We all know that in the world of comic book collecting, great white whales like Action Comics # 1, Detective Comics # 27, and Amazing Fantasy # 15 in decent enough condition are hunted down and sought after by wildly wealthy collectors who could afford such million-dollar plus commodities. But don't let the fact that we mere mortals might never even see one of these or other fabled comic books, let alone have enough money to try and own one get you down, check your long white boxes, you might have some buried treasure.
Over twenty years ago now, in the mid to late nineties, the industry went a little insane with poly bags and variants and chrome covers to try and increase sales. While it did deliver a slight bump in sales, in the long run - that Superman # 75 in a black bag CGC graded 10.0 is worth bupkis - because everyone else had the same idea. Collectability has since died down a little bit, and although variant covers and autographs have become all the rage now, we're still probably not going to see one of these million dollar books for a long time to come.
That doesn't mean some of your books wouldn't help pad your coffers. Here are some of The Most Expensive Comic Books That You Might Own.
25 Iron Man #55 (1973) - $3,750
The hottest property in all of the world right now film wise, is, of course, the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Steadily building since Iron Man in 2008, the films all led up to Infinity War this past spring. Fans finally got to see the full-on big-screen debut of the Mad Titan, Thanos in all of his glory, collecting all of the Infinity Stones and with one snap of his fingers, wiping out half of the galaxy.
With the same snap, the character’s first appearance also jumped up in popularity and collectability. In Iron Man # 55 from 1973, the character made his less than auspicious debut. But in recent years, since his revival during the Infinity Saga, collectors have been searching out this book, which is now white-hot. In fact, a near mint copy graded by CGC can go for as much as $3,750 if you find someone willing to pay.
24 Batman Adventures #12 (1993) - $2,400
In the fall of 1992, quite possibly the best superhero cartoon ever debuted. Batman: The Animated Series had just the right amount of kids show mixed with old-school panache and the new Tim Burton movies to become a massively popular hit. Several weeks in, the world was introduced to an original character - Harley Quinn, the Joker’s main squeeze. While there can be an entire article dedicated to just how messed up their relationship is and how she really shouldn't be the feminist icon she's become, demand for the character has seemingly never ever wavered.
Which is why she was introduced to the comic books about a year later in Batman Adventures # 12, the book is still sought after all of these years and fetch someone as much as $2,400!
23 TWD #1 (October 2003) - $20,000
Even at a bare minimum, this book could snag at least $250, not a bad haul if you bought yourself the first copy of Robert Kirkman’s now epic franchise. There are next to no independent comic books out there that have resonated with the public the way The Walking Dead has. Video games, clothes, toys, and of course AMC’s ridiculously popular show, which has been going strong now for eight years.
This first issue of the comic book has since become extremely scarce to find. Not even 8,000 copies were shipped to comic stores across America (in comparison, a book like Batman averages 65,000 copies monthly). Nowadays, it's one of the most sought after, and at least one collector has paid at least 20 grand for the first issue of the zombie adventure; for a 9.9 graded copy.
22 New Mutants #87/98 (1991/1992) - $500
Ever since his debut way back New Mutants # 87, Cable has been a fairly hot property. His backstory might need a couple of Freudian shrinks to dissect and explain, or just a couple of very knowledgeable comic book fans. But he's still one of the more popular “non-classic” X-Men characters (ie - Wolverine, Cyclops). One issue later, the Marvel Universe would get its first glimpse of the most ridiculous superhero ever – Deadpool.
While it would take a few more years before he would become the Merc’ With A Mouth that fans would come to know and love, New Mutants # 88 is still way more valuable than any other DP comic book. Assuming these two issues have just been fermenting in your white long boxes for years and haven’t been hermetically sealed and graded, combined they could net you a cool 500 – they’re both relatively worth as much no matter the condition, with Deadpool being slightly higher no matter the grade. However, one 9.9 copy netted some happy collector about six thousand.
21 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 (1984) - $20,000
In the early eighties, Frank Miller took Daredevil to new heights and showed everyone just how cool the character could be. So why not parody that and snag some cash? That's what Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird did when they came up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Instead of one kid being blinded by radioactive sludge and being trained by a guy named Stick to fighting a group of ninjas called the Hand; we got four turtles being taught by Splinter to fight the Foot.
While that might seem ripe for a kids’ cartoon and franchise, the early issues were intense affairs, and the very first one is actually a valuable comic of the eighties, once going for as much twenty grand.
20 Siege #3 Deadpool Variant (2010) - $2,600
Two things have become very en vogue in the comic book industry in recent years - variant covers and crossovers. Both Marvel and DC typically have universe-sweeping crossover stories involving just about all of their characters every year. While variant covers have been around since the early nineties, the industry figured out to not print so many. Case in point, Marvel Siege #3, which featured Deadpool as a thug rapper and two scantily clad girls.
While this has absolutely nothing to do with the actual storyline of Siege, it's Deadpool being his whacked out-self drawn by renowned artist J. Scott Campbell, so while there are plenty of decent copies out there, demand can help a person fetch a hefty chunk of change for this one - as much as $2600 dollars has been recorded for this book.
19 NYX #3 (2004) - $825
Sometimes, investing in a book is just a good business. In the Marvel Universe, most X-Men books could spike in value at just about any time. Especially first appearances. With so many mutants running around, any one of the Children Of The Atom could get hot at any time. Especially, when they're a clone of Wolverine.
NYX, which was a seemingly throwaway side-title of the main X-Books, NYX featured the comic book debut of X-23, who has grown in popularity, especially after debuting in the last Wolverine movie, Logan. With all signs of Hugh Jackman gone, there's a chance X-23 might be featured a lot more heavily into the movie plans. Get this book now pretty cheap even if you find a NM version at 825$, it'll be worth it.
18 Detective Comics #880 (2011) - $500 dollars
With just a simple idea, artist Jock created one of the most terrifying visions of Batman’s greatest foe ever. This isn't the ol’ “Happy Jack” version that Cesar Romero had made famous, and he looks like he'll strike utter terror into Mark Hamill and have Jack Nicholson scream for mercy. With not a lot of time left before the DC 52 relaunch, the Joker again escapes Arkham to terrorize the Gordon family. But he's more than a little annoyed that “his” Batman isn't the one chasing him, it's Dick Grayson under the cowl.
A solid issue, but nothing particularly noteworthy besides the crazy over, which along with the fact that it's hard to find a NM 9.8 copy could cost you (or net you) near 500 dollars.
17 The Amazing Spider-Man #300 (1988) - $10,000
Pretty much since the very moment this issue came out, has Eddie Brock/Venom become one of the House Of Ideas’ most popular characters. He debuted as Spiderman’s deadliest foe, an amalgamation of Brock’s hatred for Peter Parker and the Alien Symbiote’s feelings of being shunned by Parker. The brain-eating villain became so wildly popular that he was seemingly everywhere and eventually became an anti-hero.
The Symbiote sprouted off all kinds of offspring and bonded with all kinds of hosts over the years, but now is once again back with Eddie Brock. Between the new comic and the upcoming movie, demand for Venom should be greater than ever, and so should one of Todd McFarlane’s greatest creations. If you can find it in decent enough condition and price, sweep it up immediately and have it graded. The issue has been known to sell for over ten thousand.
16 Uncanny X-Men #101 (1976) - $2,000
Chris Claremont’s first run on Uncanny X-Men is the stuff of legend. He created a lot of characters and elements for the team that still endure and resonate to this day. The guy wrote two of the most popular stories in all of Marvel during his epic 15-year plus run, both near mythical Marvel canon - Days Of Future Past and The Phoenix Saga.
While near mint graded copies can go for well over two grand, you can also find one not graded, or raw for fairly cheap, anywhere from 50 to 320. That's just a drop in the bucket after you get it graded, especially when the Phoenix Saga movie is coming out in 2019, and this book will likely reach even greater heights.
15 The Amazing Spider-Man # 607 (2009) - $200
Just about everyone purchasing anything does, in fact, judge a book by its cover. In the world of comics books, the cover art is an amazing sales tool. Some of the industry’s most enduring images were originally covers. Sometimes the issue means nothing compared to its cover. With variants all the rage, cool covers had become pretty darn collectible.
Like this one - Amazing Spider-Man #607, featuring the vivacious Felicia Hardy drawn by J. Scott Campbell, who is a highly sought out artist when it comes to drawing women. The issue is actually an affordable investment, just barely cracking the 200 range if you find a NM 9.8 copy. Covers like this do tend to head up in value though as they reach iconic status, which it most certainly will.
14 Silver Surfer Vol. 3 #44 (1990) - $400
For some, a hobby like collecting comic books is kind of like watching the stock market, you need to know when to pounce and buy up shares and when to sell them off for maximum profit. If there was ever a time to pounce on what should become sure-fire money it would have been an issue like Silver Surfer Volume 3 #44. Go to your local comic book store now, peruse those long boxes and find this issue, we’ll wait.
While it's not a whole lot of money at the moment, this is the issue that the Infinity Gauntlet makes its official appearance in the Marvel Universe. Combine that with the fact that more than likely, thanks to the impending Fox deal, Surfer will be joining the MCU proper very soon.
13 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 Jim Lee Variant (2016) - $2,800
Take one of the greatest artists of all time and combine him with the mastermind of what many people believe to be the definitive Batman story and you have all of the makings of a hot book. Frank Miller, this time with co-writer Brian Azzarello collaborated for the third installment of the Dark Knight series, The Master Race. But they were not alone.
The story of an aging Bruce Wayne, fending off an army of invading Kryptonians was a fitting end to the Dark Knight Returns saga, although Miller has said there will be a fourth, so never say never in comics. But the first issue of this series had a really sweet Jim Lee sketch cover that now can retail for $2800 for a highly-graded issue.
12 League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen # 5 (2000) - $2,500
Alan Moore is one of the most irreverent comic book creators around. While he's most famous for his reclusiveness and the epic original Watchmen series, he has written a whole host of other stories and has created several other original characters and mini-series, such as the League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen from 2000. The story featured an awesome take on Steampunk and teaming up many literary staples of the 1800s and early 20th century.
While there's nothing terribly controversial about issue #5, there was an advertisement for Marvel Douche, which was an actual brand in the early 20th century. Naturally, DC head Paul Levitz had a pretty big cow and destroyed all of the copies making this edition very hard to find and it could sell for as much as 2500.
11 Alias #1 (2001) - $1000+
Thanks to the Netflix Marvel shows, Jessica Jones and her show have become a standout. Seeing a hard-drinking, hard-boiled supergirl as a Marvel series is jarring to watch. But it's also one of the better MCU products around. The comic series it's based on from Brian Michael Bendis was an equally jarring book to read when it hit stands in 2001.
Thanks to Krysten Ritter’s portrayal, the series is certainly one of the better comic book based shows out there, which means past issues of the series have grown in demand. The first issue for example, which is also Jessica’s first appearance, in great condition has netted collectors over a thousand.
10 The Amazing Spider-Man #678 Variant Cover (2012) - $3,000
When collecting Marvel books, as a general rule of thumb, Venom is usually a decent investment. Variant covers are usually a decent investment. So why not combine the two? In a moment that parodies the very first meeting between Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson from Amazing Spider-Man #42 (“Face it, Tiger. You just hit the jackpot.”), artist Joe Quinones created this cover.
Like many variant issues, the picture has nothing to do with the issue, it's just a way to entice some purchases, which had been low on Spider-Man at the time. The lower print run helps to push this one up, which actually has been bought for as much as three grand at one point or another.
9 Spawn #1 (1992) - $800
In the early nineties, several of Marvel’s top artists bolted and started their own company. Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Eric Larsen, Rob Liefeld, and a few others weren't fans of giving up the rights to characters they were creating and decided to create their own company where the creators would own their properties. It worked, and Image Comics has been going strong for over 25 years now.
Led by McFarlane’s Spawn, the company showed just how different they would be - a hero: Spawn of Hell. The first issue has one of the most lasting images of the character. Plenty of people have this issue, but it could still get you 800 dollars. Even more, if you find one with the ink missing.
8 Y: The Last Man #1 (2002) - $1,000
In 2002, a virus had wiped out every single living thing with a Y-Chromosome, leaving seemingly no males left except escape artist Yorick and his pet monkey Ampersand. While to some, this might seem like a paradise, things got a little dicey when they realized that society has plunged into despair and without any men, the human race, and all races might be doomed for extinction.
As one of the newer entries into the DC Vertigo line, creator Brian K. Vaughn was able to push the boundaries of what was allowed in traditional DC books. It paid off in droves and he won an Eisner award. With the series always in talks for some sort of screen adaptation, purchasing the always hot first issue could be quite in the investment for some fans. While issues have already been sold at as high as a thousand, you could conceivably find one for cheaper and wait for the adaptation to hit so the price rises.
7 Chew # 1 (2003) - $2000
Even so many years after founding Image comics, the proverbial “indie” feel is still there. Never more so than in a comic book like Chew. In a world where Avian Flu has killed over 20 million Americans, Chew is about Tony Chu, and a FDA investigator who has the unique ability to get a psychic impression from whatever he eats. He's not the only one, and that's the only ability a person could get from eating tainted food. While this sounds completely absurd to some people, getting bit by radioactive spider must've seemed weird too at first.
The series, created by John Layman who also wrote Marvel Zombies vs. Army Of Darkness has been popular enough to be shopped around in Hollywood and have a board game released. The first issue of this saga has been sold for as much as 2,000 and certainly will at least continue to do so if an adaptation ever lands somewhere.
6 Batman (1988) - $100
In the pantheon of great Batman stories, Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke rests with Year One and The Dark Knight Returns as three of the most influential bat-books ever created. This goes one step further as being one of the best comic books you'll ever read, and is notable for having some of the most shocking images in a bat book ever, along with paralyzing Barbara Gordon, a change that had her become Oracle.
While even the creative team behind the book have denounced some of the source material in recent years, for many fans as critics it remains the definite Joker story. Most fans have this one in their collection and for some fast cash, a good graded copy could be sold for as much a 100$. It's a good starter book to have for a collection, and if you haven't read it yet, then put on a pair of latex gloves to keep the grease and oil off and read this book.
5 Wonder Woman Vol. 2 # 72 (1993) - $350
Brian Bolland had already made a name for himself when DC brought him on as an artist. In fact, the guy jumpstarted the comics version of the British Invasion. His work on The Killing Joke officially put him on the map. Iconic poses and covers tend to fetch some more than you might expect. Combine that with Bolland’s artwork and the resurgence of a certain Amazon queen into the mainstream and you have the makings of a money book.
Similar to his Joker, Bolland’s depiction of Wonder Woman has become a stunning heroic image of the character. Considering it's a mid-level value of barely 350 graded, shrewd box hunters could easily snag this one for about a buck and bet a whole lot more after getting graded.
4 TWD # 19 (2005) - $50
Zombies, sword swinging survivors, and comic book debuts?! How cool is it to have this kind of fun injected into a zombie horror survival comic book? Michonne debuted in the 19th issue of the Walking Dead comic book and towards the end of the second season of the show and has been a very popular character ever since. As both entities grow in popularity, the price of this issue certainly would grow in value and demand.
The actress behind Michonne, Danai Guirira is also helping to push this issue up in value. As her star rises, more interest in the character rises and the cycle starts again. Even ungraded copies in good condition can net you 50 bucks. But why stop there, get it graded and hope someone will give you at least a thousand for it!
3 Wolverine #1 Deadpool Variant (2010) - $3,000
One might think that taking popular artist J. Scott Campbell and having him work on a cover depicting Wolverine clad in Deadpool’s clothing to celebrate the debut issue of a new Wolverine series would be a license to print money - and you'd be right! It was one of the many (many) variant covers for Wolverine Goes To Hell, aka - One Of The Most Divisive Marvel Books Ever. So the House of Ideas clearly knew sales for the book needed all the help they could get.
As far as the cover image, the plan worked. This particular version in phenomenal shape could net you nearly 3000 bucks! That might be enough to have your skin laced with Adamantium, wouldn't it be?
2 DC Elseworlds 80 Page Giant #1 (1999) - $4,500
DC Elseworlds depict some of our most beloved heroes outside of the DC universe as we know them, and into wildly different situations - all under the "what if" brand. What if Superman was adopted by the Waynes? While it was always a pretty cool take on our favorites, they're always prestige formats and usually don't move up in value. But when the issue features baby Superman in a microwave, that might be something to pique value.
In the DC Elseworlds 80 Page Giant story, Leticia Lerner, Superman’s Babysitter, there is a scene depicting the tyke of steel in a microwave. DC moved quickly to destroy all of the copies for North America. Approximately 2000 still made it across the pond, making this one of the rarest books of the modern era. For our U.K. readers seeing this, if you have this, it can make you 4500 bucks.
1 Rick And Morty #1 (2015) - $200
Typically, comic books based on cartoons - for kids or adults - are not money makers at all, and if they are, they'd be the equivalent of a quick push in poker. You’re in one of the last positions in the hand, and you bet large to push everyone out and grab a few quick bucks. That's what a comic book like Rick and Morty #1 could do for you if you own it.
Based on the Adult Swim show from Dan Harmon (Community), Rick and Morty #1 from Oni Press isn’t going to set you up for life, but how many times could you say a comic book paid for your groceries? The issue has been known to fetch a good 200 bucks for die-hard fans.