the funds needed to create a big-budget DCEU series. And of course, it’d make for a perfect addition to the HBO Max streaming service alongside the first slate of DCEU TV shows. A series that follows Plastic Man’s rise from a petty criminal into an unlikely super savior could be the perfect mix of comedy, action, and surprisingly emotional revelations. We’d be so down to see Gunn apply his talents to another HBO Max exclusive series once he wraps up his work on Peacemaker.

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: Kang Conquers All

In fast-moving markets like collectibles, it can often feel like your attention is pulled in six different directions all at once. Collectors are constantly jumping from one thing to the next, from trend to trend. Having said that, this week there is one man (well sort of, really he is many) that has captivated the comic buying public and that is Kang aka Kang the Conqueror.

Jonathan Majors made his MCU debut this Wednesday showing up as an unnamed version of himself in the Loki Finale. Those who watched learned what comic fans know, which is that Kang comes in infinite forms across the multiverse with his dominant evil conquering variant Kang The Conqueror clearly on the way to the MCU. This has genuinely excited fans of several Marvel properties such as Fantastic Four (Reed Richards’ father becomes Kang), Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange, West Coast Avengers, and Young Avengers. 

Time will tell which direction Kang takes us, but one thing is for certain, his comics are red hot! Let’s look at some of the hottest Kang books as well as a few that are still out there to be had.

Avengers #8
Marvel Comics

This is of course Kang’s first appearance. This book has been desirable with the speculation crowd for a number of years so it is no surprise to see it take off in value the way that it has. This book will cost you four figures in any grade and is rising in value as we speak. If this week’s activities are any indication,  I would get on the Kang train now. If you’re not looking to make that type of play, no worries, there are some more affordable options out there for you on the market. 

Avengers #129
Marvel Comics

Just like when Thanos entered the MCU, I expect Kang’s cover art to be in high demand. Some of his other covers are spiking but this one, while up, seems to be under the radar a bit for a solid silver age major. I love this super dope cover and expect this one only to rise in the next twelve months as we know Jonathan Majors’ contract calls for five appearances with Loki only being the first. $50-60 gets you into a mid-grade raw copy. 

Avengers #267
Marvel Comics

Long a dollar bin book (and still out there in those bins!) this book is seeing heat on the market for its awesome Kang cover with the villain front and center and Marvel heroes all around. This very well could be what we see in the future as it will likely take heroes from all points on the multiverse to come together to stop Kang. The Kang Lives moniker on the cover, I also think, plays into where we are on the MCU timeline and makes this book as desirable as it is. This one has seen a meteoric rise from the $1 bin all the way to $90 raw on the open market. Don’t sleep on #268 and #269 while you are at it. 

Avengers Forever #1 Kang Cover
Marvel Comics

This time-traveling story is what many in the comic community expect Kang to take us toward. This 13 issue Avengers Forever story is low print in comparison to eras before and after it and isn’t an easy find on the open market. Copies are selling for $60 raw and while not a titled solo series, this was the first series that really had Kang front and center. I think this book and the series as a whole have tremendous room for growth. 

Avengers #2 (2016)
Marvel Comics

This is purely a cover art play and a good one to boot. This cover comes from master painter and cover artist, the living legend Alex Ross. The cover depicts some of the many faces of Kang and was an immediate hit as soon as the Loki Finale aired. This one was $4 and quickly rose to $30 raw. Being a modern title, I expect to see some 9.8 copies hitting the market any day now.

Seasons Beatings #1 Variant
Marvel Comics

So few Kang variants actually exist on the market and this one is a no-brainer to be a hit. We have seen this pattern before, buyers grab 1st appearances and then iconic Key covers. After that, they move on to modern variants. This Djurdjevic variant depicts a photo realism style painted cover that is a perfect portrait of Kang. Couple that with the fact that this is a low printer title and a variant cover at that and this is one with great potential for the low buy-in of $20 at current market pricing. 

Kang is here! The next phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is upon us. This is Thanos all over again. Do not miss out on the chance to get in early even with the current spiking prices. We are only at the top of the iceberg for the potential of this character. There is still so much meat on the bone below the surface. So when you are at the next convention or comic shop, look for those up-and-coming Kang keys and be on the lookout.

Before I go I wanted to take a second and invite all of you to join me on Sunday as I have the pleasure of being a guest on a panel on the state of comic collecting at this year’s summer Skybound Xpo. Join me and my fellow panelists as we talk about collecting today with Skybound SVP Big Clutch of Comics Vault Live. I hope to see you in the live comments! 

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

6 DC Comics Storylines That Deserve Animated Films

Do you know what’s a common opinion among most comic book heads? “A lot of those DCEU films are buns, but those animated movies they put out are fire!” I fall into that category of fans that feels the exact same way. All anyone needs to do is watch films like Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, and Assault on Arkham to realize just how strong Warner Bros. Animation’s output is. By the looks of Batman: The Long Halloween, Part Two, it’s looking like the DC Animated Movie Universe will continue to put out quality content for years to come.

Along with that new trailer for the “Dark Knight’s” upcoming animated venture, everyone got treated to some other awesome announcements. Warner Bros. Animation officially announced an Injustice: Gods Among Us animated film, plus a new Batman animated series (Batman: Caped Crusader) and an additional one based around the life & times of a young Superman (My Adventures with Superman) are also on the horizon. Even with all those dope reveals, I want more! I consider myself a pretty avid reader of all things DC, so I have a pretty good idea of some other classic storylines that would make for great animated features. I came up with six fantasy films that would make for great additions to the DCAMU.

1. ‘Justice League vs. Suicide Squad’
DC Comics

This pick on my wish list obviously stands out as the most recent major DC storyline to have taken place (it’s lifted right from the “Rebirth” line of comics, after all). Amanda Waller’s collective of criminals turned unwilling Task Force X members were pretty dope during their starring role in Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, so I’m down to watch them pop up again. And the easiest road to that next animated movie appearance for the team is Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. The premise of the whole crossover is pretty simple and ended up producing some exciting battles that I’m sure a lot of people would love to see in motion. The big reveal behind what’s really going on during the struggle between the JL and the SS hits readers with a nice twist that would play out quite nicely in animated form. In all honesty, I just wanna see Killer Croc take a bite out of Aquaman on the small screen.

2. ‘Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’
DC Comics / Boom Studios

We already got an animated rendition of Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and it turned out to be a fun watch. So the next most logical step as far as animated films for DC crossovers go should be a movie for Justice League/Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It’s only right that we get to see that fantasy crossover truly come to life in the form of a feature-length film. Watching the best of the DC Universe align themselves with the OG Power Rangers as they go to war with Brainiac and Lord Zedd sounds pretty hype, right? I thought so. I’m down to see this big storyline unfold across the course of an hour and a half long cinematic epic. Just the thought of hearing the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme during this film brings a tear to my eye.

3. ‘Sinestro Corps War’
DC Comics

How hasn’t this incredible chain of events within the DC Universe gotten adapted as an animated film yet? We’ve already seen the origin story of Hal Jordan get that treatment with Green Lantern: First Flight, plus he’s fought the good fight in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights and Green Lantern: Beware My Power. Now’s the perfect time to adopt even more of the most prominent Green Lantern’s best storylines. And one of those well-regarded plotlines is the one centered on the grand war between the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps. Critics and fans alike regard it as one of the best comic book storylines of all time, so it’d definitely make for an amazing animated film. The clash between Hal Jordan’s heroic contingent and Sinestro’s formidable lineup of beings powered by Fear would look incredible in animated form.

4. ‘Blackest Night’
DC Comics

While I’m here showing my clear fanboyism for Green Lantern, I might as well bring up another incredible storyline of his that’s ripe for the animated movie treatment. The crossover miniseries that’s overdue for a DCAMU rendition is Blackest Night. I loved reading about Nekron’s grand plan to expunge all life and emotion from the universe. And I damn sure got a kick out of flipping through all the beautifully drawn panels that showed his army of reanimated superheroes fighting by his side. There are so many dope battles that took place during Blackest Night. Plus there were plenty of shocking appearances from an army of once deceased DC personalities. Count me all the way in for this animated epic if it ever comes to fruition.

5. ‘The Great Darkness Saga’
DC Comics

Darkseid is one of the best big bad’s in comic book history. His terrifying might has been on display in animated form on several occasions and I’m in the mood to see him pop up to wreak havoc once again. And this time, he should reappear to reenact his past struggle with The Legion of Super-Heroes. The Great Darkness Saga throws an overwhelming array of Legionnaire superheroes against the equally overwhelming power of Darkseid himself. Even though this storyline has been removed from DC continuity, I’d still love to watch it come to life as a lengthy DCAMU film. The twist at the end is super outlandish and adds even more to Darkseid’s infamous villainy. Imagine watching it unfold with Warner Bros. Animation’s big-budget work applied to it.

6. ‘Kingdom Come’
DC Comics

And for my final selection on this list, I have to show some love to Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ magnum opus Kingdom Come. The plot for that one is practically comic book royalty and the sort of go-to gem that defines the medium as a whole. Kingdom Come pits the old guard of the DC Universe against a new group of crimefighters that employ deadlier tactics in a bid to quell some notable evildoers. Things go awry real quick and lead to the idealistic members of the reformed Justice League clashing with the mission statement of Batman & Lex Luthor’s respective stables. Here’s hoping that we eventually get a DCAMU move that tells the grand tale of Kingdom Come as best it can. Alex Ross’ incredible art definitely won’t be brought to life in this one, sadly. But I’m sure if this movie ever passes the concept stage, the animators chosen to produce it will still do right by his iconic drawings.

Categories
Culture News

The 10 Best Image Comics of All-Time

As a comic book reader, collector, investor, and lifelong fan, no comic book publisher has done more to impact my relationship with the medium than Image Comics. Founded in 1994 when the most popular creators on Marvel’s roster left all at once to form the imprint. They wanted to be in a position to truly own the IP they were creating. Image as a company takes no ownership over the IP it publishes, leaving the spoils to the creative. This freedom and opportunity have made way for some of the greatest stories ever told in comics. So much so that narrowing down the amazing stories to just 10 for this feature was a task! Image has something for everybody, but you can’t go wrong choosing a series from this list. Here are the 10 best Image Comic Series of all time to collect now!  

1. The Wicked + The Divine
Image Comics

Creators: Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Debut Year: 2014

Key Issues to Collect: #1 

Before Gillen would really become a household name with comic readers upon the release of his recent hits Once and Future and Die, he burst onto the creator-owned scene with the critically acclaimed Wicked and the Divine. This series was about 12 mythological Gods who reincarnate as humans every 90 years. The series ran 45 issues and has been proclaimed a modern classic by many critics. Unlike a lot of books on this list, this one has really yet to explode. Universal seems to have stalled out some stop-start movement on a live-action series, leaving this one at about $100 for a 9.8 slabbed copy. Great series like this are evergreen IP, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time before we see this one on a streaming network. There could be a real ROI opportunity by grabbing this one now. I especially think that the heat on Gillen’s other two series he is currently working on and his work as a writer in Marvel’s Star Wars universe could see him as a hot property for Hollywood productions sooner rather than later

Buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l2632&_nkw=wicked+divine+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_odkw=wicked+divine+1&_osacat=0
2. Jupiter’s Legacy
Image Comics

Creators: Mark Millar and Frank Quitely 

Debut Year: 2013

Key Issues to Collect: #1 

This recently released Netflix hit series comes from the minds of Frank Quitely and Mark Millar, the latter known as the scribe behind Kick-Ass, Wanted, Secret Service, The Kingsman as well as major Marvel stories like Old Man Logan and Civil War. This series focused on the generational divide between a superhero team and their children as the younger heroes look to take their place in the world. One thing that makes this book so likable and relatable is the themes of living up to your parents’ legacy vs carving out your own path. These are universal struggles that seem to just so happen to be set in a superhero story. This series has long been a hit with readers but as of May, 7th it has become a hit with Netflix viewers ranking at #1 on the streamer the week of its release. If you have had the chance to check out Jupiter’s Legacy,  you know that they set up the future of the series in the Finale leading most to believe we will see more of this story play out on the streamer. While copies have risen in value and seen 300% gains in the last several weeks, the book is still affordable at $25 raw and $200 in a 9.8 slab. With more of the shoe on the way, the comic seems like a solid investment at the moment. 

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l2632&_nkw=jupiters+legacy+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=wicked+divine+1
3. Deadly Class
Image Comics

Creators: Rick Remender, Wes Craig, and Lee Loughridge

Debut Year: 2014

Key Issues to Collect: #1 

Set in the late 80s, Deadly Class is about an extremely unique high school where students take classes like ” Poison” and ” Dismemberment 101″. Deadly Class follows Marcus, a kid with a past who never fits in who is brought to an elite academy that teaches and trains some of the world’s most dangerous criminals, villains, and murderers. This can make for a particularly dangerous high school experience. The series was optioned and developed for a SYFY Network series debuting in 2018. The series didn’t last long though being canceled after just one season even though it was a critical hit. Recent years have seen the show develop a cult fanbase with rumors of a return popping up from time to time. The show canceling really hurt the secondary market value of #1 leaving it at a $10-15 raw purchase and an under $100 9.8. 

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=deadly+class+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=jupiters+legacy+1
4. Monstress
Image Comics

Creators: Sana Takeda and Marjorie Liu

Debut Year: 2015

Key Issues: #1, #1 2nd Print 

This fantasy epic is known just as much for its breathtaking art as it is its amazing story. Monstress is part steampunk, part kaiju story following a young girl whose connection to monsters puts her right in the middle of a battle between humans and otherworldly creatures. This series’s popularity only grew as it went along, seeing 9.8 copies of #1 hit above $300 6 years since its release. Even more sought after and extremely scarce is the 2nd print to issue #1, which can trade for $700-$1000 in a 9.8. There have been persistent rumors over the last couple of years of this IP heading to HBO and the HBO Max streaming service. With Godzilla and Kong getting a lot of shine on the service, a new kaiju property could be a big hit. This one hits the trifecta with great art, a compelling story, and investment potential. 

Buy Now on Ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=monstress+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=deadly+class+1
5. Chew
Image Comics

Creators: John Layman and Rob Guillroy

Debut Year: 2009

Key Issues: #1 

The 2009 debuting series Chew followed an FBA agent Tony Chu who solves crimes by using psychic impressions made by food, including humans. This series received critical acclaim winning numerous awards and spinning off two different series one a crossover with one of Layman’s other IP’s Outer Darkness and another one simple titled Chu. The series has been given the Hollywood run-around for the last several years after being optioned by Showtime for a feature film in 2011 only to see that go away by 2015. Then we got the word in 2014 of an animated comedy feature that also was gone by 2017. The Creators have stated that there is movement on the live-action front but long-time Chew fans like myself have learned to take that info with a grain of salt. Stop-start pushes from Hollywood have not stopped this series from being popular with readers or #1 from being popular with collectors with 9.8 slabs trading hands for $550 in recent weeks. 

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l2632&_nkw=chew+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=monstress+1
6. Paper Girls
Image Comics

Creators: Brian K Vaughn and Cliff Chiang 

Debut Year: 2015

Key Issues: #1 

This 2015 series from Brian K Vaughn is one of two series included on this list from the man simply known as BKV. Paper Girls is currently one of the hottest Image Comics titles for speculators and collectors on the market right now. The series just wrapped up their final issue, and news of Amazon developing a series with the creators’ for their Amazon Prime streamer has the market excited. 9.8 copies are selling for $200-250. While this book has certainly accrued value already, it still has a ton of room to go. This time-traveling group of girls gives off serious Stranger Things vibes that make this book both a hit with readers and a real potential investment.

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=paper+girls+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=chew+1
7. Invincible
Image Comics

Creators: Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley

Debut Year: 2003

Key Issues: #1-11, 16, 18, 19, 26, 33,  44, 51 2nd Print, 61, 68, 115, 144 

Invincible is one property on the list. If you hadn’t heard of the ones we have named so far, it might be the first one you are familiar with. This series was the inspiration for the Invincible Animated Series that has been a smash hit at Amazon. The series is Robert Kirkman’s no holds barred take on the superhero genre. The animated series is only the start as a Seth Rogen-produced live-action film is on the way as well. Invincible has long been one of comics sleeping giants; its recent secondary market success is no surprise to long-time supporters, but the animated series has introduced a whole new audience to the Graysons. The show has even reportedly spurned on collected edition sales, with comic shops being bombarded with requests to read the series. With Marvel and DC having large corporate parent companies, Skybound and Image are in a prime place to take these IPs to places no superhero franchise has gone.

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=invincible+&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=invincible+1
8. Saga
Image Comics

Creators: Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples 

Debut Year: 2012

Key Issues: #1, 2, 53, 54 

Quite possibly the purest reader buzz on this list, SAGA is an example of all that comics are and all they can be. Once dubbed “Star Wars meets Game of Thrones,” this series has been compared to some of the most epic tales from the aforementioned to Lord of The Rings. This series has gotten so many new fans and readers on board as their entryway to comics. This series 54 Issues was an unwavering critical success with fans even waiting patiently between long gaps in Issues in the latter part of the run. This series has seen a passionate fan base who continues to buy and stash #1 issues despite years of the creative team saying no option announcement was coming to the high cost an adaptation would bring. But years have softened that stance from BKV, and rumors circulated in the comic community of a SAGA live-action series or feature film. Issue #1 trades hands for over $600 in a 9.8, and the tragic final issue trades for just over 100 in the same grade. Hardcore believers of the series know that the true Grail is a 9.8 of the #1 RRP variant, which sells for around $3,000. All of this with no solid option talk, just simply an amazing comic.

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l2632&_nkw=saga+1&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=walking+dead
9. The Walking Dead
Image Comics

Creators: Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard

Debut Year: 2003

Key Issues: #1,2, 3, 6, 10, 19, 27, 53, 61, 92, 100, 18, 132, 192, 193

You would have to be living under a rock not to be aware to at least some extent of the massive imprint The Walking Dead has had on pop culture. The popular zombie TV show from AMC really revolutionized indie comics by showing Creators the power they hold with creator-owned comics and the IP’s value to Hollywood. It feels like ever since TWD exploded on the scene, we have been on the hunt for its successor, dubbing any popular indie title as a possible “Next The Walking Dead.” This series spanned 193 Issues and saw shocking events, heartbreaking deaths, and an out of nowhere ending that wrapped up the series in 2019. While about zombies on the surface, this series has been much more about the human condition and what people will do to survive. Almost every product on the market has been made with TWD licensing, and the following continues to be strong to this day as we enter the final season of the AMC show. More is planned for this franchise as more spin-offs are in the works, as well as a couple already off the ground. My feeling is that this series will be eternal, and the IP will live on for future generations. The series has been a shining example of the potential of the creator-owned model. 

buy now on ebay
https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l2632&_nkw=walking+dead&_sacat=63&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=63&_odkw=talking+dead
10. Spawn
Image Comics

Creators: Todd McFarlane 

Debut Year: 1994

Key Issues: #1, 2, 171, 174, 175, 179, 185, 249, 300, 301

What makes Image so great isn’t just the great characters and stories, but also its Creators who take a chance and bet on themselves above all else. No one epitomizes that more than Image Founder “The Toddfather” Todd McFarlane. Todd was at the top of his game with Marvel when he organized a mass exit and the founding of Image and more that. 25 years later Todd is still at it with his original character from 94 Spawn. Spawn, while having seen feature film and animated TV success to some degree in the 90s is due for a big Renaissance in 2021 and beyond with Todd at the helm as director for an upcoming Blumhouse horror feature starring Jeremy Renner and Jaime Foxx as Spawn. This movie has been in the works for a couple of years but McFarlane has been nothing if not diligent in his updates to his fans on progress. On top of that, Todd announced recently an expansion of the Spawn line from one series to 4 adding 3 new series featuring popular side characters from the Spawn Universe.  This will bring a new Spawn Universe book to your LCS every single week by year’s end. This is exciting news for Spawn faithful.  All of that comes after the series broke records by becoming the longest-running comic series as it passed 300 consecutive Issues and counting.  While Todd himself has said to avoid investing in issue #1 and its 1 million issue print run but collectors can’t help themselves as this iconic first issue has consistently risen over the past several years with issue #1 selling for $250 in a 9.8. 

Past and Future

Image Comics has been so transformative for the comic book industry by giving fans eclectic stories from diverse voices for almost 30 years as well as a home to those Creators to tell their stories without losing the bulk of the reward to a giant corporation. The history of Image is filled with amazing stories that truly showcase what comics can be as an art form. What’s quite possibly more exciting is the bright future Image has as they continue to be a home for creatives and entrepreneurs.  New hits like Crossover, Department of Truth, Ice Cream Man, Radiant Black, Stillwater, Ultramega, Shadecraft and more continue to push the needle in the world of creator owned comics and level the playing field between the indies and the “Big 2”. 

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: Let There Be Carnage

This week was another big one in the comic market as prices continue to skyrocket. We saw huge movement from the two different Image Comics series and the Venom 2 trailer being the talk of the comic community. This week I will look at all three of those properties and spotlight one of the key tools of the trade.

Let There Be Carnage

We knew a Venom sequel was on the way starring Tom Hardy as Venom and with Woody Harrelson as Carnage, but the debut of the first trailer still sent back Issues spiking. While our view of Carnage was only brief, fans were pumped to see the first look at the evil, murderous symbiote. Harrelson seems like the perfect person to take the role, and his casting has only added to the excitement surrounding the franchise. I am sure this is a film we will cover in this space more as the film approaches, but there are two key winners for comic book investors. Amazing Spider-Man #361, featuring the 1st appearance of Carnage, hit $1,200 for a slabbed 9.8 this week, while issue #300 featuring the debut of Venom began crossing the $8,000 mark in a 9.8. 

Image Comic’s Jupiter’s Legacy Debuts at #1 on Netflix

Jupiter’s Legacy debuted on Netflix on May 7th and was an almost immediate success, with the Josh Duhamel generational superhero story rising to #1 in the streamers rankings and sticking there for some time. The Mark Millar and Frank Quitely series is the debut for the Millarworld brand on Netflix; the first publishing imprint purchased outright by the streaming giant. Values of 9.8 copies of Cover A have doubled to $200, with people still a little slow to jump onboard investing in the Image Comics series. This comes after disappointing returns for investors in Millar’s previous releases (Kick-Ass, Wanted, Kingsman). Interestingly, we seemingly have confirmation of a follow-up season at the very least, with some of the talk coming from the series creator, so I think this IP has room to grow even at today’s market rates. 

Regina King To Direct Bitter Root from Image Comics

Upon reading Bitter Root #1, it was apparent to me that this book would end up a feature film, and that appears to be the reality of the day with Legendary Pictures announcing movement on their option to develop the Image Comics series. Regina King was announced to direct the Ryan Coogler produced a feature film adaptation of David Walker, Sanford Greene, and Chuck Brown’s story of a fractured family of once-great monster hunters who have to ban together amidst unspeakable evil set amongst the backdrop of the 1924 Harlem Renaissance. This news set eBay on fire with 9.8 copies of #1 rising to prices ranging from $250-500 depending upon the cover. Also seeing some demand are the homage variants from later in the series that pays tribute to some of the greatest films in Black cinema. I expect this only to be the beginning of this IP’s climb as this series has unlimited potential as it gets slowly introduced to the public at large. 

Tools of The Trade

I think it is important to not just talk about the books themselves but also to talk about the process and the tools used to reap maximum returns on those investments.

One question I get from new people looking to enter into the world of collecting and investing in comics is that of  “Where do they begin? And How do I learn it all? I always say you don’t need to know it all and start with something you love. But as you move along your comic book journey, there are tools on the market to aid you in research quickly and efficiently.  One such tool is the Key Collector  App. While some content is free upon download, others are behind a paywall.  I can attest that the $2 a month it costs to purchase the app pays for itself as soon as you use it. It is my most used app on my phone.

The Key Collector App is the premiere comic book app on the market, identifying and databasing thousands of Key Issues in an easily searchable fashion.  No matter how experienced a comic buyer you are, most of us still use the App when digging in long boxes looking for hidden gems and Key Issues. The app is the brain child of owner Nick Coglianese, who has become part tech developer / part content provider.  Nick told me he felt like everyone could relate to digging through a box of books and striking out only to see someone else hit it big.  He wanted to give the collector an edge.  From that notion, the Key Collector App was born.

While millions of comics exist on the market, only a tiny percentage separate themselves as being true key issues.  Nick aims to highlight those issues with his app.  You can search by title, author, character, or publisher. While the Key Collector App is a great tool to use to search for hot Issues in runs, obscure keys, or track movements and trends, the app also provides curated content right on the home screen that is always in tune with the current comic market. Watching WandaVision and want to see a list of Key Issues? This App has you covered. How about a list of titles optioned for series or film by Netflix? This App has you covered. Specially curated lists as well weekly content features such as news comic day releases, weekly hot and trending lists, and the Pro-Spec List presented by Tales from the Flipside (popular comic book Youtubers) all give the user more than just a searchable database. 

If all that wasn’t enough, the app also has an alerts feature that sends notifications directly to your mobile phone with breaking comic news. This can include news from both the publishing side of comic books as well as the Hollywood side. This can be an essential tool for those trying to beat the crowd to buy up tomorrow’s recently announced Indie Option for future profits. The secondary market is built on speed, and this feature has been the one to garner the most attention amongst the comic book market. 

The market is truly vast and moves lightning fast.  That really means we need all the tools we can get our hands on in order to be successful as collectors and investors. I hope to be able to highlight more great tools that you can use to amplify your collections in the future. In the meantime, if you were thinking about checking out the Key Collector App, you can use Code: 137pm to get a two-week free trial of the app right now.

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: Female Leads Take Centerstage

This week in comics was like many others in recent memory as it was marked by Hollywood news driving comic collector buying habits. Most news—other than the Warner Brothers Superman casting news, which was reported on via the 7:31 AM Podcast—had one major thing in common. We saw four major projects from comic cook IP that all featured a female lead. This also coincides with women being one of the largest growing segments within comics, both in fandom and on the creative side. This week, we will look at four characters—all from different publishers—who will be seeing life in other media. 

DC Comics: Naomi

It’s been known for quite some time that DC Comics and Ava Duvernay’s Naomi was coming to the CW Network. This Brian Michael Bendis-created character has seen more initial heat than any new character by Bendis since his biggest hit, Miles Morales. This week saw the first promo image from the show and it ignited the comic community with its near exact depiction of Cover A of Naomi #1. Comic accuracy usually equals money for investors, as it can help tip a show’s hand to speculators. 

This is again why I prefer this cover from its Cover B counterpart—which some prefer. I even think the 2nd or 3rd prints could be good buys as they depict color changed versions of the 1st Print. The 3rd print was originally a freebie handed out on the convention floor of San Diego Comic Con, ironically enough. This is a character you can get in on the ground floor with as graded 9.8 copies are just $200-250 at this point, with late prints commanding less. A Cover B 1st print 9.8 sold for $125 just a day ago. 

Ms. Marvel For This Generation
Ms. Marvel 001 / Marvel

Staying with the set pictures making noise theme, we saw our first look at Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel on the set of her upcoming Disney+  series. This is a character who has been extremely popular since her creation in 2014. A super powered female Muslim teenager with dreams of following in the footsteps of Captain Marvel Carol Danvers, Kamala Kahn has served as an inspiration to a new generation of comic fans. Her first solo series saw its first issue go to eight subsequent printings and the first collected edition won numerous awards. The cover of the comic can even be seen in poster form on the wall of Alex Dunfey’s dorm room on an episode of Modern Family.

This is a character and IP with long term potential and implications for the MCU.  Her 1st full appearance is in Marvel Point One #1, which has seen 9.8 sales of $2,000 in recent days. The aforementioned Ms Marvel #1 is trending toward $1,000 in a slabbed 9.8 and cameo and 1st Cover in Captain Marvel #17 2nd Print has risen from $3,000 to $5,000 in 9.8, with new asking prices all above $10,000 on eBay. 

Dark Horse Comics: Lady Killer
Lady Killer #1 / Dark Horse Comics

I have previously written about how Boom! Studios has a first look deal with Netflix, but what I didn’t mention is that the streaming giant is so bullish on Comic Book IP that they have a second first look deal with Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse is currently set to drop the comic book adaptation of the upcoming Kevin Smith Masters of The Universe Anime. Dark Horse is probably most famous, though, for being the home of Hellboy and The Mask, both of which have seen major Hollywood success. Their next big blockbuster looks to be coming from the Joelle Jones hit Lady Killer. This won’t be in theaters like the Jim Carrey or Ron Perlman Films, but instead Netflix announced this week that they had hired a director and tapped Blake Lively to star as the lead. I am very bullish on Netflix and their ability to easily get their content in front on the most eyes. 

The market seems to agree with 9.8 copies of #1 trading for $215 just a couple of weeks ago to now easily commanding $350 on eBay. Another play that I really like: for $500-600 you can get the Emerald City Comic Con Variant in a 9.8, which was limited to 500 copies printed if you’re thinking about investing in Lively, making it two for two in her household for Comic Book IP success (we will just ignore Green Lantern for Ryan Reynolds’ sake). This is a book where, if this show is a big success and crosses over into pop culture the way other Netflix shows have, the low printing on this book could make for huge ROI. 

Red Sonja Returns to Theatres
Conan the Barbarian #23 / Marvel

While the 1985 Brigitte Neilson film may have been many casual moviegoers only exposure to Red Sonja, she is a very popular comic character in print to this day. Red Sonja is currently published by Dynamite Comics and has her own solo series as well as being involved in several team and crossover books. The Conan The Barbarian Universe character was long rumored and reported to be revived, and this week saw news that brought those reports to fruition. Hannah John Kamen was cast as the titular character for the upcoming Red Sonja feature film. Many comic fans may be familiar with the actress for her role as Ghost in Ant Man 2.

The money seems to be split between Conan Vol.1 #23 and #24 as #23 is Red Sonja’s 1st Appearance and #24 is her Origin and cover story. Prices are all over the place and this is not a book commonly found in very high grade. I like #23 as I believe the 1st Appearance trumps all. #24 recently sold for $1,100 in a 9.6 while #23 is trading at $1,500. Another option is to go with Red Sonja #1 vol. 1. A 9.8 looks to run you about $500. 

Keeping up with all of this breaking Hollywood news can be tough, but it’s essential to seeing market trends in the comic book community.  Join me next week where we will look at the tools collectors and investors are using to get ahead. 

Categories
Culture News

This Week in Comic Collecting: Something Is Killing The Children

As I teased in last week’s column, the title we will focus on this week is one that has been dubbed “The Next Walking Dead” by the comic community almost since its arrival on the scene two years ago.  A lot of books draw you in off the rack with their awesome covers; this one does too, but it isn’t the art that first draws you in, it’s the sensational title: Something Is Killing The Children. Usually, when the stakes involve the death of children, the hero saves the day and after a while you become desensitized to the danger.  That is pretty common among Marvel or DC titles. But with this title, you know right off the bat there has already been loss. Whether you were intrigued by the title or offended by it, either way you didn’t forget it. 

Something is Killing the Children / Boom! Studios

From the moment I read an advance PDF of issue #1, I was hooked both as a reader and an investor. This title was a major pre order play for me. I was championing this title before its order cutoff window with Brian Wood, on his popular YouTube Channel Simplemans Comics. While many jumped on board, some were still skeptical.  That sentiment seemed to dissipate in the weeks and months after the release of Issue #1. It seemed like absolutely anyone who read it loved it and instantly became a buyer. Copies dried up and now we are on the 8th printing of #1. Every issue printed in the series thus far has seen secondary market demand with some variants hitting 4 figures due to scarcity and demand alone. 

While this series has truly been a phenomenon largely due to the efforts of writer James Tynion (whom I previously wrote about being an extremely investable writer) and the marketing efforts of publisher Boom! Studios, the secret sauce has been the likability of the main character Erica Slaughter. Erica is a badass, take no prisoners female lead. A woman on a mission.  As the story unfolds we get to see more of what drives her. This character seems like the type of role that would really propel an actress to new heights.  And this brings us to option talk.  While there haven’t been any concrete rumors swirling around, this series being optioned to Hollywood has felt like an inevitability since day one.  Netflix has a first look deal with Boom! Studios and I would find it hard to believe they would pass on this IP, but I am no Hollywood exec, so we will see.

Regardless of who produces the series into a TV show or movie, the popularity of the comic proves there is a market here. When I first reported on this book for this site, prices on 9.8 copies of Cover A were $650. Now we are seeing these trend upward hitting above $900 in just a matter of weeks. I have seen so many comic investors selling at these high prices, but I am holding. We haven’t gotten that Hollywood announcement yet that always drives price increases and I am willing to hold out for that at the very least.  This is one property I really believe in. 

The Walking Dead’s Clementine to Make Her Comic Debut
Skybound

If you’re looking for the next The Walking Dead, check out what’s next up for the original! One of the most popular characters in The Walking Dead Universe is a character who hasn’t been on the big screen for the last decade, nor did she ever appear in the comic series. I am of course referring to the popular video game protagonist Clementine. Skybound Entertainment recently announced the launch of Skybound X, a new series celebrating Skybound’s 10th anniversary, with issue #1  featuring the 1st appearance of Clementine in a comic book as well as two variant covers with her front and center. 

This book launches in July and if you are a believer in The Walking Dead as a long term IP (I am!) then this is a great buying opportunity. This book is inside the pre order window so comic shops can order an unlimited amount until the final order cutoff date 23 days before the release of the book. Most shops give major discounts to pre order and some even offer 9.8 slab pre sales.  While there is a ton of money to be made in the back issue market, I love keeping an eye on the future and making a play in the pre order market as well.

Mad Cave Studios is Going Hollywood

A newer indie publisher I have long been a fan of is Miami, Florida’s Mad Cave Studios. This company really set itself apart upon entering the comic market by growing slowly and organically. They put an emphasis on quality of story and art as well as developing a community on social media. The company has been led by founder and writer of many Mad Caves hit series, Mark London. With titles like Knights of the Golden Sun, Stargazer, and Nottingham among others, Mad Cave has seen secondary market success largely due to their aforementioned quality of product as well as the short supply that comes with being a small press publisher fighting the uphill climb for market share. 

It is my belief that publishers like this provide investment opportunities as Hollywood’s craze over comic book IP helps to level the publishing playfield. If a Mad Cave title was to pop beyond the comic communities reader buzz, the 2-10k print runs could not possibly support the demand and prices would skyrocket.  The first step toward that occurrence may have just occurred as Mad Cave announced an agreement with Echo Lake Entertainment to represent their IP in negotiations for film and television. I would look to secure some of their #1 issues before Echo Lake can make any deals on Mad Cave’s budding roster of IP. 

CGC Follows the PSA Playbook

I have often made the comparison between the sports card market and the comic book market, stating that the card market is 2-5 years ahead of the comic market but operates largely the same. To this effect, I was not surprised to see CGC’s announcement that they were increasing grading costs across the board as well as eliminating a tier and discount options. This is largely due to their backlog of grading and their recent expansion bringing in dozens of new employees and moving into new facilities. This move seems like a logical first step in the progression of the comic book market. 

What I find truly interesting is the market sentiment on the news. While the sports card community took the PSA price increases largely in stride as part of the growth of the hobby, the comic community has really reignited the debate between the grading companies: CGC and the Beckett owned CBCS. I will be really interested to see if CGC has the type of market hold PSA does or if they are possibly more susceptible to losing market share as CBCS offers a cheaper, faster, and arguably better looking case as well as offering the added service of signature verification for your already signed and unwitnessed books. At the end of the day though, it will all come down to the reaction of the secondary market. Comic sellers will always prefer the slab that generates the most money.

Two Big Giant-Size X #1 Sales
Marvel / Giant-Size X-Men #1

My next observation this week and is about the difference in returns from sales of a graded book from two different companies as well as the difference an auction platform can make. This past week two different 9.8 copies of Giant Sized X Men #1 sold at two different auction sites from two different grading companies, and they brought two different prices. A CGC 9.8 from ComicConnect sold for $60,000 while a CBCS 9.8 sold just a few days later on eBay for $49,100. This has raised a lot of interesting questions in the community such as: With the market being up as a whole, why did these books underperform a previous high sale?  What accounted for the price difference between the auction house or the grading company? Did the fact that the eBay copy ended a few days after the ComicConnect copy negatively affect its final price?

The truth is we don’t have the answers to those questions, only hunches and assumptions. As this market continues to grow, it will be interesting to note these trends and see which way things lean.   At the end of the day, those are two staggering totals that have most comic collectors excited for where the market is heading.

So join me next week where we take a look at what is almost assuredly going to be yet another action packed week in the comic book market.  

Categories
Culture Movies/TV

Everything You Need to Know About ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’

As Marvel Studios continues their quest towards world domination (only kind of kidding here), they are set to drop the next installment of the MCU, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, on March 19th. Arriving on Disney+, the series will follow Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) as they attempt to stop the evil machinations of Baron Zemo and the Flag Smashers.

The new series follows the first entry in Marvel’s new slate of TV shows, Wandavision, and looks to emulate that show’s immense success. While it took a few episodes for viewers to gravitate towards that particular series due to its absurdity, Marvel hopes that The Falcon and Winter Soldier will have fans hooked from the jump.

With all that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about The Falcon and Winter Soldier so that you’re fully caught up before March 19th.

Premise

Per Disney+, the official synopsis for the show is:

“After being handed the mantle of Captain America at the end of Avengers: Endgame, Sam Wilson teams up with Bucky Barnes in a worldwide adventure that puts their abilities to the test as they fight the anti-patriotism group the Flag-Smashers.”

Sam Wilson, The Falcon
Disney+

A former Air Force rescue operative, Sam Wilson, aka ‘The Falcon,’ first appeared in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where he fought alongside Steve Rogers, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Maria Hill, and Sharon Carter to prevent Hydra from killing millions of people.

Following the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Sam became a full-fledged member of the Avengers, eventually siding with Captain America when the team fell apart during Captain America: Civil War.

He would continue to stick by Steve Rogers while the two were on the run along with Black Widow and helped fight Thanos’ army in Wakanda during Avengers: Infinity War. Unfortunately, he was amongst those who were “snapped” by Thanos, being erased from existence for five years.

Thankfully the superheroes that survived “The Snap” were able to reverse it, and Wilson helped defeat Thanos’ massive army at the end of Avengers: Endgame.

At the end of that film, an elder Steve Rogers (who had chosen to live in the past with Peggy Carter) gave his shield to Sam, entrusting him to carry on the legacy of Captain America.

Bucky Barnes, The Winter Soldier
Disney+

Like his best friend Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes aka ‘The Winter Soldier,’ is a man out of time. First appearing in Captain America: The First Avenger, where he was seemingly killed, but actually was captured by Hydra and brainwashed to become their most lethal assassin.

Over the decades, he was repeatedly cryogenically frozen and awakened in order to carry out the evil organization’s most dangerous missions. Barnes was, in fact, responsible for the assassination of Tony Stark’s parents, a revelation that led to the fracturing of The Avengers.

Barnes reemerged in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where he was assisting Hydra. He would eventually be thwarted by Steve Rogers and reminded of who he was in the past, leading to his path of redemption.

He was framed for an attack on the United Nations by Baron Zemo (which resulted in the death of King T’Chaka, the father of T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther.) He was cleared of wrongdoing thanks to the help of Captain America, but following the aforementioned revelation that he murdered Tony Stark’s parents, Iron Man sought revenge against him and Steve Rogers.

Stark was defeated by the duo, but the Avengers were fractured thanks to the arrest of Ant-Man, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and Hawkeye, forcing Rogers to break them out and go on the run.

Barnes sought the help of Black Panther and the Wakandans, who cured him of the Hydra brainwashing and he would join the fight against Thanos. Like Wilson, he too was vaporized by Thanos at the end of Infinity War but would reemerge in Endgame and help to defeat the Mad Titan.

Supporting Cast
Disney+

Rounding out the show’s cast will be Daniel Brühl’s Helmut Zemo, who was the main antagonist in Captain America: Civil War, who seems to be continuing his quest to purge the world of superheroes. A man with allegiance to no one and no country, Zemo is one of Captain America’s most recurring villains in the comics and will be donning his signature purple mask in this show.

Also returning will be Emily VanCamp as Sharon Carter, one-time SHIELD agent, who helped Captain America in both Winter Soldier and Civil War. According to VanCamp, her character has been on the run since Civil War, and the show plans to explore what she has been doing since then.

Also making appearances in the show will be UFC legend Georges St-Pierre, who played Georges Batroc in Winter Soldier; Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/ War Machine; and Erin Kellyman as Karli Morgenthau, a member of the anti-patriotism group the Flag-Smashers.

Finally, Wyatt Russell will portray John Walker, aka U.S. Agent, a pseudo-successor to Captain America, who is much more jingoistic and nationalistic than Rogers ever was.

The Falcon and The Winter Soldier is set to premiere on Disney+ on March 19th, and will run for six episodes. You’re not going to want to miss this one.