It has been ten years since Iron Man stepped out of the pages of Marvel and onto the big screen, launching one of the most popular and beloved movie franchises the world has ever known. However, if the House Of Ideas hadn't sold off the rights to their most popular heroes like the Fantastic Four, X-Men, and of course your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, then perhaps the Marvel Cinematic Universe wouldn't be what it is today.
Thankfully, it did happen that way, otherwise, we would have just had a litany of Spidey and X-Men movies and instead of characters like Black Panther and the Guardians of the Galaxy getting their own movies, Iron Man and Cap’ would’ve been the second-tier characters getting their own movies.
Which brings us to this list and why it is all mostly those three upper echelon comic books. Because only up until recently did Marvel put their creative juices behind their second-tier characters to craft new stories. But in the earliest days of the Merry Marvel Marching Society, the big guns were the big guns, and aside from first appearances, that was about it.
Things are changing slightly as the MCU grows, so perhaps it's time to pick up some investment comics now. Here are the Thirty Most Valuable Marvel Comics Of All Time.
30 Fantastic Four #3 (1962) $38,000
Marvel’s first family was and always has been the Fantastic Four. Their debut in 1961 helped to usher in a new age of superheroes but combine it with shows like Lost In Space, where it's not just one person on an adventure, but an entire family. Or at least a family structure. In this third issue, the Fantastic Four tackle the Miracle Man. He humiliated the Thing and extinguished the Human Torch.
Unlike early DC issues, early Marvel books weren't necessarily anthologies, but chaptered features and FF # 3 was no different. The book was the first issue of the team in their iconic blue uniforms, and is currently a steal at 38K, especially when in theory, sooner or later the team will make their MCU debut.
29 Fantastic Four #4 (1962) $44,000
One character that has not made their cinematic debut in any…ANY Marvel movie is Namor, the Sub-Mariner. A fact that might get rectified once the Disney - 20th Century Fox deal is official. Through Namor, they can link a whole heap of characters and locations. Namor in the comics is the King of Atlantis who has a thing for Sue Storm, and is the company’s first Mutant. Talk about being connected!
Another investment type of comic book, FF #4 can only skyrocket in price once the character is finally introduced to a nationwide film going audience and is currently a little under the average year’s salary of 44K at its highest to bring home.
28 Incredible Hulk # 2 (1962) $47,000
Fun useless fact time - when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Incredible Hulk they wanted the Green Goliath to be grey. But the ink was giving them a problem. Hence, why this issue, issue # 2 is actually the first appearance of the giant green monster.
Since his debut, the not-so-jolly green giant has been in all kinds of media, making fanboys go nuts. Lou Ferrigno, Eric Bana, Edward Norton, and Mark Ruffalo all pale in comparison however to Hulk Hogan himself, who took his name after Marvel’s own Hulk. This second issue at its most expensive is still just a year’s salary at 47K, which is kind of a steal for any collector.
27 Tales To Astonish #35 (1962) $51,000
While not always the biggest (pun intended) and most popular Avenger, Hank Pym is one of the smartest minds in the Marvel Universe and his Pym Particles have helped him to grow and shrink, and occasionally be a real jerk. His first appearance in the costume in Tales To Astonish #35 is the first time the anthology series focused on the little guy and this series would become his own and the first time he was able to talk to ants.
The debut was a three-chapter story which featured Soviet spies and flying bugs. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby had another great supporting character on their hands that they treated as more important than the second tier. Currently, this issue has been known to sell for as much as 51 thousand in phenomenal condition.
26 Amazing Spider-Man #3 (1963) $54,000 / Amazing Spider-Man #14 (1964) $54,000
One villain is a mad scientist with eight arms and has terrified Spidey throughout the years, even marrying his beloved Aunt May and possessing Spidey’s body too! The other is also a mad scientist, this one who travels around on a glider and looks like a goblin. He has been responsible for perhaps Spidey’s greatest tragedy, the death of teenage love, Gwen Stacy.
It's only fitting that two of Spidey’s greatest foes, Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin not only debuted within a year from one another and both are valued at the same amount, 54,000 dollars. While both issues have always been high priced, find a pristine copy and you never know how much more it could nab you.
25 Strange Tales #110 (1963) $60,000
Hailing from Gary, Indiana, Pete Petruski created a paste gun and instead of using it for good as a research scientist turned to a life of crime. Bentley Wittman has a super-human level intellect but felt threatened by the exploits of the Human Torch. So, these two teamed up to try and take out Johnny Storm in Strange Tales #110.
If that doesn’t sound like a valuable comic to own, then perhaps the second story will – “Dr. Strange Master Of Black Magic!” The first appearance of the Sorcerer Supreme, and his ancient foe, Nightmare are also within the pages of ST #110, which will certainly go up in value, which is currently at 60K if and when Nightmare is announced as the villain of the eventual Strange sequel.
24 Fantastic Four #12 (1962) $65,000 / Fantastic Four #5 (1963) $65,000
In the Fantastic Four #5, we are introduced to the grand villain, Dr. Doom, who has been a thorn in the FF’s and entire MCU’s side for over 50 years. A few months later in issue #12, the first epic clash between Marvel’s two top titans, the Thing, and the Hulk took place, which to this day is one of the House Of Idea’s great rivalries.
Two marquis issues not just in the history of the Fantastic Four, but in Marvel are both currently tied as 65K at their highest value. Either one of these is worth your time and effort to find if you're hunting down issues to invest in.
23 Amazing Spider-Man #6 (1963) $71,000
Dr. Curt Connors as a villain seldom gets the respect he's deserved as far as comic book baddies go. A brilliant scientist who lost his arm, he decides to try and replicate the gene in reptiles that allows them to regenerate lost limbs. But something went awry and Doc was turned into a giant Lizard. He has found ways over the years of suppressing the beast, but similar to the Hulk, it's just not easy being green.
That being said, his theatrical debut in Amazing Spider-Man received generally favorable reviews and helped bump up the Lizard’s debut issue to 71k, which is not a bad investment. You could conceivably find and ungraded good condition copy for several hundred dollars and then send it off to CGC to make bank on your purchase.
22 Amazing Spider-Man #2 (1963) $72,000
The second issue of Amazing Spider-Man was as successful as the first at giving Ol’ Webhead a memorable villain whose nefarious efforts have been thwarted by Spidey for years. Adrian Toomes had been on a robbery spree all throughout New York in his patented Vulture costume when he had encountered younger Peter Parker, who had thwarted his efforts, ending his crime spree.
With Vulture now firmly in the MCU being played by Michael Keaton, the character has been introduced to the masses, which always helps feed interest in the comics books. Here is no different, as Spidey’s second Amazing adventure has been known to go for 72K.
21 Amazing Spider-Man #4 (1963) $77,000
Another great Steve Ditko cover, this time depicting four full panels of action between Spidey and the Sandman, a villain who was hiding out from the police at Peter’s school. Naturally, that doesn't go as planned and Ol’ Webhead finds a way to defeat the man made of hardened sand.
This first encounter had Spidey use a vacuum cleaner, but writers have spent a lot of time making the Sandman a credible threat over the years, and cinematically with Thomas Haden Church in the role for Spider-Man 3. Another investment book at 77K now that Marvel and Sony are working together, perhaps the Sandman can also make his Marvel debut.
20 Fantastic Four #2 (1962) $90,000 / Fantastic Four #92 (1969) $90,000
It's a Skrull double feature for this entry! If you don't know who or what the Skrulls are than you're going to be for a real treat when and if the evil alien race makes their debut in the movies. Recently, in the comic books, there was a massive Skrull invasion where it was revealed plenty of powerful people had been replaced by the shape-shifting Skrulls.
All of the “little green mayhem” started way back with their debut in FF #2, where they impersonate the Fantastic Four to frame them for crimes and try to take over the world with the real team out of the way. If you can afford the splurge, either of these issues carries a fairly lofty price tag of 90K at their highest grade and record sale.
19 Human Torch Comics # 2 (1940) $92,000
While plenty of comic book fans have known this for years, perhaps some might not - the Human Torch existed long before Johnny Storm went on a spaceship. The first iteration of the Torch was actually a robot invented by Phineas T. Horton. Once the robot was to break free, he adopted a human identity and cover of NY policeman, Jim Hammond.
The character, along with his frenemy, Namor the Sub-Mariner are two of the oldest Marvel heroes of all time. This cover is a great representation of that with a certain evil flag on the cover. Copies of Human Torch Comics are hard to come by, especially early issues like this one, currently valued at 92k.
18 Amazing Spider-Man #1 (1963) $110,000
The Amazing Spider-Man #1 is one of a handful of important comic books in American pulp history. The cover image of Spidey and the Fantastic Four left an indelible mark on the fans and Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s run on the book was epic, setting the stage for how Peter Parker balances life as a superhero and as a teenager.
While some of the House Of Ideas famous characters predate Spidey, the entire Marvel Universe might not exist had it not been for Spidey’s massive popularity. For that, his first adventure has been known to sell for as much as 110K.
17 Avengers #4 (1963) $120,000
The cover of Avengers# 4 is quite possibly the most famous cover in Marvel after Amazing Fantasy # 15, but also the basis for the grand sweeping “hero shot” that has become a staple. The massive superhero team up saw them do battle with Namor who fled to the Northern Seas where a super soldier from Brooklyn was knocked out of his block of ice and began to thaw.
This is the issue that is the basis for so much of what the Marvel universe came to be, as far as the Avengers go as it is the first appearance of Captain America in the Silver Age. If you’re one of the lucky few to have a copy or have the money to have a copy, you’re currently sitting on a grand investment of 120K.
16 Red Raven # 1 (1940) $124,000
Plenty of people reading this article might not have a single clue as to who or what the Red Raven is. A relic of the old Timely Comics, a young boy is adopted and raised by the Avian Bird People, who equip him with mechanical wings and as an adult sent him back to humanity to combat evil as the Red Raven.
Over the years that origin story was retconned to make the Avians the original Inhumans and was a big part of the latest Infinity storyline from 2013. While Red Raven and the Inhumans are more than probably not going to be a part of Avengers 4, having a copy of an early part of pre-Marvel history is an interesting piece of history to have for a mere 124 thousand dollars.
15 Captain America #3 (1941) $126,000
Sure it's just another Cap and Bucky take on the Red Skull story and it's Captain America’s third issue. But it's also a very rare find being from 1941. But it's also the first time Steve Rogers hurls his mighty shield. Even better, some guy named Stan Lee wrote his first ever story for a comic book in this issue.
The creator of all that is Marvel got his grand start within the pages of Captain America #3, writing that story, “Captain America Foils The Traitor’s Revenge,” it was also the first time Lee and Jack Kirby’s names were both in the same comic. A monumental piece of Americana valued at $126,000.
14 Marvel Mystery Comics 128 Page Special (1942) $159,000
Even nowadays when fans see “# of Page specials,” they can get a little giddy with all of the extra goodies found throughout their favorite comic books. Marvel Mystery was another Canadian White book, a book that collected several timely issues into one action-packed anthology. To save some money to make up Canada’s trade deficit, the issues were printed in black and white.
World War II always sells, comic books from this era always sell too. This issue has been known to have sold for $159 thousand dollars, a mere drop in the bucket to own a piece of history.
13 Fantastic Four #1 (1961) $166,000
Ride, captain ride upon your mystery ship / Be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip / Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship / On your way to a world that others might have missed. The lyrics of an obscure song from an obscure band, the Blues Image might not be about the Fantastic Four, but sheesh, does it encapsulate what their origin story is all about.
As the Fantastic Four battle the Mole Man, Reed Richards takes his friends on a rocket ship that will alter their lives forever! When they return, they’re imbued with powers that will help them fight the Mole Man. For anyone who either has the issue or the money (166K!) to own this issue, consider yourselves lucky – hold onto the book and you probably will have doubled or tripled your investment soon.
12 Motion Pictures Funny Weekly # 1 (1939) $193,000
Take a piece of old-timey comic book history, add the debut of Marvel’s first-ever mutant and you get a grand investment or a prize for only a handful of collectors out there. In an attempt to bring in new comic readers, Funnies, Inc. partnered up with Timely (the eventual Marvel) to put out books in movie theaters to try and drum up some sales.
The first issue of Motion Pictures Funny Weekly didn't see a lot of issues hit the shelves in the theater, but the book was still notable for being the debut of Namor, The Sub-Mariner, who was eventually ret-conned into being Marvel’s first mutant. If you're one of the nine or ten people that still have a copy are also sitting on almost 200 thousand, the book has been sold for 193K.
11 Captain America 128 Page Special (1942) $198,000
During World War II, comic books like Captain America were definitely morale-filling feel-good comic books. Really, even now, there aren't many more fulfilling fantasies than punching out Nazis. But the real reason this one is a hot book is because it is a “Canadian White,” one of two books on this list that are.
A Canadian White is as it sounds, a comic book printed on white pages as opposed to the “yellow” pages of American publishing. Also, usually the stories inside are told in black and white. While some people like to playfully mock Canada, we shouldn't be knocking the 198K (American) that you could nab for having this book.
10 Marvel Mystery Comics #9 (1940) $198,000
This is a big moment for geeks all across the world, or at least it was in 1940. The BvS or Infinity War of its time, Marvel Mystery #9 was the first crossover story between two superheroes when the worlds of Namor and the original Human Torch collided. In the first of a two-parter, the two heroes dueled to a stalemate in and around Manhattan.
The issue also featured stories with heroes like the Angel and Ka-Zar, and cover art by the sensational Bill Everett (who also created Namor and co-created Daredevil), and issues have gone for 2500 at just its minimum with prices like 107 and 198K being the highest recorded sales for this issue.
9 Tales To Astonish # 27 (1962) $200,000
With a really cool sci-fi pulp cover and title, “The Man In The Ant Hill,” Tales To Astonish #27 had a lot of things going for it before you even turned past the cover page. Hank Pym created a serum that can shrink anything and a serum that can grow anything. When he used the shrinking serum, the brilliant mind carelessly left the growing serum on a counter, now light years away.
TTS #35 would be the first appearance of the Ant-Man, but this issue of the anthology series would be the first appearance of Hank Pym, who even tossed his serums down the toilet by the end of the story, knowing that only bad things would happen. If you can find a great copy of this one, be prepared to possibly fork over 200K for the book.
8 Avengers # 1 (1963) $275,000 / Journey Into Mystery # 83 (1962) $275,000
Loki is using his magic to pit some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes against one another. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it – that’s because, besides the first Avengers movie, it is also the plot of the first Avengers issue.
Journey Into Mystery had a different tale to tell a year earlier, introducing not only Korg (who was the comic relief in Ragnarok), but also the God of Thunder – Thor himself! It's fitting that both the first issue of the Mightiest Heroes and the first issue of the Mightiest Avenger both go for the same price – 275 dollars.
7 Incredible Hulk # 1 (1962) $326,000
Marvel’s take on the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde paradigm begins right here when brilliant scientist Bruce Banner is caught in a gamma ray explosion and is forever altered by becoming a giant “rage monster” whenever anyone pisses him off. Much of the Hulk’s origins are told right here in this issue.
Thanks to the big guy being all over the place since the Lou Ferrigno, this issue has always been a decent seller. At 326K, it certainly places the book in rarified air as prices go. But with the massive fanbase the Hulk has, plenty people would be able to bring a copy home for themselves.
6 Captain America Comics # 1 (1941) $343,000
The first issue of Captain America not only introduces all of us to Steve Rogers but his sidekick Bucky too. For a freaking dime, readers were able to get 64 pages of jam-packed action with the first Avenger and the eventual Winter Soldier. Never mind the fact that some other flag bearing hero, the Shield debuted a year earlier, Cap, of course, became a hero for the ages.
While not as valuable as some o DC’s books or even some other Marvel books, this book like Cap is timeless and in theory, could bump in value at a moment’s notice and is currently valued at best at 343 thousand.
5 Tales Of Suspense #39 (1963) $375,000
The location might have changed from Vietnam to the Middle East, but the origins story of Tony Stark hasn't changed much over the years. A weapons manufacturer gets kidnapped by insurgents and while held captive, he creates a device to keep the shrapnel from hitting his heart and then a suit of armor to escape!
Tales Of Suspense #39 is the epic debut of the man who would become the centerpiece of all that is Marvel. Needless to say, even at its current 375K highest sale price might be a steal, since a book like this will only go up with each subsequent MCU appearance.
4 Marvel Mystery Comics 128 Page Special Variant (1942) $482,000
Even during the Golden Age of comic books variants were a thing. Not something creators used to drum up sales, but often times just carelessness on the part of creative teams. As if the Canadian White version of Marvel Mystery Comics 128 Special wasn’t special enough, then how about different issues being reprinted within the pages of the issue.
Since the book was only distributed in New York City, researchers have found only five known copies to exist, which puts it in the kind of rarity that might even be fewer copies than Action Comics # 1. Even a mid-CGC grade 6.5 went for 26K, but with books being worth what they’ll sell for, this issue has been known to sell for 482K.
3 X-Men # 1 (1963) $492,000
The X-Men might be hands down one of the greatest creations in sci-fi/ fantasy / comic books. An ever-growing allegory for Civil Rights started with Charles Xavier standing for Martin Luther King looking for peaceful coexistence pitted against Magneto and his more militant “any means necessary” approach.
With a seemingly endless supply of mutants and various X-Books that have come and gone during the years, it might be conceivable that you could paper the entire Earth in X-Men comic books and it all started right here with this comic valued at 492 thousand.
2 Marvel Comics # 1 (1939) $567,000
With DC’s success of the Last Son Of Krypton and the Bat of Gotham, Timely decided that they too needed to try and get into the superhero game and created a marvel called the Human Torch. So 80,000 copies were printed and when the issue of Marvel Comics #1 hit the shelves it flew off them just as fast and another 800,000 were printed.
Even with a flooded market of over 800 thousand copies, obviously, a lot of those have been lost to the sands of time. This book is consistently sought after by collectors as it is considered the true first Marvel comic book of all time. Just be ready to spend at least 567K for it if you find a near mint copy.
1 Amazing Fantasy # 15 (1962) $1.1 Million
You've made it through the whole list and knew full well that Amazing Fantasy #15 was going to be the most valuable Marvel book of all time, but just didn't know why. Again, Spider-Man in the comic books is akin to Mickey Mouse and Disney. It's why when Sony agreed to loan him out to Disney, it became a big deal the wall-crawler was coming home!
Even with so many superhero movies and TV shows out there, there's still probably only three characters that even people who have never picked up a comic book know exactly how they got their powers, and one of them’s Spiderman. So it should come as no shock that the most famous book in Marvel history is the most valuable at 1.1 million dollars at its highest.
References: SellMyComicBooks, ScreenRant, CheatSheet, CollectivePop